How Long Should an Essay Be? - A Data-Driven Answer - preview

How Long Is an Essay? – A Data-Driven Answer

When considering questions such as “How many pages is a 1500 word essay double spaced?” or “How long is an essay?” You simply test it out by setting your word processor up with the fonts and settings that your college demands and then paste 1500 copied words onto the document to see how many pages it takes up. The same is true if you are trying to figure out how many pages is a 2000 word essay.

Those are the easy answers to questions that you can work out for yourself, here are the answers to the hard questions about how long your essay should be.

Your professor may issue an essay and you ask, “How long should an essay be?” and your professor replies with, “You decide.” There are two things you need to take away from this. Firstly, it is probably busy-work that he or she is using to force you to revise a topic.

Secondly, questions like “How long is an essay?” probably don’t matter so long as you make it look like you did enough work on the subject. Unless the essay is going to affect your final grades, such as with coursework and dissertations, then you need not worry about questions like how long is an essay.

If it is an opinion piece on a single issue, then a healthy 400-word essay will be sufficient to express your opinion and justify your point. If you are practicing exam questions, then a 150-word essay or 250 words essay will suffice. If the question is obviously multi-faceted, such as “What are the reasons for the American civil war?” Then you are looking at thousands of words rather than hundreds.

How Long is an Essay: Types and Length

  • College admission essay – 200–650 words
  • High school essay – 300–1000 words
  • Graduate school admission essay – 500–1000 words
  • Undergraduate college essay – 1500–5000 words
  • Graduate school essay – 2500-6000 words

How Long Is a Short Essay?

how long is a short essay

When considering how long is a short essay, you need to consider the subject. If you are writing a biology paper, then a 250 words essay may be enough. If you are studying art history, then a short essay may include over one thousand words.

On the other hand, you need to consider the type of essay you are writing. For example, a three-paragraph essay can be as short as a 150-word essay under the right circumstances. On the other hand, a dissertation is going to be 12,000 or more words.

When thinking about the question, “How long is an essay?” Consider the essay structure or variety. For example, some people have scored A* grades for fiction work that is no longer than 700 words. Some narrative essays have scored high grades for nothing more than a 250-word essay example. Then there are high scoring argumentative essays that have gone on for thousands of words and have scored unbreakably high scores.

How Long Should an Essay Be in an Exam – a Points Driven Answer!

During an exam, you may be given a few lines under each question to write your answer. Other times, you may be given a question and the paper says, “Write a 300-word essay or a 400-word essay.”

Tips for an Exam Essays

The worst types of essay questions ask you to write your answer and give you a whole page or more to answer. What is worse is when you see other students grabbing the extra paper when you have barely filled the space provided.

What do you do? How long is a short essay? Should you be writing a 3000-word essay in an exam? The answer to the question “How long should an essay be?” rests on how your paper is marked. The marking guide will specify how many marks you get for each point you raise, and then offer additional points for the higher use of English and so forth. Before you ask yourself “How long is an essay supposed to be?” Look at how many marks that section has on offer.

If your previous exam questions offered an average of one point per question, and each question offers around three/four lines of space for your answer, then translate that into your essay marks. For example, let’s say that the exam gives you 10 mark for the essay section, you will probably be safe writing a 300-word essay with around 3 lines per mark. Then, strive to make ten points within your essay that would deserve marks, (1 mark per point made, make one point every three lines).

For example, if your exam question says, “Give the reasons why climate change exists,” and the exam offers ten marks for the question, then write a 300-word essay and give ten reasons why climate change exists at about two/three/four lines per reason.

How Long Should an Essay Be in an Exam – A Time-Driven Answer

Sometimes, the marks trick mentioned above doesn’t work because maybe your entire exam is an essay, or maybe the marking scheme is tiered so that the points you make do not translate into essay marks. If that is the case, then you can use the time limit to determine your word count.

For example, “How long is an essay supposed to be within a 1-hour exam?” Since most educational institutions recognize that the upper limit for essay writing (typed or handwritten) is 800 words per half hour, you can be sure that your essay shouldn’t be a 3000-word essay.

At most, it would be under 1600 words. Plus, remember that examiners expect people to dilly dally a few minutes at a beginning of the exam while they acclimatize to the question, and to spend some time near the end to check their work. This means the real upper limit for a 1-hour exam is closer to 1000 words than 1600 words.

Need More Tips, Help, and Answers?

Many students consult Edu Blogger for tips, help, and advice on essay writing. The blog pools the talent and knowledge of different academics from various industries and specialties, which means there is something in there for every type of student. Plus, it often contains ideas that help students with their studies, such as which apps to try, how to get study visas, and so forth.

Popular questions about essay length

How long is an essay?

Typical essay length is 300-1000 words (as for High school essay).

How long is a short essay?

For the short essay, 250-400 words will be enough.

How long is a college admission essay?

200-650 words should be enough for the college admission essay.

How long should a high school essay be?

Typical high school essay length is 300-1000 words.

How long is a graduate school admission essay?

A little more than a high school essay – 500-1000 words.

What is the length of an undergraduate college essay?

Significantly more than a graduate school admission essay – 1500–5000 words.
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2 thoughts on “How Long Is an Essay? – A Data-Driven Answer

  1. 400 word essay is the most popular size. Perhaps exam paper for more accurate disciplines should be a little more – due to a large number of data.

  2. The essay is not intended to be full disclosure of the topic, so it is not long. Depending on the subject and the main idea of the text, the traditional length of the work can be from 2 to 5 printed pages. If you are used to counting differently and want to know how many words should be in an essay, the answer is 300 to 1000.

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