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CBSE Vs ICSE - Find the Difference and Know the Best Board

By FatimaFebruary 15, 2024
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Know the Major Differences Between ICSE and CBSE Boards

“Which board is the best: CBSE or ICSE?”, “Should I go for any other state board?”, “Where should I admit my child?”, “Which board should I prefer?” or “What is the difference between CBSE and ICSE?”

Every parent goes through this academic dilemma when it comes to providing the best education for their child. The current education system of India is mainly classified into Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary levels. Moreover, CBSE and ICSE are the two most recognized boards of education in India. 

While both of these boards have their distinctive features, parents need to be aware of the various characteristics of these two education boards along with the difference between CBSE and ICSE to make an informed decision. So, here in this article, we will take an insight into these two boards and help to get all your questions answered.

Difference Between CBSE and ICSE: The Answer to the Eternal Debate

Also Read: A Simple Guide To Know the Difference Between ICSE and IGCSE

ICSE vs CBSE Boards: Overview 

Full Form of CBSE and ICSE- ICSE stands for “Indian Certificate of Secondary Education”, and CBSE stands for “Central Board of Secondary Education”.


Both ICSE and CBSE are the two most prominent, recognised and popular education boards in the country with almost the same subject. To understand which board is best CBSE or ICSE, a deep understanding of differences is a must. However, the difference lies in the syllabus covered, the scope of knowledge, and the learning goals. Let’s start with learning about each board in detail:

ICSE Board

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

When compared to CBSE, the syllabus of ICSE is considered to be more comprehensive and intricate for all the classes. Owing to this, the classes 10th and 12th board exams of ICSE are considered to be the toughest board exams.

CBSE Board

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is one of the most preferred and primary boards of education in India that follows the national curriculum along with several additional subjects. It conducts the national-level exams for students to provide admissions to different engineering and medical courses at the undergraduate level.

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

What is the Difference Between CBSE and ICSE Boards?

Below are the major differences between the CBSE and ICSE Boards. Take a look:

1. Pedagogy

The first and foremost difference between CBSE and ICSE is the Pedagogy. CBSE is more focused on building a strong foundation to prepare students for competitive exams like IIT JEE, NEET, etc. The syllabus is more structured and organised, making it easy to grab. 

While on the other hand, ICSE stresses more on the project assignments where 20% of marks are selected via internal assessments. The syllabus is based on application-based and detailed learning.

2. Syllabus

  • The difference between CBSE and ICSE syllabus can be seen in the applied teaching methodologies. ICSE board teaching methods rely more on the application of theoretical concepts and real-life ideas through a deep understanding of the subject matter. On other hand, CBSE has a compact syllabus with fewer subjects to study.

  • Science and Mathematics are the two most focused subjects in the CBSE boards while the ICSE board gives equal importance to other subjects also such as Art, Language, Humanities, Science Mathematics, etc.

  • Another difference between CBSE and ICSE syllabus is associated with the structure of the syllabus. ICSE has a detailed, comprehensive, and complex syllabus but the CBSE board has a precise, and easy syllabus for the students.

  • One difference that favours the question “why is ICSE better than CBSE?”, is that ICSE offers a range of languages to study such as Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, etc. Additionally, it covers many creative subjects like agriculture, home science, cooking, etc. 

So, in terms of the scope of the syllabus in ICSE Vs CBSE, ICSE is a win-win situation.

3. Entrance Exams/Competitive Edge

Picking an education board for the betterment of your child by keeping the future competitive edge in mind can help your child accomplish their career goals in the best manner.

Since the CBSE board syllabus is based on the 10+2 curriculum, it makes the board a preferable choice for students who want to appear for various competitive exams such as Medical and Engineering. National-level entrance exams like IIT JEE or NEET are gaining much popularity among students who pass out to CBSE Board. The syllabus is more theoretical and informative.

