As students across the country prepare for the incoming board examinations, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has released sample papers for 2021, which entail a new exam pattern and marking scheme. The board is also set to release the date sheet soon. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the syllabus has been reduced by 30 per cent, with four to five chapters being removed from each subject.
In the new exam pattern, around 50 per cent questions in the Class XII English paper are to be MCQs (multiple choice questions). On the other hand, MCQs in Biology has been replaced by mostly assertion and reason-based questions. The Physics and Economics papers will have assertion and reason-based questions as well, with the former having a number of case studies, and the latter having around 20 MCQs.
The new marking scheme, meanwhile, offers suggestions pertaining to the right way to include key concepts and keywords, along with telling students how to keep their answers concise and clear. A repository for sample papers and subject-wise marking schemes for Class X was published by Jagran Josh recently to aid students in understanding what is expected from their answers.
Joseph Emmanuel, director, academics at CBSE, had earlier said there will be more case study-based questions, wherein students will be required to read, understand, interpret and then answer the questions. The idea behind this was to move away from rote learning.
As students await the commencement of board exams, past toppers weighed in on their own experiences with this milestone.
CBSE 2021: Read, Revise, Repeat
Purbi Jain, who was the CBSE topper with 99.6% in her 10th boards, says she turned to a number of textbooks and resources to study. These included the Shivdas Series, Educart, and most importantly, NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) books.
“NCERT is the most important, and should not be neglected at all,” she says and adds that she made sure to get done with at least two to three revisions of her entire syllabus. When it came to CBSE subjects she found the hardest — like Physics, Purbi says she ensured that she completed that syllabus first.
“Even for unit and class tests, I made sure I spent most of my time studying Physics because I knew it was the hardest subject for me,” she says and adds, “I wanted to make sure I kept up with the syllabus so that I wasn’t pressured towards the end.” Purbi studied at St. Claret School in Borjhar, Assam, and plans to sit for civil service exams after school.
Himashmita Nath, who topped her 12th in Science, had a similar piece of advice to offer. “The trick is to revise daily — whatever I was taught in school, I made sure I went through it again at home.”
Set your own pace
But Himashmita never took any CBSE coaching, unlike most of her friends. “If you force yourself to stick to a timetable or strict schedule, you will burn out. The idea is to form deadlines that you can stick to, and not attempt to emulate what others are doing. Everyone moves at their own pace. Even with 30 per cent of their syllabus cut, students should make sure they get at least two to three revisions are done before they appear for the exams.”
She adds that she tried to cover two to three chapters per subject over a course of four to five days, which was the ideal pace for her. Her focus was to clear her boards so that she could sit for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
Both Purbi and Himashmita emphasised on solving question papers of previous years and reading through the marking scheme for a better idea of what the correct way to answer questions may be.
Union Education Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank is set to address students on December 10, regarding exam sheets for 10th and 12th CBSE boards, NEET 2021, JEE Main 2021, and other state board exams for the next year.