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What is IGCSE?


GCSE exams for general secondary education certificates have been compulsory exams since 1980 for those who wish to continue their studies in high school in England under the GCS Advanced Level (A-level) program or the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

In high schools in England, GCSE exams are usually taken in a variety of subjects, the choice of which is determined by the students themselves at the 9th year of study (13-14 years). The study of selected disciplines begins at the 10th year of study (14-15 years), and exams are taken at the 11th year of study (15-16 years). The number of subjects studied can be different, on average, each student studies 8-10 subjects.

What subjects do I pass the GCSE exams

All guys take exams in English, math and science. In addition, many schools consider it necessary to take an exam in English literature in at least one modern foreign language, at least one subject of creative orientation, history of religions (often the course is shortened), and information and communication technologies. The student chooses the remaining subjects at his own discretion. It is possible to choose short courses (with a weight of half the GCSE) and courses at the end of which students receive other qualifications.

At the end of the two-year GCSE program, students receive an examination grade for each subject. An exam is considered passed if the student receives the following grades (highest to lowest): A *, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.

If the exam is not passed, then the student receives a U grade (not classified) and a certificate in this subject is not issued. Also, the student can get a grade of X, which may mean that he completed only part of the program of this course or did not complete the course work on this subject.

Many subjects can be studied at one of two difficulty levels, which are called "tires".

  • If a child passes an exam of high complexity (Higher tire), then he can get A * -D marks for him.
  • If the child passes the exam on a low difficulty (Foundation), then he can get C-G marks for him.

If the child who passed the high-complexity exam didn’t reach the grade D a little, then he gets the grade E, but if the child who passed the high-complexity exam didn’t reach the grade D or the child who passed the low-complexity exam didn’t score points corresponding to grade G, then he gets U and the exam is considered not passed.
If the subject is offered only at one level, then the student can get any mark for it.

Next stage of education

For those who wish to continue their studies on the A-level program in order to receive a full secondary education, the A * -C grades for five or more GCSE subjects, including mathematics and English, are often a prerequisite. Moreover, in those subjects that the child decides to continue studying at the A-level, the rating most often should not be lower than C. When entering the university, the selection committee also draws attention to the GCSE ratings in English and mathematics, regardless of the grade for the A-level course , IB or Foundation. Thus, the GCSE grades in mathematics and English should not be lower than C. Many students who receive a lower grade in these subjects for the GCSE course retake the GCSE exams in melon subjects later.

In some subjects, a prerequisite is the performance of one or more term papers, the points earned for which on average is 10-100% of the assessment for the exam in this subject. Moreover, points for term paper on a creative subject often make up a larger percentage of the total mark on the subject.

On the one hand, the implementation of term paper allows you to score additional points, and on the other hand, is an additional burden on the student.

In order to avoid cheating in many subjects, term papers should be carried out under the supervision of educators.

An expert commission is an organization that is responsible for the preparation of examination tests and for the assignment of qualifications according to secondary education levels, such as GCSEs, A-levels, etc. There are five examination commissions in the UK now:

  • Assessment and Qualification Alliance (AQA)
  • Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR)
  • Edexcel
  • Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
  • Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA)

We are controlled by expert commissions by the Qualifications and curriculum Authoroty (QCA).

Students receive GCSE results in the fourth week of August. Typically, exam results should be obtained with a student attending school personally. But the Edexcel panel of experts allows school representatives to email students the results.

I (i) GCSE 14+

What is I (i) GCSE (International General certificate of Secondary Education)

The I (i) GCSE exams for the international certificate of general secondary education are the equivalent of the British GCSE exams. The Cambridge IGCSEs were developed by the expert committee of the University of Cambridge International Examination (CIE) in 1988, and the Edexcel expert committee offers its own version of the exams, iGCSE.

The GCSE I (i) Curriculum prepares students for continuing their A-level, Cambridge Pre-U, and IB programs. Certificates are recognized by educational institutions and employers around the world. Upon admission to a British university, UCAS recognizes them as equivalent to the British GCSE.

There is a wide variety of I (i) GCSE courses. Most subjects can also be studied with a program of high or low complexity, which are called CIE - Extended (advanced) and Core (main), and Edexcel - Higher (high) and Foundation (main).

The main difference between IGCSE is that for most subjects, coursework is not required or is optional. These exams are suitable for students for whom English is not their first language. This information is taken into account during the exams.

The decision on which program, GCSE or I (i) GCSE, students will study at the school.

Importance of IGCSE

Is it obligatory for Russian students to take IGCSE or is our secondary education enough for A Level or IB DP? In fact, you can continue to study under the A Level or IB DP programs without having a certificate of exams. However, training in these graduate programs will become easier for students who have already participated in the international exam. For example, these students are already familiar with English-language scientific terminology, with the style of setting research tasks, with some "pitfalls" typical of the Western education system. Therefore, the IGCSE certificate in the academic environment is considered a measure of the achievement of a student in secondary education, and is also a good guarantee of mastering the A Level or IB program.

Schools in Moscow and Moscow Region that study under the IGCSE program and organize the passing of international exams:

  • BIS - British International School
  • Russian international school
  • English International School of Moscow
  • Cambridge International School

Exam organization

Two companies are involved in taking the exam:

  • CEI (Cambridge International Examination)
  • Edexel

Most of the "market" falls on CEI. In Russia, they are the ones who traditionally take the exam in most subjects.

Exams are held 2 times a year: in May and October. October is considered standby time.
Students receive results in August (for those who have passed in May) and in February (for those who have passed in October). This is due to the fact that the exam is not checked on the spot: the work is sent for examination to accredited teachers in other countries, and the results of this test are processed in England.

Mathematics Levels at IGCSE

In Russian schools, it is customary to study under the program Mathematics (0580). Students are offered two levels:

The core level is taken by humanities. The "Extended" level is taken by future techies. In some schools, all students are asked to choose "Extended" for delivery. In complexity, "Extended", in fact, is not very different from "Core" and all students are able to master it.