How to Choose between IB, GCE, GCSE and IGCSE

igcse vs ib

Exams enable a child to not only see how much they know but exams such as O Levels (O/L) and A-Levels (A/L) lay the foundation for university and that is why tutoring is necessary to ensure the foundation for a child’s higher education is set right. There are many boards and standards and it is important to pick the right program which suits your child’s ability to perform.


International Baccalaureate (IB)

With its governing body in Switzerland the IB organization, which was initiated in 1968 looks at a holistic approach to education. Starting from the primary and middle years program and extending to a career led the program for the ages 16-19 and then the diploma program for ages 15-19 which is the most taught program around the globe. The core aim of IB is to nurture and turn students into Inquirers, Knowledgeable Thinkers, Communicators, Principled Risk-Takers, Balanced Reflective Individuals who are Open-minded. Thus the program consists of a project-based type of education that is applicable in the real world of multinationals with a focus on diplomacy to create a whole individual who is able to enter university.

Read also: The Complete Guide to International Baccalaureate (MYP & DP)


General Certificate of Education (GCE)

Offered by both Edexcel and Cambridge, it can be divided in AS Levels and A/Levels to complete between Grades 11 and 12 ( Year 12 and Year 13) and O/Ls to complete at Grade 10 (Year 11). It is used as an entry-level to British universities and a few countries such as Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia still follow it through to award a high school completion certificate. Both awarding bodies offer a comprehensive range of subject for students to follow.


General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)

Popular around the world, this was brought in as a replacement for GCE and the CSE (Certificate of Secondary Education), offered by both Edexcel and Cambridge examining bodies, this too offers a comprehensive range of subjects for students to take and the highest awarded mark is an A*. Offered for both O Levels and A Levels the period of study depends on the examination, subject, school and board. The GCSEs are mainly followed through in the UK.

Read also: The Complete Guide to Cambridge IGCSE & Pearson Edexcel International GCSE


Cambridge IGCSE vs Pearson Edexcel


International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)


Initially created by the Cambridge examining body (Cambridge IGCSE), but also offered by Edexcel, the IGCSE is predominantly exam-based which means it is not a course but tests the knowledge of a student in individual subjects. Taught in Grade 9 ( Year 10) and the test taken in Grade 11 (Year 12) or Grade 12 ( Year 13), the IGCSE candidate is usually advised to take a first language, second language,  Maths and one more subject in the sciences. The highest grade for IGCSE is A** and it also offers a broad range of subjects for candidates which include Social Sciences and Creative Arts. It is also equivalent to Singaporean O Levels and Hong Kong’s HKCEE (Hong Kong’s Certificate of Education Examination) and GCSEs taken in England, but many employers and universities equal it to the GCSE.

Read also: The Difference Between Cambridge IGCSE & GCE O Levels


igcse vs ib

This infographic shows a comparison of IGCSE vs IB where 3 main points of the curriculums are explored.

Making a decision between these types of exams can be tough, but keep in mind, your Child’s ability and interest in subjects to achieve their level best. Sometimes grasping concepts can be hard and that’s when extra tutoring comes in handy with Tutopiya- Singapore’s First Online Academy. Contact us for more information on obtaining your free trial of tutoring, so that your child can ace their exams with ease.


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