5 Things To Know About IGCSE Malaysia – The Ultimate Guide 


IGCSE Malaysia is slowly emerging though it is still uncommon for Malaysian students to sit for the IGCSE. Much like any other Asian countries, Malaysia also has its own national curriculum that is taught in its mainstream primary schools. This article will open your eyes and hopefully allow you to compare IGCSE vs SPM and see that  there are more options available for you outside of your national curriculum!

What is the IGCSE curriculum?

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is the international equivalent of the GCSE examinations in the UK. It is also equivalent to the GCE O Levels in Singapore. IGCSE is offered by many international schools in Malaysia. The qualification is globally recognised and opens many doors for students who want to study locally or abroad.

Malaysian students are able to enrol into a university with IGCSE certification according to the university’s entry requirements. 

Alternatively, the IGCSE certification opens doors for students who wish to pursue their studies abroad. Many universities in the world accept IGCSE certification for enrollment, subject to entry requirements. 

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

Here are 5 things you will need to about IGCSE Malaysia and IGCSE vs SPM

1 – Overview about the IGCSE Malaysia 

The IGCSE curriculum is not offered in mainstream secondary schools, students will either have to take the IGCSE as a private candidate or in a private school. 

Private candidate

To register yourself or your child as a private candidate for IGCSE examinations, you can visit the official registration website here

When students choose to sit for the IGCSE curriculum privately, they would usually be homeschooled. 

Read also: The Guide to Prepare Your Child for Home Schooling in Malaysia

Otherwise, families would hire experienced full time tutors to help their child with their IGCSE preparation. However, due to the current COVID-19 situation, Malaysia has imposed many safety measures to keep its citizens safe. 

Tutopiya offers Live Online Tuition for Malaysia students at the comfort of their own homes. You will be able to meet your tutor online, 1-1 and live on our interactive whiteboard to carry out tuition sessions. 

To experience live online learning with Tutopiya today, you can contact our experts to arrange yourself a FREE trial lesson. 

Tutopiya also offer a comprehensive revision program to help students prepare for the IGCSE exam confidently.

Why do people choose to take the IGCSE Malaysia?

The IGCSE certification is a ticket to the world allowing students to have more choices and opportunities to choose from. 

2 – Subjects and assessment (grading system)


The IGCSE Malaysia offers over 70 subjects for students to choose from. The Cambridge International Certificate of Education (Cambridge ICE) certificate is a group award for students who enter and sit for a minimum of seven subjects selected from the five IGCSE curriculum areas:


Group Types
1 Language
2 Humanities
3 Sciences
4 Mathematics
5 Creative and Vocational


Cambridge ICE is awarded to students who pass in at least seven Cambridge IGCSE subjects, including two from Group 1 and one from Groups 2 to 5. The seventh subject may be chosen from any of the syllabus Groups.

Introduction to a new subject – Malay

In 2018, the Cambridge Assessment Board announced that they would be adding Malay as a First Language to their list of IGCSE subjects. The first exam for IGCSE First Language Malay will be taken in June 2021. 

The Cambridge IGCSE only offered the Malay language as a Foreign Language for students with no foundation in the language prior to this. Hence, the IGCSE First Language Malay is designed with Malaysian students in mind. 

It is important to take note that IGCSE First Language Malay is not equivalent to Bahasa Melayu at the SPM level.

Read also: Quick Cambridge IGCSE Subject Guide For Students and Parents

Assessment (Grading system)


Grade  Mark Range
A* 90-100
A 80-89
B 70-79
C 60-69
D 50-59
E 40-49
F 30-39
G 20-29

For a more detailed grading scheme, you can visit their official website here.

3 – Examination schedule 

IGCSE Cambridge examinations are conducted twice every year. Once in May/June and once in October/November. 

In Malaysia, British Council offers school exams in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. 

4 – Post IGCSE Malaysia options (IGCSE vs SPM)

If you wonder what is the difference between the Malaysian SPM and the IGCSE Malaysia and if it affects your entry to Malaysia universities. The answer is no, the IGCSE Malaysia certificate also allows Malaysian students to enrol into their local universities. 

The only difference between IGCSE Malaysia and their SPM is that the IGCSE certificate opens more doors for students who are thinking about going abroad for their tertiary studies. 

IGCSE is a globally recognized certification and it is one of the most common entry indicators into US universities alongside the IB certificate.

5 – Cambridge Core and Cambridge Extended

The Cambridge IGCSE curriculum is divided into 2 subsections, offering students the choice of taking some of their subjects as Core or Extended Papers. 

Core Extended
Core curriculum is within the ability range of a large majority of students Extended curriculum is designed for the more academically abled and higher achieving students
Target Grade: C D E F G Target Grades: A* A B C D E 

For some of the subjects offered, the examination covers the ability range and there are no options for Core or Extended papers. For these subjects, the full range of grades is available. 

Tips for students thinking about the Core and Extended

The Extended curriculum is recommended for students who wish to pursue certain subjects for Cambridge International AS and A levels. 

Same for the IB Diploma Programme, you will be required to pursue a minimum of three subjects at a higher level and it is best to choose the extended curriculum to fully prepare you for these subjects. 

In a nutshell, the IGCSE certificate is a globally recognised certificate, so you are all set and covered! It is worth considering the IGCSE curriculum if you may be considering moving abroad or have plans to study abroad. Moreover, you can take the Malay Language as your first language now! 

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