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Is an IGCSE the same as a GCSE?

Both IGCSEs and GCSEs are universally accepted as direct equivalents to each other, with the differences between the two being very minor.  

Originally, the primary difference between the two was that the traditional GCSE contained more coursework, with exams not holding as much weight in results as they do now, however, when the GCSE grading changed in 2017 to the 9-1 grading system, so did the weighting of the exams. IGCSEs and the majority of GCSEs are now linear, meaning the results are based solely on exams at the end of the course.  

As mentioned though, there are differences. IGCSEs, are International General Certificates of Secondary Education, meaning they can be studied, and exams taken, outside of the UK. Learners are currently able to sit IGCSE exams and obtain the qualification in over 150 countries worldwide. GCSE exams are only available to be sat in the UK.  

The course content also differs slightly in some subjects (but not all), for example, some aspects may be compulsory in a GCSE, but offered as a choice for an IGCSE.  

Another difference between the two are when the exams can be sat. GCSEs are sat in May/June, with the availability to resit these exams in November, however with some IGCSEs (but not all), there is the possibility that students can sit exams in January, giving a learner some additional flexibility.  

IGCSEs are generally studied by international students, or distance/home educated learners (although some schools offer them alongside their GCSE programmes).  Due to the nature of course, and the lack of coursework, finding an exam centre to host your IGCSE exams is relatively straightforward, as most registered exam centres (including schools), can accommodate written exams with ease. 

So although IGCSEs do not always cover the same course content as GCSEs, they both result in the learning gaining a comparative qualification. 

IGCSEs are predominantly studied by those looking for a course which has been designed to be studied at home or “outside” of the UK school system, making them a very popular choice for home education.

LearnOnline offer a range of 10 IGCSE subjects which can be studied at your own pace with the support of a qualified tutor to guide you through the qualification, please click on one of the subjects below for more information.

Choose your IGCSEs - 14-16 year old sat at desk writing in front of laptop
LearnOnline news article - what is an IGCSE? 12-14 year old boy in red jumper sat at desk studying with headphones


LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE Biology - tree growing in a cracked glass globe floating with forest background


LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE Business Studies - close up colourful paperclips, pen and calculator


LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE Chemistry - birds eye view of laboratory dishes with liquids and powders all in tones of pink


LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE History - old camera and photo album


LearnOnline Self-study Mathematics Higher IGCSE Wallpaper of diamond shapes in various colours


LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE Physics - electrical current

Computer Science

LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE Computer Science - computer chip type image with outline of head and brain

English Language

LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE English Language - two Oxford English dictionaries on top of each other

English Literature

LearnOnline Self-study English Literature A level - open book with string making heart shape over it

Religious Studies

LearnOnline Self-study IGCSE Religious Studies - book with glasses on top

Please contact the LearnOnline team for more details

Phone: 01437 753 490