How strict is the word count for 0500/0522? Updated for 2015

In component 4, we do not apply a mark penalty for writing that is above the word count. However, it may be self-penalising for the candidate to write much more than is suggested. The candidate should aim for a clear structure and concision in their expression. If they exceed the word count significantly, this may be an indication that they have not structured their writing effectively or expressed themselves as clearly as they might.

In components 1 and 2, questions 1 and 2 and in component 3, a response length is provided for guidance. Candidates will not be penalised for writing more or less than this for these questions, although it may be self-penalising if the response does not have sufficient coverage for example.

For components 1 and 2 question 3(b) a response length is described in the question and candidates should adhere to this as concision is one of the skills being assessed. Reference to the length of candidates’ responses is included in the marking criteria for 3(b).

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