Average Word/Character Count?

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Jarndyce
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Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Jarndyce » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:17 am

Just out of curiosity, have any of you ever paid attention to what your average word or character count is? My school uses ExamSoft, which just gives character count. I generally pay attention to how much I write- on an average three hour essay exam, I write about 30,000-40,000 characters (at five characters a word, that ends up being about 6,000-8,000 words). I believe that this is more than what most people write, but I'm just curious if anyone actually pays attention.

And I'm not a 1L looking for some way to gauge my grades. I just think that the length of exams are interesting, especially when you correlate them with grades.
Last edited by Jarndyce on Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

amonynous_ivdinidual
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby amonynous_ivdinidual » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:35 am

it depends on the exam format. but on my last exam, which was a single question (with three subparts), with a 3 hour time limit, i typed 4,100 words, which amounted to 15 pages on bluebook.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Lawquacious » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:01 am

That sounds high to me, but I honestly didn't keep careful track of my SoftTest character count so I can't make direct comparison. My WPM typing is prob. 50-60 (around 60 on type-racer etc). If you have a high WPM I would say its a safe bet you're typing more than most as long as you are typing through most of the exam. I think it is a probably an advantage, but of course if you are just rambling or off-topic for some or a lot of it the quantity may become irrelevant.

amonynous_ivdinidual
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby amonynous_ivdinidual » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:04 am

i'm not saying everyone should type 4,000 words in 3 hours. it's probably not necessary. i circled back often, though i think that helped to tie various parts of my analysis together. if i had to guess, i'd say the average student at my school types maybe 2,500-3,000 words per 3 hour exam. but it would be imprudent to draw a direct correlation between word count and grades.

StrawberryRed89
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby StrawberryRed89 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:09 am

The model answers for my torts class have all been around 6,000-7,000 words.

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vexion
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby vexion » Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:24 am

I typed a lot. Especially as a 1L, with these being my first law school exams.

On my non-word-limited exams, I typed 8,700 words for Torts in four hours and 6,300 for ConLaw in four hours.

That said, I type very fast (110 words per minute,) I tend to ramble on forever about policy arguments and such, or devote whole paragraphs to quoting directly from the Restatements or the UCC, because I have the excess time and the requisite WPM. So I am by no means under the impression that more words will mean more points for me. A lot of it was zero-point filler. Still, both those professors specified that they do not take points off for incorrect law or analysis, they just don't award points. So I took a shotgun approach: throw everything and see what sticks. :)

jas5076
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby jas5076 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:33 am

Jarndyce wrote:Just out of curiosity, have any of you ever paid attention to what your average word or character count is? My school uses ExamSoft, which just gives character count. I generally pay attention to how much I write- on an average three hour essay exam, I write about 30,000-40,000 characters (at five words a character, that ends up being about 6,000-8,000 words). I believe that this is more than what most people write, but I'm just curious if anyone actually pays attention.

And I'm not a 1L looking for some way to gauge my grades. I just think that the length of exams are interesting, especially when you correlate them with grades.


Damn man 40,000??? That seems like a ton to me, but what do I know. My school uses ExamSoft too, the 1st exam I didn't pay attention to character count, the 2nd one I did I averaged just over 7,000 per question there were 3 questions. Hopefully I am writing enough :twisted:

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robin600
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby robin600 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:12 am

Holy shit, I'm a fast typer, but for a 6 hour contacts exam I only wrote about 5,000 words. I spend a lot of my time analyzing and it's worked well so far. How do you think and then type that fast?

Omerta
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Omerta » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:50 am

I kept track of all of them:

LegReg: 3700 in 2.5 hours. Super well organized
Contracts: 4700 in 3 hours.
CivPro: 3100 in 2.75 hours. Really goofy exam, nothing like practice exams I did
Torts: 3900 in 1.5 hours.

Alexander Volokh did an experiment with his past grades and found that there was no correlation between exam length and grades once you got past median exam length... so good luck figuring that out.

None of my professors provided model answers for past exams, so I focused on organization at the expense of word count (except torts). All my professors said don't type out the rule, so maybe that's why mine are 1-2k lower than some of the other numbers posted.

Baylan
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Baylan » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:20 pm

robin600 wrote:Holy shit, I'm a fast typer, but for a 6 hour contacts exam I only wrote about 5,000 words. I spend a lot of my time analyzing and it's worked well so far. How do you type that fast?


FTFY. Forget the thinking.

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Jarndyce
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Jarndyce » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:33 pm

Baylan wrote:
robin600 wrote:Holy shit, I'm a fast typer, but for a 6 hour contacts exam I only wrote about 5,000 words. I spend a lot of my time analyzing and it's worked well so far. How do you type that fast?


FTFY. Forget the thinking.


This may have been sarcasm, but it actually is partially true. I go into the exam with the law pretty cold, so as I am reading the exam question, I am making notes and writing in the margins what I am going to discuss. As soon as I am done reading the prompt, I start typing, applying the elements of the tests which I have addressed in the margins of the prompt. So there is never really a point that I am sitting and thinking.

BTW, I average 88 WPM on Typeracer, which I guess counts for something.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:48 pm

Omerta wrote:Alexander Volokh did an experiment with his past grades and found that there was no correlation between exam length and grades once you got past median exam length... so good luck figuring that out.


I think a lot of that depends on how the prof grades and what class is being taught. I have no doubt that there is at least some correlation with at least some law professors out there.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Helmholtz » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:50 pm

Jarndyce wrote:
Baylan wrote:
robin600 wrote:Holy shit, I'm a fast typer, but for a 6 hour contacts exam I only wrote about 5,000 words. I spend a lot of my time analyzing and it's worked well so far. How do you type that fast?


FTFY. Forget the thinking.


This may have been sarcasm, but it actually is partially true. I go into the exam with the law pretty cold, so as I am reading the exam question, I am making notes and writing in the margins what I am going to discuss. As soon as I am done reading the prompt, I start typing, applying the elements of the tests which I have addressed in the margins of the prompt. So there is never really a point that I am sitting and thinking.


Yeah, for my torts class, I had taken enough practice exams (and re-typed practice exams from scratch and then rinsed and repeated) that a lot of things were second nature. I never really had to spend time to think how I was going to phrase certain things. Although I'm going to wait till grades come out to see if this really worked. Maybe I should have spent more time thinking.

stinger35
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby stinger35 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:55 pm

I just had my first word-limited exam this week and my hatred for them literally cannot be put into words, even if there is no limit.

Baylan
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Baylan » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:01 pm

Jarndyce wrote:
Baylan wrote:
robin600 wrote:Holy shit, I'm a fast typer, but for a 6 hour contacts exam I only wrote about 5,000 words. I spend a lot of my time analyzing and it's worked well so far. How do you type that fast?


FTFY. Forget the thinking.


This may have been sarcasm, but it actually is partially true. I go into the exam with the law pretty cold, so as I am reading the exam question, I am making notes and writing in the margins what I am going to discuss. As soon as I am done reading the prompt, I start typing, applying the elements of the tests which I have addressed in the margins of the prompt. So there is never really a point that I am sitting and thinking.

BTW, I average 88 WPM on Typeracer, which I guess counts for something.


Not sarcasm, though my application of "type till the dickens comes home" has been limited by significant MC portions and word limits. Tomorrow is the only exam where I will have unabated ability to go hog-wild for 3 hours.

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Borhas
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Re: Average Word/Character Count?

Postby Borhas » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:47 pm

I've written somewhere around 30,000 characters per 3.5 hour exam, no idea how many words they were, I'd guess 5-6k




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