4 November 2016

IGCSE and IB - How do I choose the right one for my child?

Compared to other boards of education, IB is a relatively new education system that has been introduced in India.

Parents and students often get confused about the different programs that IB school offer. This confusion only adds to the dilemma of choosing what’s right for your child’s future.

The most commonly confused programs are IGCSE A level and IB Diploma. Since students are given the option to choose between continuing with IGCSE or opting for IB Diploma after IB MYP, knowing exactly how the two are different from each other is really crucial and cannot be overlooked.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve listed out the differences between IGCSE and IB

IB is the abbreviation for International Baccalaureate. IB is a combined term for three different programs-

  • IB PYP for primary aged children.

  • IB MYP for middle school to IGCSE level.

  • IB DP for the diploma program, post 16 years of education.

IGCSE is the abbreviation for International General Certificate for Secondary Education. IGCSE is equivalent to IB MYP.

After IGCSE, students have the option to opt for IGCSE A level, or shift to IB DP for diploma program, post 16 years education.

After MYP, IB is divided into the standard level and higher level.

IGCSE A level is divided in AS level and A level.

In IB, students study 6 subjects. 3 in the standard level and 3 in the higher level. They are then assessed for all 6 subjects at the end of 2 years.

In IGCSE A level, students take 4 or 5 subjects in the first year, for which they are assessed that year itself. And fewer subjects in the next year, for which they are assessed at the end of that year. A level students also have the option to ‘cash in’ a subject and exit the program with AS qualification. They choose to continue, they are awarded an A-level diploma.

IB students have a variety of subjects to choose from. Which means, they have greater flexibility in choosing the different subjects they wish to study. For example, it is possible for a student studying science subjects to also opt for art or literature.

IGCSE A level students usually have a field set of pre-decided subjects which they have to study.

Excelling in academics is not the only criteria for getting an IB Diploma. Students are required to conduct an original research on a topic of their choice, and write a 4000-word essay on the subject. They are also required to pass a compulsory course, ‘Theory of Knowledge’. Finally, they are required to serve 5 hours each in Creative activity and Action activity and a Service to the Community activity.

While all these are essential parts of IGCSE A level also, it is not compulsory criteria for being awarded the diploma.

Generally, IGCSE A level is considered to be simpler than IB Diploma.

With all the similarities and differences now evident, we hope you find it simpler to make a choice now. If you still have any doubts, drop a comment below. For details or other queries, you may also get in touch with us here.

NES International School Dombivli currently offers your child the IB PYP Programme. Later on, we will start the IB DP Programme too at NES International School. For the middle years, we have the internationally recognized IGCSE Programme, from the University of Cambridge



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