International General Certificate of Secondary Education | Wikipedia audio article


The International General Certificate of Secondary
Education (IGCSE) is an English language curriculum offered to students to prepare them for International
Baccalaureate, A Level and BTEC Level 3 (which is recommended for higher-tier students). It is based on the GCE O-Level and is recognised
as being equivalent to the GCSE. The IGCSE was developed by University of Cambridge
International Examinations. The examination board Edexcel offers its own
version, the Edexcel International GCSE. Most Students begin learning the syllabus
at the beginning of Year 10 (Grade 9) and take the test at the end of Year 11 (Grade
10). The IGCSE is an international alternative
to many national curricula, IGCSE qualifications are based on individual subjects of study,
which means that one receives an “IGCSE” qualification for each subject one takes. For this reason, schools worldwide have different
expectations about how many IGCSEs students should take. Typical “core” curricula for IGCSE candidates
include a First Language, Second Language, Mathematics and one or more subjects in the
Sciences. IGCSE candidates can choose a number of additional
courses ranging from Social Sciences to Creative Arts. The IGCSE is predominantly exam-based, meaning
they are not actual certified “courses”, but rather exams that test knowledge in individual
subjects in the same way as Advanced Placement exams and SAT Subject Tests. For this reason, it is also a viable option
for many home-schooling educators or in Adult education, when one is seeking a qualification
but has no time to attend full-time school classes. Its academic worth is comparable to many secondary
school curricula worldwide, such as England’s GCSE, the North American GED or high school
diploma, Hong Kong’s HKCEE, Singapore’s O-Level, and the Indian CBSE or ICSE courses. The IGCSE prepares students for further academic
study, including progression to A Level and BTEC Level 3 study, Cambridge Pre-U, IB Diploma
Programme and other equivalents. It is recognised by academic institutions
and employers around the world and is considered by many institutions as equivalent to the
standard GCSE. Cambridge IGCSE provides a broad study program
that covers subjects from a variety of areas: Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics,
Creative, Technical and Vocational. Most IGCSE subjects offer a choice of tiered
examinations: Core or Extended papers (in Cambridge), and Foundation or Higher papers
(in Edexcel). This is designed to make IGCSE suitable for
students with varying levels of ability. In some subjects, IGCSE can be taken with
or without coursework. Cambridge IGCSE allows teaching to be placed
in a localized context, making it relevant in different regions. It is intended to be suitable for students
whose first language may not be English and this is acknowledged throughout the examination
process. Cambridge IGCSEs are studied in more than
70 subjects by students in over 120 countries and regions worldwide.==Presence==
The IGCSE is often considered to be more similar to the older O-Levels qualification than to
the current GCSE in England, and for this reason is often argued to be a more rigorous
and more difficult examination. Up until recently, most schools offering the
IGCSE were private International Schools for expatriate children around the world. However, an increasing number of independent
schools within the United Kingdom are now also offering IGCSEs as an alternative to
conventional British GCSEs for international IGCSE subjects on the supposed basis that
it is more challenging than the national curriculum.Its use is most widespread in International school
as the Curricula can be adopted for most national circumstances.==Grading, courseload, and awarding==
The IGCSE is graded on an 8-point scale from A* to G with a 9th grade “U” signifying “Ungraded”. This measure of grading is also found in the
UK GCSE. Previously, the “A*” grade in the GCSE did
not exist, but was later added to recognise the very top end of achievement. In the case of Further Mathematics an extra
A^ grade was added for students that can “demonstrate sustained performance in higher-level maths
skills such as reasoning, proof and problem-solving.”.International schools around the world normally allow students
to study anywhere from 5 to 14 IGCSE subjects. Like the situation in the English Baccalaureate,
5 core subject passes at C or above is the minimum required.The Cambridge examination
board offers an ICE (International Certificate of Education) group qualification for candidates
who achieve 7 subject passes A*-C across the following groups:
Group I: Languages Group II: Humanities and Social Sciences
Group III: Sciences Group IV: Mathematics
Group V: Creative, Technical and VocationalThe ICE is awarded in three grades: Distinction,
Merit and Pass. It requires 2 passes in Languages, and one
pass in every other group whilst the seventh subject be in any group to be qualified for
an award. In addition, to award top candidates with
the uppermost achievement, Cambridge awards “Outstanding Achievement Awards” in the categories
of “top in country”, and “top in world” for each subject.==Recognition and equivalence==
The qualification is recognized by institutions in the world. Many students finishing the IGCSE move on
to post-16 study, in preparation for exams such as the A-Levels. or international baccalaureate. It also allows further vocational education
and is often considered the baseline for employment.===United Kingdom===
As of now, only independent schools can easily offer IGCSE subjects, though in 2013 the Office
of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) allowed more use of IGCSE subjects
in state-funded schools. Ofqual allowed the use of Cambridge IGCSE
exams under the name of “Cambridge International Certificates”. However for 2017 the government decided to
exclude iGCSEs from official performance tables, and consequentially entries from state schools
have fallen.So far, 16 Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses received UK government accreditation. Following that, the UK government announced
that the 16 accredited Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses would also be funded in state-maintained schools. Since then Cambridge IGCSE German and Spanish
have also been accredited and funded, taking the total number of accredited and funded
Cambridge IGCSEs to 18. For accreditation purposes, the syllabuses
are referenced as “Cambridge International Certificates” in the UK, although they are
known across the world as Cambridge IGCSEs. The IGCSE is offered by two examination boards
in the UK, one being Edexcel, and the other one being AQA.===United States===
While the number of North American schools offering the IGCSE remains small, some homeschooling
educators are said to be choosing the IGCSE instead of a typical North American high school
curriculum. According to many of these educators, the
IGCSE curriculum may be more advanced than a typical North American secondary school
course by at least one year.The bi-national, jointly-funded US-UK Fulbright commission
under the United States’ Fulbright Program suggests that GPA conversions can be done
to allow for the differences between the GCSE (8-point) and US (5-point) grading scales. Though this equivalence between an IGCSE and
a US high school diploma exists and there are US colleges and universities which accept
IGCSEs for admission, the Fulbright commission advises students who have completed their
IGCSEs at 16 to take the GED test as well, if they plan to directly enter North American
universities without holding post-16 qualifications, such as the IB Diploma, A-Levels and BTEC
Level 3 qualifications.===Singapore & Malaysia===
The IGCSE Board is predominantly used in international schools, while other schools offer it as an
alternative to ‘O’Level Exam..===
Exams===The IGCSE exams are conducted in the months
of February (India only), May and October every year, the exam papers are sent to the
United Kingdom to be marked and the results are released in May, August and January respectively. There is an exam fee for every subject taken,
the cost may vary depending on the country in which the test was taken in

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