International General Certificate of Secondary Education or the IGCSE is the one of the most popular English language curriculum for 14 to 16 years old worldwide. Developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations, the curriculum prepares students for boards like International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, Cambridge Pre U, A-Level and other equivalent boards.
Studied in more than 70 subjects by students in over 120 countries, the IGCSE is highly respected worldwide as a measure of a student’s academic achievement and is accepted by higher education institutes and employers as well. It is especially useful for admissions in the UK as well as US and Canada.
What is the curriculum ?
However, IGCSE is NOT a “certificate of education”. It is a qualification awarded to the student based on individual subjects of study. This means the student gets an IGCSE qualification for each subject a student takes.
IGCSE offers over 70 subjects, 30 of them being languages alone, giving freedom to schools to offer them in any combination. To accommodate students with different abilities, IGCSE offers the IGCSE Core and IGCSE Extended, allowing them to pursue the subjects to the desired depth.
The typical core curriculum generally comprises of a First Language, Second Language, Mathematics and one or more subjects in the Sciences. IGCSE candidates can then choose other additional courses from the list to design their program accordingly.
What is the difference between Core and Extended curriculum papers?
The Core curriculum in each subject is designed in such a manner such that most students would find it comfortable to understand and learn. It is aimed at students who are comfortable with the subject enough to score between C and G.
The Extended curriculum is aimed at nurturing academically able students. Comprising of the Core and the Supplement, students are expected to achieve from A* to E. The Supplement extends the topics of Core in greater depth and introduces new topics as well.
Grades for Core: C, D, E, F, G
Extended Curriculum: A* A B C D E
Although on paper, IGCSE acts as a preparation for IB DP and other equivalent boards, there is a lot of difference between IB and IGCSE, chiefly in approach to education, from which stems the differences between an IB and an IGCSE education.
SCOREX ™ has prepared a handy guide to clear the air on this debate and help you make a better decision.
|Basic||It is more of an education framework than a curriculum||It is a well defined school curriculum system|
|Focus||IB is aimed at an education focussing on continuous learning with mastery in certain areas.||IGCSE focusses more on guiding students along a well defined path and prepares students to be good test takers.|
|Target students||Offered upto class 10, equivalent to IB MYP. Students who are artistic, unconventional in approach, and those who aim for holistic learning and personal growth would find IB more suitable as compared to IGCSE.||Offered upto class 12th. Suitable for students who prefer structured learning environment with tangible goals. Also tends to attract students who have “hard” skills.|
|Examinations||Comprises a mix of oral and written exams that are aimed at holistic assessment||Exams conducted twice annually, in June and November, with grades ranging from A* to G.|
|Outlook||Emphasis on a global, multicultural outlook with the student as the center of learning||Compared to IB, IGCSE is more country specific and has a specific content based goal.|
|The “Which is more practical” question||IB scores well in this area with an emphasis on hands on learning and inculcation of thinking skills among students.||IGCSE is comparatively more theoretical with lesser flexibility. Emphasis on learning by practise, which is repetitive in comparison to IB.|
|“Which is tougher” question?||IB prepares students with both hard and soft skills. An IB student would find transitioning to IGCSE not as challenging as the other way around.||While it is unfair to call IGCSE “exam driven”, students transitioning from IGCSE to IB DP do face challenges.|
|Cons||1. Both students and teachers find it demanding to make full use of the flexibility.
2. Students and parents who set store by formal grades and external assessment, would find IB giving too flexible.
3. The implementation of IB varies across teachers and schools and on the effort invested.
4. The transition from MYP to DP is not smooth.
|1. Focuses too much on external assessment and formal grades neglecting the child’s individuality.
2. Course work is standard and “repetitive”.
3. Textbook oriented and exam driven learning.
4. Curriculum is not updated and is archaic as compared to IB.
So what is the general opinion among parents and students regarding these differences?
The combination of IGCSE and IB DP is considered excellent, joining the divergent philosophies in a complementary manner. Generally it is considered that while IGCSE would take care of the “standard way” (of exams, grades and test taking skills), IB DP would take care of the “holistic learning” (thinking skills, personality development, practical skills etc).
SCOREX ™ offers premium IGCSE tutoring for students who require assistance in Mathematics and Sciences. The relevant subject codes are:
With SCOREX ™ Edge, we ensure that the student receives the best possible guidance. We focus not just on clearing examinations, but also on building academic rigour that is expected from an IGCSE student. Given how important mathematics is, we ensure that sufficient time is devoted in conceptual clarity, especially in the beginning.
The SCOREX ™ IGCSE mathematics program culminates with the student equipped and confident in the following mathematical skills:
The development of their mathematical knowledge
Confidence, by developing a feel for numbers, patterns and relationships
An ability to consider and solve problems and present and interpret results
Skills in communication and reasoning using mathematical concepts
A solid foundation for further study
For academically talented students who have opted for Mathematics 0606 and Mathematics 0607, we devote extra attention and time to ensure that the talent is actualized fully.
Click on this link to find about Mathematics syllabus for 2017-18
Click on this link for information on Mathematics 0606 syllabus
Click on this link for information on Mathematics 0607 syllabus
SCOREX ™ offers premium coaching for all Science subjects- Physics, Chemistry, Biology.
Our teaching approach, SCOREX ™ Edge is designed to help students to understand the basics of the subject from both theoretical and practical perspectives.
Our SCOREX ™ tutors aim not so much to just “teach the subject” but arouse curiosity in the student to take an interest in scientific and technological developments. We aim to nurture and develop a curious and open mind towards learning in our students. This is what gives the student that extra edge not just in examinations, but also in life.
With a solid foundation in Mathematics, we ensure that the student gets confident in not only the theoretical portions of Physics and Chemistry, but also the “maths and equations” part of it.
For Biology, we take care to cover the syllabus comprehensively, such that the student will be helped in not only examinations but also in practical lab work as well.
Please refer to the following links for further information on the syllabus for the Sciences.
1) Physics Syllabus 0625
2) Chemistry Syllabus 0620
3) Biology Syllabus 0610
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