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6 main differences between IGCSE and CBSE

The school-leaving examination is one of the most important ones in a young person’s life because it will have a major influence on future studies and career choices. In India, the 2 main options are CBSE and IGCSE. Knowing the difference between them will help parents and students to make the right choice regarding which one they should opt for. Here is a brief outline of the major differences.

Teaching Medium

Because CBSE is a pan India examination that covers all parts of the country, it offers students the choice of studying and doing the examination in either English or Hindi. This is a huge benefit for those who may not be fluent in English. IGCSE is globally accepted as a school leaving or secondary examination which evaluates a student’s knowledge of what has been taught in school. Being global, the examination is conducted only in English as it is the most widely spoken language across the world.

Examination Authority

CBSE is recognized by the Government of India as the standard and accepted secondary examination for those completing their school level education and the results are accepted across the country. IGCSE is conducted by the University of Cambridge and while it has a global acceptance that CBSE does not, the level of acceptance in India is less than that of CBSE.


CBSE uses the NCERT curriculum that has been set by the Government of India. While the range of subjects covered is wide, there is an undoubted bias towards further studies in the fields of engineering and medicine. The focus of IGCSE is more towards creativity and helping the student acquire the tools and learning skills to continue his or her education in any field.

Choice Of Subjects

CBSE offer set combinations of subjects that students may opt for. These are known as “streams.” In other words, a student may opt for a Commerce or science stream, etc. In IGCSE, students have over 70 different subjects to choose from and there are no set “streams” that must be followed. An IGCSE student may choose any combination of subjects.


The CBSE approach to education is a traditional one where students are expected to acquire and retain the knowledge and information that is given to them in classes and through study material. IGCSE is focussed on empowering the creativity and ability to understand ideas and concepts along with basic traditional instruction methods. The objective is to prepare students for the International Baccalaureate Diploma program and the North American APT (Advanced Placement Test).


The CBSE examination is accepted all over India and a student who has passed this examination form any part of the country is on par with students from any other part in terms of eligibility for further studies. However, CBSE has very little international acceptance. IGCSE has only limited acceptance in India but is accepted globally as a school-leaving examination. To learn more about the differences between CBSE and IGCSE, contact a respected and professional online tution institution that helps students prepare for both Indian and International examinations like CBSE and IGCSE. The experts will be able to provide detailed information on the pros and cons of each system to help students and parents make the right choices.
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