recently I achieved an IETLS(academic) overall band score of 6, however I have a friend that decided to take the FCE to prove his knowledge, he got a good score on this task.

From my point of view it is very hard to establish a comparison between this two results, for the following reasons, the academic version of the IELTS has a very hard writing where the student has to develop and discuss a topic in form of an essay, but this essay in my perspective is a kind of small paper to prove that you are able to write an academic paper, the most common reason to take this test is to apply for a mastery program.

The second fact is that the reading for the IELTS academic has complex vocabulary and is related with science topics and researching.

Due to this reasons my main question would be, how is comparable this score that I got with a good score in the FCE, researching more about the CEFR I found that the IELTS is able to measure a C2 student and the FCE is just measuring until the B2-C1, I am very confusing about this topic since I am not an expert about the FCE, I really appreciate any explanation, thanks for the support.

Additionally if someone decide that this question does not belong to this forum I do not have problems to transfer it to a more appropriated place.

  • 1
    Hi, neo33 - Unfortunately, I don't think this question is correct for ELL, because it's really about the details of test scoring and comparison, not about learning English. Academia.SE might be a better place.
    – stangdon
    Oct 12, 2016 at 14:18
  • The IELTS exam is the same for all candidates, you can gain a 5.0 (equivalent to A1/A2) up to a maximum of 9.0 (equivalent to C2) A pass on the Cambridge First Certificate exam, which used to be called FCE, is equivalent to B2. A very high mark is said to be equivalent to C1; however, the certificate you are awarded is still only a B2 . On the other hand, you'll have an A as your pass mark.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 12, 2016 at 14:18
  • If a university demands a C1 a candidate is better off doing Advanced, which used to be called CAE, a normal pass is a C1. But a very high mark will earn you the equivalent of Proficiency C2, which is the maximum level achievable. Even some native speakers wouldn't be able to pass that exam! It's ridiculously tough.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 12, 2016 at 14:19
  • As far as I know, FCE is roughly equivalent to IELTS band score 5.5 (it could be as wide as 4.0-7.0, though. A good chart can be found at cambridgeenglish.org/exams/cambridge-english-scale/institutions/…) As you know, IELTS General and IELTS Academic are the same in listening/speaking tasks. The differences lie in the reading/writing tasks. I think people would generally consider IELTS Academic a little more difficult, though my personal feeling is general English and academic English are just two kinds of English. Neither is necessarily more difficult than the other. Oct 12, 2016 at 14:24
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on a different sub (but is too old to migrate). See comments.
    – Andrew
    Sep 27, 2017 at 16:15


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