The CBSE Classes X and XII Term-I Exam format is one of the most trending topics these days. But amidst all the discussion, we have overlooked the element of magic inherent in this format, which can turn even an average attempt into the most extraordinary result. How may this happen? Let us read the following story of a 12th grader carefully, for it might as well turn out to be your own reality!
Krishna is a typical stressed out board class student who passed his previous class with 81.7%. Not to undermine the effort that is required to achieve this score, his result was still considered an average one (in the light of the board class result of the recent years). Accordingly, he was made to apologies for his lackluster result during the result discussion of XI and also to resolve for a 95% plus result in the board examination, that too for the least.
Board exam preparation begins under the burden of past promises. Krishna must prove himself now, he has no other option. He just cannot afford to repeat his past performance.
But as luck would have it, he did!
Back home after taking the CBSE Term-I Exam, a relook at the question papers revealed that out of a total of 60, he got 11 questions wrong in each exam. With trembling hands, he held a calculator to work out his percentage: 49 /60 X 100.
Crestfallen, he read the calculator screen : 81.7%. The damn old result! No improvement whatsoever!?
‘Bah! Not again!!’ thought Krishna, ‘Can’t face parents, can’t face teachers, can't face myself…’
But as they say, life must go on! Fully conscious of what lies ahead, Krishna still pretended to be cheerful and confident on the day of PTM. ‘ I’ll feign ignorance.. I’ll say that I have no idea where the marks have been deducted’, he thought to comfort himself.
In the PTM hall, he seated his parents on the last vacant chair, hoping that the class teacher does not see them at all! But the teacher did and in a stern voice called out Krishna’s name.
My dear student, what happened next is not less than a fairy-tale finish! The teacher heartily congratulated Krishna’s parents for the most historic result - a perfect 100%. Such words of praise flowed from the teacher’s mouth that Krishna didn't even dream of..
As for Krishna, so for all of you! The nature of assessment for Term-I Exam is such that errors in the range of 18.3% to 22% shall be ignored and a cent percent result would still be in the making. Let us understand how this actually happens.
The general instructions for the exams speak of 50 questions (40 in some subjects) to be attempted out of the given 60 (50 in some). This means that the board has kept a spacious room for errors for the students. The understanding here is that even if a student does not know answers to 10 MCQs in the paper and mindful of his or her ignorance does not attempt them, there will be no penalty whatsoever.
Another advantage is latent in the way the total marks obtained by the student in an examination (in decimals) are rounded off. The usual practice is that the tenths place of less than five loses its significance in the rounded number. As against this, the proposed rounding off is essentially to the benefit of the students because any decimal point (irrespective of its value) will be rounded off to the next higher integer. This means that in addition to the 10 questions mentioned above, even the 11th answer that goes wrong will not show its effect in the report card. This is exactly why even with 11 errors, Krishna could manage out and out 100%!
To ensure that this golden opportunity is fully availed, a student must make every second of the allotted 90 minutes examination time count. As an invigilator in the September examinations, I observed that all the students were in a mad rush to finish the exam. The options were being selected on the basis of gut feeling or plain guesswork. But let’s not forget that all questions have been framed from the prescribed syllabus. Therefore an attempt must be made to link the questions to the text. Ask yourselves - from which chapter and from which topic has the question been asked. Start eliminating the obvious misfit options to zero-in to the more probable ones. Out of these take a final call by invoking your knowledge from the chapter.
And an extra bit of caution is all it takes to darken the correct circle on the OMR sheet! (though thankfully, we now have the fifth circle to fall back on in case of inadvertent errors.)