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

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

Tag Cloud

Journalism Course LondonBeautiful Londonpast modal verbsnarrative voiceNew vocabularyexamsgrammar tipsTweedCambridge Exam PreparationLondon Marathonpast modalsFCEHistoric momentTourist tipslondon eventsfuture tenses englishCAEWinter in Londonmini-sagaThings to see in LondonVictoria parkEnglish tipsILECWhere to visit Londonmusic festival LondonJournalism evening course Londonthe people's towermusic festivals ukLearn EnglishStudentsthe shardEvents in LondonListening in Englishreading tipssilent discowriting a mini sagaBarney RonayEnglish foodLearn english onlineCyclingsagaRelaxing LondonLondon SummerThings to do in Londonstudy english onllineBusiness Englishenglish grammar onlinemaking predictionsPolite questionsAttractions in LondongrammarLondon marketsenglish course londonIELTSenglish courses londoneflstudy englishJournalism MasterclassHalloweenPlaces to see in Londonstudent study tipsReading in EnglishWorld Naked Bike RideIslington Centre for EnglishChristmas in LondonSomewhere to visitInsider info Londonenglish school londonHello from Allyenglish reviewCool as a cucumberSocial programmeImprove your vocabularyICEdefining relative clausesAdjectiveField dayEnglish vocabularywriting a mini-sagaenglish as a foreign languageBasic English mistakesstudy tipsVocabularyFunpronuciationenglish schoolenglish school onlineSport Journalism CourseEnglishFree english lessonsenglish study tipsCovent GardenLearning tipsRecording vocabularyEnglish grammarFrancaisIdiomfree english grammarLondonVocabulary notebookShopping in Londonthings to do londonSomewhere to go LondonNew blogNew languageenglish grammar helpJournalism classes LondonSomewhere to visit Londonenglish grammar tipsspellingPeaceful LondonJournalist Course Londonfuture tenses efl


Archive

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site and to collect data on how visitors interact with our site, products and services. By clicking accept, you agree to our use of these tools for advertising, analytics and support.