Most programmes for students in Key Stage 4 (IGCSE-1 and IGCSE-2) follow the syllabi offered by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). CIE has offered International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) subjects as an integral part of its international programme for many years. The qualifications are created ‘with an international audience in mind, making them interesting, valuable and relevant for students around the world.’ (See their website: www.cie.org.uk or the students website: www.cambridgestudents.org.uk)
The IGCSE examinations from CIE are firmly established and well-known worldwide. They are the precursor subjects to university entrance programmes. They have wide recognition in such countries as the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Many universities also indicate that they require satisfactory completion of IGCSE subjects. Usually they require at least five subjects successfully completed at Grade ‘C’ level or above.
Many universities in the United Kingdom require IGCSE English and Mathematics to have been passed at a ‘C’ Grade level or above for entry into their courses. Two hundred and fifty independent schools, including Eton, Harrow, Winchester and St Paul’s, offer IGCSE in subjects such as Maths, English and Science. The schools state that IGCSE is “more demanding” than GCSE and that offering it demonstrates a “commitment to rigour”.