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IGCSE Options Evening 4

Which IGCSE options should my Year 9 child take?

Tim Webb
Tim Webb (12 posts) Head of Secondary View Profile

Following our highly successful Options Evening, Year 9 students have to decide which subjects they will continue to study in Year 10 and Year 11.

Mrs. Stevenson and Mr. Trett gave some excellent advice last week but knowing how our option blocks are designed may help some students to make the right choice.

The Design of BIS Hanoi IGCSE Option Blocks

Option A

Option B

Option C




Computer Science







Business Studies

The option blocks for IGCSE were designed when we transitioned from A level to IBDP. In the IBDP students must study 6 subjects including Mathematics, a first language, a second language, a Humanities subject, a Science and a Creative subject.

Students studying at BIS Hanoi were already studying Mathematics, Science, and English (3 of the 6 IBDP subjects). Most of our students were strong in Vietnamese and Korean or were prepared to learn a new language, for example, Spanish, French or Mandarin. This meant that our students were well equipped to fulfil four of the six subject areas of the IBDP.

In the past, our old options allowed students to enter the Sixth Form having not studied either a Humanities subject (Group 3 in the IB) or a creative subject (Group 6 in the IB). This was not the ideal preparation for the IBDP.

The options above, particularly, Option A and C, directly link to our IBDP options. By selecting subjects from these blocks students are building a 2-year foundation for future success on the IBDP.

IGCSE Options Evening HERO

Option A: Should I take Economics?

The majority of students at BIS Hanoi are developing their English and critical thinking skills by studying Geography and History. Each subject requires a very specific vocabulary and it will be an advantage for students, whose first language is not English, to continue studying either History or Geography in Year 10 and Year 11. The advantage comes from having developed a Geography and History specific vocabulary in Year 7, 8 and 9, alongside the ability to think critically in either the subject of Geography or History. By contrast, trying to develop the vocabulary required for Economics in just 2-years, if you are not a strong user of academic English, will be challenging.

IGCSE Options Evening 8

Option C: Am I creative?

In the past, many of our students have proven to be skilled musicians and artists. Pursuing either Art or Music through IGCSE to IB is a valuable pathway for our students. It offers them the potential to gain good academic grades but more importantly, it provides them with an opportunity to demonstrate their risk-taking and creative skills. These skills are highly valued by universities and employees. There is an increasing desire for balanced students who can demonstrate academic knowledge, thinking skills, social skills, and creativity. You might not be the best musician or artist but simply by exploring learning in these fields, you can develop and evidence skills that are highly valued in the 21st century.

However, Business Studies is a great option, too. Combined with either History or Geography, the study of it can rapidly increase your English skills. After 2-years of studying these subjects in combination, you will be prepared for the English language demands of the IBDP. You will also have the critical thinking skills to excel on the core component of the IB, which is worth 3 points in total and features the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.

*Option 6 in the IB includes Chemistry and Business. It is not compulsory to take a creative subject as part of the IBDP.

Can I study a subject at IB level if I have not studied it at IGCSE?

The short answer is YES but you may be required to demonstrate that you have the skills to cope with the subject. For example, students who study either History or Geography at IGCSE, will be able to evidence that they have many of the skills needed to study either Business or Economics at IB.