They say that life is a continuous learning process. Since you started school, your progress and your improvement has always been checked and tracked through examinations. For the most part, tests will give you the satisfaction and assurance that you’re a lot better than when you started. They are a basis of your improvement.
This rings true in the business aspect - specifically in Business English. Yes, you may be fluent and fluid in using the English language. However, business English is an entirely different thing. It takes deliberate training and practice in order to fully grasp this form of the language.
Business English Exams for Certification
But why is there a need for you to test your skills, let alone take a business English examination? Here are some main reasons why you should take a business English examination.
To Test Your Knowledge and Proficiency
We are sure that when you were a student taking tests and examinations were the most dreadful things you experience in school. But through the years, examinations have proven to be a great way of checking your knowledge and understanding of a specific subject or topic. Same goes for taking exams in business English. It would be your way to gauge your level of understanding and skill in specific language areas such as vocabulary and grammar, and your proficiency in using specific language skills such as reading and writing.
To Pinpoint Areas for Improvement
After taking the test, you will be able to determine and pinpoint the areas in business English that you will need to work on and improve on. The examination that you will take would show you what your strengths and weaknesses are.
Let’s face reality, even though you have been studying and learning business English for quite some time now, you’re still not perfect. Even top students and power users of English in the business world will find that there are still certain language areas that they are better at and there are some areas that could use some work and improvement. This would be a great opportunity for you to pinpoint the specific areas that you need to focus more on so that you can improve on it.
To Find Out What Level of English Course to Take
After seeing and reviewing the results of your business English examinations, you can now decide on what course to take to get more guidance and to speed up your learning curve. It’s best to have a teacher or a tutor who will be able to guide you, point out your areas for improvement, and answer your questions most especially in the areas of writing and speaking. Taking a level placement test would also be best so that you will be able to know what business English course level is the most suitable for you.
For Academic, Business or Immigration Reasons
There are many other important reasons as to why you need to be able to master business English in a short period of time and be ready to take English proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS to prove your fluency and proficiency.
One specific example is if you wish to enroll in an academic program like acquiring a business diploma or degree in a college or a university. Or maybe you need to know and be fluent in English for global business communications in your job or your own business venture overseas, and most especially if you are planning to live or migrate to another country.
Whatever your reason is, taking a test ahead of time, covering all your bases and improving your fluency in business English would help become more confident and prepared for when the actual test comes.
You yourself must be curious as to how far you've gone and improved from the time you started learning business English. It would be interesting to track your progress. You would feel a sense of fulfillment that you improved a lot from when you started.
The Most Prestigious Business English Examinations in the World
There are a number of organizations that supply business English examinations and qualifications.
The Three Cambridge English Business Exams
Cambridge English set the standard for all other business English examinations and qualifications. They are arguably the most highly regarded provider of English qualifications in the world.
In terms of business English qualifications, there are a lot of options to choose from. These are sets of BEC (Business English Certificate) qualifications, and Linguaskill, which used to be the BULATS qualicifation (Business Language Testing Service). The BECs come in three progressive parts.
Business Preliminary (BEC Preliminary)
This is the first of the three BEC qualifications, and this caters to people having B1 in the CEFR. Being able to pass this exam will solidify the fact that you can talk about business subjects; write business emails and take telephone calls; and understand basic diagrams and charts. The exam lasts for 2 hours and twenty minutes and has three test papers.
Business Vantage (BEC Vantage)
Now, BEC Vantage is for people with B2 level. You will be able to read articles and reports from business publications and be able to engage in business meetings with ease.
The standards for the BEC Vantage are much higher and the exam will be a little more testing which will last for two hours and forty minutes and has four separate papers.
Business Higher (BEC Higher)
Understandably, BEC higher is considered ‘advanced’, and if you manage to move past this stage, there really is no stopping you from becoming one of the most senior figures in your business organization.
You’ll be able to confidently engage in presentations and meetings, communicating fluently at senior levels, and being able to grapple with more complex business concepts. The exam is for three long hours.
Known before as BULATS, this is a test that employers and higher education institutions use to test your english language skills.
The whole exam is computer-based and will cover all the language skills required. From listening and speaking, to writing and reading.
The Five International Qualifications in Business English from Pearson and LCCI (London Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
Pearson is an academic publisher and provider of educational materials. The LCCI is an organization of business people in London. These two organizations came up with this English language qualification specifically patterned and designed for business.
There are five different Business English qualifications for the Pearson and LCCI Business English qualifications.
English for Business (Primary level)
This primary level exam is aimed at people at A1 or A2 level. Means you can use English at a basic level. The qualification will help you understand short conversations on different business topics and read basic business charts and diagrams.
English for Business (Level 1)
From A1 to B1. Level 1 qualification is going to be a bit more challenging for you because you’ll be participating in short conversations, not just understanding.
English for Business (Level 2)
Now this is for B1 and B2 level learners. The Level 2 qualification can easily be done online
English for Business (Level 3)
This will take you up to C1. At this stage you are now more confident in your English language skills. Once you complete level 3, you can progress to the Diploma for Business English and INternational Managers.
English for Business (Level 4)
And finally, level 4 qualification Is for fluent English speakers. Once you accomplish this level, you will succeed in any business context in this qualification.
Online Business English Tests to Challenge and Measure your Skills
WizIQ - Business English Online Practice Tests
You’ll be able to find over 21 online business-oriented practice tests collated by a number of writers.
The tests cover different topics and will allow you to check your skills in various areas. You can have the chance to test your business English vocabulary, check how well you know your business English abbreviations and even hone your skills in English interview vocabulary and etiquette.
St. George International - English Test: Business Vocabulary
This fill-the-blank exercise with over 20 questions that will test your vocabulary in business English. The best part is, you get to check your answers against the correct answers at the end of every test.
In this test, you can acquire useful tips such as how to interrupt politely, answer difficult interview questions and write a professional out-of-office automatic response in perfect professional English.
Preparing for Business English Exams
Preparing for a business English examination can be risky and challenging. Here are two tips, to help you prepare for a big business English exam
Find a Private Business English Tutor
The best way to improve and ease your way in this field is by having an English tutor to help you with specific areas of the exam.
Keep doing this Practice Tests
Doing practice tests over and over again, would help you get the hang of what you’re supposed to do when the actual testing day comes.
You have the luxury to choose what business English examination and qualification you want to take. You may have your own reason as to why you’re taking a business English examination. Wherever you want to take the test or for whatever reason you might be taking it, surely this would help you improve your skills in business English and help you become more equipped with the skills necessary to face the business world.