What is in your lecturer's mind while marking your paper?

One thing that you have to bear in mind is that your lecturers are human too. We are not robots nor zombies (although sometimes we look like one), hahaha. Since we are also humans, reading tonnes of exam scripts will definitely wear us off. 

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So dear students, these are the things that you really have to remember while sitting for your exam. Please do not say that we don't understand you as a student. We do. We spent many, many years as students before we are qualified to be your lecturers. So, scroll down, read these points, memorize them and apply!

1. Failure to write down the question numbers that the student had chosen to answer on the front page of the exam script. 

As the examiners, we have hundreds of exam scripts to mark within a short period of time. It really ticks us off when the students ignore the question number on the front page. If you read carefully the instructions written on the front page, it is stated that the questions number must be written by the candidate. You are a university student, I am sure you can understand simple instruction like this. It's a waste of time for us to write down all the question numbers for you, one by one. Time is precious for us because we usually have a deadline to follow.

2. Start new answer to a question at a new page and remember to write the number of the question.

You have to pay for the examination fees before you are allowed to sit for the exam. So do not be stingy on the exam scripts. Always start a new answer at a new page. If you had used up the script given by the invigilator, just put up your hand and ask for a new script. It will look neat this way and really helps the examiners to read your answers in a good mood :) And remember to write the number of the question. Do not copy the question, writing the number alone will be suffice. Failure to write the number of question will give you a big fat zero for that particular question. As examiners, we cannot guess which question you are attempting to answer, hence the zero.

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3. Make sure your handwriting is legible.

As much as you want to be a medical doctor, please be extra careful with your handwriting. Use a black ink pen (ball pen) if possible. Sometimes examiners do their marking at home, during night time, and we have a hard time trying to figure out the sentences written by the students. Usually it is caused by two reasons, the handwriting and also the students' choice of pen.

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4. Failure to have a proper paragraph and headings in writing answers.

If you are writing an essay, then please make sure you have a proper paragraph and headings to separate your points. To read an essay requires full concentration from the examiners, so please ease the job for them. Sometimes our mind are all jumble up because the points given by the students are here, there and everywhere. If possible, please plan your answer before you start to write.

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5. Do not answer more question than required.

Some examiners are quite strict with this requirement. If the instructions had mentioned clearly that you have to choose 4 out of 6 questions, then please do so. Most of the examiners will only mark the first 4 and ignore the rest of the answers if the students had chose to answer more than required. There are also examiners who choose not to mark all the questions because to them, the students had failed to follow the examination instructions. So read the instruction carefully and adhere to it.

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6. Writing ‘love letter’ appealing to be passed.

If you ace the paper, it should be because of your hard work, and not because of sympathy. I, for one, will want to know that I passed my papers with dignity. Writing love letter appealing to be passed is actually annoying for the examiners. Time is running out and you want us to read extra paragraph in your answer script. Mind you, there are examiners who penalize the students who write love letter. Marks can be deducted.

7. Failure to write the examiner’s name accurately.

All the examiners are usually your lecturers too. So show them some respect with writing their name in full, correctly. When I was a student, there were some lecturers who deducted 2 marks if the students failed to write their names correctly. I think you would feel insulted as well if people change the name given to you by your parents so please memorize the examiner's name before the start of the exam.

8. Check your exam timetable with your classmates.

From my 10 years of experience as lecturers, examiners and invigilators, there were few incidents where the students did not turn up on the day of their exams. Reason being? They thought their exam was supposed to be in the afternoon , but it turned out to be in the morning. Always check your timetable with your classmates, one day before the day of the exam. If possible, appoint some of your classmates to be your alarm clock. In return, you can do the same. This is very important especially if you are not living in the hostel.

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9. Bring your examination slip and student card.

You have no idea how much this brings trouble to the invigilators if you turn up at the exam hall without these two. Sometimes we had to run back to the office to print out a new one for you. Some universities had introduced strict regulations for this, you are not allowed to enter the exam hall if you don't have the examination slip and student card with you. Make this a priority before you leave the house.

10. Move on to the next scheduled exam paper after answering the previous one.

Sometimes I see that the students are so frustrated with the previous paper that they choose not to focus on the next paper. Life does not work that way. You need the strength to prepare for the next paper. Do not sweat too much on anything that had passed. You had presented your best and you no longer have control over it. So just move on and focus on the thing that is in front of you right now. If you keep remembering about the previous paper, you will lose focus on the next one and there is a strong chance that you cannot answer this paper too.

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After the hard work, comes the du'a, then leave everything to Allah. All of us had experienced this before. No need to fret over such small matter. Just do your best and pray.

Good luck!


  1. I for once was invigilator for the examination when I was working at the university as a part timer. It was really frustrating when students don't bring their metric card or examination entry slip. It's a lesson that I need to remind them and MYself in order to not repeat those mistakes too.

    Sometimes fresh students so eager to start the exam that they didn't properly read the instruction. It's quite dangerous as I've done that before.