This is the first article in our Meet The Markers special report.
Celebration is in the air as students enjoy a hard-earned weekend after the end of the Common Tests. They are joined today by tutors and lecturers who have just completed marking all the CT2 scripts as well. This astonishing feat was made possible by a combination of factors, but can mostly be attributed to extremely well-set papers.
We caught up with the head of the Chemistry Department to understand how her department managed to finish marking the scripts in record time. According to her, a lot of planning went into careful selection of the most obscure and insignificant areas of the Chemistry syllabus to test. Where the unimportance of the topics was called into question, the setters relied on their real-life experiences and other out-of-syllabus information to set inference questions, so as to best undermine students’ attempts at studying.
She praised the lecturer’s foresight in speeding through the last three content-heavy topics, citing it as a deciding factor in allocating a large proportion of marks to those topics. She noted also that the distribution of graph paper in the early phases of the paper served as a highly successful scare tactic, unnerving even the best prepared students. Unsurprisingly, with such a well-thought-out plan of attack, there were few survivors amongst the student population.
Markers for Section C of the Chemistry Paper were particularly elated when they noticed the number of blank scripts handed in, given the many areas of low mark density peppered throughout the scripts. One marker pointed out that “practically no one” bothered using the graph paper and she especially enjoyed drawing huge crosses over the few brave souls who quickly scribbled indecipherable markings in the last 10 seconds. “Drawing huge crosses is my favourite part of marking, but it’s something I don’t get to do that often. I think I drew several hundred crosses today,” she confessed, grinning in delight.
The rest of Section C was apparently just as forsaken, and some markers admit to finishing “even before leaving the venue”. Inspired by her colleague from the Physical Sciences she attempted to crack a joke about “fehling”, but decided it was in poor taste given the forlorn look on this reporter’s face.
Our reporters in the field are presently getting in touch with other departments to find out how their marking experience has been.