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All About CBSE Problem Solving Assessment PSA

The Central Board of Secondary Education introduced the PSA in 2013 for assessing life skills of students. Here’s a closer look at some of the most important aspects you need to know about PSA.

In 2013, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) introduced a new mechanism to assess life skills of students. Known as the Problem Solving Assessment (PSA), the aim of this new evaluation system was to test creative thinking, decision making and communication in students.

PSA 2013 was only for the students of Class IX and XI. This year’s PSA was held on January 18 (Sunday) from 10 am o 12:00 Noon in all CBSE affiliated schools, with the exception of those that fall in Winter Bound Areas. In those areas, the test was held on October 19, 2013 (Saturday).

The students were given the option to improve their PSA scores in Class X as they could appear in the test with Class IX students of the academic session 2014-15. The Board made it clear that the best scores shall be reflected in the final-year’s certificate (provided the student applies for improvement).

PSA is not a subject based exam. It is closely related to the skills learnt through understanding the concepts associated with different subjects. A huge chunk of the qualitative reasoning based questions can be answered on the basis of the skills taught in Social Science classes. Marks in qualitative reasoning, language convention, and quantitative reasoning are reflected in English/Hindi, Social Science and Mathematics /Science (same) respectively.

There is no negative marking in CBSE - all questions will be objective multiple choice. In fact, PSA is not based on any particular course or syllabus. All questions are based on the following three themes:

  1. Quantitative Reasoning
  2. Qualitative Reasoning
  3. Language Conventions


The PSA is counted towards the FA-4, meaning it will add 10 per cent to the overall assessment of Class IX. The assessment is also carried forward to the FA4 in class X. The score will be reflected in Mathematics, Social Science, Science and one language (Hindi or English).

"It is a widely acknowledged fact that research and analytical skills, ability to apply basic concepts of different subjects, solve application-based problems in mathematics and science, comprehend and analyse written texts and effective communication are the skills which ensure success in higher studies and professional areas," CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi stated in a circular sent to all schools affiliated with the CBSE prior to implementing the PSA.

"These dimensions of 21st century life skills will greatly assist learners in acquiring higher order thinking skills such as problem solving and decision-making,” Joshi added.