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23 Aug 2022

IGCSE vs GCSE: How Do They Differ?

 GCSE and IGCSE Diffrence

There are many different syllabus out in the world which deal with different kinds of curriculum that focus on developing different aspects. IGCSE and GCSE are two examples of international syllabuses. Before getting down to the difference between GCSE and IGCSE, let us understand what each of these terms means.

What are GCSE and IGCSE?

GCSE or General Certificate in Secondary Education is a more prevalent subject-oriented approach in the UK. The certificate is taken at the end of the compulsory study period i.e., Year 11. The certificate is studied over 2- 3 years, usually starting from Year 9 or Year 10. The GCSE subjects are English language and Literature, Economics, Geography, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, History, and Physics.

 IGCSE or International General Certificate in Secondary Education started after the two years of the conception of GCSE. It is much more prevalent in international and non-UK contexts. The IGCSE subjects are of the same scope as GCSE.  The IGCSE can be accessed through various dialects like Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, French, Chinese, and Urdu.

Read: Benefits of IGCSE Syllabus for your Children's Career

Let us now look into the differences in choosing between GCSE and IGCSE educational curriculum:

The difference between GCSE and IGCSE is fairly minimal. Both of these certificates are accepted by top universities and colleges as admission requirements. In the past GCSE had much more coursework when compared to IGCSE which has now been taken care of by the UK government. The GCSE exam format has been altered by the UK government. Now, there are very minute differences between GCSE and IGCSE:

  • Access 

The GCSE is examined in the UK only. It is available in both state and private schools. The GCSE exams are attempted by the students by the end of Year 11 and even be attempted earlier. IGCSE exams are conducted in over 150 countries and are available in the UK as well as international schools worldwide.

  • Duration  

The duration of both IGCSE and GCSE is two years. Some schools start with the same in earlier years like Year 9.

  • Course Content

The GCSE content was primarily curated to serve the British student community rather than an international audience. IGCSE on the other hand encompasses criteria that are required for the global student community. There is no difference between GCSE and IGCSE core subject offerings.

  • Exam Dates

There is a difference between GCSE and IGCSE exam dates. The GCSE exams are annually held during the months from May to June and can be retaken in the month of November. The IGCSE exams are available in November and January ( only for specific subjects) and also from May to June.

  • Exam Boards   

The GCSE exams are conducted by AQA, Edexcel, CCEA, WJEC, and OCR. The IGCSE exam is conducted by Edexcel, Oxford AQA, and CIE.

  • Grading System 

The grading system of the GCSE uses a number-based grading system in which the number 9 is the highest point and the lowest is 1. IGCSE still uses the letter-based grading system in which the highest grade point is A and the lowest grade point is G.

Is an IGCSE equivalent to a GCSE?

The IGCSE and GCSE are both valid examinations and have an equal preference when it comes to their authenticity as a certificate. Opting for either of these exams will directly depend on which universities the students prefer. These exams are attempted by both young and older students.

Want to know the syllabus difference of IGCSE & CBSE? Read more at  IGCSE Syllabus vs CBSE Syllabus