What is the difference between IGCSE and IB?

What is the difference between IGCSE and IB

Table of Contents

IB (International Baccalaureate) and IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) are both boards that offer a unique curriculum of their own. This not only keeps the students interest at its core, but also involves the community in the process of learning.

Firstly, IGCSE by itself is not considered a board, however, it is a curriculum framework under the CIE (Cambridge International Education) board. Likewise, IB is a framework under the IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization).

IGCSE is given at Class 10 whereas IB is given at class 12. Therefore, there is always an option of taking up IGCSE and shifting to IB later on. The IB Board can be advantageous in various ways. To begin with, the teachers play a rather big role in the implementation of the established education framework.

Since they share a close connection with the students, the teachers can personalize the way they deliver the content according to the student’s socio-cultural context. Furthermore, the framework itself is designed in a way where the teachers aren’t forced to adhere to it.

Hence, this gives the freedom for the teachers to promote their imagination and deliver better in terms of IB’s learning outcomes. IB allows the students to pick 6 subjects from 6 different groups of subject areas.  Consequently, it gives a lot of freedom and they tend to offer the knowledge and experience for the subject choice curated by the specific student.

Apart from the subject choices, there are mandatory core components that need to be satisfied such as Theory of Knowledge (ToK), Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity Action Service (CAS). On another note, IB doesn’t have any fixed textbooks.

Instead, they provide a list of recommended readings to the students, thereby leaving the option of reading from it or otherwise to them. Lastly, IB exercises the students’ brain in a way where they tend to develop the skill of logical reasoning and analytical skills, therefore, giving them an edge at competitive exams such as the SAT and the GRE.

Moreover, IB also gives equal importance to extracurricular activities as they do for academics. This would not only let you experience and experiment your potential skills, but also becomes a bonus when it comes to college applications. 

On the contrary, IB can have its limitations as well. The teacher’s error in approach to teaching can affect the efficacy of the curriculum in achieving the skill set required. As for the students, the subject choices affect the workload you carry throughout the two years. You need to be prepared for the hard work and magnitude of study that is required for any of the IB subjects that you choose.

Despite the wide range of subject choices, there can be reduced flexibility due to the depth it needs to be studied in. The IB Diploma is a rather rigid and tedious curriculum that requires you to take 6 subjects across 6 or rather 5 categories when you exclude arts. That’s about as flexible as it gets. Additionally, it also depends on your school as to what subjects are being offered. So, at the end, you may not be left with too many options. 

Similarly, IGCSE has its pro’s and con’s too. Unlike the IB Board, the IGCSE students have a clear-cut idea of what they will be doing as their future course. The curriculum is structured in a way that includes a global yet nationally relevant perspective.

The course is very demanding and intense, since the students are required to submit an assessment in relation to every top that has been covered throughout the year. Additionally, students are assessed based on their assignments and practical application of the skills and knowledge gained.

The teachers also don’t have the responsibility of creating the curriculum or the resources for the students. This carefully designed curriculum takes the student directly into the course for tertiary education.

Also Read: The difference between the SAT and the SSAT

In addition, the IGCSE certificates are graded external hence having more accountability. The boards that conduct the examinations are Edexcel and CIE. Furthermore, to study IGCSE, you have the option of picking from a plethora of 70 subjects with no fixed combinations.

The only outcome of each subject is to learn global research and gain a global perspective. This board majorly emphasizes on the development of the skill, application of the knowledge gained and subject understanding rather than the ability to memorize the concepts just to recall it during the examination. In order to aid them with the process of understanding and learning, IGCSE provides prescribed as well as recommended readings to study from

A major drawback in IGCSE is that the teachers are restricted to an extent where they are not able to implement creativity or rather engage with the students. The fact that the IGCSE curriculum is more UK-oriented and not very international, the teachers expect it to be a traditional board where everything that is taught is sheerly focused on the exams.

These exam-driven systems kill the opportunity of the schools to actually educate the students. Both the IB and the IGCSE programs are essential boards for emerging global needs. These boards are capable of doing just that. They are also molded in a way to develop the skill set for their higher studies and research work. However, IB is a much tougher curriculum as it stresses more on improving the global mindset competencies.

Whereas, IGCSE is merely focused and designed for more academically inclined students. All the knowledge thatIB curriculum they gain leans towards the examination-based assessments. Nevertheless, IGCSE is a board that is more available than IB in schools in India. This is because teachers are more easily available in IGCSE rather than IB that requires the teachers to design the curriculum.

To summarize, IGCSE is the best option for students upto the 10th grade. However, IB is a better choice if you pick a degree in any of the STEM programs for their future. Studying IB would give you an upper hand during college. 

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