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

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

Tag Cloud

New languageFree english lessonsLearning tipsListening in EnglishRecording vocabularyfuture tenses eflHello from AllyEnglishBusiness EnglishReading in Englishthe shardCAEthe people's towerenglish courses londonCambridge Exam Preparationenglish school onlinegrammarSomewhere to visitstudy tipsIELTSHalloweenmusic festival LondonNew blogpast modalsICEChristmas in LondonVocabulary notebookThings to see in LondonJournalism Course Londonthings to do londonPlaces to see in Londonmusic festivals ukILECPolite questionsBasic English mistakesenglish school londonexamsWorld Naked Bike RideBeautiful LondonLondon SummerIdiomImprove your vocabularyspellinggrammar tipsRelaxing LondonAttractions in Londonfuture tenses englishnarrative voiceSport Journalism Courseenglish grammar tipsfree english grammareflenglish course londonwriting a mini sagastudy english onllineenglish as a foreign languagelondon eventsBarney RonayThings to do in LondonsagaLondon marketsVictoria parkEvents in LondonCovent GardenField dayPeaceful Londonmini-sagaSomewhere to go LondonEnglish foodCyclingdefining relative clausesenglish reviewenglish grammar onlineNew vocabularystudy englishFunLearn english onlineSocial programmeVocabularyStudentsJournalism classes LondonEnglish tipsenglish study tipsSomewhere to visit LondonJournalism MasterclassHistoric momentEnglish vocabularyInsider info Londonenglish grammar helpShopping in LondonTourist tipsFrancaisLearn Englishmaking predictionsIslington Centre for Englishenglish schoolLondonCool as a cucumberJournalism evening course LondonJournalist Course Londonreading tipsAdjectiveEnglish grammarFCEWhere to visit Londonwriting a mini-sagastudent study tipspast modal verbsWinter in LondonLondon MarathonTweedpronuciationsilent disco


Archive