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CBSE vs ICSE - Discover the Differences!

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CBSE vs ICSE - Discover the Differences!

Which is the superior board, CBSE or ICSE?" Should I choose a different state board? Alternatively, "What is the distinction between CBSE and ICSE?" When it comes to providing the best education for their children, every parent faces this academic conundrum. Primary, secondary, and senior secondary levels make up the majority of India's current education system. Furthermore, CBSE and ICSE are India's two most prestigious educational boards.

Parents must be aware of the various characteristics of these two education boards as well as the distinction between CBSE and ICSE to make an informed choice. Therefore, in this article, we will examine these two boards and provide answers to all of your questions.

ICSE vs CBSE Boards: Overview

ICSE stands for "Indian Certificate of Secondary Education," while CBSE is an acronym for "Central Board of Secondary Education."

Both ICSE and CBSE are the most prominent, well-known, and well-liked education boards in the country, and they teach nearly the same subject. To determine which board is superior, CBSE or ICSE, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of their differences. However, the curriculum covered, the breadth of knowledge, and the learning objectives differ. Let's begin by gaining a thorough understanding of each board:

ICSE Board

ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) is one of the most renowned and prestigious boards of education in India, administered by CISCE (Council of Indian School Certificate Examination). The council is a non-governmental education board in India that administers the ICSE examination at the end of the 10th standard. After the 10th standard, ICSE becomes ISC (Indian School Certificate), which examines the 12th standard.

Compared to CBSE, the ICSE curriculum for all classes is considered to be more comprehensive and intricate. Consequently, the ICSE board examinations for the 10th and 12th grades are regarded as the most difficult.

CBSE Board

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is one of the most prominent primary education boards in India, adhering to the national curriculum in addition to several additional subjects. It administers the national-level examinations that students must pass to be admitted to undergraduate engineering and medical programs.

Approved by the National Council of Education and Research Training (NCERT), the board administers two sets of examinations: the All-India Secondary School Examination (AISSE) and the All-India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE).

What is the distinction between the CBSE and ICSE boards?

The primary distinctions between the CBSE and ICSE Boards are listed below. Take a look:


Pedagogy is the most significant distinction between the CBSE and ICSE. CBSE is more concerned with laying a solid foundation to prepare students for competitive examinations such as IIT JEE, NEET, etc. The curriculum is now more organized and structured, making it easier to access.

The ICSE, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on project assignments, with 20% of grades based on internal evaluations. The curriculum emphasises detailed, application-based learning.


Methods of instruction differ between the CBSE and ICSE curriculam. Through a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, ICSE board teaching methods emphasise the application of theoretical concepts and real-world ideas. The CBSE curriculum, on the other hand, consists of fewer subjects to study.

Science and mathematics are the two most emphasized subjects in the CBSE boards, whereas the ICSE board gives equal weight to subjects like art, language, humanities, science, mathematics, etc. The structure of the syllabus is an additional distinction between the CBSE and ICSE curriculums. The ICSE curriculum is comprehensive, detailed, and difficult, whereas the CBSE curriculum is concise and simple.

ICSE offers a variety of languages to study, including Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and others, which lends credence to the question "why is ICSE superior to CBSE?" In addition, it covers a wide range of creative topics, including agriculture, home science, cooking, etc. Consequently, ICSE is superior to CBSE in terms of the breadth of the curriculum.

Competitive Advantage/Entrance Exams

Choosing an education board with the future competitive edge in mind can help your child achieve their career objectives in the most effective way. Because the CBSE board curriculum is based on the 10+2 curriculum, it is the preferred option for students who wish to compete in various competitive exams, such as Medical and Engineering. Students who graduate from the CBSE Board are increasingly taking national-level entrance examinations like IIT JEE and NEET. The curriculum is increasingly theoretical and informative. On the other hand, the ICSE board provides a thorough curriculum to help students prepare for the TOEFL exams.

Language of Instruction

The CBSE board has no language preference, whereas the ICSE board places greater emphasis on the English language, which can help you pass the TOEFL, IELTS, and other standardized exams. In addition, the ICSE Board places greater emphasis on the instruction of literature and language skills that help students develop their personalities. It is another factor that may help you determine whether CBSE or ICSE is the superior board.


CBSE education board administers multiple talent search examinations and provides students with a variety of forms of scholarship, whereas ICSE does not provide its students with any form of scholarship.


In the context of the distinction between CBSE and ICSE, students applying to universities abroad are more likely to accept ICSE. The CBSE board is also widely recognized, but students with an ICSE diploma are typically given greater weight in foreign countries.

Marking Scheme

The total number of marks on the CBSE Board will be 100. Each term will be worth 40 marks for theory and 10 marks for internal assessment, for a total of 100 marks. Each of the two terms will be worth 50 marks. To pass, students must get at least 33% in each subject.

For ICSE, 80% of the marks will come from the external assessment and 20% will come from the internal assessment. The final grade will be the sum of both of your grades.

Board Transfers

In classes 10th and 12th, students from other boards are not accepted by the ICSE Board. Students must have studied with the ICSE in the 9th and 11th grades, respectively, to be admitted to these classes.

Exam Pattern

As of 2022:

The ICSE Board class 10 examination is divided into two tiers: Tier 1 will consist of multiple-choice questions, while Tier 2 will include both subjective and objective questions.

The CBSE board curriculum is divided into two terms: the first term consists of case-based and assertion-reasoning type MCQs, and the second term consists of short and long answers, open-ended questions, and Case and Situation based questions.

Grading system

The CBSE uses a grade-based grading system. Students have a clear understanding of their score on the ICSE because the marks are displayed numerically.



Wrapping Up

Now you know that both boards have advantages and disadvantages. Parents are advised to consider these factors when selecting a school education board by comparing the differences between CBSE and ICSE. However, remember that individual studies and efforts matter more than boards. Regardless of the board, your child can succeed and shine in their career through consistent and diligent effort.

Now that you are aware of all the information regarding CBSE and ICSE, you will definitely look out for various schools offering the same in your region. Skoodos can be of great help to you here and provide you with the list of schools offering CBSE and ICSE in their curriculum. You can check our website and know for yourself.  

Published on: 05 Feb 2023
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