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Class X: How to make mock tests work for you
Top Careers & You
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January 10, 2008

One can find numerous standardised national and international examinations around the globe. However, as the number and variety of test takers increase, a highly standardised pattern becomes indispensable.

The Central Board of Secondary Education has gone one step ahead by adding an additional element of in-depth transparency as regards the pattern and marking scheme of the Class X Board examination. Such a systematic and detailed approach towards standardisation has probably led to its recognition in 19 countries of the world.

By this time, all the Class X students in India have prepared hard for the boards. Most of you would even have taken a dozen sample or MOCK exams as well. Yet something that troubles most aspirants is lack of clear direction at this stage of their preparation. Most of you are probably saying:

~ What should I do now? I have already taken 10 sample papers over and above the 2 Pre-Board tests in the school for all subjects?

~ I am scoring 80 per cent in PCM in the MOCK tests. Can someone tell me how am I different from my classmate who is consistently scoring 100 in Maths and Science?

~ Our pre-boards in school were nothing but shock-treatment. My score was very low. Would the actual exam also be that difficult?

~ How can I improve consistently with each and every sample paper that I attempt?

The answers to all these questions lie in the basic fact that sample papers are not only assessment tests (something that we all know them for) but also a tool for progressive improvement (something that only 100 scorers know and utilise them for).

Sample or MOCK papers are a way to know your weak areas and not to compare your performance with the rest of the class and kill your morale for the real examination. Experts from provide young readers with the best ways to learn and improve with each and every sample paper that you take. Let's see, note down and act on something that we completely missed in out Class X Board preparation:

1. Pre-test analysis -- Knowing the pattern: Most of us have heard of the test blueprint that is available on the CBSE website. The following table is an excerpt for the science section.

Form of questions


SA � I



Total Marks (Q)


(1 Mark)

(2 Marks)

(3 Marks)

(5 Marks)


Chemical Substances






World of Living






Effects of current












Natural Resources






Total Marks(Q)












The beauty of this table is that it explains the layout of Science paper in such depth that a student can easily make out how much he/she is going to get if he/she just covers "Chemical Substances" and "Light" units thoroughly. You may find these tables for each and every subject on

2. Post-test analysis:  The best way to do this kind of analysis is to prepare a similar table (like the one above) after taking one sample paper and record your performance chapter by chapter. While writing the scores into the table make sure you write any score that is under 50 per cent of the total in red so your weak areas are clearly visible to you.

The next step is to go back to those problematic chapters and practice as many questions of the type as you can. It is good to have an expert check those problematic questions in your answer sheet. Sometimes your way of attempting a question has a lot to do with its answer and only an expert can help you in such cases.

3. Target the missed opportunities: When attempting the paper, you are always instructed to revise the completed test in the last 10 minutes of the examination time. The pity here is many of us do not know what to revise and end up looking around the classroom at our classmates after completing the test well in time!

The solution to this confusion lies again in the post-test analysis. Always note the marks that you could not score, for whatever reasons. For instance, if you score is 45 out of 60 in science (theory); you must note down the reasons for losing the precious 15 marks. The most common reasons are:

a. Careless mistakes
b. Miscalculations
c. Did not understand the question at all
d. Stuck in the middle of the solution

The next step is to assign the number of marks deducted due to each particular reason. This helps you understand that in the last 10 minutes' revision time you must go back to such questions which you always mess up with during your attempt. This makes the revision result-oriented and focused.

4. Back-up supplement: Always keep the chapter wise and units tests handy while doing the complete sample papers. Most times one has to go back to the basics after getting the score in one test, revise them and practice some questions on those topics. In the end, it becomes important to attempt some chapter-wise tests for those specific topics before taking the next sample paper.

If you have not got any chapter-wise test with you, there are plenty of such free tests available on You may download and attempt them as and when you sense the requirement.

Let the sample papers be your road to improvement much like are they for the toppers of your class!

Top Careers & You has been preparing national and international candidates for high-end tests viz. GRE, GMAT, SAT, NTSE and Class X Boards since 1998.

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