IGCSE is an abbreviation for International General Certificate of Secondary Education and is an English language curriculum offered to students to prepare them for International Baccalaureate, A Level and BTEC Level 3.
It is recognized by academic institutions and employers around the world and is considered by many institutions as equivalent to the standard GCSE.
The IGCSE was developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations. The examination board Edexcel offers its own version, the Edexcel International GCSE. Students begin learning the syllabus at the beginning of year 10 and take the test at the end of year 11.
The IGCSE is an international alternative to many popular national curricula. However, unlike many school-leaving qualifications in many countries, the IGCSE is not a group award or “certificate of education”. It is a qualification based on individual subjects of study, which means that one receives an “IGCSE” qualification for each subject one takes.
Over 9000 schools in 160 countries offer the Cambridge IGCSE and have been verified and confirmed for adding value within national context whilst also contributing to internationalism.
History of IGCSE
In England, beginning in 1951, a two-tier examination system was established, originally as GCE at Ordinary Level (O Levels for 16-year-olds) and Advanced Level (A Levels for 18-year-olds). In 1988, O Levels were replaced in by the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education).
At the same time, Cambridge agreed to make special provision for the growing number of international schools that were being established throughout the world in order to cater for children of diplomats and the increasingly mobile workforce of international corporations. This was based on the GCSE and named the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), the courses we offer today.
Structure of IGCSE
IGCSE are two-year courses designed for 14 to 16-year-olds. It is known for developing vital educational knowledge, understanding, and skills. They are established qualifications that keep pace with educational developments and trends and so are an ideal foundation for higher level courses such as AS and A Levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Recognised throughout the world, by academic institutes and employers, they are a mark of quality and evidence of real ability.
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.
Grading System of IGCSE
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 recognize 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 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 in the categories of “top in a country”, and “top in the world” for each subject.
Benefits of Taking IGCSE
· IGCSE provides a foundation for higher level courses,
· Good IGCSE grades count towards entry to universities and colleges around the world
· IGCSE offers students a flexible course of study that gives them the freedom to select the subjects that are right for them
· Study and examination at IGCSE provide a broad knowledge base and learning skills that provide excellent preparation for employment
· It is recognized by CBSE, IB and other State Boards
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