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Everything you need to know about the IGCSE

Everything you need to know about the IGCSE

One of the most well-known curricula taught in English throughout the world, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) Curriculum was created by Cambridge International Examination (CIE) in 1988. You should know that the IGCSE by itself is not considered a board, however, it is a curriculum framework under the CIE (Cambridge International Education) board.

For students with a wide range of skills, including those whose first language is not English, the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum offers a choice of options. 

Cambridge IGCSE assists schools in formulating a curriculum around their unique needs. The IGCSE programme invites students to become involved in a range of areas and encourage interdisciplinary learning. Cambridge IGCSE provides schools with a flexible and engaging curriculum, as well as first-rate tools and instruction.

The Cambridge IGCSE helps students do better by fostering their capacity for original thought, research, and problem-solving. It serves as the ideal launching pad for further studies. The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education offers approximately 70 subjects, including 30 languages, and schools are free to offer any mix of those subjects.


Each student must carefully select their IGCSE subjects. You must confirm that you are moving in the direction of your intended professional objective. It’s crucial to identify your interests, talents, and academic strong points. Before determining what subject you want to study at the IGCSE level, it is essential to test out a few classes. This will give you the ability to explore several possibilities while also making it easier for you to recognise your interests and skills. There are 5 groups under which the 70 subjects are categorized:

  1. Group 1 – Languages
  2. Group 2 – Humanities
  3. Group 3 – Sciences
  4. Group 4 – Mathematics
  5. Group 5 – Creative and Vocational

With its “core” curriculum consisting of a First Language, Second Language, Mathematics, and one or more scientific subjects, the IGCSE Curriculum permits students to pursue a minimum of five subjects and a maximum of 14 subjects. Additionally, students have a variety of other options, from social science to technology and the arts. One International General Certificate of Secondary Education Certification will be given for each subject. For instance, if a student enrolls in five disciplines, they will receive five certifications. The amount of subjects required, however, may differ from one school to another.

Here are some of the common subjects:

IGCSE Modern Foreign Languages

IGCSE History

IGCSE Physics

IGCSE Additional Mathematics

IGCSE Chemistry

IGCSE Biology

IGCSE Computer Science

IGCSE Literature


IGCSE Business Studies

IGCSE Economics

IGCSE Sociology


The Cambridge IGCSE assessment is given at the end of the course and may involve coursework, oral exams, written exams, and practical exams. This increases the opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning, especially when English is not their first language. Since there are options for both core and extended curricula in many disciplines, Cambridge IGCSE is appropriate for students of all skill levels. 

The exams are conducted by CAIE, which is a part of the Cambridge Assessment. 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.


Eight internationally recognised grades, from A* to G, that contain explicit rules explaining the quality of achievement for each grade, serve as the baseline for grades. Here are some tips for your examination:

  • Read the questions carefully before writing a response. 
  • Try underlining the crucial details in the question so you don’t misinterpret it.
  • Where appropriate, adding charts and diagrams makes the answers easier to comprehend. In the answer sheet, make sure to include your name, roll number, and any other pertinent information. 

Here’s a table to show the grades available:


Grades Available


C D F G 


A* A B C D E


There are two IGCSE exam periods offered by Cambridge each year, in June and November. Results are released in January and August.


Universities in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and other countries appreciate and recognise Cambridge qualifications. Good scores in carefully selected Cambridge International A Level subjects can earn students up to one year of course credit at universities in countries like the US and Canada. 

All Ivy Leagues in the US, as well as more than 850 other colleges/universities, formally accept the Cambridge International AS and A Levels. These schools include Yale, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, and Brown. More US institutions now accept Cambridge credentials as part of the application process. All universities in the UK recognise Cambridge credentials.

Difference between IGCSE Core and IGCSE Extended

In several International General Certificate of Secondary Education courses, there is an option between Core and Extended papers to account for varying ability. This enables teachers to select the papers that are most appropriate for their pupils’ grade levels. 

For those who are willing to go the extra mile, the Extended curriculum, which consists of the Core curriculum plus the Supplement, has been created and it naturally leads into further education or professional training. In order to create the Extended curriculum, additional topics or depth must be added to the Core curriculum.

It is important to remember that Core covers grades C to G and Extended covers grades A* to E. If a student is securely in the ‘middle’ of the range, only the Extended tier will offer the grades the student may be capable of achieving. Students are not able to achieve above a C for their syllabus grade if they are entered for the Core curriculum.

Here are some advantages of taking the IGCSE

Colleges and universities worldwide look for students with problem-solving abilities, time management abilities, practical and oral skills, initiative and application of skills, knowledge, and comprehension and IGCSE ticks them all out. Additionally, the IGCSE Curriculum offers an international perspective on academics rather than the State Board because it emphasizes more traditional learning.

The IGCSE Curriculum focuses on application-oriented learning, it is more like a jump from a State level to an international one.

Additionally, the IGCSE Curriculum is adaptable and flexible due to the program’s emphasis on encouraging students to develop original materials and ideas. Students are expected to analyze the material to gain a deeper understanding while the teachers supply the syllabus’s framework.

Due to the fact that kids do not have to sit down with a stack of notes to memorize, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education Curriculum is perfect for them. It is also intended for those who are eager to relocate and pursue further education abroad.

In conclusion, typically, students start studying for the test at the beginning of Year 10 and take it at the end of Year 11. However, at some foreign schools, pupils start studying the curriculum at the start of Year 9 and take the exam at the end of Year 10. 

The IGCSE curriculum can be very difficult, so in order to succeed you may occasionally need the assistance of a professional instructor. The top IGCSE teachers are available for live and online with Tychr, all from the convenience of your home. Your free trial lesson is included in our 100% satisfaction guarantee.

All the best.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is IGCSE?

A: IGCSE stands for International General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is a globally recognized qualification for secondary school students, usually taken between the ages of 14 and 16.

Q2: What subjects are offered in IGCSE?

A: IGCSE offers a wide range of subjects including Mathematics, Science, Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business Studies, and many more.

Q3: How is IGCSE different from other qualifications?

A: IGCSE is an internationally recognized qualification that is designed to be relevant to students of all nationalities and cultures. It offers a flexible and broad-based curriculum that allows students to choose subjects that interest them.

Q4: How are IGCSE exams graded?

A: IGCSE exams are graded on a scale of A* to G, with A* being the highest grade. Grades are determined based on a combination of coursework, practical assessments, and written exams.

Q5: What are the benefits of taking IGCSE?

A: IGCSE offers several benefits, including international recognition, a flexible curriculum, and a wide range of subject choices. It also prepares students for higher-level qualifications such as A-levels, IB, or AP, as well as for university studies and future career paths.

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