What is the difference between ICSE and CBSE

In India, two school examination boards are the most prevalent ones – ICSE and CBSE. If we compare these two boards, you will find more schools with an affiliation from CBSE. But there are some academicians and students who prefer ICSE board. If you are someone who is confused about taking admissions in either of the school boards, we have furnished detailed information about the comparison of these examination boards.

Each one of them has their own set of benefits and drawbacks. At the end, it depends on your perception. Your future course with respect to studies and profession will determine your selection of a particular board.


Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is responsible for conducting two examinations – All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE) and All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE). CBSE is the most widespread school examinations board in India. Most of the schools, including government entity Kendriya Vidyalaya, are affiliated to CBSE.

Talking about Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), it is managed by Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE). Indian School Certificate Examinations (ICSE) is gradually gaining popularity amongst students. ICSE Class X exam is one of the toughest examinations at the school level.


CBSE is recognized by the government of India. Thus, most of the colleges and universities in India prefer CBSE over ICSE. In fact, competitive exams syllabus for the admission purposes is also based on CBSE syllabus. Thus, if your aim is to crack an entrance examination, you should apply for CBSE exam.

If we talk about ICSE, it doesn’t fare well in comparison to CBSE. This doesn’t mean that it is not acceptable in India. All the Indian colleges and universities accept ICSE without a doubt. Further, if you wish to study abroad, you should definitely apply for ICSE as it is widely accepted by colleges and universities around the world.

Language Medium

CBSE includes both the languages, English and Hindi, in their course curriculum. They are not biased towards any language. However, you would find prominence of Hindi in most of the CBSE schools. But some of the schools are equally commendable when it comes to both Hindi and English.

On the other hand, ICSE is more biased towards English Language and English Literature. Given the competitive professional industry, it becomes crucial to equip yourself with fluent English communication skills. Thus, you can opt for ICSE if you prefer superior English command.

Student Enrollment

CBSE allows admissions to regular students as well as non-regular students. Therefore, if you wish to appear for CBSE exam without going to a CBSE-affiliated school, you can do so. You can appear for CBSE exams by availing private education as well. There are no restrictions with respect to this aspect.

In ICSE, you must be a regular student if you wish to appear for ICSE exam. This is to ensure that the student develops effective personality and gains required knowledge. For overall development of a child with respect to education, attending regular school is advisable.


With respect to the syllabus, CBSE syllabus is renowned when we talk about entrance examinations for engineering, medical, etc. This is because the CBSE syllabus covers all the important aspects of competitive exams in a profound manner.

ICSE exam is not oriented towards competitive exams. In fact, ICSE exam adopts a balanced approach so that the student can avail future education as per discretion. Whether it’s a creative industry, engineering field, medical industry, or whatever; ICSE prepares you for all the exams.