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As you write

17 - Balance your writing

This helps you lift your mark and stop wasting your time.

Distributing your Writing

The importance of Balance

A common mistake that students make is to write too much in the one or two parts of the assignment that they are most familiar with. This will lose you marks.

To maximize your marks you need to balance the effort and word count across the report or essay.


An example of Balance.

You have $200 to spend over 4 days. Obviously you have an average of $50 per day to spend. Your spending does not have to be exactly $50 per day but if you spent most of the $200 in the first day then your spending is right out of balance and the last couple of days are going to be pretty crap.

If your money lasts until the end of the forth day then your spending is in balance.

It is the same with the word count in an assignment.


An essay example:

If an essay is 1000 words and there are 5 parts to the question that are equally weighted then you should probably use around 200 words for each part.

Using another of our dumb examples:

Here there are 5 questions equally weighted. So for a 1000 word essay you need to write approximately 200 words for each part.

Answering question “c” well should get you most of the 2 marks. However, even if you spend the full 1000 words answering this question the most you can get for it is still 2 marks. Obviously your essay is out of balance. You may have written the world’s best essay on the type of rat most commonly kept as a pet, but unfortunately this is still not going to get you a pass 😉 !

Within reason, your amount of time and effort should also be equal across all questions. Obviously, if you know the theory for one question a lot better than for the others you will be able to race through that one.

It does not have to be exactly 200 words per part. Sometimes a part can be answered well in less than 200 words. This means that you can then spend more words explaining another question.


Did you notice that question “b” is actually divided into 2 sub-questions? This means you need to divide the 200 words into approximately 100 explaining which is the largest rat and approximately 100 explaining where it is found.

So a more detailed word-count structure actually looks like:


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