ASK THE CBSE: Understand the concepts while studying

FACTS AND FIGURES: Students can consult data published by the ministry dealing with the subject matter for latest information. Photo: R.V. Moorthy  

The Central Board of Secondary Education has answered questions, relating to its examinations for the year 2010, from the The Hindu's readers as part of an 'Ask the CBSE' series.

Most of the statistical data provided in the Social Science textbook are not up to date. Will the board encourage the use of current data in such cases? What is the reliable source for such data?

Ghanim, Manjeri

As far as possible, answers should be based on content given in the textbook. However, the students may give latest information to enrich their answers. For latest information they may consult data published by the ministry dealing with the subject matter.

I wish to shift to State Board after Class X in March 2011. If you do not conduct the Board exam, how do I join the State Board?


There will be no Class X Board Examination with effect from 2011 for students studying in CBSE's senior secondary schools and who do not wish to move out of the CBSE system after Class X. However, such students of senior secondary schools who wish to move out of the CBSE system after Class X (Pre-university, vocational course, change of Board, etc.) will be required to take the Board's External (pen and paper written/online) Examination.

As this year, Class X examinees will be given only grades, if any student wants do his intermediate elsewhere instead of studying Class XI and XII in the same school, how he can do this?

Susmita Shyamal

Grades obtained by students in Board examination will be used for admission in any other school. The Board is consulting the schools located in such States and will be issuing a circular to this effect shortly.

I am in Class X. 1. Is use of calculator permitted for maths exam? Will a rough sheet be provided for doing calculation? 2. Do we have to study ‘Do you know!' boxes in Science for the exam? Will periodical table be provided for Chemistry? 3. Will our marks be published with the results? 4. Can a physically-challenged student take the exam on the ground floor, if his class happens to sit in upstairs? If yes, can he sit with his classmates?

1. Calculator is not permitted in exams. Rough work can be done at the back of the answer sheet.

2. ‘Do you know' is non-evaluative. Periodic table will not be provided.

3. The Board will be issuing a statement of performance of a student in terms of grades. A separate Class-X qualifying certificate will also be issued as per the past practice.

4. Separate seating arrangement will be made only on the request of the physically-challenged candidate to the Board/Centre Superintendent. Otherwise, seat would be fixed along with other candidates of the class.

All students of Class X and XII do not get to answer the same question paper. There are three different sets of question papers, for each subject. This is done presumably to prevent copying. It would be very difficult to set three different sets of question papers with the same level of complexity, however meticulously planned. This leads to disparity in scoring also. Can't the CBSE simply have more invigilators in exam hall to prevent malpractice? The Matriculation and State Board schools in southern States, which have more students writing X and XII exams do not follow this pattern and not much is heard of any malpractice there.

The question papers are set as far as possible, having the same difficulty level as prescribed in the Question Paper Design.

I am a Class X student. I find different formats for notices (English) in different reference books.


Formats for notices or other questions in writing section can vary. What is important is that a date, topic, name of school/institution and name and signature of the writer at the end are written at appropriate places.

One can refer to the sample Question Papers posted on the CBSE website for further guidance.

I am a Class X student. For the reaction of Iron with steam, in NCERT textbook it's given as 3Fe + 4H20 --------- Fe304 + H2 (Refer page 5). In the Internet it is given as:

iron + steam iron(III) oxide + hydrogen.2Fe(s) + 3H2O(g) Fe2O3(s) + 3H2(g)

The link for this website is

Which one is correct? There is also another website which has the same reaction:

N Jayanth

The reaction given in the NCERT textbook is specifically given when steam is passed over red hot iron. This reaction is correct.

I am in Class X. Will there be Muhavare questions for this year's Hindi Board paper?


Yes, Muhavare and Lokoktiyan will be asked in Hindi course B Examination in March, 2010

I am a Class X student. 1. In Maths paper, is it important to write steps for 1-mark question? 2. What is the word limit prescribed for 3 and 4-mark questions? Is it necessary to adhere to word limit?


1. In Maths, regarding 1-mark questions, steps are not required.

2. Subject is not clear. However, you may refer to the Sample Question Papers given for different subjects on the Board's website.

1. Do we have to read information about scientists for lessons in science textbook? 2. Is it necessary to learn the modern periodic table for the board examination? 3. Do we need to solve all optional exercises given in maths NCERT textbook?

Vipul Jain, Gomathy International School, Nellore

1. No. 2. Modern periodic table is in Science syllabus. 3. Maths Question paper will be based on the syllabus given in CBSE website.

