How IGCSE Prepares Young Minds for Academic and Professional Success

Michelle Dickinson
Updated on
August 19, 2020

At OWIS, we offer curricula specific to the early years, primary school, secondary school and high school. Students enrolled in our secondary school programme will follow a curriculum that culminates in the IGCSE examinations at Grades 9 and 10, one of the most popular secondary school curricula offered in Singapore and throughout the world. Globally, there are more than 70 subjects, including 30 languages, available through IGCSE. This curriculum is considered to be excellent preparation for both A Levels and IBDP subject courses.

teacher-at-board-with-students


What is IGCSE?

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education, or IGCSE, is an English-based exam that was developed by the University of Cambridge. Many secondary students, including those who are enrolled in OWIS, will take the IGCSE prior to applying to university. At OWIS, we feel that the IGCSE curriculum programme is the best option for our international school, as it uniquely prepares students for this rigorous examination. Our IGCSE curriculum covers a variety of subjects, from traditional courses like mathematics, history and geography to modern subjects such as art, design and information, communication and technology. Subjects are taught in a range of formats and students have the opportunity to find out more about each of these prior to making their decision on what subjects they are going to take. Some students may prefer a course that has a more coursework or exam focus, or they may prefer one that has a more equal combination of both.

Why IGCSE?

Originally based on the UK GCE O Level examinations, IGCSE content has been adapted to suit the needs of international students who are not studying in the UK. While the syllabi offer an international outlook, content retains a local relevance and has been carefully developed to avoid cultural bias. It also ensures that our students are given the opportunity to follow a curriculum which is in line with schools in other regions.  It prepares them as they go through their education and opens up the opportunities to study A Levels or the International Baccalaureate. IGCSE’s offer a wider range of subjects and encourages high academic standards through a practical approach to teaching and learning.

  • Subject content
  • Applying knowledge and understanding to new as well as unfamiliar situations
  • Intellectual inquiry
  • Flexibility and responsiveness to change
  • Working and communicating in English
  • Influencing outcomes
  • Cultural awareness

IGCSE is tailored to a multicultural, multilingual audience, which is ideal for our diverse student body at OWIS. Our students benefit from the freedom to choose subjects that are right for them with high-achieving students pushing themselves further through the extended curriculum. It also gives our students benchmarks for choosing their future subjects. For instance, students who have a passion for a career in the medical sphere may choose to focus on the more science-based subjects, but as they are able to choose a number of subjects, they may decide to pick something artistic and practical as well. This allows for a well-rounded education with a range of skills both academic and practical.

IGCSE Pre-Requisites: How to Prepare Your Child for Success

IGCSE examination is a two-year programme starting at Grade 9. At OWIS, our students follow a modified UK curriculum from Grade 6 to Grade 8 which prepare them for the student-specific IGCSE examinations at the end of Grade 10. While beneficial, it is not a prerequisite for students to have completed an international primary curriculum prior to enrolling in the IGCSE curricula. Students are welcome to join at the Grade 9 level and then take the 2 year IGCSE examinations which complete at the end of Grade 10. At OWIS, we help prepare our students for success in IGCSEs by offering the Primary Years Programme in primary school and a modified UK curriculum in the middle years.

What Does IGCSE Teach My Child?

The IGCSE curriculum covers five main subject groups:

  • English language and literature
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • The Arts

Our IGCSE programme at OWIS is accredited by the Cambridge Assessment International Education Board and students are awarded Cambridge IGCSEs at the end of Grade 10. This is a world-renowned qualification which opens up doors to further study, and then on to Universities and careers around the world. Depending on the course, assessments may include written, oral, and practical coursework. This broad assessment range allows students to demonstrate their learning even if English is not their first language. For those who do speak other languages there is the opportunity for them to study this, where the course is offered in that language, and therefore gain an IGCSE in a language they are confident in. Students who successfully complete IGCSE are well prepared for IBDP and A Level coursework. At OWIS, we continue to support our students from IGCSE onto IBDP or A Level, and ensure that the transition from one to the next is as smooth as possible.

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About Author

Michelle Dickinson

Head of School

Michelle has a BA (Hons) in History and South Asian Studies from North London University and PGCE from Middlesex University. She began teaching across all three primary key stages. Michelle began her school leadership career in 2002, when she became the Deputy Head Teacher of a large primary school in North London and spent four wonderful years there before relocating to India in 2005.

Her first international position was the Head of Primary of a local/international school in Bangalore in Southern India, where she introduced the Cambridge International Primary Programme and Checkpoint. Michelle then spent 6 years in China and 3 years in Ethiopia developing curriculum and assessment practices.

Michelle believes that children learn best when they are having fun and are engaged in practical, real life activities. While she recognises that outstanding academic achievement is the ultimate goal, she feels it is just as important to build self-esteem, instill character and encourage a global outlook in every child. Michelle believes that learning transcends the classroom environment and is passionate about educational visits and extra-curricular experiences.

Michelle is married with four children - Ana, Hindya, Bille and Markos. The Dickinson family have a sense of adventure and love of life. They particularly enjoy the outdoors, family holidays, making friends, good weather, camping and exploring and are delighted to be at OWIS.

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