January 2023 GCSE Admissions Open

What is GCSE?

GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) mark the completion of Secondary Education in the UK. British students typically will take their GCSE exams at the end of Year 11 when they are 16 years old.

The qualification mainly involves studying the theory of a subject, together with some investigative work, while some subjects also involve practical work. They are usually studied full-time at boarding schools and colleges, taking five terms or three terms to complete. GCSEs are available in more than 60 subjects and vocational areas.

It’s designed for students who want to progress to A-levels or International Foundation before entering UK Top universities.

Essential information about GCSE in the UK

September GCSE Courses

One or two years GCSE courses usually start in September. You can apply for September start with UKstudy at any time of the year before September deadlines. We offer a wide range of subjects at top UK colleges and universities.

January GCSE Courses

Those students unable to start their GCSE course in autumn term, can also apply to most of schools for January start, including fast-track one year GCSE option. Contact us for list of available courses and further information.


Post GCSE Progression

Acquiring a GCSE in the UK can result in a number of different opportunities in your future career or further studies.

If you’re planning to continue your studies to higher education, you may need GCSEs in certain subjects. Most universities and colleges will ask for five GCSE grades A*- C, including English and maths, as well as A levels, International Foundation, or comparable qualifications in case of top tier institutions.


Applied GCSE in the UK

The applied GCSE in the UK is designed to provide a more ‘hands-on’ approach and encourage you to apply your knowledge and understanding of a subject in a practical way. They are comparable in size to two traditional GCSEs.

These GCSEs are assessed to the same standard as the more academic GCSEs, although the work you produce will have a more practical emphasis. You will carry out your own investigations and will often produce a portfolio of work.

These GCSEs can lead to similar progression paths as traditional GCSEs.


Fast-track GCSE in the UK

This course enables students to gain four full GCSEs in a year.

Fast-track courses also allow more able students to take extra subjects, like a second language. They can also be a useful option if your timetable at school or college prevents you from taking a full GCSE.

These can lead to similar routes as a traditional GCSE in the UK. However, if you want to go on to do A-levels, some subjects may require that you have a full GCSE in that subject.


What is the IGCSE?

IGCSE stands for “International General Certificate of Secondary Education”. It is equivalent to the GCSE qualification which is taken by students in Year 10 – 11 in the UK to prepare them for further pre-university level study, such as A-levels or International Foundation.

IGCSE in the UK is designed for pupils whose first language is not English. It’s been around for nearly three decades and is considered the GCSE course for international students in the UK because it’s available in countries across the world, unlike the GCSE, which is only available in the UK (and a few other countries).

The IGCSE is typically taught at international schools or private schools, rather than at state schools.


IGCSE vs GCSE in the UK

The GCSE and the IGCSE are very similar and are accepted as ‘equivalent’ qualifications by the top universities, sixth-form colleges and other independent schools around the world.

Because the IGCSE course is designed for students from around the world, there are some differences in course content. For example, Shakespeare is an optional, not a compulsory, part of the English IGCSE, unlike the GCSE English course, where all students must study Shakespeare.

The GCSE may be taken only in the UK, whereas there are opportunities to take the IGCSE in nearly every country in the world as well as in the UK.

Also, keep in mind that you will not be able to take online GCSE courses due to UK laws. However, you can still apply to take online IGCSE courses with distance education providers instead.

The GCSE in the UK is set only in May/ June of each year. But students may sit for the IGCSE also in October/ November, and in India only, also in March.

IGCSE courses do not include coursework as part of their final assessment; a feature which has also been phased out in the new revised GCSE courses in UK.

Apart from that there is no real difference these days. There is a lot of overlap in the syllabuses, both qualifications are the same level, and they are treated as equivalent to one another by all colleges, universities and employers.


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