COUNSELLORS’ CORNER: The science of scoring

With CBSE exams in full swing,students are sweating it out,spending hours with their textbooks. But a few questions still linger for students,parents and counsellors,ranging from handling last-minute panic to deliberating on “What next?”

New Delhi | Published:March 26, 2009 11:15 pm

A schools’ initiative from The Express Group

Quest is a project conducted by The Indian Express in schools in and around Delhi. It covers more than

50 schools in Delhi and NCR.

Quest aims at raising awareness and building opinions. For the next few weeks,as our readers concentrate on their Board examinations,the Quest team will always be there to help. Students,teachers and parents can send in their queries about exams,stress or other subjects. We will answer them in this weekly column.

With CBSE exams in full swing,students are sweating it out,spending hours with their textbooks. But a few questions still linger for students,parents and counsellors,ranging from handling last-minute panic to deliberating on “What next?” Quest brings you answers to some questions sent in by our readers. The answers have been given by Kamakshi Vasisht,PGT Psychology/ Counsellor,Venkateshwar International School,Dwarka,Shipra Kapoor,TGT,Venkateshwar International School,Dwarka,Chitra Gopal,Principal,Vidya Niketan Sr. Sec. School,Saket and Shalini Passan,TGT Science,Ramjas School,Pusa Road.

At the plus 2 level,students are forced to take up science and are expected to get very high marks. How do students tackle the pressure from parents?
Prerna Madan,X-A,Army Public School,Noida

Parents should not force their decisions on the children. One should go for aptitude testing and career counselling to have a better understanding of future prospects. The subject of study should be chosen with respect to the child’s level of competence.

HOTS,the acronym carved by CBSE has created a psychological pressure for students. How can we remove it?
Kalyani Chaudhury,X-B,Army Public School,Noida

HOTS have been introduced to judge students’ understanding or analytical ability. Students fear HOTS more because of the hype. Basically,all that HOTS questions need are an analysed answers. They are very carefully evaluated by the examiner. If a student has understood the concept and answers the questions accordingly he or she would be definitely awarded the marks for it.

You can answer any kind of question if there is a clarity of concept. Students just need practice and confidence.

Many topics require detailed explanations that are not highlighted in the NCERT books,for example,evolution,heredity. Students as well as teachers don’t know how much depth to go into. how does one tackle this problem?
Rima Dey,PGT,Biology,Army Public School,Noida

The students may take the help of solved sample papers and get the answers to those questions from sample papers.

Students need to learn analysis to tackle physics numericals . How should they prepare for those,since students are not given any numericals and solved examples in their textbooks?
Kavita Sharma,TGT,Physics,Army Public School,Noida

Students can take the help of some good reference books containing solved numericals with practice exercises for students with reference to the CBSE curriculum. Practise as many examples as you can.

Scores in Science have gone down since MCQ has been introduced. Children have stopped getting 100 per cent,which is disappointing. How do we motivate students?
Veena Wahi,Vice Principal,St Mark’s Senior Secondary Public School,Meera Bagh

This is a myth. Introduction of MCQs in the science paper has raised the performance of the average student by 10 to 15 per cent. Many students score 100 marks in science.

What can students do to score well in Science? These days it is Science that takes their aggregates down.
Veena Wahi,Vice Principal,St Mark’s Senior Secondary Public School,Meera Bagh

To score well in science,answers should be to the point,precise and accurate. Draw neat well-labelled diagrams to support your answer,write balanced equations and practise numericals (give formulae). Above all learn by writing.

Science is taking the aggregate down because it is a compulsory subject in Class X. Many students do not possess the aptitude for it. Moreover,it requires self-study,whereas students depend more on coaching.

In science,especially in questions carrying two marks pertaining to giving differences,some questions have two points while others have four points. How many points should be written? Should the child also cite examples and give diagrams?
Poonam Wadehra,TGT Science,Bharti Public School,Mayur Vihar,Delhi

Points should be written as per the requirement of the question and should contain examples and diagrams to support your answer.

