How to relieve the stress of marking scripts

06 November 2020

It’s that time of the year again. Exam time! And that means loads and loads of scripts that have to be marked.

Ugh! A collective sigh of exasperation echoes around this time of the year wherever piles of scripts await educators.

Here are 8 tips to relieve the stress of marking all those scripts:


Find the right time that works for you.

If you are an early riser who believes “If you snooze, you lose” set your alarm clock and start before/at dawn. If you like to burn the midnight oil, work till as late as it suits you.

Inevitably you will have to do some marking during different times of the day as well in order to keep up with your workload.


Position does not only apply to where a property is situated…

Find a spot where you will be comfortable whilst marking. It does not have to be at a desk; a comfy couch or a sunny corner on your stoep could work just as well.

Change position when the tedium of the marking gets to you.


Add some fun to the marking process by treating yourself. Get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, a glass of fresh juice or a cup of tea ready before you sit down to tackle the first script of your marking session. Dunk a rusk or have a sandwich/sweet treat lined up to break the monotony of marking.

Don’t have more than one manageable bundle of scripts (e.g. the scripts of one class that you teach) in front of you. This will lead to a more positive and focussed mind set.


Choose what works best for you: to mark bit by bit i.e. one major question or section at a time and working your way through all the scripts in this manner, or to apply the ‘bigger is better’ principle i.e. to mark each question paper from start to finish before moving on to the next paper.


Take regular breaks provided they are not too long. Do something that takes your mind away from the marking. Go for a brisk walk, stroke the cat, phone a friend.


Long-winded commentary, no matter how well-intended, does not serve enough of a purpose when marking end-of-year scripts.

Focus on the job in hand and speed up your marking without losing out on efficiency.


Every now and then check that you are still marking each script with the attention it deserves. It is easy to fall into a pattern of giving marks in the same range as you become tired or too complacent.


Put aside questions with out-of-the-box or unexpected answers. These take more time to mark; go back to these answers at the end when the bulk of your marking has been done.

Best of luck to everyone with a red pen in hand at this time in the calendar year!

The pros and cons of intermittent online teaching/learning
2020 was, in many ways, an annus horribilis, for the whole world. Anyone in education, to name but one career field, can attest to this. The meaning of the Latin phrase annus horribilis is ‘a year of disaster or misfortune’. This expression was famously used by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth in 1992; thereafter its usage was promulgated into the public arena. In 2020 an unprecedented situation occurred. From face-to-face education teachers and l [...]
read full article
The Grade 9 Natural Sciences Study Guide is here!
The TAS Team is very excited to introduce our latest study guide: Grade 9 Natural Sciences. This long-awaited CAPS-compliant Handbook and Study Guide helps to develop solid foundational skills in the Sciences and simplify a rather broad curriculum. What does the study guide entail? Grade 9 Natural Sciences is designed with a simple and easy-to-follow layout. It is written in the same recognisable TAS-style of our top-selling Physical [...]
read full article
Communication in – and outside of – the classroom
If you google the following question: Why is communication important in the classroom? … the following answer appears immediately: Communication makes learning easier, helps learners achieve goals, increases opportunities for expanded learning, strengthens the connection between learner and teacher, and creates an overall positive experience. As mentioned in our previous Teachers’ Blog (refresh your memory here:), the fee [...]
read full article