Don’t know how IGCSEs work? We explain everything you need to know about it!

The IB academic programs and A-Levels conducted at EF Academy are available to students aged 16-19. But what options do younger students have instead? Many of our children attend EF Academy schools to study high school, but there is the possibility of studying 3rd and 4th of ESO through the international IGCSE programmed. But what are IGCSEs? Below, we present a crash course on this diploma that will allow you to discover everything you need to know to make an international leap in your life.

First of all… what is the IGCSE diploma?

IGCSE, the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, is an internationally recognized diploma awarded at the end of the final year of secondary school. It is the international version of the British GCSE, that is, the diploma obtained by students after completing the 3rd and 4th years of ESO. The IGCSE certificate provides excellent preparation for a baccalaureate as demanding as A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate, and they are appreciated by universities and companies around the world.

The IGCSE program is dedicated to students between the ages of 14 and 16 who have to complete grades 9 or 10, that is, 3rd or 4th of ESO. It lasts two years, but there is the possibility of attending only one year. In practice, it can be decided whether to start the IGCSE program from the first year or attend the second year directly.

What is the IGCSE program?

The IGCSE program offers a solid academic foundation that allows students to continue their studies successfully at the baccalaureate. It is a flexible academic course with a wide range of possibilities, since students have the opportunity to choose their academic path by choosing which subjects to study. However, the subjects available depend on the school chosen: EF Academy Torbay or EF Academy New York.

Specifically, students study 6 subjects, three of which are compulsory fields: English, mathematics and science; and three freely chosen. Topics are chosen based on personality, interests, and college and career goals.

You can also learn through IGCSE online tuition.

And what about university recognition?

The IGCSE diploma is widely recognized by universities and companies around the world. Many universities, especially English universities, require on admission that students present their IGCSE diploma at least to see those subjects that have not been carried out during A-Levels. Therefore, these universities require a combination of A-Levels and IGCSE to meet the admission requirements.

How are students evaluated?

Assessment takes place at the end of the second year and may include written, oral and practical projects and exercises. This allows students to show their skills and what they have learned in different ways. This is especially important because students take the exams in English, not their native language. Grades range from A* to G and students are awarded an IGCSE diploma with a mark for each subject in which they are examined.

What subjects can students choose?

Students must choose subjects within the major groups: English, mathematics and science. Then, they are free to choose two or three more subjects from those offered at the school. The groups of subjects in which you must choose are:

  • Languages
  • Sciences
  • Math
  • human Sciences
  • Art
  • Others (computer science, writing, technology…)

There are different subjects for each subject group and the availability of subjects depends on the chosen school.

Why are IGCSEs useful for students?

This assessment includes written, oral and practical activities in English, allowing students to develop their skills in each of the subjects and their proficiency in the language. These activities are specifically designed for the international profile of the students, without losing the education and values ​​of the country in which they are and avoiding all kinds of cultural bias.

Undoubtedly, passing these exams is a very good passport for the future of students, since they are widely recognized by the best educational centers and companies. In addition, they represent a great personal and professional development for the student. Preparation for these exams is based on the development of essential educational skills, such as speaking, problem solving, teamwork and research.

For all this, from TEMS, The English Montessori School, as a British school in Spain recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture and by Great Britain, they have sent us a series of requirements and advice, for all those parents of students who want or are going to face these exams, so that they can prepare and pass them satisfactorily.

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