I would like to know if the examiner goes through the word limit of a six-marks questions in Sociology. How much does one need to write for a long answer? Can we present our answers in points and then elaborate?
Martina Roy,Mater Dei School,Tilak Lane

Yes,you can write answer in points followed by elaboration. Word limit for six-marks questions is 200 to 250 words. The CBSE guidelines allow a little laxity in the word-limit as long as you don’t go too far beyond it.

In spite of continuous advice,students are taking help of sub-standard helpbooks. How to deal with this problem?
Seema Arora,TGT,Science,Jain Bharati Mrigavati Vidyalaya,GT Road,Alipur

Unfortunately,today everyone wants instant solutions,instant meals,instant answers. These substandard books provide these answers,which are not always accurate. Students need to read the text thoroughly — NCERT,and then use other books. Ideal would be to encourage them to solve as many sample papers as possible.

Students often feel that the time given is too little. How can students complete the paper in time?
Savita Rathee,P.G.T,Chemistry,Jain Bharati Mrigavati Vidyalaya,GT Road,Alipur

Student should read the question paper attentively and patiently. Attempt those questions first that are high-scoring and well-prepared. Write relevant answers to questions. Answer the questions in brief and to the point. Underline the keywords or important points. Draw neat well-labelled diagrams wherever asked for. Try to finish paper 10 minutes before time to revise and minimise the mistakes. Few more points can also be added. Thus one can score more and also complete the paper in time.

In science,students find difficulty in remembering many terms. What steps or measures can be taken to study the subjects,especially Biology ?
Monica Manchanda,PGT,Biology,Doon Public School,Paschim Vihar

Word association and mnemonics will help a student remember. The cranial nerves can be remembered by this mnemonic:

On old Olympus topmost top a fat-eared German viewed some hops.

Which reads as: Olfactory,optic,occulomotor Trochee,trigeminal Abducens,facial,auditory,glossopharyngeal Vogues,spinal accessory,hypoglossal

Students face a lot of problems while solving numericals related to genetics. How can teachers help?
Deepika Singh,PGT Science,Mother Divine Public School,Rohini

Numericals in genetics are based on Mendel’s law. Explain the law of dominance using monohybrid cross and law of segregation and independent assortment using dithered cross. Difference between phenotypic and genotypic ratio must be made clear to students. Ensure practice for such kinds of questions.

In the science paper,can a student give the answer in points only? Also,if a diagram has not been asked for,should the child still give one?
Preeti Kailoo,Sr. Teacher,Ramjas School,Pusa Road

Yes,one can answer the questions in points rather than in paragraph form. It would also help the student to know whether all the required points are included by him/her in the answer. It would also help at the time of revision. Diagrams are self-explanatory and should be added,especially for three and five-mark questions. Diagrams and equations are very important in a science paper.

In asexual reproduction,students often get confused between fragmentation and regeneration. How do teachers help?
Deepika Singh,PGT Science,Mother Divine Public School,Rohini

Regeneration is the growing back of a lost part of the body of an organism. It is usually a method of defence. When organisms like the hydra are cut into pieces,each piece will grow into an individual of decreased size.

Fragmentation is an unintentional cutting up of body of an organism in which each part grows into an organism. It is a mode of asexual reproduction. In case of fragmentation,fragments occur when organisms like spirogyra reach maturity.

Regeneration is not the same as reproduction since most organisms would not normally depend on being cut up to be able to reproduce. l

CBSE has introduced a new pattern in Science Practical skills assessment examination (i.e. including the class IX practical syllabus). Students sometimes get confused about how much they need to prepare for the exam. please suggest some tips to score full marks in the class X Science CBSE practical examination.
Poonam Wadehra,TGT,Science Bharti Public School,Mayur Vihar,Delhi

Class IX syllabus is included in MCQs,but not in the practical exams. To secure 20 marks in the practical exam,the child should thoroughly practise practicals in the laboratory setting,should know how to conduct himself/herself in the lab,draw neat,well labelled diagrams alongside as well as equations while writing your practical. Lab manuals many a time do not contain accurate procedures and diagrams,so the textbook should be referred to as much as possible for better understanding.

The questions can be e-mailed to
Selected questions will be answered by our counsellors in the Quest page column.

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