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Cambridge IGCSE

The world’s most popular international

curriculum for 14-16 year olds

About CIE
Welcome to Cambridge IGCSE
Cambridge IGCSE is an Welcome to Cambridge IGCSE. The Cambridge IGCSE, regularly updated
international curriculum from world’s most popular international and extended, offers schools a
University of Cambridge curriculum for 14-16 year olds. wide range of well-resourced and
International Examinations supported courses.
A school’s curriculum is the heart
of the learning experience a school Schools around the world have helped
CIE is the world’s largest offers its students. It is at the heart of develop Cambridge IGCSE, so it
provider of international the mission and vision of the school. represents the best in international
qualifications for education for 14-16 year olds. It
That’s why the best place to make develops in line with changing needs -
14-19 year olds. It is a not-for-
decisions about the curriculum is just like your school’s curriculum.
profit organisation and part
within the school itself.
of Cambridge Assessment, a
Cambridge IGCSE gives schools an
department of the University Cambridge IGCSE gives schools the internationally recognised curriculum
of Cambridge. Students in ‘building blocks’ they need to make they can design themselves. It puts
150 countries enter for CIE the right decisions in curriculum the choice about the future where
examinations every year. design, planning and delivery. it should be – in the hands of the
schools and students.

Education for success Building a world-class Teacher Training

in tomorrow’s world curriculum and Support

Access, challenge, International outlook, Progression and

flexibility local relevance Recognition

Education for success
in tomorrow’s world
Schools know students are
learning for life.

Beyond helping students get

good grades. Beyond giving
students passports for immediate
progression. Schools need a
school curriculum to give students
skills that will bring lifelong
success in tomorrow’s world.

What characteristics do we seek

to instil in students?
• Ability to study, work and
communicate in English
• Subject knowledge and
• Flexibility and responsiveness
to change
• Intellectual enquiry
• Ability to apply understanding
in unfamiliar situations
• Research and critical thinking
• Communication and
influencing skills
• Cultural awareness
• Personal and social

Building a student-centred curriculum
Cambridge IGCSE helps schools Extending the curriculum is easy
build a curriculum to develop the - a range of over 70 subjects offers
knowledge and understanding that real breadth and richness to the
universities and employers look curriculum.
for. And to develop the skills and
dispositions which bring students For example, a school can offer:
success in further study and in work. • Any of over 30 language
Schools can build a curriculum
around the core subjects of • Heritage Studies, such as India
mathematics, science and English. Studies
Each core subject has a range of • Established curriculum
alternative syllabuses to suit each components such as History or
student - giving students different Geography – Geography now has a
routes through a core curriculum. interactive computer simulation as
an optional assessment.
For example, in science, a school can
offer: Cross-curricular perspectives are an
• IGCSE Biology, Chemistry and integral part of the curriculum. Making
Physics, an excellent preparation connections between subjects,
for further study skills and other dimensions creates
coherence for learners, and increases
• IGCSE Combined Science or motivation and engagement for
IGCSE Coordinated Science teachers and students alike.
• IGCSE Twenty-First Century
Science - to develop science For example, IGCSE Global
literacy and re-engage students Perspectives complements existing
who may not consider science subject-based syllabuses, encourages
beyond 16. creativity and critical thinking, and
promotes a joined-up view of the

The benefits of a subject-
based approach
Exposure to and engagement
in a variety of subjects at 14-16
gives a student an indispensable
intellectual toolkit.

Subject-based syllabuses
allow for much more than the
transmission of knowledge
necessary for further study or
work. They promote meaningful
engagement in real problems,
and help develop high-level
skills that students can apply in
unfamiliar situations.

Using the ‘discipline’ and

approach of an individual subject,
thinking about the world can
be rigorous and demanding.
The world looks very different
to a biologist than it does to a

The same world looks even

more exciting if you can look at
it from a range of perspectives.
But it doesn’t stop there.

The Cambridge curriculum

now offers the opportunity for
the addition of cross-curricular
dimensions in the form of new,
interdisciplinary Cambridge
IGCSEs. They encourage
creativity, provoke reflection and
promote joined-up thinking.

