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The BEC Vantage Exam

I’m due to teach a BEC Vantage course next week and I’m really looking forward to it. BEC stands for Business English Certificate and it is a Cambridge ESOL Examination which tests learners on their English ability through a business context. The exam tests a learner’s knowledge of the English language not their knowledge of business and so the exam is divided into four areas which are reading, writing speaking and listening.

The BEC Vantage course lasts for 4 weeks and during that time Course Participants are introduced to and then prepared for, all aspects of the exam. The reading paper consists of six parts which test general comprehension, in addition to grammatical and lexical accuracy. The listening paper is made up of three sections focusing on note completion, matching and multiple choice questions.

In the writing paper candidates are required to produce two pieces of business writing, one of which is a short internal company communication and another which is a report, proposal or letter. In the speaking paper candidates talk about themselves and their interests before giving a short mini- presentation and then discussing a business topic with another candidate.

I enjoy teaching the course as it is quite intensive and focussed. Everyone has the same clear goal and as a trainer, it allows me to concentrate on improving the Course Participants skills and abilities in the areas mentioned above. The first two weeks are spent looking at the constituent parts of the exam in detail and the second two weeks are spent practising the skills and techniques that are required for success. The Course Participants do a mock exam and receive constant feedback throughout the course on how and where they can improve.  The course Participants take the exam at the end of the four weeks, if they have followed all the advice and feedback they have been given, they will have a high chance of success.

The BEC exam is recognised by a large number of employers and is a nice qualification to add to your C.V.

By Ben


to consist of (v.) – a verb used to show the parts that make a total

lexical (adj.) – relating to vocabulary or words

to be made up of  (phr.) – a phrase used to show the parts that make the total

candidates (n.) – a person taking an examination or test

internal (adj.) – coming from the inside

constituent (adj.) – part of a whole

mock (adj.) – not being real

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