Ashwini Paranjape was tossing and turning in her bed on Monday night. The secondary school certificate (SSC) student from Dadar could only think of worst case scenarios, after a "tough" science and technology paper earlier that day, for the mathematics examination on March 15.
Several other students are working up a sweat over the upcoming examination, whose syllabus and question paper pattern were revised to be on a par with those of the CBSE board. Given the response to Monday's science and technology paper, whose syllabus and examination pattern were also revised, they may have reason to be jittery.
"I am still reeling under the effect of the extremely difficult science paper. Now, I have to score well in mathematics so that I can bring up my percentage. Mathematics has always been an unpredictable paper. And now that we know that the board is setting tough papers, I'm scared over what Thursday's paper has in store for me," said Paranjape.
High scores in science and mathematics are considered a must for students interested in pursuing the science stream Sudhanshu Athavle, a student from Bhayendar who is also preparing for the Maharashtra common entrance test, said for admission to top science stream junior colleges, his total score will have to be over 95%.
Individual marks in science and mathematics also have to be high. "The science paper was a disappointment. I am not going to be able to score more than 60 in that paper. Now, my focus is to do well in mathematics. I have been constantly solving practice papers and questions from outside the textbook," he said.
Experts, though, advised students to stay calm, to keep practising sums from the textbook and to understand concepts well.
Rutuja Shastri, a retired mathematics teacher, said students should solve at least 20 sums every day for practice.
"If we take the example of the science paper, it showed that the board is asking questions from every nook and corner of the textbook. I will advise students not to study from outside the textbook. Have your textbook down pat; be thorough with all the concepts in the book and their applications. Try to understand the concept so that no matter which way the question is twisted, you will be able to answer it," she said.
Only after they are thorough with the textbook should students refer to guidebooks, she suggested.