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What is the difference between ICSE and ISC?

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In India, there are 4 primary boards: ICSE, CBSE, State Board, and IB. There has been a lot of confusion for parents to pick between these boards because they only want what is best for their children. Therefore, before picking a board they tend to do a lot of research by comparing the syllabus, textbooks, extracurricular activities, etc.

However, a major difference that is not understood by a few parents is the difference between the ICSE and ISC Board. Read further below to know more.

ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. It is a national-level examination that is conducted by the CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate) board, a private board for Grade 9 and 10 students.

ICSE boards tend to give more importance to the English language for the medium of instruction. Doing this will give the students an upper hand while attempting the TOEFL, IELTS, or any entrance exam to foreign universities. They also focus on teaching literature and language skills to help build their personality.

On that note, let us delve into the syllabus of this board. The syllabus is comprehensive and logically structured. They make sure to feed the students with analytical & problem-solving skills and practical knowledge.

The syllabus is divided into 3 groups. 

Group 1:

  1. English
  2. Second Languages (Indian or Foreign)
  3. History, Civics, and Geography

Group 2: Any 2 from the following list

  1. Mathematics
  2. Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  3. Economics
  4. Commercial Studies
  5. Modern Foreign Language
  6. Classical Language
  7. Environment Science

Group 3: Any 1 from the following list

  1. Computer Applications
  2. Economic Applications
  3. Commercial Application
  4. Art
  5. Performing Arts
  6. Home Science
  7. Cookery
  8. Fashion Designing
  9. Physical Education
  10. Yoga
  11. Technical Drawing Applications
  12. Environmental Applications
  13. Modern Foreign Languages
  14. Mass Media and Communication

However, schools don’t tend to provide all the subjects. Therefore, you will need to pick from the narrowed-down list that the specific school provides. Students studying this board will have to study 6 subjects from the above 3 groups.

Group 1 are the mandatory subject. As you can see above, the board gives equal importance to a variety of fields such as arts, fashion design, cookery, etc. 

The ISC Board stands for Indian School Certificate. This examination is conducted by the CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate) board for Grade 11 and 12 students. It is also considered tougher than the other boards for graduation.

Also Read: IGCSE or CBSE? Which syllabus has better future prospects?

Additionally, this ISC examination is recognized by the Inter Universities Board for entry into a 3-year college system resulting in a Bachelor’s Degree. They have only two categories when one category is the compulsory subject, English. Since English is compulsory, similar to ICSE, they will be able to crack the English exams with ease.

As for category 2, they are electives. 

Elective Subjects:

  1. Indian Languages
  2. Modern Foreign Languages: Chinese/ French/ German/ Tibetan/ Spanish
  3. Classical Languages: Arabic/ Sanskrit/ Persian
  4. Elective English
  5. History
  6. Political Science
  7. Geography
  8. Sociology
  9. Psychology
  10. Economics
  11. Commerce
  12. Accounts
  13. Business Studies
  14. Mathematics
  15. Physics
  16. Chemistry
  17. Biology
  18. Home Science
  19. Fashion Designing
  20. Electricity and Electronics
  21. Engineering Science
  22. Computer Science
  23. Geometrical and Mechanical Drawing
  24. Geometrical and Building Drawing
  25. Art
  26. Music: Hindustani/ Carnatic/ Western
  27. Physical Education
  28. Environmental Science
  29. Biotechnology
  30. Mass Media & Communication
  31. Hospitality Management
  32. Legal Studies

Some schools have subject choices already categorized from which you can pick 4. For instance:

Humanities: Psychology, Economics, History, Hindi, Elective English, Art, Mathematics, Computer Science, Sociology, Political Science, Geography 

Commerce: Accounts, Economics, Commerce [Compulsory]. Fourth Subject: Mathematics, Psychology, History [Any One]

Science: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics [Compulsory]. Fourth Subject: Elective English, Psychology*, Biology, Economics, Computer Science or Art [Any One]

Keep in mind that similar to the ICSE board, the school may provide a limited and narrowed down a number of subjects for you to pick from. You can choose any additional 4 subjects with an existing mandatory subject, English.

Thus, giving a total of 5 subjects. These tend to depend on the kind, of course, you want to pursue in college or higher studies since this board focuses on Grade 11 and 12 students. 

The key difference between both boards is that one of them is specially curated for Grades up to Grade 10 and the other for Grade 11 and 12 students. The ICSE syllabus is designed in a way where they provide a wide range of subjects for students to pick from.

However, the ISC syllabus is designed to include specific subjects for its respective course. Nevertheless, each of the syllabi is significant in its own way and has been crafted with minute details. One of the important similarities is that there is no provision for private students to appear for either the ICSE or the ISC board exam.

Only people enrolled in full-time classes at schools affiliated with the CISCE board can attempt to write it. An advantage to writing the ICSE/ISC Board exam is that almost all schools and colleges across the world accept these marks.

Further Reading: 

Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations

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