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Ask The CBSE

I would like to know about HOTS questions in bio and social science. How should we answer these questions?

Sudha Raman

In Social Science question paper, 20 per cent questions (16 marks) are likely to be of higher order thinking ability (HOT) questions in the form of source-based questions from source boxes given in the NCERT textbook in History, Class X. They may also involve interpretation of any illustration, picture or statistical information given in the other textbooks of Social Science. The sample question papers for Science and Social Science include HOT questions and these can be downloaded from the CBSE web site The answers to such questions should be given in the sequence of content or parts of the question.

Is Class IX MCQ portion on boiling point included for Class X board exam? Which one is better for scoring good marks? a) Reading the textbook or b) Help through sample papers given by CBSE or any other reference book suggested by you.


If the experiment on boiling point is included in Class IX practical syllabus for 2008 examination, then it will be included for Class X MCQ in 2009 board examination. You need to do both, that is, read the textbook as well as solve sample question papers published by CBSE and read other reference books for scoring good marks.

I would like to know how we need to attempt the English paper. I feel difficulty in completing my exam on time. I’m not able to revise my paper because of time shortage. I take most of my time in doing Section A . So, I start my paper from Section C, D and B and finally go to Section A; even then I am not able to complete my exam on time. Please provide me some tips.

Sudha Raman

Performance in any examination depends on time management. If you have revised your lessons well and practised exercises on the writing and reading skills, you should be able to complete the examination on time. You may attempt the section you can do best first, and others later. However, allocate the given time according to the marks allotted to each section.

For Class X, have ‘Electric motor’ and ‘Generator’ been deleted from the Science syllabus? If we are asked a picture-based question and asked to give a caption to it in both Science and Social Science exams, are we supposed to give the caption the way it has been given in the text?

Shashank, Bangalore

‘Electric motor’ and ‘Generator’ are not included in Class X Science syllabus.

Caption to a picture in the question must indicate what is shown in that picture. The caption may not necessarily be the same as what is given in the textbook.

I am in Class X. For Social Science, should we write only four or five points to 4-mark questions or should we describe each point? Will any mark be reduced for exceeding the word limit in English and Social Science?

Sreekanth N.

In most questions, the number of points to be answered is specified in the question. Otherwise the number of points can also be identified from the break-up of marks given in the question. Usually, half mark is assigned for listing or naming each point. Description of each point may carry one or two marks depending on the nature of the question. There is no need to unnecessarily explain the concepts if the question asks you to list, enumerate, mention, define and so on.

Marks will not be deducted for exceeding word limit in English and Social Science. But it is advisable to adhere to the word limit prescribed in the question paper in order to complete the paper within the given time.

Will questions in Social Science be asked from sources without giving the extract? There is a wide difference between “source” and “box.” Will questions be asked from “boxes” too?


For Class X Social Science there will be one question compulsorily from source-based boxes given in the prescribed NCERT textbook in History. Though there may not be any direct question on the name of the source, however, it is advisable to learn the name of the source or extract also for enhancing the quality of your answer. The material given in other boxes of the Social Science textbooks is for your enrichment and additional information. There will not be any direct question on them.

In Class X Social Science, there are some portions under the lesson ‘Minerals and energy resources’ on the following subjects: Biogas plant, Wind mills, Solar energy. The same topics are also present in Physics under Chapter 14 — Sources of energy, with different content. Please clarify whether we can write the contents of one subject for the other subject according to the questions asked.

S. Ajayvishnu

The answer to such questions should be given according to the content of the answer given in the prescribed NCERT textbook of that particular subject.

What are the deleted portions for Class X 2009 exam?

P. Ramesh

Please refer to the syllabus for Class X 2009 exam, which is also available on CBSE web site under Students Section.

Covalent bond does not dissolve in water. But why does HCL, which makes a covalent bond, get dissolved in water?

Akshaya Raj

HCL is a polar covalent bond and therefore it gets dissolved in water.

For Section A, Class X Maths question paper, is the student expected to write only the final answer or to show the detailed steps of working which carry one mark each as some of the teachers insist on writing the step s also? In the CBSE Class X Mathematics sample paper, under ‘general instructions’ it is mentioned that calculators are not allowed and students could ask for mathematical tables. But in March 2008 exam, there was no mention of use of mathematical tables, and some institutions refused to provide them, and in the same city, some others provided the same. Please clarify.

T.N. Ramesh

It is not required by the student to write detailed steps of solutions to one-mark questions included in Section A of Mathematics question paper. One may write only the final answer unless specifically asked for in the question. Mathematical tables are generally not needed for solving questions in Class X examinations; therefore, it is not mentioned in the ‘general instructions’. However, mathematical tables are provided at the centre, if required. The students are not allowed to carry their own mathematical tables.

Will there be questions based on the second chapter on wild life in Geography?

Ashwin Raj

The prescribed Social Science syllabus of Class X for March 2009 Examination does not include the topic on Forest Resources and Wildlife. Hence no question will be asked on this chapter in your examination.

My son is appearing for Class XII board exam. Please advise whether preparations with NCERT books are sufficient for questions under the HOTS category.


