A photograph shot at the Global Indian International School campus in Abu Dhabi, class 10 giving their split exams. Image Credit: Courtesy: GIIS

Dubai: Class 10 and 12 students facing anxiety for CBSE board exams can seek help over the phone with designated counsellors in the UAE, counsellors said on Monday.

Students can also use online counselling, resources and email support from the CBSE via and

The CBSE board exams for Class 10 and 12 are widely regarded as the most important school exams in India and CBSE-affiliated schools outside India, including in the UAE.

The CBSE, or Central Board of Secondary Education, is India’s largest board. This year, around 3.1 million students have registered for Class 10 and Class 12 board examinations, whose main subject papers start in the first week of March.

Earlier this month, counselling started in India and UAE for students and parents facing anxiety or queries related to the exams.

The grade 10 exams are seen as the gateway to the school-leaving class 12 exams, the results of which weigh heavily on students’ university admission prospects.

Students spend hours revising every day in the weeks leading up to the exams, sometimes needing guidance to cope with the pressure.

However, students in the UAE generally are well prepared for the exams, counsellors told Gulf News on Monday.

‘Doing well’

“They are doing very well, actually. It’s very rare that someone calls in for a stress-related issue. It’s usually a parent or student calling about some query regarding a particular paper or date,” said Rafia Zafar Ali, principal of Leaders Private School in Sharjah, one of the CBSE counsellors.

An estimated 9,600 students in the UAE are sitting Class 10 exams while approximately 6,600 are taking Class 12 exams. There are around 65 CBSE-affiliated schools in the UAE.

Ali said a main reason why students are relatively calmer in the UAE is because schools here tend to hold their own counselling sessions and practice mock exams ahead of the CBSE exams, which this year end in the first week of April.

“It seems students here are well prepared. In India, we’re talking about huge volumes so there will be more calls and support needed. We open up tele-counselling again after the exams, before the results come out because it can be a nervous time for them.”

Professor M. Abu Baker, principal of Scholars Indian School in Ras Al Khaimah who is also a counsellor in the UAE, said he had hardly received any calls so far this exam season.

‘Low stress’

“The call rate is low here because the stress rare is low, in my view. I’ve just come back from a school where I was giving guidance to students about exam preparation. Many schools do the same here and the process helps,” Prof Abu Baker.

“Sometimes a student will call in the last minute saying he or she doesn’t know the best way to revise when the exam date is almost here. You have to prepare from the beginning of the year, by staying attentive in class and seeking help from teachers. No counselling can really help in the 11th hour.”

Time management

Dr Henna Rachh, principal of Global Indian International School in Abu Dhabi, said time management and planning ahead were key to staying in good academic shape for the exams.

“Planning is often considered a mundane or wasteful activity, something we should not spend too much time on. But in fact, it is the backbone of effective time management and should be the starting point of your studies. Once you know your dates and schedule, plan your days and time spent on each subject based on your current level of preparation. Also, make sure you follow the plan. Having an adult monitor your status or a group of friends assessing your progress as per the plan is very motivating and helps you be on track,” Dr Rachh said.

Five tips for students

(source: Dr Heena Rachh, Principal, Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi)

Flashcards are very useful for last-day revision where you do not have to go through a big bunch of pages but just bullet points, which help in faster revision.

■ Have a positive outlook towards the exams. Parents should not over-pressurise their children to get good grades, but they should treat the exams as an avenue to learn.

■ Make sure you have the required amount of water and stay hydrated and include fresh fruit juices and coconut water which will make you feel fresh with increased energy.

The 50/10 Rule. Studying for 50 minutes and then taking a break for 10. This allows your brain to process the information and also gives you the motivation to stay focused. The ten minutes will give you time to have a snack, call your mom, or brush your hair

Positive self-talk: Remember, it’s just an exam. You are not a failure or a bad person if you don’t do well. It’s completely normal to stress about exams; everybody does it at one point in their academic lives.