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IGCSE Grades Explained

IGCSE Grades Explained

10 min Read|April 16 2024
|Written by:

Charles Whitehouse


Navigating the intricacies of the IGCSE grading system can be a bit perplexing, especially for high school students aspiring to secure their places in distinguished universities. The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) employs a grading scheme that is essential to comprehend, as it forms the bedrock of many educational pathways and is a gateway to further academic pursuits. This article aims to demystify the IGCSE grades, offering insights into how they are determined, their impact on university admissions, and how they are viewed by various institutions. Furthermore, it provides an overview of the IGCSE programme, elucidates the importance of coursework, and presents strategies and tips to excel in it. Whether you’re a student, parent, or educator, this guide will help in gaining a clearer understanding of the IGCSE grades, enabling informed decisions and effective planning for future academic endeavours.

What Is the IGCSE Grading System?

The IGCSE grading system is a globally recognised qualification adopted by international schools to assess students in a variety of subjects. The system employs an alphabetical grading scale, ranging from A* to G, with A* being the highest attainable grade. This grading scale is pivotal, as it signifies a student’s proficiency and understanding in a particular subject. A report by Cambridge Assessment International Education reveals that over 10,000 schools across 160 countries are part of the Cambridge learning community, implementing the IGCSE grading system.

This grading system is designed to be accessible to students of varying abilities, offering a comprehensive evaluation that considers different learning styles and aptitudes. It is formulated to provide a detailed insight into the students' capabilities, enabling educational institutions to tailor their teaching methods and approaches accordingly. The IGCSE grading system is revered for its meticulousness and precision, providing an in-depth analysis of a student’s performance, ensuring that every achievement, no matter how slight, is acknowledged and rewarded.

Its international acceptance and credibility make the IGCSE grading system a preferred choice for many schools globally, serving as a reliable indicator of a student's academic prowess and potential. The widespread recognition of IGCSE grades by universities and employers around the world substantiates its relevance and importance in the academic and professional realms. The system's inherent flexibility and adaptability make it a conducive framework for cultivating a diverse array of skills and knowledge, facilitating holistic development in students.

Brief Overview of the IGCSE Program

The IGCSE Program, initiated by the University of Cambridge International Examinations, is a globally esteemed curriculum aimed at students aged 14 to 16. It offers a broad spectrum of subjects, enabling students to delve into diverse academic domains, thereby promoting a comprehensive learning environment. This program is designed to cultivate critical thinking, inquiry-based learning, and problem-solving skills, which are quintessential for academic and professional success.

The IGCSE is a two-year curriculum culminating in an external examination. The flexibility inherent in the IGCSE program is remarkable, allowing students to choose subjects that align with their interests and career aspirations. It also offers an assessment approach that caters to different learning styles and preferences, involving written, oral, coursework, and practical assessment.

The curriculum is highly adaptable, offering variants that are culturally sensitive and relevant to different regions. The availability of over 70 subjects in the curriculum ensures that students have the liberty to explore and specialise in multiple disciplines, developing a robust academic foundation. Schools worldwide acknowledge the program's efficacy in fostering an analytical and conceptually rich educational experience, preparing students for further academic pursuits and professional trajectories.

The IGCSE’s international reputation and rigorous academic structure have made it a sought-after qualification, endorsing its commitment to delivering a high-quality and versatile learning experience.

What is IGCSE?

What is IGCSE?

How Are IGCSE Grades Determined?

Determining IGCSE grades involves a meticulous process of evaluating students' performances in various assessments. The grades are usually assigned based on a combination of written examinations, practical assessments, and coursework, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of a student’s understanding and skills. Each component holds a specific weightage contributing to the final grade, reflecting the student’s proficiency and grasp of the subject matter.

Cambridge applies stringent marking criteria to ensure the grades awarded are consistent and fair, adhering to international standards. Exam papers are marked with utmost precision, and moderation is applied to internally assessed components to maintain uniformity and fairness across the board. The evaluative process is dynamic, taking into consideration the varying levels of difficulty of different papers, ensuring that students are graded on a balanced and equitable scale.

Grade boundaries are established after the marking has concluded, considering the overall performance of candidates in that particular session. These highest grade boundaries are decided through a meticulous review of students’ performances and the difficulty level of the examinations, ensuring that every student is graded fairly and precisely. The collaboration of teachers, examiners, and subject experts in the decision-making process contributes to the reliability and accuracy of the final grades awarded, making certain that each grade is a true reflection of a student’s capabilities and performance in the subject.

