Choosing your IGCSE subjects

Thinking ahead

Choosing your IGCSE subjects is an important consideration for all students as it can determine the direction a child’s future will take.

In the UK, children study normally between six and nine IGCSE subjects over two academic years. They take a broad range including English Language and English Literature, Maths, one or more Sciences (or single or double Science), one or more humanities (Geography and/or History) and a language (French, Spanish and German being the most popular). Computer Science is also popular in the digital economy.

We suggest that your child starts with a minimum of five subjects, with English Language and Maths as the first choices. Please note that for additional subject choices, students are encouraged to choose a range of subjects in which they have interest. There is no compulsory requirement regarding these.

Wolsey Hall recommends that students complete our full IGCSE courses over a standard 18 month to two-year timeline. This guidance is based on our wealth of professional and pedagogical experience and our understanding of maintaining a student’s wellbeing and motivation to study. This gives your child the necessary time to cover the syllabus content, but also the time to practise applying their new knowledge in different scenarios as well as developing the skills that they have learnt. Skills development is a vital part of IGCSE courses, and this takes time for students to refine, hence our recommendation of timeline.

To give you an idea of how long your child will need, the approximate study time for the majority of IGCSE subjects is 150 hours. (180 hours is recommended for English, Maths and Combined Science.) To this, you should add extra time time for assignment preparation (8-12 assignments per subject).

Please note that if exams are taken outside of our recommended timescale, it may be necessary to approach your homeschooling studies in a different manner in terms of additional support.

Your child’s choice of IGCSE subjects should be determined by whether they are going on to A level and from there to university. The appropriate IGCSEs may also be influenced by the intended country of university study, as requirements vary significantly around the world and should be taken into account when selecting subjects. If your child plans to take any subject at A level, then a good pass at IGCSE will be expected.

In order to ensure that the future potential university admission requirements for your child are not overlooked, you might like to consider arranging a meeting with one of our University Advisors to discuss your child’s trajectory through the IGCSE and A level programmes.

Our handy guide will explain more about the transition from Lower Secondary to IGCSE courses.

Wolsey Hall Oxford is a registered school of Cambridge Assessment International Education

Wolsey Hall is a registered online Cambridge International School.

We have created a handy fees calculator to help you work out what fees are due for the courses selected.

Top tips from Stefania on choosing your IGCSE subjects

Choosing your igcse courses

More information

  • Students aiming for top universities usually take 10 IGCSE courses.
  • Students who want to study a science subject for A level, should study that subject as a single IGCSE course but IGCSE Co-ordinated Sciences (double) may be accepted.
  • Students should allow time for Tutors to mark each assignment (3-5 working days).
  • Students may be interested in the Cambridge ICE qualification

English and Languages

  • IGCSE English Language (first or second language) – we recommend most students take our IGCSE English Language course, as this is seen as a better qualification for further studies and employers.
  • IGCSE English Literature – students must take IGCSE English Language (first language) to support this course.
  • Modern Foreign Language – students taking French, German and Spanish courses must have studied their language for approximately 2 years prior to starting the IGCSE.
choosing your igcses is an important consideration for all students
Choosing your science IGCSE subjects

Maths and Sciences

  • IGCSE Maths – students taking IGCSE Maths (Core) exams can only get up to a grade C. Students on the IGCSE Maths (Extended) course can obtain up to an A* grade.  We encourage most students to start on our Extended course.
  • Students taking IGCSE Physics will also need to take IGCSE Maths (Extended).
  • IGCSE Combined Science includes one third of each single science syllabus (Biology, Chemistry and Physics)
  • IGCSE Co-ordinated Sciences is a double IGCSE courses with two thirds of each single science syllabus.