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IGCSE vs IB-Everything You Wanted to know

... Smita Bharati

IGCSE

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the International General Certificate of Education (IGCE) examinations are the world’s most popular international qualifications conducted after Class 10 level.  The IGCSE prepares students for further academic study, including progression to A/AS Level, Cambridge Pre-U, BTEC Level 3, IB Diploma Programme and other equivalents.

Cambridge IGCSEs are studied in more than 70 subjects by students in over 120 countries worldwide with more than 200 Indian schools also affiliated to the program.

IGCSE Examination Pattern is typically divided into Cambridge Primary (for 5 to 11 years), Cambridge Secondary 1 (for 12-13 years), Cambridge Secondary 2, (for 14 to 16 years).

IGCSE assessment is conducted by two UK assessment bodies: Edexcel (also known as London Examinations) and Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)

 IB

International Baccalaureate (IB), formerly the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), is an international educational foundation headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and founded in 1968. IB is a non-profit educational foundation offering four highly respected programs of international education. IB has a total of 4375 schools affiliated all over the world with 122 Indian schools as its affiliate. Its present in a total of 147 countries

It offers 3 educational programs, namely Primary year program for KG to Class-5(PYP), Middle year program (MYP) for Class-6 to Class-10 and Diploma program for Class-11 and Class-12

 IGCSE vs IB

 Both IGCSE and IB are popular programs. However they are not competing certifications. IGCSE is granted at class 10 level while IB is granted at Class 12 level. Therefore students with IGCSE have the option of going for IB certification after Class 10 level. Apart from IB, students Post IGCSE can also opt for other equivalent certification like CIE A/AS Level, Cambridge Pre-U, BTEC Level 3 etc.

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IGCSE therefore is comparable to the MYP of IB. The key difference between the two is that the IB MYP is a framework while IGCSE is a set of curriculum statements. So under IB MYP, schools are free to develop their curriculum wile IGCSE prescribes a series of curriculum statements a school must cover. For example, IGCSE Sciences are a series of curriculum statements a school must cover while IB MYP Science uses six criterions for assessment. (Criterion A: One World, Criterion B: Communication, Criterion C: Scientific Knowledge and Understanding, Criterion D: Scientific Inquiry, Criterion E: Data Analysis, and Criterion F : Scientific Attitudes). IGCSE Sciences use a paper based exam for ~75% of the grade and a practical exam for the rest. 

Therefore, the IB programme is much more demanding on the teacher’s ability to design the programme. That’s also the reason that many schools while they offer Class XII IB certification may not offer MYP and PYP.

IB for Class 12 level is considered to be very challenging academically as IB requires extended essay in 4000 words, theory of knowledge, 150 hrs of CAS apart from the comprehensive tests and project work, 1500 - 2500 word research report, fieldwork report, paper presentation for all the subjects. Unless one is motivated and focused, it will be very difficult to complete IB. 

Parents need to decide whether to move to IB or CIE A level  based on their child's ability and also the school's experience in providing these programmes.