How strict is the word count criteria?

How strict are the word count constraints? On responses that dictate 100 words, I have students that are asking if 102 words is OK, citing the examples that have more than the 100 word limit and still get the point.

I did the summer training this year, and I walked away with a feeling that it isn’t super strict but a general rule of thumb (note: this is my feeling–I may be wrong!).

I’d ask the students, would they mind if the last two words were lost?

I agree with @biermanl - when they graded these during the summer, word limits were pretty much thrown out the window - but I still wouldn’t chance it. I too would push the students to cut two words (but not necessarily the last two words :grin:)

Also keep in mind students are not graded on their grammar - as long as they can communicate their point and ideally not make the reader work to understand the response. Maybe okay if students speak like caveman but would only recommend if necessary.