The information below focuses on Upper Secondary (Grades 9 and 10). Over the course of these two years, students study and prepare for the rigorous IGCSE examinations at the end of Grade 10.

What are IGCSEs?

Cambridge IGCSE is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14 to 16 year olds. It is recognised by leading universities and employers worldwide, and is an international indicator of progression and a passport of success. Developed over 30 years ago, it is tried, tested and trusted by schools worldwide. We align the standards of Cambridge IGCSE with the GCSE qualification taken in England. There are over 10.000 schools globally that employ the Cambridge Assessment International Education curriculum.

The marking system is scaled as follows: Grades A, B, C, D, E, F, with an A grade indicating a top performance. In order to achieve a passing grade, students must earn at least a C in their markings.

An examination for pupils of all abilities

The IGCSE is designed to examine pupils of all abilities. Within some subjects, including Maths, Science and English, there are two optional levels: Core and Extended. Extended is designed for those pupils who are capable of achieving an A or a B grade.

Although all pupils at the International School of Central Switzerland have the opportunity of studying both levels, there will be some pupils to whom it could be recommended not to take the Extended level in certain subject areas, as they are more likely to achieve a pass at C grade by taking the Core level. This decision would be made in Grade 10 (the second year of IGCSE studies).

Evaluation of Coursework

In some subject areas, some of the work that students complete over the duration of the course can count towards the final exam mark of the respective IGCSE exam. The evaluation of coursework varies from 20 – 40% of the final grade.

Subjects in Grades 9 and 10 at ISCS

Students follow a two-year course in compulsory and optional subjects, which are examined at the end of Grade 10. There are a minimum of four compulsory IGCSE subjects for all the pupils, and three optional subjects.

a) Compulsory Subjects

English as a First Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Co-ordinated Sciences (a Double Award IGCSE in Biology, Chemistry and Physics) are compulsory subjects for most students.

This means that most pupils are prepared for a maximum total of 5 IGCSE certificates (Sciences is a double award)

b) Optional subjects

The school offers a number of suitable IGCSEs which can give pupils in each case the chance to study subjects useful or interesting to them and to achieve a top grade.

Students normally choose 3 subjects from the following: ICT, German, Art, History, Spanish.

If teaching staff consider it appropriate, pupils can also be prepared after school for other subjects, taken in the November or June examination sessions. A number of other Foreign Languages (e.g. German, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Hindi) can also be examined, although tuition for these is arranged privately.

Other non IGCSE Subjects that are compulsory.

Physical education, Music and Performing arts and PSHE will be part of the Grade 9 and 10 timetable but will not be offered as official IGCSE Subjects. This is to ensure students a balanced experience in their schooling.