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The mouse is mightier than the pen

Gone are the days of three-hour long written mock questions papers, online education makes everything a click away, reports Snehal Rebello. On your mark
By Snehal Rebello | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 19, 2008 02:07 AM IST

For the last one month, Saranya Hariharan has been logging on to the Internet everyday and her mother has no objections.

The 14-year-old shuts her books in the evening and takes online mock tests between 6 and 7pm.

Having given 20 such tests till now on www.extramarks.com, what Hariharan likes most about the system is that results are instantaneous – all she has to do is hit the 'submit' button after taking the test. She has been scoring up to 80 percent and feels more confident about taking the real tests.

“Since I get my scores immediately, I know where I stand post revision. It also enhances my speed. So if I am appearing for a math test, I am also solving problems alongside within the given time frame,” said Hariharan, student at Atomic Energy Central School Number 1, Chembur.

With the board exams – CBSE, ICSE, SSC and HSC – just around the corner, giving mock tests online is being increasingly seen as a supplement for last minute revision – be it math, science or even social science.

So apart from taking tests online, students refer to question banks, punch their doubts – which teachers answer – and can also see answers to doubts raised by other students from anywhere within the state or across the country.

Courtesy a range of interactive educational portals, students can solve 40 questions from multiple chapters within 40 minutes or simply consult tutors for last minute questions and doubts.

“Students are extremely stressed out at this time of the year and this can adversely affect their performance in exams. We wanted to provide high quality tutoring support to students,” said Chandan Agarwal, director for Learning Hour that's offering a free helpline for students with queries.

Keeping in mind the syllabus change for State board students, Pune-based Prakash Kanade got together school teachers to set question papers and launched a site 'myssc' for science and math.

So students have a choice – appear for the online mock tests or take a print of a full-fledged question paper, write it out and then compare it with the model answer paper posted on the site.

“This is the first year that students will be faced with an exam where they have no model questions papers to fall back on. We thought it would be beneficial to students if they practice more,” said Kanade.

Said Bhagyashree Patil, class 12 student of Vaze College, Mulund: “Considering everyone is clueless about what is important in terms of questions, I've started downloading papers and solving them.”

Other students like Shalin Desai have been focusing on online math tutorials. He logs on to www.learninghour.com. Equipped with a headphone and microphone, the 17-year-old sits in the comfort of his home throwing questions at his tutor and getting his doubts cleared via video conferencing.

“Once I am done studying, I am going to appear for the mock prelims online,” said Desai, student at NM College, Vile Parle. Till then, Shalin will go back to the recorded explanations of math chapters that he has saved on his computer.

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