One of the most common questions we get asked by students is what is the difference between IGCSE and GCE O’levels.
The IGCSE goes back to over 30 years ago by Cambridge Assessment International Education. IGCSEs were created to give students overseas access to a similar qualification of the same standard as GCSE. Since then many UK awarding bodies also provide a range of subjects at IGCSE. In Singapore, this is mostly available in International Schools or open to private candidates pursuing iGCSE at private institutions.
Some background information: In Singapore, secondary students (depending on their PSLE results/DSA and background) are able to choose to embark on the following tracks:
1) Integrated Programme (6 years programme gearing towards A’levels)
2)Integrated Programme Pre-IB (6 years programme gearing towards International Baccalaureate Diploma)
3) GCE O’levels (4 years programme leading to a Poly Diploma or A’levels)
4)iGCSE (offered mostly at International schools gearing towards International Baccalaureate Diploma)
So, what exactly is the difference between GCE O’levels and iGCSE?
In Singapore, the IGCSE or International General Certificate for Secondary Education is usually taught at International Schools like Dulwich College, Tanglin Trust School, Hwa Chong International, SJI International, Australian International School, UWC, Canadian International School, and many more. Students are expected to do the exam in Year 10. This was originally found by Cambridge Examinations and is an internationally recognized qualification. When you pass this exam, you are entitled to study for A/AS level or Advanced Level.
Similar to the GCE O’levels, the iGCSE syllabus, requires you to take core subjects like English, a Second Language, Maths, Science, Humanities like Global Perspectives, Economics, Business Studies and electives like Programming, D & T, Arts, Drama, Photography etc (depending on what your school offers)
For O’levels aka Ordinary Levels which is available at all mainstream schools in Singapore, students will take core subjects like English, Mother Tongue, Science, Humanities like Social Studies + Geography, History or Literature. Students can also consider electives subjects like Music, Art, D & T. Business-related subjects are more limited under the GCE O’levels syllabus, the main offerings being Principles of Accounts, Economics and Business Studies (just a mere handful of secondary schools like Outram Secondary and Temasek Secondary offer this.) What is most interesting to note is that seven new subjects, ranging from robotics to sports science, are now available for students on the O- and N-level track. This is certainly great news as it shows that our Ministry of Education is keeping up with the demands of the economy and is working towards giving students a chance for more hands-on learning.
Our team of carefully selected, shortlisted professional tutors and former teachers are available to assist your child in achieving their academic goals. We have tutors who are International Baccalaureate and iGCSE trained tutors, they are familiar with the syllabus requirements and are fully ready to assist.
Some of our tutors are current teachers are currently teaching in local junior colleges, international schools, or former moe-teachers who are very experienced in teaching the GCE O’levels and A’levels.