About International GCSEs

Pearson Edexcel International GCSE (9–1) qualifications are comparable to the UK GCSE, with appropriate international content and assessment that will enable successful progression for learners. 

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Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs are studied in over 80 countries worldwide and in independent schools in the UK. Available in 37 subjects, they are equivalent, grade for grade, to UK GCSEs and accepted by universities globally. Aimed at learners aged 14 to 16, they provide the skills and knowledge needed to progress to A Levels, International A Levels, onto university and into employment. Find out more about university progression with International GCSEs.

Why choose Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs

Our qualifications have been designed in collaboration with subject experts, teachers and university professors, to ensure that the content and assessment methods are appropriate and will enable successful progression for learners.

We have ensured a content route that is appropriate for your learners with international topics and the use of culturally sensitive, local contexts where possible. This is to ensure that these qualifications are even more relevant and engaging for students around the world, allowing for learning in a local context to a global standard. 

Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs use the 9–1 grading scale which is also used for the Ofqual regulated GCSEs. The new scale was introduced by the UK government to raise standards and recognise outstanding performance. It improves differentiation between learners with a nine (9–1), rather than an eight (A*–G), point grading scale. This means that students are ideally placed to make progress to International A Levels (IAL) and to universities worldwide.

Doing all the assessments at the end (linear) works well for many, but we know that spreading the exam pressure works better for others (modular). So, you can now choose a modular route for many of our International GCSEs*. The linear journey remains exactly as it is, two years of study with exams at the end. Modular International GCSEs break the journey into units with an exam at the end of each unit, when the student feels prepared and ready. Whichever route you choose, the exams take the same amount of time, teachers spend the same amount of time teaching, and everyone has the best chance of success at international GCSE.

Pearson Edexcel are the only awarding organisation to offer a modular approach for International GCSE and International AS/A level.

Modular International GCSE assessment is available for first teaching from September 2023 and first assessment from May/June 2024 for the following subjects:

  • Accounting
  • Commerce
  • Economics
  • English Language A
  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • Religious Studies

Modular International GCSE assessment is available for first teaching from September 2024 and first assessment from May/June 2025 for the following subjects:

  • Maths A
  • Business
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Double Award
  • Single Award

Select your subject and access the full subject support including specifications and sample assessment material

*The modular assessment route is only available to schools outside of the UK

Onscreen assessment is the natural evolution in a world where so much teaching and learning is onscreen. Students love sitting their exams in a format that is familiar to them. Offering students the choice to sit either onscreen or paper exams ensures the best possible outcomes, preparing them for the workplace and further education.

Available for first assessment from 2022/23

  • International GCSE English Language A
  • International GCSE English Literature 2024

Available for first assessment from 2024

  • International GCSE Business
  • International GCSE Economics
  • International GCSE History
  • International A level English Literature
  • International A level English Language

Available for first assessment from 2024

  • International GCSE Geography
  • International GCSE Pakistan Studies
  • International GCSE Islamic Studies

Learn more about onscreen assessment

We are pleased to offer a range of qualifications to ensure that our customers in the UK and internationally can choose according to their needs and contexts to support progression to further education, university and employment. 

We redeveloped the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE in parallel to the reform of England's GCSE 9-1 suite of qualifications, enabling us to align the content and assessment. We were also the first awarding body to introduce 9-1 grading for International GCSEs as part of our work to ensure comparability with GCSEs. We use a consistent approach to designing, developing and awarding GCSEs and International GCSEs - so that you can be confident that standards are comparable.

In April 2019, UK NARIC (the UK National Recognition Information Centre) completed an independent audit and review of the comparability of Pearson Edexcel’s redeveloped International GCSEs to our redeveloped GCSEs using its well-established and rigorous methodology and considering key qualification and assessment design principles. 

This research concludes that the Pearson Edexcel International GCSEs are comparable with the UK GCSEs and that grades 9-1 represent comparable standards of achievement across both qualifications. Specifically, in terms of design, UK NARIC states that similarities are clearly observed between the GCSE and International GCSE in relation to qualification size and duration, content, learning outcomes and assessment across all subjects. 

UK NARIC also confirms that marking processes are in place to ensure consistency and fairness in the allocation of grades across the subjects. The introduction of the 9–1 grading system will enable greater differentiation for performance in the International GCSEs and its implementation and setting of grade boundaries follows a similar process to that established for the GCSEs. 

Read the UK NARIC Executive Summary report (PDF | 120 KB)

In November 2019, The Department for Education (DfE) and HMC published separate findings comparing International GCSEs and GCSEs in England in 2018, which reflect much of our own recent analysis. We are pleased to incorporate the findings of these two reports into our existing work and would like to share with you how we are already taking steps to ensure comparability between International GCSEs and GCSE qualifications. 

Learn more about International GCSE and GCSE comparability  

Our world-class support includes subject advisors, the Pearson international school community, face-to-face and online training events and professional development courses, getting started guides, schemes of work, lesson plans, skills development support, exemplar marked responses and teacher guides. We also have curriculum matched, endorsed published textbooks and online teaching and learning resources.

Our technology capability also allows us to provide unique services and tools such as our FREE Access to Scripts service, ResultsPlus exam performance tool, ResultsPlus Direct and examWizard exam preparation tool. 

We are supporting students to develop a range of transferable skills (such as problem solving, critical thinking, leadership and collaboration) as part of their International GCSE curriculum. These skills will ensure that students are better equipped to access higher levels of academic study, and will be able to demonstrate highly sought after skills to their future employers. Find out more about transferable skills


The design of our qualifications has been approved by a panel of World Class Qualification experts, a panel unique to Pearson Edexcel, who have ensured that our qualifications represent international best practice. We have also embedded transferable skills support throughout our qualifications, providing students with the opportunity to gain a wider set of skills through our academic curriculum, important for successful progression to A Levels, university study and employment. 

Mocks are essential for exam preparation, to help students understand what to expect in the live exam and to support teachers to identify where to focus revision. This new service will lighten the load, provide consistency of marking across the full cohort, and results analysis will support student progression and teacher professional development.

Available for Pearson Edexcel International GCSE and GCSE Maths, English Language and English Literature from January 2022.

Learn more about the mocks service here

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