The International General Certificate of Secondary Education tests, more commonly known as IGCSEs, are a series of examinations taken by students at the end of 10th grade, or in other words two years before they finish school. They were developed by University of Cambridge International examinations, but are also offered by Edexcel. They are externally assessed and each exam is based on a two year syllabus. The Cambridge board offers an ICE (International Certificate of Examination) with either a distinction, a merit or a pass to students who achieve 7 subject passes, grades A*-C, from the following groups:
Group 1: Languages
Group 2: Humanities
Group 3: Sciences
Group 4: Mathematics
Group 5: Creative, Technical and Vocational
Group 6: ICT

The IGCSE s are graded from a scale of A*-G, and there is a 9th grade of U (U being ungraded). A student may chose to take the core syllabus, for which the maximum awarded grade is a C or the core as well as the extended syllabus, for which the maximum awarded grade is an A*.

Getting the most out of IGCSEs
When applying to Universities abroad, especially in the UK, a set of good IGCSE grades will boost your application as they will probably be the only externally assessed examinations you will have taken at the time. They also reflect a student who has been diligent throughout his/her school life and not just in the final two years.