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B1 Business (BEC) Preliminary


B1 Business Preliminary, also known as BEC Preliminary, is a qualification which shows employers that its holders have a good knowledge of English for practical, everyday use in business.

It is the first of Cambridge English: Business Certificates (BEC) suite of exams and is set at CEFR Level B1.

B1 Business Preliminary is made up of three papers (Reading and Writing, Listening, Speaking) developed to test candidates’ English skills. B1 Business Preliminary shows that candidates can talk about business subjects, understand charts and graphs, write a short business email, and follow short telephone conversations. Achieving a certificate at this level proves that candidates are able to communicate with native speakers for routine business and workplace purposes.

B1 Business Preliminary is aimed at learners who want to:

  • Succeed in business-related studies with English language skills they can prove.
  • Improve their career opportunities – get the English language skills they need to be successful.

B1 Business Preliminary is accepted globally by top international companies as well as education institutions and business schools.




# of items

Reading & Writing

1 hour 30 minutes

Part 1

Five very short texts (signs, messages, postcards, emails, labels, etc.) each followed by a 3-option multiple-choice question. Candidates have to read them and choose which of the three sentences (A, B or C) is correct.

5 questions

Part 2

Five short descriptions, often of peoples requirements, and one text to read. Candidates have to match each person to part of the text.

5 questions

Part 3

Eight graphs or charts (or one or more graphics with eight parts) and five questions. Candidates need to match each question to a graph or part of a graph.

5 questions

Part 4

A text and seven questions. For each question, candidates have to decide if a statement is A 'Right' or B 'Wrong', according to the text, or if the information is not given in the text, they should choose C 'Doesn't say'.

7 questions

Part 5

A text, often from a leaflet or from a newspaper or magazine article, with six multiple-choice questions. Each question has three options and candidates have to choose which of the three (A, B or C) is correct.

6 questions

Part 6

A text (newspaper or magazine article, advert, leaflet, etc.) with twelve numbered spaces. Each space represents a missing word and candidates have to choose the right answer (A, B, or C).

12 questions

Part 7

Two short texts (memos, emails, notices, adverts, etc.) and a form to complete. Candidates have to read the texts and fill in the correct information (a word, a number or a phrase) in the empty spaces on the form.

5 questions

Part 8

An internal company communication. The instructions tell candidates who to write to and what they should write (e.g. a note, a message, a memo or an email).

30-40 words

Part 9

A piece of business correspondence (letter or email) or a notice, an advert, etc., to read. The instructions tell candidates what to write and who to write to.

60-80 words



about 40 minutes

Part 1

Eight short conversations/monologues (one person speaking). For each recording, there is a multiple-choice question, which may be in the form of words or pictures. Candidates have to listen to the recordings and choose the right answer (A, B or C).

8 questions

Part 2

A short conversation or monologue which contains factual information and a form, table, chart or set of notes with gaps. Candidates have to listen to the recording and write the correct information (dates, prices, percentages, figures, etc.) in the gaps.

7 questions

Part 3

A longer monologue and a page of notes or a form with gaps. Candidates have to listen to the recording and fill in the missing information (one or two words) in the gaps.

7 questions

Part 4

A longer recording (about 3 minutes) which may be an interview or a discussion between two or more speakers on a business-related topic. Candidates have to listen to the recording and choose the right answer (A, B or C) for each of the eight multiple-choice questions.

8 questions



12 minutes per pair of candidates

Part 1

Conversation between the examiner and each candidate. The examiner encourages the candidates to give information about themselves and to express personal opinions.

Part 2

A mini-presentationby each candidate on a business theme. The candidates are given prompts which generate a short talk on a business-related topic.

Part 3

A collaborative task which candidates do together. The candidates are presented with a scenario supported by visual or written prompts which generate a discussion. The interlocutor extends the discussion with further spoken prompts.


Register online for your exams through ORFEAS, our online registration system. Find an examination center close to home from a choice of 100 locations throughout Greece and abroad, and complete your application online with your debit, pre-paid or credit card.

You will receive all the details for your upcoming exam via email in a single document that you can save, print and take with you on the day of your test. You will also be sent updates on the status of your application and useful support materials. Expect invitations to webinars for tips and strategies that will help you prepare effectively for the exam.

The ORFEAS registration system does away with print application forms and visits to the bank. Start and complete your registration online in a few simple steps. Use your home computer, tablet or smartphone to apply for your exam.

B1 Business Preliminary (BEC Preliminary) is recognized by the private sector. It is also officially recognized in Greece by the state (ASEP/Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection) as a certification of English language competence at various levels depending on the Cambridge English Scale overall score, as follows:

Level of recognition

Overall score





B1 Business Preliminary is accepted globally by top international companies as well as education institutions and business schools.

How can I apply?

Use this link to enter the ORFEAS online registration system. From there, follow the steps as suggested. Choose your exam, date and venue and then provide your personal details. In the last step you will be asked to pay with your card of choice. All the information you will need for the day of the exam will arrive in your inbox via email and SMS.

What if I have a question about the procedure?

If you have any questions about the procedure, even as you complete the steps in the process, contact us on 2103680000 for assistance. We have staff available from 9 am - 5 pm on weekdays to help you complete the registration process and answer your questions.

Can I see the status of my registration after I have applied?

Once you complete your registration you will be sent updates on the status of your application. For example, any changes to the date of the examination, if these occur, will be communicated to you via email, SMS or telephone by our support team.

Additional services:


  • Cambridge Assessment English
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