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Secondaries - how little is too little?


Full Member
5+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2015
  1. Pre-Medical
    Hi guys,

    I'm working on pre-writing my secondaries now and I have a conundrum. I see a LOT of prompts asking for 250-300 words on things that, well, I'm not sure I can muster up that many words for.

    This is particularly an issue for essays about post-grad plans and future career plans. I can write ~150 words on each but after that, I'm sort of stuck without repeating myself or padding unnecessarily.

    How detailed do they want these secondary essays to be? Is it good to fill all of the space they give, or can less be more in some instances?

    Thanks all.


    Looking for Pidgeys
    2+ Year Member
    May 29, 2015
    Pallet Town, Kanto Region
    1. Pre-Medical
      At least for post-grad plans (I presume you mean post-undergraduate, as in you already finished college), I don't believe you need to go further than what you've written.

      Especially since these types of questions are more straight-forward, I always think of the advice I heard about speeches (but definitely applicable here):
      An audience is never upset at a speech or lecture shorter than expected.
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      Full Member
      5+ Year Member
      Apr 24, 2015
      1. Medical Student (Accepted)
        I think the rule of thumb here is that you should never go below 75% of the word limit. So, if the word limit is 300 words, you should aim for at least 225 words. Anything less than that looks like you don't really care about the question or aren't insightful/interested enough to create a well thought out essay. For more straightforward questions like the post-grad plans, you could go more in depth into what you're doing or include a new update that may not have made it onto your AMCAS. Just make sure that you don't find yourself rambling.
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