English I: Last-minute Tips

On a reader’s request, here are some last minute (updated) tips to prepare for the grammar (and comprehension) portion of English I:

  • Go through a list of prepositions and prepositional phrases (you can find plenty of such lists on the internet, or in the textbooks prescribed here: https://icsehelpline101.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/textbook-textbook-which-to-choose/) and keep practicing these every night. They’ll help a lot while doing the “Fill in the blank” questions.
  • Practice grammar from previous years’ question papers (which you will find through this page: https://icsehelpline101.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/previous-years-icse-board-question-papers/) as this is your best source to brush up your grammar in the little time left before exams. Some questions related to changing the tense or speech are often repeated.
  • Practice vocabulary (go through the words whose meanings have been asked in the comprehension part of previous years’ papers) as these carry one-mark weightage and such a question is often asked
  • Practice précis writing (if you have enough time left) and make sure you read the question correctly. Is it asking for a summary of the entire passage? Or is it asking you to write what you think of a certain paragraph? Are you supposed to write in general or related to a specific aspect of the passage? Keep these things in mind.
  • Also, if you wish, you may make a rough table for précis writing on the following page and a fair one on the page you intend to write your final answer. This will make your table look neater.
  • Further, do make sure to number the rows and columns of the table for précis writing. I would suggest making a “20 rows x 5 columns” table so that your words are  evenly spaced out.
  • Go through a list of commonly misspelled English words (you can find plenty of such lists on the internet) to improve your writing
  • Go through a list of homophones, synonyms of commonly used words, etc. to help spice up your essays and enhance your vocabulary


Hope this helps! If you have suggestions, do let us know in the comments below. 🙂
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English I: Last-minute Tips by Helpline for ICSE Students (Class 10) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Last One Month Preparation (TIPS)

Hi everybody!

Recently, a reader, Utkarsh, left a comment saying that he has completed his syllabus but still feels that he is “underprepared.” Keeping in mind the fact that there is still one month left before the exams begin, he was at a loss regarding what to do till then.


Here are some of the tips that we offered him, which we feel may be of help to all of you, as well:

  • Now that you have completed the entire syllabus, start going through past years’ question papers. We would recommend that you solve only papers of subjects such as Mathematics and for the rest, especially theory papers, merely going through the questions and then answering them in your mind will be enough.
  • If you feel that you require writing practice and if you need to improve your time management while writing exams, then we would recommend that you set a time limit and write past years’ question papers as if you were writing your actual final exam.


Here are some of the important topics we suggested that he (and you!) keep revising:

* grammar (especially in Hindi or other vernacular languages, if you have opted for the same)

* Math formulae

(if you haven’t made a list of your own, you may refer to them as given here: https://icsehelpline101.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/mathematics-important-formulae-and-points-to-note/)

* important equations in Chemistry
* important formulae in Physics
* names of authors/poets in English
* important diagrams in Biology
(you may refer to them here: https://icsehelpline101.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/biology-important-diagrams-from-all-chapters/)
* important dates in History and Civics
(you can find a list for the same here: https://icsehelpline101.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/history-important-dates-notes/)
* maps of India
(as given here: https://icsehelpline101.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/geography-solved-maps-of-india-diagrams/comment-page-1/#comment-2030)
* important questions in topography
(you will find various posts on the same if you search for “topography” in the Search bar on the right and bottom right of the blog page)
* important “Name the Following” questions in Geography
(for example, places where certain mineral ores are found: https://icsehelpline101.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/geography-minerals-of-india-notes/)

By going through the above intricacies in every subject, you will be able to brush up your preparation and make sure you haven’t left out anything. This is of course, keeping in mind that you have already prepared the overall concepts of each chapter.

Also, besides going through question papers, you can check out the Pupils’ Analysis PDFs given on the CISCE website, which offer suggested answers for the previous year’s exam papers.


