Business Certificates

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1 Business Certificates Business English Certificates (BEC) CEFR Levels B1, B2, C1 Handbook for teachers

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3 contents Preface This handbook is for teachers who are preparing candidates for Cambridge English: Business Certificates, also known as Business English Certificates (BEC). The introduction gives an overview of the exams and their place within Cambridge English Language Assessment. This is followed by a focus on each examination and includes content, advice on preparation and example papers. If you need further copies of this handbook, please Contents About Cambridge English Language Assessment 2 Cambridge English: Business Certificates an overview 3 Exam content and processing 4 Cambridge English: Business Certificates 4 Business Higher 4 Business Vantage 4 Business Preliminary 5 Exam support 5 Support for teachers 5 Support for candidates 6 Business Preliminary Reading and Writing paper 7 General description 7 Reading preparation 9 Writing preparation 11 Answer key 2 Assessment of Writing 21 Candidate Answer Sheet 25 Business Preliminary Listening paper 27 General description 27 Preparation 28 Tapescript 33 Answer key 35 Candidate Answer Sheet 36 Business Preliminary Speaking paper 37 General description 37 Preparation 38 Assessment of Speaking 44 Business Vantage Reading paper 45 General description 45 Preparation 47 Answer key 53 Candidate Answer Sheet 54 Business Vantage Writing paper 55 General description 55 Preparation 56 Assessment of Writing 58 Business Vantage Listening paper 65 General description 65 Preparation 66 Tapescript 7 Answer key 72 Candidate Answer Sheet 73 Business Vantage Speaking paper 74 General description 74 Preparation 75 Assessment of Speaking 81 Business Higher Reading paper 82 General description 82 Preparation 83 Answer key 9 Candidate Answer Sheet 91 Business Higher Writing paper 92 General description 92 Preparation 93 Assessment of Writing 95 Business Higher Listening paper 15 General description 15 Preparation 16 Tapescript 19 Answer key 111 Candidate Answer Sheet 112 Business Higher Speaking paper 113 General description 113 Preparation 114 Assessment of Speaking 118 Overall Speaking scales 119 Overall Writing scales 12 Speaking Assessment Glossary of Terms 121 Writing Assessment Glossary of Terms 123 Business Certificates Glossary 125 1

4 ABOUT CAMBRIDGE English Language Assessment About Cambridge English Language Assessment Cambridge English: Business Certificates are developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment, part of the University of Cambridge. We are one of three major exam boards which form the Cambridge Assessment Group (Cambridge Assessment). More than 8 million Cambridge Assessment exams are taken in over 16 countries around the world every year. To find out more about Cambridge English exams and the CEFR, go to One of the oldest universities in the world and one of the largest in the United Kingdom Departments of the University In addition to our own programmes of world-leading research, we work closely with professional bodies, industry professionals and governments to ensure that our exams remain fair and relevant to candidates of all backgrounds and to a wide range of stakeholders. Key features of Cambridge English exams Cambridge English exams: Cambridge Assessment: the trading name for the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) Departments (exam boards) Cambridge English Language Assessment Provider of the world s most valuable range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English Cambridge International Examinations The world s largest provider of international education programmes and qualifications for 5 19 year olds OCR: Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations One of the UK s leading providers of qualifications The world s most valuable range of English qualifications Cambridge English Language Assessment offers the world s leading range of qualifications for learners and teachers of English. Over 5 million Cambridge English exams are taken each year in 13 countries. We offer assessments across the full spectrum of language ability. We provide examinations for general communication, for professional and academic purposes, and also specialist legal and financial English qualifications. All of our exams are aligned to the principles and approach of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). are based on realistic tasks and situations so that preparing for their exam gives learners real-life language skills accurately and consistently test all four language skills reading, writing, listening and speaking as well as knowledge of language structure and its use encourage positive learning experiences, and seek to achieve a positive impact on teaching wherever possible are as fair as possible to all candidates, whatever their national, ethnic and linguistic background, gender or disability. Proven quality Our commitment to providing exams of the highest possible quality is underpinned by an extensive programme of research and evaluation, and by continuous monitoring of the marking and grading of all Cambridge English exams. Of particular importance are the rigorous procedures which are used in the production and pretesting of question papers. All our systems and processes for designing, developing and delivering exams and assessment services are certified as meeting the internationally recognised ISO91:28 standard for quality management and are designed around five essential principles: Validity are our exams an authentic test of real-life English? Reliability do our exams behave consistently and fairly? Impact does our assessment have a positive effect on teaching and learning? Practicality does our assessment meet learners needs within available resources? Quality how we plan, deliver and check that we provide excellence in all of these fields. How these qualities are brought together is outlined in our publication Principles of Good Practice, which can be downloaded free from 2

