This post concerns the new Research Based Essay (I do the litrerature option), which Edexcel have included in next year's A2 for the first time. If I understand correctly, my pupils spend a year studying one novel, play etc. and then have to write no more than 270 words to show how much they know about a character, theme etc.. Last year (old syllabus) we studied two novels and were told at the training session that good candidates should write about 300- 400 words for each book if they were to expect an A grade, as it would be hard to show deep knowledge in the 250 word minimum set. I recently set an essay to a very good group on one aspect of our novel from the first three chapters - they all wrote about 300-400 words, as I didn't give them a maximum. They were appalled when I told them about the 270 words in the exam. Does anyone else agree that this word limit is ridiculous? If so, please reply and we can take it from there.