Two of the U.K.’s examination boards provide suites of qualifications that have been developed specifically for the overseas market. These qualifications are based on the domestic versions of the GCSE and A level examinations, and are offered by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Edexcel. Whereas CIE is a division of Cambridge Assessment, a department of the University of Cambridge and a not-for-profit organization, Edexcel has been owned and operated by Pearson Education Limited since 2005, an arm of the global education and publishing company Pearson.

Pearson Edexcel iProgress is our complete series of academic qualifications for 5 to 19 year-old, for international schools.

The iProgress family includes: iPrimaryiLowerSecondary, International GCSE (IG), GCSEInternational Advanced level (IAL)GCE A level. It delivers a consistent learning journey, with world class support services, for students and teachers, everywhere in the world.

CGA has selected Pearson Edexcel as our primary curriculum partner. Pearson Edexcel is the UK’s leading provider of International GCSE and International A-Level qualifications, recognized throughout the world for their academic rigour and breadth of learning. 

Each year, the Pearson run examination board serves a global community of over 3.4 million learners from 6500 schools in 120 countries throughout the world, numbers that are continuing to grow. 

Demanding, rigorous, inclusive and empowering; Pearson’s programmes benefit from the traditional quality of the British educational system combined with a progressive, international outlook.


The two boards both offer their versions of the International General Certificate of Secondary Education, more commonly known as the IGCSE, which was originally developed by CIE in 1985 and first administered in 1988. The Edexcel International GCSE is a more recent development, but has a similar focus on meeting the requirements of different national settings.


Edexcel offers pr-tertiary curricula from Primary through to its newly introduced International Advanced Levels. Again, the most popular qualifications are Edexcel’s International GCSE, which is currently offered in 40 subjects in over 900 schools and 80 countries.


Like the GCSE equivalent, the IGCSE is not a “certificate of education,” rather it is a qualification based on examinations in individual subjects of study, with IGCSE qualifications and grades issued for each subject taken, much like Advanced Placement examinations in the United States.

Grading and Assessment

IGCSEs are available as both level 1 and level 2 equivalent awards on the National Qualifications Framework, and are widely recognized as suitable preparation for level 3 – or upper secondary – study, whether vocational or academic.

The program of study for IGCSEs is linear, as opposed to the modular approach of domestic GCSEs; meaning that students take all examinations at the end of the program, and are therefore challenged to synthesize information taught throughout the course versus individually by unit. Assessment for the Cambridge IGCSE can include written, oral, coursework and practical assessment. Edexcel IGCSEs are by examination only.

IGCSE examination sessions occur twice a year, in June and November (January for Edexcel). Results are issued in August and January.

Students taking exams as level 1 qualifications are graded on a scale of D-G, while those taking them as level 2 qualifications are graded A*-C. As with domestic GCSEs, progression to upper secondary study is based most commonly on a minimum of 5 core subject passes at C or above; however, this will vary from school to school and from country to country.

Edexcel International A Levels

A new suite of qualifications, known as Edexcel International Advanced Levels, was introduced for first teaching in September 2013 in response to changes being made to the modular structure of domestic A levels and the withdrawal of the January examination window.

The new Edexcel International A Levels remain modular and allow for January and June examinations, but are available internationally only. The first examinations were offered in January 2014.

Previously, Edexcel offered the U.K.version of the A level internationally, as regulated by Ofqual, with international students taking the same papers as U.K.students concurrently. The new Edexcel International Advanced Level is regulated by Edexcel and not Ofqual.

As the new international degree has only recently been introduced, it is currently recognized by fewer universities than is the case for Cambridge International A Levels, although the list is reportedly growing ‘daily.’ The full list of universities accepting the award is available here. U.K.NARIC has bench marked the Edexcel International Advanced Level as comparable to the overall GCE A Level standard.

Edexcel still offers its Ofqual-regulated A levels internationally, but these examinations are all subject to changes currently being made to the domestic award, including the removal of January examinations and the end-of-first year AS level examinations.

Under the new international version of the Edexcel A Level, currently available in eight subjects, the AS can be used as a stage on the way to completing the International A Level or as a standalone qualification. However, from 2015 onwards, all domestic A levels offered internationally will be examined at the end of the two-year course only, with the AS becoming a standalone qualification only.

The Edexcel International A Level is assessed 100 percent by examination and offered in the following subjects: Mathematics, Economics, Business Studies, Accounting, Law, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Edexcel reports that there is no change to the content or assessment versus domestic A levels in the sciences, accounting and law. Modifications have been made in mathematics, economics and business studies.

Pearson is the UK’s largest academic and vocational Awarding organization. Regulated by Ofqual, they offer a wide range of qualifications that are globally recognized and bench marked. Pearson Edexcel qualifications are accepted and respected by most prominent universities across the world, including the very top institutions in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Singapore. The likes of Oxbridge universities (Cambridge and Oxford), Ivy League universities (Harvard, Princeton, Yale and many more) are a few of the many global powerhouses in education who accept Edexcel for admissions applications