How to Prepare for Your IGCSEs as a British Expat in the Middle East

a student clutching study notes

Whether you’re preparing for your IGCSEs in Egypt, Turkey, UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, or any other state in the Middle East, you may feel slightly perturbed about the final outcome. British expats living in the Middle East often worry about being unable to receive the same quality of education as their peers in the UK.

If you had been studying in the UK prior to relocating, it may take you a while to acclimatise to resuming your studies in the Middle East. While the transition period is easier for younger children, it’s more challenging for students who are preparing for their IGCSEs or A Levels. These two qualifications stand out for their gravity and weight. In essence, students can’t afford to perform poorly on their exams and receive subpar grades.

If you’re looking to get accepted to an esteemed university in the UK, the US, or any other part of the world, you should have a razor-sharp focus on the preparation process for your IGCSEs or A Levels. In this blog, we’ll focus on the former. If you’re struggling to prepare for your IGCSEs as a British expat in the Middle East, use this guide to start off on the right foot.

Before you continue reading, please note that we’ve created this guide to help IGCSE students in the Middle East a) secure top grades, b) retain knowledge in the long run for an enriching career, c) develop a wide range of soft and hard skills, d) keep their mental health on track, and e) become a well-rounded individual. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a good grasp on how to optimally prepare for your IGCSEs.

Enrol in a Prestigious Online School

As a British expat in the Middle East, you may worry about potentially falling behind your peers in the UK. If you plan on returning to the UK in the future, these concerns may be fuelled on a regular basis.

Students who are sitting their IGCSEs in the UK have access to some of the best teachers, resources, software systems, and study guides. They also receive individualised attention from their teachers, which helps strengthen their academic performance on the whole.

The Middle East is known for offering an advanced local education system. While the British education system is becoming more common across specific states in the Middle East, it’s not as refined as it is in the UK. Instead of enrolling in a conventional Middle Eastern school to prepare for your IGCSEs, we recommend branching out into other possibilities.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual children learning from home is becoming more common across the Middle East. As the risk of the pandemic decreases across the transcontinental region, online schooling is still being considered the safest choice for students. This is largely because many states in the Middle East haven’t achieved herd immunity yet. In fact, online learning is expected to remain popular long after the Middle East achieves herd immunity.

Let’s probe deeper into why this is the case.

a student attending an online class in the Middle East

British expats who plan to sit their IGCSEs in the Middle East prefer receiving a quality education from an institution affiliated with the UK. This decision offers them peace of mind. They can prepare just as rigorously as their peers in the UK, and attend lectures delivered by an esteemed British faculty. By opting for an online school that provides a quality British education, they can feed two birds with one scone.

Students who are preparing for their IGCSEs in the Middle East can a) reap the benefits of attending an online school, b) interact with teachers from the UK, c) interact with British students from the UK and the Middle East, d) receive access to top-tier educational resources, and e) secure top grades.

However, we recommend taking your time. Instead of quickly enrolling in an online school, do your research and shortlist the most reputable options so you can make an informed decision.

Cambridge Home School should be high up on your list of priorities. As one of the leading online schools across the UK and the Middle East, we have a team of MA/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers on board. They work assiduously to help students prepare for their IGCSEs.

We also keep the classroom size small (8 to 10 pupils per group) to facilitate a healthy, engaging, and interactive discussion. This plays a big role in helping students resolve potential queries, gain useful insights from their teachers and peers, remain engrossed in the classes, and perform exceptionally well in their exams.

In addition, we offer an independent curriculum to students who are preparing for their IGCSEs. By providing access to a comprehensive library of online resources, we further help British expats in the Middle East ace their IGCSEs exams. If you’re looking to prepare meticulously for your upcoming exams, securing a spot at Cambridge Home School should be your top priority.

Recommended Read: Acing Your IGCSEs in 2021: Are Online Classes the Way to Go?

Commit to Scheduling

a student feeling homesick as she adjusts to studying in the Middle East

If you recently moved to the Middle East, you likely miss your friends back home in the UK. In fact, if you relocated temporarily, you may miss your family as well. This transition can be extremely challenging for students. Whether you’ve been living in the Middle East for a few weeks, months, or years, you may yearn for home just as fervently.

Unfortunately, homesickness can take a toll on your mental health. You may feel uninterested in socialising with your friends. In fact, your academic progress may be affected as well.

The sooner you begin to undo the damage, the better. No matter how dissatisfied you may be with the relocation, try to find the silver lining. You’re getting the opportunity to explore a new place; this is an incredible privilege that not many are afforded. As you soak in the incredible Middle Eastern culture, you’ll feel more appreciative of this opportunity.

We recommend getting to know your peers, exploring local traditions, attempting to learn the local language, getting a taste of the local Middle Eastern cuisine, and exploring new places in your city. This will help you feel more energised, content, and rejuvenated.

Recommended Read: How to Enrich Your Online Learning Experience as a Teenager

Let’s circle back to your IGCSE preparation. As you begin to appreciate your surroundings more, you’ll regain lost motivation. With your motivation replenished, you can double down on your academic journey. In many cases, British expats in the Middle East feel discouraged, dispirited, and dejected about the move. This ultimately affects their preparation and grades.

As you take prompt measures to feel uplifted and inspired again, you’ll regain interest in studying and revising for your exams. Once that verve is back, put it to good use.

a student creating a schedule for IGCSE preparation

Start by creating a schedule. Make sure you allocate a significant amount of time to studying and revising regularly. However, leave some room for socialising with friends, exploring your surroundings, and embarking on fun adventures. As you retain a healthy balance, you’ll be able to prepare for your IGCSEs without feeling isolated or alienated.

