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FAQs for IGCSE Drama (0411 & 0994)


We would like to introduce this syllabus, what needs to be in place in the school?

There are no special technical requirements but the school must have an adequate performing space. As the coursework is assessed purely by video/DVD there must be arrangements for a good quality recording of selected work to take place. These arrangements must be available during the course, not just at the end. The recording should be of sufficient quality to show the performances clearly and in detail. If the video/DVD is of poor quality it may affect the moderation of the school’s marks.

When will I receive the pre-release material?

The pre-release material is despatched only to centres that have submitted estimated entry information to Cambridge. It is despatched in the December before the June written examination.

From the June 2022 series, the pre-release material will be available as a digital download only from the 1st September 2021. For the November 2022 series, the pre-release will be available as a digital download only from 1st February 2022.

What guidance is available for teachers in assessing IGCSE Drama coursework?

Teachers mark the coursework component using the marking grids in the syllabus. They should first work through the example performances and advice in the Coursework Handbook, which can be found on the School Support Hub. The Handbook defines the Cambridge standard for IGCSE drama performance, and teachers should become familiar with the standard before starting to mark. Teachers’ coursework marks are moderated by Cambridge.

A new version of the Handbook with new video examples will be available for the revised 2022 syllabus.

If a performance is too short or too long how will this affect the marks?

The individual piece should be between 3 and 5 minutes in length. Slight under or overruns should not be penalised, but a performance that is significantly short would be unlikely to access the highest mark bands. Moderators may stop watching if the piece is significantly too long.

Group pieces should last no more than 15 minutes and allow each candidate broadly equal exposure. Smaller groups may be shorter but not less than 10 minutes.
Note that timing requirements in the revised 2022 syllabus are slightly different. Guidance is given in the syllabus.

How important is it to stay within the stated group size?

The prescribed group size is between two and six candidates. Groups of seven or more are not allowed as each candidate would not have enough exposure, and this makes moderation more difficult.

What file format should I use for the recordings?

We accept DVD recordings in either MPEG (.mpg) or QuickTime movie (.mov) formats. If you wish to submit work as mp4 or on USB please check with Cambridge first. Further details are available in the syllabus.

Further guidance on submission of recordings will be issued by Cambridge in relation to the 2022 syllabus.

Can I use two cameras or a mobile camera for the recording?

No. Recordings should be a single unedited take from a static camera. The intention is to provide an accurate record from the perspective of the audience, not to make a film of the performance. Care should be taken to ensure the sound recording is adequate, particularly if the camera is positioned at the back of a hall some distance from the performers. If possible, an external microphone should be used. Further details are available in the syllabus.

Should I supply recorded evidence of rehearsal and the devising process?

No, only the final performance of each piece is required.

Are written evaluations of the practical coursework required?

No, these are not required.

What rules apply to the selection of repertoire?

Repertoire should be taken from full-length published plays intended for stage performance. This could include published one-act plays but we advise centres not to use plays freely available on the internet, mini-plays or monologues written for classroom use, film screenplays or material taken directly from novels.

Plays in translation are acceptable but the language of performance must be English.
We do not provide a list of repertoire but the Principal Moderator’s Report each year includes a selection of the plays performed by candidates.

Is it acceptable for candidates to play across gender roles?

Yes, it is acceptable to play across gender as long as the message of the drama is not affected. In text-based work, candidates will be assessed on their understanding and performance of the character so they will need to be convincing in whatever role they take on.

Should the Individual Piece be played straight to camera?

The piece should appear as a natural live theatre performance. There is no need to aim for a ‘talking heads’ approach.

Should an audience be present during the recording?

Where possible, candidates should perform to an audience. This helps a moderator sense how well the piece was received, and how well the candidates communicated. It is important that any audience present should not be noisy or distract the performers.

Can non-assessed actors be in a group piece?

Non-assessed actors may be used when a candidate is working alone and unable to submit group work. Non-assessed actors should not outnumber those being assessed and should play supporting rather than leading roles. A non-assessed actor may also be used to provide a minor character with minimal lines in a group piece if the part cannot be cut. It is not acceptable to submit a recording of a school production of a play in which the candidates took part. The piece must be performed specifically for the purpose of IGCSE Drama coursework.

What are the expectations for costume and set?

There are no specific requirements for costume or set, but we advise candidates to avoid anything which distracts from the intention or effective performance of the piece, such as wearing a T-shirt which starkly contrasts with the character or style, or excessive use of tables and chairs which impede movement.

Can an extract from musical theatre be used for the group repertoire piece?

Yes, but candidates should be assessed on their acting, not dance or singing skills. The scene chosen should therefore be mostly dialogue.

For more information and materials on these syllabuses, please visit our School Support Hub:


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