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Achieve your ambitions in international business

Cambridge English: Business Certificates, also known as Business English Certificates (BEC), are a suite of three English language qualifications for international business:

  • Cambridge English: Business Preliminary
  • Cambridge English: Business Vantage
  • Cambridge English: Business Higher

They will help you to achieve your ambitions to:

  • Work abroad.
  • Work with international organisations in your own country.
  • Study business-related subjects taught in English.

They show that you can use English confidently in international business environments.

Cambridge English: Business Preliminary

Also known as Business English Certificate (BEC) Preliminary, it is the first of the three certificates. It is an intermediate level exam.

Proving your Business English abilities can open the door to career opportunities with a new employer, or help you achieve a promotion or develop your career. Passing this exam shows employers that you have a good knowledge of English for practical, everyday use in business.

What level is Cambridge English: Business Preliminary?

Cambridge English: Business Preliminary is set at Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is the level of English required for professional and academic settings at an intermediate standard for business. Reaching this level shows employers that you can:

  • Read short business messages.
  • Interpret charts.
  • Write a short business email.
  • Follow short telephone conversations and discussions.
  • Talk about business-related matters.

The content of Cambridge English: Business Preliminary reflects intermediate level everyday business tasks. By preparing for this exam, you gain skills that will make you an asset to your employer.

What is assessed in Cambridge English: Business Preliminary?

Cambridge English: Business Preliminary is made up of three papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is in each paper below:

Paper

Reading and Writing

Listening

Speaking

Time allowed

1 hour 30 minutes

About 40 minutes, including transfer time

12 minutes per pair of candidates

Content

Reading: 7 parts
Writing: 2 parts

4 parts

3 parts

Marks
(% of total)

50%

25%

25%

Purpose

Shows you can read and understand the main points from graphs or charts, messages and emails, and can use vocabulary and structure correctly.

You are also required to be able to produce two short pieces of writing: an internal communication, such as a note or a message, and some business correspondence, such as an email or a letter.

Requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials including interviews and discussions about everyday life.

Shows your spoken English as you take part in conversation, asking and answering questions, and talking freely about your opinions, for example, when discussing business-related topics. Your Speaking test will be face-to-face with one or two other candidates.

Cambridge English: Business Vantage

Cambridge English: Business Vantage, also known as Business English Certificate (BEC) Vantage, is the second of the three certificates. It is an upper-intermediate level exam. Passing it proves to employers that you are ready for international success.

What level is Cambridge English: Business Vantage?

Cambridge English: Business Vantage is set at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is the level of English required for professional and academic settings at an intermediate standard. Reaching this level shows employers you can:

  • Write short pieces of business correspondence, reports or proposals.
  • Read extracts from business publications.
  • Listen to, understand and contribute to discussions in meetings.

The content of Cambridge English: Business Vantage reflects everyday work and business tasks. By preparing for this exam, you gain skills that will be valued by employers.

What is assessed in Cambridge English: Business Vantage?

Cambridge English: Business Vantage is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is in each paper below:

Paper

Reading

Writing

Listening

Speaking

Time allowed

1 hour

45 minutes

About 40 minutes, including transfer time

14 minutes per pair of candidates

Content

5 parts

2 parts

3 parts

3 parts

Marks
(% of total)

50%

25%

25%

25%

Purpose

Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text, such as business publications and correspondence.

Requires you to be able to produce two different pieces of writing, such as letters, reports, proposals and emails.

Requires you to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as interviews, discussions and presentations.

Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. You will take the Speaking test with one or two other candidates.

Cambridge English: Business Higher

Cambridge English: Business Higher, also known as Business English Certificate (BEC) Higher, is the third of the three certificates. It is an advanced level exam. Passing Cambridge English: Business Higher shows employers that you have the drive and motivation to achieve an advanced level of Business English, and can use your skills to function effectively in international business situations.

What level is Cambridge English: Business Higher?

Cambridge English: Business Higher is set at Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is the level of English required for demanding professional and academic settings and shows employers you can:

  • Communicate effectively at managerial and professional level.
  • Participate with confidence in workplace meetings and presentations.
  • Express yourself with a high level of fluency.
  • React appropriately in different cultural and social situations.

If you have not yet entered the job market, it can also be used to show universities and colleges that you can study business-related subjects at university level and carry out complex and challenging research. The content of Cambridge English: Business Higher reflects everyday work and business tasks. By preparing for this exam, you gain skills that will be valued by employers.

What is assessed in Cambridge English: Business Higher?

Cambridge English: Business Higher is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is in each paper below:

Paper

Reading

Writing

Listening

Speaking

Time allowed

1 hour

1 hour 15 minutes

About 40 minutes, including transfer time

16 minutes per pair of candidates

Content

6 parts

2 parts

3 parts

3 parts

Marks
(% of total)

50%

25%

25%

25%

Purpose

Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text.

You need to be able to write a variety of different items such as memos, letters, emails, reports and proposals.

You need to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as presentations, interviews and discussions.

Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. Your Speaking test will be face-to-face with one or two other candidates. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable.

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