This post aims to eradicate one of the biggest misconceptions, one of the biggest commonplaces.
Many will tell you: “it doesn’t matter how many lines, only the content matters”. This is not true. The number of lines does matter.
Three double-page spreads will always carry more weight than a single page spread.
Of course, ideas matter, knowledge is important. To produce the best copy, you need both.
Consciously or unconsciously, the grader immediately forms an idea of a paper by its length.
Always develop your introductions as much as possible to get the most out of them. The same goes for the development, each idea well explained, each example well argued, as much as possible. The same goes for the conclusion, write and write to give a good conclusion.
You will never be criticized for doing too much, but always for not doing enough.
Good ideas, good knowledge + a clear and developed explanation = an ideal Sciences Po paper.
The challenge is to achieve this feat in the allotted time. It is even an essential aspect of the exam, for example at Sciences Po Bordeaux where the history test lasts only one hour, and the same for geography in Bac+0.
Sciences Po Paris gives more time: it is also a way of encouraging students to “unpack” as much of their knowledge and ideas as possible.
This way of writing more and more will also force you to come up with more ideas, to aim higher, to draw even more from the subject.
This is valid in history, General Knowledge, English, Spanish, geography, for all subjects.
Good luck for Sciences Po, for writing and for passing your Sciences Po exams.