CBSE Class 10 & 12 Board Exams: Grading System, Pass Criteriam, Merit Certificates and Curriculum

Published: | September 10, 2019
CBSE school students discussing CBSE curriculum, pass criteria and grading system

CBSE Board Exams for Class 10 & Class 12 are about to be conducted for the academic year 2019-20. Know about the Grading System, Pass Criteria, Merit Certificate and Course Curriculum of CBSE board exams here. 

CBSE Board Exams for Class 10 & Class 12 students were conducted in March-April. The CBSE 12th Result has been announced on May 2, 2019. You can check the list of CBSE 12th Toppers here. CBSE 10th Result 2019 will be announced soon, take a look at the last year's CBSE 10th Toppers here.

It is important for Class 10 & Class 12 students to know about Pass Criteria, Grading System and Merit Certificates of CBSE. CollegeDekho is here to give you a detailed account of all these aspects. Have a look!

CBSE General Guidelines for Board Exams

  • The scheme of examination and pass criteria of board exams conducted by CBSE are laid down and amended from time to time.

  • Schools conduct internal exams for Class 10 and Class 12, while board exams will be conducted by CBSE.

  • The syllabus for Class 10 and Class 12 board exams will be based on the syllabus prescribed by the board.

CBSE Pass Criteria

  • Candidates appearing for Class 10 examination in 2019 onwards will have to secure overall 33% (both taken together) in the subjects to be eligible to pass that subject

  • In each subject, students have to score 33% of marks to pass. If there are practicals in any subject, students will have to score 33% of marks in Theory Exam and 33% in Practical Exam.

  • Each student will have to secure a grade above ‘E’ to be declared as ‘Pass’ in board exams.

Also Read: Arts Courses Available after Class 12, Have a Look!

CBSE Grading System for Class 10 and Class 12 Board Exams

  • According to the norms of CBSE, assessment of theory or practical exams in external subjects shall be in numerical scores.

  • The board will indicate only the grades of candidates in marks sheets.

  • For external exams, CBSE uses letter grades on a nine-point scale.

  • CBSE will derive the grades of students on the basis of their score in board exams.

Also Read: Top B.Sc. Courses to Choose after Class 12: Scope and Salary

CBSE will award the following grades based on the aggregate marks scored by students in all the subjects: -


Awarded To


Top 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Next 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Next 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Next 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Next 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Next 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Next 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Next 1/8th of the Passed Candidates


Failed Candidates

Important Points to Remember for Candidates

  • In the case of a tie, CBSE will make mirror variations in the proportion of candidates.

  • If there is a tie, all the students securing the same score will get the same grade. If there is a need for the division of the number of students at a scoring point, the smaller segment will go with the larger.

  • The method of grading is applicable in subjects where the number of candidates passing in board exams is more than 500.

  • If the total number of candidates passing in the subject were less than 500, the grading will be adopted on the patterns of grading and distribution in other similar subjects.

CBSE Merit Certificates

  • Top 0.1% candidates passing in each subject will be awarded a Merit Certificate by CBSE.

  • Further, if the number of candidates passing a subject is less than 500, CBSE will not issue any merit certificate.

  • CBSE will determine the number of Merit Certificates by rounding the total number of candidates passing in each subject to the nearest multiple of thousand.

  • Also, if there is a tie, all students who get a similar score will be awarded a Merit Certificate

Also Read: Studying in India vs Studying Abroad

CBSE Curriculum

CBSE has strict guidelines that the curriculum taught in Class 9 and Class 10 in CBSE-affiliated schools is kept as prescribed by the Board. The curriculum has been designed to provide development of not only the intellect but also of the physical and social attributes of an individual. The syllabus, as prescribed by CBSE, aims to imbibe Constitutional values in an individual, keep a balance between learning life skills and development of scientific thinking while promoting the idea of equal opportunity for education and environmental values.

CBSE Class 10 Curriculum

The CBSE class 10 curriculum for the academic year 2019-20 is given below.

Subject S.No. Type Subject Name Group
1 Compulsory Language I
(Hindi A / Hindi B / English Language & Literature)
2 Compulsory Language II
(choice of any from Group L, other than Language 1)
3 Compulsory Mathematics Group-A1
4 Compulsory Science Group-A1
5 Compulsory Social Science Group-A1
6 Optional Skil Subject
(chosen from a list of Group-S subjects)
7 Optional

Language III /
Choice of any Group-A2 Subject
(other than the ones mentioned above)

Group L
8 & 9 Co-Scholastic
(Assessed at
the School level)
Art Education
Physical Education
Work Experience*

*Work Experience is included in Physical Education

Also Read: Diploma Courses that Accept Admissions at Class 10 Level

CBSE Class 12 Curriculum

The curriculum prescribed by CBSE for class 12th is as given below.

Subject S.No. Type Name of Subject Group
1 Compulsory Hindi Core / Hindi Elective / English Core / English Elective Group-L
2 Compulsory Choice of one subject from Group - L (other than Subject 1) /
Choice of one subject from Group-A
3, 4 & 5 Compulsory Choice of any three subjects from Group A and Group S combined Group-A
6 Optional Any subject not selected in Subject 1-5 --
7, 8 & 9 Internal Assesment
(Assessed at School Level)
Health & Physical Education
General Studies
Work Experience*

*Work experience is included in Health & Physical Education.

Also Read: ITI Courses at Class 12 Level

CBSE's curriculum is based on a holistic growth approach and promotes self-realisation as well as development of a global understanding in an individual. The curriculum is flexible where it needs to be and leaves optimum scope for a student to shape it as per his/her interests. Inclusion of subjects such as Music, Dance as well as Skill Subjects such as Retail, Banking, Food Production Marketing etc. alongside regular academic subjects goes to show the amount of thought that has been put into designing such a curriculum.

A strong focus on inclusivity and understanding the skills and interests of students on an individual level, backed by strong institutions and well-trained instructors, is sure to lay a strong foundation of education in India that will bear fruit in the years ahead.

Stay tuned to CollegeDekho for the latest CBSE news and updates.

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