5 CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: business certificates An overview Cambridge English: Business Certificates an overview Cambridge English: Business Certificates were originally introduced in 1993 and feature three qualifications that provide a progressive way to develop English ability for international business and the workplace: Cambridge English: Business Higher Cambridge English: Business Vantage Cambridge English: Business Preliminary Cambridge English: Business Certificates make it easy to prove to employers the exact level of a candidate s English skills and are officially recognised by employers, universities and governments around the world. Candidates can choose to take Cambridge English: Business Certificates as either a paper-based or computer-based exam. Who are the exams for? Cambridge English: Business Certificates are typically taken by candidates preparing for a career in an international business or workplace environment, or to advance their present career. Candidates for Cambridge English: Business Higher want to: communicate effectively at managerial and professional level participate with confidence in workplace meetings and presentations express themselves with a high level of fluency react appropriately in different cultural and social situations. If a candidate has not yet entered the job market, Cambridge English: Business Higher can be used to show universities and colleges that a candidate can: Who recognises the exams? Cambridge English: Business Certificates are officially recognised by thousands of educational organisations, employers, ministries, government bodies and professional organisations throughout the world as a suitable qualification for business use. Leading international companies such as Bayer, Casio, HSBC, Vodafone and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have all recognised Cambridge English: Business Certificates. For more information about recognition go to What level are the exams? Cambridge English: Business Higher is targeted at Level C1 the second highest level on the CEFR scale. Level C1 is required in demanding professional settings, and achieving a certificate at this level proves that a candidate has reached a very advanced level of English. Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond C1 level. If a candidate achieves grade A in the exam, they will receive the Business English Certificate Higher stating that they demonstrated ability at Level C2. Cambridge English: Business Vantage is set at Level B2. A certificate at this level proves that the candidate is becoming skilled in Business English. Cambridge English: Business Preliminary is set at Level B1. Achieving a certificate at this level proves that the candidate is able to communicate with native speakers for routine business and workplace purposes. follow any academic business course at university level carry out complex and challenging research. Candidates for Cambridge English: Business Vantage want to be able to: write short pieces of business correspondence, reports or proposals read extracts from business publications listen to, understand and contribute to discussions in meetings. Candidates for Cambridge English: Business Preliminary want to: read short messages interpret charts write short s follow short telephone conversations and discussions talk about business-related matters. 3

