7 Most Common Problems Faced By FBISE Oversea Students

(This article is written by Kinza Iftikhar, an avid reader of this blog from KSA since a long time, is a student of 2nd-Year Pre–Engineering. She has a strong desire to help the students of Pakistan, that’s why, she has written this long article with solutions.)

Nowadays students face many problems in their studies and are also unable to deal with them. If I talk about overseas students, then it is impossible to say that 100% overseas students can get their concepts clear and solve their problems. There is a huge difference between overseas students and Pakistani students.

When annual examinations are held are conducted from Islamabad Board (FBISE), there are always two papers which are made: one for the Pakistani students and the other one is for the overseas students.

Similarly, there is also a significant difference in paper making and paper checking. If you compare the overseas papers with the Pakistani papers, you will find a big difference yourself. The papers for the Pakistani students are quite easy and straightforward as compared to the papers for overseas students. However, sometimes, the board show mercy on overseas students and make an easy for us also. However, this depends on the mood of the maker and checker.

Okay, let me show you the difference.

This is a paper of Chemistry SSC-II for Pakistani students (2014).

And, this is the second paper of Chemistry SSC-II for overseas students (2014) 

Here you can see, the Pakistani paper is easy and the overseas paper is hard as compared to the Pakistani one.

Similarly, I will show you the other side of Federal Board where they have shown some mercy on us.

Have a look on paper for Pakistan SSC-II Biology (2015)

And this for overseas SSC-II Biology (2015)

I hope you have found the difference in these two papers. If you want to confirm it by yourself, you can go to www.fbise.edu.pk and then click on Old Question Papers Button of any year and then you will see 2 question papers. Usually, there are also three papers conducted, 2 for Pak-overseas student and one for ex-students who take supplementary or improvement exams from the old syllabus, in case the syllabus is changed for next year.

By the way, you can clear your doubts by contacting any of your Pakistani friends and confirm from her by comparing the question papers. You will definitely find the difference.

SHOCKED? I was too. But to be honest, I really don’t know why Islamabad Board did this, and I was also a little bit offended by this.

So similarly, the checking has also a big difference. Whether it is strict or not, the checking is always different for both papers.

Here are some problems related to overseas students and as well as their solutions are given below. Hope you find it useful.

PROBLEM 1: Tuition & Academies

Students living in abroad have a big issue of tuitions and academies. In abroad there is a lack of tuition centers and academies. Even private tuitions are also not available in most cases. Students in Pakistan have opportunities of tuitions and academies and private tuitions as they are available on their footsteps. In Pakistan, in every street, you will find an A one class academy, tuition center or coaching center.

If a student in Pakistan is unable to join these centers then he generally has elder siblings who can help him in his studies. Alternatively, if he is the only child of his parents or he is the elder one in his siblings, then he has the option of getting help from his cousins who are much qualified than him. But sadly in KSA or abroad, the students have no choice like any of these.

Living abroad, and being an elder son/daughter of your parents, they have rare hopes from you as they have many expectations from you and you try your level best to give your 100% in exams. So as the Pakistani living students and parents do but nowadays tuition has become an essential part of a student, but unfortunately, as I mentioned above, these facilities lacks abroad. However, sometimes luckily you get tuition but still you are not satisfied by the teacher. Let’s suppose, if you have an elder cousin also living in the same country but it is not important that you should live in the same city.

In short, a quotation will say everything for students living abroad

                     “Many are the troubles of Mankind.”

You live in such a city which lacks everything like tuitions and academies. So, there is nothing left behind except disappointments. But if you have courage and determination that you have to do it then nobody will stop you. BELIEVE ME! This happens! This just needs proper attention, concentration, and determination. Sometimes, it is not really important that we should understand every word which teacher teaches us in school or college. Sometimes we fail, so then, what to do?


The solution to this problem is easy (if you find it), but we need to give our hard work to it in order to succeed, so first of all we have to make a proper timetable which suits our routine so that we will have no problems in the future. I am not telling you to give up your free time like watching television using the internet or any sports activity or your favorite hobby. Just make a timetable and divide every hour so that each activity will get your time.

And I am also not saying to study continuously for hours. Just make a suitable timetable which gets enough hours to study each subject. I warn you never give a loose hope to English, Urdu, and Islamiat or Pak Study. Always give equal time to each subject but if you are weak in science subjects then give some more time to them but please don’t leave compulsory subjects.

Make such a table that suits you, like if you are coming from school at 2 pm then, take a little rest. Wake up at 4 or 5 then offer your prayer, and after that start studying, always start from that subject that takes much time. For example, if you are weak in Chemistry then give 1 and half an hour to Chemistry and then 1 hour to Physics and 1 to the Bio Maths, and at least give half an hour to your compulsory subjects, so in addition, your total study time will require your only 5 to 6 hours a day.

Are they too much to give continuous time to them? Then just take a 5 to 10 min break after each subject so that your concepts will strongly clear and you will be able to store them for a long time (if you repeat them daily or weekly). And then do your social activities you want to do and then take rest and sleep so that you won’t feel tired the next day.

