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While the Cambridge IGCSE and the Cambridge O-Level are both secondary level qualifications, there are some differences between both programmes. The diagram below shows a side-by-side comparison.

Let’s take a closer look at the features of the Cambridge IGCSE and the features of the Cambridge O-Level:

Key features of IGCSE:

1. 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).

Related: 5 Things You Need To Know About The IGCSE

2. Assessments

There are written and oral assessments. The IGCSE uses a variety of assessment techniques to test students on oral and practical skills. Also, there is a variety of assessments for students whose first language is not English.

3. Option of Coursework

The IGCSE offers over 70 subjects, and the syllabus has both international and local elements. There are interesting subjects such as Food and Nutrition, Travel and Tourism, and Design and Technology. There are five subject groups: Language, Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences, Mathematics, and Creative, Technical & Vocational. Such a variety of course options allow more flexibility for students and schools.

Key Features of O-Level:

1. Grading

Students are awarded grades between A* and E. A* is the highest grade that a student can achieve.

2. Assessment

Cambridge O-Level examinations occur twice a year: June and November. Results are issued in August and January. Assessments take place at the end of the course, and students are tested for written, oral, and practical skills.

3. Option of Coursework

The Cambridge O-Level offers fewer coursework options. There are over 40 subjects for a student to choose from the following subject groups: Language and Literature, Creative and Professional, Humanities and Social Sciences, Languages, Mathematics, and Sciences.


Both programmes are widely recognised by leading universities and companies. The main differences lie in the number of subjects offered, course assessments, and grading systems.

Trial Class Registration

Need help with your IGCSE preparation? Prep Zone’s team of veteran trainers can definitely help! We offer 1-to-1 IGCSE tuition for all the following subjects:

  • English Language / English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Mathematics / Cambridge International Mathematics
  • English Literature
  • Additional Mathematics
  • Business Studies
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Economics
  • Computer Science

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Author michelle_s

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