By Jacob Maslow — Branded Content

If you have to grade many papers, you might get frustrated when you realize that your students aren’t writing as much as you think they are. When students are given an essay assignment, they are usually given a page limit instead of a word count. Even though it would be better for students to write to a word count, it is difficult for teachers to track every word. Therefore, teachers issue a page limit instead. Then, all of a sudden, you come across an essay that appears to meet the page limit but doesn’t seem to contain the same amount of content. What are some of the most common tricks that students use to fluff up their page count? That way, you can catch these later.


Students Don’t Fill Up the Last Page.

One of the most common tricks students will use is that they simply do not fill up the last page. For example, students are told that the essay needs to be three pages. Therefore, they believe that if their printer prints out three pages, they feel like they have met the assignment even if only one line is present on the last page. Teachers need to specify that their students need to fill out the entirety of the final page if they want an essay that is three pages long. Otherwise, they might be disappointed by the result. 


Students Play with the Margins.

Another common trick that students will use is they end up playing with the margins. If you squeeze the page’s margins, the student will not fit as many words on them. Therefore, students will commonly shrink the lateral margin from 1 inch to 1.25 inches. Students might even play with the top and bottom margins as well to squeeze the essay even further. Teachers need to specify the width and height of the margins before students start turning in their assignments. Otherwise, the margins might be squeezed.


Students Change the Font Type and Size.

Arguably the most common trick that students use as playing with the font. For example, students might increase their font size from 10-point font to 12-point font or even 14-point font. The larger the font is, the fewer words the student can fit on the page. Besides, students will also play with the type of font they use as well. For example, students might continuously switch their font around until they find a more prominent font possible. That way, they don’t have to write as much. A lot of teachers will specify the type of font students have to use along with the size. 


Be Specific with Essay Assignments.

These are just a few of the most common tricks students will employ if they have an essay coming up. Students need to adhere to the specifications of the class. It is also incumbent upon teachers to make sure that they make the expectations clear. That way, they end up with essays that meet the standard. 

Photo Courtesy of Jacob Maslow // Cosmic Press