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

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

Tag Cloud

spellingThings to do in Londonmini-sagaTourist tipsstudy englishpast modalsTweedStudentsImprove your vocabularyFCEIslington Centre for Englishenglish courses londonLearn Englishmaking predictionsFree english lessonsJournalism evening course LondonJournalism classes LondonEnglish tipsWhere to visit Londonwriting a mini sagaFunLondonJournalism Course LondonJournalist Course LondonRecording vocabularySomewhere to go LondonPolite questionsBarney RonayListening in EnglishCambridge Exam PreparationNew blogSocial programmegrammarfuture tenses englishBeautiful Londonenglish course londonBasic English mistakesCyclingCovent Gardenenglish grammar onlineRelaxing Londonexamsenglish reviewenglish grammar helpICEVocabulary notebookIELTSJournalism MasterclassEnglish foodVictoria parkthe people's towerLearning tipsLondon marketsShopping in LondonHello from Allyfuture tenses eflEvents in LondonPlaces to see in Londonthe shardenglish school onlinewriting a mini-sagaWorld Naked Bike RideLearn english onlinepast modal verbsmusic festival LondonCAELondon Summerlondon eventsreading tipsdefining relative clausesEnglishfree english grammarsagaPeaceful LondonVocabularyChristmas in Londonenglish study tipsstudy english onllineNew languageFrancaisField dayeflenglish school londonenglish as a foreign languageenglish grammar tipsBusiness EnglishThings to see in LondonNew vocabularySport Journalism Coursesilent discoWinter in Londonthings to do londonCool as a cucumbernarrative voiceReading in EnglishAdjectivegrammar tipsEnglish grammarstudent study tipspronuciationEnglish vocabularyHalloweenAttractions in Londonstudy tipsSomewhere to visitHistoric momentIdiomInsider info Londonmusic festivals ukLondon MarathonSomewhere to visit Londonenglish schoolILEC


Archive