How to Become an Exam Marker

An exam marker is someone who is employed to assess and mark question papers handed in by students. This can be from any age group, exam board or institute, such as secondary schools, colleges, universities or even online courses.

The majority of examiners usually come from a teaching background, whether they’re an ex-teacher or are marking papers to supplement their income. They will also mark papers within their specialised subject due to the need for persons knowledgeable and experienced enough to accurately assess exam papers.

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To become an exam marker you must be:

  • Educated to at a first degree level, or the equivalent of
  • Have at least two years previous experience in Higher Education and/or marking for a professional body and assessing
  • From an appropriate professional background
  • Experienced in the area you want to work in

There will only be certain times of the year when an examiner will be able to work as there are set times when exams take place. It’s also important to note that you will not be allowed to work for an institute where you know a student who is taking part in the exam you are to assess.

There are certain skills that will be required of you as an exam marker:

  • Organisation – it’s really important to be organised making sure you get a certain amount of papers finished per day will help you to plan how many you need to complete each day.
  • Time management – sticking to a strict deadline is essential, you might have as little as three weeks to complete all of your marking.
  • Self-discipline, dedication and stamina – making sure you stick to a schedule can be difficult, especially as the majority of the work will be very repetitive. You may have to sacrifice your weekends as well as your evenings to make sure you complete everything.
  • Accurate – though you may be in a rush to get all your question papers finished, you must still take care that you have marked them to the best of your ability. Your grading will mean a great deal to the student and could affect their future education and career.
  • Communication – you will need to make sure that you keep in regular contact with the exam board that you are working for; otherwise they are likely to see you as being unreliable. After completing a certain amount of papers, you will be required to send them to be checked over before being able to continue.
  • Computer literate – you need to be up-to-date with your computer knowledge. You will have to have access to Microsoft Office as well as a quick and efficient connection to the internet.

Benefits of freelancing

Although an examiner only works during a few months of the year, this is still a self-employed freelance position. As such, there are a number of benefits from being able to pick and choose which jobs you want to take on, while working from the comfort of your own home and being able to claim expenses.

However, the amount you will be paid for each job will differ depending on the institute, although you will be given a set fee per paper marked. The fees for each subject will also vary, especially if you are making a paper with long and detailed answers, such as English Literature. Obviously, this would result in greater take home pay due to the additional time required to mark these papers. By using our take home pay calculator you can work out exactly how much you could potentially take home.

Other advantages in becoming a freelance exam marker include:

  • Flexibility and time management – you make the decision when and where you want to work
  • Job satisfaction and control of your destiny
  • Greater tax benefits being a freelancer
  • The opportunity to make more money, by freelancing alongside another job, so you can often have more income than what you would expect from a full-time salary.

Finding work as an exam marker

It’s unlikely that exam marking can be a full-time occupation, because there are only certain times of the year that you will be needed. However, it is a great way of making extra money in your spare time.

Although you will need the initial education and qualifications, training will be provided by the examining board that you work for and this will require you to follow a specific method of marking.

For help and information on finding work as an examiner have a look on:

  • University websites. If looking to become a university examiner, you will find whether they are hiring on their websites.
  • The Chartered Institute of Educational Examiners. This is a professional body created to support those involved in educational assessment. They offer training and education, news and events and the chance to become a member, which will reinforce your position as a member of the assessment community.
  • OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations). A UK awarding body working with schools, colleges and workplaces. They concentrate on GCSEs, A-Levels and vocational qualifications, such as OCR Nationals and NVQs.
  • AQA. An educational charity that specialises in GCSEs and A-Levels. There is a section on the website dedicated to the latest vacancies.

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