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What is it?

The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a popular international qualification for students aged 14-16. The IGCSE is designed to be taught as a two-year program. Each subject is certificated separately. Cambridge IGCSE is comparable to the Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Level system and the United Kingdom’s General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

1. The Curriculum

The IGCSE offers over 70 subjects, and the syllabus has both international and local elements. There are so many interesting subjects, such as Food and Nutrition, Travel and Tourism, and Design and Technology, to name a few. There are five subject groups:

1Languages (First Language, Second Language, Foreign Language, etc)
2Humanities and Social Sciences (Geography, English Literature, History, etc)
3Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc)
4Mathematics (Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, etc)
5Creative, Technical & Vocational (Accounting, Business Studies, Computer Studies, etc)

2. Certification

IGCSE qualifications are recognised globally. A student is awarded one IGCSE certificate for each subject. In other words, if a student takes 5 IGCSE subjects, he or she will receive 5 IGCSE certificates.

3. Assessments

The IGCSE assessment is conducted at the end of the course. Assessments include written, oral, coursework, and practical assessment. This way, students are given the chance to exhibit their learning abilities. In many subjects, there is a choice between core and extended curricula. To prepare for these assessments, students can access the past papers that are available online.

4. Grading

Cambridge IGCSEs are graded A*-G around the world. The A*-G grading is used by more than 6,000 schools in over 145 countries. However, some schools in select regions use 9-1 grading. Under the 9-1 grading scheme, 9 is the top grade (equivalent to an A* in the A*-G grading scale). How do A*-G grades compare to 9-1 grades?



5. IGCSE Core and IGCSE Extended

A teacher, taking into consideration the different abilities of her student, decides the most appropriate levels of her students. Thus, for some subjects, there is a choice between Core and Extended curriculum papers. In general, the Core curriculum is deemed easier than that of the Extended. The grades range from C-G. The Extended curriculum, made up of the Core curriculum and the Supplement (the extra topics or depth which must be added to the Core curriculum to produce the Extended curriculum), is aimed at the more academically able and leads naturally into higher education or professional training. The grades range from A* to E. The overlap of grades C, D, and E is designed to accommodate students who perform either better or worse than what their teachers expect.

Have more questions about the IGCSE?

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Michelle S.

Author Michelle S.

Michelle is an experienced English Language Trainer. Prior to joining Prep Zone, Michelle taught in Inti International College, Malaysia. She has been teaching English to foreign learners for over ten years. Her background includes teaching Technical English, Writing Skills, Public Speaking, IELTS, TOEFL, IGCSE, IB and GCSE O/A-Level.

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