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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 qualification does not require controlled assessment and has a linear structure with terminal assessment.

Cambridge IGCSEs are subject-based, and are usually taken over a two year period with assessment at the end of the course.

Education context

Cambridge IGCSEs have been available for use internationally since 1985, with the first exam taken in 1988. They are now the world’s most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds.

Cambridge IGCSEs are taught by over 5,500 schools in over 140 countries.

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 the UK, where Cambridge IGCSE is taught by over 2,600 schools which made over 285,000 entries in June 2015 (of which approximately 18% are independent).

Cambridge IGCSEs are separate from Level 1/Level 2 Certificates; UCAS has published a QIP for these qualifications at

Awarding organisation
  • Cambridge International Examinations

Cambridge IGCSEs are not regulated by Ofqual in the same way as GCSE qualifications.

Syllabus code numbers are assigned to each Cambridge subject and qualification and for Cambridge IGCSE, these take the format of four digits beginning with 0.

Syllabus code numbers can be found at

Cambridge IGCSEs are characterised by a linear structure with terminal assessment.

Subject areas
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Creative, technical, and vocational

Cambridge IGCSEs are comparable to Levels 1 and 2 of the Regulatory Frameworks in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


Cambridge IGCSEs are graded A* – G.

Cambridge IGCSEs at Level 1 are graded G – D

Cambridge IGCSEs at Level 2 are graded C – A*


Cambridge IGCSE subject syllabuses are examined at the end of the two-year programme of study, and can include written, oral, coursework, and practical assessment.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

Subjects are externally assessed, using appropriate assessment methods.

Within the overall grade, the contribution of components varies between subjects.   

For example:

Cambridge IGCSE Biology is externally assessed, with 20% of the total marks allocated to practical skills as either coursework, a practical test, or an alternative to practical paper.

Cambridge IGCSE French is assessed with equal weightings of the total marks allocated to the four skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing.

All assessment components are entered in a single examination series. If coursework is included in the assessment, it can be completed while doing the course but will not be moderated or externally assessed until the end of the two-year course.

Resit arrangements

The full qualifications can be retaken at the November, May and March (India only) assessment opportunities.

Guided/notional learning hours notes

There is no stated qualification 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 Cambridge IGCSEs.

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

Cambridge IGCSEs are graded A* – G. From 2017 HEPs will need to consider the differences between GCSE qualifications in England graded 9 – 1 (a nine point scale) and those graded A* – G (an eight point model).

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Results are released in mid-January for November sessions.

Results are released in mid-August for May sessions.

Results are released in May for the March session (India only).

Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current.

Reporting and certification information

Final certificates are released approximately two months after results are released.

Progression information

Sufficient Level 2 achievement in Cambridge IGCSEs enables progression to Level 3.

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

Cambridge IGCSEs enable international progression and are accepted by universities and employers worldwide.

Further information

Further information on Cambridge IGCSEs can be found at…