CBSE, ICSE or IB Board: How to Know Which One is Better Choice to Study in Abroad


    The right board might not ensure that you study abroad, but it can help you gain admission to colleges and universities abroad.

    During this guide, we will help you choose the right board to study abroad from the International Baccalaureate (IB), CBSE, and ICSE boards. Keep in mind that universities and colleges don’t offer admission to students, based on academic merit alone. They also place a focus on leadership potential, holistic learning, and capabilities.

    Here are the three boards:

    •       CBSE board. The Central Board of Secondary Education, also known as the CBSE board, is a national level board of education in India. The CBSE board conducts final exams for Grade 10 and Grade 12 students each and every year in March, and the results of the exam are announced by the end of May.
    •       ICSE board. The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education, also known as the ICSE board, is an exam conducted by the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations or CISCE, a private board of secondary education in India. The board offers an exam in a course of general education in English. Candidates for the exam must study six or seven subjects, with one to three papers in each subject, for a total of eight to 11 papers, depending on the subjects studied.
    •       International Baccalaureate (IB). The IB program is for students aged 15 to 19 and offers an internationally accepted qualification for entry into colleges and universities around the world.

    That being said, choosing the right board probably does not matter much in the outcome of your study abroad application. Here are a few reasons the board you choose might not matter much:

    •       Scores cannot be normalized between different boards. As far as an international baccalaureate (IB) and A level exams are concerned, the scores offered cannot typically be normalized and compared against the state, CBSE, and ICSE boards. Over 90 percent of these students end up studying abroad, no matter how they score on exams because they do not have many alternative domestic options when it comes to higher education. It’s important to keep in mind that choosing A level or IB diploma classes and exams can be limiting since it can restrict your access and options when it comes to college and university.
    •       Many homeschooled children also go to study abroad. There are many students out there who have been homeschooled that end up gaining admission into some of the top colleges and universities. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also known as MIT, for example, has a long history of admitting students who have been homeschooled into their university. Admission officers tend to actively seek out applicants that have been homeschooled and evaluate each and every student within the context of their own background and the opportunities they have had. This proves that applicants from non-traditional schooling can and do gain admissions from colleges and universities as well. There is also evidence that students who have done very well on state boards gain to the best colleges and universities as well.
    •       The CBSE vs. ICSE debate doesn’t matter much. There is a longstanding debate about the merits of the CBSE board versus the ICSE board. On their own, each of these boards do not offer a specific advantage towards studying abroad. Some parents and students see the ICSE board as a more rigorous board, but there is no evidence that one of these boards has more merit over the other. There is little to no difference between the CBSE board and the ICSE board when it comes to marks. Colleges and universities tend to focus on the students’ overall merit and all-around capability, and a well built portfolio actually holds as much weight as their scores when it comes to earning admission. If you take into account all of the different scores from exams like the SATs and ACTs, as well as the portfolio, the college admissions essay, and the marks, then you should realize that the marks on their own do not help a student earn admission into a college or university. While marks are often used as a cutoff for applying to colleges and universities, they cannot guarantee much when considered on their own. Colleges and universities tend to look for aptitude and capability, as well as the contributions that a student can bring to the world, society, and their class.
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    Education is all about developing yourself unidimensionally and holistically, so you need to focus on performing well, no matter which board you choose. Focus on maintaining a high level of excellence in your fields, creating a compelling portfolio, and being the best you can be. If you succeed in developing your portfolio and maintaining excellence, then you will definitely have many different options from the top colleges and universities at your fingertips. No matter which board you choose to study abroad, you need to make sure that you do it well.

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