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7 tips for cracking the ICSE Class 10 Social Science Exam


7 tips for cracking the ICSE Class 10 Social Science Exam

It is a misconception that ICSE Class 10 Social Science is nothing but all about memorisation. Lengthy chapters can be easily studied and memorised if one event is learnt and understood in connection with the other.

By Topperlearning Expert 05th Feb, 2020 03:23 pm

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” (Albert Schweitzer, recipient of the 1952 Nobel Prize for Peace)

You can score well in  ICSE Class 10  Social Science if you develop a love for the subject. Social Science is a vast subject which deals with the evolution of human beings and defines human relationships, events and the effects of these events on society, economy and the world as a whole. Social Science has been regarded as a tough subject by students because of the difficulty in memorising dates and events.

As Schweitzer (quoted above) has said, “If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” So, the key to get a perfect score in Social Science is to read the subject with interest and curiosity, and eventually love studying it.


Social Science in ICSE Class 10

  • ICSE Social Science consists of the two subjects of History/Civics (Paper 1) and Geography (Paper 2). The board papers for both these subjects carry 80 marks each.
  • History mainly deals with Indian and World History. The entire History syllabus is divided into 3 units. Unit 1 deals with the Indian National Movement, Unit 2 deals with the Mass Phase of the National Movement and Unit 3 is about Contemporary World Politics.
  • Similarly, the entire Civics syllabus is divided into three units. Unit 1 consists of the Union Parliament, Unit 2 is about the Union Executive and Unit 3 deals with the Indian Judiciary. One question from each of these units is asked in the board paper.
  • The Geography syllabus deals with the Geography of India. It includes physical features (asked in map marking only), soils, climate, natural vegetation, water resources, agriculture, industries and mineral resources.

Let us look at the paper design of the History/Civics and Geography papers.

ICSE Class 10 History/Civics Exam Paper Pattern


The History/Civics paper carries 80 marks. Internal assessment which is conducted in school is of 20 marks. In the board paper, while the History section is of 50 marks, the Civics section is of 30 marks. The question paper is divided into two parts with two sub-sections.





of Marks


Part I

Question 1




Question 2



Part II

Section A



Any two questions  with

all sub-parts


Section B



Any three questions  with

all sub-parts


ICSE Class 10 Geography Exam Paper Pattern


In the Geography board paper, 80% weightage of marks is dedicated to the theory paper, while 20% weightage of marks is for internal assessment. The question paper is divided into two parts and sub-sections.




Marks Distribution


Part I

Question 1 (with sub-parts)

Topographic Maps



Question 2 (with sub-parts)

Map Marking (India - Physical Features)


Part II

Questions and Answers



Any five with all sub-parts


7 Guidelines for preparing for the ICSE Class 10 History/Civics Paper

  1. In the ICSE Board, mostly straightforward questions are asked. In History/Civics (Part I), students are expected to write to-the-point answers for questions 1 and 2.
  2. In Parts I and II, Sections A and B, students are advised to write answers in points.
  3. While students have to attempt all questions in Part I, there are choices in Part II. But students have to attempt all sub-parts of a question that they choose to write.
  4. Generally, unless specific instructions are given, if the question is of 3 marks, 3 points need to be written, and if the question is of 4 marks, 4 points need to be written.
  5. While writing answers of 3 and 4 marks questions, it is advised to underline the keywords.
  6. Some important chapters in History from which questions are generally asked are ‘The First War of Independence’, ‘Growth of Nationalism’, ‘Programmes and Achievements of Early Nationalists’, ‘The Rise of Assertive Nationalism’, ‘Mahatma Gandhi and the National Movement’, ‘Forward Bloc and the INA’, ‘Independence and Partition of India’, ‘The First World War’, ‘Rise of Dictatorship’, ‘The Second World War’, United Nations’ and the ‘Non-Alignment Movement’.
  7. All five chapters in Civics are important, and students should thoroughly prepare all of these chapters because questions come from all of them.

7 Guidelines for preparing for the ICSE Class 10 Geography Paper

  1. Part I in Geography is the map-marking section and is compulsory. Question 1 deals with topographic maps and carries 20 marks. In Question 2, students are required to mark the main features and resources of India on an outline map of the country.
  2. The map section requires continuous practice. It is a very scoring section and students can score full marks in this section.
  3. Part II in the Geography paper has choice. Students have to attempt any 5 of 9 questions with all its sub-parts.
  4. In the sections of the Geography paper too, students are advised to write answers in points and according to the marks allocated for the question.
  5. Underline the keywords in the 3 and 4 marks questions.
  6. Some important chapters in Geography are ‘The Climate of India’, ‘Soils in India’, ‘Natural Vegetation’, ‘Minerals in India’, ‘Agriculture’, ‘Industries’, ‘Conventional and ‘Non-Conventional Resources’, ‘Transport’ and ‘Waste Management’. Every year, a question is asked from the chapter ‘The Climate of India’. So it is advised that you thoroughly study this chapter.
  7. Map marking is an important part of the Geography paper as it carries 30 marks. It is also the fastest way to get marks in the paper. Know about the places you are reading about and where these places are located on the map. If possible, pin up or place a map of India and the world in your room. Whenever you get bored of reading a subject, just look to the map and try finding places for fun. It will take the stress out of studies, and you can go back to your books once again after an enjoyable bout of brain activity.


Apart from these tips, we also suggest that you practise solving past year papers. This will help you to get a clear idea about the questions asked in the examinations. You’ll easily come to know which questions you find easy and which questions you find difficult and would need to go through again to get more confident. It has also been observed that in the board paper, the same questions are generally asked with minor changes or tweaks after every two to three years.

Also solve as many sample papers as you can. This will further enhance your writing skills, improve your speed and will thoroughly prepare you for the board exams.

Visit TopperLearning for the latest past years' papers and a set of sample papers to help you as you prepare for your ICSE Class 10 Social Science exams.

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