Spanish for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)
I/GCSE is the official exam that students of the British curriculum take when they finish their key stage 4 (year 11), right before entering sixth form where they will go along A Levels (years 12 and 13). The British curriculum is widely accepted as an international educational programme, and its official exams, I/GCSE and A Levels, are extensively valued when applying to any university, either in the UK or in any other country.
Given that, many international schools also combine the British secondary education until year 11, with the Diploma Programme (DP) of the International Baccalaureate in years 12 and 13. Said that, it’s clear that Spanish I/GCSE is the perfect step for your son/daughter before facing the last two years before university, on first place for its recognition but specially because it perfectly settles the foundations for subsequent subjects (AS Spanish in A Levels or Spanish B in IB Diploma).
Neither to say that Spanish I/GCSE also ideally match the later election of Spanish subject in the Hong Kong local curriculum for senior secondary school, the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), since it correspond to AS Spanish subject and it’s evaluation (see the A Levels and HKDSE section).
I/GCSE is then the first examination that can help your son/daughter to enter the chosen university, and for that reason extra support is especially relevant when developing exam strategies for a better performance. This is even more urgent when a student starts studying Spanish in year 8 or later –in Hong Kong some schools start offering Spanish in year 7 or below, but not all of them-, sometimes because of a change of foreign language subject, from a former one to Spanish.
What do we do to guarantee the good results of your son/daughter?
Our teachers have a long experience preparing students for their I/GCSE exam, most of then getting outstanding results, A or A*, independently of the school they attend or his/her background and profile. And this is possible because they deeply know the main factors the students’ results depend on, and these are as follow.
Although different boards design and handle the papers that make up the final I/GCSE exam, external institutions that guarantee the impartiality of the assessment and the validity of the results worldwide, the topics, grammar and vocabulary contents to be evaluated are same and settled by the British government. The main differences between taking the exam with one board or another arise in relation to the structure of each paper they design –listening, reading, writing and speaking-, and the type of tasks that are included, specially in the speaking test.
Our teachers are also highly aware of the competencies that are being evaluated in each of the papers and its tasks, as well as of the appropriate strategies the student should develop in order to outperform the other candidates (the grades are given according to the distribution of the students marks on a normal curve, that means comparing between them).
Finally, taking into account the assessment criteria published in official sources is also essential in order to guide your son/daughter in the right direction. This will make possible the improvement of his/her oral or written productions step by step along a well design set of activities to practice and train, without forgetting to cover the whole grammar contents, vocabulary and topics.
Useful additional resources we make available to our students
Having a long experience in I/GCSE Spanish training has helped us to develop a great set of tools and resources of big value for our students. Past papers are the main source of real practice, papers and its tasks that we have classified according to the different boards, topics and level of difficulty. We also hold several questions banks of regular questions used in the oral exam, vocabulary lists by topics, and a collection of idioms that will allow the student to show a high level of foreign language management, manipulation and fluidity.
Books constitute as well very useful guides to learning and practice. In our library we keep a big assortment of publications that are accredited by the main exam boards (Cambridge International Examinations, Edexcel, OCR, AQA) published by the biggest publishing groups in the UK (Hodder Education, Pearson/Heinemann, Oxford University Press). For sure we will find the appropriate one/s to use and help your son/daughter.
IGCSE in Hong Kong
Given the wide recognition of I/GCSE level and its grades for entering the university, in Hong Kong many students decide to take it even though they are following the local curriculum in their schools. We have helped many of them to succeed in that.
Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority offers local students the possibility to take I/GCSE either with Cambridge International Examinations or with Edexcel. Sometimes the school the student attends arranges the exam enrolment for him/her, being then a School candidate. But also private candidates can take it. In both cases having an extra support is crucial for succeeding, and we know exactly how to do it.
Written by David Cornadó Musté