Application-based questions dominated the CBSE Board exams this year. The mathematics paper which was based on higher order thinking skills (HOTS) was a tough nut to crack for students. For science students, the race didn’t end there. They had to crack the biology paper held on March 23, but they were not disappointed and were well-prepared for the paper that primarily consisted of application-based questions.
“The paper wasn’t difficult, just more application-based. It might have been difficult for those who just mugged up the chapters without understanding the concepts well. Last year’s paper was straight from NCERT, but this time we had to think a lot for most answers. The three-mark questions were the trickiest of all,” says Chahat Gupta, a Class 12 student of Amity International School, Mayur Vihar.
The paper was well within expectations of all students who had solved CBSE’s 2015 sample paper. About 35% questions required direct application of knowledge and were easier to score. These questions were mostly from the NCERT textbook. Another 35% were of medium difficulty. Though not HOTS-based, these questions were not direct.
The remaining 30% questions in the biology paper were difficult but those who had prepared topics beyond their textbooks could do well. This section was for those who had spent time solving sample papers and revising chapters regularly.
“Out of these difficult questions, nearly 20% of difficult questions were HOTS-based. Most of the medium and difficult questions were indirect and involved application of concepts. Though the entire paper was from NCERT books, it was not a direct paper. Instead of conventional or so-called expected questions, it had many analytical questions,” says Savita Sharma, HOD – biology, Studymate.
Clearly, a considerable section of the biology paper needed students to practice application-based questions. The paper might not have been good news for those who depended on rote learning, but those students who invested time on the application-based portion and practised well should expect a perfect score this year.
The 2015 Board exams have set a new trend of application- based questions and have clearly sent out a signal that students appearing for their Boards need to go beyond rote learning.
To be able to do well, they should not only depend on the NCERT textbooks for basics, but spend a lot of time revising the chapters well enough to be able to apply those basics even when they get questions outside the purview of their textbooks.