Indian School Certificate

ISC chemistry paper put off at the last minute

Jhinuk Mazumdar
Jhinuk Mazumdar
Posted on 27 Feb 2024
05:40 AM
ISC examinees and guardians outside Calcutta Girls School on Monday.

ISC examinees and guardians outside Calcutta Girls School on Monday. Pictures by Pradip Sanyal

Exam to be held on March 21; council cites ‘unforeseen circumstances’ for postponement

The ISC (Class XII) chemistry paper, which was scheduled for Monday, was cancelled barely an hour and a half before the examination was to begin.

Thousands of students arrived at their examination venues and learnt that the test had been put off. Many of them went home “confused” and “disturbed”, teachers reported.

The examination will now be held on March 21, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) said.


The council, which conducts the school-leaving exams, cited “unforeseen circumstances” for the postponement of Monday’s test.

School principals who Metro spoke to said they could not remember another instance in at least 20 years of an ISC exam having been postponed at the last moment.

“Please note, the ISC Year 2024 Chemistry Paper 1 (Theory) Examination, scheduled for Monday, 26th February 2024, has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. The ISC Year 2024 Chemistry Paper 1 (Theory) Examination has been rescheduled for Thursday, 21st March 2024, 2pm. You are requested to kindly disseminate this information to all concerned,” reads the CISCE circular that was sent to the heads all of ISC examination centres.

The test was scheduled to start at 2pm and question papers were to be handed to students at 1.45. Students get 15 minutes to read the questions.

The notice announcing the postponement of the exam outside Calcutta Girls School on Monday.

The notice announcing the postponement of the exam outside Calcutta Girls School on Monday.

Usually, schools insist that students reach the campus by 1pm because they have to be seated in the examination halls by 1.30pm.

“Half the students were on their way to school when they received the information about the postponement of the exam. Many of those who reached school found it very upsetting,” said Terence Ireland, principal, St James’ School.

Many students who were on their way decided to go to school despite receiving the message about the postponement because they did not want to take any chances.

“Emails were sent to parents about the change. But some of the students still turned up for a reconfirmation and we were at the gate to speak to them and share the rescheduled date,” said Damayanti Mukherjee, principal, Modern High School for

The revised date will upset the plans of many examinees.

“My exam was to end on March 18 but now it has been extended by another three days. I had plans to prepare for the all-India joint entrance examination right after March 18, but now it will be delayed,” said an examinee.

He said he had been preparing for his chemistry paper for five days since finishing the maths paper on February 20. “I will have to do all of that again.”

The council did not ex-plain the “unforeseen circumstances”.

Sangeeta Bhatia, deputy secretary, CISCE, told this newspaper over the phone: “I cannot explain beyond the reason that has been given (in the circular). We have informed the schools that a fresh set of question papers will be sent to the conveners soon.”

Asked if there had been any question leak, Bhatia refused to make any statement. “I cannot give you an affirmation on that,” she said.

The ICSE (Class X) history & civics exam was held as scheduled on Monday.

A council official said “postponement of an examination is not common”.

In a separate circular to the school heads, the council asked the schools to withdraw the question paper from the bank and send it back to the CISCE.

“The ISC Chemistry Paper I (Theory) Examination Question Papers meant for the examination scheduled for Thursday, 26th February 2024; with the assistance of the Chief/Supervising Examiner, must be withdrawn from the bank. This/these Question Paper packet(s) should be handed over to the Convener of your centre at the earliest. A fresh set of Question Papers to be used for the ISC Year 2024 Chemistry Paper I (Theory) Examination, scheduled for Thursday, 21st March 2024, will be sent to the Convener of your school, in due course,” said the circular from CISCE.

The supervising examiners and representatives of the principals had reached the banks to collect the question papers before the postponement was announced.

The council sends question papers to conveners who hand them over to school principals. The principals keeps the question papers in a bank close to the school.

About an hour before the start of each day’s test, the respective question papers are taken out from the bank.

Last updated on 27 Feb 2024
05:43 AM
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