Tips and Tricks for Excelling in IGCSE English

Tips and Tricks for Excelling in IGCSE English

Mastering the English language is not just about acing an exam; it’s about opening doors to global academic and career opportunities. The IGCSE English course, particularly the one offered by Cambridge Home School (CHS), is designed to lay a robust foundation for students aiming for top universities around the world. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the CHS IGCSE English course and share invaluable tips and tricks to not only excel in the subject but to also enjoy the journey of learning.

Understanding the IGCSE English Course at CHS

A Comprehensive Curriculum

The CHS Online IGCSE English Language course is meticulously crafted to enhance students’ command over English. The programme focuses on enabling students to express their ideas and emotions effectively across speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension. A strong emphasis is placed on grammar, punctuation, and the development of a rich vocabulary and personal writing style.

Tailoring Language to Audiences

One of the unique aspects of the CHS curriculum is its focus on audience awareness. Students learn to adapt their language use to suit different contexts and audiences, a skill invaluable in both academic and real-world scenarios.

Course Structure and Assessment

Qualifications and Duration

The course leads to the CIE IGCSE (9-1) 0990 English Language qualification (UK only) or the CIE IGCSE (A*-G) 0500 English Language qualification, spread over two years and delivered through live online classes.

Course Outline

The course is divided into key units focusing on reading passages and coursework portfolio, which includes transactional, creative, and discursive writing. Assessments are conducted through internally assessed coursework and externally assessed exams, ensuring a balanced evaluation of students’ capabilities.

Homework, Revision, and Reporting

The Role of Homework

Regular homework assignments are pivotal in consolidating the learning from each lesson. At CHS, students are expected to complete significant homework tasks, aiding in the reinforcement of the concepts taught.

Revision and Reporting

Detailed revision cards and notes are encouraged throughout the course to aid in exam preparation. Regular assessments and personalised feedback from Success Coaches and Head Teachers ensure students are on the right track.

Tips and Tricks for Excellence in IGCSE English

Sharpen Your Reading Skills

Mastering IGCSE English begins with developing strong reading skills. Reading not only enhances comprehension but also exposes you to a variety of writing styles and vocabularies.

  • Active Reading: Engage actively with the texts you read. Instead of merely skimming, take notes, highlight important sections, and annotate with questions or observations. This approach will improve your critical thinking and help you retain information better.
  • Text Analysis: Dive deep into the texts to understand the use of literary devices such as metaphors, similes, personification, and alliteration. Analyse how these elements contribute to the overall meaning and impact of the text. Understanding these devices will enhance your ability to appreciate and critique various works of literature.
  • Diverse Reading: Expand your reading list to include a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. This diversity will introduce you to different writing styles and techniques, broadening your understanding and appreciation of the English language.

Master the Writing Craft

Writing is a critical component of the IGCSE English exam. Excellence in writing comes from clarity of thought, structured argumentation, and expressive language.

  • Essay Planning: Before you start writing, plan your essay. Outline your main arguments and the supporting points for each. A well-structured essay helps ensure that your ideas flow logically from one to the next.
  • Language Precision: Be mindful of the words you choose. Use precise vocabulary that conveys your message clearly and effectively. Avoid repetition by using synonyms and vary your sentence structure to keep the reader engaged.
  • Grammar Mastery: A firm grasp of grammar and punctuation is essential. Common errors can undermine the credibility of your work, so pay close attention to detail and proofread your writing multiple times.

Practice Makes Perfect

Consistent practice is key to excelling in any skill, especially in a language course like IGCSE English.

  • Past Paper Practice: Regularly practise with past exam papers. This will familiarize you with the exam format, types of questions, and time management. Time yourself as if you were in an actual exam to build your ability to perform under pressure.
  • Seek Feedback: After practising, seek feedback from teachers or peers. Constructive criticism is invaluable for improvement. Understand the areas where you excel and where you need improvement, and focus your efforts accordingly.
  • Variety of Writing: Practice writing in different formats, not just essays. Try your hand at narratives, articles, reports, and argumentative pieces. This variety will prepare you for any type of writing task you might encounter in the exam.

Boost Your Exam Performance

The exam is not just a test of your English skills but also your ability to perform under exam conditions.

  • Effective Time Management: Allocate your time wisely during the exam. Spend the first few minutes planning your answers and divide the remaining time according to the marks allocated for each question. Leave time at the end for reviewing and proofreading.
  • Stay Calm: Anxiety can affect your performance. Develop techniques to stay calm, such as deep breathing or positive affirmations. A clear mind will help you recall information more effectively and think more critically.
  • Read Instructions Carefully: Make sure you understand what each question is asking before you begin writing. Misinterpreting a question can lead to off-topic answers, no matter how well-written they are.

Advanced Strategies for Success

  • Build Vocabulary: An extensive vocabulary allows for more expressive and precise writing. Read widely and regularly, and make a habit of learning new words. Use them in sentences to better integrate them into your vocabulary.
  • Utilise Resources: Make full use of the resources available to you, including textbooks, online resources, and your teachers. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification on topics you find challenging.
  • Positive Mindset: Believe in your abilities and maintain a positive outlook. Confidence can significantly improve your exam performance. Visualise success and approach your studies with a can-do attitude.

By incorporating these tips and strategies into your study routine, you can enhance your proficiency in reading and writing English, setting a strong foundation for excelling in the IGCSE English exam and beyond.


Excelling in IGCSE English requires a blend of understanding the course structure, diligent practice, and effective exam strategies. By embracing the comprehensive curriculum offered by CHS and applying these tips and tricks, students can look forward to not only excelling in their exams but also laying a solid foundation for their future academic and professional pursuits.


What are the key components of an effective IGCSE English Language course?

An effective IGCSE English Language course focuses on enhancing students’ command of English through a comprehensive curriculum that includes grammar, punctuation, vocabulary development, and personal writing style. It also emphasises the ability to tailor language use to suit various audiences and contexts.

How is the IGCSE English curriculum typically structured?

The IGCSE English curriculum is generally spread over two years, culminating in qualifications like the CIE IGCSE (9-1) 0990 or the CIE IGCSE (A*-G) 0500 English Language. It involves studying reading passages and completing a coursework portfolio, with assessments comprising both internal coursework and external exams.

What is the significance of homework in IGCSE English?

Homework plays a critical role in reinforcing the concepts taught during lessons. Regular completion of substantial homework tasks helps students consolidate their learning and prepares them for various assessments throughout the course.

How can students achieve excellence in IGCSE English?

Achieving excellence in IGCSE English involves developing robust reading and writing skills, engaging in active practice with past exam papers, seeking constructive feedback, and employing effective time management strategies during exams. A positive mindset, expanding vocabulary, and making full use of available educational resources are also key to success.

What strategies are effective for enhancing exam performance in IGCSE English?

To enhance exam performance in IGCSE English, students should focus on carefully planning their answers, allocating time wisely across questions, maintaining composure under exam conditions, and thoroughly understanding the requirements of each question. Regular practice and a strategic approach to studying can significantly improve outcomes.