At Keystone, we are often asked the difference between GCSE and iGCSE.
GCSE and iGCSE are certainly very similar. Both qualifications are at the same level: they are designed to test the completion of the UK National Curriculum's "Key Stage 4". They are usually sat at the end of UK Year 11, in the year a student becomes 16. They have no age restriction, though - and have been sat by many students younger and older. By most higher education institutions and employers, they are seen as equivalent qualifications.
The ‘I’ in iGCSE stands for International; iGCSEs were conceived to be more relevant to students learning in an international or non-UK context.
Their key differences are as follows:
- iGCSEs tend to have much less coursework than GCSEs.
- iGCSEs generally also have fewer administrative hoops to jump through, and so are often favoured by students wishing to prepare for them online.
- iGCSEs tend to be more challenging than GCSEs. Since their launch in 1988, their content and standard have remained challenging, and have not been subject to the same pressures to become easier that have marked regular GCSEs.
- iGCSE marks are not recorded in UK GCSE League Tables.
- iGCSEs and GCSEs also offer different subjects. For example, iGCSEs are not available in Latin or Ancient Greek.
For some or all of the reasons above, many of the top UK independent schools, such as Eton and Harrow, have adopted the iGCSE over the GCSE. Since 2010, UK state schools have also been able to offer iGCSEs.
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