Information about IGCSE conducted by CIE 2016


Cambridge IGCSE is the world's most popular international curriculum for 14 − 16 year olds, leading to globally recognised and valued Cambridge IGCSE qualifications. It is part of the Cambridge Secondary 2 stage.

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an internationally recognised qualification for students, typically in the 14 − 16 age group. It is similar to the GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Standard Grade in Scotland or Junior Certificate in the Republic of Ireland. The IGCSE was developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations in 1985. The examination board Edexcel offers its own version, the Edexcel IGCSE. The term “IGCSE” is the registered trade mark of the University of Cambridge and is used under licence.

Schools worldwide have helped develop Cambridge IGCSE, which provides excellent preparation for the Cambridge Advanced stage including Cambridge International AS and A Levels and Cambridge Pre-U, as well as other progression routes. It incorporates the best in international education for learners at this level. It develops in line with changing needs, and is regularly updated and extended. Cambridge IGCSE teachers can draw on excellent resources, training and advice from subject experts.

Building a curriculum

Cambridge IGCSE encourages learner-centred and enquiry-based approaches to learning. It develops learners'skills in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving, giving learners excellent preparation for the next stage in their education. Schools can build a core curriculum, extend it to suit their learners and introduce cross-curricular perspectives. Clearly defined learning outcomes and content, mean Cambridge IGCSE is compatible with other curricula and is internationally relevant and sensitive to different needs and cultures.

Schools can offer any combination of subjects. Each subject is certificated separately. Over 70 subjects are available, including more than 30 language courses, offering a variety of routes for learners of different abilities. Cambridge IGCSE develops learner knowledge, understanding and skills in:

  • Subject content
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to familiar and new situations
  • Intellectual enquiry
  • Flexibility and responsiveness to change
  • Working and communicating in English
  • Influencing outcomes
  • Cultural awareness

The IGCSE is an international alternative to many popular national curricula. However, unlike many school-leaving qualifications, the IGCSE is not a group award or “certificate of education” as in many countries. It is a qualification based on individual subjects of study, meaning one receives an “IGCSE” qualification for each subject one takes. For this reason, schools worldwide have different expectations for their students as to how many IGCSEs should be taken. In 2010, Cambridge IGCSE papers in more than 70 subjects were taken by students in over 120 countries worldwide, including the Sultanate of Oman, the United States, the United Kingdom, El Salvador, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Sweden, Denmark, Malaysia, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Hong Kong, India, Bahrain, Qatar, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, UAE, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ecuador, Vietnam and Singapore, among others.

Typical “core” curricula for IGCSE candidates includes a First Language, Second Language, Mathematics and the Sciences. IGCSE candidates then choose a number of additional courses ranging from Social Sciences to Creative Arts.


Assessment for Cambridge IGCSE includes written and oral tests, coursework and practical assessment. Schools have the option of assessing learners using only external examinations or, in most subjects, combining examinations with coursework. Coursework is set and marked by the teacher and externally moderated by Cambridge.

Teachers who have received training from Cambridge, or who possess suitable experience of marking coursework may carry out this assessment. In most subjects there is a choice between core and extended curricula, making IGCSE suitable for a wide range of abilities. Each learner's performance is benchmarked using eight internationally recognised grades. There are clear guidelines which explain the standard of achievement for different grades. Cambridge IGCSE examination sessions occur twice a year, in May/June and October/November. Results are issued in August and January.

The examination board Edexcel offers its own version, the Edexcel IGCSE. The term “IGCSE” is the registered trade mark of the University of Cambridge and is used under licence.


Cambridge IGCSE is taken in over 100 countries worldwide and are widely recognised by higher education institutions and employers around the world as evidence of academic ability. Cambridge IGCSE is equivalent to the GCSE in the United Kingdom. In some parts of the world, schools use Cambridge IGCSE as an international alternative to the local government's examination.

Each learner's performance is benchmarked using eight internationally recognised grades (A × -G). In some countries, IGCSE qualifications will satisfy the entry requirements for university. In others, they are widely used as a preparation for A Level, AS, International Baccalaureate and US Advanced Placement courses.

Grade C in IGCSE English (both First Language and Second Language) satisfies the English proficiency requirements of many universities in the UK and other anglophone countries.