How to Choose the Right Subjects in IGCSE and IB Curriculum?


Choosing the subjects for the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Examination) or IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum is an important consideration for all students as it determines the path their futures will take. There are various considerations that students need to make before getting down to choose the subjects for their course of study. These considerations are unique for each student. So, it is entirely up to the students to make wise choices for themselves.

Sticking to the curriculum needs patience, hard work, and discipline. Both IGCSE and IB are rigorous academic programs and require the students to put in a lot of effort. And this is true for each subject that has been chosen by the students for either of the program. A larger focus is on understanding than memorizing especially if the students aim for A levels or IB diplomas.

Both curricula offer a variety of subjects, and each curriculum has its own prerequisites for subject selection.

IGCSE offers up to 70 subjects to its students, including more than 30 languages. Students can take them in any combination. The groups under which the subjects are ordered are

  • Group 1 – Languages
  • Group 2 – Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Group 3 – Sciences
  • Group 4 – Mathematics and Business
  • Group 5 – Creative and Professional and Vocational


Students have to choose 2 languages, one subject each from groups 2 to 5. The 7th subject can be chosen from any group 2 to 5.

Similarly, GCSE offers around 60 possible subjects and vocational areas. Math English and Science are 3 compulsory subjects. That means students are able to pick from 4 up to 6 from the remaining subjects offered. So basically, students can do up to 9 subjects in their curriculum.


7 Considerations to Take Before Choosing IGCSE or IB Board

Choosing the best set of subjects for their study path is the most challenging task for students. Let us explore various considerations in choosing the right kind of subjects be it the IGCSE curriculum or the IB curriculum.


Knowing the Areas of Interest

The thumb rule in choosing the best set of subjects is to understand and identify the areas of interest. The students can consider their past experiences or determine the desire to explore an area they haven’t studied earlier. They can question themselves to find their passion

  • Do I have an economic mindset?
  • Do I have a multi-linguistic talent?
  • Do I find myself looking at historical and current issues across the world?
  • Would I like to study organisms and their life cycles?
  • Do I fancy analyzing a poem written by a famous poet?
  • Did I enjoy attending the math lectures in the earlier classes?
  • Do I dislike a particular subject or was it to something with that specific teacher?

The students may take time to figure out their passions, but that is fine as that much time is needed to determine what exactly their interests are, as these interests influence the choosing of the subjects for the IGCSE and IB study path.


What the Students Already Studied and Want to Explore More

The students would have already studied a couple of subjects in the earlier classes and found them interesting and have the zeal to study them further. Then these subjects would be a good choice to make. They are deemed to be the easiest choice because of the students’ eagerness to learn more.

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Do Research

After exploring personal interests, it is vital for the students to check the requirements of the potential career and professions that they are keen on. Google can be used wisely or connecting with the universities that are of interest to know their entry requirements – grades and score and what level of a mandatory subject – can be of great help. This would help the students to check ahead to make sure that they are confident of getting the minimum grade.


Choosing the Mother Tongue

Both the IGCSE and the IB curricula encourage to take a second language. And the syllabus offers a wide range of languages to choose from. Students can safely choose their mother tongue. The language varies from student to student, yet it always is the best move to choose something that you are familiar with.


Getting That Extra Opinion from the Teachers and Tutors

The students avoid that extra opinion from their teachers or tutors, as they usually shy away and they do not want to look silly or clueless. But getting that help definitely goes the extra mile in the subject-choosing task. The teachers are aware of the student’s learning styles and capabilities, strengths and limitations, and can guide the students accordingly. In addition, the teachers are also aware of the IGCSE and IB curricula subjects and can clearly gauge the student’s potential to perform in the subjects they choose. Thus, the teachers are the best source of inspiration and guide the students well in choosing the right subjects.


Peer Pressure or Influencers

The students tend to give in to peer pressure or influencers-parents, friends, and relatives. Even though this route is easier, it tends to bring in grief and a lot of regrets in the later stages. This is because the students are the ones taking the subjects and sitting for the examinations. What works for one student does not always work the same for another.


Utilising One’s Strengths

The underlying aspect of choosing the right set of subjects is to know one’s strengths. If the student is strong in Mathematics, then there are plenty of other subjects to consider – Physics, Economics, and Accounting. Else if his strength lies in language, he can consider choosing English Literature or History. Thus, trying to relate the subjects in the right way can make the task of choosing the apt subjects easier. This of course is possible if the student is aware of these strengths.

In short, students should consider their interests, degree of proficiency, and the field of work they want to pursue when choosing the subjects. By choosing the appropriate set of subjects, students are choosing the ones that will help them reach their goals.


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How to choose subjects for the IB and IGCSE?

A student who wishes to pursue an academic career should follow these tips: decide according to your taste and preferences. Some students like to opt for those subjects which have less essay writing or vice-versa.

Which syllabus is the best IB or IGCSE?

IGCSE offers the best foundation for Diploma programs. IB candidates who do not get 7’s perform as well as top students from the national curriculum. Therefore, the IGCSE syllabus is the best.

What are the 6 IB subjects?

Studies in language and literature, Language acquisition, Individuals and societies, sciences, Mathematics, and the arts are the 6 IB subjects. 

Can I choose 7 subjects in IB?

A student must decide on 6 mandatory subjects. And three subjects each for the higher level, & standard level respectively. 


What are the 6 IGCSE subjects?

English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Languages, Social Sciences, and Creative Arts. Thus are the 6 best IGCSE subjects.


What are the easiest subjects in IGCSE?

Religious studies, Media studies, Hospitality, Business studies, Drama, Physical Education, etc. are the easiest subjects in IGCSE. 


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