Business English Certificate (BEC) Higher Level C1

Business English Certificate (BEC) Higher Level c1


Cambridge english qualifications


Marks and results

Business Certificates give detailed, meaningful results




The certificate shows the candidate’s:                                                                                             

score on the Cambridge English Scale for each of the four skills
overall score on the Cambridge English Scale grade
level on the CEFR
level on the UK National Qualifications Framework (NQF).






Exam format

C1 Business Higher is made up of four papers developed to test your English skills. You can see exactly what is in each paper below.

Paper Content Marks
(% of total)
(1 hour)
See sample paper
6 parts 25% Shows you can deal confidently with different types of text.
(1 hour and 10 minutes)
See sample paper
2 parts 25% You need to be able to write a variety of different items such as memos, letters, emails, reports and proposals.
(about 40 minutes, including transfer time)
See sample paper
3 parts 25% You need to be able to follow and understand a range of spoken materials, such as presentations, interviews and discussions.
(16 minutes per pair of candidates)
See sample paper
3 parts 25% Tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. Your Speaking test will be face-to-face with one or two other candidates. This makes your test more realistic and more reliable.



Should I do CAE or BEC Higher?


Dear students,

If you're at B2/C1 level and want to get a Cambridge certificate, you have a choice between taking a Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) course or studying towards the Cambridge English: Business Higher (BEC Higher). So which is best for you?

While a CAE course has quite different topics from a BEC course (e.g. travel + sports versus Customer Relationship Management), you'll still have a lot of grammar either way. If grammar is your biggest weakness, the CAE exam has a Use of English section, while BEC doesn't (at the moment), so if you know enough business vocabulary you might find BEC easier.


Choose a CAE course if

  • You don't know much business English and aren't interested in learning it.                       
  • You already know a lot of business English and want to improve your general skills.
  • You're learning English for purposes like travel.




Choose BEC Higher if

  • You need a certificate that will help you get a corporate job.                                                                  
  • You plan do work in a business environment and need to improve your business English vocabulary and writing.
  • You work in the business world and lack confidence in your English.