CBSE Term-based Paper Pattern

What new changes has CBSE introduced for the 2021-22 session now? How will it affect Board exam preparation?

Another Major Change in CBSE Paper Pattern for 2021-22 Session

On 5 July 2021, CBSE released a circular declaring some major changes in the Class 10 & 12 Examination Strategy and Paper Pattern. According to our CBSE experts, these latest changes will drastically impact the preparation for the 2021-22 session.

Here’s what the circular says:

  • The syllabus will be rationalised similar to the session 2020-21 and teachers are advised to consult the Alternative Academic Calendar (AAC) by NCERT.
  • Internal Assessment would include 3 Periodic Tests, Student Enrichment, Portfolio and Practical Work/ Speaking-listening Activities/ Project.
  • There will be 2 Board Examinations (Term 1 and Term 2).

Let’s take a deeper look at what the circular says about the two term exams for Class 10 and 12 Boards.

Term I

During the first half of the session, students will have to prepare for a 90-minute MCQ-based exam that will take place in Nov-Dec 2021. This will cover approximately 50% of the rationalised syllabus and will include:

  • MCQs
  • Case-based MCQs
  • Assertion-Reasoning type MCQs

NOTE: The marks of this exam will be contributed to the final overall score of students.

Term II

After the second half of the session, there will be a standard Board exam during March-April 2022, covering the remaining 50% syllabus. This exam will be of 2 hours duration with Objective as well as Subjective questions of different formats including:

  • Case-based/ Situation-based questions
  • Open ended - Short answer-type questions
  • Open ended - Long answer-type questions

NOTE: In case the COVID situation worsens, Term II exam will also be a 90-minute MCQ type with the remaining 50% Syllabus.

As per our discussion with reputed teachers, this pattern change has been beneficial as well as challenging for them.

“Where on one hand, the students are now taking their studies more seriously (which they were not since the cancellation of Class 10 and 12 Boards last year), they are also lenient about the MCQ-based Term Paper.” - Ms Alka (Science Teacher, DPS School)

So, to make it clear the importance of these changes to students and teachers, we have identified some key inferences about the remaining academic session 2021-22 with the help of the latest CBSE Circular.

* These dates are speculative as per our discussions with the CBSE experts. They are not confirmed by CBSE yet.

Since it is easy to study for an MCQ-based exam and the students can score maximum marks, it is recommended to lay emphasis on this exam as much as the year-end Board exams.


It is important that the students are updated with all the latest changes in the paper pattern and understand the importance of the Term I equivalent to the Term II Board exam. Once they do, they can use the following tips to score maximum marks in all the different types of New Pattern MCQs in Term I and Term II papers.

Assertion and Reason MCQs

Since these questions were added in the 2019-2020 session, there are several examples and practice questions available in the Previous Year Papers and Sample Papers. According to their Marking Scheme Solutions, the students must:

  • Read the Questions Carefully: It is important to read and understand what the question is exactly asking.
  • Analyse Each Statement: Try to put each statement in an individual perspective and you will know if they can be true or false.

Case-based MCQs

With the Sample Papers still awaited, it is not clear how the Case-based MCQs will be asked in the Term II paper. Assuming that there will be Case-based MCQ (single) questions and Case-based MCQs (multiple) questions, the students must:

  • Avoid Reading the Whole Passage: Directly answer the MCQs by searching for relevant info in the passage only. This will save some time since the subjective exam will only be for 2 hours now.

Competency-based MCQs

There is also a good chance that CBSE will still follow some part of their Competency-based curriculum and add inference-based MCQs in the exam as well. For that, the students may:

  • Use the Method of Elimination: If there is any confusion in Competency-based questions, it is recommended to use the rule of elimination to reach the most appropriate answer.


From the looks of what this new pattern entails, CBSE has provided a way for both students and teachers to get through the 2021-22 session facing as little inconvenience as possible. Amidst the COVID-19 situation and expected third wave, this paper pattern has calmed everyone regarding this session’s Board Exams.

The only thing required from students is to abide by what the teachers explain about these new guidelines and they can easily score great marks without stressing out.

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