The month before Board examinations is usually the shortest. Not only because February has the least number of days, but also because students have enough and more to do during this time.

After a few rounds of revision and model examinations, most class XII students' study time would now go into solving question papers of previous years.

A practice endorsed by teachers across Boards, solving question papers is said to prepare students to face questions worded differently and also help them divide time wisely. Many publishers come out with question paper compilations.

The School Education Department also makes available model question papers (For details, visit: http://www.tn.gov.in/schooleducation). So does the CBSE (Visit: http://cbse.nic.in/student.htm).

Among the most popular question banks is the one brought out by the State's Parent Teacher Association. According to a former office bearer, much of the Association's funds came from sale of these question banks.

While teachers may ask students to solve as many papers as possible, understanding the concepts is crucial to this exercise too, say students. “If we have to fully solve multiple question papers in the same subjects, we must be very strong in our concepts,” says a class XII student of St. Joseph's Higher Secondary School.

In schools, taking model and revision tests based on question papers of the previous Board examinations is often seen as a practice that helps high scorers top and weak students pass. “Teachers tell us that weak students can easily pass if they try solving even some of the questions,” said a class XII student of an aided school, who uses the ‘Arivali' question paper bank for physics and chemistry. According to T.N.Venkatesh, Joint Commissioner (Education), Chennai Corporation, teachers in Chennai Schools are also training students with the help of past question papers.

“While this is the case for students of Class XII, for Class X students, who have a new syllabus, there is no model question paper as such. Nonetheless, we have prepared a special module for them with key concepts and examples of how the same concept can be tested through questions worded differently,” he said.

In addition to giving practice, question banks also indicate some “challenge areas” that students should quickly address over the next few weeks, says a physics teacher of a government school.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012