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Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is the largest educational board in the Country that provides stress-free, student-centric, and holistic education without compromising on the quality. CBSE conducts the Secondary and Senior Secondary Examination across the Country. The CBSE was given its ‘Central Board of Secondary Education’ in the year 1952 and was reconstituted in the year 1962 when its jurisdiction was extended. Since education is a subject on the concurrent list of the Indian constitution – most of the states have formed their own educational boards with different curriculum. However, CBSE still has the advantage of being the most preferred board all over India. This article will help you decide what subjects to choose for 12th. Read on!

The CBSE Curriculum

In the CBSE curriculum, there are five subjects to choose for 12th for pursuing a Science/Technology faculty related courses. They are:

  1. Physics
  2. Chemistry
  3. Mathematics
  4. A language course
  5. Dependent on the student’s idea

Choosing the five subjects in CBSE is based on the idea of what the student wants out of his academics. Generally, students preparing for entrance exams and solely hoping to excel in that tend to choose subjects that go light on their preparation, so that their focus can be on the various entrance examinations like JEE Mains and JEE Advanced, AIPMT, AIIMS, etc.

The Main Streams

The subjects to choose for 12th will heavily depend on the stream you choose to pursue. The broad three streams after class X for students to select are- Science, Commerce and Humanities/Arts. These three streams are broadly categorized as per their course structure and subjects, explained below:

  • Science: This field is related to Medical studies and Engineering, with subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
  • Commerce: This stream is related to trade, commerce, business and financial marketing. If you have a strong mathematics and financial abilities, Commerce is best for you.
  • Humanities/Arts: This stream is the widest of all, and is related to education in subjects like History, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, languages, Anthropology, Human Resources, journalism etc.

For the year 2014, CBSE had offered 186 subjects that cover a wide range of topics from English to Geospatial Technology, but in this article about subjects to choose for 12th, we will be covering what and how the popular choices are chosen by students every year in CBSE.

The language course

First up, the language course. Since nearly all the national colleges teach in English medium and the material given for the courses, there is very extensive, choosing English as your language course isn’t a bad idea. But there are two types of courses in CBSE– Functional and Core.

Functional English is less demanding. It has one book to prepare and the syllabi is simpler compared to Core English. In CBSE, Core English has two books – one for prose and poetry and one for non-detailed short stories. The syllabus is bigger but emphasis is given on grammar and reading comprehension which will be useful to have basic ideas of the type of questions asked in higher examinations like CAT, XAT, GRE, and GMAT.

The confusing fifth subject

In CBSE, the fifth subject is a question of the student’s mentality. If he/she wants to prepare for JEE Mains and JEE Advanced and in turn wants to pursue a career in engineering, and this might be of two aspects:

  • Physical Education
  • Computer Science
  • IP

If the student wants to focus more on the entrance exam itself then the fifth subject is usually one with less syllabus load. I have seen people take Physical Education for this option, which has a single book to prepare in Class 11 and 12 of CBSE where most of the syllabus is pretty common general knowledge about Sports and Fitness. The exam questions for Physical Education are the same every year and shuffling through CBSE past year papers should be easily walking you through the exams. Other options in this aspect would be Music, easier languages like French, etc.

If the student is looking for career paths and hoping the fifth subject preps them for it, then these are the choices:

Computer Science: Nowadays, the IT industry is blooming and various new startups as well as the established companies and firms look to hire people who are adept in the field of CSE. Though one might not get CSE as their major degree, working on CSE’s topics like Data Structures can land you jobs which pay well and these type of jobs are probably the most abundant now. CBSE 11th and 12th class Computer Science course preps you with the Fundamentals of Object Oriented Programming through C++ and SQL later which forms the basis of understanding CSE related topics like Data Structures and Database Management which have more job opportunities. If understood the topic well, it can be a bonus struck as a chord in your resume.

Maths and/or Biology

Biology: This should be a no-brainer when the student prepares for medical entrance exams like NEET, AIIMS, AIPMT and the various state entrance exams. Some students take this in place of Chemistry/Mathematics and take a lighter subject for the 5th subject to relieve them off pressure. While others choose PCM and Biology in CBSE as a way to prep them both for Medical and Engineering entrance exams and there have been cases of people coming out with flying colours that way by managing their time and resources well (lots to study!).

Every year, lakhs of students face a gradual divergence of paths after their 10th Standard exams, where they have to select their choice of subjects among Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology, which they wish to continue with in their 11th and 12th Standards, and possibly throughout their careers. Whereas Physics and Chemistry are compulsory subjects for the students considering the science stream, they do have an option of choosing whether they want to study Mathematics and/or Biology with the aforementioned two. Here, we will talk about picking  up PCMB, i.e., both Maths AND Biology along with the usual selection of Physics and Chemistry.

Following are the main advantages of choosing the PCMB combination of subjects:

  • Keeps a lot of options open for getting admission into prestigious institutions in the fields of engineering, medicine, basic sciences and allied fields.
  • Provides a strong foundation for pursuing the course of your choice while keeping open the road to interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Accentuates your profile for both research and industrial fields.

Following are some of the exciting applications of biology in engineering where the additional knowledge of the subject will prove to be significant:

  • Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering
  • Cognitive Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence
  • Internet of Things and Smart Wearables
  • Healthcare, Bioinformatics and Data Mining
  • Swarm Algorithms and Robotics
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Biochemical and Biophysical Processes
  • Nanotechnology

The additional insights gained while studying biology will add on to your understanding of the natural and biological phenomenons, which will be very much useful in daily life. To know more about choosing maths along with biology, you can refer our article over here which has a detailed FAQs to clear all of your doubts.

Importance of subjects chosen

The subjects you choose will be very important in times to come since it will determine how you manage your studies and which career path you choose. Here is a list of important points for the subjects to choose for 12th:

  • Importance in JEE Mains: The students shouldn’t forget is that the five subjects you choose in CBSE will be considered as a part of your JEE Mains rank evaluation and some colleges take JEE Mains rank for admission. So whatever subjects you choose, make sure you understand them at the end of the curriculum and that you score well in your AISSCE exams.
  • Time Management: If you end up taking subjects you can’t manage, it will ultimately affect your results. Hence make sure that you choose subjects that challenge you but still do not affect your performance. You will be preparing for your ultimate entrance exams during these years and hence cannot afford to choose the subjects that take up your time for no reason.
  • Interest and goal: Formulate your goal very clearly as to which stream you want to pursue. When it comes to the fifth subject, it boils down to how much time you can devote to it and how much you are interested in it. If you end up taking a subject which you don’t feel interested in or is not compatible with your goal, you will just end up wasting your time and energy.
  • Peers and friends: It is also important that you consult your peers and friends as to what subjects they are choosing. This is not an important factor but when your friends are around you, you’ll learn better and stay more focused towards your goal.

Deciding your subjects is surely not an easy job, especially for a class 10 pass out. Be very informed and wise regarding the subjects to choose for 12th. Consult your seniors, teachers, and parents before you make an informed decision. That’s all for now. Toppr wishes you the very best in your future endeavors!

Hope you liked our article on subjects to choose for 12th. Here is the list of some more information on subjects to choose for higher studies.

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