Cambridge IGCSE: Curriculum strengths, subject choices and grading

Deepika Sodhi
Aug 18, 2023
IGCSE

The Cambridge Assessment International Education, recognised by top universities and employers globally, provides students a varied range of options in their learning. Their curriculum offers a multitude of strengths in the realm of education. The international exam board is owned by a leading university, the University of Cambridge. 

The Cambridge pathway is for ages 5 and 19 years – primary (age 5+), lower secondary (age 11+), upper secondary (age 14+) and Cambridge Advanced (Age 16+) curriculum. As an international curriculum, it prepares students for a globalised world.

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At GIIS, you can choose the Cambridge Lower Secondary Programme (CLSP), for Grades 6-8,  which is the natural progression for the Upper Secondary programme – IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education), for Grades 9-10.

With an emphasis on practical skills and knowledge, the Cambridge curriculum equips learners with a well-rounded education that extends far beyond the confines of traditional academia, preparing them for success in an interconnected world.

Why opt for IGCSE?

The Cambridge international curriculum, known for high-quality educational programmes, builds on previous learning, called the ‘spiral’ approach. 

The curriculum reflects the latest learning in each subject area, which helps students to develop skills they require, not just in school but university and beyond. It enhances learners' performance by cultivating their abilities in creative thinking, inquiry, and problem-solving. Thereby, serving as an ideal platform for advancing into higher levels of study. Students are nurtured to develop a passion for lifelong learning.

Strengths of Cambridge IGCSE curriculum:

● Flexible and stimulating curriculum, develops creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving.

● A wide range of subject choices.

● Extensive teaching and learning resources.

● Assessment is written, oral, listening and coursework.

● Recognised worldwide by leading universities and employers.

Subject choices:

While there are over 70 subjects available as part of IGCSE, schools can offer them in various combinations. The subjects are offered by Cambridge under five groups:

● Group 1: Languages (English, English As a Second Language, Hindi as a second language, French, Tamil GCE O Level/ Mandarin)

● Group 2: Humanities and Social Sciences (Economics, Literature, Global Perspectives, Environmental Management) 

● Group 3: Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Management

● Group 4: Maths (w/o coursework) (1st Yr-Grade 9), Additional Maths (2nd Yr-Grade 10) 

● Group 5: Creative, technical & vocational, Business Studies, Computer Science, Design & Technology, Global Perspectives

Cambridge IGCSE is called the "perfect springboard" for future educational experiences. At GIIS, our students get a foundation that serves them well in future.

IGCSE assessments and grading

Every year more than eight million students enroll for Cambridge curriculum worldwide. Cambridge IGCSE students are graded A*- G around the world. This grading system is recognised by universities across the world.

IGCSE assessments are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of a student's learning status. There are two Cyclic Tests (CTs), followed by Semester 1 exams, pre-board exams, Semester 2 exams and Cyclic Test 3.

Assessments in the IGCSE allow teachers to personalise the learning experience to ensure that each student is able to progress in the curriculum.

The exams are held between May and June, with the exception of Hindi exams, which occur in November.

Assessments include written exams, oral exams, listening and coursework.

Grade

Percentage Uniform Mark Range

A*

90-100

A

80-89

B

70-79

C

60-69

D

50-59

E

40-49

F

30-39

G

20-29

Outstanding results

At GIIS, our IGCSE students have been performing strongly, academically and beyond –  also reflected through our excellent results over the years.

In the recently announced IGCSE 2023 results, 100% of our students achieved the ICE Distinction. Furthermore, 13 students attained A*s in all the subjects they attempted. There were 12 students who secured 9A*s, while 1 student earned 8A*s across all subjects.

Out of the 128 students who appeared in the examinations, more than 80% achieved A* and A grades, and over 10% of the cohort achieved Perfect Scores. 

These results underscore the remarkable dedication and hard work demonstrated by our students once again.

Also read: ‘Cambridge Lower Secondary provides a strong pathway to IGCSE’

Our 2022 cohort achieved a milestone as 26 students from GIIS secured A* in all subjects they appeared for in the IGCSE examinations. 84% of our students secured overall A* and A grades, with 20 students securing 9A*s and 6 students securing 8A*s in all the subjects.

Moreover, at GIIS, the IGCSE curriculum provides a strong foundation for the international IB Diploma Programme in Grades 11-12, which is popular as the pre-university programme.

If you are keen to know more about the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum at GIIS, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly admissions counsellors.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the easiest subject in IGCSE?

The perception of what is the easiest subject in IGCSE can vary depending on the individual student's strengths and interests. However, some students may find a subject like Global Perspectives to be relatively easier compared to subjects like Mathematics or Sciences, which are often considered more challenging.

2. How does the Cambridge IGCSE curriculum prepare students for the future?

The Cambridge IGCSE curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad and balanced education that helps develop essential skills and knowledge for future success. It emphasises critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and independent learning.

3. What is the age limit for IGCSE?

The IGCSE is a widely recognised international qualification for students aged 14 to 16 years worldwide.

Deepika Sodhi

A highly motivated and dedicated educator with nearly 24 years of teaching experience, Ms. Deepika Sodhi is the Academic Supervisor for International Curricula at Global Indian International School (GIIS) SMART Campus, Singapore.

Ms. Sodhi has a rich experience of teaching Physics across curricula such as the IB, Cambridge IGCSE and CBSE. She has served as an Exam Officer for Cambridge Assessment International Education. Currently, she is an IB Assessment Officer, and a member of International Schools Network and International Baccalaureate Educator Network.

In her free time, Ms. Sodhi enjoys writing blogs, creating guiding material for training staff and community service.

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