- Applying knowledge and understanding to familiar and new situations
- Intellectual enquiry
- Flexibility and responsiveness to change
- Working and communicating in English
- Influencing outcomes
- Cultural awareness
Make balanced decisions
- Any school will have certain core subjects that are compulsory, almost always including Math, English and one or more combinations of Science; there will also be rules about which other combinations are possible within this framework. At BST we encourage students to maintain a balance of subjects – one of the humanities (History, Geography, Business Studies), a European language if at all possible (Japanese is part of the core) and a practical or creative subject (Art, Drama or Music
- Many students will choose a good spread of subjects to keep their options open for further study (usually A Levels or the IBDP) or careers. A reasonably broad portfolio of optional subjects is essential as this allows them to demonstrate strengths in different areas – universities and employers value this. However, breadth should be balanced against the need to play to their strengths and interests so as to generate the best possible grades and enjoyment of study. Any student who chooses not to opt for the subjects he or she enjoys most had better have some very good reasons!
- Focus on quality. The IGCSE course is not a paper chase – it is in no one’s best interests to take too many subjects. Students should have the time and opportunity to take up new extra-curricular activities and to continue the ones they already enjoy. Community service, sport, continuing to play a musical instrument or the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award are activities that are all highly rated by the universities; they will be interested in knowing what students have done beyond the four walls of the classroom to broaden their horizons.
What to do if you can’t decide
- Seek advice from subject teachers, Form Tutors and Careers Advisers. They have the latest advice and guidance to help sign-post you all in the right direction. Be flexible and be prepared to listen. Talk to students in the years above. BST is a friendly, relatively small school – older students will be only too pleased to help.
- The subjects in which you tend to be more successful are generally those that you enjoy most. Two years studying a subject is a long time and you will want to keep motivated and interested to achieve the very best grades you can. It’s not a bad thing to go with your instincts – but remember that we are not always good at the things we like and sometimes do not like the things at which we are good.
- Beware of choosing subjects for the wrong reasons:
- because your best friend is doing it
- because your current teacher is your favorite (that teacher may teach a different class for IGCSE, or even leave the school)
- because someone else – friend, parent, teacher – wants you to take a particular subject (listen to advice but make your own decisions)
- The subject tutors who know you best will be able to give you a really good insight into the demands and challenges of a particular IGCSE subject and help you decide if it is the right fit for you and your future ambitions.
- Consider what skills you enjoy using (using language to express yourself, reading, solving problems, carrying out research) and see how they might be used, developed and challenged in the different IGCSE subjects.
- Think about your preferred ways of working – are you good at coursework or its equivalent? If so, choose those subjects where you might have the opportunity to carry out some personal research. If not, avoid subjects which have heavily weighted components of coursework. Do you like collaborative group-work? If not, then Drama with its particular emphasis on working closely with others may not be the thing for you.
- What do your extra-curricular activities tell you about the kinds of things you like to do: team working, leadership, working on your own, being creative and designing and making things? These skills could help decide which subjects to follow at IGCSE and give an indication of the kind of career path you might choose to follow.
- If all else fails:
- Ask yourself which subjects you could not imagine being absent from your Year 10 timetable.
- Draw up a list of pros and cons for each subject
- Finally – remember that these are your choices, not those of your parents, teachers and friends! Do listen to advice, but play to your own strengths not those that others may attribute to you. In the end you are the only one who can make sure that the decisions you make at this point turn out to be the right ones.
Choosing your subjects
It is important that you choose your subjects wisely. On the whole, your best choices will be the subjects that you enjoy most and in which you think you are most likely to be successful. However, there are some subjects that are either essential, or at least very important, for some careers. If you have plans at this stage to follow a particular career, you must find out what subjects are needed so that you do not drop the wrong ones at this stage. Things you ought to consider include:
1. Your level of interest in the subject
Does a subject really interest you, and why? You need to be interested in the subject matter and enjoy the skills involved in it. For example: does it involve extended
writing? Is it a more practical subject? In addition, take into account how the subject will be assessed: will there be any coursework?
2. Your ability in the subject
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Look at your latest school report and be clear about subjects in which so far you have been most successful and why. What skills come more easily to you?
3. Possible A-level and career choice implications
Although the Sixth Form is more than two years away, your decisions now may affect your options at A-level which you will begin in September 2017. For most subjects, it is vital that if you wish to take them at A-level you must select them for IGCSE. While not recommended, it is possible not choose certain subjects (for example Geography, History, Art and Music) at IGCSE and take them up at Sixth Form level. This really only applies if you are very good at them, but wish to make time in Years 10 and 11 for other subjects you know you cannot drop. However, if you do wish to study any of these subjects at A-level, it is a great advantage to choose them for IGCSE.
The fact that the Sciences are core IGCSE subjects at the School is helpful to you beyond the Sixth Form. We know that if there is a reasonable chance that you wish to study Medicine or a related area at university, you must study all three sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) for IGCSE.
4. Choosing Subjects
Below are a few points which are important to consider when deciding combinations. You are advised to follow them.
