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Penalties for overlength essays
When you submit assessed coursework, you are required to state how many words you have written. MS Word has a facility for counting words, as do all other popular word-processing programmes. You must keep within the word limit prescribed on the School webpages (see, e.g. GERM1106, FREN4212) and on the Moodle sites for specific courses. If you do not, you will be penalized. When you submit your work electronically, Turnitin may cite a higher figure than MS Word etc. Please do not be alarmed by this; provided that you have cited your word count at the beginning or end of your essay, we shall assume that this is the one you wish to submit.
UCL's rules for penalizing overlength assessed course work, including dissertations, are set out in Section 3.1.7 of the Examinations Regulations. For the purposes of the School, these rules may be summarized as follows:
- Assessed work should not exceed the prescribed word count.
- Assessed work that is deemed to exceed the prescribed word count by more than 10% will be awarded a mark of 0%; the assessment will, however, be considered 'complete'.
- For work that exceeds the upper word limit by less than 10% the mark will be reduced by ten percentage marks; but the penalised mark will not be reduced below the pass mark, assuming the work merited a pass. For example, if you write an essay that exceeds the proscribed word count by 8% and are initially awarded a mark of 65%, that mark will be reduced to 55%; if your initial mark is 47%, it will be reduced to 40%; if your initial mark is 38%, that will be reduced to 28%.
- Course tutors are entitled to specify whether words in tables, pictures, graphs and similar supporting materials need to be included in your word count. Consult your course tutor if in doubt.
- The word count should include the main text, including all references and quotations, but not the bibliography or appendices.