Please answer the following queries: 1. In the Geography textbook on page 82 it is given that the North- South corridors link Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) and Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu). In the map on page 83 it is shown as starting from Uri. Which is correct? 2. Do we need to read the ‘do you know boxes' in geography and science? 3. In History, will the whole source be printed in the paper or only the first two and last two words for the source-based questions?

1. The information given on page 82 of the Geography textbook regarding North-South corridor is valid. In the map, link roads are also shown which are not part of the express highways.

2. ‘Do you know' boxes given in textbooks are meant to enrich the content. Questions may not be directly based on them but information given therein may be needed to enrich the answer, wherever applicable.

3. In History, the whole passage as required for answering the source-based questions will be given.

For Class X Physics, do we have to learn the principle, working and construction of both motor and generator?

Arun Peri DPS

The principle of motor and generator is in the syllabus but working and construction is not in the syllabus.

I would like to know whether brochure, pamphlet, itinerary are included for the Class X English board examination.


Questions on brochure, pamphlet, and itinerary are not included for the Class-X English Board examination.

Is ‘oligopoly' included for Class XII Economics?


Meaning and features of oligopoly is included in the Economics syllabus for Class XII.

Will the blueprints for respective subjects given in be strictly followed in the Board Examination?

Bharat Krishna

Question Papers for the Board Examination will be based on the prescribed design of the Question Paper as specified in the Sample Question Papers posted on the Board's website. Blueprint may vary.

I am in Class XII. My Physics teacher insists on reference books for derivation rather than NCERT books stating that derivation in NCERT books is not ordered properly. Which of the two will be appropriate and will derivation from reference books be given marks? I would also like to know the portions deleted from Class XII Computer Sumita Arora textbook.

Ajay, Kerala

It is better to use a derivation which is simple and which you follow better.

Please refer to the Class XII Computer Science syllabus posted on the Board's website.

I am in Class X. 1. In the new grading system, will students get to know their marks in the respective subjects along with the grades?

2. For Hindi (course B), should we study the idioms given in the grammar text along with those given in the main text or just the latter?

3. Will there be deduction of marks for exceeding word limit in English?

Sreeparvathi, Kannur

1.No, The Board's result sheet will indicate only grades in every subject separately.

2. The idioms given in the prescribed textbooks may be studied for examination purpose.

3. No, there will be no deduction of marks on exceeding the word limit but it is always better to write your answer according to given specifications. This will also help you in saving time.

I came to know that the CBSE is planning to stop the Board Exams for Class X from the next academic year. Will it not affect the academic future of a student who has been performing well in his exams as there is a possibility that the school management can show partiality towards students. If the discretion to give marks in Class X exam is completely left to the school, does it not adversely affect the common man's faith in the Board? Is there any criteria prescribed by the CBSE to school authorities on giving marks for the internal as well as external exams for Class X? Is there any remedy for the aggrieved students with regard to the awarding of grades, and if so to which forum can they complain?

Anitha O.S.

Yes, the students studying in senior secondary schools will have school-based Class-X examination whereas students studying in secondary schools will take Board examination in March 2011. Both the examinations will be based on same syllabus and same design of the question paper. The answer sheets of school-based examination will be marked using the marking scheme provided by the Board. Thus, the subjectivity in assessment of students will be minimised and comparability of the standard of examinations will also be maintained.

The assessment of students in co-scholastic areas under CEE will be done by a team of teachers instead of a single teacher. The grades awarded to every student will be justified by descriptive indicators. This will further minimise subjectivity in assessment. The students are always welcome to write to the Board in the case of any serious discrepancies.

Will pictures for identification be tested in geography for Class X exam in CBSE 2010? Example: Like in last year, “wheat, rice or sugarcane?” (From the NCERT textbook)

Kanav Saraf

On page number 348 of the sample question papers in Social Science, Class X, for the Board examination 2010, the Highlights of the Question Papers clearly specify that there will be no question on pictures and cartoons given in textbooks of units 1 to 4. But questions can be asked on interpretation of data, diagram and maps given in the NCERT textbooks other than History.

I am in Class XII. What are the deleted portions in Business Studies?

Tony Kurian

Please refer to the Business Studies syllabus of Class XII for Board examination 2010 posted on the Board's website at

What are the deleted portions in Economics and Accountancy for Class XII?