- Our advice is to take a balance between Languages (Japanese, French, Spanish), Humanities/Social Sciences (Business Studies, History, Geography) and subjects of a high practical content (Art and Design, Computer Science,
Drama, Music, Physical Education, Photography).
- Only students who have experience of playing an instrument and reading music may choose to study Music IGCSE.
- You are not advised to take more than two subjects of a high practical content
(For example, Art and Design, Drama, Music, Physical Education) owing to the considerable time required from outside the curriculum.
Reasons for choosing a subject
When you finally choose, please bear the following in mind:
Do choose a subject because:
• You will enjoy it
• You have a strong interest in it
• You are good at it
• It will help you in your future career aspirations and plans
• You believe that you will succeed in it
Do Not choose a subject because:
• Your friends have chosen it
• You think it will be easy
• You have been told it involves less work
• Relatives or friends tell you to do it without a good reason
• You just like your current teacher
• You want to do something new for the sake of it
Please be aware that the optional courses are offered subject to demand and availability within the timetable construction process. Confirmation of choices will come later in the year and the Deputy Head will contact any students and their parents if their choices do not fit the structure of the school timetable or if there are concerns over suitability of the combination of subjects chosen.
What are ‘IGCSEs’?
• The international General Certificate of Secondary Education (International GCSE) is an international qualification for students – usually aged 14-16 – which prepares them for further academic study, such as A-levels.
• The IGCSE is the world’s most popular international qualification for 14-16 year olds. It is taken in more than 160 countries. More than 3000 schools worldwide offer IGCSEs and many of the top UK independent schools have recently switched to IGCSEs.
• The IGCSE is an international passport to progression and success. It is recognized around the world by employers and universities as evidence of academic ability. The UK university admissions service (UCAS) regards IGCSEs as the equivalent to GCSEs.
• Many IGCSEs have a distinct international element. Unlike the GCSE, the examination boards have developed subject content which allows our teachers to base work on Japan, where possible, to make it more relevant to students. The specifications have been created specifically for an international student body and to avoid cultural bias.
• Examples: in GCSE Geography, students have to study the UK and Europe, but with IGCSE, we are free to focus on the UK, Japan and SE Asia; music students can compare English and Japanese folk music; English students can study American poetry.
• IGCSE examinations are linear qualifications, meaning that all students take all of the examinations at the end of the course.
• International examinations are normally held in May/June (Japanese is an exception in that it takes place in November).
• The examinations are taken at local – rather than at UK – time.
• There are many types of assessment to suit different learners – oral, coursework and practical. This broadens opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning, particularly when their first language is not English.
• Look carefully at the assessment sections in the options booklet – play to your strengths – coursework, exams, essays, short questions.
• There are different examination boards for the courses – we follow CIE and Edexcel here at BST.
The course structure
• The IGCSE is a rigorous 2-year linear programme of study.
• The course contents are in this booklet.
• Make sure that you speak to your teachers to see that the material covered will be of interest to you.
• The grades range from G to A*.
CAMBRIDGE SECONDARY 2 (IGCSE – Grade 10 and 11)
IGCSE SUBJECT SELECTION POLICY(effective from 2016-17)
IGCSE COURSE STRUCTURE:
There will be two streams as mentioned under. The student has to select either Science or Commerce stream containing 6 compulsory subjects.
|1||English as a second language||1||English as a second language|
Optional Subjects: In addition to above mentioned 6 subjects, students are given the choice of selecting the optional subjects like Urdu/French/Arabic and Environmental Management. However, French and Urdu are taught as school subjects till Year 9 only. Arabic(IGCSE) and Environmental Management are not taught in the school.
APPROACH TO EXAMINATIONS
• All the IGCSE examinations will be conducted in two stages.
• In grade-10, the students will appear for two subjects namely, ICT and English.
• In grade-11, they will appear for 4 subjects namely Mathematics, Physics/Accounting, Chemistry/Economics and Biology/Business studies
APPROACH TO TEACHING
• IGCSE syllabus will be taught in Grade 9 and 10 for 2 subjects namely, ICT and English as a second language.
• IGCSE syllabus will be taught in grade 10 and 11 for the remaining 4 subjects namely, Math, Physics/ Accounting, Chemistry/Economics and Biology/Business Studies
• French / Urdu / Arabic will not be taught anymore as IGCSE subjects. However, these subjects will be taught till Grade 9 as school subjects.
• Environmental management will not be taught anymore.
• School will permit the students to appear in IGCSE exams in these subjects on their own in grade10 or 11.
Cambridge IGCSE is the world’s most popular international curriculum for 14-16 year olds, leading to globally recognised and valued Cambridge IGCSE / ICE qualifications. It is part of the Cambridge Secondary 2 stage. IGCSE is taken in over 100 countries worldwide and is recognised by universities, employers, and governments around the world as evidence of academic ability. Cambridge IGCSE encourages learner-centred and enquiry-based approaches to learning. It develops learners’ skills in creative thinking, enquiry and problem solving, givin learners excellent preparation for the next stage in their education. Cambridge IGCSE is compatible with other curricula and is internationally relevant and sensitive to different needs and cultures. It develops learner knowledge, understanding and skills