All students sit the English (First Language) examinations. Cambridge IGCSE First Language English offers candidates the opportunity to respond knowledgeably to a rich array of reading passages.

Candidates will use some of these passages to inform and inspire their own writing and write in a range of text types for different audiences. Students also have the opportunity to develop both their speaking and listening skills, presenting to others and responding to feedback and questions. Candidates are able to develop a range of skills in organising content and adapting their written and spoken language to meet the needs of the purpose and audience. Students are encouraged to become appreciative and critical readers, writers, speakers and listeners.


The aims are to enable learners to:

  • Understand and respond to what they hear, read and experience.
  • Communicate accurately, appropriately, confidently and effectively.
  • Enjoy and appreciate a variety of language.
  • Complement their ability to work with information and ideas in other areas of study, for example, by developing the skills of analysis, synthesis and the drawing of inferences.
  • Promote personal development and an understanding of themselves and others.

Syllabus content

  • Basic skills for writing.
  • Increasing vocabulary.
  • Summary writing, essay writing, letter writing, report and speech writing, script writing.
  • Comprehension practice.
  • Imagery, style, tone, language, structure, the writer’s approach and attitudes.
  • Communication skills.


Paper title Duration and marks What’s in the paper? Percentage of final grade
Paper 1:
2 hours
(80 Marks)
Structured and extended writing questions
Questions will be based on three reading text
Paper 2:
Directed writing and composition
2 hours
(80 Marks)
Extended writing question and a composition task 50%

Find out more

You can find out more by visiting the qualification page on the Cambridge Assessment website.