Many more parents are opting to send their children to international schools in Malaysia for their preschool, primary, secondary and pre-university education. Among the many factors why parents are considering international education for their children, the opportunity to obtain globally recognised qualifications is one of the biggest. 

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is the international equivalent of the GCSE examinations in the UK. IGCSE is offered by many international schools in Malaysia. The qualification is globally recognised and opens many doors for students who want to study locally or abroad.

Here are five things you should know about IGCSE in Malaysia:

5 Things You Should Know About the IGCSE in Malaysia

1.  Offered by two examination boards

Two examination boards, Pearson Edexcel and Cambridge Assessment International Education, offer the IGCSE. However, the Cambridge version is commonly offered in Malaysia. IGCSE was first introduced by the Cambridge Examination board in 1985 and is equivalent to O Levels. Cambridge Assessment International Education prepares and marks all examination papers in the UK.


2. There are over 70 IGCSE subjects

International schools can select from over 70 IGCSE subjects and offer them in any combination to their students. The 70 subjects are inclusive of 30 languages. Generally, students have to take a minimum of five subjects in addition to mandatory subjects. The Cambridge IGCSE focuses on application of knowledge, critical thinking, adaptability, good English language skills and cultural awareness.


3. Preceded by British or Cambridge Curriculum

Students who are enrolled in international schools which offer the British or Cambridge International Curriculum usually sit for the IGCSE examinations in their final year of secondary school. In the British Curriculum, students prepare for IGCSE in Key Stage 4 (Year 10 and 11). On the other hand, IGCSE preparations are carried out during Cambridge Upper Secondary (14 to 16 years old) in the Cambridge International Curriculum.


4. Examinations are administered twice a year

The IGCSE examinations are carried out twice a year in May and October. Students sit for the examinations in international schools or private examination centres. Results are given out in August and January. Each subject is graded from A* to G, with A* being the highest grade.


5. IGCSE Malay introduced as a new subject

In 2018, Cambridge Assessment International Education announced the addition of IGCSE First Language Malay to their list of subjects. International schools can begin offering the subject in September 2019. The first exam for IGCSE First Language Malay will be carried out in June 2021. Prior to this, Cambridge IGCSE only offered the Malay Foreign Language to students with no foundation in the language. Therefore, IGCSE First Language Malay is designed with Malaysian students in mind. It is important to take note that IGCSE First Language Malay is not equivalent to Bahasa Melayu at SPM level.

Choosing the right school for your child involves plenty of research and financial preparation. To find the best international school in Malaysia for your child, use the powerful School Finder and School Comparison tool today!

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