Cambridge International IG subjects and codes

ig subjects codesWhen selecting IG subjects, there is a lot of information that one needs to know about each subject: What is its code? When is it written? Is it available to private candidates? Is it available at core and extended levels? This article explains these issues and summarizes the information for all the subjects in a convenient table.

Bookmark this page and use it as an index and quick reference for all available IG level subjects!

IG: a brief introduction

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IG) from Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) is a highly regarded qualification throughout the world, and forms an important foundation for further studies at AS/A Level. There are over 70 subjects offered at IG level. As in the case of the AS/A Level subjects, not all the subjects are available to private candidates. However, there is still a good choice of subjects, making Cambridge International IG a worthwhile option for private candidates. (Subjects that are not available to private candidates usually require practical work or coursework; they are evaluated internally by the school and moderated by Cambridge.) 

IG is one of three equivalent qualifications offered by Cambridge at the Upper Secondary pathway, aimed at 14-16 year olds. The other two qualifications are O levels and the United Kingdom's GCSE. IG was developed over twenty-five years ago to offer an internationally-recognized education for a multicultural audience with a wide range of ability. Students taking IG exams can achieve a grade between A* (90-100%) and a G (20-29%). It is the only one of the three qualifications to offer such a wide range of grades. O Level, for example only offers grades A* to E (40-49%). Many of the IG subjects offer optional coursework, while the UK GCSE has compulsory coursework. The three qualifications will differ in syllabus content and schemes of assessment, but are at the same academic level. (Note that the age grouping is only a guide, as some countries start school earlier or later than others.)

Some IG subjects, but not all, are offered at two levels - core and extended. Students taking core will cover the core content of the subjects and will be eligible for grades up to C (60-69%). Students taking extended will cover the core material as well as the supplementary material in the syllabus; they will be eligible for grades up to A* (90-100%). The certificates of results will not indicate core or extended. Where subjects are not offered at core and extended, then candidates are eligible for the full range of grades (A*-G). Please consult the particular subject's syllabus to see if a subject is offered at core and extended level. This is also indicated in the table below.

Like the AS/A Levels, IG subjects are examined in May/June and/or October/November, although not all subjects are available at both exam sessions. I have indicated on the table below the exam sessions in which a particular subject is offered. An additional session is offered in March for India only.

In South Africa, IG is recognised as equivalent to the South African Grade 11 and can therefore be submitted with the university application as Grade 11 marks. This is usually very important for selection courses where universities want to see a student's progress over Grades 11 and 12 to ensure that a student can work consistently.

Syllabus information

It is very important that you download the syllabus for each subject which you are studying, as the syllabus has very important information that will help you with your planning and preparation for that exam. The syllabi are available on the Cambridge Assessment International Education website.

The front cover of a syllabus will give you the name of the subject as well as the course code (a four digit number). The front cover will also state when the particular syllabus will be examined. This is where you will see which exam sessions this particular syllabus will be examined in. Some syllabi are only relevant for one year, while others for two or even three years. This allows Cambridge International to keep their courses on the cutting edge of teaching/learning and assessment. All subjects are regularly reviewed to make sure that they are meeting international standards and requirements.  It is very important to download the syllabus for the year that you will actually write the exam. For example, if you are planning to write Accounting (code:0452) in 2020, then you would download the syllabus for 2020-2022, even if you are starting to prepare for the exam in 2019.

The first page of the syllabus will give you changes that have been made to the syllabus. Some of these can be minor, like a word change to make something clearer; but some changes are more significant, where content is added to or removed from the syllabus. This does mean that when you are practising past papers, you may come across some questions that are no longer relevant to the syllabus.

To find out whether a particular subject is available to private candidates, look under the heading 'Availability' which is usually a sub-heading under section 1 'Syllabus overview' or at the end of the newer syllabi under the heading What else you need to know'.

Other important information that you will find in the syllabus includes:

  • information about Cambridge International
  • content to be covered in the course - will indicate core and supplementary content where applicable.
  • assessment
    • aims and objectives
    • what papers to write and a brief description of the structure, marks, time, and weighting of each paper
    • what assessment objectives will be examined in each paper and to what extent
  • prior knowledge needed
  • useful information for each subject (such as formulae)
  • a description of what is expected at the different grades
  • a glossary of exam terms (where applicable)

Administrative zones

Cambridge IG and AS/A Level exams are written across the globe in a 160 countries, which is quite an undertaking in terms of administration and working out a timetable. Cambridge International has divided the globe into six administrative zones, which are linked to time zones. Each zone has its own timetable. From 2020, some IG subjects will only be available in certain zones.

You can find out which zone your country or region is in on the Cambridge International website. As examples, South Africa is in Zone 3 and India (Kolkata) is in Zone 4.

Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE)


  • This information is applicable at least until the end of 2018.
  • I have excluded all subjects that are only available in either the UK or USA.
  • I have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information, but please double check the information by consulting the Cambridge International website before committing yourself to a course of study or an exam.
  • CAIE does recommend prior knowledge for many of the subjects as I have indicated in the table. Please consult the particular syllabus for more information as to what prior knowledge is expected in that subject.


* Indicates subjects that will be taken off soon. Where possible, I have given the date of the last exam for that subject.

# Indicates a subject that is available to private candidates provided that the accommodating Centre can make the appropriate arrangements to conduct and assess the speaking test and submit the required sample and paperwork to Cambridge for External moderation.