Your IGCSE preparation schedule should be balanced, consistent, and easy-to-follow. If you veer off course at any point, hold yourself accountable. Make up for the lost time by using your free time to study and/or revise. This check-and-balance system is imperative. It will help you stay on track, avoid procrastination, and steer clear of falling victim to complacency.

Remember, consistency will ultimately help you secure top grades in your exams. If you prepare rigorously for three days and neglect your studies for another two, you’ll struggle to prepare as meticulously as you need to. Sticking to a schedule is key. Make up for any slip-ups, and avoid them to the best of your ability.

Opt for Smart Revision in the Last Month

a student creating a smart revision plan for her IGCSE preparation

The importance of smart revision often goes unnoticed. However, it’s one of the most important weapons in the IGCSE preparation arsenal for students. Instead of reserving the last 2–3 weeks for revision, we recommend opting for a month and specifically choosing the “smart revision” strategy.

Let’s unpack this term.

Unlike regular revision, smart revision refers to strategic, hyper-individualised, and structured revision. Students who opt for regular revision cover the syllabus one last time, and work on any complexities, queries, or unaddressed topics. Smart revision is more rigorous. Students are expected to do all of the above and dive deeper into subtopics that require more clarification.

This helps surface potential concepts that the student may have forgotten, understood incorrectly, or haven’t understood at all. As they work with their teachers to resolve these issues, they can excel in the preparation process, and cover all the bases.

Your IGCSE grades will be taken into consideration when you pursue an undergraduate degree. While your A Levels grades will be given precedence, your IGCSE grades will also be mulled over by the admissions department of your chosen university. In essence, you cannot afford to have Bs on your transcript. If you’re aiming for an esteemed university, your transcript should boast A*s and As.

As you rigorously revise for a month before sitting your exams, you’ll manage to clarify any complexities and get every subtopic down to a tee. We suggest consulting with teachers to help with revision.

a teacher interacting with her students during an online class

At Cambridge Home School, our teachers work closely with each student to help them revise meticulously. They provide past paper sets, study guides, exam tips and tricks, expert insight, resource recommendations, and individualised assistance to help each student secure top grades.

The lessons are structured in a way that helps students retain knowledge in the long run. Instead of temporarily absorbing knowledge, regurgitating it in the exams, and forgetting it within a few months, students are able to retain it during A Levels and university. This plays a pivotal role in enabling them to build on pre-existing knowledge, and become adept at their chosen field.

By the time they pursue a graduate degree or apply for a job, their academic achievements, acumen, interdisciplinary knowledge, soft skills, hard skills, and entrepreneurial mindset are applauded. Consequently, students perform exceptionally well in their careers and on their advanced academic journeys. As a British expat in the Middle East, these advantages will help you gain an edge in your professional and/or academic life.

Recommended Read: Attending Online School During a Pandemic: How to Put Your Mental Health First

Don’t Fall Into the Pitfalls of Self-Studying

a student feeling confused and overwhelmed as she struggles to self study

As a 14–16-year-old, you may feel confident in your self-studying abilities. No matter how great they may be, taking such a big risk for your IGCSEs is a bad idea, to put it plainly. Unfortunately, many students are jumping on the “self-studying” bandwagon in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s why.

After a year-and-a-half of attending online classes, many students have managed to study and revise meticulously with little to no external help. However, it’s important to note that these students have primarily been undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students. Owing to their experience, young adults have the sense of direction required for successful self-studying.

However, students who are preparing for their IGCSEs or A Levels don’t have the same capabilities. As a British expat who will be sitting their IGCSEs in the Middle East, make the most of the resources, teaching assistance, and guidance that have been provided to you. Help is right around the corner; make sure you utilise it.

As you rely on your teachers, they’ll deconstruct complex concepts and help you prepare well for your upcoming IGCSE exams. At the end of the day, benefiting from the external help that is available to you is imperative.

Recommended Read: What Is Flexi-Schooling?

As your IGCSE exams draw near, make sure you get a strong head start. At Cambridge Home School, we pride ourselves on providing a quality world’s best British online school to IGCSE students. Our MA/PhD qualified subject specialists teach students in groups of 8 to 10.

By meticulously covering the syllabus and seamlessly breaking down difficult concepts, they help students approach their exams with complete clarity, exceptional preparation, and confidence.

Our online school is open to motivated English-speaking students in the UK, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe (including Western Russia). If you’re ready to get started, browse through our admissions process. We look forward to reviewing your application form.


What challenges might British expat students face while preparing for IGCSEs in the Middle East?

British expat students may find it challenging to adapt to the educational environment in the Middle East, especially if they’ve previously studied in the UK. They may also be concerned about the quality of education and resources available to them compared to their peers in the UK.

How can online schooling benefit British expat students preparing for IGCSEs in the Middle East?

Online schooling can provide these students access to quality British education and esteemed faculties from the UK. It allows students to interact with peers and teachers from both the UK and the Middle East, and gives them access to top-tier educational resources.

What should I consider before enrolling in an online school for IGCSE preparation?

Before you decide to enroll, it’s essential to do thorough research. Look for reputable online schools that offer a British curriculum, and make sure they have qualified teachers to help you prepare effectively for your IGCSEs.

How can I manage homesickness and its impact on my academic performance?

Being homesick can negatively affect your studies. To combat this, try engaging with local culture and social activities. Create a balanced study schedule that also includes time for relaxation and exploration. This will not only help you adjust but also keep you focused on your academic goals.

Why is “smart revision” recommended for the last month of IGCSE preparation?

Smart revision is a more structured and individualised approach to revising the syllabus. It not only helps you cover all topics but also allows you to dive deeper into specific areas that may require more attention. This strategic approach will ultimately help you secure better grades.