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ICSE Vs CBSE: Know Which Board is Toughest and Why?

By Satabdi MazumdarNovember 05, 2022
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CBSE, or ICSE, which board is tougher?”, “ Which board should we choose to ensure better opportunities for children in the future?”

Over the past few years, various education boards have become popular in India. And this increased number of education boards caused a state of dilemma for the parents. Parents are considering the fact, “Which is the toughest board in India?” to make an informed decision about their kids’ brighter future. To help them come up with a solution, here we have brought a thorough comparative analysis of different education boards.

Presently, CBSE and ICSE are the two main & most popular boards in India parents consider. But both of these boards differ in terms of several factors. Be it an educational pattern, syllabus, or learning outcomes. Also, apart from these boards, there are many other educational boards in India that students can opt for. This leads to even more confusion. 

So, how can the parents decide which board will be the best for their children? In this blog, we are providing details of every aspect of these boards and will help you to choose the best one.

Know the Toughest Board in India

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

CBSE Board: Overview

The CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) is one of the most popular boards in India, administered by the Union Government of India. It conducts the exams up to secondary & senior secondary levels for regular as well as private students. Currently, there are more than 21,271 schools in India and 220 schools in 28 foreign countries affiliated with CBSE.

If you want to find out which is the easiest board in India, you can consider CBSE as the board follows only the NCERT curriculum. After Class 10, CBSE provides students with a range of subjects in the areas of Science, Commerce, and Humanities along with English and supplementary languages. There is the freedom of choosing the subjects also. 

Additionally, students can opt for both Hindi & English mediums, and hence the availability of workbooks & study material is easy. Visit the official website to get all the latest information about the board.

ICSE Board: Overview

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) is a private national-level board of education in India. It conducts the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE) for class X, the Indian School Certificate Examination, and the Certificate for vocational education (CVE) for Class XII. 

This is another popular board in India that is preferred by private schools. It consists of the New Education Policy of 1986 and functions through the English Medium. When parents think, “which is the toughest board in India?” They find the ICSE board true to some extent as it offers Science, humanities, and commerce to senior school students and a vast range of subject options.

Additionally, the board is known for its extensive syllabus & application-based teaching concepts, making it the toughest board in India.


Which is the Toughest Board in India? - Find The Difference 

Now you know what these two boards are all about. Parents often get confused between these two boards. But education is the key to determining one’s career and future. Therefore, it is recommended that parents must do proper research before admitting their child to any board. 

Here are some key points that will help you decide: Is CBSE harder than ICSE to make an informed decision? Take a look:


The main difference between CBSE & ICSE boards is its syllabus positioning the ICSE board in the top 10 toughest state boards in India. How? 

The CBSE Board syllabus is NCERT-based & most recommended if a student is preparing for any competitive exams like IIT JEE or NEET. It is much better in theoretical knowledge with a strong focus on science and mathematics. 

The ICSE board syllabus covers a range of topics apart from 23 Indian languages and 12 foreign languages. Plus, it is vast, comprehensive & structured to impart practical knowledge to the students.

CBSE board prefers a precise & easy syllabus that simply explains topics, while the ICSE board’s syllabus is more detailed and vast.

Medium of Instruction 

The answer to the question, which is the easiest board in India, lies in the difference in the medium of instruction in the CBSE & ICSE board. 

Usually, the CBSE board gives instructions in both the English & Hindi languages, making it a preferred choice among students. Whereas, ICSE only follows English as a language of instruction. Thereby, the students with the ICSE board can clear the TOEFL, IELTS, and other such international exams quite easily.

Competitive Edge

When it comes to getting the competitive edge while appearing for any national-level entrance exams such as JEE or NEET, CBSE has all the favors. Why? The CBSE board follows NCERT books recommended in these types of competitive examinations to prepare better. This helps students to clear the exam with better scores. 

However, in the case of the ICSE Board, students encounter a comprehensive and practical-based syllabus to get an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. This is one of the prime reasons why ICSE is the toughest board in India.


Those who want to know which is the easiest board in India must consider the fact that the CBSE boards are widely accepted in nearly all universities, irrespective of the course you are opting for. On the other hand, students with the ICSE boards are preferred in foreign lands ie. foreign schools, or universities. So, if you want to head abroad for further studies, the ICSE board should be preferred.


If you want to know which is the toughest board in India in terms of transferability, it is the ICSE board compared to the CBSE. The CBSE board is followed by the majority of schools, which leads to easy admissions for students coming from the same background compared to those who are from the ICSE board.


The CBSE board tests the students’ abilities through an alphabetical grading system. The ICSE board offers scores to the students, on the other hand, giving a clear idea of how much they have scored.

Range of Subjects 

One more thing that makes the ICSE board the toughest board in India is the range of subjects that it covers. The board offers a vast range of subjects in various languages like English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, etc. Additionally, it gives equal importance to all the subjects along with English, Science & Mathematics.

Which is the Toughest Board in India?

Above, we have discussed the major differences between the CBSE & ICSE Boards in detail. But when it comes to deciding which is the toughest board in India, the answer lies with the ICSE board

Whether it is the comprehensive, detailed & practically-approached syllabus or choosing from a vast range of subjects consisting of topics from 23 Indian languages and 12 foreign languages, ICSE dominates the toughest board in India list. Moreover, the ICSE syllabus has more internal assessments and concepts. Other factors include a strict grading system, expensive subjects, higher difficulty levels, etc.


Choosing the right board and the right school can help your kids in the long run. But it depends on various factors. As parents, you need to understand all the pros & cons of all the boards. Choose the best board after considering its future scope and your child’s career goals.

FAQs on ICSE Vs CBSE: Know Which Board is Toughest and Why?

1. Which is more difficult, ICSE or CBSE?

ICSE syllabus is tougher than the CBSE due to the detailed study of all the subjects and practical-based learning.

2. Which is the biggest board in India?

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is a national-level board of education in India for public & private schools. 

3. Which is board is considered to have the easiest syllabus in India?

The syllabus of the CBSE board is considered as precise & easy to understand.