What is IGCSE?


(Welcome! We are here to help you to score A* in your Cambridge IGCSE exams and success in your life. However, we are not CIE (Cambridge International Examinations). If you would like to get your certificate or check your results, please write to CIE directly.)

Note: CIE (Cambridge International Examination board) has its name changed to CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education) since October 2017.

IGCSE is the abbreviation of International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is world most popular international certification for end of secondary school (equivalent to O-Level, UK GCSE, fifth form or year 11 in respective countries and schools), before one proceeds to Advanced Level (A-Level or sixth form or year 12&13) or pre-university studies.

IGCSE was developed by Cambridge International Examinations (previously known as University of Cambridge International Examinations), in short CIE, in 1988. University of Cambridge has been the UK local examination board since 1858. The term “IGCSE” is a registered trademark of University of Cambridge. Generally, when one mentions IGCSE, it is understood as the Cambridge IGCSE from the CIE board.

The IGCSE curricula is often considered more similar to O-Level rather than the UK national curriculums GCSE. Thus, the basis of the examination is also considered more challenging and rigorous.

Recognition

Many universities worldwide require a combination of Cambridge International A Levels and Cambridge IGCSEs to meet their entry requirements. For example, leading US and Canadian universities require Cambridge International AS & A Levels, but some US and Canadian colleges and universities will accept learners with five Cambridge IGCSEs at grade C or above.

In the UK, Cambridge IGCSE is accepted as equivalent to the GCSE. Many UK universities look at Cambridge IGCSE grades, as well as predicted grades for Cambridge International A Level, when making admissions decisions.

IGCSE is also popular among homeschoolers, and adult students. Though IGCSE is being taken by students typically in the age group 14-16 (or 15-17 depending on primary 1 entry age), it also allows students from alternative education and adult students to sit for the exam and continue personal education advancement at any age.

Some homeschooling educators in the US are choosing IGCSE as oppose to the standard American high school curriculums, because it is said to be a year (or more) advanced than the standard American high school course.

Subjects

IGCSE offers more than 70 subjects. Students are required to take a minimum of 5 or maximum of 14 subjects. The core subjects are English, Mathematics and Sciences. Students can also choose other subjects ranging from Social Sciences (commonly Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Sociology) to Arts & Technology (commonly Computer Studies, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Art & Design).

Student is awarded with one IGCSE certificate on each subject. If you take 5 subjects, you will be awarded 5 IGCSE certificates. The number of subjects need to be taken is varied from school to school, and also depends upon individual preference.

Cambridge IGCSE subjects

Regularly updated and extended, Cambridge IGCSE provides you with a wide range of well-resourced and supported courses.

igcse-subjects1

igcse-subjects2

The IGCSE is graded from A* to G, with U stated as “Ungraded”. Students are required to obtain minimum grade C for the 5 core subjects in order to proceed to the next advanced level or further education. IGCSE grading overview is as below:

Difference between IGCSE Core and IGCSE Extended

To take account of differing abilities, there is a choice between Core and Extended curriculum papers in most subjects. This allows teachers to decide on the most appropriate level of papers for their students.

The Core curriculum in each subject is within the ability range of a large majority of students. It provides a full overview of the subject and is targeted at students expected to achieve grades C to G.

The Extended curriculum, which comprises the Core curriculum and the Supplement, has been designed for the more academically able and leads naturally into higher education or professional training. It is targeted at those expected to achieve grades A* to E. The Supplement describes the extra topics or depth which must be added to the Core to produce the Extended curriculum.

Students need not enter for the same level of curriculum in all subjects.

Target Grades Grades Available
Core Curriculum C D E F G
Extended Curriculum A* A B C D E

The overlap of three grades (C, D and E) is designed to accommodate students who perform either better or worse than their teachers expect. Students who fail to meet the minimum satisfactory standard for either the Core curriculum (Grade G) or the Extended curriculum (Grade E) will be ungraded.

In a few subjects, the examination covers the complete ability range and there is no choice of curriculum. For these subjects, the full range of grades is available.

Group Award ? Cambridge ICE

The Cambridge ICE certificate is a group award designed for schools that want to offer a broad curriculum. Candidates enter and sit for a minimum of seven subjects selected from the five IGCSE curriculum areas:

    Group 1 – Languages
    Group 2 – Humanities and Social Sciences
    Group 3 – Sciences
    Group 4 – Mathematics
    Group 5 – Creative, Technical and Vocational

Cambridge ICE is awarded to candidates who pass in at least 7 (seven) Cambridge IGCSE subjects, including two from Group 1 and one from each of Groups 2 to 5. The seventh subject may be chosen from any of the syllabus groups.

Candidates who qualify for the Cambridge ICE award will be placed in one of three categories:

Distinction – Grade A or better in five subjects and grade C or better in two subjects.
Merit – Grade C or better in five subjects and grade F or better in two subjects.
Pass – Grade G or better in seven subjects.

Resources

Our valuable A* resources had produced thousands of A* scorers around the world. Check them out below:

A* Model Answers - Learn what an A* answer like, copy the style and score A* in your exam.

A* Revision Courses - No matter at which stage/level you are, come join our exam-skills-packed revision courses, move up your level and reach your A*!





2,217 Replies to “What is IGCSE?”