6 EXAM CONTENT AND PROCESSING What can candidates do at these levels? The Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) has carried out research to determine what language learners can typically do at each CEFR level. It has described these abilities in a series of Can Do statements using examples taken from real-life situations. Cambridge English Language Assessment, as one of the founding members of ALTE, uses this framework as a way of ensuring that its exams reflect real-life language skills. Candidates at C2 level Reading and Writing CAN understand reports and articles likely to be encountered during their work, including complex ideas expressed in complex language. Can handle a wide range of routine and non-routine situations in which professional services are requested from colleagues or external contacts. Listening and Speaking CAN advise on/handle complex, delicate or contentious issues, such as legal or financial matters (providing they have the necessary specialist knowledge). Exam content and processing Cambridge English: Business Certificates are rigorous and thorough tests of English at Levels C1, B2 and B1. They cover all four language skills reading, writing, listening and speaking. Preparing for Cambridge English: Business Certificates helps candidates develop the skills they need in order to communicate effectively in English in business contexts. A thorough test of all areas of language ability Cambridge English: Business Certificates comprise tests of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. In Cambridge English: Business Preliminary the tests for Reading and Writing are combined into one question paper. In Cambridge English: Business Higher and Cambridge English: Business Vantage there are separate Reading and Writing papers. Each test carries 25% of the total marks. Detailed information on each test and sample papers follow later in this handbook. International English Candidates at C1 level Reading and Writing CAN understand correspondence expressed in non-standard language. Can deal with all routine requests for goods and services. CAN write most letters they are likely to be asked to. CAN, within a reasonably short time, understand most reports that they are likely to come across. Candidates at B2 level Reading and Writing CAN understand the general meaning of non-routine letters. CAN understand the general meaning of a report even if the topic isn t predictable. CAN write a simple report of a factual nature and begin to evaluate, advise, etc. CAN write a non-routine letter where this is restricted to matters of fact. Listening and Speaking CAN contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work and argue for or against a case. CAN follow discussion with only occasional need for clarification. CAN engage in an extended conversation with visitors on matters within her/his authority/competence. Listening and Speaking CAN ask for factual information and understand the answer. CAN take and pass on most messages during a normal working day. CAN express own opinion, and present arguments to a limited extent. CAN give a simple, prepared presentation on a familiar topic. English is used in a wide range of international contexts. To reflect this, candidates responses to tasks in Cambridge English exams are acceptable in all varieties and accents of English, provided they do not interfere with communication. Materials used feature a range of accents and texts from English-speaking countries, including the UK, North America and Australia. US and other versions of spelling are accepted if used consistently. Marks and results Cambridge English: Business Certificates give detailed, meaningful results. All candidates receive a Statement of Results. Statement of Results The Statement of Results outlines: the candidate s result; this result is based on a candidate s total score in all four papers a graphical display of a candidate s performance in each paper (shown against the scale Exceptional Good Borderline Weak) a standardised score out of 1 which allows a candidate to see exactly how they performed. Candidates at B1 level Reading and Writing CAN understand the general meaning of non-routine letters within own work area. CAN understand most short reports of a predictable nature. CAN make notes on routine matters, such as taking/placing orders. CAN write straightforward, routine letters of a factual nature. Listening and Speaking CAN follow a simple presentation/ demonstration. CAN deal with predictable requests from a visitor. CAN offer advice to clients within own job area on simple matters. CAN state routine requirements (e.g. asking for typing to be done). 4

7 EXAM CONTENT AND PROCESSING Certificates We have made enhancements to the way we report the results of our exams because we believe it is important to recognise candidates achievements. See below for examples of Business Preliminary. Business Preliminary Cambridge English: Business Preliminary Level B2 Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond B1 level. If they achieve a Pass with Distinction in the exam, they will receive the Business English Certificate Preliminary stating that they demonstrated ability at Level B2. Cambridge English: Business Preliminary Level B1 If a candidate achieves a Pass with Merit or Pass in the exam, they will be awarded the Business English Certificate Preliminary at Level B1. Level A2 certificate If a candidate s performance is below Level B1, but falls within Level A2, they will receive a Cambridge English certificate stating that they demonstrated ability at A2 level. Special circumstances Cambridge English exams are designed to be fair to all test takers. This commitment to fairness covers: Cambridge English: Business Certificates Business Higher Cambridge English: Business Higher Level C2 Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond C1 level. If a candidate achieves grade A in the exam, they will receive the Business English Certificate Higher stating that they demonstrated ability at Level C2. Cambridge English: Business Higher Level C1 If a candidate achieves grade B or C in the exam, they will be awarded the Business English Certificate Higher at Level C1. Level B2 certificate If a candidate s performance is below Level C1, but falls within Level B2, they will receive a Cambridge English certificate stating that they demonstrated ability at B2 level. Special arrangements These are available for candidates with a permanent or long-term disability. Consult the Centre Exams Manager (CEM) in your area for more details as soon as you become aware of a candidate who may need special arrangements. Special consideration We will give special consideration to candidates affected by adverse circumstances such as illness or bereavement immediately before or during an exam. Applications for special consideration must be made through the centre no later than 1 working days after the exam date. Malpractice We will investigate all cases where candidates are suspected of copying, collusion or breaking the exam regulations in some other way. Results may be withheld while they are being investigated, or because we have found an infringement of regulations. Centres are notified if a candidate s results have been investigated. For more information about special circumstances go to Business Vantage Cambridge English: Business Vantage Level C1 Exceptional candidates sometimes show ability beyond B2 level. If they achieve grade A in the exam, they will receive the Business English Certificate Vantage stating that they demonstrated ability at Level C1. Cambridge English: Business Vantage Level B2 If a candidate achieves grade B or C in the exam, they will be awarded the Business English Certificate Vantage at Level B2. Level B1 certificate If a candidate s performance is below B2 level, but falls within Level B1, they will receive a Cambridge English certificate stating that they demonstrated ability at B1 level. 5

