CBSE 11th Class English Core Syllabus

Course Structure

Units Topics Marks
A Reading Skills 20
B Writing Skills and Grammar 30
C Literary & Long Reading Texts 30
D Speaking and Listening Skills 20
Total 100

Section A: Reading Comprehension

Two unseen passages (including poems) with a variety of questions including 4 marks for vocabulary such as word formation and inferring meaning.

The total range of the 2 passages including a poem or a stanza, will be around 900-1000 words.

  • 550-600 words in length (for note-making and summarising)

  • 350-400 words in length (to test comprehension, interpretation and inference)

  • An unseen poem of about 28-35 lines

The passages could be of any one of the following types −

  • Factual passages, e.g.
    • Illustrations
    • Description
    • Reports
  • Discursive passages involving opinion, e.g.
    • Argumentative
    • Persuasive
  • Literary passages e.g.
    • Extracts from fiction
    • Biography
    • Autobiography
    • Travelogue, etc.

In the case of a poem, the text may be shorter than the prescribed word limit.

SECTION B: Writing Skills and Grammar


  • Short Answer Questions − Based on notice/ poster/ advertisement
  • Long Answer Questions − Letters based on verbal/visual input.

Letter types may include −

  • business or official letters (for making enquiries, registering complaints, asking for and giving information, placing orders and sending replies)

  • letters to the editor (giving suggestions on an issue)

  • application for a job with a bio-data or resume

  • letter to the school or college authorities, regarding admissions, school issues, requirements /suitability of courses, etc.

Note − Very Long Answer Questions include composition in the form of article, speech, report writing or a narrative


The grammar topics that will be tested by using the short answer type and MCQ type questions are −

  • Error Correction, editing tasks
  • Re-ordering of Sentences
  • Transformation of sentences

Note − Different grammatical structures in meaningful contexts will be tested. Item types will include gap filling, sentence re-ordering, dialogue completion and sentence transformation. The grammar syllabus will include determiners, tenses, clauses, modals and Change of Voice.

Section C: Literature and Long Reading Texts

Questions to test comprehension at different levels: literal, inferential and evaluative

  • Hornbill − Textbook published by NCERT

  • Snapshots − Supplementary Reader published by NCERT

  • Very Short Answer Questions − Based on an extract from poetry to test reference to context comprehension and appreciation

  • Short Answer Questions − Based on prose, poetry and plays from both the texts

  • Long Answer Question − Based on prescribed texts to test global comprehension and extrapolation beyond the texts to bring out the key messages and values

  • Long Answer Questions − Based on theme, plot, incidents or event from the prescribed novels

  • Long Answer Question − Based on understanding appreciation, analysis and interpretation of the characters

Note − Values-based questions may be given as long answers in the writing or literature sections.

Long Reading Texts / Novels (either one)

With a view to inculcate the habit of reading among the students, CBSE has introduced compulsory reading of a Long Reading Text - Novel in the English Core Course and will be evaluated in the Term-end Assessments. Schools can opt for either one of the texts −

  • The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (unabridged 1906 Edition)
  • Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington (unabridged 2000 Edition)

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