On the other hand, the ICSE board has an in-depth and extensive syllabus that helps you prepare for the TOEFL exams.

4. Medium of Instruction

The CBSE board doesn’t have any preference for language, whereas the ICSE board puts more focus on the English language which again can help you clear your TOEFL, IELTS and other standard exams.

Additionally, ICSE Board also gives more emphasis on teaching literature and language skills that help students improve their personalities. It is another point that may help you find which board is best CBSE or ICSE.

5. Scholarships

CBSE education board facilitates multiple talent search exams and also grants various forms of scholarships to the students, whereas ICSE doesn’t provide any type of scholarship to its students.

6. Acceptance

In the context of the difference between CBSE and ICSE, ICSE has better acceptability for students applying to universities abroad. CBSE board also has a wider acceptance, but students with an ICSE certification tend to get more weightage in foreign lands.

7. Marking Scheme

In CBSE Board, the total marks will be given out of 100 where each term will comprise 40 marks in theory and 10 marks will be given for internal assessment, adding to a total of 100 marks with each of the two terms contributing 50 marks. Students must score a minimum of 33% in each subject to pass.

For ICSE, 80% of marks will be granted from the external assessment and 20 % from the internal. The aggregate of both marks will be taken as the final.

8. Board Transfers

The ICSE Board doesn’t accept students from other boards in classes 10th and 12th. To be eligible to get admission to these classes, students must have studied with the ICSE in 9th and 11th standards, respectively.

9. Exam Pattern

As of 2022:

  • The ICSE Board class 10th exam is divided into two tiers - Tier 1 which will include MCQs and Tier 2 which will comprise subjective as well as objective questions.

  • The CBSE board syllabus has been divided into two terms - the first term is case-based and assertion-reasoning type MCQs, while term 2 has short and long answers, open-ended and, Case and Situation based questions.

10. Grading System

CBSE has an alphabetical grading system, while ICSE evaluates the applicant through obtained scores. 

ICSE Grading System



1/ 2

Very Good

3/ 4/ 5

Pass with Credit

6/ 7


8/ 9


CBSE Grading System


Grade Point

Marks Range






















E1 and E2



CBSE or ICSE Which Is Better for the Future?

Looking at the comparison of CBSE Vs ICSE above, the dilemma of choosing an education board can be resolved to an extent. While ICSE helps your child’s overall development by working on their core personality traits, CBSE helps them achieve their goals. With proper planning, students can excel in any board. Moreover, boards will influence your child’s future career plans. Most are of the opinion that those willing to pursue JEE or NEET usually prefer CBSE, whereas those looking forward to literature studies or abroad studies are more inclined towards ICSE.

Wrapping Up

Now you know, both the boards have their pros and cons. Parents are recommended to consider these factors while choosing a school education board by looking at the differences between CBSE and ICSE education boards. However, please remember that more than boards, individual studies and efforts matter. Your child can do well and shine in their career through sustained and diligent effort, irrespective of the board.

Class 10 and 12 CBSE Exam Preparation: Essential Links for Success!

Accessing important study resources is integral to effective exam preparation for both Class 10 and Class 12 students. To streamline your study process, we have compiled a comprehensive table featuring essential pages for both classes. From study materials to previous year question papers, this table provides quick access to all the resources you need to excel in your academic journey. Click on the links to unlock the path to academic excellence and confidently ace your CBSE Class 10 and 12 exams!

FAQs on CBSE Vs ICSE - Find the Difference and Know the Best Board

1. Is ICSE recognised in foreign countries?

The ICSE certification is recognised nationally and globally. If your child is planning to study abroad for further education, the ICSE board can help.

2. Is the CBSE board tough?

The CBSE Board syllabus is more theoretical and has fewer subjects.

3. Which board is best for the future?

Both ICSE and CBSE have recognised boards in India. ICSE is an Indian private board with more suitability for foreign college admissions, while CBSE is a centralised board with a comparatively easy curriculum.