Cambridge IGCSE subjects
Schools can offer any combination of subjects from any discipline and each subject is certificated separately.
Cambridge IGCSEs offer a very wide range of subjects to choose from and a variety of alternative routes for
learners. Cambridge IGCSEs are highly suitable for a personalised approach, and they ensure that schools are in

Education is continually changing. CIE keeps ahead by updating the entire Cambridge IGCSE suite regularly. Schools
tell us they want a balance: between thoroughly revising syllabuses so they adapt to changes in the world, and
adjusting them year-on-year so they remain relevant to students and stable for teachers.

Cambridge Mathematics Cambridge Science Cambridge English

An essential subject for all Students learn how science is Cambridge IGCSE English
students, Cambridge IGCSE studied and practised, and become syllabuses are available for
mathematics syllabuses encourage aware that the results of scientific students whose first language is
the development of mathematical research can have both good English and for those with good
knowledge as a key life skill, and as and bad effects on individuals, English skills, but who are not
a basis for more advanced study. communities and the environment. native speakers. The syllabuses
develop the ability to communicate
Mathematics Biology clearly, accurately and effectively in
Additional Mathematics Chemistry both speech and writing, for study
International Mathematics Physics and employment.

First Language English

Twenty-First Century Science English as a Second Language
Coordinated Science Literature in English
Combined Science

Environmental Management
Physical Science

Cambridge Modern Cambridge Humanities and Cambridge Business,
Languages Social Sciences Technical and Vocational
Cambridge offers a very wide The study of Cambridge IGCSE These Cambridge IGCSE subjects
range of language syllabuses for humanities and social sciences introduce students to the theory
native and non-native speakers. subjects enables students to gain and concepts that underpin the
Students are encouraged to enjoy a deeper insight into the different subjects. The syllabuses provide
and appreciate the variety of communities and cultures that exist both a foundation for further study
language, and to understand and around the world. at International A Level, and an
respond appropriately to what they ideal preparation for the world of
read and hear. Bangladesh Studies work.
Development Studies
First Language Second Language Accounting
Afrikaans Afrikaans Art and Design
Arabic Arabic Business Studies
Global Perspectives
Chinese Chinese Mandarin Child Development
Mandarin Dutch Computer Studies
India Studies (available 2010)
Czech English Design and Technology
Dutch French Development Studies
Pakistan Studies
English German Drama
Religious Studies
French Greek Enterprise (in consultation)
German Hindi Food and Nutrition
Spanish Literature
Japanese Indonesian Information and Communication
Korean Italian Technology
Portuguese Japanese Information Technology
Russian Malay Music
Spanish Portuguese Physical Education
Thai Spanish Travel and Tourism

Cambridge IGCSE at work in different schools, in different contexts
How do Cambridge schools use the • Specialise in science, humanities who are in bilingual education
flexibility of Cambridge IGCSE to build or commerce subjects and offer programmes.
a curriculum to suit their needs? Here the full range of syllabuses in • Offer Cambridge IGCSEs
are just some of the different models: these streams. alongside the national curriculum
• Create a curriculum framework • Build a curriculum around to enhance the students’ portfolios
offering students the widest traditional subjects, and offer of qualifications.
possible range of choices. They students the chance to integrate
can build their learning around learning through the inclusion of
their emerging interests. cross-curricular dimensions or
• Develop a widely-based common skills.
curriculum of academic subjects, • Extend the academic curriculum
with a limited choice. Students by offering students the
experience a broad education to opportunity of studying more
age 16 and keep options open until applied subjects, or vocationally-
a later stage. oriented study.
• Balance these two approaches: a • Balance international and local
core of subjects including the first studies through a languages
language, mathematics, science programme as well as social
and a social science or humanities studies and humanities.
subject, and a limited range of • Choose Cambridge IGCSE
option choices for students. examinations to assess students

Access, challenge, flexibility
Many schools want to individualise • Bright students have the chance
learning, and maximise student to excel Why have formal
engagement and motivation. They • Students of all abilities are assessment at this stage?
want to engage students across assessed positively We see many benefits to formal
the ability range. They want to put assessment at the end of the
students at the centre, and give them • Tiered structure for different
ability levels 14-16 stage:
real choice – to choose their own
pathways and learn in a style that • The structure of each subject is • Passport for progression
suits them. simple, with easy-to-use options • Record of attainment
to put your school in control of
We make sure the full range of how you deliver the course. • Meets matriculation
students can achieve at Cambridge requirement in some countries
IGCSE: CIE uses an eight-point grade scale: • Stimulates and focuses
• Learning requirements and A*, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Grade A* is students during a crucial period
assessment are clear, to help for the highest level of achievement. of education
students engage Grade G is for minimum satisfactory
performance. • Prepares students for
• Grades are benchmarked to high-stakes pre-university
international standards programmes and assessment
• International benchmark
• Gives students the basis on
which to specialise at 16-18

