Unlocking CBSE Results: Understanding Essential Repeats, Passing Marks, and Key Actions

From 2020, the CBSE shook up its Class 12 and Class 10 Board Exam result announcements with a notable addition: the introduction of “Essential Repeat.” This departure from the traditional “Fail” label raised questions about its significance and implications. So, let’s delve into what exactly “Essential Repeat” means in the context of CBSE Board Exam results.

Defining “Essential Repeat”

For the first time in 2020, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) opted to employ the term “Essential Repeat” in place of the conventional “Fail” designation in the results of both Class 10 and Class 12 Board Exams. This decision stemmed from a recognition of the undue stress and anxiety that the term “Fail” often triggers among students.

CBSE’s rationale behind this shift was simple: to eliminate the negative connotations associated with failure and provide a more constructive framework for students to understand their academic standing. By replacing “Fail” with “Essential Repeat,” CBSE aimed to convey the need for additional effort and improvement without discouraging or demoralizing students.

Contrasting “Fail” with “Essential Repeat”

The distinction between “Fail” and “Essential Repeat” may seem subtle, but it carries significant implications for students. Essentially, both terms denote a shortfall in meeting the required academic standards, but their approach differs markedly.

With “Essential Repeat,” CBSE refrains from explicitly labeling a student as a failure. Instead, it signals that the student hasn’t met the necessary criteria for progression or certification. For instance, if a Class 12 student fails to secure passing marks in two or more main subjects, their result will reflect an “Essential Repeat” status.

Similarly, Class 10 students who fall short of passing marks in three or more subjects will encounter the “Essential Repeat” designation in their results. This designation signifies that the student hasn’t attained the minimum requirements for either advancing to the next academic level or qualifying for supplementary exams.

Exam highlights and Exam Patterns in the table below.

Mode of examOffline
Exam duration3 hours
Core subjectsMathematics, Science and Social Science
Question paper pattern– 50% Competency-focused questions (case-based or source based)
– 20% Select response-type questions (MCQs)
– 30% Constructed response questions (Short answer/long answer questions)
Total marks100 (Theory + Practical)
Passing marks33 % in each subject
Negative markingNo

In essence, “Essential Repeat” serves as a gentle prompt for students to reassess their academic performance and focus on areas needing improvement. Rather than viewing it as a setback, students can approach it as an opportunity for growth and development.

By embracing “Essential Repeat” as part of its result terminology, CBSE underscores its commitment to nurturing a supportive and encouraging learning environment. This shift not only promotes academic resilience but also fosters a mindset of continuous learning and improvement among students.


Essential Repeat” represents a progressive departure from the conventional notion of failure, emphasizing the importance of perseverance and self-improvement in academic pursuits. It embodies CBSE’s proactive approach to student welfare and underscores its dedication to fostering a positive and inclusive educational ecosystem.

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