Is BEC important for business English students

Cambridge Certificate

The Cambridge Certificate is an English language certificate from Cambridge University for non-native speakers. It is taken annually by around 3 million people from 130 countries. The Cambridge Certificate serves to certify qualified English skills and is recognized internationally by educational institutions and companies. The exams are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and are offered in the following categories: General English, Professional English (e.g. Business English), Academic English, Children's English, and Teaching Qualifications. An acquired Cambridge Certificate is valid for life.

Cambridge Certificate exam categories

  • A2: Key English Test (KET)
  • B1: Preliminary English Test (PET)
  • B2: First Certificate in English (FCE)
  • C1: Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
  • C2: Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

The Key English Test (KET for short) is the easiest language test at Cambridge University. In the Common European Framework of Reference (GER) it corresponds to level A2.

The Preliminary English Test (PET) is a test of English language skills at an intermediate level (GER: B1). The PET tests the four skills of writing, reading, listening and speaking using everyday examples.

The First Certificate in English (short: FCE), also known colloquially as First, is the first ESOL exam. The acronym ESOL stands for “English for Speakers of Other Languages”, but since 2013 the range of exams has been renamed “Cambridge English Language Assessment”. The Cambridge First Certificate is an internationally recognized language test and has a requirement profile and level comparable to the TOEFL test. The Cambridge Certificate is valid for life.

The Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE for short) is a language certificate from the University of Cambridge. It is the second highest ESOL exam. The certificate entitles you to study at universities in the UK.

The Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE for short, often also Proficiency) is the most demanding of the Cambridge University English exams. The CPE is aimed at people who are not English as their mother tongue and proves that the people concerned have achieved a very high level in the English language and can communicate in almost any situation in a stylish and error-free manner. The CPE is recognized at many universities as an entry requirement for English-language courses, but the less extensive CAE or FCE tests are often sufficient for this. As the highest possible exam in the context of the ESOL exams, the CPE level is one level higher than the globally recognized Business English Certificate of the highest level (BEC Higher).


English for business

  • B1: Business English Certificate (BEC) Preliminary
  • B2: Business English Certificate (BEC) Vantage
  • C1: Business English Certificate (BEC) Higher
  • B2 / C1: International Legal English Certificate (ILEC)
  • B2 / C1: International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE)
  • All levels: Business Language Testing Service (BULATS)

The Business English Certificates (BEC) are exams for business English. They are mainly based on realistic situations from everyday professional life. They are offered in the GER levels B1, B2 and C1 and can also be completed on the computer.

The International Legal English Certificate (ILEC) is aimed specifically at lawyers and law students.

The International Certificate in Financial English (ICFE) is designed for finance and accounting as well as for students in these fields.

The Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) is an English test with which companies and other institutions can test and assess the language skills of their employees or applicants. Particularly job-related language skills are tested. The test can be taken directly in the company on the computer (while ensuring secure examination conditions), but also online or in a paper version.

YLE (Young Learnders English Test)

The Young Learners English Tests (YLE) are aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 12 and are offered at three levels.

  • Young Learners English (YLE) Starters -
  • Young Learners English (YLE) Movers A1
  • Young Learners English (YLE) Flyers A2

Cost and preparation

The cost of the Cambridge test varies depending on the level and type of test, participants must reckon with 150 - 200 euros. The Cambridge tests can only be taken at authorized examination centers that are subject to UCLES regulations. Registration then takes place at the respective examination center, which charges the examination fees and conducts the exams. There are now Cambridge examination centers in over 135 countries. They are mostly run by universities, language schools or various training and further education institutes.

-> to the Exam courses