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IGCSE vs GCSE: What's the Difference? (updated)

IGCSE vs GCSE: What's the Difference? (updated)

in General September 1, 2020

One of the most common questions we get asked by students is what is the difference between IGCSE and GCSE. This article will take a look at both qualifications and the positives and negatives of each.

Let’s start with the GCSE. The GCSE is traditionally studied in UK schools over two years. Some schools will allow students to complete it in one year but this is rare. You can sit GCSE exams only in June and resits can be taken in November of each year. The GCSE is very linear and cannot be enrolled upon at anytime of the year due to the fact that coursework must be submitted throughout the year. 

The IGCSE was introduced 30 years ago by Cambridge Assessment International Education. IGCSEs were created to give students overseas access to a qualification of the same standard as GCSE. Since then other UK awarding bodies, such as Edexcel, have joined suit and offer a range of subjects at IGCSE.

IGCSE have become very popular with distance learning students at both home and abroad. GCSEs have historically included coursework, which always proved problematic for students studying remotely, so having access to a qualification, which on the whole removed this barrier, was very popular.

Apart from that there is no real difference these days. There is a lot of overlap in the syllabuses, both qualifications are the same level, and they are treated as equivalent to one another by all colleges, universities and employers.