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IGCSE stands for International General Certificate for Secondary Education.
It is an international, English language qualification for high school students.
It is one of the most recognized qualifications around the world, it is well recognized by leading universities and employers worldwide.
IGCSE is not only limited to examining the candidates (students) on what they’ve learnt throughout the year, but it expands their knowledge through deep understanding rather than memorizing, and practicing a wider variety of questions which are based on the students’ perceiving, comprehending and relating those questions with what they have learnt throughout the course.
IGCSE courses are renowned for developing vital educational skills, including recall of knowledge, oral skills, problem solving, initiative, teamwork and investigative skills.
Students can choose from a variety of subjects (Languages, Sciences, Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as Creative and Professional subjects, students are required to take a minimum of 5 subjects and a maximum of 14. IGCSEs can be completed in 3 years, which can be divided over 5 exam sessions maximum.
Choice of subjects depends on which University and faculty and in which country you are applying into.
Exams are offered through three main exam boards – Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), Pearson Edexcel and Oxford AQA.
There are a number of similarities as well as differences between the three boards. Each board offers a number of subjects and in concept, the method of examination is the same. The differences may be in curriculums of certain subjects and examination times. Some subjects are more popular in one board than the other, but that depends on many factors, such as level of difficulty as well as how flexible the board is when it comes to retaking an exam. Edexcel for example, allows its candidates to choose certain papers to retake if their grades are unsatisfactory.
Cambridge IGCSE exams are conducted in the months of May and October, and the results are released in August and January respectively.
Edexcel International GCSE
Edexcel International GCSE exams are conducted in the months of October/November, January and June and the results are released in August, March and January respectively.
Oxford AQA International GCSE
Oxford AQA International GCSE exams are conducted in the months of October/November, January and June and the results are released in August, March and January respectively.
IGCSE, AS Level, A2 Level and A Level
IGCSE offers 2 levels of exams, the Ordinary Level (referred to as O-Level) and the Advanced Level (A-Level). The O-Level offers the basics of a particular subject.
A bit more advanced is the AS Level, or Advanced Subsidiary Level. This level is more complex and expands more on the curriculum of the Ordinary Level.
A2 is the second part and is more academically rigorous, and together, they form the Advanced Level qualification.
Students are able to choose to study only AS Level of subjects or continue to study the A2 Level and complete a full A Level subject.
Students can not take A2 without AS.
All candidates’ assessments are held centrally in UK. Each session, the exam questions are different and they are constructed to test the student’s ability to understand key concepts and correlate different ideas in order to reach an answer. They also test the student’s creative and innovative abilities.
Final grades are dependent on the session’s “curve”. The curve depends on the exam and the academic level of the students sitting for the exam. For example, the A-grade may range from 30-40/40 in June 2011 while in June 2012 of the same paper in the same subject, it may range from 25-40/40; which only reflects the academic level of the students who sat for that paper/ subject in each session.
Public Universities’ requirements
IGCSE students applying for joining Public universities must be passing in 8 IGCSE OL subjects with a minimum grade of C, and subjects must be studied as Extended not as a core curriculum.
IGCSE student must provide Tansik Office with a maximum of 5 examinations sessions’ certificates that he/she has sit in the previous 3 years before applying for Tansik.
For students applying for Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Physical Therapy, they are required to pass A Level Biology with a minimum grade of D. Or 2 AS Level subjects, one must be Biology, and the other can be one of Chemistry, Physics, or Mathematics with a minimum passing grade of D.
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