Jikku Abraham

Please refer to the Economics syllabus of Class XII for Board examination 2010 posted on the Board's website at

In Accountancy, as per the Board's Circular no.25/09 dated 14.07.2009, the following sub-topics will be deleted from unit 4 of the Accountancy syllabus:

a) Issue of debentures at a discount.

b) Writing off of discount on issue of debentures.

c) Sinking fund as one of the methods of Redemption of Debentures.

In the sample papers of 2010 for social science, you have divided questions 13 and 14 into three groups (A, B, C). In those groups the questions of other chapters have been included with the current board exam chapters. How can we attend those questions? Will it be the same pattern this year?

Vamsi Krishna

In the Social Science sample question papers of Class X, Question number 13 pertains to sub-unit 1.2 of the Social Science syllabus, ‘Economies and Livelihoods', in which a student is required to study any one theme out of three given themes. Question number 14 pertains to study of any one theme out of the given two themes in sub-unit 1.3 Culture, Identity and Society of the Social Science syllabus.

Choices will be provided in the Board's question paper for questions pertaining to these sub-units/chapters.

I am student of Class XII. 1. In solutions (chemistry), for exercise question 2.8, though ethylene glycol is in higher quantity, should we take water as solvent? On page 33, it is given that “component that is present in the largest quantity is solvent” and the answer is obtained only if we take water as solvent.

2. In chemistry, items given in the box with yellow bar come under non-evaluative part. But some bars are dark in colour and some are light. Is this due to print quality or are the items given under box with light yellow bar evaluative?

M. Prgatheeswaran, Karaikal

1. The statement given on page 33 in NCERT Chemistry Textbook is to be taken as correct.

2. The content matter given in deep yellow box with bar is non-evaluative.

Will I be able to know the marks from the results of CBSE Class X Board Exam 2010?

Elizabeth Eldhose

No, the result sheet issued by the Board will indicate only grades in every subject.

What is the rule regarding the condition in which the student fails in the additional subject in Class XII examination this year? My son, a student of Commerce, has opted mathematics as additional subject.

Jalaja Nair

The existing rules will continue to be followed. If your son qualifies in all the five main subjects but does not qualify in the additional subject, he will be declared pass and will get the qualifying certificate.

It has been reported that new options such as media courses and visual communication are going to be introduced for Plus-Two this year. I would like to know the status in this regard.


The related matter is in progress and will be communicated to schools shortly.

I am a Class XII (computer-maths) student. Will the Board question papers completely stick to the syllabus? Are there any deleted portions from the prescribed NCERT textbooks?

Jelena antony, kochi

Yes, the question paper will be strictly based on the prescribed syllabus. No, there are no deletions from the prescribed syllabus or NCERT textbooks.

The timetable for Class X exam has given two days' time for preparation for Maths exam for non-Hindi students. There is also a 11-day gap between English and Maths exams. May the timetable be changed for the convenience of non-Hindi students also?

P.R. Panchaksharam

Date sheet is prepared after taking into account many considerations and interest of all categories of students. At this stage, it is not possible to change the date sheet.

Can the latest developments be added to Social Science answers? Example: Changes in Sri Lanka or the current composition of Indian Parliament.

V.M. Saleem

As far as possible, the answers to the questions should be based on the content given in the textbooks. However, the student can further enrich their answers by giving latest information given in newspapers or other reference material.

Is grading system done subject-wise or for all subjects as a whole? If it is done as a whole, how can I know my marks in individual subjects? Is preparation based on the NCERT books sufficient for scoring outstanding marks? Can deleted portions for maths, science and social be intimated? How to score high marks?


The students will be awarded subject-wise grades. Marks will not be mentioned in this year's Class-X examination result sheet.

The Board recommends textbooks published by NCERT. A student may refer to Board's syllabus for different subjects in Secondary School Curriculum Volume-I 2010.

Thorough study with understanding of the included concepts will certainly help a student perform better in the examination.

Board exams were definitely a burden until CCE started but now I feel CCE is more burdensome. I would like to point out the problems that affect the students:

True talent is not identified. A student studying hard for getting 99 per cent is the same as the person who is going to get 90 per cent. So students may stop aiming high.

Although exams are important, students start concentrating on the projectsinstead of coping up with the portions that are taken in the class.

Students are graded for everything they do and as a result feel the teachers are spying on them. Thus they may start acting, and a student's true character cannot be identified.

Students won't have any experience about how a board exam will be. They take more tension as they straightaway take the Class XII board exam. This might affect their marks and college admission.