Notice:  In my opinion,  academics and tuition are not really important if you give your maximum time to studies. And in this solution, I am not telling or ordering you to complete chapters on a chapter a day just revise that topic that was taught you in your school. You can open www.sabaq.pk or www.maktab.pk for your ease. Their videos are not so long but about 5 to 10 minutes and after watching their video you can read your textbook and then mark your difficulties and do ask them next day to your friends and classmates as their guidance will help you a lot in your topic.

PROBLEM 2: Academic Sessions

In Pakistan, the academic session for both SSC and HSSC starts from August and September respectively. But in overseas, especially in KSA there are over 50,000+ students studying SSC and HSSC in the schools and colleges located there, and still there are 100+ students who study privately. Usually, schools and colleges located there start their academic session soon after the annual examination ends i.e. in March-April for SSC-I&II students and May-June for HSSC-I&II students respectively. In order to complete their studies scheme before a month from annual examinations, so that they can conduct pre-board exams a month earlier. So the students have no option to leave study or to waste time because overseas schools do not waste a single day except vacations.

If I talk about Saudi Arabia there are always two months summer vacations and 15-day hajj vacations, but from now 2016, they have the summer vacations and Hajj vacations. So students have to face a tough time this year. Every year, When the new classes begin, teachers give regular lectures to students in order to complete 1/5 of a book before vacations so the students can revise their given scheme in vacations and can prepare for half yearly conduct after every 6 months after the academic session starts which usually starts in October-November.

So students have to focus on every lecture given by teachers. But it is not 100% guaranteed that every student gets the lecture correctly and have no doubts and concepts are clear and at the end they face many problems. And the only thing they do is RATTAFICATION of which I am against.


Every day, when a new lecture is taught what we have to do is to concentrate but if unfortunately we are unable to get our concept clear, immediately after returning from school/college or after taking a 2 hour rest if you go to a tuition then say to your tuition teacher to get your concept clear of that topic but if you are not ,then immediately open www.sabaq.pk or www.maktab.pk and start watching video of your required topic. IN SHA ALLAH after this, you will have no doubts and your concepts will be 100% not but 95% will be clear. And make this your regular habit so when exams are ahead you have to just learn the wording of book as your concepts will be clear so you don’t have read it, again and again, to store it in your mind.

PROBLEM 3: Summer Vacations

During summer vacations, we usually pass time in playing, using the internet or doing some other activities. On average, 8 out of 10 hours we usually pleasure ourself just by doing other activities because we thinks that ” yaar, abhi to bohat din paray hain, parh len ge” or sometimes we say ” Abhi to enjoyment kay din hain, enjoy krny do yaar, parhaiyaan to hoti rehti hain…” but then after wasting about 2 months just doing nothing but enjoyment. And when the vacations end, we again hold our heads and just sit there like “yeh kiya horaha hai bhai? Hamay kuch samajh nahi arahi! “

And even after vacations we just attend lectures, we do nothing at home but our so called “Homework.”


In vacations, we have to study as well as enjoyments. Both are important for us but it does not mean to give more priority to enjoyment or to study. Just balance everything. I know it is quite difficult to follow timetable strictly as sometimes you are not in the mood or some of the times emergencies occur. But once, you start following your timetable, I guarantee you, you will never have a problem again with studies or I say parents will not scold you again *laughs*. 

“I wasted time and now time doth waste me.”

PROBLEM 4: Notes And Homework

Students after passing their early middle class which is often called 8th standard, they are used to make regular notes of their subjects which are provided by their teacher. But after promoting to SSC Level i.e. 9th standard, a student’s attitude remains the same but not the teacher’s.

Teachers consider those students now senior, and pretend them with senior like behavior, but those students who are new to this world, show the same behavior and attitude as they shown earlier in primary and middle. But now the tables are turned. We have to face every stone in our path. A teacher just comes to your class, gives lectures, gives important questions or tips and then go. But it’s up to us whom we have to deal with it.


Apart from this, at this stage (SSC & HSSC) I am strictly against making extreme long notes of every word of the book and making a dozen of copies and files. As they consume much time of your day and you just get busy making notes and don’t learn a single word.  No doubt making notes is a good habit and enhance your writing and learning. But at this stage, you should focus more on the textbook. Just make notes of important question taught by teachers that sound important and they have a chance to appear in exams.

Otherwise, just make notes of the question and answers given at the end, self-exercises given in the middle of the chapter, side info questions, and numerical problems given in the book and derivations which are not properly derived in your book. And by doing this, at the end or before the test or exam you just need to read the notes for addition info and just read from a textbook. Don’t make such long notes for every line and topic from chapter even if you have guides. Here I was talking about science subjects.

But for compulsory subjects, always make notes for end exercises and each and every thing teacher teaches you in class, especially for Urdu and English. Moreover, please don’t depend up guides for compulsory subjects, as sometimes it is not guaranteed that these guides provide 100% correct info and grammar.

