How to Write Your Board Exam Paper (TIPS) | Helpline for ICSE Students (Class 10) @icsehelpline

How to Write Your Board Exam Papers (TIPS)

Hey everyone! You may recall me promising that I would be posting tips on how to write your answers well for your ICSE Class 10 Board Exams. Anyway, here they are:

Tips on How to Present Your Paper in the ICSE Class 10 Board Exams:

1. Keep your answers left justified. Don’t leave an inch of space next to the the left margin and then begin writing your answers. (*You are however, supposed to leave a margin, just not additional space even after the margin.)

2. Write in points as much as you can, except in English papers. Don’t write a whole paragraph explaining something that either does not need explaining or has not even been asked.

3. Read the question very carefully. Re-read the question. Ask yourself what the question is asking. If you know the answer, then write it. If you’re confused, try your best to make sense of what the question may be asking. If you can’t, then use your brains and make a smart guess.

4. Don’t leave any question. Don’t skip any question. Don’t leave the space blank. Answer each question. Examiners are always looking for technical terms or points where they may be able to give you marks. They aren’t always there to eat your heads off! Even if you don’t know the correct answer, make a guess. There is no negative marking, so you have nothing to lose.

5. Check your answer sheet. Check it twice. If you have the time, check it thrice. While checking, don’t look at your answers. Instead, try to answer the questions again in your mind. Tally your answer script answers with those you just thought of, and see whether they are the same or not. If not, make up your mind as to which one is the correct answer.

6. Don’t rush. You will have plenty of time to finish the paper. Don’t be in such a hurry that you overlook any sub-question or forget to write a step. You will lose marks, and we don’t want that! Be calm and focused.

7. Don’t panic. You can’t always know everything (though, that’s not at all impossible). You may find that there is a question whose answer you don’t know. At times like those, don’t panic or be afraid. Think wisely, and remain calm.

8. Use a black ball pen if you can. They are the best. They don’t leak, and they rarely leave an impression on the back of the paper. The black ink will be more pleasing to the examiner’s eye. We want the examiner to be in a good mood while checking our paper. 😉

Update as on Feb 13, 2019*: But ultimately, the Council gives you the choice to write your answers with either a fountain pen or a ballpoint pen. However, the information on the answer book has to be filled in with BLUE/BLACK ballpoint pen ONLY. See the notice where it specifies the same.

9. Make sure your words are properly spaced out. Don’t squeeze in ten words in the same line! Your paper should look neat and clean, and to ensure that, your sentences shouldn’t be all bunched together.

10. Leave space, e.g. at least 2 to 3 lines, before and after each question or sub-question. This is a precautionary measure so that if, later on, you feel you want to add something to your answer, you can easily do so without making a mess of your answer script.

11. Number your questions correctly! Number them only and exactly as per the numbering system given on the question paper. Don’t write Q1(a) instead of Q1(i). Also remember to write the question number in the left hand margin. 

12. Before you number your questions correctly, you must first remember to actually number them! The examiner won’t check your answer if the question number hasn’t been mentioned. Or, if the incorrect question number is written, you will most likely lose marks.

*13. Always draw a margin on the right and left side of the paper for each examination.

14. While drawing diagrams, you must always use a pencil! Label your diagrams even if you have not been asked to (but make sure that you are absolutely sure of the labels!). There’s no harm in staying on the safe side. Label the diagrams clearly and with legible handwriting. If your handwriting isn’t that good, you may want to label your diagrams in uppercase letters. (*P.S. The Council says that it will take handwriting and spelling into account, so be careful!)

15. Always write your full name, unique identification number, index number, and if possible, date, on any supplementary sheets and continuation booklets that you will have to attach to your answer script. For example, including maps, graph papers, etc. You may also want to write the question number of the map/graph, etc.

Update as on Feb 16, 2019: 16. Always show your rough work no matter how insignificant you may think it is. Also remember to show the rough work for a question on the same page as the rest of the answer for that question. (According to our interpretation of the CISCE’s notice to candidates for the ICSE 2019 board exams, the margins are supposed to be kept blank.)


