Difference Between ICSE and IGCSE (With Table)

Both ICSE and IGCSE are approved educational bodies in India by the Ministries of Human Resource Management and the Government of India’s Advanced Education Department. Both bodies differ significantly in curriculum, testing methods, and a variety of other issues. In India, there are 3 levels of education: elementary, intermediate, and advanced secondary. Both boards are concerned with a child’s success and advancement and their policies, as well as courses, differ drastically.

This article will help you distinguish between the two boards with ease. Also, this article highlights the features and aspects of both boards for a clear understanding.


The difference between ICSE and IGCSE is that ICSE stands for ‘Indian Certificate of Secondary Education in India whereas IGCSE stands for ‘International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It provides pupils with English language teaching to prepare them for the International Baccalaureate, BTEC Part 3, and A-Level curricula.

The University of Cambridge’s Local Assessments Board established the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. It administers the ICSE Examinations in the 10th level and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) Assessments in the 12th grade.

According to the New Education Policy 1986, the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education was created to give an examination in a basic education course in the study of English medium. The ICSE Board places a premium on a student’s entire development, thus it offers a well-balanced curriculum to all students.

IGCSE on the other hand stands for ‘International General Certificate of Secondary Education. The University of Cambridge International Examinations created it. Undergrads begin during year 10, or Grade 9, and the exam is administered after the year when 11, or Grade 10 appears.

Many national curricula consider the IGCSE to be an international equivalent. Its credentials are generally focused on particular fields of study, thus a student will obtain IGCSE certificates for each course they take.

Comparison Table Between ICSE and IGCSE

Parameters of ComparisonICSEIGCSE
Full FormIndian Certificate of Secondary Education.International General Certificate of Secondary Education.
Private StudentsNo external examination hall for private students.External examination hall is available for private students.
GradingRanges from 0-100 percent distributed alongside a grading system from A1 to E2.Divided alongside 3-tiers i.e. Distinction, Merit and Pass.
LevelThe level of competitiveness is really high and the contents taught in this board is competitive exam oriented.Level of competitiveness is decent but the board aims for overall development of the student according to global standards and requirements.
Started in19861988

What is ICSE?

In 1958, the Council for Indian School Certificate body (CISCE) was formed to administrate the Cambridge University examinations in India. The Indian School Certificate Examination (ICSE) for 10th grade and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) for 12th grade are administered by this body. This is a corporate national-level educational board in India that uses English as its approved language of teaching.

Because of the vast and difficult material, ICSE Boards aid in the development of stronger intellectual skills and in-depth comprehension. Recognizing the competitive edge given when selecting an education board for the student, will assist him/her to accomplish the professional objectives in the long run, and ICSE is still considered as a difficult and all-rounded well-oriented board for primary as well as secondary studies.

The curriculum of ICSE is structured in such a way that this combines academics with leisure activities as well as co-curriculums, encouraging students to explore their passions outside of the classroom.

Unfailingly, English is regarded as the preferred language of education. Literature is valued on par with other disciplines that help pupils enhance their language skills. Literature is regaining prominence, and being multilingual would undoubtedly benefit the youngster in the future.

What is IGCSE?

International General Certificate of Secondary Education is an acronym for IGCSE. It provides pupils with English language instruction to prepare them for something like the International Colleges, BTEC Stage 3, and A-Level curricula. It is predicated just on O-Level from the GCE. It is also accepted as a substitute for the GCSE and other foreign curricula.

The University of Cambridge International Examinations created it. Students at the school begin in year 10, or Grade 9, and the test is administered after year 11, or Grade 10. Several national curricula consider the IGCSE to be a worldwide choice. Its credentials are generally determined by individual subjects of study, thus a learner will earn IGCSE qualifications for every subject that they take.

IGCSE boards place a greater focus on English as a medium of education. It offers students an advantage while taking the TOEFL, IELTS, and other standardized examinations used to determine admission to international colleges. Also, the private students of IGCSE are allowed to attempt the exams in a different privatized examination hall which is not allowed in ICSE.

Main Differences Between ICSE and IGCSE

  1. ICSE stands for ‘Indian Certificate of Secondary Education’ whereas IGCSE stands for ‘International General Certificate of Secondary Education.
  2. ICSE is oriented for national and international approaches whereas IGCSE is oriented for international boards basis only.
  3. ICSE was established in 1986 whereas IGCSE was established in 1988.
  4. Merits in ICSE are granted from Grades A1 to E2, which range from 100 to 0 marks whereas in IGCSE students are granted merits based on a three-tier marking scheme.
  5. ICSE is academically more vast and difficult whereas IGCSE is more value-based and internationally equipped which makes the student capable of clearing exams like IELTS and TOEFL.


The primary distinctions of both boards are focused on contents, grading methods, instructional approaches, and system type. The bottom truth is that both systems are working toward the same goal: eliminating illiteracy and raising educational standards. They also share the objective of educating students to enter the workforce or advance to higher levels of education.

Both the boards are capable of carving out a great student if studied with dedication. The competitiveness is high in both the boards as well as the balance of curriculum along with extra-curriculum is well oriented for all-round development.


  1. https://www.javatpoint.com/icse-full-form
  2. https://www.internationalschoolparent.com/articles/what-is-the-igcse-and-is-it-the-right-choice-for-my-child/
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