Which is more difficult on the Cambridge or IELTS exam?
Every day we receive inquiries from students asking us what is the difference between IELTS and Cambridge in order to check if one exam is more difficult than the other and we are here to provide you with the answers. Despite their differences, one test is no more difficult than the other. You may find the Cambridge tests more interesting than the IELTS, which is a bit more academic, but it doesn't mean that one is easier than the other.
While both the Cambridge exams and the IELTS test the four main English skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking, there are quite a few differences between them.
The main difference between Cambridge exams and IELTS is that although there is an IELTS for each level, Cambridge exams are level oriented. In this way we see that FCE is for an upper intermediate B2 level qualification, the CAE is a C1 qualification exam and the CPE is for a C2 proficiency level.
What are the main differences?
The IELTS is much more academic than the Cambridge Upper Main Suite. Cambridge, on the other hand, is more general and anyone taking it will improve their general English considerably.
They are both similar in the sense that you must learn exam techniques. The technique in IELTS can be a bit more complicated, for example you could show a Cambridge work to a native English speaker and they would know what to do.
But with IELTS, you would have to really think about the questions and how to answer them. They are coded in a slightly different way, there are also certain expectations in writing that you should consider to get a decent grade.
However, with Cambridge, although there are formats that you have to cover, for example: a letter or a report, it is not that rigid. In addition, you do the IELTS oral exam on your own but in the Cambridge exam you do it with a partner.
What do they have in common?
Both tests are divided into 4 different skill areas: speaking, writing, listening, and reading. Cambridge has an additional "Use of English" paper component that assesses grammar and vocabulary. That is very specific to Cambridge and they don't have it in the IELTS.
What would happen if you fail?
It means that you don't get the qualification you need; but you don't fail. However, you can retake the exam until you score. With Cambridge, passing grades are A to C. If you get a narrow failure on the CAE, your certificate should indicate that you are at CEFR B2 level; This shows that, although you have not passed the CEFR C1 level, you have reached the upper intermediate level.
All universities and courses have different entry requirements, although IELTS is the most recognized.
How long does it take to prepare for each exam?
It depends on your level, but logically the more you study, the better it will be for your learning. A 10 week course is better than 4 weeks.
If you are close to being good enough, then 4 weeks might be enough for you. If you take the full 10 or 13 week course, you are more likely to score higher than you expected.
What opportunities can arise from both exams?
IELTS is the most accepted college entrance course. Cambridge is an internationally recognized English language proficiency qualification. Many employers abroad and higher education establishments also recognize it.
Q: How long are the two certificates valid for?
The IELTS is valid for 2 years and the Cambridge is valid for life. But to be practical, if you took your Cambridge exam 10 years ago and haven't spoken much English since then your title will still be valid, but it won't be taken seriously wherever you display it so they may ask you. take the exam again.