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Do I need to go to school to study my IGCSEs?

To gain a recognised IGCSE qualification, you do not HAVE to go to school.  

There are many reasons you may not be able to study for your GCSEs in a UK mainstream school, which is exactly why University of Cambridge International Examinations (CAIE) created International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSEs) to begin with.  

With International and home educated learners in mind, they put together specifications for GCSE subjects that could be studied outside of the mainstream system. Previously thought of as ‘harder’ that GCSEs, since the GCSE grading system changed to the 9-1 method, that thought has been extinguished.  

The first obvious different between the 2 qualifications is that IGCSEs can be studied outside of the UK, many international private schools use these specifications to ensure that their learners gain a globally accepted qualification.  

A second difference is that the content differs slightly. Very few IGCSEs contain coursework or practical elements, this means they are much easier to assess outside of a school environment.  

When looking to sit exams outside of the UK schooling system, you are considered a private candidate. If you choose to study IGCSEs in a home education environment, you will need to find an exam centre that is happy to host you. With the majority of IGCSEs being linear (no coursework), there are plenty of exam centres throughout the UK, and worldwide, where you can sit your exams. When choosing your IGCSE subjects, it is worth checking the specification and contacting exam centres near you, to ensure that they can support your exams.  

When studying IGCSEs as a private candidate, you have slightly more flexibility is when you can sit your exams, with some awarding bodies offering not only the traditional summer exam series, but with some subjects you have the options of sitting in November or January too.  

The main thing to remember is that IGCSEs are a direct equivalent of GCSEs are accepted in all UK universities, and you don’t have to go to school.  

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