Exam Information

The IGCSE courses are ultimately preparing students for Edexcel IGCSE syllabus A

When entering students for their exams you will need the following information and exam codes:
Higher Tier – 4MA1 Paper 1H & 2H
Foundation Tier – 4MA1 1F & 2F

Exam dates

November 2023(Final)

Paper 1 – Wednesday 8th November 2023

Paper 2 – Friday 10th November 2023

May/June 2024(Provisional)

Paper 1 Thursday 16th May 2024

Paper 2 Monday 3rd June 2024

Differences between IGCSE and GCSE

Both are recognised by Universities & 6th form Colleges and are treated as equivalent qualifications.

The IGCSE was initially designed for international students who do not speak English as a first language, so sometimes the way the questions are worded are in a more straightforward fashion but overall there isn’t a lot to it.  These days it is often used by the Home Ed community and I personally prefer the format of the exams which is why the courses are focused towards it rather than the GCSE.

The main differences are:
Number of papers and length of papers
GCSE has 3 Papers all of them 1.5 hours long
IGCSE has 2 papers, each one being 2 hours long

Calculator or Non Calculator?
The GCSE has one paper that is non-calculator, the second and third papers are both calculator based.   Whereas the IGCSE ‘s papers are both Calculator, there is no non-calculator paper.

Overall, the 2 qualifications follow the same syllabus, there are small variances, the IGCSE includes an introduction to calculus, sum of a series and the chord theorem but omits topics such as tangent to a circle, quadratic sequences, iteration and circle theorem proof.

Exam Dates
Both the GCSE  & IGCSE have exam sittings in May/June & November.

The IGCSE used to have exams in January & May/June but 2023 saw the last January exams, from now on the second exam sitting is in November.


Should we go for Foundation or Higher tier?

It’s usually a very individual decision based on pupils’ capabilities, where they are in life and what grade they need to obtain.  If a student really struggles with maths and basic concepts then I usually suggest the Foundation tier. Some believe that it is easier to obtain a Grade 4, a pass, by sitting the Higher Paper, however in my experience, the amount of topics that have to be covered and the stress involved for the Higher Paper far outweighs the easier option of the Foundation paper.


Grades awarded on the papers

Foundation – Grades 1-5        Higher – Grades 4-9

You will find practice papers for either Syllabus below. Do look if you are unsure, it will demonstrate the type of questions involved for both syllabuses.

Higher Practice Paper 1H

Foundation Practice Paper 1F

How do these Grades equate to old style Grades?

Grade 4 is considered a pass, an old style C and is a pass

Grade 5 & Grade 6 equivalent to a B

Grade 7 – an A

Grade 8 is borderline A to A*

Grade 9 – A* though far fewer 9’s are supposedly awarded than A*s were.


I am a registered Learning Partner with Tutors and Exams, if booking your IGCSE mathematics with one of their centres and you are one of my pupils you get a discounted Examination fee.  Please mention Penny Chivers Online Maths when booking with Tutors & Exams.


Tutors and Exams provides examination and assessment facilities primarily aimed at private and home educated candidates. The company was established in 2014 by a former Examinations Officer and Awarding Body Manager with over 25 years’ experience in education administration. In those intervening years Tutors and Exams has evolved into a much valued and respected examination venue. 
Tutors and Exams has nationwide coverage with centres located around the country: CLICK HERE TO SEE LOCATIONS
All are approved for examination delivery by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).  

In addition to our examination centres we also have a dedicated Science laboratory based in Birmingham with the ability to deliver A Level Science practicals all year round (consecutive four day course for each subject).  We also work in partnership with two schools in London to deliver Science practicals outside of term time in these locations. 

In 2020/21 Tutors and Exams delivered examination assessment to thousands of candidates. We cater for 95% of all GCSE/GCE and IGCSE subjects alongside Functional Skills and have a dedicated SEN specialist who can assist in organising access arrangements if required. We are willing to consider additional subjects to assess if required.

We work in partnership with many large, respected distance learning providers and online schools, and we very much value the relationship we have with them to deliver high quality assessment for their candidates. We also accommodate private training organisations delivering qualifications to sizeable cohorts geographically spread throughout the UK. 
In addition we also facilitate examinations for a growing number of universities to deliver their distance learning programmes.  The University of London, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University, Loughborough University and Edinburgh Business School are already valued clients. Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing and AAT (Association of Accountancy Technicians) assessments are also available in our centres.