Students sometimes get a little confused with what c points as words in an assignment.
Here are some tips from me.
First of all, unless asked to do so or advised by your tutor, do not write out the full question in the assignment. In the business school with reports and essays and informative heading is always better. You can always write the questions out before the contents page. This will exclude it from the word count but act as a refresher for you.
All citations within the report are included in the word count (but since numbers are not counted as word, this is usually only one word per citation). The reference list at the end is definitely not included in the word count.
In reports, the executive summaries are an individual matter. On some modules I work on, they are included and I've given a specific word count, in others they are exempt from the word count. Doublecheck this with your tutor for that particular assignment.
Titles pages, contents lists and appendices are all excluded from the workout. But equally, they do not attract marks. Don't put things into an appendix that you want your tutor to mark and comment on. Appendices are there for additional context not essential information.
Tables that contain text should be counted in the word count. You can normally ignore the headings on the rows and the columns, but the content and the detail in the cells are included. If you think about it this makes sense because this is what you are being marked on. We can't give you marks for things we don't count.
Diagrams with simple labels are not included in the word count. But as soon as you start to use the diagram in a more complex way and start to add some explanations and examples to the diagram those must be included in the word count. Just ask yourself a simple question, do I expect to get marks for what I have created and written? If the answer is yes then it's in the word count.
This is the advice I copied from a TMA booklet. The content will vary slightly by course but there will be a similar message for all modules.
- In your word count you must include: in-text references (e.g. author name and date of publication); quotations; and the content of tables and extensive content in diagrams (e.g. if you include explanations of the interests of stakeholders in a stakeholder diagram).
- In your word count you do not need to include: headings for tables; titles of, and labels on, diagrams; a reference list or bibliography.
- If your work is over-length, do not try to conceal the fact that you have not adhered to the word limit! You must indicate the point at which the speciﬁed length plus 10% (e.g. 1100 words if the word limit is 1000) is reached. If you do not indicate this point, or do not indicate it correctly, your tutor can deduct up to 5% from your assessment score.
- Do not try to reduce the word length artiﬁcially: for example, by excessive use of diagram labels, hyphenation or abbreviations. This is unlikely to enhance the clarity of your work and your tutor is entitled to penalise assignments using such approaches, which would otherwise have been over-length.
- Tutors are asked to mark your work only up to the maximum allowed word limit (the stated word length plus 10%). They are expected to stop marking at this point and give no marks for the remaining content.
As with all my advice, if I am not the person marking your assignment then this is just good advice you need to check with your own tutor. You cannot use my advice here as an argument for not discussing this and getting clarity from the person who is marking your work.