“Higher secondary” meaning: Here’s the full explanation with 5 examples

On the internet, we come into contact with people from all over the world. That’s a great thing as it allows us to learn about new cultures, people, and ways of life that we hadn’t previously considered.

However, it does also mean that sometimes, new words and phrases pop up which we don’t understand. It’s not that they’re in another language; even when translated into English, they still might cause some confusion.

Today, we’ll be looking at what people mean by “Higher Secondary”.

What does “Higher Secondary” mean?

The “Higher Secondary Examination”, sometimes shortened to just “Higher Secondary”, is an examination that most 18-year-olds in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal take before going to University.

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How Higher Secondary Exams work

To get a better grip of what the “Higher Secondary Exam” is like, we should look at how exams work in these three countries.

All exams are conducted by state school boards. These are organisations in charge of ensuring all exams are fair and the students receive relevant and honest qualifications. They all prevent students from cheating.

Most of the time, such examinations occur from March to April every year, and the students who take them will be between the ages of 16-18.

Why do Indian take Higher Secondary Exams

If students do well in their “Higher Secondary”s, they might have the chance to go to University. Most of these students will want to go onto University. However, just allowing everyone to go would mean that they get overcrowded, people will drop out, and those who would be better suited in a trade end up forcing themselves to get a degree.

The Higher Secondaries are designed to enable the students to prove that they are the right kinds of people for University. The test questions will all be relevant to the subject and contain the materials they will cover in class.

Higher Secondary Exam Boards

We’ve spoken a bit so far about exam boards and even covered what they do. In England, the ones I remember are OCR and Parson. But as you can imagine, British exam boards don’t operate in India. Here are some of the most popular exam boards in India.


The Central Board of Secondary Education.


The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations


National Institute for Open Schooling.

If you live in India, one of these three will likely provide the paper that will prove to be your ticket to University.

The Indian School System

Every country has a different school system. In England, we have Primary, Secondary, and College. But in America, they have Elementary, Middle School, and High School. Ever wondered how the system works in India?

At the age of 6, they start in Lower Primary. And that’s where they stay until they’re 10 years old. At the age of 11, they go to Upper Primary until they’re 12.

When they become teenagers, they start in high school, where the learning gets more challenging, and they remain until they reach 15 years old.

Once they turn 16, they go to Higher Secondary and start preparing for their exams.

Of course, some students start school much later than 6. It’s not unheard of for a 20-year-old to still be in primary school.

Why knowing about “Higher Secondary” might be important

At this point, you might be wondering why it matters. Why should you care about the Indian school system?

In the past, India was a third world country. Today, the economy is growing and fast. India is becoming home to more millionaires, and more businesses are choosing to set up there. In the future, their economy could grow even more, and they might even compete with America.

Knowing about their system can help you stay one step ahead of your competition.

Higher Secondary around the world

Let’s compare India’s “Higher Secondary” with two other countries, England and the USA.

In England, when people are 16 after they complete their GCSEs, most will go onto College. This is not what Americans think of as College. You don’t get a degree at the end of it. Instead, you get what we call “A-Levels”.

Usually, people do 4 subjects at this level.

In the USA, most people at that age will be at High School. And at the end of their time there, they’ll do their High School Diploma.

Nicknames for Higher Secondary

Although “Higher Secondary” is the official name, what 18-year-olds do you know that use the official name for anything? If you ever speak to an 18-year-old Indian, look at some of these phrases, nicknames for Higher Secondary.


Class 12


When speaking about the students themselves, you might also refer to them as “Young Adults”. This information might be helpful if you ever decide to move to India for financial reasons.

Although, if you want to be safe, you can just call the exams “Higher Secondary Exams”.

5 Examples of “Higher Secondary”

“Higher Secondary Schools have come into existence in this Union Territory from the academic year 1975-76.”

“During a personal hearing the Rajasthan Education Service Association represented the head Masters of Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools and Principals of Higher Secondary Schools.”

“Since the Higher Secondary stage must help in the student ‘ s transition towards Collegiate Education.”

Total Illiterate Literate ( without educational level ) Primary or Junior Basic Matriculation or Higher Secondary Above Matriculation or Higher Secondary”

“The Maharashtra Government has laid down certain standards for selecting schools for converting them into Higher Secondary type.”


And there we have everything you, as a Westerner, might need to know about what “Higher Secondary” means. Learning about different cultures and systems is always helpful. It can help broaden the mind and enable you to become a better person who understands that the world doesn’t always work the same way you do.

Next time you’re speaking to an Indian. They tell you all about their memories of “Higher Secondary”, you won’t have to wonder what they’re talking about. You can instead just relax and enjoy their story.

India is a beautiful country with a growing economy, so knowing how the system works could give you unpredictable advances. And even if it doesn’t, learning about new cultures can only be a good thing.

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