What is the difference between the IELTS exam and the Cambridge Suite exams, like First Certificate (FCE), Advanced (CAE) and Proficiency (CPE)?
With Cambridge there are different exams at different levels. For IELTS, you take the same exam regardless of your level.
With IELTS, there are two options: General and Academic. Here at Galway Cultural Institute, we prepare students for the Academic IELTS Exam. Classes are quite focused for those needing the exam for higher education or professional purposes.
The Writing part is very academic compared to CAE, for example, where there is much more ‘wriggle room’ for creativity.
Also, with the Reading paper, there isn't as much grammar in the IELTS exam, it's much more about speed and being analytical.
In the Listening part, you get to listen to the listening parts once and once only (like you would in a real university lecture), so the IELTS is more difficult in that respect than the CAE where you listen to each section twice.
The Speaking part last for between 11 – 14 minutes and you have to complete 3 sections. This part is done on a one-to-one basis with an examiner, compared to CAE where you take the speaking test with a partner.
All in all then, it very much depends what you want to use your English qualification for.
How do Academic IELTS Preparation Courses work at Galway Cultural Institute?
Our teachers cover the full range of skills in all classes. At Galway Cultural Institute we have syllabi specifically designed according to the length of each course. So, if it's a six-week course, a six-week syllabus is used.
The teachers work collaboratively in terms of what they cover in the classes and they ensure that all four skills are covered.
We also fully prepare students by doing a lot of practice exams, especially practice speaking exams. We also include a full mock exam day. This is a really vital part of our Academic IELTS preparation course as it helps you understand how important preparation and timing are. After a mock exam we give you feedback to ensure that you know where you can improve and where your strengths and weaknesses are. This helps you feel as prepared as possible for the real IELTS exam.
Studying independently or with a study group outside of your classes helps as well of course. The teachers in the Galway Cultural Institute library will direct you to whatever course books you need, whatever websites or other resources you need. There's a huge amount of help available here in Galway Cultural Institute.