The main difference between English GCSE and English IGCSE is that one is possible for adult learners and the other is not. Unless you are in mainstream education, with regular, teacher-led classroom sessions, you can no longer take the GCSE English exam. But you can take English IGCSE.
English IGCSE courses (like the ones offered by Oxford Open Learning) are similar to English GCSE courses, but they do not require coursework and controlled assessment. You just need to take a final written examination which is a rigorous test of your reading and writing skills.
Why is the English GCSE course different in 2012?
The new English GCSE specifications all entail coursework which is prepared under “controlled”, supervised conditions. Up till 2011, coursework could be produced at home and did not need to be supervised. As a result, it was felt that many candidates were being helped by relatives, friends or even teachers. The rules for controlled assessment are an attempt to make such cheating impossible. But there are no special rules for distance learners and it is not possible for our tutors to offer the necessary supervision.
Why is the English IGCSE as acceptable to universities as an English GCSE?
The English IGCSE is just as acceptable and as highly valued as any English GCSE qualification. It is recognised by the government, by employers, by sixth-form colleges, by teacher training establishments, indeed everywhere, both in the UK and abroad.
The aims and objectives of GCSE and IGCSE are similar and the marking is equally rigorous. A grade C in IGCSE English has exactly the same value as a grade C in English.
Are there any geographical limitations?
The English IGCSE qualification is an English GCSE that’s examined and examinable anywhere in the world. “Ordinary” English GCSE, on the other hand, is rarely examined outside the UK. IGCSE English is a truly international qualification, recognised all round the world.
What are the key differences between the course structure of the English GCSE and IGCSE?
As well as the lack of coursework, you will find that it is not necessary to take a speaking exam (the “oral”) as part of IGCSE English. IGCSE English requires you to express yourself in writing only, not in speech.
With GCSE English, the coursework element usually focuses on selected literary texts, like Macbeth or Jane Eyre. This is not required for IGCSE English, only IGCSE English Literature.
Both GCSE and IGCSE require you to write in a variety of different styles, for different purposes and different media. Texts for comprehension may be more demanding in the IGCSE. To gain the top marks in IGCSE English, accurate spelling, grammar and syntax are vital, as well as strong essay-construction skills. These are also important in the GCSE but fewer marks depend on them.
Why study for an English GCSE or IGCSE?
Along with Maths (I)GCSE, English (I)GCSE is probably the most important single qualification that anyone can obtain because it is a condition of entry for so many jobs, training courses and higher education courses. Typically, a “Pass” is considered to be a grade C or better. If you do not have grade C English, you may be handicapped throughout your career.
But an English (I)GCSE course gives you so much more than a qualification. Your language skills are important to you every day of your life and the ability to express yourself accurately in writing or speech is the most vital and rewarding of all life-skills.
What do our English students go onto do or study?
Studying an English GCSE course tends to foster a love of the written word, so many English GCSE students go on to study English Literature, perhaps at GCSE or A-level. Oxford Open Learning also offers an English Language A-level course.
Studying English may also lead to a career as a writer and we also offer a wide range of creative writing courses through our writing school.
A grade C in English GCSE is a typical requirement if you are to be accepted on to a teacher training programme in the UK and we have helped thousands of would-be teachers achieve that mark. But it is also a requirement of a wide variety of careers and higher education courses. Why? An ability to express ourselves effectively and to understand what we read is a fundamental part of study at all levels.