IGCSE English as a Second Language

Benefits of studying Cambridge IGCSE English Second Language

The combination of knowledge and skills in Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language gives learners a solid foundation for further study. Candidates who achieve grades A* to C are well prepared to follow a wide range of IGCSE courses.

The subject is aimed at students who have not previously been taught in English and whose English is at a basic level.  For those who have a working knowledge of English we recommend IGCSE English Language i.e. first language English.  If you are in any doubt as to the most suitable course, we can offer a test at no charge to help you decide.

A grade C in IGCSE English as a Second Language satisfies the English proficiency requirements of some universities in the UK and in other English speaking countries.

Take a look at our latest Exam Results.

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

Wolsey Hall is a registered online Cambridge International School.

Wolsey Hall Oxford is a Pearson Edexcel approved centre

We offer a wide range of IGCSE subjects.

Cambridge IGCSE English second language

Key topics covered in the course

  • Understanding, identifying and selecting texts
  • Carrying out a range of writing tasks on a number of topics
  • Describing and reporting a wide range of information
  • Organising and presenting material in appropriate format
  • Retrieving facts and details from a range of information
  • Understanding ideas and the connection between them
  • Authentic Speaking and Listening practice, with exam preparation via Skype

Prior requirements and hours of study

  • Previous study: CAIE recommends that learners starting this course are not first language speakers of English, but learners who use English as a lingua franca or language of study. Learners are likely to have studied a curriculum such as the Cambridge Secondary 1 programme or equivalent national educational framework. Learners in England will normally have followed the Key Stage 3 programme of study within the National Curriculum for England.
  • Non-native speakers who are frequent users of the language should take IGCSE first language English.
  • The course includes live tutorials to prepare for the speaking exam.
  • Your child should allow for up to 150 hours’ study time to complete the course plus additional time for completing assignments. 150 hours is an approximate figure which depends on their learning abilities and the pace at which they work.
CAmbridge igcse English second language

The syllabus and exam

The course will prepare your child for the reading, writing, speaking and listening parts of the syllabus for the Cambridge (CAIE) English as a Second Language syllabus 0511 or 0991.

The exam comprises three components:

Paper 2

Reading and Writing (2 hours) – 60% of the total mark

Paper 4

Listening (50 minutes) – 20% of the total mark

Component 5

Speaking (10-15 minutes) – 20% of the total mark

Please note that the marks for the speaking component contribute to the overall grade.

There are Cambridge exam centres in over 150 countries. We can provide details of those most convenient.

All of our IGCSE courses include a number of past exam papers in the final module. These include the most recent paper which can be taken as a mock exam and submitted to your Tutor for assessment and feedback for a modest additional fee.

Course sample

Course Fees

To be honest, I don’t think I would have done this so easily without the entire Wolsey Hall team on board – and, all the Tutors’ help. I am quite amazed at what I’ve done!
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Hamzah Yousef Jameel, IGCSE & A level Homeschooling Student


I would recommend Wolsey Hall Oxford to anyone considering homeschooling. Each course has plenty of resources on canvas and the course books are very informative. Any questions or help that we needed (preparing and arranging exams etc) have always been dealt with by the friendly tutors and student progress manager. My daughter achieved excellent IGCSE results and is now taking an A Level course.
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Donna Hogan – IGCSE Parent


“Homeschooling with Wolsey Hall has been a very delightful experience! The courses are beautifully organized, from the amazing resources on Canvas to the very creative assignments. However, above all, I couldn’t be more thankful to my very encouraging and supportive Tutors and Student Progress Manager who was always very welcoming to each and every question I had. Wholeheartedly, I couldn’t have scored an A* in both Physics and Biology without your help. Thank you!”
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Reem Arafat, Homeschooling IGCSE Student

Saudi Arabia

Wolsey Hall Oxford’s IGCSE courses are excellent for students who wish to homeschool. The step by step programme of study, with designated textbooks and online resources ensured that my daughter understood the concepts and their application in a logical manner. She also benefitted from completing the assignments and past exam papers. She worked hard… asking questions, getting feedback from her Tutors and sharpening her exam technique. Without the Wolsey Hall Oxford programme, she would not have achieved her fantastic results (six A*’s in her IGCSEs in 2016).
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Andrew Yeoh, IGCSE Homschooling Parent


Thank you very much for your assistance, and I just want to say that homeschooling Sophie and her sister Helene has been made so much easier by your organization’s involvement – the tutors have been fabulous and the course presentation very easy to follow.
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Jeff Hennig, IGCSE Homeschooling Parent,