Pearson Edexcel International GCSE

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  • International
  • UK (independent schools)

To provide a qualification recognised by universities and colleges worldwide, which can support progression internationally.

To enable a curriculum which includes internationally relevant content and use of local contexts.

In order to facilitate and standardise assessment in many countries, the programme does not require controlled assessment and has a linear structure with terminal assessment.

Education context

Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs have been available for use internationally since 2009.

They are used by over 800 centres in over 80 countries. There are currently more than 100,000 learners studying Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs in countries throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.

In England they are not funded for use in state schools and do not contribute to Performance Measures.

As an interim measure, they contributed to Performance Measures in England in 2013.

They are used as an alternative to GCSEs in over 350 independent schools in the UK.

Pearson Edexcel GCSEs are separate from Level 1/Level 2 certificates; UCAS has published a QIP for these qualifications at

Awarding organisation
  • Pearson (Edexcel)

Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs are not regulated by Ofqual and do not appear on the Register of Regulated Qualifications.

International GCSEs are characterised by a linear structure with terminal assessment.

Subject areas

International GCSEs are currently available in around 40 subjects (some subjects are available to international centres only). Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs are being revised according to the following timetable:

  • First teaching 2016, first awards in 2018 (UK and international schools): English Language A, English Language B, English Literature, Mathematics A,  Mathematics B.
  • First teaching 2017, first awards 2019 (UK and international schools): Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Chinese, Double Award Science, Economics, English as a Second Language, French, Further Pure Mathematics, Geography, German, History, Human Biology, ICT, Physics, Religious Studies, Single Award Combined Science, Spanish.
  • First teaching 2017, first awards 2019 (international schools only): Art and Design, Bangladesh Studies, Bengali, Commerce, Computer Science, Global Citizenship, Greek 1st Language, Islamiyat, Pakistan Studies, Sinhala, Swahili, Tamil.

To be phased out (last award 2018): Hindi, Urdu 

To be phased out (last award 2019): Classical Arabic, Gujarati, Turkish 


Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs are comparable to Levels 1 and 2 of the Regulatory Frameworks in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


All Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs are now graded 9-1.

The phasing in of the new grading started in Sept 2016 and was finalised for all subjects in August 2019.


Assessment is terminal, taking place at the end of the course, and can include written, oral, coursework, and practical assessment.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Only the terminal assessment contributes to the final grade.

Within the terminal assessment, the contribution of components varies between subjects.

Resit arrangements

The full qualifications can be retaken at either the January or June assessment points.

Guided/notional learning hours notes

There is no stated programme size but it generally takes 120 guided learning hours to complete a course in one subject.

Key issues for UK HE admissions

Higher education providers can expect to receive applications from overseas students holding Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs.

Higher education providers can also expect to receive applications from UK students holding the qualifications; these are most likely to be from the independent sector.

Until the 2018 application cycle, all Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs will be graded A* – G.

In the 2019 and 2020 application cycles, applicants may hold Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs graded A* – G or 9 – 1, depending on the subject.

From the 2021 application cycle onwards, you should expect most applicants to hold Pearson Edexcel International GCSE grades on the 9–1 scale, with only mature applicants holding International GCSEs with lettered grades.

In April 2019, UK NARIC carried out an independent benchmarking of International GCSE and found it comparable to the UK GCSE standard.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Exam series are in:

  • January (results released in March)
  • June (results released in August)
Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current.

Reporting and certification information

Certificates sent to schools and colleges as follows:

  • January series – by 31 May
  • June series – by 31 October
Progression information

Sufficient Level 2 achievement in Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs enables progression to Level 3.

There will be progression to International A levels, UK A levels, or other Level 3 qualifications.

Pearson International GCSEs enable international progression and are accepted by universities and employers worldwide.

Students can generally expect that their grades will be accepted as equivalent, grade for grade, to UK GCSE grades by universities worldwide.

Further information

Further information on Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs is available at :