All About Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language


For the people who are exactly new to the curriculum of Cambridge English as a second language, this blog post is going to ease the entire process, therefore, do not forget to read it wholly and then make up your mind if this is the curriculum ideal for you or for your child. This IGCSE English syllabus is principally meant to cater to people who only have a working knowledge of English without having much background to the language. Although these students have not been exposed to English in its multidimensional implications, it is expected from these students that they are able to understand and appreciate knowledge in four possible aspects: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. IGCSE English as a second language hence is a very comprehensive course.

The course is designed to increase the performance ability of the students, in terms of skills with the help of most practical manner. This also established a good communication language in the most relevant way. Over a period of time, the learners get a wide array of stimuli to experiment with the language in its literal as well as implied manner.


5.Objectives of Assessment
6.For Core Candidates
7.For Extended Candidates
8.To be Taken by all Core and Extended Candidates

Cambridge IGCSE English Syllabus is designed by keeping certain learning parameters in mind, they are:

  • Meant for learners who do not have English as their first language of communication
  • Meant for developing a students’ ability to use the language effectively and articulately in diverse situations
  • Meant to enhance students’ ability to read, write, speak, and listen (to) English in a constructive manner
  • Meant for inspiring interest in the language to an extent that students can be self-motivated to further pursue the language in an advanced environment

Now that the objective of introducing Cambridge IGCSE English as a second language has been fairly established, it will now be fair to understand the content of the IGCSE English as a second language paper:




  • To comprehend facts and statistical information from a variety of texts that could include, but are not merely limited to, articles, leaflets, blogs, as well as leaflets
  • To be able to search the required information from the given text and select the correct answer from given texts
  • To be able to recognize different ideas, opinions and beliefs expressed in a text and draw connection between them
  • To be able to read between the lines and identify the implied purpose and the intention of the given text

Talking now about the extended part;

  • To be able to comprehend the factual data and information from a wide array of texts that comprise of leaflets, articles, blogs and multiple other short written paragraphs
  • To demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the information provided in the text and choose the correct and accurate details from the given texts
  • To be able to identify a common denominator between multiple texts given by assessing various forms of opinions, ideas, as well as perspectives provided in the text

We hope that you are now clear with the syllabus of reading in IGCSE English as a second language.


Let us now move to understand the written part in IGCSE English as a Second Language paper:




  • To be able to effectively put across factual data by employing a context-specific elaboration technique
  • To be able to use the grammatical devices and connectors so as to organize ideas strategically and comprehensively
  • To be able to understand the difference between various forms and styles of different writing prompts (article, blogs, speech, report, informal letters etc)
  • To be able to adhere to the correct lexical structures in terms of grammar and syntax
  • To demonstrate a good understanding of various sorts of punctuation marks as well as spellings

The writing extended part could be confusing thus have to understand subjugatedly by the given point below:

  • The ability to showcase different sentence structures to connect two similar or different ideas together.
  • The ability to make different paragraphs in order to make the writing more coherent and organized.
  • The competence to use an appropriate and contextual language as per the written stimulus (blog, review, summary, etc.) given.


After we have done discussing the Reading and the Writing part of IGCSE English language, let us try look at the listening part of the same:




  • The student is expected to listen to various audio texts in forms of phone messages, dialogues, or formal talks and identify the different kinds of accents and pronunciations
  • It is expected that the student listens to the data carefully and accurately mark the questions that follow. Various opinions and ideas are combined together in one listening task. The student must be able to align the same to extract relevant data
  • One of the most essential skills tested here is the ability to understand what is not clearly said but is only subtly implied

For Listening Extended, the similar listening skills are tested.

  • Now comes the forth part of the assessment, which is the spoken part. A lot of students who do not have English as their first language dread this aspect principally because speaking a foreign language could be comparatively more difficult than the other parts
  • However, let us go through the course and then decipher if it is really a hard nut to crack


However, let us go through the course and then decipher if it is really a hard nut to crack.




  • To be able to put forward his or her ideas with confidence and conviction
  • To be able to use some connectors to sound more organic and less mechanical
  • To be able to confidently talk to people one’s personal experiences
  • To use grammar and various lexical structures in a context specific manner
  • To use intonations and proper punctuation marks to be comprehensible to the targeted audience or listeners

The Spoken Extended Part explores the SAME aspects of spoken abilities of an IGCSE English as a Second Language aspirant.

