How many words should a graduate school or a B-school essay contain??
Especially when no word guidelines are given.
And if a 500 word guideline is given, by how many words can we exceed that limit without creating a problem??
500 words? Exceed by no more than 150 and make sure everything in your essay is important. Choose your words wisely for such a short essay. Every word should be important.
If no word guidelines were given, just make sure you answer the question thoroughly and take into consideration the amount of knowledge and understanding of the question you should know at this point. Sometimes it’s also good to know how much this assignment is worth and how many weeks in advance you were expected to be preparing for it.
For essays with guidelines longer than 500 words, you can exceed the maximum by more than 150 words, but I’d say by no more than 20% of the max.
The same goes for going under the guideline. Answer the question to the best of your expected ability, exceed expectations if you can and if you’re under the word limit, so what? I’ve gotten As on assignments where I wrote just over half the number of words asked for, but I consider my essay style to be straight forward and unpretentious. Some of my peers on the other hand, like to adapt a long winded, subtle type of writing style, which kind of sucks I think, but it’s for them the word guidelines are given.
In high school the number of words and pages counted for a lot more than they do in college. In college, communicating that you have developed and understanding of the material, it’s applications, significant and have your own thoughts and ideas about the material and can contruct a well thought out and logical argument is much more important than proving you can write 10 pages of what can be said in 5.