If your business English is quite good, but you wish to improve it further, or sit an internationally recognised qualification that proves your competence, the BEC might be for you. Please follow this link if you wish to improve your business English.
The Business English Certificate
The Business English Certificate (BEC) is the most important certificate attesting the knowledge of Business English. The BEC is recognized internationally by most institutions, companies and universities.
There are 3 levels of BEC, depending on the increasing degree of difficulty within the meaning of the Common European Framework of Reference for the knowledge of languages (CEFR):
BEC Preliminary (which corresponds to a level B1 – Preliminary)
BEC Vantage (which corresponds to a level B2 – Intermediate)
BEC High (which corresponds to a level C1 – Advanced).
Where can the BEC Exams be taken?
There are thousands of authorized centers for taking the Cambridge exams (including the BEC), spread between 130 countries. This means that you can take a BEC exam practically all over the world. You simply need to find the nearest authorized center and check the first available dates.
What does a BEC exam consist of?
The BEC Exams differ slightly depending on whether you have to take an exam for the Preliminary, Intermediate or Advanced BEC. In general, however, they all include a reading part, a written production part, a listening part and a conversation.
The BEC Vantage, for example, which corresponds to a B2 level, is structured as follows:
Reading, lasting 1 hour. This section of the exam is aimed at verifying whether you are able to read and understand a text or newspaper article.
Writing, lasting 45 minutes. At this stage of the exam you must write two different texts, for example a letter, a report or a commercial proposal.
Listening, lasting 40 minutes. This section is dedicated to listening and understanding conversations that reflect typical situations or work contexts.
Speaking, lasting about 15 minutes. In this final phase of the exam you must prove, by interacting with another candidate or with your examiner, that you are comfortable in having a conversation in the commercial sphere.
How much does a BEC exam cost?
The cost of the BEC exam varies slightly depending on the various Cambridge centers. In principle, the price is around 100-120 euros for the BEC Preliminary. For the BEC Vantage and the BEC High the cost is slightly higher, around 200-230 euros.
How many times can a BEC exam be taken?
If you don’t pass the exam, you can retry it as many times as you want. Obviously, given the cost, it is important to face the exam when you feel really prepared. In any case, even if you do not pass the exam, you will be informed of your score, so that you can understand which or which of the 4 tests you have not passed. This way you can easily focus on your weaknesses and work to fill in the gaps.
Where is the BEC Exam taken in Malta?
In Malta there are 3 authorized centers for Cambridge exams. All are located in the central areas of Sliema, St. Julian’s and Valletta, where, among other things, the vast majority of English schools are located.
Do I have to decide whether to take the BEC exam before starting the Business English course?
Not necessarily. You can attend a Business English course in Malta and then take the BEC exam after returning home, choosing from one of the many authorized Cambridge centers around the world.
It all depends on how long you plan to spend in Malta. The exam must be booked well in advance: about 4 weeks before if you take the exam in paper version, a little less if you opt for the computer version.
On average, it takes 4 to 8 weeks before reaching enough preparation to take and pass the exam. If you are not sure, you should book only the course and then evaluate whether or not to take the exam directly in Malta.
In general, even if you don’t want to take the BEC exam in Malta, we advise you to inform the school and your teacher that it is your intention to obtain this certification. In this way they will be able to expressly focus on your needs and prepare you better. Maybe even with supplementary teaching materials or individual lessons.
Is it really necessary to obtain the BEC?
You can certainly prove that you have excellent English without a certificate attesting it. Much depends on the reason you want to deepen business English. If you have been working for some time, you are a freelancer and you simply need to feel more comfortable in the business world in which you already operate, it is likely that you do not care to take an exam that attests to your level of English.
Who needs the BEC?
If you are looking for a first job or if you want to work abroad (maybe in Malta, in the financial sector or in iGaming!) Adding the Business English Certificate to your cv is a really good idea.
Having such a prestigious and internationally recognized international certification of English means not only having an extra card to play, but also showing that you have dedicated time and effort to achieving a goal. In many cases, especially in particularly competitive international contexts, having an international English certification is essential to access the selection phase.
Very often it happens to find on a job description “fluent English” or “good knowledge of the English language”. But understanding what is meant exactly by fluent or good, may not be so obvious. And it is also often difficult to judge ourselves in the absence of a certificate that proves our level. In this sense, an international certificate such as the BEC solves the problem because it eliminates all doubts. In you and your interviewer.
If you want to learn more about Business English courses in Malta and prepare for the Business English Certificate, please click on the link!
Triton Fountain (c) Justin Ciappara