IGCSE Examination Board: University of Cambridge International Examinations
Frequently asked questions
What is the IGCSE?
The Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds. It attracts almost 500,000 entries from 144 different countries every year. The IGCSE is designed to be taught as a two-year course beginning in Year 9 and culminating in external examinations in Year 10. In some subjects there is a choice between core and extended curricula, making the IGCSE suitable for a wide range of abilities. Students can enter examinations for the level that is most appropriate for them and this need not be the same across all subjects.
Cambridge IGCSE is an international passport to progression and success. It is recognised by leading universities and employers worldwide as evidence of academic ability. Cambridge IGCSE provides the perfect springboard to the Cambridge Advanced stage, typically for learners aged 16 to 19 years, as well as the International Baccalaureate diploma and other post-16 routes. Within Cambridge Advanced, learners can choose from a range of 55 Cambridge International A Level subjects. Cambridge IGCSE helps improve learner performance by developing skills in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving.
How are the students assessed in the IGCSE?
Cambridge IGCSE assessment takes place at the end of the course and can include written, oral, coursework and practical assessment. This broadens opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning, particularly when their first language is not English. In many subjects there is a choice between core and extended curricula, making Cambridge IGCSE suitable for a wide range of abilities.
Grades are benchmarked using eight internationally recognised grades, A* to G, which have clear guidelines to explain the standard of achievement for each grade.
Cambridge IGCSE examination sessions occur twice a year, in June and November. Results are issued in August and January.
What does core and extended mean?
The core curriculum is based on an overview of the subject and is suitable for students expected to achieve grades C to G. The extended curriculum is more challenging and designed for students who are expected to achieve grades A* to C. This is in line with the School’s focus on differentiation and students can choose either stream according to their ability. Students will generally make that choice in Year 10 after consultation with their parents and teachers. Beforehand we will teach all students the extended curriculum.
How are the exams marked and graded?
Some exams are marked on paper and some (such as multiple-choice exams) are marked automatically by a computer. But for any exam, every student’s work is marked in the same way.
Cambridge examiners are teachers or experts in their subject, and they are carefully selected and trained. It is vital that they all mark to the same standard so that they can award the right mark to every student every time.
After all the marking has been done, grades are set. They use a mixture of statistical evidence and expert judgement to agree on grade boundaries. Exam papers can vary slightly in difficulty, so care is taken to set the grade boundaries in the right place, so students don’t get a lower grade just because the paper they sat was more difficult than the year before.
Does the IGCSE prepare the students for further study?
The IGCSE provides the perfect springboard to the Cambridge International AS and A levels, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and all Higher School Certificates in Years 11 and 12. The IGCSE is also used as a benchmark for entry into many UK universities.
Does my child get to choose the subjects they study?
There are over 70 subjects available at Cambridge IGCSE, and schools can offer them in any combination. At AISB, the first cohort is very small which will limit the amount of choice the students can make. However, course selection can be influenced by results in previous reports, discussion of student’s strength and weaknesses, interest in subject area and career aspirations. Our first subject selection session will be held on Tuesday 23rd April at 2.15pm in the Year 7 Kakadu Room, Entally Building, Soi 31 Campus.
How much will it cost?
Cambridge International charges an entry fee per syllabus per student. Schools usually also add an administration fee which includes the transportation of exam materials to and from the UK. The amount is approximately THB 2,500 per subject.
What does my child receive at the end of the course?
Your child will receive an embossed certificate which can be used in a student portfolio for employment and further study.