The board only recommends NCERT textbooks in different subjects at secondary and senior school level. The questions of Higher Order mental abilities or thinking skills require a student to apply the knowledge learnt to new situations for interpretation or analysis of given situations using his or her imagination. Answers to such questions are not given directly in any textbook.

I am a Class X student. a) In Social Studies, will map questions consist of only those places which are given in the sample papers and syllabus issued by CBSE? Will the questions from sources and boxes in History be direct or given along with the context in exam? b) What is the format for letters in Hindi-A? Does it matter writing address and date on top or below the body? c) In Introductory Information Technology, what is the word limit for answers? Do we have to stick to the word limit in English-A, Section-D?

Siddharth Chaturvedi

a) Map-based questions in Social Science Question paper will be strictly from the list of map items given on Page Nos. 340 – 343 of the CBSE Sample Question Paper in Social Science, Class X, March 2009 examination. Most of the answers to a source-based question in Social Science may be based on the given passage.

However, sometimes you may be asked to relate the source material with the content of the chapter. So try to understand the text as well as the source material.

b) Please refer to the Sample Question Papers in Hindi Course A available at board’s web site .

c) Word limit is only an indication of the length of the expected answer and also of the time to be spent on writing the answer. Examiners are asked not to deduct any marks for answers that exceed the word limit. In Introductory Information Technology the word limit for answers will be given in the question.

I am now in Class X CBSE scoring above 90 per cent. After the final exams, several of my friends are thinking of switching over to the State board syllabus with a view to scoring enough marks to secure a seat in a good professional college in Tamil Nadu. I seek your advice whether to continue in CBSE or switch over to State board for Class XI. Is it advisable to select French as third language to score high marks or will Tamil do? Kausalya. Such decisions whether to switch over to State Education Board or to remain in CBSE will have to be solely taken by you depending on your priorities and eligibility criteria for admission to professional colleges.

You may choose any language according to the proficiency you have in that particular language. Otherwise, if you learn well, you can score good marks in any subject.

I am in Class X. I want to know whether Disaster Management in Social Science has not been included for the board examination. Which are the five chapters of History required to be studied for the board exam?


As per the board’s circular No. 15/08 dated 11-05-08, Unit 5 of Social Science syllabus on Disaster Management will be evaluated only through projects and assignment. No question will be asked from this unit in the theory paper of Social science.

In Social Science, Class X, History, students are required to study any five themes out of the eight given in the syllabus in the following manner:

Sub-Unit 1.1: Any one theme out of: Theme 1 – Nationalism in Europe; Theme 2 – National Movement in Indo-China; and Theme 3 – Nationalism in India is compulsory.

Sub-Unit 1.2: Any two themes out of: Theme 4 – Industrialisation; Theme 5 – Urbanisation and urban lives; and Theme 6 – Trade and Globalisation.

Sub-Unit 1.3: Any one theme out of: Theme 7 – Print culture and nationalism; and Theme 8 – History of Novel

Class X Mathematics textbook has a few exercises under the caption “optional, not from examination point of view.” Will there be any question from those exercises as it had happened in the previous exams?

Abhyudaya Adiga

In CBSE board examination, questions will be based on the syllabus for the subject prescribed by the CBSE for that particular examination year. Please do not limit yourself to any book or any particular question. Also refer to sample question papers for Mathematics given by CBSE on its web site

How many evaluators would there be for one candidate’s paper? How would the students be seated for the board examinations?

Akshara M.B.

Appointment of evaluators is strictly done as per provisions given in examination bye-laws of the Board. The seating arrangement of student is done as per guidelines specified by the CBSE for the Centre Superintendents.

What are the deleted portions for Hindi Course B and Social Science for Class X?

Bhaskar Maji

On page 344 of the Sample Question Papers in Social Science, Class X, March 2009 examination, point no.5 deals with deleted topics from the Social Science textbooks. Please also refer to the Social Science syllabus prescribed by the Board for 2009 Examination. For Hindi Course B, please refer to the Board’s circular No. 21/08 dated 22-05-2008 available at board’s web site .

I am in Class XII. I would like to know if questions for the Physics examination would be asked on ‘some natural phenomena due to sunlight’, ‘Doppler effect’ and ‘nuclear reactor’, as these are not given in the syllabus for 2009 exams.

Meenu James

Topics ‘some natural phenomena due to sunlight’ and ‘nuclear reactor’ are included in the Physics syllabus for Class XII, but ‘Doppler effect’ is not included in the Class XII syllabus.


Filed under: Ask the CBSE

3 Responses

  1. Sneha says:

    I have just passed class XI(science stream) exams. Would joining career point classes in class XII do me any good? Will it hamper my preparations for the board exam. or help me?


  2. saminathan says:

    your site is extremely helpful in so many ways and it is mind boggling.Kudos to your best efforts.


  3. AMIT says:

    sir ,

    i am amit. according to me ,my friends and my teachers xii class commerce exames of 2009 were very difficult why? plz tell me? and give me full information and will u come xii class result


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