In a recent blog, we explored the incredible flexibility that home education allows families. In the context of IGCSEs, this flexibility allows us as parents to spread exams out so that our children can sit a range of subjects in different exam sessions. This is a great idea and one that enables young people to enjoy studying subjects without the pressure of spreading their energy and time too thinly.

Lots of homeschoolers adopt this approach and, as part of this, many decide to study one or more IGCSEs in a year. In our opinion, this is quite achievable (at least for some subjects) and makes enormous sense.

Perhaps what makes less sense is the common practice of starting a one year IGCSE course in September. Whilst this is the traditional start date for schools in England and Wales, it does not give young people a lot of time to get ready for exams – exams which actually begin at the start of May. In fact, a September start gives students no more than nine months – and this includes Christmas and Easter! The reality is, that nine months is likely to be no more than eight!

Whilst some young people will successfully navigate this approach, many will find it pressurizing. Given that many of us, in part at least, chose home education to reduce the pressure on our children, perhaps IGCSEs in eight months is not such a great idea for most!

This brings us to the conclusion that if we want to undertake IGCSEs in a year – the best time to commence studies is in May. This provides a full 12 months – which in turn means, that summer holidays and a Christmas break can be built in, reducing the stress of the time constraints of beginning in September.