As a student I suspect you’ve never thought about your script from a marker’s perspective, but you must start as it can make a huge difference to the mark you’ll score in the exam.
The importance of this was highlighted recently when I was reviewing a ‘test script’ which had been marked by a potential new Astranti marker. To give you some background, all our markers go through a training programme of videos and test scripts to make sure they understand the level of detail and depth we require for the feedback given to markers, and also to ensure all markers are marking consistently with each other. I was reviewing a script from an experienced marker who'd marked scripts for other organisations, but I needed to make sure he was on track with the Astranti marking approach and style.
The interesting thing was that his marking and my own agreed in a number of places and disagreed in others. In the end he gave the script 10 marks less than me, and I wanted to make sure we were more consistent in future. As I started reviewing where the differences were so I could give him feedback I realised all the key areas where we differed came where the student had written unclear, unstructured answers with no headings and poor paragraph length. Without the headings the student’s script lacked focus and that was where the ‘marker interpretation’ started coming in. My ‘interpretation’ of these unstructured sections was more generous than his! In the clearly structured sections with clear headings, based on a plan, focused around the requirement we both scored the script well.
There’s a simple lesson here then - no headings, a lack of structure and lack of clear paragraphs length (ideally 4-5 lines each) results in the marker having to use a lot of ‘judgement’ and ‘interpretation’ in their marking and where that’s the case you might end up on the wrong end of your marker’s view and score poorly. Where the script is clearly laid out with headings based on a clear answer plan which clearly answer the requirement made, no more than 2 paragraphs after every heading, and clear 4-5 line paragraphs throughout, markers are more likely to mark consistently and allocate marks for every thing you do.
So, next time you are practise writing your answers, remember this key lesson, take the marker’s perspective and ensure the points you write are clear, focused and structured. You’ll write a better answer which convinces them to give you marks and even if you’re unlucky enough to get a ‘tough’ CIMA marker marking your script you will still score well.