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IGCSE Mathematics is offered at two different levels – Core and Extended. These two options follow two separate curriculums, but they are very similar. In short, the Extended curriculum covers everything in the Core curriculum, plus a few extra subtopics. There are also other differences, as you will see in this brief.
Both the Core and Extended curricula follow the same nine topics, which are:
Each topic has a series of subtopics which you can see in detail in the Cambridge syllabus. The Core curriculum covers fewer subtopics compared to the Extended curriculum.
Assessment and Grading:
Like most IGCSEs, students are graded on a scale from A* to E. However, Core candidates cannot achieve a grade higher than C. Students intending to get a C or above at IGCSE level should aim to do Extended Mathematics.
Regardless of the curriculum you choose to follow, you will sit two exam papers. Core students will sit Papers 1 and 3, while Extended students will sit Papers 2 and 4. Core exams have a smaller percentage of algebra-based questions and a higher percentage of number questions than the Extended exams. Extended curriculum exams last longer and carry more marks than Core exams. You can see the structure of each exam below:
Exams cover two types of Assessment Objectives (AOs). AO1 – Mathematical techniques, assesses a student’s mathematical skills. Meanwhile, AO2 – Applying mathematical techniques to solve problems, assesses a student’s ability to apply those skills in problem questions. Extended curriculum exams have a higher proportion of AO2 questions than Core exams.
Grade boundaries change every year, but in June 2017, students had to score 175 marks out of 200 (around 88%) to earn an A*, while a C was at around 50%.