Beginner’s Guide to Cambridge IGCSE syllabus | IGCSE Schools Bangalore

Beginner’s Guide to Cambridge IGCSE syllabus | IGCSE Schools Bangalore

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a globally recognized qualification, conducted at the Class 10 level, similar to the Class 10 examinations of the CBSE and ICSE or the middle years programme of the IB. IGCSE, formed in 1988, is a comprehensive two-year programme, spread over Class 9 and 10, and leads to the final examinations offered every year in May and November.

A wide range of international schools offer high quality International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) programme’s to students. IGCSE is one of the most sort-after and recognized qualifications in the world.

Cambridge IGCSE provides a broad study program and covers subjects from a variety of areas: Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Creative, Technical and Vocational. This is designed to make IGCSE suitable for students with varying levels of ability. Cambridge IGCSE allows teaching to be placed in a localized context, making it relevant in different regions. It is intended to be suitable for students whose first language may not be English and this is acknowledged throughout the examination process. The IGCSE has been introduced in the school for selected students of Std.8 in June 2007.

In 2009, Cambridge IGCSE papers in more than 70 subjects were taken by students in over 120 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Egypt, Kuwait, Hong Kong, India, Bahrain, Peru, UAE, New Zealand ,Vietnam, Thailand and Costa Rica.

IGCSE caters for different levels of ability with a choice between core and extended papers in many subjects. The resulting qualification provides a foundation for higher level courses, such as the International Baccalaureate, A and AS Levels, the Advanced International Certificate of Education and the North American Advanced Placement programme.

The core curriculum is based on an overview of the subject and is suitable for students expected to achieve grades C to G. The extended curriculum is more challenging and designed for students who are expected to achieve grades A* to C. Grades achieved through either route have the same values.
IGCSE offers a flexible course of study that gives candidates the freedom to choose subjects that are right for them, while providing them with a broad knowledge base and lifelong skills.


The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a globally recognised qualification, conducted at the Class 10 level, similar to the Class 10 examinations of the CBSE and ICSE or the middle years Programme of the IB. IGCSE assessment is conducted by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The Cambridge IGCSE was developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in 1988.

The final qualification provides a foundation for higher level courses, like A and AS Levels, the North American Advanced Placement programme, the Advanced International Certificate of Education and the International Baccalaureate (IB). It is recognized by academic institutions and employers around the world. In entrance to U.K. higher education, UCAS(Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) recognizes it as equivalent to 2 U.K. GCSE’s.

IGCSE is a high profile qualification. It has an excellent reputation amongst international schools worldwide. IGCSEs are recognised as a reliable record of attainment which counts towards entry to universities and colleges around the world.

Eligibility Criteria-

More than the assessment body, parents need to think about which school is better for their child. IGCSE is designed to be taught as a two year course for students aged 14 to 17 years.
In most subjects there is a choice between core and extended curricula, making IGCSE suitable for a wide range of abilities. Students can enter for the level that is most appropriate for them and this need not be the same across all subjects.

Cambridge Checkpoint Examination-

The Cambridge Checkpoint is a standardized diagnostic test in English, Mathematics and Science conducted by IGCSE students at the end of Grade 8. Students of IGCSE class of Grade 8 will appear for the Checkpoint examination in April-May. IGCSE courses take two years to complete and exams are taken at the end of that period.

Subjects and the IGCSE curriculum-

Most IGCSE subjects offer a choice of Core or Extended papers (in Cambridge), and foundation or higher papers (in Edexcel). There are currently 38 IGCSE subject qualifications available in the new IGCSE from 2009 suite – an increase from 22 IGCSE subjects in the legacy suite. Double awards are available for science.

At school, students are encouraged to study a wide range of subjects at IGCSE level, at the same time, in order to follow a broad and balanced curriculum, many students take courses from each of the IGCSE groups particularly if they’re aiming to go on to further education.
The course differs for each subject, but throughout there will be a mix of assessment methods, including coursework, practical exercises, oral and listening tests, projects and written examinations. Cambridge ICE is the group award of the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and requires the study of subjects drawn from the five different IGCSE subject groups. It gives schools the opportunity to benefit from offering a broad and balanced curriculum by recognizing the achievements of students who pass examinations in at least seven subjects, including two languages, and one subject from each of the other subject groups.

There are five Subject Groups in IGCSE with several subjects to choose from, in each group:

  • Group 1:  Languages (First Language, Second Language, Foreign Language, etc)
  • Group 2:  Humanities and Social Sciences (Geography, English Literature, History, etc)
  • Group 3:  Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc)
  • Group 4:  Mathematics (Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, etc)
  • Group 5:  Creative, Technical & Vocational (Accounting, Business Studies, Computer Studies, Music, etc)

For each subject, the certificate merely indicates the grades scored, and not pass or fail.

Five scores of ‘C’ or higher indicates a students readiness to pursue +2 level qualifications, like the Class 12 CBSE,ISC, IB Diploma, Advanced Placement Diploma (US), etc.

Selection from five curriculum areas:

  • Candidates hoping to gain the Cambridge ICE group award must enter and sit for at least seven subjects selected from the five IGCSE curriculum areas.
  • The subjects selected must include two (different) languages from Group I (i.e. English; Hindi/French) and
  • One subject from each of Groups II, III, IV and V. The seventh and eighth subjects can be opted from any of the subject groups II-V.
  • A subject opted by less than 10 students may not be offered.

IGCSE Assessment –

  • IGCSEs are 100% externally assessed. This allows schools to offer an IGCSE qualification, even if teachers are not coursework specialists. Some IGCSEs contain a coursework option so that centre’s that do have the experience and expertise can offer coursework.
  • IGCSEs are graded in the same way as GCSEs (A* to G). For tiered subjects, Foundation tier papers are targeted at grades C to G, and Higher tier papers are targeted at grades A* to D. This allows students of all abilities the opportunity to gain good results.

 Parents Concerns: Why should one choose IGCSE curriculum for their children 

1. IGCSE is one of the most sought-after and recognised qualifications in the world. It develops and encourages vital educational skills, including oral skills, investigative skills, problem solving, team work, recall of knowledge, and initiative.

2. The IGCSE programme has worldwide status and credibility. In India, the course is delivered in over 130 schools with the number expected to touch 600 soon. It is recognised by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as being at par with CBSE, ICSE, etc.

3. Worldwide, it is delivered in schools in over 140 countries and is recognised by colleges and universities everywhere, more so in the UK and other Commonwealth countries.

4. The IGCSE curriculum is balanced and lends an international perspective to studies. It also takes account of differing abilities of students.

5. IGCSE students can take advantage of the Cambridge Checkpoint, a diagnostic service comprising of standardised tests, that pin-points a student’s strengths and weaknesses in key curriculum areas.

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