The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (or IGCSE) was developed as an internationally recognised qualification, broadly comparable to the GCSE but generally rated as more difficult. It is an individual award and not a group qualification, meaning that each IGCSE qualification is a distinct award from any other.

Previously popular with International schools, its difficulty means it is now gaining popularity with independent schools looking to set their students apart by arming them with more meaningful qualifications.

The relative difficulty of the qualification should not be underestimated, and IGCSE exams are significantly harder than GCSE papers in the same subjects.

How does the IGCSE work?

Like the GCSE, the IGCSE typically runs over two years. Students usually sit somewhere between 8 and 12 IGCSEs, just like regular GCSEs, and (in the UK) will always take papers in English and Mathematics. At IGCSE students can study combined science (and receive two IGCSE for the three sciences), but it is more common to take the Sciences as seperate subjects. Outside of the core subjects, papers are available in all the usual subjects, although there is a narrower range than the GCSE in terms of more fringe subjects.

As each IGCSE subject counts as a seperate qualification (unlike a qualification like the IB, where papers are combined to give one qualification), it is acceptable to combine IGCSE exams with GCSEs or other qualifications, and many students do so.

With IGCSEs, the focus is heavily on exams and away from coursework. Students are awarded grades on a scale identical to the GCSE system (going from A* to U). Although no formal recommendation exists on expected quantities like with GCSE (think about “5 A*-C’s”), in reality the expected outcomes are broadly similar (although the exams are harder!), with the US Fulbright Commission stating that 5 C grades are required to access entry level college courses.

How can I help my child with IGCSE exams?

Just like with regular GCSEs, a huge range of revision material is available, both in print or online. By combining effective revision with use of past exam papers, most students should do very very.

Given the relative difficulty level, students may well require extra help to complete IGCSE courses. Here at Owl Tutors we only employ qualified teachers. All of our tutors have classroom experience in the subjects they tutor, and have been personally interviewed and vetted by us. Please feel free to browse some of our London Tutors or contact us today to find out more.