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The CBSE and various State Education Boards have, of late, initiated a number of innovations in their examination patterns in line with the broad objectives set in the National Curriculum Framework. The changes being introduced are aimed at bringing in objectivity in the testing system by reducing subjectivity to a great extent.
This means we can expect a lot of changes in the board question papers from this year onwards. These changes demand a new approach from students while attempting the examination. Let us understand the 'Whats', 'Whys' and 'Hows' of the change in detail.
What is the new pattern?
The changed pattern is applicable in the case of social science, mathematics and general science. The following table will give you a clear idea about the changes that you are going to see from this year onwards. The marked difference from the previous pattern is that in the new pattern you will find very few long answer type questions thus reducing the subjectivity in the testing system.
Moreover, last year the board had introduced additional 15 minutes time to read the question papers. This was of immense help for the students. This will continue this year also.
In the mathematics paper, internal assessment that will account for a total of 20 marks will cover evaluation of activities, project work and continuous evaluation. Similarly in science, the practical exam will have two components:
Total marks (Theory)
Total marks (Practical)
No. of Questions
No of Very Short answer type Question (1-Mark)
Overall you can see that the number of very short answer type and short answer type questions will be more this year compared to previous years. This indicates that students need to answer more specific and pointed questions and their understanding of the concepts will be tested.
Why such a change?
The objective is to bring in a change in the focus of the testing system. Earlier the system was to check the learning capacity (mugging up) of the students and the approach was to ask questions like: What all you know about?; but now the objective is to check the students' thinking skills. This means the questions will be more specific and focused and your answers should be more pointed and crisp.
What is being tested?
Clearly, the questions are set to test the conceptual clarity, understanding, communication skills, thinking skills and mental abilities of the students. Besides, your ability to understand the focus of the question and organise your answer according to the requirement of the question will also be very important. Let us take a sample question (taken from the CBSE Science Sample paper) to understand this.
The following table gives the values of refractive indices of a few media.
Use this table to give an example of (i) a medium pair so that light speeds up when it goes from one of these media to another. (ii) a medium pair so that light slows down when it goes from one of these media to another.
Now read the above question and understand the focus of the question. What are you expected to do in this question? You have to just select two pairs of media. But to select the pairs you need to have a clear idea about the behavior of light when it travels from one medium to another. Thus your understanding of the concept is tested in this question.
Remember you don't have to give any explanation to your answer and if you try to explain things you are moving away from the focus of the question and probably wasting your time.
How to prepare and how to attempt?
For your preparation the best option is to follow the NCERT books. If you are thorough with NCERT books then you may look into other books for reference. About 15 to 20 per cent of the questions are either application or understanding based. Take care of the following points:
While attempting the paper please ensure the following:
~ Read the question and understand the focus of the question and limit your answer to the prescribed word limits in the short answer type and very short answer type questions. However do not be unduly worried about this. Your aim is to ensure that you touch the crucial points in your answer.
~ In the case of long answer type questions, the number of points is already given in the question itself and students should try their best to minimise the length of their answer within the specified word limit. In case the number of points is not specified in the question, then the answer should cover about five to six points with key words underlined and briefly explained. Try to stick to the word limit; it will help you organise your thoughts and present them effectively. However students are not penalised for exceeding the word limit in long answer questions.
Finally, remember that about 80 per cent questions are of average difficulty level and hence scoring unto this level is not a very big issue. There is no need for you to take any undue stress.
Be confident and go ahead. Success is yours.
The writer is a senior trainer with STEPS, the school division of Top Careers & You. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.stepsedu.com to attempt and download FREE tests on NTSE (National Talent Search Examination), mathematics and general science.
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