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Understanding Grade Boundaries in IGCSE

Grade boundaries are pivotal elements in the IGCSE grading system. They delineate the minimum marks students must attain to secure a particular grade. Cambridge International asserts that these boundaries are set post-examination and are imperative for maintaining fairness and consistency in grading. They are influenced by the overall student performance and the varying levels of difficulty encountered in different examination sessions.

The establishment of grade boundaries involves a thorough analysis of exam papers by a confluence of experienced educators, examiners, and subject experts, ensuring a balanced and unbiased approach to grading. The process is not pre-determined or static; it is rather a dynamic and reflective practice, adjusting to the nuances of each exam session. This adaptive method helps in maintaining a level playing field, allowing grades to accurately represent a student’s achievements and understanding in the subject.

For example, if an exam paper is deemed to be more challenging, the grade boundaries may be lowered, meaning students could achieve higher grades with fewer marks. Conversely, if a paper is considered less challenging, the boundaries may be elevated. The transparency and flexibility of this system ensure that students are not disadvantaged by variations in exam difficulty, rendering the IGCSE grading system a fair and equitable means of assessment, recognised and valued globally.

Breakdown of IGCSE Grade Scales

The IGCSE Grade Scales are diverse, ranging from A* to G, and U indicating ungraded. A* denotes exceptional performance, while a grade of C is generally considered as the pass level. Cambridge International elucidates that grades A* to C are deemed as General Certificate of Education (GCE) O Level pass grades, symbolising a profound understanding of the subject.

The grade scales aim to represent different levels of achievement succinctly. A* and A represent excellent levels of achievement; B and C are indicative of a good and satisfactory understanding, respectively; D and E signify a moderate understanding; F and G indicate a basic level of understanding, and U represents ungraded, signifying that the candidate has failed to reach the minimum standard required.

These scales are intricately designed to provide nuanced insights into the student’s academic capabilities, allowing educational institutions and future employers to assess the proficiency and knowledge base of the individual effectively. Every grade is a reflection of the skills, understanding, and knowledge acquired in a subject, acting as a valuable indicator for progression and future learning paths. The scales are formulated keeping in mind the diversity in student abilities, ensuring that every accomplishment, irrespective of its magnitude, is recognised and credited, upholding the credibility and comprehensiveness of the IGCSE grading system.

How Can IGCSE Grades Impact University Admissions?

IGCSE grades play a crucial role in university admissions, serving as a significant indicator of a student’s academic capabilities and achievements. Many universities globally, including those in the UK, consider IGCSE grades as an essential part of their admissions criteria. Top universities often require students to have grades between A* to C in at least five subjects, including English and Maths.

According to UCAS, IGCSE grades are integral to the UCAS Tariff Points system, which universities use to make conditional offers. An A* grade in IGCSE can equate to a substantial number of UCAS points, making it valuable for securing admission to prestigious institutions. Students with high IGCSE grades are perceived as academically strong candidates, proficient in the essential skills and knowledge necessary for higher education.

Moreover, universities scrutinise IGCSE grades to assess a student’s suitability for specific courses. For instance, science and technology programmes may emphasise grades in Maths and Science subjects, while humanities programmes may focus on grades in English and Social Sciences. Thus, securing good grades in relevant IGCSE subjects can significantly enhance admission prospects in desired courses.

In essence, acquiring commendable IGCSE grades can be pivotal in opening doors to renowned universities and can substantially influence a student’s academic trajectory, reinforcing the significance of performance in these examinations for aspirants of higher education.

Role of IGCSE Grades in Scholarship Applications

IGCSE grades are often paramount in scholarship applications, acting as a pivotal reference for assessing a student’s academic competence and diligence. Many scholarship providers, such as The British Council, stipulate specific grade requirements to ascertain the eligibility of candidates, using these grades as a reliable indicator of academic potential and commitment.

The acquisition of high grades, particularly A* and A, can significantly bolster the chances of securing scholarships, as these grades reflect a student’s exemplary understanding and mastery of subjects. Scholarships often seek to support academically outstanding students, and excelling in IGCSE exams demonstrates a level of academic excellence and dedication that is highly valued.

Furthermore, some scholarships have subject-specific criteria, focusing on the grades of particular subjects relevant to the scholarship’s field. For example, a science scholarship may weigh the grades in science subjects more heavily, evaluating the proficiency and inclination of the student towards scientific learning and exploration.