Keep revising and don’t lose the momentum! Good luck to everyone who is going to give their exam this year. 🙂

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Last One Month Preparation (TIPS) by Helpline for ICSE Students (Class 10) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Grad School Series: How to Actively Read for Better Essay Writing

Here’s a quick post by a fellow blogger, which will help highlight some tips to read and study in such a way that you retain maximum information and remember things easily. Though it has been written keeping in mind reading as a tool for better essay writing, you may also imbibe the advice such that it helps you quickly revise for your exams.

Do check it out! 🙂 

So as many of you know, I am an English student. I received my B.A. in English back in May 2015 and am currently pursuing my M.A. in English. So that means I like to read, and I read A LOT. This also means, I’ve become pretty good at reading. How can someone be good […]

Source: https://itsthelitchick.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/grad-school-series-how-to-actively-read-for-better-essay-writing/

How To: NOT Stress Out!

Stressed out? Can’t sit in one spot to revise? Feeling too burdened with project deadlines?

Yes, hard work will keep you moving forward, but it is smart work that will get you to the finish line.

Read this post by a fellow blogger to gain some insight on how you can manage your studies better, getting the most without investing hours and hours of time.


Link: How To: NOT Stress Out!

How To Make Notes on Various Subjects (TIPS)

On request from Ayush, a dedicated reader, here’s a more-than-late post on how to make notes for various subjects. Though I prefer not to make excuses, it is “better to be late than never!” 😉



Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make your own notes:

Making notes in class:

* Read the chapter beforehand, i.e. before it has been taught in class, so that you are aware of technical terms and the basic concept. This will make it easier for you to quickly grasp the topic that the teacher is teaching.

* Listen attentively to what the teacher says during class. Even a minor detail here and there can prove beneficial. Sometimes, the textbooks may not have everything written in clear, simple language. Hence, by noting down as much as you can by listening attentively to your teacher, you will not only remember the topic, but it will also be easier for you to recollect small details when revising the topic later.

* Always practice writing your notes in shorthand to save time. You may make up your own abbreviations. For example, I use “w/” for “with; “w/o” for “without”; a downward arrow to indicate reduction or decrease; “gvt” for “government”, etc. Shorthand comes into use especially for technical terms or words that are repeatedly used.

* Write your notes in points as much as you can. Draw a flow chart or a tree diagram to get your ideas in place. Such visual aids will help you recall the content of the topic when revising and you will find it easier to remember when writing the content in points.

* Try to include examples given by the teacher while writing notes in class. Examples make it easier and simpler to understand the topic and in case you forget the details of the same, you can go through the example to brush up your knowledge.

* Don’t spend time noting down definitions or other technical terms that are bound to be given in the textbook. Concentrate more on detail and make your notes such that the chapter becomes easier for you to learn in the future. However, if you have the time, you may of course, note down definitions, etc.


Making notes from your textbook:

* Divide the chapter into parts and read the parts one by one.

* While reading one part, keep on underlining relevant points. Leave out unnecessary detail. However, do note that not all detail is unnecessary. Make sure you read the content with concentration to avoid missing out on important detail.

* After having thoroughly read one part, start making your notes.

* While making notes, include the following:

* Definitions – Mark them with an asterisk

* Potential questions that may be asked and a proper answer for the same

* Names and dates that may be asked

* Flow charts, tree diagrams, etc. that may help you to compress the content into digestible                       points

* Any precautions that you feel you might need to take in case certain questions are asked,

For example, while drawing the diagram of an eye, you have to be sure to mention which part                   includes the vitreous humor and which part, the aqueous humor.

* If you are referring to another textbook at the same time, note down important things that                    may be given in one textbook but not in another, so that you do not have to refer to both books          again during revision.

* Make note of numerous terms that can be used to denote the same thing. I prefer to mark these terms as  “also known as” ones.

* Draw relevant diagrams and schedules wherever required –  especially in Biology, Physics, and Economics/Economic Applications. Make sure you label them properly as well.


So far, these are the main things that come into mind. If I come across other such tips that may help you in preparing your own notes, I will make sure to update this post. Do keep the above things in mind. Hope they help you as much as they have helped me!


Keep visiting and keep yourself updated! Good luck! 🙂


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How To Make Notes on Various Subjects (TIPS) by Helpline for ICSE Students (Class X – Class 10) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.