Which countries do the GCSE?

Posted by Josh on 18th Jun 2024 in the blog in the frequently asked questions category

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What is the GCSE?

The GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) is the standard qualification for preparing students to enter Sixth Form or the job market in the UK, as well as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Mann, with the exception of Scotland, where students take National 5 (N5) qualifications.

But the GCSE isn’t only offered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In fact, the IGCSE — an equivalent qualification that’s open to students internationally — is offered in over 150 countries.

However, the IGCSE is not the most common qualification in any country outside the UK. In these countries it is typically offered by international schools, and it’s most popular in countries with strong ties to the UK, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, where students may go on to study at a British school or university. Ultimately, independent educators’ decisions to teach the GCSE will be motivated by a variety of factors, from the perceived educational aspirations of their students to the difficulty of the courses offered.

What are the differences between the GCSE and the IGCSE?

There are a few differences between the GCSE and the IGCSE.

While the GCSE is graded on a number system, from 1 to 9, the IGCSE continues to be graded on a letter system, from A* to G. However, some schools in the UK which offer IGCSE can opt to grade with the number system instead.

Other differences depend on the course or the relevant exam board. For instance, certain IGCSEs do not require coursework if it involves using equipment that might not be readily available in the schools of certain countries (laboratory equipment, for example). Students in many countries also take their exams at a different time of year from students in the UK. Accordingly, IGCSEs can be taken in both summer and winter.

Which exam boards teach the IGCSE?

In the UK, only two exam boards offer the IGCSE: Edexcel and AQA.

Alexa’s GCSE French preparation course follows the AQA curriculum, meaning it can be used by students following the AQA syllabus both within and outside the UK.

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