  1. I am going to write my IGCSE maths paper 42 exams on Monday and I was wondering if in the graph question where we have to find the gradient can we use differentiation instead of the formula rise/run.
    I was also wondering where to find questions for the new topics in math.

    • Hello Shahnaz,

      You are very much welcome.

      We will soon be launching mini courses soon and it will include Computing related topics. We suggest that you subscribe to our newsletter and wait for our announcement.

      Furthermore, please only register for the exam only if you are ready.

  2. As a private candidate and an American citizen, how many compulsory subjects will i need to take and which ones. Currently i have English Language, Mathematics, Computer Science, Travel and Tourism and Sociology. Are these subjects right?

    • Hello Syeda,

      When choosing subjects it is best that you check the universities you have in mind ask them their subject and entry requirements. In this way, you have 100% confirmation on the needed subjects.

      The Core subjects (English, Maths and Sciences) are a guideline and fits most universities’ entry requirements.

  3. Hi,
    I will be doing my exams in a few months
    at my school (Gateway Collage) and I have a question.
    The edexcel website quotes that at least 5 subjects minimum is required to participate, and I’m looking forward to choosing 8 subjects.
    But my school is recommending every student to do 9 subjects.
    Can they do that ?
    Should I follow my school or Edexcel guidelines ?

    • Hello Imran,

      Every school has their own set of subject options to follow, unfortunately you must abide to their subject options. Alternatively, you may register as a private candidate with your local British Council.

      You may want to check out our world-renowned A* revision courses. We’ve crafted this course to help candidates achieve A*. Kindly find out more here: https://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-revision-courses/

      Feel free to write to us again and let us know how we could help you further.

  4. Hi there my son wrote IGSCE ,this year he registered 6 subject,he failed 2 subjects,is this means that he failed grade 11? Please help

    • Hi Nyeleti,

      Please kindly help us to understand further, in order for us to suggest what’s best for your son.

      Please let us know which exam that he failed the 2 subjects? Was it the school’s internal exam or the IGCSE exam?

      If it was the IGCSE exam, please let us know which examination series. Was it the November 2019 series, or the June 2019 series?

  5. My friend took five subjects and failed two she repeated in October and passed one of them but failed the other does she have to repeat the year ? Pls let me know

    • Hello Leen,

      If this subject is part of her university requirements, she needs to retake the subject. However, please take note that some universities/colleges might require not more than 13 months apart between the first exam sat and the last.

      You may want to check out our A* online revision course. This would help her with her exam preparations. It consists of detailed revision notes, engaging video tutorials, ready-made revision timetable, downloadable exam-style practices, common mistakes candidates make during the exams, exam tips, examiners’ advice, and also some chosen of our word-renowned A* Model Answers (for the respective subject) would be provided free.

      The best part is, you get to ask questions and access the examiners directly.

      Furthermore, she may use the revision courses along with her studies at school. We have got many candidates doing that, and they have gotten better grades at school.

      To understand how it works, kindly read this page: https://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-revision-courses/

  6. My daughter is planning to write IGCSE during next academic year. She is doing 7 subjects.
    She is planning to take the IGCSE exam for one subject in October 2020 and resto of the 6 subjects in May 2021. Will she qualify to get an ACE certificate.

    • Hello Santosh,

      She have to register for ICE Award during her exam registration. If she will not register for ICE Award, she will not able to claim the award after that. Candidates can qualify for Cambridge ICE over two series provided they took place during a period of 13 months.

      Furthermore, to obtain ICE Award, candidates enter and sit for a minimum of seven subjects selected from the five IGCSE curriculum areas:
      Group 1 – Languages ;
      Group 2 – Humanities;
      Group 3 – Sciences;
      Group 4 – Mathematics;
      Group 5 – Creative and Vocational

      Cambridge ICE is awarded to candidates who pass in at least seven Cambridge IGCSE subjects, including two from Group 1 and one from each of Groups 2 to 5. The seventh subject may be chosen from any of the syllabus groups.

  7. I want to know whether i will get IGCSE certificate when i do 6 subjects Mathematics french English biology business and economics

    • Hello Rashid,

      You are free to spread out your IGCSE exams. We suggest that you register whenever you are ready. But please do take note that it is advisable for you to take your IGCSE exams within 13 months. Usually university/college would accept combining results from separate examination series, but within a certain period, for example: within 13 months or 24 months, depending on each university’s entry requirements.

  8. Hello,
    I want to take my IGCSE Exams this year. I am grade 10 student (1st year) and I am studying in school.
    Will that be possible?

    • Hello Nafisa,

      Normally, IGCSE is taken by Year 11 students. However, if you feel that you are ready to sit in for your exams you are free to do so. You may register privately with the local British Council. However, if you are a schooled student, you may want to check with your school what would happen if you take the exam earlier and you are not going to take the exam with the school. Your school might have specific regulations for that.

      You might be interested in joining in our renowned A* online revision course. These courses are being crafted to help you to achieve A*. It consist of: revision notes and video tutorials, a ready-made revision timetable, downloadable exam-style practices, common mistakes candidates make during the exams, examiners’ advice, and also some chosen of our word-renowned A* Model Answers (for the respective subject) would be provided free.

      Furthermore, we are accepting payment through instalment basis if you register on or before February 15, 2020. To understand how it works, kindly read this page: https://www.igcsecentre.com/cambridge-igcse-revision-courses/

      Should you have further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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