Consequently, achieving top IGCSE grades can be instrumental in unlocking scholarship opportunities, facilitating access to quality education and alleviating financial burdens. It underscores the importance of diligent preparation and focus during IGCSE examinations, as the resultant grades can be a determining factor in acquiring financial aid and support in the pursuit of higher education.

How Do Universities View IGCSE Grades?

Universities regard IGCSE grades as indicative of a student’s foundational knowledge and academic readiness, and they are often scrutinised alongside other qualifications during the admissions process. According to Universities UK, these grades provide universities with insights into a candidate’s ability to engage with the rigour of undergraduate studies.

Oxbridge tutors mention that universities typically look for IGCSE grades of C or above, considering them as evidence of satisfactory understanding of the subject matter. Grades A* and A are particularly valued as they demonstrate a high level of competence and a deep understanding of the subjects. These grades can give students an edge, showcasing their potential for academic success at the university level.

The specific IGCSE grades required can vary depending on the course and the university. Competitive courses at prestigious universities may have higher IGCSE grade requirements, reflecting the demand and the academic intensity of the programme. It is not uncommon for such courses to expect a majority of A* and A grades in relevant subjects to consider an application.

In essence, universities perceive IGCSE grades as a significant part of a student’s academic profile, influencing both admissions decisions and the allocation of university resources. It is crucial for students to understand the grade expectations of their desired universities and courses to align their academic goals and optimise their chances of admission.

Strategies to Achieve Top IGCSE Grades

Employing effective study strategies is pivotal for attaining top IGCSE grades. Regular, focused revision and a thorough understanding of the syllabus are vital for exam success. Here are some strategies for success devised by professional tutors:

One pivotal strategy is active revision, which involves actively engaging with the material through techniques like self-testing and teaching concepts to others. These methods have been proven to solidify knowledge and facilitate recall. Structuring revision sessions with clear objectives and using a variety of IGCSE resources, such as past papers and revision guides, can also enhance understanding and expose students to different question formats and content areas.

Time management is another crucial element in achieving top grades. Developing a realistic, well-structured study schedule that allocates sufficient time to each subject can help in maintaining balance and avoiding last-minute cramming. Breaks and leisure activities should also be incorporated to prevent burnout and maintain well-being.

Furthermore, seeking feedback and clarifications from teachers and peers can identify areas for improvement and deepen understanding. Regularly reviewing feedback and acting upon it ensures continuous learning and refinement of knowledge and skills.

Implementing these strategies can significantly augment the chances of securing high IGCSE grades, setting the foundation for academic excellence and opening avenues for further educational opportunities.

Tips for Improving IGCSE Grades

Enhancing IGCSE grades necessitates a multifaceted approach. Educational experts from BBC Bitesize recommend a combination of effective study habits, consistent effort, and utilisation of available resources.

One key tip is to utilise a range of study materials, including textbooks, online resources, and interactive learning tools. Diversifying study resources can provide different perspectives and a more comprehensive understanding of topics. Additionally, practicing with past papers and mock exams can hone exam techniques, improve time management, and build confidence.

Staying organised is also crucial. Keeping track of assignment deadlines, setting specific goals for each study session, and maintaining well-organised notes can facilitate more focused and efficient learning. Creating a revision timetable can further assist in managing time effectively and ensuring that ample attention is given to each subject.

Staying healthy and maintaining a balanced lifestyle are also essential. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep can enhance concentration levels and overall well-being, contributing to better academic performance.

Lastly, seeking support when needed, whether from teachers, expert IGCSE tutors, or peers, can provide valuable insights and assistance in grasping complex concepts and addressing areas of difficulty. By adopting these tips and maintaining a proactive and positive approach to learning, students can significantly improve their IGCSE grades and overall academic achievement.

Importance of Coursework in IGCSE Grades

In the IGCSE curriculum, coursework plays a significant role in the overall grading system. Coursework allows students to showcase their abilities in different ways and caters to different learning styles, as it often contributes to the final grade.

Coursework is valuable as it assesses students’ understanding and skills in a more relaxed environment, compared to the high-pressure context of written exams. It allows for the demonstration of a range of skills, including research, analysis, and application of knowledge, which are not always assessable in a timed written exam.

