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Key Stage 4

What does this mean?
Key Stage 4 means years 10 and 11. Students in this key stage are usually aged 15-16. If your child started school at aged 5, then they would have been studying for ten or eleven years in this Key Stage. As with Key Stage 3, there may be students who are older than this in Years 10 and 11. These are the final two years of compulsory study in the UK. 
 
What will my child be studying?
All students in Key Stage 4 study international General Certificate of Education (iGCSE). This is the programme that students in the UK study. It is delivered to an international format and this is why it is called iGCSE instead of just GCSE as it is in the UK.
 
This course is a two-year course. This means that a terminal exam is taken at the end of the two years in May of Year 11. The course is designed so that the number of units and topics has to be delivered over two years. 
 
There are many different subjects that can be studied at iGCSE. We provide for the following subjects:
Compulsory:
English
Mathematics
Physics
Chemistry
Biology
 
Option Subjects (2 choices):
History
Geography
Business Studies
Computer Studies
 
Some subjects are compulsory and some are optional. The current options are as above, but as we evolve as a school this may change. The options are decided at the end of Year 9 in Key Stage 3.
 
 
There is a separate section that extensively sets out what the content of the courses are at iGCSE. This includes specifications and examination materials. 
 
Who sets the examination?
Cambridge International Examinations set the syllabus and the examinations. http://cie.org.uk/about-us/
http://cie.org.uk/about-us/facts-and-figures/
http://cie.org.uk/programmes-and-qualifications/index.aspx
 
BISK is licensed to this organisation against very rigorous and strict guidelines.
 
How is it graded?
iGCSE’s are graded in letters from A*-G. A student who achieves any of these grades has passed their examination. 
 
Grades A*-C are considered higher grades are the typical indicator that your child is ready to take the next level of qualifications at a higher level. Your child must achieve at least 5 A*-C grades at iGCSE (including Mathematics and English) to study A levels. This is called ‘Advanced level’ (or simply ‘A level’). These are discussed in the 6th Form section. 
 
Students who achieve below this level will invariably struggle at A level and so we would normally ask students to repeat a year of iGCSE’s rather than undertake A levels if they achieve grades D-G. 
 
What do these grades mean in terms of percentages numbers?
Grades that use letters are sometimes difficult to understand. Cambridge does not convert letter grades into percentages on exam certficates. Below is a broad guidance to help your understand what the grades mean in terms of a numbers rather than a letter. 
 
There are also some equivalents to the US system as well as the UK numbering system (not used in international iGCSE). These may help you if you are moving to us from a country that uses similar systems. 
 

UK iGCSE Grade

(used at BISK)

Percentage Mark Range %

UK New Number Grading
System for GCSE’s

US Grades

US GPA number equivalent

A*

90-100

9/8

A

4.3

A

80-89

7

A

4.0

B

70-79

6

A-

3.7

C

60-69

5

B

3.0

D

50-59

4

C+

2.3

E

40-49

3

C

2.0

F

30-39

2

D+

1.3

G

20-29

1

D

1.0

U

Ungraded

0

E/F

0.0

 

 

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