Cambridge English Qualifications: Busines English Certificates
@British Council

In today’s global business world it is important to show employers you can communicate in English effectively in every day business situations. We offer three Business English exams:

• B1 Business Preliminary;

• B2  Business Vantage;

• C1 Business Higher

Format of the exam:

  • Paper-based
  • Computer-based. Computer-based exams are the same as paper-based exams, only the method of delivery is different.

B1 Business Preliminary (BEC Preliminary)

B1 Business Preliminary is also known as the Business English Certificate Preliminary (BEC Preliminary). It is the first in a series of three Business Cambridge Qualifications certificates. This qualification shows employers that you can communicate in English in practical everyday business situations. It is the same level as the B1 Preliminary (PET), but is focused on English for business.

Level of qualification: Intermediate = B1 on the Common European Framework

Who should take this exam?

You should take this exam if you want to improve your English for your business career. Studying for the B1 Business Preliminary will give you a good foundation in the English skills you will need to work in international business.

To take the exam you should be able to:

• follow short telephone conversations or general business discussions

• discuss practical business tasks such as ordering or answering general enquiries

• write brief factual business letters or emails.

There are three parts to the B1 Business Preliminary exam. You do the Reading, Writing and Listening papers on the same day. You may need to return to do the Speaking on a different day. You do the Speaking with two examiners and one or two other exam candidates.

B1 Business Preliminary Reading and Writing Listening Speaking
Time allowed 1 hr 30 minutes 40 minutes 12 minutes
Marks (% of total) 50 % 25 % 25 %

External link

B1 Business Preliminary free sample tests 

B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage)

B2 Business Vantage is also known as the Business English Certificate Vantage (BEC Vantage). It is the second in a series of three Business Cambridge Qualifications certificates. This qualification shows that you can communicate in English in a business environment. It is the same level as the B2 First (FCE) qualification, but is focused on English for business.

Level of qualification: Upper Intermediate = B2 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should take this exam if you want to prove to employers that your English is good enough for you to work in an English-speaking business environment. Studying for the B2 Business Vantage will develop your confidence and the English skills you need to succeed in international business.

To take the exam you should be able to:

• understand the meaning of business reports and letters

• express your opinion or have a discussion about factual issues

• give a short prepared presentation, and write a brief proposal.

There are four parts to the B2 Business Vantage exam. You do the Reading, Writing and Listening papers on the same day. You may need to return to do the Speaking on a different day. You do the Speaking with two examiners and one or two other exam candidates.

B2 Business Vantage Reading Writing Listening  Speaking
Time allowed 1 hr 45 minutes 40 minutes 14 minutes
Marks (% of total) 25 % 25 % 25 % 25 % 25 %

External link

B2 Business Vantage free sample tests

C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher)

C1 Business Higher is also known as the Business English Certificate Higher (BEC Higher). It is the final exam in a series of three Business Cambridge Qualifications certificates. This qualification shows that you can communicate confidently in English in a business environment. It is the same level as the C1 Advanced (CAE), but is focused on English for business.

Level of qualification: Advanced = C1 on the Common European Framework.

Who should take this exam?

You should take this exam if you want to develop professional English business skills. The C1 Business Higher qualification proves to employers that you can be effective in a demanding English-speaking business environment.

To take the exam you should be able to:

• take an active part in business meetings, expressing your opinions and arguing your point of view

• understand most business reports and correspondence

• write detailed business proposals and letters.

There are four parts to the C1 Business Higher exam. You do the Reading, Writing and Listening papers on the same day. You may need to return to do the Speaking on a different day. You do the Speaking with two examiners and one or two other exam candidates.

C1 Business Higher Reading Writing Listening Speaking
Time allowed  1 hr 1 hr 10 minutes 40 minutes 16 minutes
Marks (% of total) 25 % 25 % 25 % 25 %

External link

C1 Business Higher free sample tests