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Taking IGCSE or O'Level Business Studies? This is what you need to know...

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

The business studies examination consist of Paper 1 and Paper 2. They both share a similar weightage of 50% and are both mandatory. The difference between the two papers are the question format and marking

Paper 1 consist of 4 questions with 5 sub-questions each, which totals to 80 marks. These sub-questions require short answers which are awarded 2, 4 or 6 marks, which totals to 20 marks for each question. To earn all 80 marks, all 4 questions must be attempted.

Paper 2 also consist of 4 questions, but only have 2 sub-questions each to the total of 80 marks. They are awarded 8 and 12 marks respectively to make up 20 marks each question.

This means you need to score each paper equally well or one paper very well, and the other moderately well to earn a good grade

Candidates are assessed on their

  1. Knowledge and Understanding - facts, key terms, concepts, conventions, roles, functions, theories and techniques

  2. Application - able to show ability to use Knowledge by demonstrating or referring to it in answer

  3. Analysis - able to accurately present consequences of business decision or situations

  4. Evaluation - able to present opinion or make recommendation from inference and judgement on business situation or decision.

Each of these assessment objectives can be identified in the marking scheme as "k" (knowledge), "app" (application), "an" (analysis) and "eval" for evaluation.

As both papers have similar weightage, your score would be the average of both marks. Grade threshold (minimum marks to be considered for a grade) for every examination term is published by CAIE for the two different types of grading choices.



Essentially, many subjects in IGCSE and O'Levels share a similar syllabus and exam and market format with some noted exception in its curriculum. This explains why you may find many IGCSE textbooks which includes O'Levels syllabus in the market.

Business Studies is among the subjects that are similar for both IGCSE and O'levels, as such, this blog post is written for both IGCSE and O'Level candidates.

The IGCSE and O'Levels examinations are administered by both Cambridge Assessment International Education and Edexcel (Pearson). This review is specifically focused on CAIE 2020-2022 syllabus.


  1. Syllabus Cambridge IGCSE™ Business Studies 0450 by CAIE

  2. Syllabus Cambridge IGCSE™ Business Studies 7115 by CAIE

  3. IGCSE Business Studies (0450) Marking Scheme for May/June 2020 Paper 1 (version 3) by CAIE

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