The Cambridge Exams and IELTS test explained:
At Morgan School of English we teach the General English and Business English Cambridge exam suite that comprises: 
>> For General English, the Cambridge main suite:
  • KET (Key English Test) for elementary students. Students are ready for this exam upon completion of their A2-level coursework. 
  • PET (Preliminary English Test) for lower intermediate students. Students are ready for this exam upon completion of their B1-level coursework.
  • FCE (First Certificate in English or Cambridge First Test) for upper intermediate students. Students are ready for this exam upon completion of their B2-level coursework. 
  • CAE (Certificate of Advanced English Test) for advanced learners -- required for entry at UK universities. Students are ready for this exam upon completion of their C1-level coursework.
  • CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English Test) for high advanced / proficient learners --- required for entry at UK universities. This exam is typically required for foreign EFL/ESOL teachers living / working overseas as proof of language mastery as well as for those wishing to undertake university coursework in the UK. This exam, when validated by a credentials evaluation service in the US, will often satisfy the mandatory general education written English requirement at American colleges and universities. Students are ready for this exam upon completion of their C2-level coursework.
>> The Business English Certificate series by Cambridge English:
  • BEC Preliminary (Business Preliminary) is an exam set at an intermediate level. Students are ready for this qualification upon completion of their B1-level coursework in Business English. 
  • BEC Vantage (Business Vantage) is an exam set at an upper-intermediate level. Students are ready for this qualification upon completion of their B2-level coursework in Business English. 
  • BEC Higher (Business Higher) is an exam set at an advanced level. Students are ready for this qualification upon completion of their C1-level coursework in Business English. 
*** NOTE: The Cambridge English exam result / certificates from the Main Suite and the BEC Series DO NOT have an expiry date.  
>> The IELTS exam: 
  • This test measures a learner's ability in each area of language (oral, reading, writing, grammar and listening) at a particular point in time. The student can, for example, take the IELTS twice a week from each other and score vastly different from one week to the next.
  • The marks assigned for each area are called "bands". UK Universities require a minimum score which varies from institution to institution for each of the areas tested. Unlike the Cambridge main suite of exams, the IELTS is only valid for 2 years from the date it was taken.
  • The beauty of the IELTS exam is that there is no overall pass/fail letter grade, which makes it an ideal test for many learners who might have a significant weakness in a particular area, be it skills or systems.
 *** NOTE: The IELTS results are valid for 2 years only!
Morgan's advice: Keep these differences very clear in your mind when choosing between the IELTS test or the Cambrige Main Suite or the Cambridge BEC Series

The difference between the various exams:

Cambridge English Exams comparison table
Click the image to go to the Cambridge English website

What's the difference between the American TOEFL® and TOEIC®? How do they compare to the British exams? 

Both exams are registered trademarks owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (or ETS) and, like the IELTS, scores are valid for only 2 years from the date the exam was taken.. They do, however, assess different language elements and the scoring between the two tests is radically different as well. 

>> The TOEFL or Test Of English as a Foreign Language:  

  • It assesses reading, listening, speaking and writing.
  • The exam can take anywhere between 3 hours 10 minutes and 5 hours depending on whether the candidate takes tine computerized or paper-based version. 
  • Widely accepted in American universities as an undergraduate pre-requirement for foreign applicants whose primary language is NOT English. 

>> The TOEIC or Test Of English for International Communication: 

  • Assesses every day English skills of people working in an international environment. There are TWO tests to choose from depending on the learner's needs:  
  1. The listening and reading tests. They have a combined score scale of up to 990 points maximum. This is a 2-hour 200-question multiple choice test. 
  2. The speaking and writing tests. They have a combined score scale of up to 400 points maximum. This exam can be completed in 1.5 hours. 

 *** NOTE: Due to exam fraud and widespread scandal in the UK and other territories, ETS exams are NO LONGER HONOURED by the Home Office for purposes of securing a UK visa. As of April 2014, ETS decided not to renew its licence as a secure English language test provider. (Source: and, accessed on 28/12/2014)


  • Information about the various Cambridge University ESOL Exams: The University of Cambridge (Cambridge English / Cambridge English Language Assessment) offers the world's most valuable range of ESOL / EFL English language qualifications recognised internationally. For specific details about the various exams offered, please visit the Cambridge EXAMS page. There are over 2,700 centres across 130 countries that offer Cambridge English exams. Contact your nearest centre to register for your exam listed under the University's find a CENTRE page. Morgan School of English is not affiliated with the University of Cambridge in any way. At our school we provide tutoring services to help students in succeeding with their exams. We provide exam preparation tutoring for the Cambridge PET (Preliminary English Test), FCE (First Certificate in English), CAE (Certificate in Advanced English), CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English), and the Cambridge Business English Certificates known as BEC PreliminaryBEC Vantage, and BEC Higher. The SCORING SCALE (grades / mark scheme) for any of the Cambridge Suite exams is found in the Cambridge English Scale page. You can also view their video from their link: Cambridge English Scale Video or you can download their Fact Sheet
  • The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is a different exam that was originally conceived and developed by Cambridge ESOL but that now stands on its own. It is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and the Cambridge English Language Assessment. Note that their scoring system is different from the Cambridge English exam suite. The IELTS exam assesses students in "bands" for each language area. 
  • These British exams and the American TOEFL and TOEIC exams are explained in detail in our School Calendar page

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