Obtaining an internationally recognised English certificate is now an indispensable element on a high profile CV for a good job or for access to top universities. But what differentiates these international language exams? Which one is appropriate for which profile? Which exam is best?
To help you choose and to direct you towards the best option for your situation we have compiled an EXAM SPECIAL looking at the differences of the most important internationally recognised English exams and highlights some main features. This article will look specifically at IELTS and the Cambridge Exams.
Cambridge Exams (FCE - CAE)
The Cambridge exam gives a clear indication of the level of general English as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. A key benefit of the Cambridge exam certificate is that it never expires, and can therefore serve as an ongoing proof of a particular level of English that has been reached.
The First Certificate in English (FCE) corresponds to level B2 in the European reference framework (upper intermediate level) and is one of the most requested certificates for University entry (together with the IELTS exam), as well as being an excellent bonus on any CV.
The Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) corresponds to level C1 in European reference framework (advanced level) and who has demonstrated a good command of the English language plus the ability to make more complex connections and negotiate in an international work environment.
Both exams are divided into 5 parts: reading (1 hour), writing (1 hour and 20 minutes), "Use of English", in which you are asked to successfully complete sayings and phrases (45 minutes), listening (40 minutes) and finally, conversation (15 minutes), in which the candidate will enter into a dialogue with another candidate to discuss the topics given by the examiner.
For the specific preparation of all Cambridge exams, OISE Bristol offers a set programme in which specialized teachers focus on previous exam exercises for the best results. The course ends with the official exam taken on site. Find out more.
Would you like to study or work abroad? Then the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is for you. IELTS is an exam designed especially for those who want to study or work in an English speaking country and show a "snapshot" of the English level they have achieved. Unlike the Cambridge exam, IELTS is valid for two years and always gives a score between 1 and 9. It is therefore not possible to pass or fail but rather to obtain a real-time assessment of of the current level of English at that time. For this reason the certificate is valid for a maximum of two years, after which the level of English could have improved or worsened. The IELTS consists of two different types of tests, depending on whether the aim of the certificate is to be accepted at a particular university (IELTS Academic), or whether the candidate is looking to improve employability on a CV (IELTS General Training). Both exams consist of four test elements, listening, reading, writing and speaking but depending on your IELTS focus you chose, each element varies slightly. University entry usually requires a final score between 6 and 8. If you are interested in a specific IELTS preparation course please take a look at OISE Bristol which offers a regular courses starting every Monday of the year. Find out more.