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Cutting Down the Words - Read first post before asking about word count!

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The word limit for the EE is 4000 words. If you go over this limit you lose marks. There is no minimum but for most subjects, you should expect to go above 3500 words. For experiment based subjects like sciences or math you can go as low as 2500 if there is sufficient formulae working (math) or data (sciences) or other things not included in the word count but suffices to show that you've done work on the essay.

The word limit for the Abstract is separate and is 300 words.

The following are not included in the word count: footnotes, appendices, abstract.

Any direct quotations included in the body of the essay are included in the word count. If you don't want to include long quotes in the word count, put it in an appendix.

~Ruan Chun Xian

Okay so. Does anyone have any ideas, advice, tips or hints on how to cut down the words in an Extended Essay?

Mine is about 6,300 words which means that I am in big trouble and MUST cut it down so it is below 4000 words. My topic isn't that broad. It's just that I have a lot to say surprisingly. I'm doing it in Literature and when I read the book for the first time and come up with the title, me and my supervisor were both sure it would be below the world limit. However, once I did my analysing, reading critism and re-reading the novel, I came up with so many relevant arguments and examples, many of them original. Me and my supervisor both though most of my essay was relevant but the world limit is in the way. I really need advice on how to cut down :blush: I know I have a habit of writing long sentences but I honestly can't figure out how to solve it and be more concise :P

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I'm not really an excellent English student even though i'm taking HL, but I do have the same experiences. Do keep the relevant ideas, but somehow express them differently using the least amount of words possible. It involves changing sentence structures and using verbs that make your ideas more concise and defined...i don't know your topic nor have I seen how's it's written so i can't really say exactly what you can do

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My Geog IA was supposed to be 1500 words and when I finished the draft it had nearly 4000 words and everything was needed. Somehow I managed to cram stuff into diagrams, footnotes and such but I still had to stretch the truth a bit :D with my word count.

Anyway. The thing about cutting down words is that it can be hard to do it yourself since you wrote it and you think everything's needed. But it's doable.

1. Look for unecessary words like saying stuff like: "return back" - where just "return" would be fine.

2. Cut long phrases such as "On the other hand" and replace with synonyms that are shorter such as "Alternatively".

4. Change wordy phrases such as "the personality of character" to something like "character's personality".

3. As luami said, change sentence structures around a bit to make them more concise.

The thing is, even if you cut 1 word per line, at the end it adds up to rather a lot.

If after trying it, you're still really desperate, I could look over it for you and try to cut down some words for you. It's easier from an outsider's point of view to see how the word count can be reduced. Don't worry, I won't cut any ideas. :P And I'm free after Friday (midsession break! yaay!) so I'll have time to do it...

...though I've just realised, it's not in English is it? Darn. :D

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Yes, and watch out for 'that's. They're everywhere, and can often be omitted.

Example: "She said that she wanted it." -----> "She said she wanted it."

It doesn't sound as nice, but if you're that far over the limit... :D

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I had 4000 words for my geo IA also but I am HL which means that i have a 2500 word count. But unlike HMS I was honest and didn't hide them in diagrams or foototes. I did the "that" thing Caitlin, I also redid all the sentence structure and got rid of redundant sentences, also as HMS said tortologies are useless. I also made something plural where it didn't change the meaning to get rid of "the". After doing this about 7 or 8 times I made the word limit.

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But unlike HMS I was honest and didn't hide them in diagrams or foototes.

:D

Well, I really really really couldn't squeeze everything into 1500 words. :P Even the HL people in my class were over the limit. I mean, we spent 3 days in field work, there was so much to write about. But I actually stuck some stuff into an appendix unlike a friend of mine who had a "flow diagram" full of text. :P

[/defensive]

:D

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We did get anytime/almost none in class for IA, because my teacher decided that it wasnt that important

I am really happy about my IA because everyone in my class got a 7 except for one person, I know that one person isn't me because my overall predicted score is 7 and his is 4.

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...though I've just realised, it's not in English is it? Darn. :P

Actually, mine is in English as I am doing it in A2 English HL :D

Thank you all for the advice and tips. Currently I am having a friend looking through it but it is still too long and I am worried about the length because even with 6,300 words I had things I left out. I've been thinking of changing my title a bit so that I don't need my three arguments but the problem is that it's a bit late for it and my supervisor also thinks I should keep it as it is.

I will look over those word tricks and try to change things. I know there are a lot of descriptions of situations and etc that I could perhaps try to re-write but I find it so hard :D I wish I could hide things in footnotes and diagrams but since it's literature, it's a bit hard to do so.

Anyone who could look over it (and is done with the IB. Sorry but I'm not taking any risks...) it would be very much appriciated. I'll work more on the cutting down next week when I get mine back from my friend :P

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I always start with the basic things, like "could not" to "couldn't" and "it is" to "it's". Then I just rearrange the sentences and mash them together. I'll also sometimes break up a sentence that uses's "and" into 2 sentences or connect them with a semicolin. And then I just begin rearranging and condensing sentences to keep the same meaning but using the fewest words possible. And if all else fails, I decide what needs to be said, and get rid of the rest.

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Actually I wouldn't recommend contracting could not etc. In an academic essay you should not use contractions but leave the could not, do not in their full forms. But the semi colon trick is good, if you can do it well and correctly - not everything can be split with semi colons.

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I think contractions count as 2 words... not sure

Use active voices. It always cuts things down.

Contractions are one word. As in "don't" is one. However I still strongly suggest that you avoid contractions as much as possible. Your essay sounds more academic without contractions.

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You've probably already done all of this... :) but use footnotes as much as you can for definitions of concepts or ideas i.e if you use literary terms and define them in your essay (like say, you define a term like alliteration) just put the definition as a footnote.. or if you're explaining a literary techinique, try and find a literary term that fits it.. etc. Also once you've established a theme or something like that you can just use something like the "motif of" if you find you find yourself repeating what the theme is.

Goodluck! :D

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Guest lestat

Never use contractions!

You will get marked down in the 'Formal Language' criterion quicker than you can say 'why'd I do that?!'

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Abstract is never included.

... TOK has taught me to have second thoughts about the word "never"...

Anyway, to cut words

1) Remove the fluff

If you say things like "this experienced really changed who I am as a person", other wonder what were you before you became a person.

2) Foot notes are your best friend

One kid I know had footnotes as 80% of his page and content as 20%. He toned it down in the second draft though haha

3) Watch those prepositions, see if you can combine them

4) This should be #1 actually, narrow the scope!

5) Procrastinate and realize you only have 2 hours left so your creativity (and harshness) OOZE out.

The end.

Hehe! TOK has taught me to have second thoughts about the word "some".

Nr 5 - paaainful situation but sure does help sometimes :D

Anyways, I wanted to say that I managed to cut down my EE from 6, 300 words to 3, 935 words woot! I pretty much specified my topic question more and thus removed two arguments and only focused on one :rofl:

But do please continue with giving out advice for cutting down the words as I am sure many will appriciate it :D

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Hmm... I was always confused about this. So the MAXIMUM word limit is 4000? Some other websites I've visited claimed that the maximum was 4200. Anyways, I wanted to know what a realisticly good word count for an EE. So as to not die of having a large word count and yet not to be penalized for writing too little...

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The maximum IS 4000 words. You'll be penalized if you have more than 4000 words and the examiner is not required to read the whole essay then. I don't think there is a minimum but I'd say to be realistic, most EE are between 3700-4000. Could be less. I have no data after all :P

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