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Key Stage Four (Years 10 and 11)

Key Stage 4 presents the first opportunity for students to choose the subjects they want to study at The British School of Beijing, Shunyi. Our Year 10 and 11 High School curriculum culminates in the successful completion of the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).

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Preparing for the IGCSEs

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is an international version of the GCSE exams taken by all students in the UK at the end of Year 11. The IGCSEs have gained a reputation for providing an excellent preparation for further study, in particular for the transition to the The IB Diploma (Year 12 - 13). 

At the beginning of Key Stage 4 (KS4), students in Year 10 begin their study towards achieving excellent grades in the IGCSE written examinations that take place at the end of Year 11. IGCSE courses are graded from A* (highest) to G (lowest) or in some cases 9 (highest) – 1 (lowest).

IGCSE Programme at BSB

In Year 10, students are able to make choices about the direction and focus of their learning. These choices often mark the beginning of the journey towards the IB Diploma Programme, university and employment beyond. It is probably the first time students have this degree of choice about their learning. When making the options choices students should consider carefully their interests, their strengths and their ambitions. In addition to the subject options there are compulsory components that all our students are required to complete.

To ensure balance and to maintain a healthy body and mind all our students take core Physical Education. Core Physical Education is offered over and above the IGCSE Physical Education qualification. Furthermore, all our students take English, a Double or Triple Award Science, Mathematics and Global Perspectives. Students also engage with Guidance lessons to cover the broader topics of life, health, general well- being, careers and Higher Education.


Compulsory Subjects 

  • English (Language and Literature, or Second Language with literature or EAL)
  • Mathematics
  • Science Triple Award or Science Double Award (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Global Perspectives


  • International Award

Optional Subject Choices

This leaves space on the timetable for four optional subjects. There is a broad selection of additional subjects to choose from:

  • Chinese First or Second Language, Chinese as a Foreign Language
  • French as a Foreign Language
  • German First Language
  • Korean First Language
  • Spanish as a Foreign Language
  • Psychology
  • History
  • Geography
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Computer Science
  • Design and Technology (DT)
  • Drama
  • Art and Design
  • Music
  • Physical Education (PE)

Please click this link to see videos of our teachers introducting their subjects

IGCSE Options videos can be accessed  here


Making the right choices

There are many points to consider when choosing subjects for the I/GCSE. Questions students need to ask themselves include:

  • Do I need to study a particular subject in order to follow a later course?
  • Do I fully understand what is expected of me if I take that subject?
  • How will the choices I make now, allow me to follow a particular career?
  • Which subjects do I enjoy?
  • Which subjects am I good at?

Use our IGCSE guide to help you make your selections.