Note: if you are viewing this table on a mobile phone, you can make it more readable by rotating your phone to landscape view.

 SubjectCodeZonesAvailable to private candidatesPrior knowledge requiredOffered at core and extendedExamined in May/JunExamined in Oct/Nov
Accounting 0452 All Yes No No Yes Yes
Afrikaans - First language* 0512 -  Yes Yes No No Yes
Last exam Oct/Nov 2019
Afrikaans  - Second language
Only available in administrative zones 2 and 3
0548 2, 3 Yes Yes No No Yes
Agriculture 0600 2,3,4,5 No No No No Yes
Arabic - First language 0580 3,4 Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Arabic - Foreign language 0544
All Yes Yes No Yes No
Art and Design 0400
All Yes —
Options A or B
No No Yes Yes
Bahasa Indonesia 0538
All Yes Yes No Yes No
Bangladesh studies* 0449 All Yes Yes No Yes
Last exam Jun 2019
Biology 0610
All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Business studies 0450 All Yes   No Yes Yes
Chemistry 0620 All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Child development* 0637 All No No No Yes Yes
Last exam Oct/Nov 2019
Chinese - First language 0509 All Yes
Yes No Yes No
Chinese - Second language 0523
All Yes Yes No Yes No
Chinese (Mandarin) - Foreign language 0547 All Yes  # Yes No Yes No
Computer science 0478
All Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Czech - First language 0514 All Yes Yes No Yes No
Design and Technology 0455 All No No No Yes Yes
Development studies
From 2020
Yes No No No Yes
Drama 0411
All No No No Yes No
Dutch - First language*
All Yes Yes No Yes
Last exam Jun 2019
Dutch - Foreign language 0515 2,3 Yes
Yes No Yes No
Economics 0455
All Yes No No Yes Yes
English - First language 0500
All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
English - Literature
All Yes Recommended No Yes Yes
English - Literature
New from 2020
0475 All Yes Recommended No Yes Yes
English as a second language
Count in speaking
0511 All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
English as a second language
Speaking endorsement
0510 All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Enterprise 0454 All No No No Yes Yes
Environmental Management 0680 All Yes No No Yes Yes
Food and nutrition
0648 All No No No Yes Yes
French - First language 0501 3,4 Yes Yes No Yes No
French - Foreign language 0520 All Yes # Yes No Yes Yes
Geography 0460
All Yes Yes No Yes Yes
German - First language 0505
3,4 Yes Yes No Yes No
German - Foreign language 0525
3,4 Yes # Yes No Yes Yes
Global perspectives
0457 All No Yes No Yes Yes
Greek - Foreign language 0543 All Yes # Yes No Yes No
Hindi as a second language 0549 All Yes Yes No No Yes
History 0470 All Yes Recommended No Yes Yes
India studies* 0447 All No No No Yes
Last exam in Jun 2019
Indonesian - Foreign language 0545 All Yes Yes No Yes No
Information and communication Technology 0417 All Yes No No Yes Yes
isiZulu as a second language 0531 2, 3 Yes Yes No No Yes
Islamiyat 0493 2,3,4,5
From 2020
Yes No No Yes Yes
Italian - Foreign language 0535 All Yes # Yes No Yes No
Japanese - First language* 0507 All Yes Yes No Yes
Last exam Jun 2018
Japanese - Foreign language 0519 All Yes Yes No No Yes
Kazakh as a second language* 0532 All Yes Yes No Yes
Last exam Jun 2019
Korean - First language 0521 All Yes Yes No Yes No
Latin 0480 3,4,5, 6
From 2020
Yes No No Yes No
Malay - Foreign language 0546 All Yes Yes No Yes No
Mathematics 0580 All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mathematics - Additional
0606 All Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Mathematics - International 0607 All Yes Yes  Yes Yes Yes
Music 0410 All No Yes No Yes Yes
Pakistan studies 0448 3,4,5,6
From 2020
Yes No No Yes No
Physical Education 0413 All No No No Yes Yes
Physical Science 0652 2,3,4,5
From 2020
Yes Yes  Yes No Yes
Physics 0625 All Yes Yes  Yes Yes Yes
Portuguese - First language 0540 2,3
From 2020
Yes Yes No Yes No
Portuguese - Foreign language 0540 2,3
From 2020
Yes Yes No Yes No
Religious Studies 0490 3,4,5,6
From 2020
 Yes No No No Yes
Russian - First language 0516 3,4
From 2020
Yes Yes No Yes No
Sanskrit (new from 2019) 0499 All  Yes Yes No Yes No
Science - Combined 0653  All  Yes Yes  Yes Yes Yes
Sciences - coordinated (double) 0654  All  Yes  Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sociology  0495 All  Yes No No Yes Yes
Spanish - First language 0502 All  Yes  Yes No Yes Yes
Spanish - Foreign language 0530  All  Yes  Yes No Yes Yes
Spanish - Literature 0488 All  Yes  Yes No Yes Yes
Thai - First language 0518 3,4
From 2020
 Yes Yes No Yes No
Travel and Tourism 0471  All  Yes No No Yes Yes
Turkish - First language 0513 All Yes Yes No Yes No
Urdu as a second language (new 0539  All  Yes  Yes No Yes No
World literature 0408  All No  Yes No Yes Yes