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Choosing Your Child's IGCSE Subjects

In the UK, children study normally between 6 and 9 IGCSE subjects over two academic years.  They take a broad range including English Language and English Literature, Maths, one or more Sciences (or single or double Science), one or more humanities (Geography and/or History) and a language (French, Spanish and German being the most popular). Computer Science is also popular in the digital economy.

We suggest that your child starts with a minimum of four subjects, with English Language and Maths as the first choices. These four subjects may be taken over one year or longer as seems appropriate.

Your child’s choice of subjects should be determined by whether they are going on to A Level and from there to university. The appropriate IGCSEs may also be influenced by the intended country of university study, as requirements vary significantly around the world and should be taken into account when selecting subjects. If your child plans to take any of the above subjects at A Level, then a good pass at IGCSE will be expected.

In order to ensure that the future potential university admission requirements for your child are not overlooked, you might like to consider arranging a meeting with one of our University Advisors to discuss your child’s trajectory through the IGCSE and A Level programmes.

To give you an idea of how long your child will need, the approximate study time for each IGCSE subject is 150 hours (180 for English, Maths and the Sciences). To this you should add extra time time for assignment preparation (8-12 assignments per subject).

Our handy guide will explain more about the transition from Lower Secondary to IGCSE courses.

Wolsey Hall Oxford is a registered school of Cambridge Assessment International Education

Wolsey Hall Oxford is a registered school of Cambridge Assessment International Education

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Top Tips from Stefania on Choosing your IGCSE Subjects

More Information

  • Students aiming for top universities usually take 10 IGCSE courses.
  • Students who want to study a science subject for A Level, should study that subject as a single IGCSE course but IGCSE Co-ordinated Sciences (double) may be accepted.
  • Students should allow time for Tutors to mark each assignment (3-5 working days).
  • Students may be interested in the Cambridge ICE qualification

English and Languages

  • IGCSE English Language (first or second language) –we recommend most students take our IGCSE English Language course, as this is seen as a better qualification for further studies and employers.
  • IGCSE English Literature – students must take IGCSE English Language (first language) to support this course.
  • Modern Foreign Language – students taking French, German and Spanish courses must have studied their language for approximately 2 years prior to starting the IGCSE.
IGCSE Course Information

Maths and Sciences

  • IGCSE Maths –students taking IGCSE Maths (Core) exams can only get up to a grade C. Students on the IGCSE Maths (Extended) course can obtain up to an A* grade.  We encourage most students to start on our Extended course.
  • Students taking IGCSE Physics will also need to take IGCSE Maths (Extended).
  • IGCSE Combined Science includes one third of each single science syllabus (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
  • IGCSE Co-ordinated Sciences is a double IGCSE courses with two thirds of each single science syllabus.
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