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An Introduction to iGCSE English Language

Beth Kemp | Friday May 24, 2013

Categories: KS4, OCR GCSE, Hot Entries, Introduction, Cambridge iGCSE English

Thinking of changing to Cambridge iGCSE for English Language?

Since this specification was approved for inclusion in league tables (provided that an English Literature qualification is also taken in KS4), more and more UK centres are opting for it. This guide will explore some of the reasons for this, and offer comparisons to the standard English Language GCSEs.

Please note that the specification has recently been revised, and this guide deals with the version to be assessed from 2015. A section at the end will explain the differences from the 2014 version of the syllabus, for anyone implementing changes that quickly.

Note that this specification (in common with other iGCSEs) is known as the Level 1/2 Certificate in English Language. This is what will appear on pupils’ certificates and results sheets. This qualification is considered equivalent to GCSE by universities and will not adversely affect students’ future progress. For example, for non-native speakers of English, the University of Oxford requires a specific EFL qualification, or a B grade at GCSE or iGCSE in English Language. It is also worth noting that the qualification discussed here is ‘First Language English’, i.e. English for native speakers. The qualification in Second Language English is effectively English as a MFL and may be less acceptable for British university courses (e.g. Oxford doesn’t accept it as evidence of sufficient competence in English).

Overall Scheme of Assessment

There are three assessed components which must be taken for UK centres:

  • a ‘Reading’ paper (exam) – choice of Core (grades C-G) or Extended (grades A-E)*
  • a ‘Writing’ paper - choice of exam or coursework portfolio
  • a ‘Speaking and Listening’ component – choice of test or coursework portfolio


: A* is available for the specification as a whole if the ‘Extended’ route is followed. Only the ‘Reading’ assessment is tiered.

What are the key differences to GCSE...

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