ICSE vs CBSE syllabus

Difference between ICSE and CBSE syllabus, and their respective advantages when considering engineering entrance exams.

I have studied in a school with ICSE syllabus from the beginning of my education to 8th standard. From 9th to 12th, I studied in Kendriya Vidyalaya (K.V.) a C.B.S.E. school. Right now I have completed my 1st year of engineering from B.I.T.S. Pilani, so i guess i have a recent enough exposure to both these syllabuses.

Now, what i feel in brief is, that the C.B.S.E syllabus is much more concise than the I.C.S.E. one. The latter gives a more in depth knowledge about a topic when compared to the former. The NCERT books (which are used by CBSE schools) do not go into detail of every other topic while that is generally the case with ICSE books. What i found (and this may just be a personal opinion), is that the Physics books published by NCERT were not up to the mark. One ought to take help of books like H.C.Verma to clear his concepts. Rest of them especially Chemistry, definitely give you the required amount of knowledge.


When it comes to the 10th or 12th class question paper, the ICSE one is a tiny bit easier than it's CBSE counterpart. Or maybe the checking of answer sheets in ICSE is more linient compared to the CBSE way of checking answers. Whatever be the case, it is a given fact that scoring in boards is easier in ICSE when compared to CBSE. But the difference is not much. Moreover, this slight difference will not play a crucial role in your future and it is not enough to compensate for the wider differences in the two syllabuses that i explain next.


Let us now come to the part where we discuss about entrance exams. Due to what i have seen and felt, i am a firm believer that CBSE serves the purpose of clearing entrances better. This applies especially to recent years when both IIT and AIEEE have shown to emphasise more on the basics rather than digging deep into topics. I have seen and solved previous years' papers, of many of the entrance exams, and the trend of 'falling in line with CBSE syllabus' is clear. IIT in particular has followed this trend.


The chemistry part is more or less solvable if you just focus on the NCERT text. Many of the questions in the recent years' question papers came straight from the NCERT book.

In the maths department, the CBSE syllabus encourages you to grasp the techniques. The exercises are such that they test your fundamentals very well. Easier questions followed by the tougher ones, yet they are never tough enough to discourage you. Crystal clear concepts means success in entrances, and thats a given if you follow the NCERT text.

CBSE syllabus lags in the physics department, I have already confessed that. But still, it cannot be called bad. With the help of proper supplementary books, physics can also be dealt with. The physics book does not waver your concepts, it's just a little hard to grasp. It's a let down only when compared to the chem or maths books.


All that I have written is not just for the sake of writing it. I have ample of real life instances to support my claim. I have seen students of same calibre, one from ICSE and one from CBSE produce vastly different results (not to mention that they were in favour of the CBSE guy). This could be probably because the CBSE guy put in a lot more efforts compared to the ICSE guy, but i believe that the syllabus plays a role in even this. Igniting the will to study, if a book is able to do this in a student, what more can u ask for?


Guest Author: mani01 May 2013

this comparison sounds really reliable...author seems to have a gud balance of judgement...a good attempt that helps confused parents!!

Guest Author: ravi vishvakarma18 Feb 2015

Ssc board is imp for study iit jee

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