As is quite evident by now, the objectives of the assessments align with the curriculum of IGCSE English as a second language. Let us quickly understand them one by one:

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Objectives of Assessment



  • To be able to recognize and organize the context specific information.
  • To demonstrate understanding of various sentence structures and connectors.
  • To show understanding of the connections between ideas, opinions and attitudes.
  • To understand what is implied but not directly stated, e.g. gist, writer’s purpose, intention and feelings.



  • Understanding how to effectively organize the thoughts in an elaborated manner.
  • Coming up with various structures with the use connectors.
  • Using the appropriate vocabulary in order to convey the ideas in a more concrete manner.
  • Showing acute understanding of grammar and punctuation.
  • Knowing how to use various styles and forms to write different activities.



  • Selecting the relevant information by listening attentively.
  • Understanding opinions, beliefs, and attitudes.
  • Differentiating between the literal and the implied meaning.



  • Communicating ideas and opinions in an effective manner.
  • Developing the range of ideas by using advanced grammatical structures.
  • Using grammar and vocabulary in a context specific manner.
  • Show control of pronunciation and intonation patterns.
  • Engaging in conversations in an effective manner.


Let us now finally look at the assessment criteria:


For Core Candidates

Paper 1:

  • Reading and Writing
  • Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Weighting: 60%
  • Marks: 60 marks
  • Total of 6 exercises evaluating diverse types of reading and writing skills
  • Assessed externally

Paper 3:

  • Listening
  • Duration: Approximately 40 minutes
  • Weighting: 20%
  • Marks: 30 marks
  • Candidates are expected to listen to multiple short extracts and longer texts, and then attempt multiple task types, that include short-answer questions, gap filling, matching, multiple choice and note-making. Assessed internally


For Extended Candidates

Paper 2:

  • Reading and Writing
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Weighting: 60%
  • Marks: 80 marks
  • Total of 6 exercises assessing a range of reading and writing skills
  • Externally assessed


Paper 4:

  • Listening
  • Duration: Approximately 50 minutes
  • Weighting: 20%
  • Marks: 40 marks
  • Shorter and longer text are listened by the aspirants and fulfill a lot of task and types of exercises. This is consists of short answer questions, gap filling, matching, multiple choice and note-making. Externally assessed.


To be Taken by all Core and Extended Candidates

  • Component 5
  • Speaking
  • Duration: Roughly 10–15 minutes
  • Weighting: 20%
  • Marks: 30 marks
  • Following a 2 to 3 minute small talk and a formal introduction, candidates. Thereafter, the candidates are expected to engage in a discussion with the examiner. Assessed internally but is moderated externally.

If you are also aiming to get yourself enrolled for Cambridge CBSE English as a second language and have now understood all the dimensions of the IGCSE Syllabus, get in touch with us right now and let us ease the process of cracking the exam for you!


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How many different English papers are there in IGCSE?

  • Cambridge IGCSE First Language English is designed for learners whose first language is English.
  • Cambridge IGCSE Literature in English – The syllabus enables learners to read, interpret and evaluate texts through the study of literature in English.
  • Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language is for learners who already have the working knowledge of the language. The syllabus is suitable for learners whose first language is not English, but who study through the English-medium.
  • Cambridge IGCSE English (as an Additional Language) enables learners to develop practical language skills and build their confidence in communicating in English. The syllabus is suitable for learners whose first language is not English.”

Is IGCSE English equivalent to IELTS ?

IGCSE First language English and IGCSE English as a second language with at least a ‘C’ grade is accepted by some universities in place of IELTS band of 6.0. Students have to check the respective university websites to know the requirement. However, students who have taken IGCSE English with at least ‘C’ grade, can take IELTS with minimal preparation.

How would you choose IGCSE subjects?

IGCSE offers more than 70 subjects to choose from. Students are required to take a minimum of 5 or a maximum of 14 subjects. The core subjects are English, Mathematics and Science. Students can choose other subjects ranging from social sciences (commonly Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, Sociology) to Arts and Technology (commonly Computer Studies, ICT, Art and Design)

Students are awarded one IGCSE certificate for each subject. The number of subjects needs to be taken varies from school to school and also depends on individual preference.

Can you retake IGCSE ?

Yes, a student can retake the IGCSE if the results he/she got is not satisfactory or if the grade noted on the score card is ‘U’. Regardless of age or previous scores, a student can retake the IGCSE exams any number of times.

Do International Universities accept IGCSE?

Definitely! Almost every university, a student would want to apply to, will accept an IGCSE Diploma. It is an internationally recognized Secondary Education Qualification.

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