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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.

Cute smart african american school pupil kid girl virtual distance learning online watching remote digital class lesson looking at laptop computer tech studying at home writing notes sitting at desk.







Computer Science

English Language

English Literature

Religious Studies


Please contact the LearnOnline team for more details

Phone: 01437 753 490


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