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. 🙂


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NOTICE: Launching Helpline for ISC Students (Class 12)!

Hi there, everyone!


We are delighted to announce the launch of our new blog, Helpline for ISC Students (Class 12).




It is still under construction and we would be extremely grateful if you and your friends could help us build the blog by contributing your notes, experiences, etc. 

We will appreciate your help in making the new blog as successful as this one.

Do visit and please spread the word! 🙂

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 prĂ©cis 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 prĂ©cis 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 prĂ©cis 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.

Pre-examination Checklist!

In about two weeks’ time, your exams are going to begin! Everyone has worked hard this past year and hopefully, things have been smooth so far. To keep the flow going, here is a checklist for you to go through on and the day before every exam so that we can ensure that nothing goes wrong on the big day(s):


  • Admit Card
  • School id-card (if required)
  • At least three working pens you are comfortable writing in and with which you have preferably written before (and not just refills: don’t waste precious time inserting refills in your pen) with the same ink (i.e. color, company/brand, etc. so that everything you write seems uniform and there are no color differences, etc.)
  • At least two sharpened pencils
  • A sharpener OR
  • A mechanical pencil with sufficient leads of the required size (0.7mm or 0.5mm, etc. according to your pencil) already inserted in it and also kept separately as “extras” (use leads that do not break easily)
  • A clean eraser
  • An extra wristwatch, in case yours stops suddenly while you’re writing the paper and there is no wall clock in the room
  • A ruler with clear markings, preferably a 12 inch ruler so that you can draw a line the length of the entire page with one stroke
  • A compass/geometry box for your math exam
  • A piece of string and color pencils (we didn’t use them, so your wish) for Geography as pointed out by Nagaraj 🙂


If you still haven’t bought any of these items, or if you need to buy extras, hurry up and don’t forget to do so the next time you leave your house!

If we have forgotten to mention something, do remind us in the comment section below so that fellow tenth graders may avail of your suggestions, as well! 🙂


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! 🙂