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Class X exams: What to expect in Science
VijiRaj, TCYonline.com
February 05, 2008

This year's framework of the science exam is a welcome change when compared to the one in previous years. This is because it promotes a deeper understanding of the subject, and discourages cramming. The number of questions is 27. As in the previous years, the paper is still divided into Section A and B, but this year the answers required are more objective and less descriptive.

This will help the student to wind up the test well before the allotted time. This also reduces the chance of subjectivity in evaluations. It is a good idea to understand what to expect from this year's test before you conclude your preparations. Let's see what experts from STEPS, a division of Top Careers & You, have to say about the most recent outlay of the paper:

The one-mark questions
Six questions in Section A and three questions in section B would be one-mark questions. These questions can be answered in a word or a short sentence. Experts from STEPS examine some typical question types that you may expect here.

1. Questions related to completion of ray diagrams
2. Questions related to general reasoning based on the chapters studied. For example, questions like. "Why does the milkman add a little baking soda to fresh milk in summers?"
3. Short numerical problems
4. Picking up objects with defined characteristics from a list. For example 'from the given list, pick out the items which can be recycled: Used clothes, polythene carry-bags, glass bottles, newspapers
5. Write captions for a given diagram
6. Naming body parts that perform a given function or vice-versa

Two-mark questions
There are four questions in Section A and five questions in Section B that will be worth two marks. These questions are to be attempted in around two to three sentences. If the question requires you to give a point-wise analysis then at least four points are required. Some of the common question types are:

1. Questions that require you to make predictions based on refractive indices and V-I graphs.
2. Establishing identity of compounds/ elements using their chemical properties or position in periodic table or vice-versa
3. Reasoning based on experimental observations. For example, comparison of resistances and resistivity based on given conditions
4. Identifying the phenomena-behind observations and describing them. For example: "A student has been collecting silver coins and copper coins. One day he observed a black coating on silver coins and a green coating on copper coins. Which chemical phenomenon is responsible for these coatings? Write the chemical name of black and green coatings."
5. Drawing magnetic field lines for different cases
6. Labeling body parts
7. Drawing conclusions from graphs and charts in biology

Three-mark questions
There are three such questions in section A and two in section B. These questions are to be attempted in a short paragraph of around 80-100 words in case of descriptive questions. Some of the common question types are:

1. Numerical problems from light and electricity
2. Identifying, explaining and predicting observations in diagrammatical representations of experiments
3. Gene-mapping questions
4. Matching and picking up diagrams which refers to atrophic levels or ecosystem

Five-mark questions
There are two five marks questions in section A and one in section B. Experts from STEPS strongly recommend that these questions are best attempted in points and always try to answer in a systematic manner with suitable captions.

1. Gene-mapping questions
2. Picture-based questions on ecology
3. Drawing biology diagrams and labeling
4. Explanation of mechanisms, theories and phenomenon
5. Numerical problems from electricity, or interpretation and explaining graphs

General analysis of weightages
If we take a look at the unit-wise distribution of the marks in the test paper you will get a fair idea of the percentage weightage of each unit.

The distribution of marks according to question types is given in the table below:

Of the total questions, 70 per cent of the questions are of medium difficulty level, and only 15 per cent marks are allotted to higher difficulty level questions and 20 per cent marks are allotted to questions involving higher order thinking skills.

In all you can expect a pretty easy paper if you have understood your concepts well. If you have any doubts about it you can try the online tests given on www.steps.tcyonline.com. So start working on your concepts right now.

Top Careers & You (www.tcyonline.com) has been preparing national and international candidates for high-end tests viz. GRE, GMAT, SAT, NTSE and Class X Boards since 1998. Visit www.steps.tcyonline.com for FREE access to MOCK NTSEs, MOCK CBSEs and online tests.