going over word limits?

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
User avatar
kcg171
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:54 am

going over word limits?

Postby kcg171 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:00 pm

So, one of my exams had a really strict word limit for each question, but after talking to a few people, it seems like they went over by a few words (some by more than a few). Is this normal? I definitely could have written more, but I guess I thought I couldn't. Now that I am thinking about it, it seems more likely that the professor will read those extra words (and award those extra points). Does anyone have any experience?

User avatar
evilxs
Posts: 390
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:21 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby evilxs » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:20 pm

One professor put the word limit in exam soft to prevent us from typing more.

The other told us she literally has the TA cut off the responses at the word limit and tosses the rest. I've only got one more word restricted exam coming up and that is torts.

Respect your professor and attempt to concisely state the answer.

User avatar
kcg171
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:54 am

Re: going over word limits?

Postby kcg171 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:45 pm

Oh, I did adhere to the word limit. I just know of others who didn't and was wondering if it was common for professors to read the extra words. There is another thread on here that links to a law professor's blog in which he asks for opinions about how to handle someone going over the word limit. I just feel like, if someone went over by even one extra sentence on each of five questions, and earned an extra five points because of it, that could easily be the difference between an A- and a B+ on a tight-curve exam, so I wanted to know if anyone had experience with how professors handle this. Thanks for sharing yours. Unfortunately, my professor doesn't have a TA and hates technology, so I'm afraid he's just going to eyeball it for the word limit.
And yes, i do realize i am being insane :oops:

pasteurizedmilk
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:12 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:50 pm

Had a prof who imposed absolutely draconian word limits, then completely ignored them. I will never forgive her for the blemish on my transcript.

User avatar
eddieg803
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:11 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby eddieg803 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:05 pm

edit: PMd you

User avatar
kcg171
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:54 am

Re: going over word limits?

Postby kcg171 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:12 pm

pasteurizedmilk wrote:Had a prof who imposed absolutely draconian word limits, then completely ignored them. I will never forgive her for the blemish on my transcript.


This is so scary!!! I finished with an hour left in the exam. I just sat there, editing but not really changing anything. This was, by far, my favorite class and the class for which I was most prepared. I could have easily gone on for the extra hour, but I stayed within the word limit for every, single question because I didn't even consider going over until I heard other people talking about how they did and didn't think it was a big deal.
I would be crazy if I emailed the professor to ask, right?

User avatar
grrrstick
Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:58 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby grrrstick » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:15 pm

Don't email the prof. Just report it to the student affairs or whoever office if you find out that he grossly ignored the word limits. Faculty can't give students an advantage because those students knew it was okay to break the rules.

pasteurizedmilk
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:12 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:20 pm

kcg171 wrote:
pasteurizedmilk wrote:Had a prof who imposed absolutely draconian word limits, then completely ignored them. I will never forgive her for the blemish on my transcript.


This is so scary!!! I finished with an hour left in the exam. I just sat there, editing but not really changing anything. This was, by far, my favorite class and the class for which I was most prepared. I could have easily gone on for the extra hour, but I stayed within the word limit for every, single question because I didn't even consider going over until I heard other people talking about how they did and didn't think it was a big deal.
I would be crazy if I emailed the professor to ask, right?

I wouldn't email the prof.

Try to figure out if he observed the word limit restriction in his grading. If he didn't, pass it on to student affairs and be ready for them to explain that "grading is at the discretion of the professors," which was the schtick I received.

It's incredibly frustrating. Tenure is a horrible thing.

User avatar
kcg171
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:54 am

Re: going over word limits?

Postby kcg171 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:31 pm

This professor is too awesome to ever report for anything; I just wish I had been smart enough to ask BEFORE the exam. I quit.

User avatar
kcg171
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:54 am

Re: going over word limits?

Postby kcg171 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:33 pm

P.S. Thanks for the helpful responses, though they led me to the conclusion that I am stupid.

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:58 pm

No prof of mine mentioned a word limit, when I read the instructions I didn't see a word limit other than "Be clear and concise, length does not always equal quality."

Now I am freaking out that I misread some instruction somewhere and there actually was a word limit and I went over. This can only lead to me working at McDonald's haha.

User avatar
GeePee
Posts: 1273
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby GeePee » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:57 pm

kcg171 wrote:P.S. Thanks for the helpful responses, though they led me to the conclusion that I am stupid.

I don't think that you're stupid.

