People usually ask me a lot whether I take tuitions or go to some centre (for class X Board exams) and I generally tell them no. That isn’t completely true though, because I DO consult other sources. There come certain times when you have to get your doubts clarified and your school teachers just seem incapable of answering it, because they don’t deal with such advanced concepts. It’s at time like these when websites like eGurucool come handy. I’ve been using it for more than a year, and it had really helped me a lot. Sure, it’s a paid service, but the cost is miniscule to what you may have to spend getting tution from horrible and unqualified teachers running the show from their houses.
Now, these guys have a classroom course too. Although I’ve not done it and can only tell you from their product info pages, they say what they mean. I have visited their centre and they are well-equipped. Maybe Siddharth Razdan of our blog can tell you more, since he did their classroom, as well as online course. I’m going to restrict myself to the online one.
eGurucool.com provides courses for CBSE, from class IX-XII. And I can vouch for the fact that the content they provide is good. They have notes on Maths and Science, and the student can to choose to enroll for either subject or both (I took both). These notes deal with the topic in a pretty easy way, so it’s easy to understand them yourself. Before each chapter, there’s a ‘pre-test‘, a short test of a few basic questions which calls upon what you may have learnt in earlier classes about that topic. Then there’s the introduction, and the objectives (which I found useful as a sort of a checklist while studying and preparing for exams). Then come the topics, which can be dowloaded as zipped files, and can thus be read offline if you want. In case you want to print them, there are printer-friendly versions of the topics too. Of course, you can read them online anytime, anywhere. After going through all the topics, you can move on to the practice exercises, which come in two different ‘flavors’, standard and difficult. Within these, you have a grading system, easy one have a green button next to them, the next level amber, and the toughest ones red. These practice exercises are not timed, and the student has to check the answers himself by clicking on the accompanying link. A marking scheme is given with the answers, clearly spelling out how much marks should be given for a particular point in an answer. Then comes the actual timed test. Although it’s multiple choice, choose-the-option, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. The test has to be completed within a stipulated time and submitted. It is verified then and you are presented a report of your performance, with correct answers, your answer and an explanation of how the question should be solved. You’ll also get an analysis report spelling out how well you did within each particular topic in a chapter, by level of difficulty of questions (easy, intermediate or difficult) and by type of question (memory, comprehension or application). This analysis, although small, can be a useful tool in preparing yourself. After this you have a chapter summary (which gives a short summary of the chapter), and an activity page (but only in some cases).
Apart from the chapter tests, you also have section tests, which are subjective, to-be-evaluated-by-student-on-basis-of-marking-scheme in nature and cover a few chapters together. Again these tests are timed, you have to click the ‘view answersheet’ button before the time finishes, or you won’t be able to attempt the rest of the questions. No fooling around here, because once you take ANY test, you can’t take it again. The results of each and every test are stored in the performance tracker, from where you can view the results or answersheets of the tests you’ve given. This performance log while help you to keep a track of your progress. The only thing I don’t like about this is the interface, since it’s not divided subjectwise and you have to hunt down a test yourself.
You also have a doubt clearance tool that allows you to email your questions to their experts. I got a quota of 200 queries for one year, and I still have many left unused, so this isn’t going to be a problem. I’ve seen that their replies were quick and satisfactory in most cases. If you don’t understand their explanation, you can ask for a clarification. Many times, they do send you a full explanation as an email attachment.
There are discussion forums too for each individual subject, where students can discuss their problems among themselves, but they are not very active. Hardly anybody posts there, because I think all get their doubts clarified from the eGurucool experts. Still, it’d be a far better atmosphere if there was more activity there. Another facility on this site that needs work is the search facility, which is totally defunct and can never search anything out, just gives silly apologies all the time.
But the best thing I liked about this site is the question paper configurator. This tool is a really useful, because what it allows you to do is to generate your own question paper on any subject, any chapter, and you can even choose individual topics from a particular chapter anytime you want. You can choose between objective and subjective-type too. These can be accessed later too. It’s really helpful, because let’s say I’ve a class test coming up, then I can practice and test myself on any topic I want. And since there’s no limit to the questions you can make and their database of questions is huge, you get a different paper everytime.
There are other tools to, like bookmarks (which allows you to add bookmarks), and notes (which allows you to store your own memos on anything online at eGurucool). You can discover these yourself.
In the end, you also have the FLTs, Full Length Tests, which are for better practice before the Board exams. These are really good too, and they give 10 of these in both subjects, and thus cover all possible mark-distribution schemes that may come in the Board exams.
eGurucool also releases the solutions to all sets of the Board exam papers, so that post-exam, you can check out from a reliable source how well your exam went. This particular service is free and anyone can access it from their site.
Their customer care department, dealing with user problems of a non-academic nature also responds swiftly. In fact, I’ve met the division head of eGurucool a few times and he’s a really nice guy (I went to their office to enroll myself, and even though it was beyond office hours and many people had left, he personally saw to it that my account was activated that same day within 20 minutes) . He responded personally to each of my ‘complaints’, and had them rectified quickly. He used to keep a track of my progress. Altogether a nice chap.
I joined eGurucool because I wanted help, but didn’t want to be tired out by rushing to some tution centre right after coming from school; it becomes too hectic. eGurucool is the perfect solution for stressed out kids running about like bunny rabbits to and fro from school and tuitions, and finding no time left for themselves. What I like about the whole thing was th
e anytime-anywhere convenience. Even if I couldn’t login for a few days, that didn’t affect my schedule. I could login anytime of the day I wanted, even at midnight if it pleased me, and could access my notes on any topic even if was not at home (because of being dragged to some pesky relative’s house). Another advantage is the excellent doubt clearance and question paper generator, which I’ve already talked about.
There are many more online education sites catering to Indian students (most of them are totally useless), but the other major player is Compassbox.com, a division of Career Launcher. Although I’ve now joined Career Launcher for IIT coaching, still I’d say it’s not as good as eGurucool. I’d joined them for a test period and they have a better image, but they try to retain more control over a student by specifying an exact schedule to follow, which I don’t like. You could check it out too, but my advice, eGurucool is a really good way to prepare for the class X Board exams.