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ICSE vs CBSE: What is the Difference Between Them?

ICSE vs CBSE: What is the Difference Between Them?

ICSE vs CBSE: The Difference

During the admission process and selecting between which board is best suitable for your child can be a tough task, especially when it is your first child’s admission as many people have different opinions when it comes to education and a child’s career decision making.

ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, and CBSE stands for Central Board of Secondary Education. These 2 boards are the most recognized ones in India. Both the boards offer high quality syllabus that prepares the child really well for their future career decisions and in life. Well, let us understand what these 2 boards have to offer.

What is CBSE Board?

CBSE or the Central Board of Secondary Education promotes public and private schools. The syllabus encourages better logical capabilities, and focuses on Science and Math. This board also prepares students who are applying for examinations like JEE, NEET etc.

What is ICSE Board?

ICSE board or Indian Certificate of Secondary Education has a more comprehensive syllabus and covers more subjects compared to CBSE. ICSE board is accepted all around the globe and is helping for students opting higher education in abroad.

ICSE vs CBSE: Comparison

Before you go ahead and decide which board is best suitable for your child, let us understand certain parameters between the 2 boards so you as parents get a little clarity and it gets easier to decide.

Here is the ICSE and CBSE board comparison based on various parameters:

1. ICSE vs CBSE: Pedagogy

ICSE demands for more of project work where 20% marks are selected via internal valuations. The syllabus demands application based learning and detailed learning.

CBSE demands a strong foundation that prepares students for competitive exams. The syllabus is more structured and organized which makes it easy to follow.

2. ICSE vs CBSE: Syllabus

As mentioned above, CBSE syllabus focuses on Science and Math but it also tried to balance it out between art and humanities. Till Class 10 in CBSE board students study Science subject which comprises of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. CBSE board follows the all-India curriculum and is much better in theoretical knowledge.

ICSE offers a wide range of languages and subjects to study like – English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and creative subjects like agriculture, home science, humanities, arts, and cooking.  Students applying for scholarship exams or TOEFL can benefit in scoring well from opting the ICSE board.

3. ICSE vs CBSE: Instruction of Medium

CBSE does not have any preference of any language, whereas ICSE give more importance to the English language which again can be beneficial for applying in TOEFL and other standard exams. ICSE also emphasis on teaching literature and language skills that help develop skills and personality development.

4. ICSE vs CBSE: Acceptance

In comparison between the 2 boards, ICSE has more weightage for students applying in universities abroad. CBSE board also is accepted widely but ICSE tends to have more weightage. If your child is opting for high education in India, CBSE board without a doubt will be accepted and be the ideal choice.

5. ICSE vs CBSE: Ease of Transfer

CBSE board is the most preferred board across India. Many school, universities in India are affiliated with this board, hence it becomes easier for your child to get admission without any hassle. ICSE affiliated schools are more beneficial for students opting for foreign universities and schools.


National level entrance exams like IIT-JEE, and NEET become even more ambitious for students who pass out of CBSE board. Since CBSE syllabus is more informative and theoretical, it makes it easier to approach the entrance exams. Picking an education board for your child by understanding the competitive advantage between the 2 boards can help you & your child accomplish his/her career goals in the long run. ICSE board has a very in-depth and analytical approach towards their syllabus which makes it extensive and complex.


As the table mentioned below, you can see the following 3 categories. Let us explain how the grades are allotted for CBSE & ICSE boards. The grading system for CBSE board opts for one particular manner which is – students that fall under the mark range 91-100 are marked as A1 with a 10-grade point.

ICSE board exams for class 10 are based on 3 groups which are –

Group 1 – All subjects are mandatory

Group 2 – Students can choose any 2 subjects

Group 3- Student needs to select only one subject

The grading system for the board also goes around 80% from externals for both Group 1 and 2 subjects, while 20% is from internal assessments. However, for Group 3, the grading system is 50% from both externals and internals.

Mark Range Grades Grade Point
91-100 A1 10
81-90 A2 9
71-80 B1 8
61-70 B2 7
51-60 C1 6
41 -50 C2 5
33-40 D 4
21-30 E1
0-20 E2

8. ICSE vs CBSE: Exam Pattern

CBSE board exam pattern has 2 types of assessments – formative assessments where when each term ends there will be an exam & second summative assessment. For class 10 the exam pattern will be each of 100 marks where 80 is theory and 20 is for practical, internals and project work.

