The difference between IB and IGCSE

As a parent looking for a suitable international school for their child, you may come across the terms “IB” and “IGCSE”. What do they mean and how do they influence the choice of school your child eventually attends?

In international education, the choice of curriculum affects which courses your child attends and which teaching methods they will encounter in the classroom. IB and IGCSE have many differences, but they also have common features. For example, both of them provide high-quality education and are designed to help students think outside the box. Unlike traditional classroom instruction of the past, these two areas of study are not based on rote memorization of facts such as names and dates. Instead, they ask open-ended questions that require students to hone their critical thinking, creativity, and practical application skills.


What is IB?
The International Baccalaureate is more than a curriculum; it is a way of learning. Schools that follow the IB principles use research-based learning to enhance student resilience, self-discipline, and motivation. IB emphasizes the importance of a growth mindset and teaches young people that they are responsible for their own academic performance and success.

IB provides guidance for the Primary Education Program (PYP), Secondary Education Program (MYP), Diploma Program (DP) and Career Related Program (CRP). Students attending IB schools enjoy many benefits:

IB students enter a multicultural school environment that prepares them for success on a global scale.
Students attending IB schools learn to take responsibility for their academic performance.
IB graduates tend to graduate from college faster.
Graduates of IB schools often enroll in some of the best universities in the world.
IB students develop excellent critical thinking skills.
If your family is looking for a first-class international school, then it is best to start with an International Baccalaureate program where key concepts are taught.


What is IGCSE?
Many international schools use the IGCSE, or International General Certificate of Secondary Education, curriculum developed and managed by the University of Cambridge in England. It differs from IB in that it is a more detailed curriculum that requires less creativity on the part of teachers and stricter adherence to established rules. IGCSE was designed as a two-year program for students between the ages of 14 and 16.

While the IB changes with each new set of students to better match their culture and background, IGCSE is static and offers clearly defined goals. IGCSE is also more country-specific and offers a wider range of subjects that schools can choose to teach.

Like IB, IGCSE offers its own set of benefits, including:

Up to 70 different subjects from which schools can choose
Internationally recognized curriculum
Focus on creativity and skill development
It offers both basic and advanced study programs in certain subjects
An assessment – based curriculum
Students who take IGCSE are usually well prepared for successful college admission. In addition, since it is an internationally recognized curriculum, it is usually easier to change schools in the middle of the academic year or in the middle of a career. Students can simply pick up where they left off.


What is the difference between IB and IGCSE
The most significant difference between IB and IGCSE is simply that one is a way of learning, while the other is an official curriculum. The teachers who lead the IB classes are responsible for drawing up lesson plans that strengthen certain IB skills. They attend more seminars and play more dynamic and fluid roles in the classroom.

At the same time, IGCSE teachers follow a pre-designed curriculum that teaches the subjects chosen by the school according to the requirements. It is less dependent on the education and experience of the students, and the material remains unchanged depending on the composition of the students.

Other differences between the two programs include:

The IB uses internal assessments rather than external exams.
IGCSE uses repetitive exercises and testing.
IB courses are practical, holistic and student-oriented.
IGCSE courses are theory-based and more traditional in nature.
IB focuses on essay writing, extracurricular activities, and time management skills.
IGCSE pays special attention to the fulfillment of pre-set tasks.
Many students find IB harder than IGCSE.
Both IB and IGCSE are high-quality educational programs that provide excellence in international education. But IB may be the best choice for students who prefer to study more holistically and delve deeper into fewer subjects. Students who prefer to follow a more traditional curriculum and for whom their path is to some extent determined in advance may prefer IGCSE.


What are the key concepts of the International Baccalaureate?
The International Baccalaureate identifies seven key concepts. They include:

The causal relationship
To change
These concepts are designed to stimulate transdisciplinary learning, or learning that takes place across a range of academic subjects. For example, students studying the function of weather can use their knowledge to better understand the water cycle in science, the devastating storms of the 20th century in history, definitions of words such as “condensation” and “evaporation” in English, and much more.


What does the International Baccalaureate teach students?
Students who follow the IB learning model become the center of their education. They learn IB skills such as research, action and reflection. All subjects are interrelated, as the training is interdisciplinary in nature, and students are encouraged to apply their knowledge in real situations. The training is practical and exploratory in nature, and although students are not assessed on individual tests and quizzes, they receive an IB score in the range of 1 to 7 points in each subject. To receive an IB diploma, a student must score at least 24 points. They cannot get 1 point in any subject, more than two twos in one subject, or more than three threes in any subject. Students can get higher education with or without an IB diploma.


What does IGCSE teach students?
IGCSE courses can be adapted to teach students of all abilities, and they are designed to teach research, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Students are invited to study the educational material and apply it in real situations. In addition, they develop acute cultural awareness and learn about the consequences of change and how to influence it. Schools have 70 different subjects that they can choose to teach. Of these, 30 are languages.

No matter which international school you choose – IB or IGCSE, your child will receive an excellent education. However, it is important for students to choose the path that suits them best. Our private Oxbridge School, which is the only school that is an IB accredited school, will help you with this.

For more details, head over to our blog.

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