It was my “big” exam yesterday. Two hours of panic for the students. Four days of marking for me. So, nobody comes out of it particularly happy I suppose. For any academics out there I present Rob’s guide to marking.
- Don’t try and do it all at once. You will fail. Make a big hole in your schedule and set out how much you want to get done each day. Then you can point to a day in the future and say “I’ll be clear of marking then”.
- Make yourself a nice place to work. I used to cut up the question paper and stick it into one long strip that I could have by the answers so I didn’t have to keep flicking between question and answer as I marked. Now the students write their answers underneath each question. Easier for them, and much quicker for me to mark.
- Use a really nice pen. I’ve been known to spend up to twenty minutes in the Student Union shop choosing a pen with the right colour, feel and heft. Actually, this might be a displacement activity, but if the pen makes you enjoy writing the marks then at least some part of the marking process will be fun.
- Take regular breaks. I’ve got Professor Layton and the Curious Village fired up on the Nintendo DS. A puzzle every 12 scripts or so stops my brain from melting.
- On no account should you make a single pile of all the scripts that you have to mark. This is invariably depressing.