IELTS and Cambridge Exam comparison

Jan 30, 2012

IELTS vs Cambridge First Certificate and Advanced Exams


A question I often hear from students; "I want to take an English Language Exam but which one should I take? IELTS or Cambridge First Certificate (FCE)/ Advanced (CAE)?".  Well, there are many similarities and differences and I have put together what I think are the most important:

FCE and CAE


These are General English Exams. They not only test your General English, but a really good course should improve your all-round language skills.  They are a great way to develop your vocabulary, spoken fluency/ accuracy, writing and listening skills and your all-round confidence in English.  It's like taking a General English course with an aim to help you focus and get motivated.  Topics covered are very wide and can include The Environment, Love, Literature, Finding a job, Owning a pet, for example.  Marking is pass or fail with an added CEFR result (Common European Framework for Language Reference) such as B1 (Intermediate) if you don't get over 60% overall.  People consider the First Certificate as the level a student needs to function in an English speaking office environment.  First Certificate and Advanced Exams are valid for life and you can take an exam every 6 weeks.

IELTS


Conversely, IELTS is officially valid for only 2 years.  However, as an employer, I am always very happy to see a good IELTS result on an applicant's CV, even if it is 10 years old.  It still demonstrates a the person's language ability or, at least, their realistic potential. Naturally, a student isn't IELTS 7.5 one day and then 5.0 in 5 years time, particularly if he or she has stayed in the UK.  On the other hand, most Universities tend to be stricter and only accept IELTS if it has been taken within the last 2 years.

IELTS is much more limited in subject matter.  Subjects are academic and can include Sociology, History, Literature, Sciences, Architecture etc.  In short, anything that you study at University.

IELTS is not pass or fail, it is a sliding scale of achievement from 0 to 9.  Most Universities want 6.0 or more for a course that is theoretical in nature and 5.0 for a very practical one.  Masters degrees generally require 7.0 or higher.

I only recommend taking IELTS if the student has a clear reason to take it such as:

1.  "My potential employer needs me to get a 6.0 to start work."

2.  "My University needs me to get 7.5 for my Masters degree."

..otherwise, my advice is, to improve your English in all areas, choose Cambridge First Certificate or Advanced.

Also note that IELTS exam courses tend to teach you how to get the best score possible in the exam, rather than making you a better English speaker, listener, reader or writer.

In summary:

First Certificate and Advanced Exams

    • General English Exams.
    • Better for your overall fluency and confidence in English.
    • Pass or fail with a grade from A to C.
    • Added CEFR level grade.
    • Valid for life.
    • Wider range of topics.
    • An exam every 6 weeks.

IELTS exams

    • Valid for 2 years for University but longer in reality for employers.
    • Lots of exam dates - every 2 weeks.
    • Academic language - the English you need for a University degree.
    • Courses are very, very exam focused.

ICE is enrolling now for IELTS Exam Courses, Cambridge First Certificate Courses and Cambridge Advanced Exam courses for day and evenings.

Best of luck with your English!

Tim



Tags:
Category: news

Add Pingback

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Category List


Tag List

ILEC (1)
Francais (2)
grammar (1)
Christmas in London (3)
Improve your vocabulary (5)
Field day (1)
english as a foreign language (3)
Places to see in London (4)
english school online (1)
music festival London (1)
Learn English (15)
Journalism classes London (1)
Hello from Ally (1)
Business English (1)
English vocabulary (3)
Cambridge Exam Preparation (1)
English food (3)
english grammar help (1)
Students (2)
writing a mini-saga (1)
english school london (12)
Sport Journalism Course (1)
english review (1)
Vocabulary (11)
Attractions in London (1)
Reading in English (1)
Learning tips (10)
Winter in London (6)
pronuciation (3)
Learn english online (12)
New language (7)
study english (1)
English grammar (4)
Somewhere to visit (9)
Social programme (1)
CAE (3)
ICE (5)
Where to visit London (3)
Historic moment (1)
narrative voice (2)
London (5)
music festivals uk (1)
Polite questions (1)
Halloween (2)
Listening in English (2)
English tips (4)
english school (2)
New vocabulary (4)
spelling (1)
Journalist Course London (1)
Islington Centre for English (6)
the people's tower (1)
english grammar online (1)
Somewhere to visit London (1)
study english onlline (1)
Relaxing London (4)
Journalism Course London (1)
study tips (9)
english study tips (1)
Barney Ronay (1)
Tourist tips (5)
student study tips (1)
Beautiful London (8)
grammar tips (1)
London Marathon (1)
past modals (1)
Victoria park (1)
New blog (1)
Somewhere to go London (3)
FCE (4)
Insider info London (14)
Basic English mistakes (1)
Peaceful London (2)
future tenses english (1)
Adjective (2)
the shard (1)
Vocabulary notebook (8)
Tweed (1)
London Summer (7)
making predictions (1)
london events (1)
efl (4)
english course london (12)
Free english lessons (10)
reading tips (1)
things to do london (1)
Recording vocabulary (3)
Things to see in London (4)
silent disco (1)
english courses london (1)
writing a mini saga (1)
mini-saga (1)
IELTS (2)
Events in London (1)
defining relative clauses (1)
Covent Garden (1)
Idiom (3)
exams (1)
saga (1)
past modal verbs (1)
Journalism evening course London (1)
Things to do in London (6)
London markets (4)
World Naked Bike Ride (1)
Journalism Masterclass (1)
Shopping in London (4)
future tenses efl (1)
english grammar tips (1)
English (1)
Fun (1)
free english grammar (2)
Cool as a cucumber (1)
Cycling (1)

Tag Cloud

StudentsNew languageIdiomAdjectiveTourist tipsenglish as a foreign languagethings to do londonstudent study tipspast modal verbsenglish course londonspellingTweedChristmas in LondonBarney RonayVocabularyPolite questionsEnglish grammarNew blogEnglish tipsEnglish vocabularyRecording vocabularyEnglish foodenglish grammar helpenglish grammar tipsstudy englishInsider info LondonLondon Marathonnarrative voiceIslington Centre for EnglishWinter in Londonreading tipsmusic festivals ukICEBeautiful LondonLearn english onlineenglish courses londonstudy english onllinedefining relative clausesPlaces to see in Londonpronuciationfuture tenses eflFunmusic festival LondonJournalism classes Londonwriting a mini sagaBusiness EnglishVictoria parkFrancaisField dayHalloweenCAELondon marketsImprove your vocabularyRelaxing LondonHistoric momentAttractions in Londonwriting a mini-sagaSocial programmeCovent Gardensilent discogrammar tipsEnglishfree english grammarLondonfuture tenses englishVocabulary notebookenglish schoolIELTSThings to do in LondonJournalism MasterclassJournalism evening course LondonThings to see in Londonmini-sagaSomewhere to go LondonWorld Naked Bike RidesagaWhere to visit LondonListening in EnglishgrammarCambridge Exam PreparationPeaceful LondonLearning tipsenglish school onlinestudy tipsCool as a cucumberlondon eventsthe people's towerCyclingFCEeflEvents in Londonpast modalsLearn EnglishILECJournalism Course LondonReading in Englishmaking predictionsBasic English mistakesHello from Allyenglish study tipsthe shardShopping in Londonenglish reviewFree english lessonsexamsSomewhere to visitenglish grammar onlineJournalist Course Londonenglish school londonNew vocabularySomewhere to visit LondonSport Journalism CourseLondon Summer


Archive