GCSE vs IGCSE, What's the difference?
GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education)
The GCSE replaced ‘O’ Levels and CSE’s in 1988. In the UK GCSE’s are usually studied in Year 10 and 11, the last years of senior school. Students usually take a number of different subjects, some of which are compulsory and some are chosen according to the students’ strengths and interests. The exams are usually sat in the last term of year 11, although gifted pupils can often sit the exam earlier. Grades have been A* to G but will shortly be replaced by new grades 1-9. GCSE grades are usually taken into account when applying for sixth form or college courses at age 16+.
IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education)
The International GCSE was first introduced approximately 25 years ago mainly for overseas pupils, with English as a second language, could take the exam. The syllabus includes coursework as well as exams, whereas the revised GCSE is now mostly exams and little coursework assessment.
Assessment takes place at the end of the course and includes written, oral, coursework and practical assessment. Grades are A*-G.
Subjects are the same as for GCSE but also include a larger variety of foreign languages.
Many independent schools now enter pupils for this exam – possibly because they have many pupils from overseas whose first language is not English- and also because a large number of schools were disappointed at how the GCSE English exam was marked in recent years with controversy over grade boundaries.
Schools will generally offer either GCSE’s or IGCSE’s so check the school website or speak to the school admissions officer for more information.