IELTS vs CAMBRIDGE EXAMS: Which one is right for me?

IELTS vs CAMBRIDGE EXAMS: Which one is right for me?

Categories: Programmes


In today's globalised society, proficiency in the English language is no longer just an asset; it's a passport to a world of possibilities. English serves as the lingua franca of international communication, enabling individuals to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, collaborate on global projects, and access a wealth of knowledge and resources.

Vocabulary tip: What does it mean when we say that "English serves as the lingua franca"?

A lingua franca is a common language (English in our case) that is used for communication between people who speak different native languages. It is often used in trade, travel, and other situations where people from different cultures need to interact with each other.

So whether you aspire to pursue higher education in an English-speaking country or secure employment with multinational corporations, the right English proficiency exams like IELTS or Cambridge can help you to unlock new opportunities. And in today’s article, we’ll explain the differences between IELTS and Cambridge exams so you can make an informal decision regarding which one is best for you.


What to expect from the IELTS exam

Let's start with the basics - what does IELTS actually stand for?

IELTS dates back to 1980 and stands for International English Language Testing System. The exam is widely accepted for immigration, higher education, and employment purposes. You will most likely be interested in one of two formats:

  • IELTS Academic - caters to those pursuing university studies. For example, all of SCL International College's foreign students take this exam before enrolling in our International Foundation Programme, which helps them prepare to succeed at a UK university.
  • IELTS General Training - suits those seeking employment or general communication proficiency.

IELTS scores range from 1 to 9, with higher scores indicating stronger English abilities.

Tip: If you're confident that the IELTS exam is your best choice, we encourage you to read our related blog post, where we offer valuable tips and strategies for international students to approach the IELTS exam with confidence and ace it.

Different types of Cambridge English exams

Cambridge Exams focus more on Academic English proficiency, and they are offered in three levels.

First Certificate of Cambridge (FCE) - The FCE exam serves as a recognised measure of general English proficiency, making it valuable for personal and professional development. Employers in many industries, particularly in customer service, hospitality, and retail, accept the FCE exam as evidence of sufficient English proficiency for entry-level positions. For instance, a multinational hotel chain might require a pass at grade B or higher on the FCE for entry-level receptionist positions.

Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) - Employers in various industries, particularly in academia, business, and law, often require candidates to demonstrate proficiency beyond the FCE level. The CAE is widely accepted as evidence of sufficient English proficiency for professional positions in these fields. For example, a multinational consulting firm might require a pass at grade A or higher on the CAE exam for entry-level management consultant positions.

Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - This is the highest-level English language test that Cambridge offers. The CPE is the most demanding English proficiency test and is suitable for individuals who have reached an advanced level of English proficiency and are seeking to demonstrate their language skills in the most rigorous academic and professional settings. It is a valuable credential for those pursuing doctoral studies, seeking highly specialised positions, undertaking advanced research, or showcasing their exceptional English proficiency.

Choosing between IELTS and Cambridge exams depends on your specific goals as an international student For immigration, higher education, or general English proficiency needs, IELTS is an appropriate choice. For those seeking to demonstrate their academic English prowess, Cambridge Exams are probably a better fit.

Which English language exam is right for me

SCL International College Prepares Students for IELTS and Cambridge Exams

At SCL International College, we recognise the importance of English language proficiency for international students pursuing academic and professional goals. We offer comprehensive IELTS and Cambridge Exam Preparation Courses designed to equip you with the skills and strategies necessary to excel in these exams. And if you are more interested in focusing on academic writing in English, we have a dedicated course for that, too.

Our experienced and dedicated teachers will guide you through all aspects of your exam, from understanding the format and question types to developing effective test-taking strategies. We also provide personalised feedback and support to help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement. So whether you are aiming for a specific IELTS band score or seeking to demonstrate your academic English prowess through Cambridge Exams, SCL International College is committed to helping you achieve your desired results.

Paving the way for your future

Need some inspiration?

Read Gaia’s success story!

As an international student from Italy, Gaia embarked on her English language proficiency journey with our IELTS preparation course. Thanks to our dedicated guidance and support, she achieved the desired IELTS score, paving the way for her admission into our International Foundation Programme, and specialising in Social Sciences.

Through this rigorous programme, she further honed her English language skills, culminating in offers from prestigious UK universities. Gaia's story shows how our English language preparation courses can help foreign students achieve their dreams.

Are you ready to embark on your own English language proficiency journey? Join us at SCL International College and discover the path to success. Contact one of our friendly representatives at or fill out our enquiry form for more information.


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