Top 10 Tips to Prepare for the IGCSE Exam


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, the only difference being that IGCSE follows a specific curriculum whereas IB just provides the framework.

After completing the IGCSE levels- grades 6th 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.

IGCSE offers up to 70 subjects to its students, including more than 30 languages. Students can take them in any combinations. 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.

Apart from giving an international education certificate, high scores on the IGCSE have other benefits too

  •  High job opportunities and expertise
  •  Higher education in countries abroad
  •  Work skills to adapt to social life

So, now how does one prepare himself for the IGCSE examinations and ace them? Let us explore the various tips to the prepping.


Tips To Prepare for IGCSE Exam

Start the Preparation Well in Advance

The more time you have, the more relaxed you can be and the better you can prepare and understand what you need to get good grades.


Making a Revision Table

Revision tables are extremely important to the success of your education. To make the perfect revision timetable, out need to follow the process of:

  •  Prioritize challenging subjects
  •  Minimize revision for the easier ones
  •  Add breaks
  •  And stay calm

There is no point in scheduling 20 hours of study for the day, yet you need to be aware of the ground you have to cover and plan for a tough but realistic schedule. Setting a goal before your study session is a good way to keep yourself on track. This way you will be able to review your progress.


Take Notes

As you prepare take notes. This is an important skill to have. These notes should cover the key aspects of each subject – key concepts, equations or examples associated. Do not try to cover in detail as it will be difficult for you to remember. Once the notes are jotted down, create summaries, and keep going over them. As you recall the points, you will be able to recall the details associated with them too.

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Understand Your Learning Style

The method of study varies from student to student. Some may be comfortable studying in home and some may study when they are outside. Some would prefer to study late night and others may prefer to study early morning. Understanding and discovering your style may take many trials and errors. But in the end the most suitable pattern of study for you will be the most effective one. Further it is also beneficial to understand what study tools are best suited for you. When you are able to identify whether you are visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learner, you will remember and retain the new information better.


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Take Your Teacher’s Help

Opening a question paper in the examination hall is always a nerve-wracking moment. The way you teacher can help you prepare for the exam.

  •  Your teacher can set up a specimen question paper to make you aware of the style of paper.
  •  He can help you think about roughly how much time to spend on each question
  •  If there are choices to a question, he can help you with tactics to pick up the right question to answer
  •  He can give you extra practice questions to mark


Work Practice on the Past Question Papers

It is highly recommended that you work on the past question papers rather than the questions in the textbooks. Questions in the textbooks mostly test the fundamental concepts while the questions in the past papers are a real deal. Practice as many papers as you can. This will make you more familiar with the question structure and style and the exam format. Also, when you are practicing the question papers, you can time yourself and prep as you would for an actual exam. And after much practice you will find yourself comfortable handling the time pressure.

After finishing the paper, mark your answers diligently against the answer sheet. The answer sheet also works as model on how the Cambridge would want to mark the answers.

Look for the past papers online at the Cambridge IGCSE Past Exam Papers.


Stimulate Your Mind

Ensure that you get enough exercise and sleep to be focused have improve concentration.


Day of the IGCSE Exam

The day or night before the IGCSE examination can be very stressful for you. A few tips for you

  •  Have a good night’s sleep: There is no need to burn the midnight’s oil and sacrifice your sleep for the next day’s exam.
  •  Be very sure of the date, time and venue of the examination.
  •  Make sure to wake up early so that you have enough time to get ready with no rush and get to the examination venue early as well.
  •  Read the questions carefully.
  •  Skip the questions you are that you are unable to solve and return to them at the end of the paper.
  •  Make time to recheck your paper after you have finished. Start checking from the back of the paper where most marks are allocated.


Move Ahead

After the paper is over, do not look back and dwell on the mistakes or the questions you couldn’t attempt. You need to focus on the next exam and try extra hard for the upcoming paper.

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How difficult is IGCSE?

Depending on the subject, the IGCSE may cover other topics. Integration and sets, for example, are two very in-depth and conceptually hard concepts in math. Many people feel that the IGCSE is more difficult than the GCSE, although this is not the case.

When are the IGCSE exams taken?

IGCSE exams are taken in June and in November every year and the results are published in August and January respectively.

Does IGCSE have worldwide recognition?

Yes, Most of the world’s top universities, including Indian universities, accept IGCSE.

What are the advantages of IGCSE?

If you are a parent looking for the best school for your child, the options available are numerous. But the most important decision you may have to make is to choose the right board of education for your child. Recently, IGCSE board schools seem to have gained popularity and as a parent, you would definitely want to know the advantages of sending your child to one of the best IGCSE schools in India. IGCSE offers students multiple levels of advantages, some of which are : 

  • Recognition by Universities abroad 

Studying in IGCSE schools acts as a passport to the best international universities across the globe. The curriculum would definitely equip and prepare your child with the skillset necessary to tackle the challenges of academics in an international university. 

  • Focused on a learner centric approach

IGCSE places the student at the center of the course. Teaching and learning practices that are used to optimize the way a student learns is given primary attention. The individual needs and capabilities are given priority in IGCSE. 

  • Focused on Inquiry based learning 

IGCSE promotes learning through exploring and relates concepts to real life with curiosity playing a key role. Students are encouraged to investigate issues, develop questions and analyses that will help them understand the world better.

  • Belonging to a Global Community 

Cambridge teachers and students are a part of a global community that shares resources, information and ideas. This takes learning to a completely new level. 

  • Rigorous Assessment 

The assessments conducted by IGCSE are most reliable and trusted. They are fair and flexible. The assessments focus on conceptual learning, promoting the development of higher order thinking skills among the learners.

What is a good IGCSE score?

IGCSE grades vary from A* to G, with A* representing the highest mark and being given to the top 10% of students worldwide and G representing the lowest grade.

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