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The Indian Certificate of Secondary Education or ICSE examination is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, a private, non-governmental board of school education in India, for class 10, i.e., grade 10. It has been designed to provide an examination in a course of general education, in accordance with the recommendations of the New Education Policy 1986 (India), through the medium of English. The examination allows secure suitable representation of Governments responsible for schools (which are affiliated to it) in their States/Territories. Private candidates are not permitted to appear for this examination.

In all subjects other than Science and Computers, students must submit compulsory coursework assignments. In groups I and II they count for 20% of the student's performance in the subject; in group III the assignments count for 50%. In Science and Computers, students are tested on their laboratory work.

In subjects where there is more than one paper, the mark in the subject is calculated by taking the average of all papers in the subject. Candidates appearing for the examination have to study seven subjects, with anywhere from 1 to 3 papers in each subject. This makes for a total of 8-12 papers, depending on the subjects.

Indian School Certificate

The Indian School Certificate (ISC) is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations for Grade 11, i.e., year 11, until 1976. Thereafter, the schema was changed, and this examination began to be conducted in Grade 12, i.e. year 12. A student attempts this examination after first completing the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education in Grade 10, although the completion of a recognized equivalent level of education is normally sufficient. The examination has been designed to provide an evaluation in the field of general education. The exam criteria are in accordance with the recommendations of the Indian New Education Policy of 1986, through the medium of English.

Candidates therefore have to attempt the subjects of English and Environmental Education and three to five other subjects of the candidate's choosing. The candidate can choose a wide range of subjects, ranging from Fashion Design to Biology to Political Science. Schools generally offer a limited number of these subjects depending upon their logistical requirements. Socially useful and productive work is also considered important, with students getting a grade for this on with their mark sheets.

The Indian School Certificate (Class XII) is recognised by UK universities and so applicants are no longer required to obtain ‘A’ level qualifications or complete bridging courses, while seeking entry to Universities in the UK and other overseas Universities in the Commonwealth. The Indian School Certificate qualification is the only qualification from India that has been granted this special recognition.

The Indian School Certificate (Class XI, until 1976) was treated as equivalent to Pre-University or Pre-Degree examinations in Indian universities for admission to University Graduate studies, except for professional courses in engineering and medicine. After 1976, Indian School Certificate (Class XII) is treated equivalent to Higher Secondary Certificate or Pre-University Certificate or Pre-Degree Certificate in Indian Universities for admission to all University Graduate Studies, including professional studies.

Although the majority of schools affiliated to the CISCE Board are in India, a number of schools in other countries with large Non-Resident Indian populations do offer the ICSE and ISC examinations including the Dubai Modern High School and DPS International Singapore.

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