The results of Class 12 board exams are out and I hope that the students who burnt the midnight oil have got what they deserved.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about an unfair advantage which is inadvertently given to CBSE kids over students of ISC board.

Before reading on further, do keep in mind that this isn’t a blog on CBSE v.s. any board.

English is a compulsory subject to be added in one’s calculation of Best 4 percentage in most of the cases while admission to copious courses in Delhi University. Since it’s compulsory, it plays a pivotal role in getting admission to the elite colleges of DU.

From my own past experience, of batch mates, juniors and seniors from both ISC and CBSE, it’s clear that the leeway in giving marks in class 12 board exams in English is a lot more in CBSE than in ISC exam which results in many kids missing out on admission to the top colleges by a few marks.

‘Few Marks’ is all that it takes to not get into North Campus in DU.

English being a subjective subject is prone to dubious marking. Moreover, there is absolutely no denying the fact that the syllabus of Literature in ISC is a lot more difficult than of CBSE.

(CISCE or the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination is a board which conducts 2 examinations, ICSE- Class 10 & ISC- Class 12.)


I have studied from an ISC school itself and I cannot praise the syllabus enough which is so good that makes one fall in love with the subject.

It’s well- structured and we get to study brilliant poems, read original plays of Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw and also get to go through beautiful stories.

I wouldn’t trade our syllabus for a weaker one at any cost. Not only has it made me better and stand out from the crowd in college but thousands of other ISC kids as well.

Luckily, I scored 95 in English on my boards and along with good marks in other subjects, I got into Hansraj. A couple of friends of mine who scored brilliantly in objective subjects like Maths and Accounts but scored in the range of 85-90 in English failed to get into an A-tier college in DU.

Also read: What To Tell Yourself When You Get Low Marks

A Handful Of ISC Schools In India

Here’s the sad fact- There are a handful of schools following the ISC curriculum (mostly in Bengal and Kerala) whilst the country is filled with CBSE board schools. I do not have any problem with a weaker syllabus of CBSE. That’s their curriculum and it shouldn’t be questioned at all. Making it at par with ISC or lessening the syllabus is their discretion.

The problem lies in the marking scheme during board exams.

Unfair Marking Scheme

One needs to slog a lot to score above 90 in ISC while in CBSE, it’s a lot easier because of the marking scheme. I have seen so many friends of mine missing out on North Campus because of low marks (85-90) while the CBSE ones get a huge boost in admissions in this regard.


To be honest, I’m not aware of a solution to it. Should the syllabus be the same of both the boards? No. I wouldn’t weaken the syllabus of ISC though it may be difficult nor should CBSE change it’s own. There has to be a way to make the marking scheme a lot fairer because, under the current one, it’s clear that something is definitely wrong.

Again, to make matters succinctly clear, I’m not demeaning or questioning the syllabus of English of CBSE.  Having not studied from a CBSE school, I do not have the right to do so.

The only flaw is that the difference in marking scheme in English (a subjective one) makes the competition a bit unfair. Both the boards are doing well and must co-exist but the problem should be worked upon as soon as possible.

Images- Google

Sources- CISCE, Quora, Scroll

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