IGCSE HANDBOOK 2008-2009
This booklet is intended to help students entering Grade 9 or 10 in 2008/9 to learn as much as possible about what they will be doing in Grades 9 and 10.
It can not possibly answer all the questions you might have but your homeroom tutor, subject teachers and Mrs. Turner (IGCSE Coordinator) will be able to answer your questions.
Keep this booklet in a safe place as it will be a useful reference for you and your parents as you progress through Grades 9 and 10.
So what is new in Grade 9?
In most subjects you will be starting a two year course leading to IGCSE examinations at the end of Grade 10.
What is IGCSE?
What subjects will I be studying?
You will take courses in the following subjects leading to IGCSE examinations:
You will also have classes in Drama, Music& Physical Education
What are the examinations like?
IGCSE uses a wide range of testing methods appropriate to different skills and subject areas. Written papers may contain short answer questions, multiple choice questions, longer structured questions or full essays. Listening tests, speaking tests and practical tests are also used.
All of these are set by Cambridge and are sent overseas to be marked. The timetable for these exams is also set by Cambridge and as an examination centre we must adhere to their rules and regulations during the examination period. Written exams usually start in May and continue in to June of Grade 10.
What grades can I achieve?
IGCSE grades are awarded for each individual subject on an 8 point scale; A* to G. A* is the top grade while G indicates the minimum satisfactory grade. It is recommended that students need to achieve at least 5 A*- C grades before the I.B course. All UK universities require a Grade C or above in Mathematics and English Language as well as a certain number of IB points.
What is coursework?
In some subjects there is the option of submitting work that is completed during the course. These pieces are set and marked by your teacher in accordance with strict criteria laid down by Cambridge. Samples of this work are sent to chief Examiners in Cambridge so that they can ensure that the criteria are being met and all instructions are precisely followed. All teachers involved in setting and marking coursework have to undergo special training.
The number of marks that coursework is worth varies from subject to subject. For English Language it is counts for 50% of the final score and for English Literature it counts for 30% of the final mark.
Does everyone do the same level of examination?
In some subjects the examination can be taken at two levels; Core or Extended. The decision as to which level is best for you will be taken by your teachers in consultation with you and your parents during Grade 10. It will depend on how well you have done in the course up to that point, however, it is the school policy to enter everyone for Extended unless there are clear indications this would undermine the student‘s chances of passing.
If you take the core paper you will be eligible for Grades C to G. If you take the extended papers you will eligible for Grades A* to E. Your subject teachers or Mrs. Turner will be able to give you more information on this when necessary.
What is the ICE?
The IGCSE Certificate lists results in individual subjects.
The International Certificate of Education ( ICE) is awarded to students who take and pass at least seven subjects which form a balanced programme i.e. the programme must include English and another language, A Humanities subject, a Science subject, a Creative subject and Mathematics.
The ICE may be awarded at one of three levels:
Distinction Five Grade As and 2 Grade Cs or better
Merit Five Grade Cs and two Grade Fs or better.
Pass Grade G or better in seven subjects.
All ISB students who complete the full two years of each course are eligible for an ICE.
English is required of all students at ISB.
At both Core and Extended levels, the course has the following objectives:
The English course aims to prepare students for the rigorous IB courses of the Diploma Programme.
Students entering ISB with very weak English Language skills will receive additional language support, either in addition to or as an alternative to regular English classes.
Students who are not considered competent enough to sit First language English IGCSE may be entered for English as a Second Language, at the discretion of the teacher.
In addition to the above, students will have the opportunity to read and study in detail at least three set texts, including prose, drama and poetry. They will complete a series of written tasks during the course which will count towards the final grade.
They will study three texts in preparation for essay style examination questions. The texts are prescribed by Cambridge.
All students are required to submit 2 coursework essays to and to sit an exam based on 3 set texts.
The Mathematics course at IGCSE level aims to enable students to:-
All students will be taught towards the Extended syllabus but those who are more suited to the Core exam will be advised by their teacher during Grade 10.
Both Core and Extended are examined with 2 exams in May/June of Grade 10.
Students will require their own scientific calculator. Graphic or sophisticated programmable calculators are not permitted in the IGCSE exams.
For IGCSE we offer Combined Science which comprises Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
This course is designed to enable students to acquire understanding and knowledge of the concepts, principles and applications of biology, chemistry and physics so that they may:-
The three assessment objectives in Combined Science are:
All students will sit three papers. Paper 1 is a multiple choice paper and is compulsory for all students. Paper 4 is a Practical Test/ Coursework or an Alternative to Practical Paper and is also compulsory. Those entered for the Extended examination will sit Paper 3 while those entered for the Core examination will sit Paper 2.
Designed for students whose mother tongue is German, this First Language syllabus develops the ability to communicate clearly, accurately and effectively. Students learn how to:
The syllabus also complements other areas of study by encouraging skills of more general application.
All students sit both papers. Paper 1 is reading and Paper 2 is writing. Both papers carry equal weighting of 50%. All students are eligible for Grades A*-G depending on performance.
GERMAN, SPANISH and/or FRENCH
This is an examination designed for students learning a foreign language. The aim is to develop ability to:
The course is based on the linked language skills of:
These are built on as students’ progress through their studies. The syllabus also aims to offer insights into the culture and civilisation of countries where the language is spoken, thus encouraging positive attitudes towards language learning and towards speakers of foreign languages. All students cover the same curriculum but there is an option to sit either the core or extended examinations. It is expected that all non-native German students will sit the extended paper.
The History IGCSE syllabus looks at some of the major international issues of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as covering the history of particular regions in more depth. The emphasis is on both historical knowledge and on the skills required for historical research. Students learn about:
They find out how to use and understand historical evidence as part of their studies.
IGCSE History will stimulate any student already interested in the past, providing a basis for further study, and also encouraging a lifelong interest in the subject. Both coursework and non-coursework options are available, however currently we offer the non-coursework option at ISB.
Students will sit 3 examinations. Paper 1 will be structured into 3 parts and will be based on stimulus material. Paper 2 will have a choice between a 19th century topic and a 20th century topic. The topics are prescribed each year.
Paper 4 is an alternative to coursework.
All students are eligible for Grades A*-G depending on performance.
The Art syllabus actively encourages students to develop:
There are 2 components that students at ISB focus on and these are assessed in 2 practical exams towards the end of Grade 10. These are Observational Studies and Interpretative Design.
In the final assessment they both require 8 hours of time and this is usually spread across 4 days with 2x 4 hour sessions being scheduled for each component. The choice of topic for each examination is set by Cambridge and students have access to this choice 2 weeks before the scheduled examination sessions to prepare and develop supportive ideas. All preparation work is submitted to Cambridge along with the final exam piece and is an essential part of the assessment.
Students will also be expected to create a portfolio of work throughout the course.
All students are eligible for Grades A*-G depending on performance.
For more information on Cambridge IGCSE look at www.cie.org.uk
DRAMA, MUSIC & SPORT are also compulsory for all Grade 9 & 10 students and although these are not studied as IGCSE subjects, they are internally assessed and essential parts of the curriculum. They allow students to develop important skills and qualities such as teamwork, creativity, leadership and risk-taking. These are all assets in the learning process whilst at school as well as in later life.
Students are also encouraged to take an active role in many of the extra-curricular opportunities that are on offer. This is important preparation for the CAS requirement of the IB diploma.