IGCSE Overview





IGCSE Overview


In 1988, O Levels were replaced in England by the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).

At the same time,  Cambridge agreed to make special provision for the growing number of international

schools that were being established throughout the world in order to cater for children of diplomats and

the  increasingly  mobile  workforce of  international  corporations. This  was  based  on  the GCSE and

named the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). IGCSE provides a broad

study  programme  by  drawing  subjects  from  five  areas:  Languages,  Humanities,  Social  Sciences,

Mathematics and Creative,  Technical and  Vocational. Within the curriculum, there is a balanced mix of

theoretical  knowledge  and  practical  experience. CIE  provides  a choice of core and extended papers

in most subjects. The extended level is designed to stretch the most capable students.


The  International  General  Certificate  of  Secondary  Education  (IGCSE)  is  a balanced international

curriculum  designed  to  encourage high academic standards through a practical approach to teaching

and  learning.  The  IGCSE  course  is used  in  schools  in over 100 countries.  It is also recognised by

universities  worldwide. The syllabus  consists of a  two-year course of study leading to an examination,

which is typically taken at the end of Grade 10. 


Successful  students  receive  an internationally  recognised  qualification, which is  the equivalent to the

UK GCSE at ‘O’ Level. The  curriculum is suitable for students of all nationalities  and different levels  of

ability.  It provides an ideal preparation for higher-level courses such as the  International Baccalaureate

and IGCSE Advanced Level (AS/A2).



International General Certificate of Secondary Education