An IGCSE Maths tutor said:

"Coursework is important in your IGCSEs because it lets you demonstrate your skills and knowledge in a practical way, which can really help improve your overall grade."

Moreover, coursework can also reflect a student’s commitment and work ethic over an extended period, providing a more holistic view of a student’s capabilities than a singular exam performance. It allows teachers to assess and provide feedback on individual work and progress continuously.

Furthermore, the significance of coursework varies between subjects. For instance, in subjects like Art and Design or Information and Communication Technology, coursework might constitute a larger portion of the final grade due to the practical nature of these subjects.

Paying meticulous attention to coursework and investing time in refining and perfecting it is crucial, as it is an integral component that influences the final IGCSE grade, offering a chance to enhance overall performance and showcase a broader set of skills and understanding.

Challenges Faced by Students in IGCSE Grading System

The IGCSE grading system presents several challenges to students. The extensive syllabus and the variety of subjects can be overwhelming, requiring rigorous and consistent effort to manage effectively.

One of the primary challenges is the emphasis on English language proficiency. The IGCSE curriculum is delivered in English, and examinations assess proficiency in the English language, which can be daunting for non-native speakers, potentially impacting their overall performance.

Another challenge is managing time and stress, especially closer to the examination period. The culmination of multiple examinations within a short timeframe necessitates effective time management and coping mechanisms to handle the associated stress and pressure, enabling optimal performance across subjects.

Additionally, the diversity in subject matter and examination styles requires students to develop a versatile set of study skills. Balancing theoretical knowledge with practical application and analytical skills is crucial for success in subjects that incorporate varied assessment methods.

The evolving nature of the curriculum also poses challenges. Staying updated with changes in syllabus, examination formats, and grade boundaries is essential for accurately aligning preparation strategies with assessment criteria, ensuring that students meet the expectations and standards set by the IGCSE grading system.

Addressing these challenges necessitates strategic planning, continuous effort, resilience, and adaptability, essential components for navigating the complexities and demands of the IGCSE grading system.

Comparison between IGCSE and Other Grading Systems

IGCSE grading system bears differences when compared with other international grading systems. For instance, according to Educational Records Evaluation Service, the IGCSE’s A* to G grading scale differs from the American GPA system, which operates on a 4.0 scale, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) that uses a 7-point scale.

IGCSE - Grades Compared

IGCSE - Grades Compared

One notable distinction is the emphasis on comprehensive subject understanding in IGCSE, evaluated through a combination of coursework and final examinations. This contrasts with some systems that may predominantly rely on continuous assessment or final examinations alone.

The subject selection in IGCSE offers flexibility, allowing students to choose from a diverse range of subjects, aligning with their interests and career aspirations. This is in contrast with some national curriculums that have a more rigid and predetermined set of subjects.

Additionally, IGCSE’s approach to assessment incorporates varied examination formats, including written assessments, practical exams, and oral tests, providing a multifaceted evaluation of a student’s capabilities. This holistic approach contrasts with systems that may focus predominantly on written examinations.

Moreover, the international recognition and adaptability of the IGCSE system make it a preferable choice for many, as it facilitates mobility and access to opportunities globally, accommodating the diverse needs of students in different regions.

Understanding these variations is crucial for students and educators to align preparation strategies and expectations appropriately, ensuring a smooth transition between different educational environments.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, understanding the IGCSE grading system is pivotal for students aiming to navigate their educational journeys effectively. The IGCSE grading system, with its varied and holistic approach, provides a versatile framework that assesses students on multiple fronts, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of their abilities and potentials. The implications of IGCSE grades on university admissions and scholarships emphasise the significance of maintaining high academic standards. Furthermore, the comparison with other grading systems reveals the unique aspects and international adaptability of the IGCSE model. Acknowledging these facets enables students to align their preparation strategies accurately and set realistic goals. While challenges exist, arming oneself with knowledge and incorporating proven strategies and tips can substantially ease the journey. The plethora of available resources and expert advice can guide students through the intricacies of the system, allowing them to leverage their IGCSE grades effectively in their pursuit of academic and professional excellence.


Is the IGCSE recognised globally?

Indeed, the IGCSE is a globally recognised qualification, esteemed by leading universities and employers worldwide. It is considered a solid foundation for advanced study, serving as a preparatory phase for A-Levels, IB, and other post-16 education routes. The international recognition of IGCSE stems from its rigorous curriculum, comprehensive subject choices, and emphasis on developing a wide range of skills, including knowledge application, creative thinking, and inquiry-based learning. Consequently, students with IGCSE or equivalent qualifications, are well-positioned to pursue further education and career opportunities across the globe, benefiting from the universal esteem and credibility afforded by this qualification.

