On Monday evening, Kenrick D’Cunha betrayed not the slightest hint of pre-exam jitters. His HSC exams begin on Tuesday, with English as the first paper, but the St Xavier’s student appeared well-prepared.
“I’m more or less set for the exam, it shouldn’t be too difficult, I hope,” said D’Cunha.
A total of 2.70 lakh students will be appearing for the HSC English paper across the city. The HSC exams herald the start to the exam season, with the ICSE exams beginning on February 28 and the SSC and CBSE exams on March 1.
A little more than 3 lakh students will appear for the Class 12 HSC exams this year from the board’s Mumbai division, and around 13.3 lakh from across the state.
About 30,000 more students will be appearing for the HSC exams across the state this year, up from 13 lakh candidates in 2010. Nearly 22,000 more students will be appearing for exams in the science stream and 12,000 more from the commerce stream.
On the eve of the first board exam, the helpline of the board’s Mumbai division received 72 calls. “Most of the queries have been related to hall tickets, exam centres, seating arrangements and the exam timetable,” said Vijay Deshmukh, who was manning the board’s helpline on Monday.
“The stress-related calls usually begin once the exams start,” said Deshmukh.
The HSC exams will be conducted across 172 centres and 472 sub-centres in the Mumbai division. Across the state there will be 2,057 centres in all.
“For the first time this year, every centre will have a local committee on the spot to ensure that no cheating takes place,” said S Dhekane, the board’s secretary. “We have been conducting a sustained campaign against cheating since January to ensure that there are no malpractices.”
Some centres will also be fitted with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
This year, the board also made it a point to ensure that students get enough gap between papers and announced the timetable two months earlier than usual, in November last year.
“It’s a good timetable, we get lots of breaks between each of the exams,” said Aamir Sakarwala, a commerce student from Mithibai College.