The Central Board of Secondary Examination announced on Thursday that Class 10 students will have two levels of mathematics papers from 2020.

“Not only would the two levels of examinations cater for different kinds of learners and allow different levels of testing, it would also reduce overall student stress levels,” the circular dated January 10 said, citing a paper by the National Focus Group on Examination Reforms. The two levels will be called Mathematics – Standard, which is the existing paper, and an easier Mathematics – Basic.

“The syllabus, classroom teaching and internal assessment for both the levels of examination would remain the same; so that the students get an opportunity to study the whole range of topics throughout the year and are able to decide upon the level of Board examination depending upon their aptitude and abilities,” the order said.

The standard level will be for students who wish to pursue mathematics at higher levels, while the basic level would be for students who do not. “A student will have the right to choose between the two levels of examination at the time of submission of List of Candidates by the affiliated school to the Board online,” the circular added.

If a student fails the standard exam, they can rewrite the standard or the basic level exam, while a student who fails the basic exam has the option of retaking it.

“A student who qualifies the Mathematics – Basic, shall be given an option to appear in Mathematics – Standard at the time of Compartment exams as per norms of the Board, in case he/she changes his/her mind to pursue Mathematics at Senior Secondary level,” the circular said. A student who has failed one of the five main subjects usually gets the option of retaking it in the compartment examination without having to repeat the entire year.