The Importance of the Word Limit. Academic writing typically requires you to stick to a word limit. It is important to do this for a number of reasons. The most important factor is that you are likely to be penalised if you exceed the word limit on your essay.
Word limits and assignment length. Assignment length requirements are usually given in terms of numbers of words. Unless the lecturer tells you that these limits are strict, it is normally acceptable to be 10% above or below this word limit (so, for example, a 2000 word assignment should be between 1800 and 2200 words).