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What is the difference between Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge O Levels?

Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge O Level are equivalent qualifications grade for grade. Please see below a comparison of these qualifications:

Background to Cambridge IGCSE

Cambridge IGCSE syllabuses have been developed to support modern curriculum development, and to encourage good teaching practice. They set internationally recognised standards (equivalent to British GCSE and to GCE O levels). Cambridge IGCSEs can be taken as individual subjects or as qualifications towards the International Certificate of Education (ICE), which is awarded for a minimum of seven IGCSE passes from different subject areas. For more information on the ICE award please see our website.

Features of Cambridge IGCSE

• Cambridge IGCSE is aimed at a wide ability range of students, with a range of grades awarded from A* (highest grade) to G (lowest). There is a core (C to G) and extended (A* to C) curriculum available in some subjects.

• Cambridge IGCSE uses a variety of assessment techniques to test oral and practical skills, initiative and problem-solving and application of skills, knowledge and understanding.

• A coursework option is available in many syllabuses, allowing schools an element of personal choice and giving teachers the chance to share in the process of assessment.

• Learners are rewarded for positive achievement (what they know, understand, and can do).

• Cambridge IGCSE prepares students for progression to employment, or further study. It also prepares students very well for Cambridge International AS & A Levels.

Features of Cambridge O Level

Cambridge O Level shares some of these features, but the following differences should be noted:

• Cambridge O Level candidates are only awarded grades from A* to E, where A* is the highest achievable grade.

• Cambridge O Level offers fewer coursework options than Cambridge IGCSE.

• Some Cambridge O Level syllabuses were developed to meet specific local needs, such as minority languages.

• The focus of Cambridge O Level languages is on writing and reading skills

• There are more restricted practical test options in Cambridge O Level sciences. These constraints are advantageous to some schools where resources are limited.

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