Vasanthi S.P. ,Velachery, Chennai

Students are advised to put in their best efforts for maximum learning instead of focusing on only marks or grades.

The projects and other active learning experiences are also aimed at enhancement of learning and better understanding of subjects. Schools are being advised to organise additional learning experiences in such a manner that the students are not put to any stress or pressure.

You are advised to be your natural self in different settings in order to get true assessment as feedback for further improvement.

If a student studies regularly and sincerely during all the years, there is no reason why Class XII Board examination should create any pressure.

Please understand that the new scheme aims at providing holistic education without compromising on excellence in academics.

I am studying in Class XII (Science group). Will studying from the NCERT textbooks fetch us marks in the board exams? What points do we need to concentrate for Organic Chemistry?

Karteek Ponnuru, Visakhapatnam

The textbook published by NCERT is recommended for preparation for the Board examination. However, standard reference material in the subject also needs to be consulted for greater understanding of the concepts included in different content areas.

A student is required to give more attention to the understanding of concepts related to organic reactions, reasoning, mechanism, etc., from this section.

I am in Class X. Will the pre-Board examination marks be considered in the Board examinations? If so, how?

Harsha Suri

No, the marks obtained in the pre-Board examination are not added or included in the Board examination marks.

I am in Class X. I would like to know whether the lesson ‘Electric Motors and Electric Generators in the Magnetic Effect of Current' will be considered for evaluation in the Board examination.

Is the schematic diagram of domestic circuit included in the syllabus for the Board examination?


No, the diagrams and the detailed working of electric motor and electric generator are not included in the syllabus for the examination purpose.

A student is required to know only the principle on which these machines work.

Yes, the schematic diagram of domestic electrical circuit is included in the syllabus for the Board examination.

Are we required to produce the same diagrams or experiments as given in the NCERT textbook for the board examination?

Will marks be deducted if we exceed the given word limit?

Will marks be deducted if extra information (other than given in textbook) is written?

Is it necessary to write speech/article only from the Main Course Book (MCB) in English? Can we completely write them in our own ideas?

Ravi Kishore

Any alternative scientifically correct diagram or experiment is considered equally good for the examination purpose.

No. Marks are not deducted for exceeding the word limit. However, it is better to write to the point and exact answers in order to save time.

It is always better to write the desired answer as per the requirements of the question. Unnecessary information in the answer does not get any additional credit.

A speech or an article is based on the topics and themes discussed in the Main Course Book. Students are expected to be well versed with the themes mentioned in the MCB.

However, the questions are so framed that students are encouraged to answer the questions on the basis of their reading of the MCB and also use their own ideas based on their understanding, experiences and reading of material from other sources.

I am in Class X. What is the word limit to be followed for the 10-mark question in section B (writing) in English Communicative.

Should we strictly follow the word limit or is it okay to exceed it by about 10 words? How many points are we supposed to include in the answer?

Manjula S.

K.V.No.1, Tirupati

No. Marks are not deducted for exceeding the word limit. However, it is better to write to the point and exact answers in order to save time.

On what basis will the school provide a stream of subjects?

Jwalant Bodi

A stream of combination of subjects in Class XI is commonly allotted on the basis of marks or grades obtained by the students in the corresponding subjects in the Class X examination.

If a student gets E grade, that is less than 33 marks, can he join Plus One in State board?

Can CBSE students join ITI, and polytechnics in Tamil Nadu, with the grades they acquire?

N. Balamurugan, Teacher, Sister Alphonsa School, Kudha, Nilgiris

Any student who fails to get a qualifying grade D in any subject is required to improve the grade in subsequent attempts for admission to higher class.

Yes, the grades obtained in the CBSE examination will be equally valid and hold good for getting admission in ITI, polytechnics, etc.

What is the syllabus for social science? Will individual questions be asked without the information from source boxes in history?

Why did painter Julius Huibner depict Germania as fallen women? What is the symbolic meaning of the painting?

Jomy Joshua

For social Science syllabus, please refer to the CBSE publications, Secondary School Curriculum volume I, 2010 Main subjects. The syllabus is also given at the Board's website >

Questions will be asked from the material given in source boxes in the prescribed History textbook of Class X as well as from related content given in the textbook. Please read the content given in the prescribed Social Science textbooks.

The existing practice of the CBSE board examination is a good one. The option of the board examination is creating two types of students. If the board insists on conducting the examination, all students will prepare all subjects giving equal importance. Otherwise, they will not prepare properly, and the number of students figuring in the top scoring list will come down.

