Always Learning

 International GCSE 

International GCSEs have many of the recognized qualities of our GCSEs but have less focus on controlled assessment (coursework) and more emphasis on exams. Usually International GCSEs are taken by 14-16 year olds in schools and colleges but you can take them at any age if you want to gain a qualification in a subject you are interested in.

International GCSEs – what are they?

The qualification mainly involves studying the theory of a subject combined with some investigative work.

They are usually studied full-time at school or college, taking two years to complete. Adult learners can take evening classes or teach themselves. There are no formal entry requirements and no age limits.

International GCSEs are at levels 1 and 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, depending on the grade you get.

Why take International GCSEs?

International GCSEs are highly valued by schools, colleges and employers. They are recognised as equivalent, grade for grade, to our GCSEs.

They are the first step in providing access to a range of careers or further study.

What subjects can you study?

International GCSEs are subject-specific qualifications. International GCSEs are available in nearly 40 subjects ranging from Accounting to Swahili.


You can see what International GCSE subjects are offered and what each course covers by reading the course specification.

How are International GCSEs graded?

Most International GCSEs are graded A* to G like our GCSEs. If you don’t get enough marks to pass with a G, you will be awarded a U, which means ‘unclassified’.

Mathematics A is a tiered according to ability and so papers don’t target the full grade range:

  • Higher tier: A*-D
  • Foundation tier: C-G

Mathematics B and Further Pure Mathematics also differ in that they are singled-tiered but graded A* to E.


How will I be assessed?

International GCSEs are mainly assessed by exams, although English A has the option of coursework.

Exams are taken at the end of the course.

Does it matter what subjects I take?

Many courses at university or college will require you to take International GCSEs in certain subjects. If you have a particular aim in mind you should check the requirements for that course and take the appropriate subjects.

What can I do once I've taken my International GCSEs?

Getting International GCSEs can provide you with a variety of options, for example, work, further study or an apprenticeship.

If you get five International GCSEs at grades A* to C you can choose from a range of options for further study. For example, you could choose a level 3 qualification such as an AS/A level, Applied GCE, BTEC National, NVQ, a BTEC Apprenticeship or a mixture of these qualifications.

If you get fewer than five International GCSEs at grades A* to C you would be likely to choose to study a level 1 or 2 qualification, such as BTEC First, NVQ, BTEC Apprenticeship, or a mixture of these.