CBSE Board Exams: Lack of Clarity Over Dates, Format Leaves Students Unsettled

Most teachers say that boards should only be held once offline pre-boards have taken place.

4 min read
CBSE Board Exams: Lack of Clarity Over Dates, Format Leaves Students Unsettled

A lack of clarity over when schools will open has led to anxieties among students of all ages. However, this has taken the heaviest toll on students preparing for their board exams for two reasons – they don't know if the exams will take place online or offline yet; and second, they are still awaiting the date sheets from the board.

As per reports, the CBSE exam dates are likely to be released soon.


Neeti Bhalla Saini, executive principal, GEMS Modern Academy, Gurugram, tells The Quint that both parents and students are feeling unsettled.

"The COVID cases are dropping but there is still a lack of clarity on whether the examinations will be held online or offline."

She says that until the date sheet and the format are announced by the board, there will be anxieties in the minds of students, adding that online examinations require thorough preparation.

Will the Exams Take Place Online or Offline?

For the first time this year, the CBSE conducted exams in two terms. Term 1 was conducted offline and the question papers followed a multiple-choice questions format. The sample papers for Term 2 are subjective, hence most students are preparing for subjective examinations. But teachers and parents say that it is only when students are sure of the format that they will be mentally prepared.

Naina Nagpal, who teaches Biology for Class X at Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, says they are certain that the boards will be conducted offline as the sample papers released by the CBSE follow the subjective format. However, this makes preparing for the exams slightly more difficult, especially if the pre-boards are to take place online, she adds.

"If we cannot see what students are writing, it becomes a little more difficult to guide them. If they do not practice completing their answers on time, they will be slower in their boards too."
Naina Nagpal, Teacher, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh

Nagpal says if the boards are conducted offline, the pre-boards need to be offline as well. Without this, students would not have the practice they need in order to sit for their boards.

She adds:

I am worried about students completing the papers on time. You can only command online, it is not possible to invigilate. They take it much more seriously if there is an invigilator who keeps reminding them of how much time they have left.

'Students Feel Unsettled'

Meeta Gautam, who teaches English for Classes 9 to 12 at GEMS Modern Academy, Gurugram, shares a similar concern. She says dividing the syllabus into two terms is beneficial in the long run as it has done away with rote learning. But there are a number of uncertainties troubling students, she says.

She says that when the final date sheet for Term 1 was announced in October, students were unsure if they should prepare for Term 1 properly, or start preparing for Term 2 simultaneously.

"Since Term 2 is subjective, a more detailed study is required," she adds.

She says that students' minds are muddled because they are worried about getting vaccinated, how their pre-boards will take place, and whether their boards will be conducted online or offline.

"The semester system is a good initiative. But the only problem is execution and planning. Students still end up doing well, but the uncertainties leave them a little unsettled."
Meeta Gautam, PGT teacher

Delayed Examinations on the Cards?

Most teachers say that the boards should only be held once offline pre-boards have taken place. And that would only be possible once schools reopen. On 27 January, the Delhi government eased a few restrictions. However, a discussion on whether schools will reopen or not will take place in the next DDMA meeting.

Taking the COVID situation into consideration, teachers said that if pre-boards take place in late February or the beginning of March, boards should take place in late March or the beginning of April.

Satya Prakash, Delhi president of the All India Parents' Association, says the dates of elections in five states as well as MCD election dates in Delhi, are likely to determine when the boards will take place, as board examinations usually do not clash with elections. He says that they are likely to start around 10 March and go on till April.

Alka Kapur, principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, adds that the course is vast and students need to be mentally prepared.

"I tell my students to work hard and make the best of the limited time,” adding that examinations should not be delayed for longer than 10-15 days as this would then affect their university admissions too.

Palak Singh, a student of Class 12 at a government school in Delhi's Begumpur, says, "We have regular classes online. But we do not know when the examinations will be held or how."

When asked about sample papers, she says she has not received or practised any as of yet. Other students say that they are likely to study more seriously for subjective examinations but they are not sure if the boards will be held online as there has been no announcement of their pre-board and board dates yet.

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