English First Language vs Second Language

Which to choose? First Language or Second Language? What are the differences between them? How much does it affect your college application? Before choosing which paper is best suited for your level, it is important to know your own capabilities to ensure the best result is obtained.

In IGCSE English, it is important to note that you have a choice of choosing either first language or second language; core or extended. Refer to the chart below to get a clearer view and understanding.

First off, let me explain the difference between Extended and Core (which is offered on both first language and second language) 

In extended, you are entitled to score an A*- E in your examinations while in core, no matter how well you do, the highest score you will be able to receive is C-G.

Next, it is time to select whether you want to sit for the First language or the Second language. Let’s start by reviewing the first language examination.

                                          0500 First Language English

As you can see, First Language English Examination is fully reliant on your writing ability. In total, candidates are required to write long essays ranging from 300 words at least to 750 words at most per essay.

If you so choose, you may enroll for the Speaking and Listening Test or coursework. This is optional and does not contribute to your overall results received from the written components. Instead, your speaking and listening text will be graded from 1(high) to 5(low). 

Now, we will be reviewing English Language Second Language. 

In Second Language, you can either choose to sit for Speaking Endorsement (0510) or Count-In Speaking (0511).

The components in both papers are the same where there are three main parts:

             (a) Reading and Writing 
             (b) Listening
             (c) Speaking

The difference is that in Second Language Speaking Endorsement (0510), the speaking component does not contribute to the overall grades the candidates will receive.

            (a) Reading and Writing = 70%
            (b) Listening = 30%

                                                0510 Speaking Endorsement

Their speaking performances will be recorded separately (separately endorsed) and will either receive grades 1(high) to 5(low) for speaking.

However, in Second Language Count-In Speaking (0511), the speaking component will be contributing to the overall results:

            (a) Reading and Writing = 70%
            (b) Listening = 15%
            (c) Speaking = 15%

                                                   0511 Count-In Speaking

When candidates receive their certificates, it will be clearly stated whether you have taken the First or Second English language. In terms of college application, it depends on what course you decide to study and what are the requirements set by the college itself. If you are planning to study overseas, you may want to consult with educational consultants to see if your English certificate is acceptable. 

For more in depth information, visit www.cambridgeinterntional.org

Stay tuned for more!

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