Securing admission for your child in the best school while trying to understand and select the different boards available can be challenging. This holds true especially when it is your child’s first admission, and you get different opinions from various people.

All parents must experience this academic dilemma when choosing the best school that offers their child the best education. The present education system of India is primarily organized into Primary, Secondary, and then Senior Secondary levels.

ICSE vs CBSE Boards: Overview

Both the CBSE board as well as the ICSE board have their set of advantages that can help better your child’s future. However, you must understand that these boards cannot be clubbed due to their differences. The education system that is being followed, the type of exposure offered, and the relevance of both the curriculum play a crucial role in your child’s personality and career development. Let us go through the details of both the CBSE board and the ICSE board for you to understand and know the major differences between the ICSE and CBSE boards.

  • Full Form of CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education
  • Full Form of ICSE: Indian Certificate of Secondary Education

Overview of the CBSE Board

The Central Board of Secondary Education, or CBSE, endorses private and public schools. This syllabus is set to encourage better logical abilities within students and concentrates on Mathematics and Science. The CBSE board also helps students prepare for entrance exams for NEET, JEE, and so on.

  • The CBSE prospectus is completely based on the NCERT syllabus.
  • CBSE offers textbooks and other English, Urdu and Hindi study materials on its website.
  • The CBSE board conducts board examinations for classes 10th and 12th every year in the month of March.
  • CBSE supervises most competitive exams, including AIPMT, JEE, NEET, and so on.
  • There are close to 24000 CBSE-affiliated schools in India.
  • CBSE sustains a student-centered approach by offering interactive study material.

Overview of the ICSE Board

The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education or ICSE comprises a detailed syllabus and more subjects than the CBSE board. The ICSE board is well-accepted worldwide and helps students pursuing higher education abroad.

  • The ICSE board offers schooling from Classes 1 to 12.
  • There are close to 2300 CISCE-affiliated schools in India.
  • In the ICSE board, students must take exams in six main subjects and do socially valuable and productive work.
  • The ICSE follows an application-based teaching methodology with an extensive curriculum.
  • In the ICSE board, the subjects are divided into three groups. The first list, or the Group 1 subjects, consists of the mandatory subjects, and the Group 2 and Group 3 subjects allow the students to select the subject of their choice.

1. Pedagogy (ICSE Vs CBSE)

The main difference between the ICSE and CBSE boards is the Pedagogy, and ICSE requires more focus on the project assignments. 20% of marks are awarded through internal assessments. The ICSE syllabus is mainly based on detailed as well as application-based learning.

The CBSE board concentrates more on building a solid foundation to help students prepare for various competitive exams, such as NEET, IIT JEE, etc. The syllabus for the board is more organized, thus making it easier for the students to understand and study.

2. Syllabus (CBSE Vs ICSE)

  • The main difference when you compare both the ICSE and CBSE syllabus can easily be experienced in the applied teaching methodologies. The teaching methods in the ICSE board depend on using theoretical concepts and real-life ideas, concentrating on the complete understanding of the subject. However, when it comes to the CBSE board has a more compressed syllabus with lesser subjects.
  • ICSE board always places equal importance on all subjects, such as Arts, Humanities, Science, Language, etc.
  • Another very main difference that we see in the CBSE and ICSE syllabus is the actual structure of the syllabus. ICSE includes a complex and detailed syllabus. However, the CBSE board consists of a very precise, as well as accessible syllabus for the pupil.
  • One thing that you must note while you look for the answer to the question “What is the difference between class 10 CBSE and class 10 ICSE?” is ICSE provides the option of a broad range of languages, for example, Kannada, English, Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, and so on. Also, it comprises creative subjects, such as home science, agriculture, computer applications, etc.

3. Competitive Edge (CBSE Vs ICSE)

Choosing the right education board for your child’s future by keeping a competitive edge in mind helps your child achieve their professional goals without adding stress to their lives.

