If you are wondering how long your essay can be, you have probably been assigned an essay by a teacher or must write one for a competition that did not specify the length. Don’t worry – this is a common problem. To find out how long you can make your essay, we first need to understand the context of an essay.
How long essays generally are
An easy way to understand how long can an essay be is that an essay is shorter than a full report or a thesis. There is no technical limit to the length of an essay – if you so desire, you can write an essay that goes on for 200 pages, though most people would just call it a book at that point. Essays are usually between 2-10 pages, though this can vary depending on the institution. Sometimes you may be asked to write a short essay which is barely a page or two, while other times you may get more detailed instructions about the length of an essay.
Understanding the context
Another way to understand the ideal length of your essay is to look at the context in which you have been assigned the essay. There are two main factors – where you are in your studies and the topic you have been given to write on. If you are in school, then your essay will usually be just 2-4 pages long. If you are in college, your essay may be anywhere from 4-8 pages. That’s not all – where you are in your semester also matters a lot. If the teacher has just started teaching the semester, they will not expect you to write a very long essay. However, if the essay is being assigned at the end of the term, you may be expected to write in detail.
The topic of your essay is the second most important factor in determining the ideal length of the essay. If you have been given an essay on a simple topic, such as examining the motive of a single character in a book, the essay will usually be just 2-3 pages. If you have been provided a topic that is complex and involves a lot of details, your essay will be longer.
Going over or staying under the limit
Many students worry a lot about whether they can go over the essay word limit or if they can stay under it, which results in the students trying to write exactly the number of words or pages they have been assigned. Writing an essay that is too long or too short are both bad things. If your essay is too long, it means that you failed to reach a conclusion in the limit defined in the instructions. Not being able to reach the limit means that you couldn’t think of enough factors while writing the essay. Remember that the content of your essay is the most important – if you think you have written enough and the topic is fully covered, you don’t need to reach the exact wordcount.