Students always keep forgetting the above tips and this is just to remind you once again of what has to be done. There are many more tips to come, so keep visiting! 🙂

If you have any confusion regarding any of the above, do leave a comment below, and we will do our best to help.


Update 02/03/14: Please visit Tip of the Day #8 for more tips.


Note: You are forbidden to reproduce any part of this work without our prior permission. For more information, please contact us or go through our copyright policy. 


Also see other posts to help you prepare for the ICSE 2019 Board Exams:

Pre-examination Checklist!

Last One Month Revision Tips for the ICSE Board Exams

ICSE English I: Last-minute Tips before Board Exams




303 thoughts on “How to Write Your Board Exam Papers (TIPS)

  1. Shristi Singh says:

    Hey, your feed seems helpful. I’ll be starting class 10 soon and wanna perform real well. How do I plan my schedule and prepare from the beginning of the academic session to score high in the upcoming 2020 ICSE exams?
    Also, reading few comments, I came through which kinda handwriting is most suitable? To which, you replied all types unless it’s legible and neat but precisely which type suits the most as I’m planning to change it a bit(got a drastic handwriting) .


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Shristi,

      Thanks for stopping by! I do hope the website helps you in preparing for your ICSE 2020 board exams.

      In response to your query, do check out our following categories:

      1. How to Study:


      2. How to Prepare for Board Exams:

      You will find several articles on how to plan your studies from Day One, how to study in school, how to make your own notes, etc. I believe they will answer the first half of your query.

      Regarding handwriting, again, there is no “one size fits all” solution. You may choose to cultivate that kind of handwriting which not only looks neat and legible but which you can also write fast so that your speed is not sacrificed during the exam.

      Also, a quick tip:
      You can experiment and then ask friends/family for feedback regarding whether all the letters/words are legible. Sometimes, we find our handwriting neat/legible, but it may appear confusing to others.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have further questions, or require personalized guidance. Keep visiting! 🙂


  2. priyojit says:

    I have written my icsepaper with bluegel pen my teacher says (who are council papercheckers)it’s no problem.I want to clarify is there any problem as such???


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Priyojit,

      Thanks for stopping by the website!

      Unlike your teacher, we are not examiners and cannot comment on the same. We can only suggest that, if possible, you stick to a ballpoint pen or a fountain pen in accordance with the CISCE notice for writing further papers.

      Hope this helps! Don’t worry too much about this, and go give your best for the remaining exams! All the best. 🙂


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Dhanush,

      It doesn’t matter whether you write in print/ cursive or any other kind, as long as it is neat and legible.

      Hope that answers your question! Let us know if you have further questions. Keep visiting!


  3. Anil says:

    Dear sir
    Unfortunately i had written my question no. and answer no. not in left margin will council deduct my marks.


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Anil,

      I am not an examiner and cannot comment on the same. However, please don’t worry about it. Just remember to take care from the next paper onwards. All the best, and thanks for stopping by! Keep visiting. 🙂


  4. Neelam says:

    I attempted first 1-1 question from each section of my english literature exam.We were supposed to attempt total 5 questions.Hence i went back and did the rest two and the serial order was broken.But i numbered the questions.Will it be fine?


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Manish,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      As long as you completed all sub-questions of a particular question before moving on to another question, it is fine.

      Hope this answers your question. If you have any confusion or further questions, let me know. All the best for your remaining exams, and do keep visiting!


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Amey,

      No, it’s advisable to write the number in the left-hand margin. The Council specifically mentions the same in the notice to which we have given the link above. Please check point number eight.

      Hope this helps. All the best, and keep visiting!


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi there,

      Yes, it’s necessary. The Council specifically mentions the same in the notice to which we have given the link above. Please check point number eight.

      Hope this helps. All the best, and keep visiting!


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Deepthi,

      As per the latest instructions given by the CISCE, only fountain pens or ball-point pens are allowed. I would advise against using a gel pen.

      All the best for your exams! Do your best. 🙂


    • ICSE Helper says:

      Hi Sourabh,

      As per the latest instructions given by the CISCE, only fountain pens or ball-point pens are allowed. I would advise against using a gel pen.

      All the best for your exams, and do keep visiting! 🙂


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