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British Council

In today’s global business world, it is important to show employers you can communicate in English effectively in everyday business situations. We offer the three levels of Cambridge English: Business (BEC) exams:

Cambridge English: Business Preliminary (BEC Preliminary)

Cambridge English: Business Preliminary is also known as the Business English Certificate (BEC) Preliminary. It is the first in a series of three Cambridge English Business Certificates. This qualification shows employers that you can communicate in English in practical everyday business situations. It is the same level as the Cambridge English: 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 BEC 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 Cambridge English: 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.

BEC PRELIMINARY READING AND WRITING LISTENING SPEAKING
Time allocated 1h30 min 40 min 12 per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 50% 25% 25%

Cambridge English: Business Vantage (BEC Vantage)

Cambridge English: Business Vantage is also known as the Business English Certificate Vantage (BEC Vantage). It is the second in a series of three Cambridge English: Business certificates. This qualification shows that you can communicate in English in a business environment. It is the same level as the Cambridge English: 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 BEC 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 Cambridge English: 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.

BEC VANTAGE READING WRITING LISTENING SPEAKING
Time allocated 1h 45 min 40 min 14 min per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 25% 25% 25% 25%

Cambridge English: Business Higher (BEC Higher)

Cambridge English: Business Higher is also known as the Business English Certificate Higher (BEC Higher). It is the final exam in a series of three Cambridge English: Business certificates. This qualification shows that you can communicate confidently in English in a business environment. It is the same level as the Cambridge English: 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 BEC 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 Cambridge English: 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.

BEC HIGHER READING WRITING LISTENING SPEAKING
Time allocated 1h 1h10 min 40 min 16 min per pair of candidates
Marks (% of total) 25% 25% 25% 25%

Sitting a Cambridge English Language Assessment in Paris and suburbs

Register for Cambridge English Language Assessment exams in Paris.

Find our when you can sit for Cambridge English exams in Paris, and the examination fees. 

What to expect on exam day?

Results for paper based exams are available between four and six weeks after you take the exam, and for computer based, two weeks after you take the exam. 

Why the British Council?