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What is the CBSE Curriculum?

The Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) is a standardised school curriculum offered in 24 countries across the world. CBSE is a national level board of education for public and private schools in India and, as of 2016, 17,093 of the 17,300 CBSE schools worldwide were located in the country, including our Oakridge International School.  It’s a reputable programme where students undergo a challenging and rewarding education. While the course is widely considered to be tougher than State Boards, it is also seen as more student-friendly, ensuring pupils don’t face too much pressure and opting for more interesting, interactive learning methods. This article goes through all the key features of the CBSE curriculum, including the advantages and disadvantages compared with a state board curriculum.

CBSE Curriculum Features

Below are all the specific details you should know before enrolling your child on the course:

  • The syllabus is structured and controlled, making use of standardised textbooks.
  • Children can’t fail a class until 8th grade.
  • Many colleges in India include the syllabus in their entrance exams.
  • Board exams for the CBSE are optional in 10th grade and mandatory in 12th grade.
  • The CBSE is generally favoured by those who relocate often and seek a standardised curriculum for their children.
  • It is a popular choice for students looking to study traditional engineering or medicine.
  • The secondary curriculum of the CBSSE focuses on seven major learning areas, which can vary between schools.
  • CBSE Subjects include Humanities, Geography, History, Economics, Home Science, Sociology, Fine Arts, Political Science, Fashion Studies, Creative Writing, Translation Studies, Mathematics and Health and Physical Education.
  • The curriculum also includes Science and Technology subjects, Visual and Performing Arts subjects and Commerce subjects, including Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Drama, Business Studies and Economics.

CBSE Exams and Assessment

The CBSE exam table is structured differently to state board curricula. Rather than having three exams spread throughout the year, there are continuous forms of assessment called Formative Assessments (FA) and one exam called the Summative Assessment (SA). The CBSE board curriculum is split across two semesters, and you can find more details below:

Semester One (FA1)

The Formative Assessment consists of three activities, and children will gain a mark out of 10 for each. One is an individual activity involving the creation of a chart, model or project, another a similar group-based activity. There is also a pen and paper exam.

Semester Two (FA2)

Semester two includes the same FA as semester one, but also the Summative Assessment. This is a written exam (90% theory, 10% practical) worth a total of 30 marks.

The total marks available each semester is 50, which are added up to give children a score out of 100 for each academic year.

CBSE Exam Score Conversion

Below is a chart showing GPA Criteria of CBSE curriculum:

Marks Range Grade Grade Point
91-100 A1 10
81-90 A2 9
71-80 B1 8
61-70 B2 7
51-60 C1 6
41-50 C2 5
33-40 D 4
21-32 E1 -
20 or below E2 -


Advantages of the CBSE Curriculum

If you’re considering a CBSE school for your child, here are some of the key advantages over State Boards:

  • CBSE is focused on students and their wellbeing, it is structured to reduce pressure and increase interest and interactive learning. The curriculum also includes a range of extra-curricular activities that help students learn vital life skills and, importantly, enjoy their education.
  • This low-pressure environment is also considered during exams, with teachers going to great lengths to ensure students are feeling confident and learn from the process. This is evident in the results with very few students failing a CBSE exam. The CBSE announced that 88.78% of students passed class 12 last year.
  • The CBSE programme focuses on physical and mental growth, encouraging students to pursue a sport alongside their studies.
  • The curriculum itself and fun extra-curricular activities help students develop into global citizens, learning about different cultures and broadening their horizons. 
  • Doing your primary and secondary education in a CBSE board gives you an advantage if you plan to pursue future studies from centralised institutions like IIT or AIIMS because the preliminary exams are organised by the CBSE.
  • The CBSE curriculum allows students the flexibility to pursue what they’re interested in. There is no obligation to pick a certain stream, and it means students can follow their passion and develop a love for learning.


If you believe that your child would benefit from studying the CBSE curriculum, Oakridge International School is an ambitious school that offers a premium education under the guidance of leading educators. Our students achieve world-class exam results and go on to find success in higher education and beyond. We have five different campuses in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam and Mohali, and you can learn more about the CBSE education we provide on our website.


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