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FAQs for IGCSE English as a Second Language (0510 & 0511)

What is the difference between syllabus 0510 and 0511?

  • IGCSE English as a Second Language 0510 (speaking endorsement):

The speaking component for Cambridge IGCSE English Second Language 0510 is a 'speaking endorsement' - in other words, it is certificated separately from the main grade awarded for the written papers, on a scale of 1-5 (as opposed to the standard IGCSE grade scale of A*-U). Performance in this component does not affect the syllabus grade for the written papers. The speaking component is a compulsory component of the IGCSE English Second Language syllabus which is recognised by many UK and international universities. For full details of how the 0510 Speaking test (component 5) should be conducted, please refer to the current syllabus.

  • IGCSE English as a Second Language 0511 (count-in speaking):

The speaking component of 0511/05 contributes 20% to the final syllabus grade. It is reported on a standard IGCSE grade scale of A* to G. The other components are weighted as follows: Reading/Writing 60%, Listening 20%. 0511 is the Ofqual accredited version of the syllabus.

What is the difference between the Speaking Test (component 5) for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language (0510 & 0511) and the Speaking and Listening Test (component 5) for Cambridge IGCSE First Language English (0500)?

Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language

The Speaking Test for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language (0510 and 0511) requires candidates to respond to a speaking assessment card. Before the test period, we send Centres a range of speaking assessment cards. Each card introduces a topic for discussion between the teacher/examiner and the candidate, and includes prompts for the development of the conversation. The examiner, and not the candidate, selects an appropriate topic for discussion from the speaking assessment cards available. We also send Centres an accompanying set of teacher's notes.

The test consists of:

  • a welcome and an explanation of the format of the test
  • a non-assessed 'warm-up' conversation (approximately 2-3 minutes)
  • time for the candidate to read the test card and prepare a response (approximately 2-3 minutes) the assessed conversation lasting approximately 6-9 minutes.

The candidates' performance is assessed using the speaking assessment criteria in the syllabus. There are ten marks available for each of the following strands:

  • structure
  • vocabulary
  • development and fluency. 

Cambridge IGCSE First Language English

The Speaking and Listening Test for Cambridge IGCSE First Language English (0500) requires candidates to prepare an individual task in advance of the test (for example, a presentation, a talk, a speech, a monologue) on a topic of their own choice.

The test consists of:

  • the candidate talking for about 3-4 minutes on this single topic or theme
  • a conversation between the teacher/examiner and the candidate about the candidate's topic or theme for about 6-7 minutes.

We do not send any materials to Centres before the test. All the materials the Centre requires are in the syllabus. The test is assessed using the oral assessment criteria in the syllabus. There are ten marks available for each of the following strands:

  • the individual task
  • speaking in the discussion
  • listening in the discussion.

Do I need to record all the candidates for IGCSE English as a Second Language (0510 and 0511) component 5, Speaking test?

Yes, the tests of all candidates must be recorded, regardless of the size of the sample required. This is in the interests of fairness to all candidates. In addition, it may be necessary for Cambridge to request a second sample from the school in the event that the sample received is unsatisfactory, or that the process of internal moderation conducted at the school has not produced a reliable rank order of candidates.

We have received two sets of teacher’s notes and topic cards, should they be reused?

The subject specialist has advised that for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language component 5, teachers retain the cards throughout the series (that is to say, until the end of the speaking test window) and reuse the same set. There is one set for teachers with the notes, and one set to be used with candidates during the test. Candidates should be given the card at the start of the warm-up (Part C) and refer to the card during part D of the exam. Candidates are not allowed to make written notes at any time, so the cards should be unmarked throughout, and therefore reusable. Candidates must not leave the examination room with any speaking test cards as this would be a breach of security.

In what format should I submit the recorded sample for IGCSE English as a Second Language (0510 and 0511) component 5, Speaking test?

The subject specialist has advised that for Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language component 5, teachers retain the cards throughout the series (that is to say, until the end of the speaking test window) and reuse the same set. There is one set for teachers with the notes, and one set to be used with candidates during the test. Candidates should be given the card at the start of the warm-up (Part C) and refer to the card during part D of the exam. Candidates are not allowed to make written notes at any time, so the cards should be unmarked throughout, and therefore reusable. Candidates must not leave the examination room with any speaking test cards as this would be a breach of security.

For more information and materials on this syllabus, please visit our School Support Hub on either of the following links (0510 or 0511).

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