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iGCSE - school just announced change over to this system - what is the difference?

(15 Posts)
mulranno Wed 14-Sep-11 10:47:38

how do these differ from GCSE? do all exam boards do these or just a few? -- was planning to get the CGP books to support my son - will these work?

alice15 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:15:18

iGCSEs are generally reckoned to be more academic, traditional and intellectually rigorous than GCSEs, and no, not all boards do them. My DD just did iGCSE Maths, which I think is offered by about 2 or 3 boards? Definitely for maths you need a special iGCSE book, which I think there is only one of, to know what the syllabus covers - past papers are available on line too, at least for the one my DD did. They are meant to offer a better preparation for A level in science subjects, I've been told. I don't know how much help the CGP books would be - I would guess they would help with understanding concepts, esp in science, but I don't know much about iGCSE science. Hope this helps a bit.

AMumInScotland Wed 14-Sep-11 11:39:36

I only know of Edexcel and Cambridge doing them - there are specific test books for them, so I don't know whether the CGP books would cover quite the right topics, thought there will be some overlap.

scaryteacher Wed 14-Sep-11 12:24:12

Don't get the CGP books - have a look on Amazon and there are loads of specific IGCSE revision guides.

Ds is doing IGCSEs and they are like O levels used to be.

Needmoresleep Wed 14-Sep-11 13:09:03

They were initially adopted by private schools who felt they provided a better foundation for A levels, particularly in language, maths and science. At one point I don't think State schools were allowed to do them and results were not included in Government League tables (which is why some well known schools dramatically dropped from top to bottom of the tables.) They were also felt to help boys who tended to be less diligent with course work.

Do expect them to be harder, and so worth working out what is needed. However the advantage should come if a child then goes on to A level, as the exams can require more analytical skills and are generally perceived externally as a more reliable standard. Cousin of DC narrowly missed the grade he needed in maths for 6th form last month, but was let in because he had done iGCSE.

With any new syllabus there is a danger that the first year are guinea pigs, and results can slip as a result of a switch.

mulranno Wed 14-Sep-11 13:26:24

Just re checked the note from school - iGCSE only in chemistry, physics, biology, geography and history in for current yr 10 - might cover more subjects when my Yr 9 son goes to Yr10.

Is the content actually harder? or is it harder to get a good grade because no coursework and no opportunity to repeat modules?

Also are they "officially harder" ie are employers able to distinguish the differences between iGCSE/GCSE - does UCAS or do universities award differnt points?

FagButt Wed 14-Sep-11 17:16:40

IGCSE are brilliant. More academic, exam only, no coursework etc. Mine have done this, and I would highly recommend them.

FagButt Wed 14-Sep-11 17:18:04

Find out whether he is doing Edexcel or Cambridge and just buy the revision guides. Also download practice papers free from the internet. Can't go wrong if you do loads of practice papers

mumzy Wed 14-Sep-11 23:33:37

Igcse are international so the grades are not subject to government interference so a grade A in Singapore is the same as in the UK, hardly any course work and much more reliance on final exams most of private boys school already have them and not surprisingly much less adopted by girls independent schools

gelatinous Thu 15-Sep-11 00:27:44

iGCSEs are easier for schools to administer because of the lack of controlled assessment. Parents of children that do them believe they are harder and usually moan that their dc would have had higher grades if they'd done the usual GCSEs and I know two private schools that either haven't adopted them or have switched back to GCSEs because their perception was that grade came out lower with iGCSEs. I've heard the Cambridge board has a reputation for being harder than Edexcel.

They may indeed be harder, or it may be that the grass is always greener elsewhere, or just horses for courses, but if your ds's school has decided to do them you have little choice but to go along with it and make the best of it. CGP guides are usually pretty good for most things, so if they do iGCSE versions they would probably be worth getting.

confidence Sat 17-Sep-11 20:38:17

iGCSE sounds like some kind of qualification in Apple Mac computing.

pastoralacademia Wed 05-Oct-11 10:00:35

Dear Mulrano, IGCSEs are much harder but much better preparation as well for A level. Most schools choose just the sciences and the maths. Your DS's school went the humanities as well. A fantastic move! Where is the school? Would you be able to let me know the name? Thank you.

mulranno Wed 05-Oct-11 10:45:23

Dr Challoners Grammar School (Boys) Amersham

pastoralacademia Wed 05-Oct-11 13:23:18

I think I am in the catchement area, the only problem is that I have only girlssmile Great school though.

pastoralacademia Wed 05-Oct-11 14:11:39

Mulranno. My boys wouldn't cope in a competitive enviroment that's why I am going to send them to a co-ed but my girls are highly competitive, any recommendation; equivilant to Dr Challoners ? we live in Marlow.

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