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What is the difference between IGCSE Core and Extended?

To take account of differing abilities, there is a choice between Core and Extended curriculum papers in some subjects. This allows teachers to decide on the most appropriate level of papers for their students.

The Core curriculum in each subject is within the ability range of a large majority of students. It provides a full overview of the subject and is targeted at students expected to achieve grades C to G.

The Extended curriculum, which comprises the Core curriculum and the Supplement, has been designed for the more academically able and leads naturally into higher education or professional training. It is targeted at those expected to achieve grades A* to E. The Supplement describes the extra topics or depth which must be added to the Core to produce the Extended curriculum.

Students need not enter for the same level of curriculum in all subjects.

Target Grades                           Grades Available

Core Curriculum                           C D E F G

Extended Curriculum                     A* A B C D E

The overlap of three grades (C, D and E) is designed to accommodate students who perform either better or worse than their teachers expect. Students who fail to meet the minimum satisfactory standard for either the Core curriculum (Grade G) or the Extended curriculum (Grade E) will be ungraded.

In some subjects, the examination covers the complete ability range and there is no choice of curriculum. For these subjects, the full range of grades is available.

If I have a candidate capable of getting at least a C grade, should I enter them for Core or Extended?

It is important to bear in mind that Core covers grades C to G and Extended covers grades A* to E. If a candidate is securely in the ‘middle’ of the range, only the Extended tier will offer the grades the candidate may be capable of achieving. Candidates are not able to achieve above a C for their syllabus grade if they are entered for the Core paper.

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