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The International General Certificate of Secondary Education is an English language based examination similar to GCSE and is recognized in the UK as being equivalent to the GCSE for the purposes of recognizing prior attainment. It was developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations. The examination boards Edexcel and Oxford AQA also offer their own versions of International GCSEs. Students normally begin studying the syllabus at the beginning of Year 10 and take the test at the end of Year 11. However, in some international schools students can begin studying the syllabus at the beginning of Year 9 and take the test at the end of Year 10.

The qualifications are based on individual subjects of study, which means that one receives an "IGCSE" qualification for each subject one takes. Typical "core" subjects for IGCSE candidates include a First Language, Second Language, Mathematics and one or more subjects in the Sciences.

Types of International General Certificate of Secondary Education

Cambridge IGCSE

Cambridge IGCSE exams are conducted in the months of February (India only), May and October, and the results are released in May, August and January respectively. The exams are set by CAIE, which is part of the Cambridge Assessment that also includes the OCR gcse examination board.

The Cambridge examination board offers an ICE (International Certificate of Education) group qualification for candidates who achieve 7 subject passes A*-C across the following groups:[1]

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 Awards" in the categories of "top in country", and "top in world" for each subject.[2][3]

Edexcel International GCSE

Edexcel International GCSE exams are conducted in the months of June and January. The exams are set by Edexcel which also sets GCSE exams in the UK.

OxfordAQA International GCSE

OxfordAQA International GCSE exams are conducted in May/June and November. The exams are set by Oxford International AQA Examinations which is a joint venture between AQA which sets GCSE exams in the UK and Oxford University Press(OUP).

Presence

Before changes to GCSE first taken in 2017, the IGCSE was often considered to be more similar to the older O-Levels<

The qualifications are based on individual subjects of study, which means that one receives an "IGCSE" qualification for each subject one takes. Typical "core" subjects for IGCSE candidates include a First Language, Second Language, Mathematics and one or more subjects in the Sciences.

Cambridge IGCSE exams are conducted in the months of February (India only), May and October, and the results are released in May, August and January respectively. The exams are set by CAIE, which is part of the Cambridge Assessment that also includes the OCR gcse examination board.

The Cambridge examination board offers an ICE (International Certificate of Education) group qualification for candidates who achieve 7 subject passes A*-C across the following groups:[1]

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 Awards" in the categories of "top in country", and "top in world" for each subject.[2][3]

Edexcel International GCSE

Edexcel International GCSE exams are conducted in the months of June and January. The exams are set by Edexcel which also sets GCSE exams in the UK.

OxfordAQA International GCSE

OxfordAQA International GCSE exams are conducted in May/June and November. The exams are set by Oxford International AQA Examinations which is a joint venture between AQA which sets GCSE exams in the UK and Oxford University Press(OUP).

Presence

Before changes to GCSE first taken in 2017, the IGCSE was often considered to be more similar to the older O-Levels qualification than to the current GCSE in England, and for this reason was often argued to be a more rigorous and more difficult examination.[4] Before the early 2010s most schools offering the IGCSE were private International Schools for expatriate children around the

The Cambridge examination board offers an ICE (International Certificate of Education) group qualification for candidates who achieve 7 subject passes A*-C across the following groups:[1]

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 Awards" in the categories of "top in country", and "top in world" for each subj

In addition, to award top candidates with the uppermost achievement, Cambridge awards "Outstanding Achievement Awards" in the categories of "top in country", and "top in world" for each subject.[2][3]

Edexcel International GCSE exams are conducted in the months of June and January. The exams are set by Edexcel which also sets GCSE exams in the UK.

OxfordAQA International GCSE

OxfordAQA International GCSE exams are conducted in May/June and November. The exams are set by Oxford International AQA Examinations which is a joint venture between AQA which sets GCSE exams in the UK and Oxford University Press(OUP).

Presence

Before changes to GCSE first taken in 2017, the IGCSE was

Before changes to GCSE first taken in 2017, the IGCSE was often considered to be more similar to the older O-Levels qualification than to the current GCSE in England, and for this reason was often argued to be a more rigorous and more difficult examination.[4] Before the early 2010s most schools offering the IGCSE were private International Schools for expatriate children around the world. However, in the 2010s an increasing number of independent schools within the United Kingdom began also offering IGCSEs as an alternative to conventional British GCSEs for international IGCSE subjects on the supposed basis that it is more challenging than the national curriculum.[5]

Grading, courseload, and awarding

The official status of IGCSEs has changed several times in the UK.

The official status of IGCSEs has changed several times in the UK.

In 2013 the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) allowed more use of IGCSE subjects in state-funded schools. Ofqual allowed the use of Cambridge IGCSE exams under the name of "Cambridg

In 2013 the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) allowed more use of IGCSE subjects in state-funded schools. Ofqual allowed the use of Cambridge IGCSE exams under the name of "Cambridge International Certificates".[13] Initially 16 of Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses received UK government accreditation. Following that, the UK government announced that the 16 accredited Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses could also be funded in state-maintained schools. Subsequently, Cambridge IGCSE German and Spanish were also been accredited and funded, taking the total number of accredited and funded Cambridge IGCSEs to 18. For accreditation purposes, the syllabuses are referenced as "Cambridge International Certificates" in the UK, although they are known across the world as Cambridge IGCSEs. The IGCSE is offered by two examination boards in the UK, one being Edexcel, and the other one being AQA.[14]

However from 2017 the government decided to exclude iGCSEs from official performance tables, and consequentially entries from state schools have fallen.[15] So that whilst "international GCSEs no longer meet the condition of funding; however, they do continue to count as equivalent to GCSEs for the purposes of recognising prior attainment" [16]

In 2018, 91% of IGCSE UK entries in core subjects were in private schools, and about 75% for all subjects.[17]

Cancellations-

During the 2019/2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, all IGCSE examinations due to take place in May/June 2020 were cancelled, along with GCSE and A-Level exams that year. As of the 31st March 2020, the CAIE had decided to guide schools to predict students' grades through evidence like mock examination results.


While the number of North American schools offering the IGCSE remains small, some homeschooling educators are said to be choosing the IGCSE instead of a typical North American high school curriculum. According to many of these educators, the IGCSE curriculum may be more advanced than a typical North American secondary school course by at least one year.[18]


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