International General Certificate for Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a certification for secondary studies which prepares students for the A Level, International Baccalaureate and BTEC Level 3. It is an examination system developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations in 1988. It offers inter-national curricula and is an alternative to many other boards including GED of North America, CBSE or ICSE of India, HKCEF of Hongkong, O level’s of Singapore and many other equivalents. It is a globally recognised course taken in class 10. It is a two-year programme which is spread over class 9 and 10. The final exam of class 10 can be taken in May or November.
Subjects in IGCSE
What makes IGCSE different is that it is not a ‘Certificate of Education’; it is only a qualification for specific subjects taken by the student. It is principally exam-based but not a certified course. The student tests his/her knowledge in the individual subjects and is very similar to SAT Subject Tests and Advanced Placement exams. So it is convenient for homeschoolers and adults. The student who enrol into the IGCSE curriculum will have four core subjects- first language, second language, Mathematics and one or more subjects in science. Apart from this candidates can choose from a number of additional courses ranging from Creative Arts to Social Sciences. Candidates around the world choose anywhere between 5 and 14 IGCSE subjects.
Grading in IGCSE
The assessment is conducted by Edexcel , also known as London Examinations and CIE, Cambridge International Examinations; both are based out of UK. The course is spread over class 9 and 10 and IGCSE gives only “U” grade which signifies “Ungraded” in the 9th grade. In class 10 an 8 point scale from A* to G is given. In case the candidate has opted for Further Mathematics an extra A^ grade is given. A C grade in 5 core subjects is the minimum requirement for the certification. The ICE is a step further to IGCSE and has a slightly different grading pattern. They grade candidates into three categories : Distinction, Merit and Pass. To get a certificate from ICE the candidate must score 2 Passes in Languages, one Pass in each of the four groups and one pass from any one of the five groups. In total there are seven subjects to be covered to get an ICE grade. The groups are as follows.
- Group I – Languages ( First Language, Second Language, Foreign Language etc.,)
- Group II – Humanities and Social Sciences ( Geography, History, English Literature etc.,)
- Group III – Science ( Physics, Chemistry, Biology etc.,)
- Group IV – Mathematics
- Group V – Creative, Technical and Vocational ( Computer, Business Studies, Music etc.,)
IGCSE curriculum is flexible and can be easily adapted to the candidate’s aptitude. It offers high academic standards with importance given to a practical way of learning. Assessment is not just written, they include listening and oral tests. Since the choice of subjects is with the candidate, they score better grades as they enjoy the subjects.