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

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

Tag Cloud

english school londonenglish courses londonIELTSBasic English mistakesgrammar tipsenglish schoolILECHalloweenenglish grammar onlineLearn Englishstudent study tipsVocabulary notebookWhere to visit LondonsagaPolite questionsenglish course londonSport Journalism CourseFunLondon SummerWinter in Londonfree english grammargrammarRecording vocabularymaking predictionsenglish grammar tipsTweedImprove your vocabularyListening in EnglishNew vocabularySomewhere to visit LondonThings to see in Londonthe people's towerEnglish grammarCool as a cucumberNew languageWorld Naked Bike RideFrancaisstudy englishSomewhere to visitfuture tenses eflChristmas in LondonICEpast modal verbsEnglish vocabularydefining relative clausesHello from AllyEnglish tipsLondon MarathonHistoric momentLondonfuture tenses englishreading tipsAdjectivespellingpast modalsCAElondon eventsPeaceful Londonwriting a mini-sagaCovent GardenLearn english onlineLondon marketsPlaces to see in LondonLearning tipsnarrative voiceField dayeflJournalist Course LondonJournalism Course Londonenglish grammar helpstudy english onllineVocabularysilent discoShopping in LondonTourist tipsSocial programmeBusiness EnglishThings to do in LondonStudentsEnglish foodenglish as a foreign languageJournalism evening course LondonFCEEvents in Londonmusic festival LondonEnglishReading in EnglishIslington Centre for Englishenglish reviewSomewhere to go LondonNew blogthings to do londonenglish school onlineBarney Ronaythe shardexamsCambridge Exam PreparationJournalism classes LondonJournalism Masterclassmusic festivals ukmini-sagawriting a mini sagaVictoria parkBeautiful LondonAttractions in LondonFree english lessonsRelaxing Londonpronuciationenglish study tipsCyclingstudy tipsIdiomInsider info London


Archive