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International School Ikast-Brande
KS4 English as a Second Language

Curriculum overview

Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language offers candidates the opportunity to develop practical communication skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Learners will be presented with a variety of stimuli that will build up their skills in reading and writing. They will learn to select relevant details, understand the difference between what is directly stated and implied, and practise writing for different purposes and audiences. Learners will listen to a range of spoken material, including talks and conversations, in order to develop listening skills. Learners will engage in conversations on a variety of topics, and develop their skills in responding to different situations and audiences with a degree of accuracy and clarity. Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language will enable learners to become independent users of English, and to be able to use English to communicate effectively in a variety of practical contexts.

Areas to be studied:

Assessment and coursework

Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language candidates take three components:

Reading and Writing (Paper 2), Listening (Paper 4) and a speaking component that is endorsed and reported separately.


All candidates take two papers and a speaking assessment


Paper 2 is a 2 hour reading and writing examination worth 70% of the overall grade. The paper is worth 80 marks in total. There are six exercises, testing a range of reading and writing skills.


Assessing grades are A*–E. This paper is set and externally assessed by Cambridge.


Paper 4 is approximately 50 minutes and is a Listening paper. It is worth 30% of the overall grade. The paper is worth 40 marks in total. Candidates listen to several short extracts and longer texts, and complete a range of task types, including short answer questions, gap filling, matching, multiple choice and note taking.


Assessing grades are A*–E and this paper is also externally set and assessed by Cambridge.

In this course, marks for the Speaking (Component 5) do not contribute to the overall grade candidates receive for the written components. Instead, where candidates perform to an appropriate standard, certificates record separately the achievements of candidates, with grades 1 (high) to 5 (low) for speaking.

Component 5 is approximately 10–15 minutes long. Speaking is separately endorsed and is worth 30 marks in total. Following a 2–3 minute warm-up conversation, candidates engage in a 6–9 minute discussion with the examiner on a given topic. This is internally assessed by the accredited examiner and is also externally moderated by Cambridge.

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