What is IGCSE?

  • IGCSE stands for ‘ International General Certificate of Secondary Education’
  • It is an international system of courses and examinations developed and run by The University of Cambridge, UK.
  • It is designed as a two year programme leading to an internationally recognized certificate.
  • It fosters high academic standards together with the ability to put knowledge into practice.
  • It provides the basis for further study (e.g. for the International Baccalaureate course)

What are the examinations like?

IGCSE uses a wide range of testing methods appropriate to different skills and subject areas. Written papers may contain short answer questions, multiple choice questions, longer structured questions or full essays. Listening tests, speaking tests and practical tests are also used.

All of these are set by Cambridge and are sent overseas to be marked. The timetable for these exams is also set by Cambridge and as an examination centre we must adhere to their rules and regulations during the examination period. Written exams usually start in May and continue in to June of IGCSE Yr.2.

Does everyone do the same level of examination?

In some subjects the examination can be taken at either of the two levels: Core or Extended. The decision as to which level is best for you will be taken by your teachers in consultation with you and your parents during IGCSE Yr.2. It will depend on how well you have done in the course up to that point, however, it is the school policy to enter everyone for Extended unless there are clear indications this would undermine the student‘s chances of passing.

The final examination of IGCSE Yr.1 is designed to set the classes in Core and Extended level. Once these classes are set, the delivery of the curriculum differs in the two groups as the curriculum content demands separate classes. This will be implemented from the start of IGCSE Yr.2.

What grades can I achieve?

IGCSE grades are awarded for each individual subject; A* to G. A* is the top grade while G indicates the minimum satisfactory grade. All UK universities  require a Grade C or above.

If you take the core paper you will be eligible for Grades C to G. If you take the extended papers you will be eligible for Grades A* to E.

What is coursework?

In some subjects there is the option of submitting work that is completed during the course. These pieces are set and marked by your teacher in accordance with strict criteria laid down by Cambridge. Samples of this work are sent to chief Examiners in Cambridge so that they can ensure that the criteria are being met and all instructions are precisely followed. All teachers involved in setting and marking coursework have to undergo special training and get an accreditation from CIE. However, coursework is adopted in only a few subjects worldwide and can be done only with prior permission from CIE.

What is the ICE Award?

The International Certificate of Education ( ICE) is awarded to students who take and pass at least seven subjects which form a balanced programme i.e. the programme must include English and another language, a Humanities subject, a Science subject, a Creative subject and Mathematics, i.e. at least one subject from each group. The ICE may be awarded at one of the three levels:
Distinction Five Grade A’s/A*’s and 2Grade C’s or better
Merit Five Grade C’s and two GradeF’s or better.
Pass Grade G or better in sevensubjects.


At SIS, we offer the following choice of subjects. In IGCSE, there are 5 groups of subjects. To qualify for an ICE award, students must choose 2 subjects from Group I ( ONE more language other than English) and at least one from group II, III, IV and V. Seven subjects to be chosen in all to qualify for ICE.
Subject Group Subjects offered
1) Languages
  • English as a First Language
  • English as a Second Language
  • French as a Foreign Language
  • Spanish as a Foreign Language
  • Hindi as Second Language
2)Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Economics
  • Environmental Management
  • Literature(English)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Environmental Management
  • Mathematics (without coursework)
5)Creative,Technical and Vocational
  • Information &Communication Technology
  • Drama
  • Business Studies

Are there any restrictions in choosing the subjects? (Only ONE of the following can be chosen)

  • English as 1st Lang./ ESL
  • French/Spanish/Hindi (if studied the language for at least 3years as a second Lang. in Grades 6,7 &8)
  • Physics/Business Studies
  • Chemistry/Economics

What are the non-academic activities/subjects offered?

  • Physical Education
  • CCA - To choose any one from - Art, Dance, Music, Sports
  • Research Methodology
  • Soft Skills
They allow students to develop important skills and qualities such as teamwork, creativity, leadership and risk-taking. These are all assets in the learning process whilst at school as well as in later life.

Students are also encouraged to take an active role in many of the extra-curricular opportunities that are on offer. This is important preparation for the CAS requirement of the IB diploma.

Symbiosis International School is offering the following subjects:
*First LanguageEnglish Economics *Biology *Mathematics(Compulsory) Information&Communication Technology
*SecondLanguage English EnvironmentManagement *Physics
Hindi - Secondlanguage EnglishLiterature *Chemistry
French -Foreign language

Spanish -Foreign language

*marked subjects are available at 2 levels- Core & Extended

For more information on Cambridge IGCSE look at www.cie.org.uk