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In India, board examinations refer to the public examinations that occur at the end of the 9th to 10th grade education (SSC), or at the end of the 11th to 12th grade education (HSC). The scores achieved in these exams are considered very important for getting into universities, professional courses or training programmes, and even possibly in finding employment.
State Board Examinations
State board examinations are variously referred to as Madhayamik, Secondary State Certificate and Higher Secondary Certificate examinations. They are conducted and managed by each education board of the different states in the country. They do not take place simultaneously due to the differences between syllabi and the examination itself. The examinations are generally held in the months of February and March, and the results are out in May and June.
Students have to apply for the examinations in November stating their personal details, subjects, and current educational status. Admit cards for the prescribed examination hall are received at the notified cell or their respective schools about 20–25 days prior to the commencement of the exam.
Examinations are offered for various fields which include Science, Maths, Social Studies, regional and foreign languages for SSC; Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Social Studies, basic Computer Science and basic Electronics, IT, Western Classical music and Indian classical music, Economics for HSC. Students follow a fixed pattern in choosing the subjects.
The exam is conducted only in pen and paper format.
Each of the examinations takes place simultaneously across the country, to ensure that questions are not leaked in advance across time zones. Security is usually high for these board examinations. The question papers are distributed by the overseeing board of education, and their contents are guarded closely until the exam begins. The examinations may include multiple sets of question papers as well. The candidates are issued identification passes in advance, which are presented to the staff at the examination site. The site itself must not be the same school where a candidate is from; to ensure impartiality, the candidate must travel to a different school to take the examination. For the same reason, the candidate may not identify himself/herself on the answer sheet except with an identity-masking number. Use of calculation aids other than logarithm tables, which are provided by the examination center, is prohibited. The examinations last about 3 hours per course.
The council was established in 1958 by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate to ensure that its examinations become adapted to the educational needs of the country and assign the ultimate control of the same on the council. The council was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on 19 December 1967. The object of the council is educational, and includes the promotion of science, literature, the fine arts and the diffusion of useful knowledge by conducting school examinations through the medium of English. The Council exists solely for educational purposes and not for purposes of profit. Most schools following the CISCE curriculum are in the southern part of the country, while most schools in the northern part of the country follow the CBSE curriculum.
The answer sheets are sent back to the board of education overseeing the certifications. The papers are evaluated based on examples of ideal answers. A false roll no. is attached to the answer-sheet before evaluation. Once the answers have been evaluated, the identity numbers are matched to the actual roll no. (and identity) of the candidate. This is so that no bias takes place on part of the examiner regarding the background, name, appearance, religion or community of the candidate. The board then issues an official grade/score report for the exam to the candidate, as well as a certificate of completion in the case of the HSC exam. Students only see their final grades and do not receive their graded answer sheets. The results can be obtained in writing or online.