Taxonomy of Exam Papers

04 Aug 2001 // science

After having marked a few exam papers, you begin to notice a couple of old favourites popping its head out of the pile. For purposes of getting to know these familiar friends, I have tabulated and classified these familiar friends:

Blank Exam: is possibly my favourite paper to mark. An elegant rotation of the wrist and my work is done.

Heraclitean Fragments: half an equation, a lone number, a floating symbol. Always suspiciously looking like something concrete but illusionary on closer examination. Not too hard to mark.

Messy Man: cannot write things one under the other, fond of the cross-out. Often neat at the beginning of the question but soon starts to fall apart. Sees imaginary columns of variable witdhs in the exam booklet and often invents new notation. More often than not, Messy Man actually knows what he's doing. Another bitch to mark. However I am often tempted to give bonus marks to Messy Man if I see a glimmer of thought as I am a Messy Man myself.

The Essay: although there are various sub-categories, this is curiously often accompanied with big loopy hand-writing that fills the whole page. Often the answer spills to supplementary pages. This is a prick to mark. In physics papers, The Essay is often a sign of trouble.

Anal Order: has perfect hand-writing from the Year 4 writing guide hand-book. Occasionally in pink(?) and green (?) ink. The equal signs are nicely aligned. I can't help thinking: timid Asian girl who went to Abbotsleigh. Easy to mark usually.