The ICSE exam pattern for class 10 is a math question paper where 2.5 hours are given to solve it. The math paper will have 2 parts – part A & part B. Part A will consist of mandatory 40 marks short questions & part B will consist of 7 questions where if 4 answered correctly will give you 40 marks. Meanwhile for Science subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Biology, each paper is of 2 hours, which again has 2 parts. Part A – which carries 1 mandatory short question of 40 marks and Part B with 6 questions out of which minimum 4 should be answered to get another 40 marks.

9. ICSE vs CBSE: Difficulty Level

After discussing various types of differences between the 2 boards, one must wonder the difficulty levels of this board too. ICSE Syllabus is considered to be more difficult than CBSE. Why? Because the ICSE syllabus has more internal assessments and concepts that can be applied to practical exams.

10. ICSE vs CBSE: Availability of Tutors and Schools

In Delhi, it can be a little difficult to find ICSE teachers due to the low number of schools available. Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata will be the perfect city to find ICSE schools and tutors as the number of ICSE schools is higher.

Whereas for CBSE, you are bound to find school in any state. It is also a big plus point for parents who will be on a transfer regularly.

ICSE vs CBSE: Their Pros and Cons!

Both ICSE & CBSE boards are recognized by most colleges and universities in India, but there are always pros and cons to consider when it comes to shortlisting colleges as per the board. Let us see what they are –

CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education)

  • Pros
  • CSBE board is easier
  • More school options in India
  • Secondary subjects are not mandatory
  • CBSE hold Hindi & English both as a teaching medium
  • Cons
  • Lack of practical knowledge
  • All subjects are theory based
  • Less emphasis on in-depth training

ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education)

  • Pros
  • All subjects are given equal importance
  • Certified around the globe
  • Helps in students opting for foreign universities
  • More flexibility in choosing subjects
  • Cons
  • Difficulty level is high
  • Students feel pressurized due to extensive subjects
  • Grading system is strict

ICSE vs CBSE: Which is Better?

Both ICSE and CBSE boards are well recognized in India. ICSE is an Indian private board considered as a more affordable option for international schools with an international syllabus. CBSE is a more national board that has a syllabus accepted to every type of student.

ICSE vs CBSE: Which is Difficult?

ICSE board is one of the toughest boards which is managed by CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination) compared to CBSE. Both have their own levels and it depends on how a student performs. With proper planning, students can excel in any board.

The Bottom Line

All things considered, based on their advantages and disadvantages, parents can now have a better understanding as to which board is best suitable based on all the factors. Both boards offer high quality education, so based on what you want for your child in the future, you can finally take a decision.

Clara Global School is a co-education school offering CBSE board in Pune providing world-class education with best teaching methods. Be assured that your child is going to be in great hands and an excellent learning environment.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Sivanthi Public school

    Really useful article. Most of the parents confused about icse vs cbse. In this article you explained very well. Thanks share this wonderful post with us,

  2. Domiinic Savio

    You have done an extensive study. Congrats

  3. Thajrin

    This article gave me a clear idea between the two boards! Unbiased pros and cons 👍🏻

  4. RAVI

    Clearly explained. touched all d points that rise in parents mind.. really helpful article.. great work..

  5. Bhavani TV

    All the queries in parents mind is completely answered and confusions are clarified . Pros and Cons are discussed very well. I found the comparison very useful.

  6. Rohit

    This is really worth article to read before choosing the school for your ward. Thank for the research and analysis.

  7. Swati Chowdhury

    Very useful article for parents to understand these two boards, widely explain everything in every perspective. Thanks a lot

  8. Pavani

    Thank you for your knowledgeable post. This article clears my doubts .

  9. Lopamudra Pattanayak

    Very useful article. It’s an eye opener for parents like me.Thanks a lot

  10. shamita

    Thank you for an informative blog. I was apprehensive about studying in an ICSE and CBSE syllabus. I was finding it difficult to choose to study in an ICSE School or CBSE Syllabus school. The article cleared my lot of doubts regarding the difference between ICSE and CBSE. And now I am relieved to study in ICSE School in Siliguri

  11. kalanithi

    Simple And briefly i can understant, And realy easy to clear to my mind.
    And main think your Article Understand All type of parents.

  12. Ananta

    Very informative article, thank you

  13. Km Ramesh

    This article very useful parents. most of the parents confused icse or cbse and and very well explained in this article thank you

  14. Shaik abdulkhadar

    సివిల్స్ కోసం ప్రిపేర్ అయ్యే వాళ్లకు ఏ సిలబస్ మంచిది CBSE నా లేకపోతే ICSE నా


    Thanks for the article which gave very good explanation about icse and cbse and clarified our doubts.

  16. LBS School

    Thank you for the post on different types of courses. Parents look for this information frequently. Nice post..

  17. Sandhu

    Icse me tenth tk international study hoti hai kiya

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