IGCSE stands for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds, recognised by leading universities and employers worldwide, and is an international passport to progression and success.
IGCSE is equivalent to UK GCSE, O level, fifth form or year 11 respective to student’s country and school. Its curriculum offers a variety of routes for learners with a wide range of abilities, including those whose first language is not English.
Cambridge IGCSE assessment takes place at the end of the course and can include written, oral, coursework and practical assessment. This broadens opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning, particularly when their first language is not English.
Grades are benchmarked using eight internationally recognised grades, A* to G, which have clear guidelines to explain the standard of achievement for each grade.
The IGCSE is accessible to those of almost all levels of ability. The questions are often differentiated in terms of levels of difficulty to meet the needs of both the most able student as well as those who find academics challenging. Because most assessment takes place at the end of the course, it allows students whose first language is not English more time to learn over the course of the programme before demonstrating their learning at the end. The IGCSE is certainly a good option if you know your child has strengths in assimilating knowledge and demonstrating this knowledge in exam conditions.
Progression into IB Diploma
The IGCSE is designed to be a preparation for further international study, such as the IB Diploma Programme, as well as entry to international universities. In fact, teachers of some subjects observe that students who have done the IGCSE tend to have a very solid understanding of foundational concepts to build on in the IB DP.
Also, in terms of content knowledge, the IGCSE lays excellent foundations for the IB Diploma. IGCSE students will also have had experience of exam conditions. What IGCSE students may lack is an understanding of the inquiry-based learning approach and criteria-based assessment system of the IB Diploma, as well as certain skills such as independent research. In summary, the IGCSE is a perfectly adequate platform for the IB Diploma in terms its content. All schools will differ in terms of how they manage the balance of knowledge and the 21st century skills considered so important in the world today, and which can make a transition from IGCSE into the IB Diploma smoother.