You have two days before you submit the essay and you are 753 words over the 3000 limit.
What is your strategy?
Use the steps below to help you decide what to do.
What you are going to do next is create a strategy for cutting the words and get down below the word count. You are going to stay calm; you are going to take some rational decisions. Then, when you've weighed up the consequences, you can make the necessary cuts. On no account rush into wildly deleting entire paragraphs.
If at all possible, do one more edit. Go through your text and look for phrases or sentences which are surplus to requirements.
It would be very surprising if you could not make a substantial difference to the word count simply by rewriting and deleting redundant, meaningless or over-wordy sentences and phrases. (You are correct; two of the three adjectives in the preceding sentence could be cut). Yes, more editing takes a little time but you can save a lot of words, simply through careful rephrasing.
Do the quotations that you use count towards the word count? Find this out from the module handbook, or alternatively from your student handbook. If necessary, check with the module tutor. If quotations are included in the word count, can you make some savings by cutting the quotations and simply giving a concise paraphrase or summary of the reference?
'James (2012) is somewhat dismissive of Kingsley Amis's approach: "That 's what I'd like to say. But...there are so many. How could one be guiltless of them all? Amis classifies brutalise, decimate, crescendo, alibi, avid, oblivious, optimistic, eek out, and refute, among many others, as "unusable through ambiguity".'
'James (2012) is somewhat dismissive of Kingsley Amis's approach'
An immediate saving of 40 words.
Your choices are either
Before you proceed, make sure that you have a copy of the marking scheme so that you can be sure how the marks are allocated. Do not do this by guesswork alone.
One very large cut
A potentially large number of smaller cuts
Ideally, you would plan your work so that you never face the prospect of last minute cuts. But if you have to make last-minute cuts, stay calm, logical and cut anything which is superfluous or which does not directly contribute towards the mark you will receive.
University of Bradford. Learner Development Unit. (2012) Working within your word count [online]. Available from: http://www.bradford.ac.uk/academic-skills/resources/study/assignment-writing/drafting [Accessed 10 February 2015]
This Guide was compiled by Helen Cooper and Michael Shoolbread, Academic Skills Centre, Library Services, University of Birmingham