Important update | Pearson qualifications

Important update on International GCSE History

29 February 2012

Our International GCSE in History has now been accredited for use by state-funded schools in the UK and is called the Edexcel Certificate in History. We will, however, continue to use the name International GCSE to describe these courses taken by our international schools.

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What this means for UK independent schools

Independent schools in the UK will have the choice of entering candidates for either qualification, as the content will be identical. Because of this, the International GCSE paper that candidates will sit from June 2014 will now include Edexcel Certificate alongside International GCSE in its title.

During the process of accreditation, Ofqual asked for a small number of changes to be made to the existing International GCSE specifications. In order to guarantee the validity of the assessment of both courses in the future, we're updating the existing 2009 International GCSE in History specification to be identical to the Edexcel Certificate in History for first teaching from September 2012.

The key changes to be aware of are:

  • In Paper 1, formerly Section A, options are now grouped into three chronological groups. Students are required to study a maximum of one option from each group. There are also forbidden combinations of groups to ensure that learners study history related to more than one country.

Two options have been removed from the specification:

  • A8: A divided union: Depression and recovery in the USA 1929-45
  • C1: Revolution and change in Europe 1789-1848

A number of options have been extended and content in the specification has been revised accordingly. These options are 

  • Paper 2 A1: The French Revolution c1780-94
  • Paper 2 A2: The origins and causes of the First World War 1905-18
  • Paper 2 B4: Conflict, crisis and change: The Middle East c1919-c1994
  • Paper 2 B5: Conflict, crisis and change: China c1911-c1989
  • Paper 2 B6: Change in Africa from colonialism to independence 1939-2000.

We've also taken this opportunity to make a change to the assessment of the specification. It will now be assessed by means of two one-and-a-half-hour examination papers rather than a single two-and-a-half-hour paper.

The first examination to be set on this revised International GCSE specification will be in June 2014. There will be no change to the International GCSE in History papers to be sat in June 2012 and June 2013, as students are already being prepared for these assessments. The Edexcel Certificate in History is not available for first assessment until June 2014.

On our International GCSE History page you can download a mapping document, along with an updated copy of the specification and sample assessment materials, to show you what this means in terms of changes to the existing International GCSE specification. We have also updated our schemes of work to take into account any changes. 


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