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Marking guidelines

Marking procedures and publication of results

Marking principals
All assessment processes, including marking, and moderation, will be conducted anonymously unless the nature of the assessment makes this impossible.

All assessments will be marked by two markers, who will have been subject to a quality control test exercise and deemed acceptable by the Principal Examiner. Neither will know the identity of the student, nor will they know the marks the other awards. This is known as blind marking.

All marking is completed against a detailed marking scheme explaining how the assessment is scored. These are also included in the examiners’ reports, and published to the IFoA website after the results are released.  

Prior to live marking all markers and the senior examination team sample mark a selection of candidate scripts to align marking standards and test the marking scheme.  At this point the senior team are once again assessing marker competency and ensuring a comprehensive marking scheme is available to support marking the exam.

Due to the nature of many assessments, it is accepted that markers may disagree about the mark awarded for a question – this is not an error.

Moderation (Script Review)
After scripts have been double blind marked, a further moderation process, referred to here on in as the script review process, is instigated.  A candidate’s script will be subject to review by the senior examination team if one of the following criteria is meet: 

  • where the first and second mark awarded lie either side of the pass mark
  • where the first and second  marks are both fails but the average of the two marks is within 2 marks of the pass mark

The review carried out by the Principal Examiner (or nominee) will involve one of the following 

  • Full remark of script
  • Remark of specific questions
  • Review and validation of the marks awarded by the first / second markers and the final mark

Once a script has been identified for review the following criteria will be used to identify the minimum remarking which must be applied:

  • Where the first and second mark differs by more than one whole mark: and
  • If the first and second mark differs by more than 8% of the total marks available for the question/part question.

Third marking must be applied on a per question basis where an exam has four or more questions in total.  Where an examination has three or fewer questions in total, third marking may be applied on a per question basis or on a part question by part question basis. 

After minimum remarking has been completed, as defined above, if the script remains borderline, which is defined as from 2 marks below the pass mark to 1 mark above it (inclusive), the reviewer will continue to remark questions or parts of questions until either the total mark awarded is no longer classified as borderline or the entire script has been fully remarked.

On occasion a script may be reviewed even if it does not fall within the marking guideline criteria. The Principal examiner, or nominee, have the discretion to review further scripts; this may be done to validate the pass mark or as part of marker quality control mechanisms.

Final Mark
The final mark will be calculated as follows:

  • The average of the 1st and 2nd marks only where no additional marking has taken place as part of the script review process.
  • A combination of 1st and 2nd mark averages (where no third mark has been awarded as part of the script review process) and the third mark awarded to questions/parts of questions which have been remarked as part of the script review. For Example, the mark for question 1 is the average of 1st and 2nd marking, question 2 is the mark awarded following script review.
  • Script review marks only (in cases where the whole script has been remarked)

The final mark reported to candidates will be a whole number from 0 to 100.  When marking, Markers may award a 0.5 mark, and due to this in many cases the average of first and second marks, before rounding, can include 0.25 marks.  In all cases where the final mark is not a whole number, the final mark reported to candidates is rounded down to the next lower whole number.

All marks are presented and signed off by the Board of Examiners which takes place on either week 9 or 11 after your exam sitting, with final results being published on weeks 10 or 12.    

Marking timetable




1-4 weeks after examinations sat

Scripts returned and scanned

Secure scanning company

2-7 weeks after examinations sat

Scripts marked (1st and 2nd marking)


6-8 weeks after examinations sat

Scripts reviewed. 

Lead/Principal Examiner

8 or 10 weeks after examinations sat

Exam results sent to Assessment team

Principal Examiner/Assessment team

9 or 11 weeks after examinations sat

Board of Examiners meets to finalise exam mark

Board of Examiners

10 or 12 weeks after examinations sat

Results released

Learning Operations