CBSE Paper Pattern 2022

Which surprising major change in paper pattern is CBSE bringing that many teachers don’t know yet?


On March 31, 2021, CBSE released the syllabus for the session 2021-22 (Class 10, Class 12) on March 31, 2021. There was a 100% restoration observed in most subjects after the 30% reduction in the last session (2020-21). This was followed by a circular on 22nd April 2021 (Circular No. 31/2021) regarding major changes in paper pattern.

Now, the blueprint (number of questions, types in each section etc) is not provided in any of these two documents, some interesting observations are made by our experts to provide a most likely pattern that we would like you to know about.

Until 2019-20, CBSE used to provide a very comprehensive syllabus with a blueprint every year, in which they also used to provide a detailed paper blueprint like shown below.

Source: 2019 Science Blueprint given in CBSE Syllabus

But, since the last 2 years CBSE has stopped providing such useful details in their March Syllabus announcements. Now, teachers cannot plan their practice for students and have to wait and rely on the CBSE Sample Paper that is usually uploaded in September/October time every year.

Now, according to the circular, CBSE has decided to introduce a new section called Competency based Questions in the Board paper. This section will be dedicatedly made of Case based, Source based and Integrated based Questions which means it will have real-life situation/example based questions strictly.

The competency based section has a twist. The questions can have case-study style questions of 1m only or the usual 4m Case-study but with a mixture of MCQ, VSA or even SA1 in the case-study. 

This is completely different to the usual 4 MCQ based case-study questions that we saw in CBSE 2020 Sample Paper. Let’s see examples of expected new types of competency based MCQ.

1. MCQ or VSA (1m each)

Question: While watching the TV show Master Chef Australia, Rima observed that the contestants were blindfolded and then asked to identify cubes of different fruits or food items by smelling and tasting it. The contestants were tested on how strong and accurate their taste receptors were in identifying the smell.

Which of the following statements is correct about receptors?

(a) Gustatory receptors detect taste while olfactory receptors detect smell.

(b) Both gustatory and olfactory receptors detect smell.

(c) Auditory receptors detect smell and olfactory receptors detect taste.

(d) Olfactory receptors detect taste and gustatory receptors detect smell. 

This could easily be asked as a VSA as well like below.


Question: Since her childhood days, Rashmi had a very good habit of saving whatever money her parents gave her as pocket money. There was a point when her father put a hold on her pocket-money. At the same time, she started buying 2 of her favorite chocolates after school and her daily savings started to decrease by a fixed amount daily. The daily savings therefore formed an arithmetic progression. 

In how many days, will Rashmi lose her savings completely to 0, if the pattern followed is 270, 240, 210,…..0? 


2. MCQ + A/R + VSA (4m each)

To test overall competency, CBSE may be bringing in variety of objective questions in a single case-study as shown below.

Question: Shreya decided to use the summer break to perform an activity with plants as her father runs an organic plantation business. She filled a conical flask with water and covered the neck of the flask with a wire mesh. She kept two or three freshly germinated bean seeds on the wire mesh and kept the flask facing sunlight.

Step 1: She then took a cardboard box which was open from one side and kept the flask in the box in such a manner that the open side of the box faced light coming from a window

Step 2: She then turned the flask so that the shoots were away from light and the roots towards light. She left the flask undisturbed in this condition for a few days and noted her observations again.


Answer any 4 of the below questions, based on the information given above.

(A) Are there differences in the direction of the new growth?


(B) Select the correct statement:

(a) Both roots and shoot show positive phototropism.

(b) Roots show negative phototropism whereas shoot show positive phototropism.

(c) Roots show positive phototropism whereas shoot show negative phototropism.

(d) Both roots and shoot show negative phototropism.


(C) Shreya recorded her observations as given below, pick the correct combination.

Direction of root
and shoot at Step 1
Direction of old
root and shoot at Step 2
(a) Both roots and shoot bend towards light Both root and shoot bend towards light
(b) Roots bend towards
light and shoot bends away from light
Not much change in direction of old roots and shoot
(c) Shoot bends towards
light and roots bend away from light
Not much change in direction of old roots and shoot
(d) Both root and shoot bend away from light Both root and shoot bend away from light


(D) Select the correct answer to the above question from the codes (a), (b), (c) and (d) as given below:

(a) Both (A) and (R) are true and (R) is the correct explanation of the (A).

(b) Both (A) and (R) are true, but (R) is not the correct explanation of the (A).

(c) (A) is true, but (R) is false.

(d) (A) is false, but (R) is true.

Assertion (A): Direction of old parts of the root and shoot change on changing the direction of flask.

Reason (R): Roots show negative phototropism and shoot shows positive phototropism.

(E) Do you observe a change in direction of the old parts of the shoot and root when the direction of flask is changed?

As you can see, a complete range of objective questions can be included in a case-based question in the upcoming paper pattern. This was derived because of the circular that CBSE provided. 

But also because in the recently provided 2021-22 Biology syllabus for Class 12, CBSE provided a blueprint for the 2021-22 paper which had subjective questions mentioned in the case-based questions. Infact, they suggested VSA (1m). SA1 (2m) as well as SA2 (3m) based case questions in that blueprint, which is rather too extreme in terms of style of change. This just implies that the case-based questions in Class 12 (atleast) could be subjective in nature as well.

Based on this understanding and using the information CBSE has provide in their circulars, we have designed a probable blueprint for both classes.


Class 10th Blueprint

Some key observations from this table for Class X:

  • There may be a mixture of VSA and MCQ in the competency based section. Previously it was only MCQs
  • 50% paper will be on a pattern that is Objective/1m in nature
  • You can expect case-based 1m MCQ’s or VSA’s as well in Competency based questions

Now for Class 12, the focus on the objective section will be reduced and case/source based questions will be subjective in nature (quite possibly more difficult) as mentioned in the Biology Syllabus told earlier. 

Based on which we have prepared the paper pattern for Class 12 as shown below.

Class 12th Blueprint

Educart consulted with CBSE experts, based on which they concluded on this expected pattern. 

Main observations for Class XII:

  • There may be an introduction of 1m VSA, 2m SA1 and 3m SA2 in the case-based questions of Competency section. This is because CBSE has added a blueprint for the paper in their Biology Syllabus 2021-22 in which this is clearly mentioned. See below
SourceBiology Class 12 Syllabus for 2021-22
  • You may get 1m VSA/MCQ and 2m SA1 type questions as a case-study as well in the Competency section, not just a 4MCQ passage.

There is an increased focus on Competency and Objective questions this year and that is clearly reflected in the above tables.

Up until 2019, CBSE used to share a detailed paper pattern for every class and subject along with the syllabus. But since 2020, these blueprints are missing from the syllabus. Instead, teachers and students had to wait for the official Sample Papers of CBSE (month of October) to learn about the new types of questions and marks distribution in the Board exam of the respective session.

We discussed this matter with some teachers from top Delhi schools and received a collective answer.

“This new pattern of subjective case-based questions is most likely to be used for Physics and Chemistry subjects as well and if it did, teachers and students may have to completely change their case-based questions strategies for exam preparation.”
- Science HOD, CBSE School, Delhi


To conclude, if a similar pattern is followed for all the other subjects of Class 10 and 12, the teachers may now have to encourage the practice of more subjective questions rather than objective questions. A complete reversal of what it was in 2020-21.

On top of it, due to the second wave of Covid-19, it is expected that the syllabus will be reduced again, which makes it inconclusive how this new 2021-22 session will pan out.