How often are IGCSE exams held each year?

IGCSE exams are generally conducted twice a year during the May/June and October/November sessions. However, the availability of specific subjects may vary, so it’s crucial to consult the examination timetable and registration deadlines well in advance to plan your study schedule effectively. Additionally, some examination centres might offer a March series for specific regions. It's vital to be aware of these options to decide which session aligns best with your preparation and future plans. Opting for the right session can aid in optimal performance, giving enough time for thorough preparation and revision. Balancing the number of subjects taken in each session is also crucial to avoid overburdening oneself during any particular examination period. By aligning your exam schedules with your study progress and managing your subject workload wisely, you can optimise your performance and effectively manage your stress levels during the examination periods. Keep abreast of any changes or updates in exam schedules, and always verify the available options with your chosen examination centre.

How is plagiarism handled in IGCSE coursework?

Plagiarism in IGCSE coursework is taken extremely seriously, and students are expected to adhere strictly to academic integrity and originality in their submissions. If a student is found to have plagiarised, it may lead to severe consequences, including the annulment of the coursework or even failure in the subject. Schools and examination boards deploy various plagiarism detection tools to identify unoriginal content. It is paramount for students to understand the implications of plagiarism and to cultivate the habit of acknowledging sources properly to maintain the integrity of their academic pursuits and to avoid detrimental impacts on their educational journey.

Can I retake my IGCSE exams if I’m not satisfied with my grades?

Absolutely, if you're dissatisfied with your IGCSE results, you have the opportunity to retake the examinations. You’ll need to check with your examination centre about the availability and scheduling of the retakes. It’s critical to assess your preparation and understand the areas that need improvement to enhance your performance in the retakes. Reviewing examination reports, seeking feedback, and employing focused revision strategies can significantly bolster your chances of achieving better grades. However, do consider the implications on your study timeline and any additional stress or workload before deciding to retake exams.

How do IGCSE grades compare to GCSE grades?

The IGCSE and GCSE grading systems, while similar, have nuanced differences. Both utilise alphabetic grades, but the IGCSE incorporates an international perspective, often regarded as more rigorous due to the extensive subject content and diverse assessment methods. Universities and colleges globally recognise IGCSE grades as equivalent to GCSE grades, and they are comparable in terms of level, content, and difficulty. However, some slight variances in grade boundaries and assessment criteria might exist, contingent on the examination board and specific subject. Understanding the equivalencies and the curriculum focus of each is essential for students navigating both systems in their educational journeys.

How can I prepare effectively for IGCSE exams?

Effective preparation for IGCSE exams necessitates a structured and disciplined approach. Start by creating a realistic and detailed study plan, encompassing all subjects and allocating sufficient time for each topic. Employ a combination of study techniques, including summarisation, self-testing, and active recall, to reinforce learning. Regular practice with past papers and mock exams can help acclimatise you to the exam format and improve your time management. Seek clarification on challenging concepts from teachers or peers and address any gaps in knowledge promptly. Lastly, maintaining a healthy balance between study, rest, and recreation is crucial to managing stress and optimising performance during your exams.

Is there a limit to how many IGCSE subjects one can take?

There isn’t a universal limit to the number of IGCSE subjects a student can register for, but it’s crucial to consider the workload and the school’s advice. Usually, students choose between 5 and 14 subjects, balancing their interests, academic goals, and university requirements. Schools often advise on optimal subject combinations and manage timetables to avoid clashes. It’s pivotal to assess one’s academic capacity and extracurricular commitments to avoid being overwhelmed. An informed, balanced selection, aligning with future aspirations and ensuring manageability, is crucial for achieving success in IGCSE exams.

What is the duration of the IGCSE course?

The typical duration of the IGCSE course is two years, but it can vary. Most schools commence the IGCSE programme in Year 10, culminating in exams at the end of Year 11. Some students may opt for an accelerated one-year programme depending on the school's offerings and the student’s aptitude. It’s critical to consider the comprehensive nature of the curriculum and the requisite commitment when opting for an accelerated path. Regardless of duration, thorough and consistent preparation, encompassing all subjects, is indispensable for attaining commendable grades in IGCSE exams.

