A message for all students

Although the marks one obtains in the board exams is critical in literally determining one’s academic future , most people do not understand how those marks are structured. It is important for both students and parents to know this as it can help prepare strategies for excelling in the exams on the one hand, and also for understanding the basis of failure and thus preventing it.


In the  BCSE (X) exam, the pass mark is just 35%. Of this, 20 marks are given by the subject teacher internally under the program of ‘continuous assessment’. These are marks intended to assess classwork, homework and project works done during the year. Rarely do they give less than 15 marks. Thus with about 15% already given by the school, the student has to earn only 20% in the written exam to pass. It is therefore very clear, that while it may be very difficult to score 90% or more in the BCSE exams, it is actually quite difficult to fail. That students consistently continue to fail across the country is an enigma that can most often be explained by one phenomenon – inadequate effort.

Among the students who pass the BCSE, there is a tendency to assume that passing or even doing really well in the BHSEC exam will be equally easy. When they do unexpectedly poorly, there is another tendency to blame their teachers and school. To wipe away these false expectations, here’s a reality check:

  •  The curriculum for the BHSEC is not one grade higher than the BCSE, but several levels higher, especially for the sciences and mathematics. One look at the textbooks will make this absolutely clear. Passing the BHSEC requires considerably more effort than for the BCSE.
  • The pass mark is not 35% but 40%.
  • There are no ‘free marks’ from the school as in the BCSE. All 40 marks in the BHSEC must be earned through the written exam.
  • Unlike the BCSE, there are no easy scoring objective type questions where one simply circles an answer.

It is therefore very obvious that even to pass, the BHSEC requires greater effort. If you want to earn a government scholarship then that much more effort is required. It is therefore shocking to learn of the ‘study habits’ of many students facing the board exams. Many students go to bed no later than 9pm, putting in less than2 hours of study in a day, often only a few nights in a week. They begin their study routines only a couple of months before the exams believing that a few weeks of study 10 hours a day will be adequate to make up for a year of neglect. While there is no such thing as a ‘dumb student’, this sort of strategy can only be described as dumb.

Many students performing poorly in academics are in fact extremely bright. However, for many reasons a lot of bright students flounder academically not least due to the fact that bright kids are also very capable of making dumb decisions.

The message is simple, if you want to pass, put in the work. Don’t expect the miracle of passing after wasting a year without making any effort. The credit is yours if you do well, and so is the blame if you do not. Please, do not blame your teachers, your school, the education system or the government. Changing your teachers, your classmates, your school and anything else is going to make little difference without a change in your own study habits!

Success in life is built on taking full responsibility for one’s decisions. That is a basic prerequisite for drawing lessons from mistakes. You can start moving on the right path by recognizing your own responsibility in the marks you get.