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

Tag Cloud

Insider info LondonLondon MarathonWinter in Londonstudy englishreading tipsSomewhere to visitgrammarHalloweenJournalism evening course LondonCAEAdjectivemusic festival LondonVocabulary notebookstudent study tipsenglish grammar tipsSocial programmeexamsWorld Naked Bike RideLearn english onlinemaking predictionseflIslington Centre for EnglishThings to do in Londonenglish reviewStudentsThings to see in Londonenglish grammar onlineAttractions in LondonWhere to visit LondonListening in Englishenglish school londondefining relative clausesCyclingChristmas in LondonFunenglish courses londonField daymini-sagathe people's towerVictoria parkpronuciationLearning tipsJournalism MasterclassspellingBeautiful LondonEvents in LondonRelaxing LondonEnglish grammarnarrative voiceEnglish tipsenglish school onlineLondon SummerJournalism classes LondonTweedRecording vocabularyNew vocabularyenglish study tipsFrancaisIdiomJournalist Course Londonfuture tenses englishEnglish vocabularyShopping in LondonPolite questionsBasic English mistakesenglish as a foreign languageenglish course londonfuture tenses eflwriting a mini sagaTourist tipsstudy english onllineSport Journalism CourseHistoric momentpast modal verbsfree english grammarthings to do londonNew languagethe shardmusic festivals uksagaCovent GardenCambridge Exam PreparationIELTSlondon eventssilent discoReading in EnglishILECCool as a cucumberstudy tipsBarney RonayEnglish foodwriting a mini-sagaFCENew blogVocabularyLearn EnglishEnglishSomewhere to visit LondonPeaceful LondonFree english lessonsPlaces to see in Londonpast modalsImprove your vocabularyICEenglish grammar helpHello from AllySomewhere to go Londonenglish schoolLondon marketsgrammar tipsLondonBusiness EnglishJournalism Course London


Archive