Board exams or no exams, the countdown for the final exams has begun for Class 10 students. It’s time to execute your preparation strategies - irrespective of whether you’re taking the Boards or appearing for the school-based summative assessment, as part of the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme. HT Education spoke to students from both categories to find out how their choice of exam helped improve their grades.
CCE a better choice?
When human resource development minister Kapil Sibal announced a radical overhaul of the school education system by making the Class 10 CBSE boards optional two years ago, thousands of children like Shreya Popli heaved a sigh of relief.
Quite understandably, since board examinations had become by far the most dreaded part of a student’s academic life. Popli, now a Class 11 student of Manav Sthali School in Delhi’s Rajinder Nagar, is happy that she did not face the pressure surrounding the boards and got a chance to learn various things at the same time. “This CCE system does not stress on marks but on personality development. We were involved in a number of activities on a daily basis and were evaluated on parameters such as communication skills, level of interest, aptitude and leadership qualities, among others. We have a literary club, sports club, science club, art club, journal club, theatre club and eco club that give us ample scope for learning new things. I participated regularly in basketball events, German language contests, wrote journals and learnt film-making and photography too,” she says.
Though the 16-year-old never missed out on an opportunity to sharpen her skills in co-curricular activities, she was regular with her studies too. “I linked academics with my participation in co-curricular activities. My association with the school journal was aimed at improving my writing skills which helped me gather grades and do well in the written exams as well. This helped me score 9.2 CGPA in Class 10,” she adds.
Sharing his experience, Aman Vanjani of Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan, says, “You shouldn’t bother much about your grades if you’ve been participating in classroom activities, obeying teachers and perfecting your work. I never shied away from expressing ideas. Interacting with teachers regularly, maintaining discipline and respecting others’ views are the other things I did religiously.”
Pallavi Seth, who appeared for her Class 10 boards two years ago, regrets not being part of the CCE.
“The board exams in Class 10 put a lot of pressure on students as they are expected to excel only in academics. Making the boards optional and having the CCE system in place is a big relief. It exposes a student to co-curricular activities like music, dance, theatre and sports. Now, students are asked to submit assignments regularly, read books, make projects, submit essays etc, which helps one get an all-round education,” says Seth, a Class 12 student of Modern School, Barakhamba Road.
You don’t have to fret too much in the last few weeks before the finals because more than half the battle is won if you have proved your mettle in an extra-curricular activity. “I was good in studies in Class 10 with a great level of participation in music-related events. Had the CCE been in place at that time, it would have been a big boost to my all-round profile,” she says.
They swear by the boards
While most students are relieved that they no longer have to feel the pressure surrounding the board exams, there are others who prefer the age-old system. Arpit Rajput, a student of Salwan Public School, Rajendra Nagar, who will writing the board exams in March, says, “The CCE has been implemented in a hurry and it could have been better. Most of the students are confused about which activities they will be evaluated for and how. Also, not all teachers and students take it seriously.
Students are not awarded the grades they deserve. My idea is to stick to the basics and strengthen my concepts before I write the boards.”
For Class 10 student, Ridhima Verma of DPS, RK Puram, it is the experience that counts. She says, “I opted for the board exams as I want to experience how it is to write the papers and not be afraid of the Class 12 boards. They are more competitive, just like an all-India level test. The Class 10 CBSE board certificate carries more weight than the scores in your school exams. Moreover, you can still cover up a lot in the last one month, which is not the case with school exams.”
The best way to ace the boards, say teachers, is to utilise time properly and revise the syllabus thoroughly during the current preparatory leave. Keep in touch with teachers to discuss problems you come across while revising. Be thorough with the NCERT books and ensure that you don’t bombard yourself with reference material.
Solving mock papers in real-time situations and written practice will help too.
What you can do to give a boost to those grades
For school exams
* Every effort counts so make sure you take part in as many activities as possible
* Never shy away from taking initiative
* Referring to notes prepared during the previous formative and summative assessments will help
* Keep in touch with teachers to discuss problems you come across while revising
* Be thorough with the NCERT books
* Don’t bombard yourself with reference material
* Solve mock papers in real-time situations