Pratik Deshpande, 15, is a far more relaxed these days than several of his classmates.
The Class 10 student of DAV School, Panvel, will appear for his school final exam instead of the CBSE board exam, an option that became effective for the first time this year.
In Maharashtra, a total of 15,948 have opted for the board exam while 5,063 have chosen to write the school exam.
“There are so many theories about whether the school exam or the board exam is better. But the fact remains that those of us giving the school exam are feeling much more relaxed,” said Deshpande. “Our own teachers will be correcting our papers, and that makes a difference.”
The CBSE board exams begin on March 1 and will end on March 25.
The board has asked schools to conduct their own final exams within the last two weeks of March.
So, while the CBSE board exams will be spread out across three weeks, the school final exams will have to be wrapped up in two weeks.
However, the compression of the schedule for those writing the school exam, will not make much of a difference they said, because those taking the board exams will start off earlier, thus leveling the playing field.
“If you have indeed been studying the same thing all these days, a few days here and there should not make a difference,” said Tejasvin Samarth, 15, a Class 10 student of RN Podar School in Santacruz, who opted to do the school exam dubbing the board exam “a waste of time”.
“The board exams become predictable and in some ways it limits what you study. Our school has, on the other hand, prepared us for a wider possible range of questions,” he added.
Both sets of students will study the second term syllabus and receive the same report card. In both cases, students will be given grades, rather than marks, a difference that first came into effect last year.
Teachers say there is a definite attitudinal difference among students in the first year of the optional board exam policy.
“The pressure has vastly reduced on students. Now, its the parents who are getting worried as their children are not worried about the exams,” said Avnita Bir, principal of RN Podar School in Santacruz, where 75% of the students are not doing the board exam. “Even the teachers of Class 10 can now feel the difference because students aren’t in a state of panic and they are not rushing to them with last-minute queries.”