CBSE and ICSE are considered to be among the top board exams in the country for class 10 students. Both are well-received and recognised domestically and internationally. That being said, there are a number of differences between the two exams, and these differences play a vital role in helping students make the right choices when preparing for their 12th board exams and subsequent college admissions.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is the full form of ICSE?
ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. It was made to provide an examination in the general education course in line with the requirements of the New Education Policy of 1986 for English medium schools.
What is the full form of CBSE?
CBSE stands for Central Board of Secondary Education. It is a national-level Indian education board meant for private and public schools regulated and operated by the Indian Union Government.
What is the ICSE board?
ICSE is not a board; rather it is an examination conducted by The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), a national-level board for school education in India. They conduct two examinations in India – namely the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate Examination (ISCE) for Classes 10 and 12 respectively. The board was established in 1958. Over 2,300 schools in India and abroad are affiliated to the CISCE. The board, being privately held, is recognised as a ‘Non-Governmental Board of School Education’.
What is the CBSE board?
The Central Board of Secondary Education or the CBSE is a national level board of education in India for private and public schools. It is managed and controlled by the Indian Government. The board gives affiliation to roughly 26,054 schools in India and 240 schools in foreign countries. The CBSE is amongst the most popular education boards in India and schools affiliated to the CBSE strictly follow the NCERT curriculum.
What is the difference between ICSE and CBSE board?
Here are the key differences between ICSE and CBSE, based on data from 2020.
|Point of Comparison||ICSE||CBSE|
|No. of students who appeared for the exam||2,07,902||18,85,885|
|No. of affiliated schools||2,341||20,387|
Advantages and disadvantages of CBSE and ICSE:
Each board has its own set of pros and cons. Let’s look into them:
|Point of Comparison||ICSE||CBSE|
|Syllabus difficulty||Relatively Harder||Relatively Easier|
|Number of subjects||Relatively High||Relatively Low|
|Private candidates allowed?||No||Yes|
|Medium of instructions||English||English & Hindi|
|Global recognition||Highly Recognised||Relatively Good|
|Focus on practical knowledge||High||Moderate|
|JEE & NEET preparedness||Moderate||Relatively High|
|English language skills||High||Relatively Low|
|Internal assessment weightage||High||Relatively Low|
|Subject selection flexibility||High||Relatively Low|
|Evaluation or Checking||Strict||Relatively Lenient|
|Type of board||Private||Government|
|School Fees||Relatively High||Relatively Low|
*Deduced from our interaction with students from both these boards.
Advantages of CBSE:
Disadvantages of CBSE:
Advantages of ICSE:
Disadvantages of ICSE:
Difference between CBSE and ICSE:
It is important to understand how CBSE and ICSE differ from each other before opting for either of them. Each board has advantages over the other and depending on what future the student wishes to aim for, the choice might change:
CBSE vs ICSE: Grading system
The CBSE offers a grading system based on alphabets whereas ICSE evaluates its students based on scores. Grades awarded by the CBSE boards depend on the number of students enrolled under the board for a given academic session. ICSE grades fall in a range from 1 to 9 with 9 being the lowest and 1 being the highest.
ICSE Grading system:
|3,4,5||Pass with Credit|
CBSE Grading system:
|Grade||Grade Point||Marks Range|
|A1||10||91 to 100|
|A2||9||81 to 90|
|B1||8||71 to 80|
|B2||7||61 to 70|
|C1||6||51 to 60|
|C2||5||41 to 50|
|D||4||33 to 40|
|E1 & E2||0||21 to 32|
1. Is ICSE better than CBSE?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Both CBSE and ICSE(CISCE) are high quality boards but offer very different advantages. For example, CBSE is more suited for students who want to crack competitive exams like JEE and NEET as the syllabus is tailored for that. On the other hand ICSE helps students build strong careers in arts, humanities and management plus any English language related careers.
2. Is ICSE harder than CBSE?
This is a very subjective question and the answer can vary from student to student. But generally speaking ICSE follows a very extensive syllabus with a lot of emphasis on practical knowledge with weightage for internal assessments. There is also a special preference for the English language. CBSE on the other hand offers fewer subjects that are compact with explanations to the point. This is why some students feel that ICSE is harder than CBSE.
3. Is ICSE an international board?
The ICSE(CISCE) board is a national level board privately held for school education in India. That being said the board has strong ties with the University Of Cambridge. Giving ICSE a high level of acceptance in foreign schools and universities.
4. Can ICSE students crack NEET?
Students under ICSE/ISC are perfectly capable of cracking NEET. In fact many students entering the top Medical colleges in India are ICSE/ISC students.
5. Can ICSE students crack JEE?
Students under ICSE/ISC are perfectly capable of cracking the JEE. In fact many students entering the top technical colleges in India like the IITs and NITs have been ICSE/ISC students.
6. How many ICSE schools are there in India?
ICSE or the CISCE board has roughly 2300 schools affiliated to the board in India.
7. What is the full form of ICSE?
ICSE - Indian Certificate of Secondary Education.
8. Is ICSE and ISC the same?
The simple answer is no. ICSE is the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and is the examination conducted for class 10 students whereas ISC is The Indian School Certificate. The ISC exam is conducted for class 12 students. Both exams are conducted by the CISCE board. But generally people out of ignorance refer to the CISCE board as the ICSE board which is incorrect.
9. What is the CISCE board?
CISCE is the abbreviation for Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations. It is the board that conducts the ICSE - Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and the ISC - The Indian School Certificate exams for classes 10 and 12 respectively. That being said, people interpret the CISCE board as the ICSE board, a flawed usage that has become a popular standard throughout the country.
10. CBSE or ICSE which is better for your future?
Both CBSE and ICSE offer students distinct advantages. Generally CBSE has been favoured by students who have been aiming for the JEE and NEET examinations. Whereas ICSE has been a favourite among students with an aim of making a career in management, humanities, arts or any English language related profession. Although both ICSE and CBSE are well recognised abroad, ICSE seems to be in the front seat.
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