FAQ: Will CBSE Conduct Only Written Exams? What About Practicals?

CBSE exams, as and when they happen, will be in written mode and not in an online mode, the board said.

3 min read
CBSE exams, as and when they happen, will be in written mode and not in an online mode, the board said.

Amid massive uncertainty over the conduct of class 10 and 12 board exams, the Central Board of Secondary Education on Wednesday, 2 November, clarified that the high-stake exams will be conducted in written mode only.

But while CBSE clarified a few aspects, there’s still a lot that the board is yet to offer clarity on.

Is there a chance of CBSE exams being conducted online?

In its statement, the board has clearly ruled out the possibility of online exams and said that they would be conducted in written mode only.

“The exams, as and when they are be conducted, will be in written mode and not in an online mode. The exams will be conducted following all COVID protocols.”
CBSE Statement

This effectively means that the board is in favour of offline, pen and paper written exams, which will be conducted following all COVID-19 health guidelines.


According to sources, online exams are not possible as not everyone has equal access to technology and the internet.

But when will CBSE exams be held?

So far, the board has taken no decision on the conduct of board exams for both class 10 and 12.

Sources indicate that an announcement on exams could be made by Union Education Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal on 10 December, during which the minister will talk about “upcoming competitive and board exams.”

With Dr Pokhriyal asking all to drop their concerns using #EducationMinisterGoesLive, all eyes are now on Thursday, 10 December, when the minister could make some important announcements.

What about class 12 practicals?

According to CBSE, practicals will held held for students of class 12 who have been able to attend practical classes. However, since several students have complained that their schools have not been able to hold a single practical class, physically, the board has announced that it is exploring alternate modes for marking practicals.

“In case students are not able to do practicals in classes before the exams, alternatives to practical exams will have to be explored.”
CBSE Statement

What is the alternative to practicals, how will it be decided?

According to a CBSE official, the alternative to practicals has not been decided as of now and will require inputs from all stakeholders.

Practicals are only held for class 12 students, the marks for which vary from 20 to 30. These are often held within the school, but are marked by an external examiner or observer.


Will practicals be conducted in January and February?

No, CBSE had clarified that reports claiming that practicals will be held in January and February are misleading and wrong. These reports, the board said, were based on tentative dates that had been declared much earlier and have no relevance now.

This simply means that these dates were published earlier and that final dates for conducting practical exams have not been issued by the board so far.

Will the syllabus be reduced further? What’s the change in exam pattern?

A CBSE official said that apart from the reduction already announced, there’s no further plan or decision on reduction of CBSE class 10 or 12 syllabus.

With reference to changes in question paper pattern, the official said that there’s been a gradual shift to MCQs and case-study based questions as part of the NEP’s vision to do away with rote learning.

The official said that sample question papers reflecting this change have been uploaded on CBSE’s website.

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