Tip of the Day #10

Happy Gandhi Jayanti, everyone! We are back with our “Tip of the Day” post.


Tip of the Day: Use the fifteen minutes that you get at the beginning before you start to attempt the paper to go through the paper, analyze it, and choose which questions you will attempt.

We have all heard our teachers say this numerous times. But, how exactly do you decide which questions to attempt and which ones to leave?

Here’s a little something to guide you.

DO attempt:

1. Those questions to which you know the answer; you are 101% sure of the answer. (Don’t even spend that much time reading or answering these questions in your mind during those fifteen minutes. Once you are sure you know the answer, start reading  the next question.)

2.Those questions which carry less marks but regarding whose answers you are a bit doubtful vis-a-vis those questions which carry more marks but regarding whose answers you are a bit doubtful.

3. Those questions that can be written in points and for which each point will carry one mark. (Hence, even if you only recall 3 out of 4 points, you will be able to score more than attempting a 4 mark question wherein you are supposed to describe something or write in paragraphs and wherein if you misinterpret the question or start off wrong, then the entire answer may become incorrect. We want to avoid such situations.)


DO NOT attempt:

1. Those questions whose answers you do not know. (This one is a no-brainer.)

2. Those questions which confuse you, i.e. you cannot make out what the question is asking. 

3. Those questions which you feel can be interpreted in more than one way or which you think has more than one answer. (You can try writing both answers and see how well that goes down with the examiner, but then, the risk is all yours.)


Hope this quick post helps you make better decisions during those crucial fifteen minutes at the beginning of the paper.

Do you already use these tips? Or, do you have better ones? Let us know in the Comments section below. 🙂


CISCE Publications

Hello people!

You may have heard your friends or teachers talking about going through the Pupils’ Analysis or Specimen Question Papers issued by the CISCE. Well, in our opinion, it’s imperative that you go through both of these.

The Analysis of Pupil Performance published by the Council every year for ICSE as well as ISC gives the suggested/sample/model answers that examiners are looking for in a student’s answer sheet, regarding the past year’s exam paper. Here, teachers who have corrected last year’s answer sheets of students provide their inputs to help fellow teachers and students improve their performance. It shows how one should write his/her answers during the exam, the format, the relevant points to include, the diagrams which one should include, etc. Please do go through the analysis! It will give you a clear insight regarding where students make mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Further, the Specimen Question Papers are also helpful as they give an idea regarding the question paper pattern/format, style of questions asked, etc.

You will find both of these at the following link:


I was unaware of the Pupils’ Analysis during my tenth grade (ICSE), but it helped me much during my twelfth grade (ISC) and I highly recommend you check it out at least once. As I had scanned through the Specimen Papers before my exams when I was in tenth grade, I had felt that a couple questions were asked from the Specimen Paper during my Board exam, but I hadn’t tallied both papers (the actual and the specimen) to check for sure. So, don’t take these lightly! You’ll learn much by going through these two publications by the Council.


Also, spread the word about them to fellow classmates and friends who may not be aware of them! 🙂

English I: How to Improve Your Essays

On a reader’s request, here are some ways you can improve your essays:

* Captivate your reader’s mind by making your beginning really interesting.
You can:
– begin with a rhetorical question, ex. “Ever thought what life would be like if…?”
– list a few words regarding the topic, ex “Lights. Lamps. And loads of love. Diwali is truly a time of celebration…” or “Roller coasters. Cotten candy. And lots of fun. That’s right, all these things can mean only one thing…”
– write something which seems totally off topic but is a hidden link to the actual topic.
– provide statistics to your readers, ex. “It has been said that 76% of human beings have a sweet tooth.” (these are not actual statistics)

* Use $100 words, i.e. use better vocabulary wherever appropriate, ex. instead of ‘happy’, use ‘elated’, ‘overjoyed’, etc. Also make use of idioms.

* Make your paragraphs flow. Make sure that one paragraph is linked to the next.

* Do not go off-topic.

* Write at least five paragraphs: Introduction, Beginning, Middle, End, Conclusion.

* Think out of the box. Do not write something that you have read before or something that has been published before. Make your essay your own. Write about something that only you have experienced. If you are writing a narrative essay, make your characters have realistic personalities, ex. write about what your grandmother would say if you broke a vase instead of imagining what a fictional grandmother would say. Such things add a realistic and unique touch to your essays.

* Wrap up your essay in a polished way, but make sure not to make it a summary of the essay, ex. if it is a persuasive/argumentative essay, conclude it by reinstating your stand in a different way than how you did in the beginning of the essay.

These were a few tips that I could think of from the top of my head. Hope they help you while writing your essays! 🙂

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Tip of the Day #8


Here’s a last-minute tip based on a question asked by a reader regarding how to write your answers and presentation of your answer script…

In the 2013 exams, we were allowed to start any section first while attempting our question paper. Whether you are attempting Section A first or Section B, it is better to keep this in mind…

Tip(s) of the Day: Students are required to complete the entire section that they have chosen first and answer all questions included in that section before attempting the rest of the sections.

Clearly mention the section heading at the top of the page in large, clear, bold, capital letters.

Always start a new section on a new page and before attempting a new section, check whether you have missed out on any question from the current section.

Do not answer a question from the first section after completing the second section – it is unlikely that your answer will be checked in such a case.

Please remain alert and take the above precautions. Good luck! 🙂


Also visit: How to Write Your Exam Papers (TIPS)


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This work by Helpline for ICSE Students (Class X – Class 10) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Tip of the Day #7


A quick tip:

Tip of the Day: While being asked short questions, try to elaborate on the point asked before outright attempting the question.

For example,

(1) If the question is Define factors of production. You should not only give the definition, but also mention the four main types of factors of production. 

(2) You have been asked to give two features/provisions of an act (History). In addition to mentioning the two features, you should also first give a small introduction about the act such as the year when it was passed or who passed it and why.


These little things will give meaning to your answer. Yes, you may not get full marks if those two features are wrong. However, it gives the impression to the examiner that you know what you’ve studied, i.e. you know what you’re talking about.

If you feel you are short on time, then please do not take my little advise here. If, though, you feel that you would like to improve your answers, definitely take note of the first example, if not the second. 🙂

Hope you find this useful. Thank you!


Creative Commons License
This work by Helpline for ICSE Students (Class X – Class 10) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.