PROBLEM 5: The Pre-Board Exams

After completing 6 months of academic session almost every school conduct half yearly examination or in other words half semester. These exams or tests are composed or depend upon your course or study scheme that has been covered in school in 6 months and then a school test/exam is taken to ensure that they have prepared their students for exams these exams includes course about 1/3 of a book or sometimes more than half or half. And these exams are always conducted after vacations. So that students have much time to regain their study. But how can we deal with them? Here is the solution.


During  these exams, usually, the months are November-December,

When we almost know the time has flown away very fast and now is the time we have to prove ourselves that we have gained knowledge. Although, these exams are not very important. But these exams are the pillar to the Board Admission. If you fail to pass these exams then your form is admitted as a PRIVATE CANDIDATE. as it saves the school from the bad reputation. So we have to pass these exams in order to appear as a REGULAR CANDIDATE. So perform well in these exams. But how? Usually, schools, make such question papers that are usually based upon 80% past papers and 20% their own made questions. So, try to solve first past papers which contain some disturbing questions. Take help from teachers and friends as past paper play an important role in half yearly exams. 

 “Time is a good teacher but unfortunately it kills all his pupils.”

PROBLEM 6: Textbook & Guides

Abroad or should I say in overseas, we are not so confirmed about which textbook is added to our syllabus, we usually after taking exams go to bookstores and just say our class and they just give us our course books. Sometimes what happen, the new edition or newly published books are added to our syllabus by the FBISE but the booksellers are not aware of that and give us the older edition which causes a big problem after joining regular classes. Because booksellers have sometimes old stock, that they want to finish, so they sell old stock first (sometimes). And if I talk about guides, then also we face the same problem of old edition. Sometimes books have some error, which we can’t see at bookstore but when we are reading them in school we get to know. And the same problems occur with Guides. And some guides also have some error regarding grammar, misprinting and calculation issues.


The easiest way to determine the correct edition textbooks are, go to the FBISE website www.fbise.edu.pk and go to syllabus section and find the new list of textbook 2016 and then whenever you go to a bookstore just ask them the latest edition of the book. Because sometimes living abroad, the new edition is not available, so they sell the older edition. But sometimes the new edition may be same as older but many times the new edition contain more information and more questions and answers, or something may be deducted from the older edition to make it simple. Alternatively, buy from Pakistan.

And for the problem of guides, we all always face problems in guides. As sometimes guides contains 100 of errors and much more. I will recommend Maryam Publications Guide for Science Subjects because they are perfect for science subjects especially Physics and Chemistry. As Physics has always side questions which are not solved in any other guides but in this guide these hidden questions are solved. But I am not sure that it has no errors because sometimes printing mistakes may occur. But only often, Maryam guides are available abroad. So buy them from Pakistan. Or if you can get it from overseas bookstore then be careful. These points should be in your mind while buying guides.

•    Always check the index and match it with your textbook index.

•    Check printing mistakes in your guide book.

•    Always see no page is missing.

•    Always check its condition. If its pages are torn, then don’t buy.

So please be careful while buying books and guides.

PROBLEM 7: Experimental Practices (Practical)

Practicals are important as well as the theory study. Some school and colleges allow students to perform Practicals though out the year with their regular classes or some schools prefer performing Practicals at the end of the scheme. But still after performing Practicals when Practical exams are held; students usually fail in viva test. They perform the practical well but when it’s time to take viva they don’t know how to give an effective viva and then fail. Because the external examiner asks such questions related to concepts that student fails to answer.


During practical always keep in mind that the examiner is unknown to you. He has no means to you. After writing and performing practical always see that have you gave proper headings? Have you drawn the diagram correctly?

Keep these points in your mind while writing practical:

•    Proper headings of the experiment are given.

•    Diagram is drawn neatly and labeled.

•    There are at least 5 or more than 5 precautions points in precaution heading section. The precautions should be 5 or more than 5 should not go below 5.

Now, let’s talk about viva exam, after completing you writings examiner call out roll no. for viva. When your roll no. is next always prepared and never look confused as the examiner feel disturbed and ask hard questions sometimes. What we do, we just read the question given at the end of every practical in the practical notebook.

And we feel that is it for our viva exam but in reality, it is not enough, the examiner wants the answer to every question he asks. Whether it of 2 marks or 10. But now they contain 4 marks because of combined Practicals of SSC-I&II and HSSC-I &II. Always have a look at your textbook also, as the teacher also asks the question from your textbook.

And when you have not prepared your book and just from your practical book, you fail to answer the question asked, they deduct your marks. So always read your book Practical book for better results. I remember, when I was in SSC-I and went for chemistry practical the invigilator asked me

“What is the difference between saturated and unsaturated solvent”

And I was astonished, that she was asking me the question from the textbook. But by the grace of Allah, I gave the answer because I had prepared that question for my board exams and remembered it. So please always prepare from the book also.

Hope you find this article useful. Remember me in your prayers.