All You Need To Know – Top Facts on IGCSE and IB Boards 

igcse and ib boards

This article will provide you with an overview of how the IGCSE and IB Boards compares to one another. It includes the curriculum they cover as well as some common facts that you need to know! 





Top Facts on IGCSE and IB Boards 

CIE (IGCSE Board) 

The IGCSE board, also known as the University of Cambridge International Examinations (the board) offers students a well-rounded education throughout their education years. 


The Cambridge International Examinations offers students the following examinations: 

  • Upper Secondary (14 to 16 years old)
    • Cambridge IGCSE 
    • Cambridge O Level
  • Cambridge Advanced (16 to 19 years old) 
    • International AS & A Level 
    • Pre-U

Cambridge IGCSE VS Cambridge O Level

During a student’s upper secondary education, they can choose to sit for the Cambridge IGCSE OR O Level. 


The main difference between the two is that IGCSE offers more subjects (70+) to students, whereas the O Level only offers 40+ subjects. 


A range of grades awarded from A* (highest grade) to G (lowest). There is a core (C to G) and extended (A* to C) curriculum available in some subjects. Candidates are only awarded grades from A* to E, where A* is the highest achievable grade.
IGCSE uses a variety of assessment techniques to test oral and practical skills, initiative and problem-solving and application of skills, knowledge and understanding. Some syllabuses were developed to meet specific local needs, such as minority languages.
A coursework option is available in many syllabuses. Cambridge O Level offers fewer coursework options.
You will be rewarded for positive achievement (what you know, understand, and can do). The focus of languages is on writing and reading skills
Prepares students for progression to employment or further study. It also prepares students very well for Cambridge International AS & A Levels. There are more restricted practical test options in O Level sciences. These constraints are advantageous to some schools where resources are limited.


Many students will take the Cambridge IGCSE over the IB MYP from the age of 14 to 16. This is because it offers students a well-rounded education for a smooth transition in between curriculums. 


Cambridge Advanced 

The Cambridge Advanced is targeted at students aged 16 to 19 and they offer the Cambridge AS & A Level. Both of which are equivalent to the IB DP. 


There is no superior between the IB DP and Cambridge A-Levels, however here are some benefits offered to students when taking the Cambridge AS & A Level.


The Cambridge AS and A Level helps to develop student’s knowledge, understanding and skills in:


  • In-depth subject content
  • Independent thinking
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to new as well as familiar situations
  • Handling and evaluating different types of information source
  • Thinking logically and presenting ordered and coherent arguments
  • Making judgements, recommendations and decisions
  • Presenting reasoned explanations, understanding implications and communicating them logically and clearly
  • Working and communicating in English.



The International Baccalaureate offers students three different programmes throughout their learning years. They are namely the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (DP). 


Primary Years Programme 

This programme is targeted at children aged 3 to 12 and this programme aims to help children become active, caring and lifelong learners. 



The IB PYP offers students a lot of benefits: 

  • The PYP is a recognised programme throughout the world 
  • It provides inquiry-based learning, international mindedness and action orientation
  • Allows transferability and continuity of learning 


Middle Years Programme 

The Middle Year Programme is targeted at children aged 11 to 16. The MYP is known to be equivalent to the IGCSE curriculum. 


The Middle Years Programme however is not as widely recognised as compared to the IB PYP and IB DP. Hence, many students who took the IB PYP would switch to the CIE curriculum (IGCSE) instead of moving on to the IB MYP. This is a common practice for students around the world. 


CIE is also known as the University of Cambridge International Examinations. 


Fortunately, the curriculum offered in the PYP stage allows students to transition smoothly to other curriculums such as the IGCSE. 


Diploma Programme 

The most popular of all the other programmes offered by the IB board. This programme is primarily aimed at students aged 16 to 19. 


Fortunately too, the IGCSE curriculum during their Middle Years, offers a well-rounded education for students, allowing smooth transition back into the IBDP. 


In the Diploma Programme, students are taught the following skills which are essential for their future endeavours:

  • Grows and builds confidence in students 
  • Develop skills such as critical and independent thinking in skills 
  • Enhances students’ research skills due to the inclusion of subjects like Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay 


All in all, this is a quick rundown of the curriculums offered by the IGCSE and IB Boards. These two curriculums are dominant worldwide and offered by many schools all over the world. 


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