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What are the differences between a ‘GCSE and an IGCSE?’

Both the GCSE and iGCSE course are usually two year courses sat at the end of the National Curriculum Key stage 4. In both cases, children sit these exams usually at the age of 16. However, some more able children sit the exam one year later. Most GCSE exams are sat in June and some resits are taken in November.

GCSE and iGCSE exam grades are from A* to G – with C being a pass.  The foundation target grades are C to G and the higher target grades are A* to C. The maximum grade that can be achieved at foundation level is a C. However, soon this is to change to Grades 1-9. At present,


Their key differences are as follows :

Whilst the main difference between the old GCSE and iGCSE was that the former had coursework worth 20% to 100% this is now no longer true. However, the revised GCSEs do not have coursework except for a few subjects such as science.


> iGCSEs can be prepared online.

> iGCSEs are more like the old O’ Levels exams – 100% exams.

> iGCSes are considered as more challenging and rigorous than GCSEs.

> iGCSes offer more depth.

> iGCSE marks go unrecorded in UK GCSE League Tables.

> iGCSEs and GCSEs also offer different subjects. For example, iGCSEs are not available in Latin or Ancient Greek.

> Maths IGCSE has a keen emphasis on algebra and introduces calculus, in preparation for A level maths.


iGCSEs have become increasing popular amongst some of the top UK Independent schools and since 2010 UK state schools have also been able to offer iGCSEs with many subject Heads of departments preferring iGCSE because of the controlled element of the “controlled assessment”..


Author :

Gulam Dabhad is an Educational consultant, educational specialist and an educational journalist in the UK. He is CEO for Improve Tuition and his team delivers math tutoring online, English learning online in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.