All About IGCSE Computing Curriculum


What is IGCSE(International General Certification of Secondary Education)?

The IGCSE is a Cambridge International program for 9th and 10th-grade students at international schools and is the most popular international qualification for students worldwide between the ages of 14 and 16 years.

This program develops the student’s knowledge, understanding, and skills in the following areas:

  •  Subject content
  • Application of the acquired knowledge in the familiar and new situations
  • Flexibility and Adaptability to change
  •  Communicating
  •  Improving their leaning outcomes
  •  Cultural Awareness
  •  Creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving

IGCSE or the International General Certification of Secondary Education, as the name suggests is one of the Cambridge Pathway and covers,

Cambridge Lower Secondary – for students between the ages of 11 and 14 years
Cambridge Higher Secondary – for students between the ages of 14 and 16 years

This can be perceived like the IB MYP, only difference being that IGCSE follows a specific curriculum whereas IB just provides the framework.

Hence IGSCE is taken under the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE).

After completing the IGCSE levels- grades 9th to the 10th, IGCSE gets replaced by “AS” level (11th grade) and “A” level (12th grade)

The students need to clear the exams conducted by Pearson Edexcel International or CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education) to be able to take the “AS” or the “A” levels. They have an option to take the IB Diploma programme too. After the completion of IGCSE examination in the 10th grade, a student gets either a CIE certification or an IGCSE certification, which entirely depends on the school he/she is attending.

Students can choose from 70 subjects in any combination- it is taught by over 4700 schools in 150 countries.

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Cambridge IGCSE Computer Science

Students pursuing this subject study the principles and practices of computing and thus gain confidence in computational thinking and programming. Using the computer code, they learn to program, thus learning the basic principles of problem-solving using computers.

IGCSE computer science qualification helps the students to realize the current and emerging computing technologies and the benefits of their use. They also recognise the ethical issues and the potential risks when using computers.

This course aims to develop:

  • Computational thinking- How and what can be computed considering the data required and available.
  •  Understanding the basic principles of problem solving by using computers
  • Understanding how the components parts of the computer system work in tandem-software, hardware, data, communications, and people
  •  Skills necessary to implement the understanding to solve the computer-based problems using a high-level programming language

There has been a steady increase in the number of students taking up the computing course over a last couple of years. The course is rigorous and demanding with heavy programming. The students need to be strong in analytical thinking and problem solving. And not to forget the assessments. With such a demanding subject.


Challenges of Computing Curriculum

One of the major challenges for teachers is how to meet the challenge of the computing curriculum and provide one which helps the student prepare himself for the world and in the bargain inspire others to take up this curriculum.


1) What is it Like in There?

Ask the computing class what it is like inside the computer, and you will get a list of answers from wires, cables to chips. Very rarely there would be a student who has actually seen inside the computer. A real useful physical demonstration would be to collect these parts and actually assemble them in the class and getting the students too involved in connecting and assembling. Right from a smartphone to a game console, all have similar parts and thus the discussion in the class would be a great added value.


2) Get the Actual People Behind the Scenes to do the Talking

Every school would have network managers with a team. They are into solving computer problems, testing new hardware and writing their own programs as a daily routine. Get them to interact with the class about the school system and the network behind it.


3) Not Able to Relate to the Daily Life Routines

A child often feels that there is no use of the computing in the daily life routines. This is a great place to start with a student who sees no relevance of computing in his own day. Right from the time he gets up, check a device for time, ask a device for the weather or music, send an instant message, pay for the lunch using a fingerprint, watch a homework video, take an online test and getting an instant score on the click of a submit button, play an online game, or order a takeaway, each one is relatable to the computing curriculum objectives. By choosing a project that can be related to a real-life problem, the student understands the purpose of computing and finds a better and more efficient ways to the problem he is solving.


4) Mindset that the Curriculum is Only a Classroom Theory

In the present world, we hear a lot about cyberbullying, scams, fake news, and social media incidents that lead to physical danger in the real world. All these can be explored in the Computing curriculum and the technologies behind them. Thus, the ability to spot the problems and avoid them would inspire them to consider that as a career option. The computing is beyond the classroom theory, it’s a life skill.


5) There’s So Much Good Stuff in the Internet

There are good quality resources in the form of videos, lectures, papers, discussions out there to support the Computing curriculum. Cybersecurity, a good voiceover for a poorly animated YouTube video, ways we get hacked-all are great topics to drop in between a class session as a break. These remind the students that are looking at real world problems.


6) Inspiring Independence

Computing curriculum can inspire independence in students. A student with the right skills and competent enough to apply them appropriately can use them to learn another subject. So, by being able to search out and make a decision on what he finds, he truly is the independent learner.


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What is the best way study for IGCSE?

Once you have finished the complete curriculum, study the topics in depth, then work through prior paper questions in-depth until you are confident in your ability to solve them independently.

What IGCSE subjects are needed for Computer science?

The eight sections of the IGCSE Computer Science syllabus cover the following topics:

  • Data Representation
  • Communication and Internet Technologies
  • Hardware and Software
  • Security
  • Ethics
  • Programming
  • Databases
  • Algorithm Design and Problem-solving

Is it hard to study A level computer science when you didn’t take computer science in IGCSE?

Since computer science is typically taught in engineering schools, it is a demanding field of study. The majority of computer science curricula begin at least with the first few classes by assuming that you have never used a computer before. This may deceive inadvertent learners into thinking the course is simple. If you don’t pay attention to the introduction, the difficult content will suddenly start to be taught, and you’ll fall behind in your studies.

Is the IGCSE curriculum flexible?

The IGCSE Curriculum is adaptable and versatile. The curriculum is structured in a way that enables students to develop original concepts and materials.

What are the software requirements for IGCSE Computer science?

Students must have prior expertise with a high-level programming language, such as Visual Basic, Pascal/Delphi, or Python, in order to take the Cambridge IGCSE in Computer Science (chosen by the school).

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