Are you a home educating parent? Do you want to know all about IGCSE ICT? Then this guide is for you.
I teach this subject and get asked a lot of questions about it, so I’ve put together this handy guide so you don’t have to trawl through lots of websites. If I’ve missed something you want to know then please do let me know. My contact details are at the bottom. I’m happy to help.
This guide assumes you know nothing about IGCSE’s and that you are finding out about them because you or your child is interested in computers, you home educate and you want to know the details of this exam. Note, if you want to know about IGCSE Computer Science, there is a separate blog post about that here.
IGCSE? What does the “I” mean?
I is for International. IGCSE’s are used in many private schools instead of GCSE’s. They are available to anyone who wants to sit them, and are often taken by home educated children because there is no coursework involved – just exams. Coursework is very hard to get assessed if you are home educated.
Which exam board is IGCSE ICT with?
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Edexcel both offer ICT.
Which would you recommend?
I recommend the Edexcel ICT for two reasons:
- It has two exams, whereas the CIE has three exams.
2. It is virtually impossible to find anywhere in the UK that will let you sit the CIE ICT IGCSE.
So, from now on all references to this IGCSE will be for the Edexcel ICT IGCSE
What is the difference between ICT and Computer Science?
A good analogy is a car:
ICT would be how to drive a car, Computer Science would be the engineering behind how a car works and is put together.
Is it harder to find an exam centre for ICT?
Yes, it is harder to find an exam centre for this exam because there is a practical exam. Many schools that allow external candidates to sit IGCSEs don’t want the hassle of setting up a computer for the practical exam.
Where can my child sit the exam?
This is tricky. Because of the practical exam, it is quite hard to find an exam centre. Most people who sit this exam use a dedicated exam centre like 3A Tutors in Bristol or Tutors and Exams in Coventry and the Home Education exam centre Fargos. http://faregos.org
So before you commit to your child studying for this exam, it’s a good idea to make sure you definitely have an exam centre.
What is in the syllabus?
The full Edexcel ICT syllabus is here.
Tell me all about the exams….
Edexcel has two exams:
- 50% of the grade is a written theory exam answering multiple choice or short answer questions on the theory of ICT.
- 50% of the grade is a 3 hour practical exam where the student completes tasks in spreadsheets, databases, word processing and presentation software.
The exam can only be taken in the summer each year. There is no option to take it at other times. There is no minimum age for taking it and anyone can take it as many times as they like.
How much does the exam cost?
This differs depending on the exam centre but it’s usually around £200-250. It is more expensive than others because of the practical exam.
Is there an official course book?
Yes here is a link.
Do you have any further advice?
There is no programming in this course. So it’s great for children who don’t want to program.
Whilst it’s difficult to find an exam centre for this, it’s not impossible, and the syllabus offres some very valuable office skills that would make your child much more appealing to employers who need those skills.
Some of the content of the official course book is outdated. But overall, the majority of it is still very relevant.
It covers almost all the basics and will give them a good grounding in the subject and the world of using computers.
What about the EDCL ICT Driving course?
This is often used as an alternative qualification to IGCSE ICT and is worth considering if you can’t find an exam centre or find the cost of the exam too much.