Cambridge Exams or IELTS – which exam to take?

Cambridge Exams or IELTS – which exam to take?

Being able to speak a second language is always going to open doors and create opportunities, however more and more frequently now employers and universities are asking for evidence that you speak another language – and this evidence is usually in the form of an exam certificate – either the ‘Cambridge’ exams or IELTS – but which one should you take?


It can be quite difficult to decided which exam is the best option for you and let’s face it – taking exams is not exactly the most enjoyable way to spend your time or your money! So ABLE Manchester English Language Academy have created this little guide so you can decide which one to take!

Cambridge Exams

The Cambridge Exams – B1/B2/C1/C2 or otherwise known as The PET/ FCE or ‘The First’/ CAE or ‘The Advanced’ and CPE.


These exams are a great test of your General English ability and are something that employers look for – particularly the civil service.

All the Cambridge exams contain four parts – reading and use of English, listening, writing and speaking. However the exams are divided into levels – so you must make sure that you enter the correct exam for your level!

The best thing about the Cambridge exam is that once you’ve taken the exam – it’s valid for life! You never need to take it again! However you do need to wait up to two months to get your marks.



There are two types of IELTS exams – the general exam and the academic exam.

Both IELTS exams contain four parts – reading, writing, listening and speaking. However some people might say that the General exam reading paper is a little easier.

The IELTS exams are multi-level, meaning that all candidates are given the same exam paper regardless of their English language ability. When the candidate has the exam marked they are given a Band between One and Nine – (Band One being no English and Band Nine being a native speaker).

The drawback with the IELTS exam is that is only valid for two years so you should only do this exam if you are applying to university or a potential employer has asked for this exam.


ABLE Manchester English Language Academy can help you to prepare for both the IELTS exams and the Cambridge – passing the exams is not just dependent on your language level, you also need to learn the techniques and tricks which will help you pass the exam in the shortest possible time! ABLE Manchester can help you do both!

All of our teachers have over five years experience and have prepared 100s of people for the exam and have an excellent track record for helping students pass the exams in the shortest time possible. What’s more all of our classes are only £5.00 per hour – making us the cheapest English school in Manchester!


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