How different is IGCSE Mathematics from other maths curriculums?

IGCSE Mathematics is renowned for its holistic approach, blending theoretical concepts with practical applications. It’s meticulously structured to instil a profound understanding of mathematical principles, fostering analytical and problem-solving skills. It diverges from other curriculums by offering varied tiers, like Core and Extended, catering to different aptitudes and learning needs. The curriculum’s comprehensive nature, involving algebra, geometry, statistics, and more, refines versatility in mathematical applications. The balanced emphasis on conceptual grasp and practical adeptness makes it distinct, preparing students for advanced studies and real-world challenges in mathematics.

Do universities have a preference for A in IGCSE when admitting students?

Universities appreciate excellence, and achieving an A* in IGCSE does illustrate a high level of proficiency in a subject. However, universities generally adopt a holistic approach to admissions, considering various aspects like overall academic performance, extracurricular activities, personal statements, and references. An A* is advantageous but not an absolute prerequisite. Some courses may have specific grade requirements, and it is vital to research and understand these when applying. Attaining balanced, commendable grades alongside a well-rounded profile is instrumental in fortifying university applications.

Do universities have a preference for A in IGCSE when admitting students?

Universities appreciate excellence, and achieving an A* in IGCSE does illustrate a high level of proficiency in a subject. However, universities generally adopt a holistic approach to admissions, considering various aspects like overall academic performance, extracurricular activities, personal statements, and references. An A* is advantageous but not an absolute prerequisite. Some courses may have specific grade requirements, and it is vital to research and understand these when applying. Attaining balanced, commendable grades alongside a well-rounded profile is instrumental in fortifying university applications.

How is the speaking component assessed in IGCSE English?

The speaking component of IGCSE English is usually assessed internally by teachers and then moderated externally by exam boards. It's designed to evaluate students' proficiency in speaking and listening skills, focusing on their ability to communicate effectively, use a range of vocabulary and demonstrate a good understanding of English grammar. Students are often assessed on their capacity to present information, ideas, and opinions clearly and persuasively in various scenarios, like discussions and presentations. The specifics can vary depending on the exam board, so it’s essential to review the assessment criteria and guidelines provided in the syllabus and to practise regularly to build confidence and fluency.

How can parents support their children during IGCSE preparations?

Parents can play a pivotal role in supporting their children during IGCSE preparations. Offering emotional support, understanding, and encouragement can alleviate the stress associated with exam preparations. Creating a conducive learning environment at home, helping to establish effective study routines, and encouraging regular breaks can also be beneficial. It’s important to maintain open communication with children regarding their progress, challenges, and concerns, providing guidance and seeking additional support if needed, such as tutoring or counselling. Engaging with teachers and the school can offer insights into specific needs, progress, and areas for improvement, facilitating tailored support and intervention where necessary.

How do IGCSE grades affect college admissions in the UK?

IGCSE grades play a significant role in UK college admissions. They often serve as the initial point of assessment for admissions officers, highlighting a student's academic proficiency and subject mastery. High grades can strengthen a student's application, providing a competitive edge in the admissions process. Colleges typically have specific grade requirements for admission, and meeting or exceeding these can enhance a student’s chances of acceptance. Furthermore, some colleges might have prerequisites in specific subjects depending on the chosen course, necessitating careful consideration of IGCSE subject selection and performance. In essence, achieving exemplary IGCSE grades can substantially bolster college applications, underlining academic capability and commitment.

How often can IGCSE exams be retaken?

IGCSE exams can typically be retaken as often as needed, however, it’s important to consider the implications and logistics of multiple retakes. Exam sessions occur twice a year, in May/June and October/November, offering students opportunities to improve their grades. However, constant retakes can be mentally and emotionally draining, and they also incur additional costs. Additionally, universities and colleges might look at the number of retakes when considering applications, as it could reflect on a student’s ability to prepare and perform under pressure. Hence, while retakes are available, it is essential for students to approach them strategically and judiciously, weighing the benefits against the potential drawbacks.

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Professional tutor and Cambridge University researcher

Charles Whitehouse

Written by: Charles Whitehouse

Oxford University - Masters Biochemistry

Charles scored 45/45 on the International Baccalaureate and has six years' experience tutoring IB and IGCSE students and advising them with their university applications. He studied a double integrated Masters at Magdalen College Oxford and has worked as a research scientist and strategy consultant.

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