What is it?

The B1 Business Preliminary is the first of our 3 Business qualification exams. It helps learners achieve the basic practical English language skills needed for typical business situations.

B1 Business English Certificate Preliminary (BEC P)

The diagram shows all of our English exams on the CEFR   read more

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Why should I do the exam?

Having a B1 Business Preliminary level qualification proves to schools and employers that you have a useful understanding of English for practical, commonplace use in business. A B1 Business Preliminary certificate shows that you can:

  • understand brief telephone conversations
  • discuss business topics
  • interpret charts and graphs
  • compose brief business electronic mail

Format of the exam

Paper Content Marks Purpose
Reading and Writing
(90 minutes)
7 parts/ 45 questions

2 parts
50% Demonstrates that you can use language correctly; shows that you can understand the main points from diagrams and tables, as well as mails and messages.

Creation of two brief items: a business note or memo and a letter or an email.
(about 40 minutes)
4 parts/ 30 questions 25% Expects you to understand a variety of spoken sources including dialogs and discussions regarding daily work.
(12 minutes per pair of candidates)
3 parts 25% Displays your level of English while participating in discussion, asking and answering questions and sharing your points of view. Normally your test will be together with one other person.

B1 Business Preliminary (BEC P) speaking test

B1 Business Preliminary (BEC P) speaking test

Good to know

  • I'm better at speaking than writing. Do I have to pass each paper of the exam in order to pass the whole exam?
    • No. Your final grade is an overall mark determined by averaging together the scores from each of your papers.
  • Can I take one part of the exam now and do another part later?
    • No. Cambridge Assessment English requires you to take all parts of the exam during the same exam session.
  • How do I know if the exam is on paper or on a computer?
    • Our exams are normally offered as paper-based exams. If the exam is a computer-based exam, under the exam date listed on the Dates & Registration page it would appear as: "B1 Business Preliminary (BEC P) – Computer Based"
  • What must I bring to my exam?
    • Some kind of valid governmental photo identification such as a passport or identity card - check the expiration date.
    • For candidates aged 17 or under on the exam days who do not own a valid ID or cannot get an emergency passport, please complete this form and send it to the office at the latest two weeks before the exam.
    • You will need a pencil to complete the exam papers - if a pen is required it will be provided.
    • A bottle of still water is allowed.
  • What if the expiration date on my identification is expired?

  More B1 Business Preliminary FAQs

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