Everything You Need to Know About the ICSE Board of Education


Last Updated: August 30, 2022
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Education is a very important part of a child’s life. This is why, when it comes to picking the right education for their children, parents want to be absolutely sure about their decision. But, with so much information available online, and so many opinions coming in from friends and family, making an informed unbiased choice becomes extremely difficult. This is why parents these days prefer to rely on experts – counsellors like you to guide them when it comes to choosing an education board for their child.

As a part of our ongoing series about the various education boards available in India, here’s an article about everything you need to know about the ICSE board of education and why ICSE. 

Governed by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), this board is commonly referred to as ICSE. It is only available to a limited number of schools across the country. ICSE students are considered to be on par with the students from CBSE. This is one of the reasons why you will find a lot of comparisons made between these two boards – CBSE or ISCE which is better for your future? 

Before we get down to the advantages and the disadvantages of this board, here are a few features which are unique to ICSE.

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1. Comprehensive Syllabus

ICSE is known for its comprehensive syllabus and the variety of subjects that it offers.

2. Unbound Syllabus

Unlike the other boards, not much focus is given to regional or national subjects. The students are taught about the world as a whole. 

3. Importance to Practical Study 

About 20% of the total marks for each subject are allotted for project or lab work.  This allows students to practically apply everything they have learned.

4. Focus on Theory-based Subjects Delivered in English

ICSE is only taught in English and more focus is given to subjects that involve language, art, and science. 

5. Free Choice of Subjects

Its marking scheme is a little different from the other boards. The students are given three groups of subjects and are required to attempt all subjects under Group A. While they can choose two subjects and one subject from Group B and Group C respectively.


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These features on their own might sound impressive at the get-go, but before parents seal the deal, it’s important for them to know about the advantages and disadvantages that come along with the board they choose. Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of ICSE:

1. Strong focus on the English language

The amount of focus that is given to the English language helps students perform better in examinations like TOEFL or other scholarship exams. 

2. Globally recognised course

Students who want to study at a foreign university also have an added advantage because a lot of universities recognise an ICSE certificate.

3. Holistic syllabus

The ICSE board syllabus is very comprehensive with multiple textbooks. This helps students have a more creative approach to answering questions. 

4. Weightage to practicals

The 20% marks for practicals encourages students to put their learnings to the test and see where they stand.

5. Graded subjects that promote extra-curricular interests

 ICSE offers an exhaustive list of subjects like fashion design, agriculture, home science and many more from which a student can pick according to their interest. The board believes in a flexible all-around education so they promote extra-curricular activities along with the chosen subjects. 

6. Marking system

The marking system is in absolute numbers which shows students exactly how they perform. This helps them decide better how much time they need to dedicate to studying each subject.

7. Strong base

Students can form a strong foundation for a future in management and humanities through the ICSE board.

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While the advantages of picking the ICSE board are plenty, there are certain drawbacks as well. Let’s look at them:

1. Not a good option for travelling parents

If the parents are prone to moving, it is not a good idea to be enrolled in ICSE since there are very limited schools across the country and not all of them might be accessible.

2. Enrollment is a must in school

Unlike SSC and CBSE where you don’t necessarily have to be enrolled in a school to appear for exams, ICSE doesn’t offer the same luxury. You have to be enrolled in an ICSE-affiliated school to give the board exams. 

3. Can be overwhelming for students

The subjects taught are comprehensive but it can get overwhelming for a lot of students.

4. Stringent marking for Class 12

The paper checking for ISC (Class 12) is stringent which might lead to students finding it difficult to apply to Universities of their choice.

5. Can be discouraging to cope with the marking system

The marking system – showing absolute numbers – keeps students informed about their progress, but may also discourage students who don’t fare well.

6. Most expensive choice of school education

While it is the most affordable option for international-level education, ICSE is much more expensive when compared to the government-run boards in India.

7. Focus on language may be a put off for students

There is a lot of focus given to English literature and grammar which might hinder students who don’t have an interest or an aptitude for languages.

We hope this article has given you all the information you need about the ICSE board of education to help parents make an informed decision for their children. Keep an eye out for more of our articles on the different boards of education available in India.

Difference between CBSE and ICSE

In terms of course content, the emphasis is evenly distributed throughout subjects such as language, arts, and science. The significance of analytical skills and practical knowledge is stressed, and the wide range of topics offered is intended to investigate their entire development. In terms of course content, the main focus is on science and math, with a greater emphasis on knowledge application to help students pass entrance tests.
In contrast to the CBSE board, the student must put in a lot of effort to develop a foundation in ICSE due to the extensive syllabus. However, once a good foundation is established, a student may tackle any topic with ease and look forward to higher study in any area Apart from textbook study, the CBSE syllabus places a high value on project work, coursework, and sports. Students are prepared to be extremely effective in passing entrance examinations.
In the case of examinations, getting excellent grades in all areas might be difficult for at least some students. This is due to the vastness of the curriculum and the fact that questions might arise from anywhere in the topic. In order to do well in examinations, CBSE students will need to consult several other books in addition to their usual textbooks. This is due to the fact that the questions may not necessarily be from the textbook syllabus, but will be designed to evaluate your application level and logical reasoning.

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