Flexibility Assessment options
How does Cambridge IGCSE Cambridge IGCSE examination Schools have the option of
provide flexibility and choice for sessions occur twice a year, in May/ assessing students using only
students? June and October/November*. external examinations or, in most
• The widest range of subjects of Results are issued in August and subjects, combining examinations
any international provider January respectively. with coursework. Coursework is
set and marked by the teacher
• Schools can offer courses in any Cambridge IGCSE uses a wide- and externally moderated by CIE.
combination they choose range of assessment techniques Teachers who have received training
• Each subject offers easy-to- to complement formal written from CIE, or who possess suitable
use content and assessment examinations – orals, practicals experience of marking coursework
options and projects are all used in various may carry out this assessment.
contexts where appropriate.
• Alternative routes through
many subjects *Some subjects are only available in one session.

International outlook, local relevance
Schools often use Cambridge IGCSE Cambridge IGCSE programmes run
to provide both international and local in over 125 countries. The syllabuses
contexts for teaching and learning. use international examples and avoid
terminology only used in one country.
Cambridge IGCSE is designed to help Non-native speakers of English are
schools create the balance they want always treated fairly.
between an international outlook and
local relevance.

Growth in Cambridge IGCSE examination entries 2002-2007

number of entries

2002/3 2003/4 2004/5 2005/6 2006/7

Progression and Recognition
Progression Five passes at grade C or higher indicate
Schools which offer their 16-18 year a student’s readiness to begin freshman
olds international qualifications, such level courses in US universities or
as Cambridge International A Level or colleges but many will also require
the IB Diploma, tell us that Cambridge AS or A Levels. Cambridge IGCSE is
IGCSE gives unrivalled preparation. internationally recognised as equivalent
to the GCSE in the United Kingdom and
Schools working in a national context, is regularly used in choosing between
or with university entrance exams, applicants for higher education in the UK.
find that Cambridge IGCSE gives
students the valuable thinking skills Also, Cambridge IGCSE English as
and subject knowledge that equips a Second Language (at grade C or
them really well for study in higher above) is recognised by almost all UK
education. universities - and many in the USA,
Canada and Australia - as evidence of
adequate competence in the English
Recognition language for university entrance
Cambridge IGCSE gives students purposes.
one of the key qualifications needed
to meet the entry requirements for For more information on institutions
many universities worldwide. It is also that accept Cambridge IGCSE, use our
recognised by employers as a reliable recognition search at
record of students’ attainment. www.cie.org.uk/recognition.

Developing the Cambridge Teacher
CIE offers world class support examiner reports and lesson plans joining a discussion group on the
services, helping Cambridge teachers and schemes of work. Access is Cambridge Teacher Support website.
deliver engaging, effective courses. free for schools that offer Cambridge Our subject experts can guide you
CIE also helps teachers develop as IGCSE. Visit http://teachers.cie.org.uk further - email us at
professionals. international@cie.org.uk
Teacher Resources CIE offers regular training workshops Easy to administer
Textbooks & Resources for Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses. CIE offers fast, simple, reliable and
A wide range of textbooks is available Online training is also available, friendly administration. Schools
for Cambridge IGCSE. Find complete increasing access for teachers who receive comprehensive help from
resource lists on our website at have limited time or are a long way CIE’s Customer Services team and
www.cie.org.uk/igcse from training events. Find out more at local representatives. CIE aims to
www.cie.org.uk/events respond to all queries within two
working days at the most.
Teacher Support website
Expert advice
All the materials you need to teach
CIE syllabuses, including past Schools can send us queries about
question papers, mark schemes, any aspect of Cambridge IGCSE, by

What’s the next step?
Talk to CIE about how Cambridge
IGCSE can work in your school. Email
us at international@cie.org.uk or
telephone us at +44 (0)1223 553554.

Learn more
For more information visit

University of Cambridge International Examinations
1 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB1 2EU, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1223 553554 Fax: +44 (0)1223 553558
international@cie.org.uk www.cie.org.uk
© University of Cambridge International Examinations 2009