CUTTACK: The State Matriculation examination, which is called the annual High School Certificate (HSC) Examinations for the year 2009, would begin from March 18. The examinations would continue till March 27, informed the State Board of Secondary Education (BSE) secretary Nihar Ranjan Mohapatra here on Friday.

Although, the Board had earlier taken a decision to complete the examinations by the end of March in view of severe heat wave conditions, the programmes for the examinations could not be announced earlier putting nearly four lakh exam aspirants in dilemma.

However, after much criticism, the BSE came out with a notification on Friday announcing the dates of the examinations.

This year the Board would conduct the examinations for Regular, Ex-regular (old) and Ex-regular (new) students simultaneously.

While the examinations for the Regular students would be held between 7.30 a.m. to 10 a.m. everyday, the ex-regular students would appear their tests between 11.30 am to 2 pm, the notification said.

This year the examinations would be held for only 600 marks unlike the 800-mark examination held last year. Besides, the Board has also decided to get rid of cumbersome practical examinations this year which created a lot of trouble last year.