All of my professors either:

1) Cut off strictly at the word limit,

2) Get supremely pissed off that they have to read even more words than they already should have, and have self-proclaimed tendencies to dock points. One professor here even claims to instead subtract off all of the points that he would have awarded beyond the word limit.

Think about this: even if a professor has a relatively strict word limit on an exam (say 2500 words), and a section of 80, then that's 200,000 words to read. And, it's not like reading a novel -- unless the novel has 80 chapters, all of which are almost exactly the same. If everyone goes over by 100 words (about a half paragraph), that's like reading an additional 3+ exams. I can assure you professors don't want to do that. Don't feel bad.

pasteurizedmilk
Posts: 460
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:12 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:01 am

kcg171 wrote:P.S. Thanks for the helpful responses, though they led me to the conclusion that I am stupid.

Actually, I would suggest following the word limit every time, unless the old model answer exceeds it or something. Most of the time profs enforce it. It's just a tough break for those who follow it hwen the profs don't.

missinglink
Posts: 946
Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:49 am

Re: going over word limits?

Postby missinglink » Sun Dec 12, 2010 3:46 am

My torts class had a soft word limit. 3500 words. You could go over, but not by much.

The short answers were ridiculous, though. 15 minutes for each question, and 80-100 words for each answer. I strictly held myself to those word limits, whereas it seems most of my classmates probably blew past it by about double or more. I will be supremely pissed off if the teacher doesn't enforce that word limit. I could have easily said more on the topic, but 80-100 words sure doesn't leave you a lot of room.

MPMP
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:32 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby MPMP » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:51 pm

why the FUCK do people feel so entitled? how hard is it to observe basic rules?

I have a class with a word limit on the exam, but he has already said that it is strict, thankfully. I'm just shocked by the number of people who think they get a special set of rules that apply to them.

User avatar
beach_terror
Posts: 7256
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby beach_terror » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:01 pm

MPMP wrote:I have a class with a word limit on the exam, but he has already said that it is strict, thankfully. I'm just shocked by the number of people who think they get a special set of rules that apply to them.

Although, it's pretty obvious that anyone who does think this would obviously go to law school.

User avatar
Cupidity
Posts: 2214
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:21 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:08 pm

Ours set 250 word caps, which were tiny. The whole point of the exam in that case was to be succinct. Many students disregarded them despite him saying "I will noticeably deduct if you go over even slightly" in the answers.

I sincerely hope he rapes their grades.

ogurty
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:16 am

Re: going over word limits?

Postby ogurty » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:15 pm

MPMP wrote:why the FUCK do people feel so entitled? how hard is it to observe basic rules?

I have a class with a word limit on the exam, but he has already said that it is strict, thankfully. I'm just shocked by the number of people who think they get a special set of rules that apply to them.


I think that's the problem. Then professors think, gee, I shouldn't dock points just because they went a LITTLE over on the word limit. And the people who didn't follow the rules get more points than those that did.

Any professor who has a word limit should explain very well in class how they'll react to students who go over the limit. If they don't I'd press them in class.

The "soft word limit" thing someone mentioned above made me shudder. Finals are terrifying enough without worrying whether you wrote too many words, with no guidepost to tell you what too many is. And the people who go way over the limit probably won't be penalized, because that would truly be draconian.

User avatar
ntugwater
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:37 am

Re: going over word limits?

Postby ntugwater » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:04 am

GeePee wrote:
kcg171 wrote:P.S. Thanks for the helpful responses, though they led me to the conclusion that I am stupid.

I don't think that you're stupid.

All of my professors either:

1) Cut off strictly at the word limit,

2) Get supremely pissed off that they have to read even more words than they already should have, and have self-proclaimed tendencies to dock points. One professor here even claims to instead subtract off all of the points that he would have awarded beyond the word limit.

Think about this: even if a professor has a relatively strict word limit on an exam (say 2500 words), and a section of 80, then that's 200,000 words to read. And, it's not like reading a novel -- unless the novel has 80 chapters, all of which are almost exactly the same. If everyone goes over by 100 words (about a half paragraph), that's like reading an additional 3+ exams. I can assure you professors don't want to do that. Don't feel bad.

Nice...

All professors should dock points for going over the limit. It's a simple task and I'd be concerned w/ a lawyer who refuses to abide (or acts in ignorance of) simple procedural rules

User avatar
onthecusp
Posts: 218
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:08 pm

Re: going over word limits?

Postby onthecusp » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:00 am

I like word limit essays. I have no way to know this, nor any evidence to back it up, but I suspect it makes for a better curve.




Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests