University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations
Business English Certiﬁcates
Information for Candidates
Information for Why take BEC? Candidates – BEC Higher
More than ever, you need a good knowledge of English to succeed in international business and commerce. If you can show you have relevant language skills, you’ll have a great advantage in the jobs market and more choice if you want to work or study abroad. The Business English Certiﬁcates (BEC) from Cambridge ESOL have been created speciﬁcally for individual learners who wish to obtain a business-related English language qualiﬁcation. By taking an internationally recognised business qualiﬁcation like BEC, you can show that you have learned English to an appropriate standard and can use it in a professional context. BEC is available at three levels: BEC Preliminary, BEC Vantage and BEC Higher. BEC Higher is set at Level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
Why take a Cambridge ESOL exam?
University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL) offers the world’s leading range of qualiﬁcations for learners and teachers of English. Around 1.75 million people in over 135 countries take Cambridge ESOL exams every year. • Develop effective communication skills The Cambridge ESOL examinations cover all four language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing. They include a range of tasks which assess your ability to use English, so that you develop the full range of skills you need to communicate effectively in a variety of contexts. • Worldwide recognition Universities and employers all over the world recognise Cambridge ESOL exams as a measure of your achievement in English. Whether you are hoping to study architecture in Australia or work in IT in Italy, a Cambridge ESOL examination is a valuable stamp in your passport to success. • Quality you can trust We do extensive research and trialling to make sure that you get the fairest, most accurate assessment of your ability and that our exams are most relevant to the range of uses for which you need English.
Preparing for BEC
If you would like more practice material to help you prepare for BEC Higher, there are past paper packs available to buy which include an audio CD of the listening test. You can ﬁnd more information, prices and details of how to order on our website at: www.CambridgeESOL.org/support/pastpapers.htm
What does BEC Higher involve?
This booklet is a brief introduction to BEC Higher. If you would like to see a full sample paper for BEC Higher, you can download one from our website at: www.CambridgeESOL.org/support/dloads/bec_downloads.htm The table below shows the different parts of BEC Higher and how long each paper takes.
Name of paper Reading Writing Listening Speaking
Content 6 parts/52 items 2 tasks 3 parts/30 items 3 parts
Time allowed 1 hour 1 hour 10 minutes about 40 minutes including transfer time 16 minutes (2:2 format*)
Marks (% of total) 25% 25% 25% 25%
* 2 examiners, 2 candidates (2:3 format is used for the last group in a session where necessary)
bec higher information for candidates
Time: 1 hour The Reading paper is worth 25% of the total marks.
Part One (8 questions)
This is a matching task involving either a single text or ﬁve related shorter texts. There are also eight sentences and you have to match each one to one of the texts. You should read the sentence and then read the texts quickly to try to ﬁnd the one which matches. The language of the sentence will be different from the language of the text, so you need to make sure that you have understood the meaning. In the example below, there are some statements (1–4) about organisations which outsource (OWOs). These are organisations which give contracts for some of their activities to be run by managed service suppliers (MSSs). There are then ﬁve extracts from an article about OWOs. You have to decide which extract (A, B, C, D...
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