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Comprehensive IGCSE English Syllabus

Comprehensive IGCSE English Syllabus

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) English is an internationally recognized qualification that assesses students’ reading, writing, and communication skills. Achieving a good grade in this subject requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and most importantly, access to good study resources. 

Assessment Pattern

Paper 1 – Reading

  • Written paper, 2 hours, 80 marks
  • Candidates answer three compulsory questions on three texts which may be on a similar topic. 
  • Text A and Text B will be 700–750 words in length and Text C will be 500–650. 

Question 1: Comprehension and summary task (30 marks)

Comprehension task: this question requires candidates to respond to Text A.
Candidates respond to a series of sub-questions. These include short answers testing understanding of both explicit and implicit meanings.

Summary task: this question requires candidates to respond to Text B.
Candidates answer a selective summary task in their own words. Candidates write their summary as continuous writing of no more than 120 words.

Question 2: Short-answer questions and language task (25 marks)

Short-answer questions: this question requires candidates to respond to Text C. Candidates respond to a series of sub-questions which require answers of different lengths.

Language task: this question requires candidates to respond to Text C. Candidates write 200–300 words.

Question 3: Extended response to reading (25 marks)

This question requires candidates to respond to Text C.

Candidates write about 250–350 words, responding in one of the following text types: letter, report, journal, speech, interview and article.

Paper 2 – Directed Writing and Composition

Written paper, 2 hours, 80 marks
Candidates answer two questions, one from each section. The texts will be printed on the question paper insert. Dictionaries may not be used.

Section A Directed Writing (40 marks)

Candidates answer one compulsory question on one or two texts totalling 650–750 words in length.

Candidates use, develop and evaluate the information in the text(s) to create a discursive/argumentative/ persuasive speech, letter or article.

Candidates write about 250–350 words.

Section B Composition (40 marks)

  • Candidates answer one question from a choice of four titles: two descriptive and two narratives. 
  • Candidates use the title to develop and write a composition.
  • Candidates write about 350–450 words.

Component 3 – Coursework Portfolio

Written assignments, 80 marks
Candidates submit a portfolio of three assignments, each of 500–800 words. The assignments may be completed in any order, and are:

  • Assignment 1: writing to discuss, argue and/or persuade in response to a text or texts

Assignment 1 is a piece of directed writing in response to a text or texts chosen by the teacher 

  • Assignment 2: writing to describe

Assignment 2 is a piece of descriptive writing which is assessed for writing skills only.

  • Assignment 3: writing to narrate.

Assignment 3 is a piece of narrative writing which is assessed for writing skills only.

Component 4 – Speaking and Listening Test

Individual Talk and Conversation, approximately 10–12 minutes in total, 40 marks.

Part 1 Individual Talk (3–4 minutes) (20 marks)

The candidate talks for about 3–4 minutes on a single topic or theme which they have selected before the test. The candidate talks about a topic of particular interest, for example, about the candidate’s reactions to meeting a famous person or about a recent film, which would include suggestions as to why others would also like it.

Part 2 Conversation (7–8 minutes) (20 marks)

The Individual Talk leads to a conversation with the teacher/examiner about the candidate’s chosen topic. For example, an account of meeting a famous person could be developed into a discussion of wider issues such as the nature and role of ‘celebrity’ and media intrusion; a talk about a film could be developed into a discussion of wider issues such as censorship, popular culture and the film industry.

Syllabus

The IGCSE English syllabus is divided into two components: Language and Literature. Here is a detailed breakdown of the syllabus:

Component 1: Language

This component focuses on the development of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. It is divided into two parts:

Part 1: Reading and Writing

  • Section A: Reading – students will read and respond to different types of texts, including fiction and non-fiction, and answer a range of comprehension questions.
  • Section B: Writing – students will produce two pieces of writing, such as a report, article, or essay, in response to a given prompt.

Part 2: Speaking and Listening

  • Students will take part in a spoken exchange, demonstrating their ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in different situations.

Component 2: Literature

This component focuses on the study of literary texts from different periods and genres. It is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Set Texts

  • Students will study two set texts, one drama and one novel, and answer questions on their themes, characters, and contexts.

Part 2: Poetry

  • Students will study a selection of poems from different periods and respond to questions on their themes, language, and structure.

Part 3: Unseen Texts

  • Students will read and respond to unseen literary texts, including poetry, prose, and drama.

In addition to the above components, the IGCSE English syllabus also emphasizes the development of language skills, including grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, throughout the course.

Overall, the IGCSE English syllabus aims to develop students’ critical and analytical thinking skills, as well as their ability to communicate effectively in both spoken and written forms.

Books

Cambridge IGCSE English” by John Reynolds

This book is an excellent resource for students preparing for the IGCSE English exam. It covers all the key concepts and topics that students need to know and provides detailed explanations and examples. The book includes a variety of exercises and activities that help students practice their reading, writing, and language skills. It also contains sample exam questions and answers that give students a good idea of what to expect in the actual exam.

IGCSE English as a Second Language” by Alison Digger

This book is specifically designed for students whose first language is not English. It provides a comprehensive overview of the language skills required to pass the IGCSE English exam, including grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension. The book also includes a wide range of exercises and activities that help students improve their language skills.

Complete English for Cambridge Lower Secondary” by Deborah Barton

This book is a great resource for students who want to strengthen their English language skills. It covers all the key concepts and topics that students need to know, including grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing. The book includes a variety of exercises and activities that help students practice their language skills and develop their critical thinking skills.

IGCSE English Literature for CIE” by Jeffrey Wood

This book is an excellent resource for students who are preparing for the IGCSE English literature exam. It covers all the key literary works and provides detailed analysis and interpretation of each text. The book also includes sample exam questions and answers that help students prepare for the actual exam.

IGCSE English Language Skills” by Terry Cook

This book is an excellent resource for students who want to improve their language skills for the IGCSE English exam. It covers all the key language skills that students need to know, including grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. The book includes a variety of exercises and activities that help students practice their language skills and improve their overall performance in the exam.

English Language for Cambridge International AS & A Level” by Mike Gould

This book is a comprehensive resource for students who are preparing for the IGCSE English exam and beyond. It covers all the key language skills required for the exam, including grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. The book also includes a variety of exercises and activities that help students practice their language skills and develop their critical thinking skills.

The above-mentioned books are some of the best resources that students can use to prepare for the IGCSE English exam. Each book covers different aspects of the exam and provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts and topics. By using these books, students can improve their language skills and increase their chances of achieving a good grade in the exam.

There are several tips and tricks that can help students excel in the IGCSE English exam. Firstly, it is important to read widely and practice writing regularly to improve language skills and increase vocabulary. Secondly, understanding the exam format and marking scheme can help students tailor their approach to the exam and maximize their marks. Additionally, analyzing literary techniques and structures can enhance critical thinking skills and improve performance in the literature component of the exam. Moreover, seeking feedback from teachers and peers on written work can help identify areas for improvement and refine writing skills. It is also essential to practice reading and responding to different text types, including non-fiction and poetry, to familiarize oneself with their structures and language features. Lastly, managing time effectively during the exam and planning responses beforehand can help students stay on track and ensure they have answered all questions fully. By following these tips and tricks, students can boost their confidence and achieve success in the IGCSE English exam.

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