  • The ICSE board comprises a detailed syllabus that helps the child prepare for TOEFL and GRE exams.
  • However, the CBSE board may be preferred by students who wish to prepare for competitive engineering and medical exams since the CBSE board syllabus is more informative and theoretical.

4. Medium of Instruction (CBSE Vs ICSE)

  • When you look at the medium of instruction, then the ICSE Board concentrates more on the language and literature skills that help students develop and improve their personalities and other social skills to a great extent. This is a crucial point to consider that may help you know the major differences between ICSE and CBSE Boards.
  • On the other hand, the CBSE board does not really emphasize the English language. Thus, regarding this point, your child may be better off choosing the ICSE board. It can help them clear their IELTS, TOEFL, and other standard exams to study abroad.

5. Acceptance (CBSE Vs ICSE)

When you compare both boards with acceptance, you can safely say that the ICSE board carries more weightage for students who want to apply for colleges or universities abroad. The CBSE board is also accepted globally, but then the ICSE board generally has more weightage. You have to understand and decide if your child will choose to pursue their studies in India post their 10th or 11th board examination. If that is the case, the CBSE board is the ideal choice.

6. Marking Scheme (CBSE Vs ICSE)

  • In the ICSE board, 80% of marks are granted in external assessments and then 20 % from internal assessments. For the final marks, the average of both the internal and external assessments is taken.
  • In the CBSE Board, the total marks are given out of 100, and each term comprises 40 marks in theory, and ten marks are given for internal assessments, which adds to 100 marks. To pass the board exam, students must score at least 33% in each subject.

7. Ease of Transfer (CBSE Vs ICSE)

As the CBSE board is the most favored in India, most schools and universities in India are affiliated with this board. Thus, selecting the CBSE board leads to ease of transfer to any other city within India. ICSE-affiliated schools benefit students who opt to study in foreign schools and universities. Also, you must note that the ICSE Board only accepts students from other boards in standards 10 and 12. To be qualified for admission in classes 10 and 12, the students must have studied in the ICSE board in 9th and 11th standards, respectively.

8. Exam Pattern (CBSE Vs ICSE)

  • In the ICSE Board, the 10th board examination is separated into two tiers. Tier 1 includes MCQs, while Tier 2 comprises objective and subjective questions.
  • When it comes to the exam pattern of the CBSE board, then the syllabus is split into two terms. The first term is assertion-reasoning and case-based type MCQs, while term 2 has long and short answers, open-ended as well as situation and case-based questions.

9. Grading System (CBSE Vs ICSE)

CBSE follows an alphabetical grading system approach, whereas ICSE assesses the applicant through the marks obtained.

The following table depicts the CBSE grading system:

Grade Grade Point Range of Marks
A1 10 91-100
A2 9 81-90
B1 8 71-80
B2 7 61-70
C1 6 51-60
C2 5 41-50
D 4 33-40
E1 and E2 0 21-32

The following table depicts the ICSE grading pattern:

Grade Standard
1/2 Very Good
3/ 4/ 5 Pass with Credit
6/7 Pass
8/ 9 Fail


CBSE or ICSE, Which is Better for the Future?

While you are trying to understand and know the major differences between ICSE and CBSE boards, the dilemma of selecting the right education board for your child can be solved to some extent. Remember that the ICSE board allows your child to develop holistically as it works on their personality, and the CBSE board will enable your child to achieve their career goals. You must understand that a child can ace any board with proper guidance and planning. Most people are of the opinion that those who want to pursue NEET or JEE generally prefer the CBSE board, while those who look forward to studying abroad or literature studies usually prefer the ICSE board.


This blog has provided all the information to help you know the major differences between ICSE and CBSE boards. Parents should review all the points highlighted in this blog while choosing the right board for their child. However, we would like to highlight the fact that more than the board of education, what matters is the child’s interest, efforts, studies and proper guidance from parents. Parents should make an informed decision with all the factors in mind and also see that the child is happy at the end of the day regardless of the board they decide to pursue.