5 Time-Saving Tips for Marking Tests

I recently sent out an email to the 2,500 Guzled Teachers asking them for tips on how to save time in our jobs.

I got an amazing response!

Below I’ll share 5 tips on how to save time when marking tests.

5 Time-Saving Tips for Marking Tests

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1 – Mark By Question

“When marking a pile of work, mark a question at a time rather than a script at a time.”Helen Coomer, Pembrokeshire College

At Fettes College we would carry out internal exams before writing subject reports at the end of term. This meant a huge amount of marking. A colleague give me this tip at the start of my career and I am forever grateful for it! It saves time when marking exam papers or topic tests.

2 – Use THIS Marking Grid

I guarantee this will save you time! Students analyse their own paper. They do it themselves…Sally Weatherly, Guzled Founder

We’ve all been in the situation where we have marked a set of topic tests (or past papers). We’ve spent ages providing helpful, individual comments – only for them to remain unread. Don’t do that again! Use this teaching tool instead. I GUARANTEE it will:

  1. Cut marking time in half
  2. Provide individual feedback to all students
  3. Improve exam technique
  4. Engage your students in their own learning
  5. Encourage your students to self-analyse and improve

Past Paper Analyser

This marking grid gives individual feedback to students on their performance in topic tests or past papers. The best bit?

They do it themselves!

3 – Hint, Hint

“Instead of writing a full solution when a student gets the wrong answer. The teachers should write a hint or a promo for the next step. This will have the effect of the students completing the correction themselves.”Nathan Cole, Deputy Head at Wilson’s School (via @HeadGuruTeacher)

Remember that teaching is not a one-man show. Correcting mistakes encourages your students to strive for a deeper understanding of the subject matter, skills and processes.

4 – Marking Codes

“Use marking codes to save writing the same thing again and again.”Andy Pugh, The Norton Knatchbull School

I can’t believe I’d never considered this before. When Andy emailed me, it was like a lightbulb moment! It’s such a simple idea.

Here are a few that I use now:


Tell your student about these marking codes – so perhaps have it on your wall or on the front of exercise books?

5 – Organise Your Student’s Seating

“Collect books in in rows and keep them organised like that as you mark so you can hand them back out by placing them at the front of each row and asking the students to take theirs and pass the rest back.”Heather Hardy, Tuxford Academy

We’d love to hear any time-saving tips that you might have.
Please leave them in the comments below 

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About the Author


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Sally is the Guzled founder and, more importantly, a physics teacher. She led a large and vibrant department for 7 years, after training to teach in London. She is an IB Physics textbook author, online tutor, Trustee for Dynamic Earth and an IoP Teacher Network Co-ordinator.