How many words total do u recommend having in the essay?(500 or 700)
Hey - thanks for the question. As AP Readers, we are trained to develop a “quality over quantity” mindset. I’ve scored many LONG essays that earned pretty low scores and likewise have scored some essays that were only a page and a half that earned very high scores. With that in mind, longer IS better under the following conditions:
- Don’t fill up space merely adding in long quotes from the author.
- Don’t fill up space by repeating your own ideas. Say what you have to say once and then move on to your next point.
- Don’t fill up space with generic phrases such as “this would grab the audience’s attention” or “this is why this choice was effective.”
In general, we assume that you took every minute possible to form your essay. The length that each student can pull off will be different based on typing/writing speed, background knowledge on the topic, etc. Don’t force yourself to write just to fill up space. Instead, take time to think and plan out your essay.
Long story short: less is more if every sentence your write has a purpose.
With all of that said, here’s a helpful video on Body Paragraphs if you want to explore this further: