IGCSE or GCSE – What is the Difference?

IGCSE or GCSE What is the Difference?

How Regent supports students with both programmes

Set in the heart of Emaar’s Greens community in Dubai, Regent International School offers an outstanding, future-driven education that nurtures the young citizens of tomorrow. We follow the National Curriculum of England and offer an outstanding education culminating in the GCSEs in Year 10 and 11, and A levels in Year 12 and 13. We are rated “Outstanding” by the British School Overseas Inspection authority and “Very Good” by KHDA. 

At Regent, we have a multi-pathway model, which empowers our students with bespoke course selections, to find the most appropriate route to study the subject of their choice eventually at the university or college of their choice. But there is still some confusion when we start talking about whether it’s GCSE or IGCSE that their child (based on their capability) should opt for. So here is our humble attempt at demystifying the differences between the two. 

What are the benefits of the IGCSE and GCSE programmes?

Both IGCSE and GCSE programmes encourage students to think independently and drive their own learning. Students, as a result of both programmes, become more culturally aware and develop the skills to engage with people in an increasingly globalised, rapidly changing world. Both programmes form the foundation are excellent for preparation for A level programmes of study.

What is the main difference between the IGCSE and GCSE?

Both IGCSE and GCSE incorporates academic rigour alongside a career-related and real life application.

The General Certificate of Secondary Education, or GCSE, is a United Kingdom, or more specifically England and Wales, academic qualification gained by a student, typically by the age of 16, marking the completion of mandatory schooling in the UK. After a student is awarded their GCSE, based on exam results, they will continue their schooling onto the A level programme until university or college, or opt for vocational and apprenticeship educational training until at least 18 years of age.

The IGCSE is the international version of the GCSE. It was developed more than 25 years ago by the Cambridge University International Examinations. It was initially a way of extending the opportunity to earn the GCSE qualification to students living outside the UK, whose first language may not be English. Like the GCSE, the IGCSE is taken at the end of year 11 following a two or three-year study period, and offered for a range of subjects.

There is no status difference between IGCSE and GCSE programmes, both have the same weighting and recognition for admission and entrance to higher level study. At Regent, students at present choose from a variety of IGCSE and GCSE programmes bespoke to their learning abilities, skills and career ambitions.

How are IGCSE and GCSE programmes graded?

Recently, the GCSE has also changed its grading system. From 1994 to 2015, grades ranged from A* to G. In 2015, the GCSE switched to a numerical system, with grades ranging from 9, being the highest, to 1 being the lowest. Currently, IGCSE grades ranged from A* to G. However, both system gradings are currently being reviewed, so watch this space!

Are IGCSE and GCSE programmes recognised and valued at Universities?

Universities across the globe recognise and accept the IGCSE and GCSE programmes. The Regent team of highly experienced staff, including career counsellors, guide students, in conjunction with their families, offer their support to help students get into the most appropriate universities and colleges to fulfill their future dreams and goals. This support includes workshops and personalised meetings for both students and parents throughout the year.

Are the teachers trained and experienced to teach IGCSE and GCSE programmes?

To ensure that the school is fully prepared to deliver the IGCSE and GCSE programmes in the best way possible, all teachers teaching IGCSE and GCSE programmes have had specific training in their subject areas from the beginning.

The above listed questions are only some of the common questions we have received. We understand that every question is unique, and it needs a unique solution. Our Open Door policy is to encourage you to have an open dialogue with us. Please feel free to drop your comments below and our teams will respond to them soon. More so, during school pick-up and drop off, Mr. King is more than happy to have a one-to-one with families; for more formal interactions, best to book an appointment. Stay tuned to our upcoming blogs, where we will continue to demystify academic pathways.

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