What is the Cambridge IGCSE?
The IGCSE stands for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, an English based examination recognized worldwide. The certificate is issued by Cambridge Assessment International Education, which is part of the University of Cambridge.
The IGCSE curriculum is international in its content, and created specifically for international schools and avoids cultural biases. The syllabus has been designed to develop skills in creative thinking, inquiry and problem-solving.
In the UK, The IGCSE qualification is accepted as equal to the GCSE O level and GCSE exams. The exam is targeted to 14 to 16-year-olds. IGCSE is typically taken in year 10 and the assessment is done in year 11 for 2 years of coursework.
Students generally move on to take their GCE A levels and IB diploma after obtaining their IGCSE, although some US and Canadian Universities accept 5 IGCSE passes as sufficient for placement.
The curriculum has a reputation of being rigorous, it covers a wide topic range for each subject and the subject also has depth to encourage independent research and learning. Schools typically focus on training students to meet the stringent assessment requirements over the course of 2 years, and students are typically prepared to understand and apply their content to pass and ace their tests. In terms of testing, it is regarded as more challenging than the O level exam, even though both are on equal footing in terms of recognition.
Comparison to the IB program
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is catered to 16 to 19-year-olds, culminating in one main end examination by external assessors at the end of the course.
The International Baccalaureate does not prescribe any formal examinations for students in the program until they sit for their final exams. Schools and teachers therefore have more freedom to determine the assessment modes for these years.
The IB framework is divided into an EYP (early years program 3 to 6 years old) PYP (primary years program, age 7 to 11), MYP (Middle Years program 11-16) and IB Diploma (age 17-18). In contrast, students are typically prepared in the Cambridge primary and lower secondary checkpoint exams before they enter into the IGCSE syllabus.
In Singapore, the final IB exams account for about 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the total mark for each subject, while assignments assessed by teachers and checked by external examiners contribute the rest of the final grade. The IBDP curriculum places emphasis on the research processes of the students, as well as on their inquiry and problem-solving skills.
The IGCSE curriculum has a reputation of being more exam-focused and focused on drill and practice than the IB program.
Students in the IGCSE system are typically required to take 7 subjects, including 2 compulsory subjects in languages, with one assessed as a first language and another assessed at a second language standard. There are two compulsory IGCSE subjects to be taken, Mathematics and English Language.
Students must take at least one subject in the following core subject areas:
Core subjects areas:
- Group I: Languages
- Group II: Humanities and Social Sciences
- Group III: Sciences
- Group IV: Mathematics
- Group V: Creative and Professional
Humanities and Social Studies includes the subjects Economics, Geography, Global Perspectives and History.
Creative and professional subjects includes a wide subject area consisting of subjects like Business Studies, Art and Design, Media Studies, Physical Education, Drama, Food and Nutrition etc.
Helpful Free Resources for IGCSE
Here are some helpful free video and examination revision resources you may use for your IGCSE revision and to help you understand your subjects better.
YouTube channel by Michael van Biezen covers a wide range of physics videos as well as chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and mechanical engineering.
The playlist is sorted into many different categories of topics, making this a comprehensive database of easy-to-understand concepts and explanations to help you.
Cambridge in 5 Minutes is a YouTube channel that focuses on IGCSE Cambridge science topics including Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
The channel provides powerpoint slides presented with topic-based MCQ and past paper tutorials and revision guides.
Did you know the official IGCSE Cambridge website has many past examination papers, specimen papers as well as examiner reports, to help you understand how the scoring system is as well as the common mistakes candidates make for their papers?
All subjects of the Cambridge IGCSE are covered.
Khan Academy is a non-profit charity education organisation that provides free education learning tool for students in a wide age group. Their chemistry and math videos and resources are worth checking out for your IGCSE. The website also covers a variety of other examination preparations including the SAT.
Learner Net conducts a wide variety of IGCSE subject courses taught by specialist teachers. Our IGCSE are small group classes to maximise your learning experience to ace your IGCSE examinations. To view the courses we have, do check out these links:
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