Nandakumar, Olavakkot

The reforms in examination have been introduced after countrywide consultations and deliberations. The new scheme aims at bringing about a paradigm shift from examination-centred learning to holistic education. Class-X examination for students studying in secondary or senior secondary schools will be based on the same syllabus, same pattern of examination and same difficulty level of question papers. Hence, it will certainly not create two categories of students.

I am in Class X. Is it important to study the ‘do you know' column and do the optional exercises?

Richa Tripathi

You have not mentioned the subjects and the textbooks. You may refer to Board's document Secondary School Curriculum 2010-Valume I for details of the syllabus in any subject for examination purpose.

Due to the ongoing Telangana agitation, many fear that continuing bandh calls may prevent us from taking the Class XII exams. My school has branches in many States. Is it possible to take the Class XII exam in a different State? If yes, can we write the exam with the original hall ticket or do we need to apply for a new one?

M.H.Iyer, Hyderabad

It is not possible to change centres of examination at such a late stage.

Do we have to study the additional exercises in Class XII physics textbook? Will those questions be asked in the board examination?

Vandyaa Lakkaraju, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Hyderabad

The question papers are designed on the basis of concepts and content areas included in the prescribed syllabus. You may refer to the same and prepare for the board examination accordingly. Many of the questions included in different categories of exercises of prescribed textbooks are meant for strengthening of basic concepts and deeper understanding of the same.

What is the exact format of telegram writing for Class X English Communicative?


Telegram writing is not included in testing of short writing skills in Class X English Communicative syllabus for March, 2010 examination.

Are we required to study the science activities given in Class X textbook for the board exam?

Voleti Vamsi

Yes. These activities are directly related to the concepts included in the syllabus and hence are to be carried out during classroom learning and understood for the board exam.

For Class X social studies, this year we have 23 chapters. But the school authorities have given only two days for revising all these chapters. Is it possible to do this? If yes, how? Will there be two days' time for social studies preparation during the board exams also?

Sabatini J.

The date sheet for Class X March 2010 board examination has already been declared and is available on the CBSE website.

It is advisable to prepare and revise the whole of syllabus thoroughly in advance in order to perform better in examination.

I am a Class XII student. I would like to know the important chapters I should study for good marks.

Avanish Kumar Rai

It is not advisable to do selective study for examinations. The board has prescribed the syllabus for every subject. One is expected to study thoroughly for the whole of this syllabus in order to score good marks in the examination.

I have a few doubts about the Class X syllabus for 2010:

1. I have heard that the topics ‘Electric Motor' and ‘Electric Generator' are deleted from the syllabus. Is this true? Is everything under this topic deleted or is it only with respect to the working of these machines? Do we have to learn the diagram?

2. Do we have to learn diagrams of male and female reproductive organs and the diagram showing the position of hormones in the human body?

3. Questions are asked frequently from the exercises marked as optional in my school. Do we have to study these for the main exam? Example: In polynomials, optional questions are way different. Also, do we have to practise questions based on verifying the relation between the zeroes of a cubic polynomial?

Muhsin M Vayat

1. The diagram and the detailed working of ‘Electric Motor' or ‘Electric Generator' is not included in the syllabus. However, a student is required to know the principle of working of these machines.

2. Yes, these content areas are part of the syllabus.

3. The question papers are designed and based on the concepts included in the prescribed syllabus and the sample question papers developed by the board. You are advised to refer to these documents published by the board.

We are staying in a gulf country. My son is in Class XII in an Indian school. For mathematics exam, will there be sums based on sources other than the NCERT textbook? In his school, for the revision test or assessments, they hardly give sums from the textbooks. Three fourth of the paper is from other sources. When they have to study a lot for other subjects, they don't get enough time to revise maths — they have to work out from three textbooks apart from the NCERT textbook. Is revising the NCERT textbook not enough?


The question papers for the board examination are based on the prescribed syllabus and the concepts included therein. It is advised that instead of focusing on specific questions given in any textbook, greater attention maybe given to in-depth understanding of the concepts and ability of the student to apply these concepts to unfamiliar situations.

I am in Class X. Can we write any name at the end of the ‘letter' in the board exam provided nothing is given or should we write ‘abc', ‘xyz', etc.?


It is advisable to write ‘abc' or ‘xyz' or any other symbols in order to hide your identity.

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