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The Indian School Certificate (ISC) is an examination conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations for Grade 12, i.e., year 12. A student usually 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 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 Productive Work (SUPW) is also considered important, with students getting a grade for this on with their mark sheets.
The Indian School Certificate (Class XII) is recognized 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.