ICSE Vs CBSE – The key differences you need to know | Advantages and Disadvantages


ICSE and CBSE are two very renowned boards both nationally and internationally that the parents take into consideration when opting one for their child. Which boards will be more beneficial for the child’s career is a common question that parents put up when admitting their toddlers to schools. Making the right choice between ICSE vs CBSE is a huge decision to make because your child’s future depends on it. To be capable of making the right decision you should be well-equipped with the distinction between both. 

So, let’s learn about ICSE vs CBSE.

Also read: CBSE board exam preparation

What do CBSE and ICSE stand for? 

The term CBSE stands for Central Board of Secondary Education. This board lies under the authority of the Indian government and is a national-level board intended for public and private schools. The CBSE grants affiliation to roughly 26,054 schools at the national level and to 240 international schools. Schools affiliated with the CBSE follow the NCERT curriculum. 

While ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, this is an examination conducted to provide general education courses with respect to the requirements of the New Education Policy of 1986 for English Medium schools. This examination is conducted under the authority of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations which is a national-level board for school education in India.

Also read: Indian talent olympiad exam

Two exams namely-Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate Examination (ISCE) for classes 10th and 12th are conducted by the CISCE. This is a non-governmental board of education that was established in 1958. The CISCE grants affiliation to over  2,300 schools in India and abroad. 

ICSE Vs CBSE: The key difference

Points of comparison



No. of students who appeared for the exam 2,07,902 18,85,885
Pass percentage 99.33% 91.46%
No. of affiliated schools, 2,341 20,387

Also read: Score good marks in boards

ICSE Vs CBSE: The Advantages and the disadvantages

Let’s learn the advantages and disadvantages of the ICSE and CBSE 

Advantages of CBSE Board

  • The highly competitive exams like JEE and NEET are based on the CBSE board and follow the NCERT curriculum. 
  • The CBSE syllabus is more facile than the ICSE syllabus. 
  • The syllabus prescribed by the CBSE is compact and has fewer subjects.
  • Secondary subjects are not a compulsion in the CBSE board exam. 
  • The subjects like Chemistry, Physics, and Biology are included in the category of science whereas subjects like History, Civics, and Geography are taken under social science. 
  • Comparing the no. of CBSE-affiliated schools in the country, these are more than ICSE schools. So if a student has to transfer then CBSE offers more choices.
  • This board focuses more on subjects like mathematics and science.

Also check: Career options after 10th

The disadvantages of CBSE Board

  • CBSE emphasizes practical subjects but neglects practical knowledge.
  • Unlike the ICSE, CBSE does not emphasize much on the English language. 
  • Not much attention is given to real-life concepts and more focus is laid on a theory-based manner. 
  • There is a lack of focus on in-depth understanding. 

Also check: CBSE passing marks criteria

Advantages of ICSE Board

  • The syllabus prescribed by the ICSE is complete and comprehensive giving equal coverage to all the fields with equal importance. 
  • For students wanting to pursue their careers in humanities and management, ICSE is a better option because it offers more challenges and is interesting at the same time. 
  • Contradictory to CBSE, the certification provided by the ICSE is recognized throughout the world. Especially by the schools and colleges based abroad. 
  • The students studying from the ICSE board have a good command of the language English compared to the students from other boards. And thus these students are at an advantage when appearing for exams like TOEFL and IELTS.
  • ICSE students tend to perform better in English-based scholarship programs. 
  • Students from this board have a brighter career in literature and language. 
  • Students have the flexibility of choosing the subjects of their choice. 

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Disadvantages of ICSE Board

  • The syllabus prescribed by the ICSE is immense right from the lower classes so, the students might feel burdened. 
  • The marking scheme followed by the ICSE is highly strict which can affect the overall score of the students. 

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