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Scrambled Eggs is the top school in Milan for your English exam preparation, whether it be IELTS (link to our courses) our Cambridge (link to FCE course). Deciding to take an English Exam prep course with us is a no-brainer, but the real question you need to ask yourself is the following: which English exam is the right one for me?

We all know the importance of English exams. If you want to get into a good university, if you want to graduate from one, if you want to show your future employee that you can get by in English. Whatever the reason is, you’ve come to this crossroad and now it’s not if you need to take an exam, but rather which one. So what are the differences the IELTS and Cambridge English exams? First off, what do these letters stand for?

  • PET = Preliminary English Test (aka Cambridge PET)
  • FCE= First Certificate in English, (aka Cambridge English: First)
  • CAE= Certificate in Advanced English (aka Cambridge English: Advanced)
  • CPE= Certificate of Proficiency in English (aka Cambridge English Proficiency)
  • IELTS= International English Language Testing System.

One thing that’s for sure is that both the Cambridge exams and the IELTS test all four major English skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. On top of this, however, there are some differences between them.

The most evident difference between the Cambridge tests and the IELTS exam is for the latter there is only one IELTS exam for every level whereas the Cambridge tests are level-oriented. This means that people from A, B and C level will all take one single IELTS exam on the same day, while the PET is for intermediate B1, the FCE is for an upper-intermediate/low advanced B2 level qualification, the CAE is a C1 level exam and therefore very high level, and the CPE is for a C2 level, which is the utmost.

Now that you’re all filled in, let’s look at the ways that the IELTS exam and the Cambridge exams are assessed:

IELTS – 2 hours and 45 minutes
Cambridge – 4 hours

IELTS – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking

Cambridge – Reading & Use of English, Writing, Listening, Speaking

Speaking section:
IELTS – one-on-one with the examiner

Cambridge – with a partner that you can choose or be assigned randomly

Listening section:
IELTS: recording is only played once

Cambridge: recording is played twice

IELTS: a sliding scale where level (A, B, C) is given based on your performance

Cambridge: depending on the level you choose (for example, FCE = B2), you can score a level below the goal, the goal, or a level above the goal.

IELTS: valid for 2 years

Cambridge: no expiration date

Reasons to take the exam:
IELTS: Academic version for universities, general version for work or immigration purposes

Cambridge: for general personal gain, as a CV booster or for school purposes.

 And there you have it! While both tests can get you a certified English level, only one is the right exam for you. And naturally, if you have any doubts or if you’re ready to take the English exam preparation course, Scrambled Eggs English School in Milan, with its qualified native English teachers, is at your service!