This is a curious question, and I also had some assumptions about whether examiners check word count while checking papers. So I had to ask some teachers who taught me in school. And here’s what they said about counting words in the answer sheet.
Examiners check lines instead of each word on the paper. They take an average word count of 7-9 words per line; this way, they count the line, evaluate the answer, and give marks to students.
You only think examiners had to check so many answer sheets at a time, and by counting each word, they will check a few answer sheets in one particular day.
On average, an examiner takes 15-20 minutes to check an answer sheet containing 20-30 answer sheets daily.
How can you maintain a proper word count?
You need to keep some writing habits to write a good answer and maintain a word count.
Maintaining a proper gap between words.
Suppose you leave too much gap between words, resulting in a fewer word count. If you do so, you may get fewer marks, and the structure of the answer also doesn’t look good.
The ideal gap between words should be half or one cm, but not less than that. But you can not measure the distance between every word. So maintain a word count of 7-8 words per line, which will be okay.
Using the proper font.
Maintaining proper font style means handwriting should be the same on every line you write. Most students write speedily, so they change their handwriting because the word count also changes.
Writing in cursive handwriting.
It’s better to write in cursive handwriting than in a typical style, as writing in cursive helps you write fast.
Practice cursive handwriting here.
Does the exact word count matter?
If a question is asked for 10 marks and given to write 150 words, then it does not mean you have to write precisely 150 words.
As I have told you, write according to lines so 150 words can easily cover up to 18 to 20 lines, and it does not matter if the words are 140 or 160, as the examiner can exclude that.
Other than that, if you make diagrams and flow charts, this also gives an exception to the examiner to focus on word count.
Remember, while writing answers, make sure to present the solution in such a way that the examiner doesn’t need to use his brain too much. So if you use diagrams and flowcharts, that would be easy for them to evaluate your answer sheet.
Is writing more than the word limit given in the question paper bad?
Writing more than the given word limit is not a problem, but avoiding that should be a wise decision. Because in descriptive writing exams, there’s a shortage of time, and if you are stuck with writing one particular answer, that will just waste time.
So it is better to write as much as asked in the question paper.
What to do when there’s no word count given in the question papers?
In many question papers, there’s no word limit given, so it does not mean that you can write as many words as you have to write.
From my research and personal experience here, you have to write in exams according to given marks. This will provide you with a general idea of how much you should write in exams.
|QUESTION (MARKS)||WORD LIMIT|
|2 Marks||25-30 words|
|3 Marks||40 words|
|5 Marks||50 words|
|10 Marks||120 words|
|15 Marks||200 words|