As many as four students shared the score of 490 – Sanjay Ganapathy Subramaniam, K. Rajalakshmi, M. Mukundram and R. Sudarshan.

The CBSE may not declare toppers or provide a rank list of students, but minutes after the results for Chennai Region were declared on Monday, schools swiftly made their own list of top scorers in the city.

Ajit Prasad Jain, senior principal, Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram, told The Hindu that from the phone calls he exchanged with several school heads, it seemed 490 (out of 500) was the highest known total in Chennai.

As many as four students shared the score – Sanjay Ganapathy Subramaniam of Bhavan's – Kilpauk, K. Rajalakshmi of Srimathi Sundaravalli Memorial School – Chromepet, M. Mukundram of Hindu Senior Secondary School – Indira Nagar and R. Sudarshan of Modern Senior Secondary School – Nanganallur. There could be more students with the same total, some teachers said.

Sanjay had not been particularly anxious about his class XII results. He has already made it to the IIT, with an impressive all India rank of 194. In fact, it was his JEE coaching that made preparing for the Board examination easy, he said. “It has been my dream to study at an IIT since when I was in class VI. I started working towards the goal in class IX and JEE preparation meant that I didn't really have to spend too much time on class XII lessons. They became easier,” said Sanjay.

Mukundram also strengthened his fundamentals by preparing for a host of entrance examinations, including the JEE and AIEEE. “I didn't go for separate tuitions for class XII lessons,” he said.

Mukundram was keen on making it to Anna University or the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi or BITS, Pilani, he said: “I am really interested in electronics and communications engineering. I hope I make it to one of these colleges.”

Speaking of new, heartening trends in CBSE results, school heads and teachers said there has been an increase in the scores in the commerce stream as well. Until a few years ago, the evaluation of subjects in the commerce stream would be conservative, but that seems to have changed.

A. Kasi Viswanathan, vice-principal of Hindu Senior Secondary School said: “Business Studies has now become a high scoring subject – students even secure a centum in it. We find students in our commerce stream now scoring higher marks compared to their seniors.”

Mr. Jain, also the organising secretary of the Chennai Sahodaya School Complex –an organisation of CBSE schools in the city – said many schools had their share of centums in different subjects. “Earlier, people believed that it was harder to score high in CBSE and that State Board students had an edge over them. But now, it is remarkable to see CBSE students do so well.