8 EXAM SUPPORT Exam support Cambridge English Official Cambridge English exam preparation materials To support teachers and help learners prepare for their exams, Cambridge English Language Assessment and Cambridge University Press have developed a range of official support materials, including coursebooks and practice tests. These official materials are available in both print and digital formats. Support for candidates We provide learners with a wealth of exam resources and preparation materials throughout our main website, including exam advice, sample papers and a guide for candidates. Support for teachers This website provides an invaluable, user-friendly free resource for all teachers preparing for our exams. It includes: General information handbooks for teachers and sample papers Detailed information format, timing, number of questions, task types, mark scheme of each paper Advice for teachers developing students skills and preparing them for the exam Downloadable lessons a lesson for every part of every paper Teaching qualifications the whole range of Cambridge English Teaching Qualifications Seminars and webinars a wide range of exam-specific seminars and live and recorded webinars for new and experienced teachers. Facebook Students can also join our active Facebook community to get tips on English language learning and take part in fun and topical quizzes. Exam sessions Cambridge English: Business Certificates are available as paper-based or computer-based tests. Candidates must be entered through an authorised Cambridge English exam centre. Find your nearest centre at Further information Contact your local authorised exam centre, or our helpdesk (www.cambridgeenglish.org/help) for: copies of the regulations details of entry procedure exam dates current fees more information about Cambridge English: Business Certificates and other Cambridge English exams. Cambridge English Teacher Cambridge English Teacher is the professional membership that supports teaching excellence. It offers teachers continuous professional development that is both reliable and convenient. It includes online courses, access to ELT experts and other professionals, sharing best practice and networking. Everything is online, so is available anytime, anywhere. Cambridge English Teacher is provided by Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment, world leaders in English language teaching and assessment. Join as a teacher, or find out about Institutional Membership at 6

9 Business Preliminary Reading and Writing paper General description FORMAT Timing No. of parts No. of questions Task types Text types Length of texts Answer format Marks Writing The Reading test consists of a range of business-related texts and accompanying tasks. A text may consist of several short pieces. The Writing test consists of two business-related writing tasks in response to stimuli provided and for a given purpose and target reader. 1 hour and 3 minutes. Seven in the Reading test and two in the Writing test. 45 questions in the Reading test. Two tasks in the Writing test. Multiple choice, matching, multiple-choice cloze, form-filling note completion. From the following: notices, messages, adverts, leaflets, contents pages, graphs, charts, tables, business letters, product descriptions, reports, minutes, newspaper or magazine articles, memos. Reading: 15 4 words per text. Approximately 6 9 words overall. Writing: two compulsory writing tasks of 9 12 words in total for the paper. Reading: candidates indicate answers by shading a box or writing a word on a machine-readable answer sheet. Writing: candidates write their answers in the boxes on the answer sheet provided. Reading: Questions 1 45 carry one mark. Part 1 carries one-third of the marks for the writing test. Part 2 carries two-thirds of the marks for the writing test. Structure and tasks Reading Part 1 Task type and focus format no. of qs 5 Part 2 Task type and focus format no. of qs 5 Part 3 Task type and focus format no. of qs 5 Part 4 Task type and focus format no, of qs 7 Part 5 Task type and focus format no. of qs 6 Part 6 Task type and focus format no. of qs 12 Multiple choice. Understanding short real-world notices, messages, etc. Five short texts each followed by a 3-option multiple-choice question. Matching. Detailed comprehension of factual material; skimming and scanning skills. A text followed by questions that need matching to parts of the text. Matching. Interpreting visual information. A graphic or graphics followed by questions that need matching to parts of the graphic(s). Right/Wrong/Doesn t say. Reading for detailed factual information. A single text followed by a choice of responses: Right/Wrong/Doesn t say. Multiple choice. Reading for gist and specific information. A text followed by 3-option multiple-choice questions. Multiple-choice cloze. Grammatical accuracy and understanding of text structure. A gapped text followed by 3-option multiplechoice questions for each gap. Part 7 Task type and focus format no. of qs 5 Note completion. Reading and information transfer. Two short input texts, e.g. an and a memo, followed by a form-filling/ note-completion exercise. 7

10 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing reading PARTS The seven parts of the Reading paper PART 1 Multiple choice In this part, there is an emphasis on understanding short real-world notices, messages, etc. Sample task and answer key: pages 12 and 2. Each correct answer in Part 1 receives 1 mark. In this part there are five short texts, each of which is accompanied by a multiple-choice question containing three options. In all cases the information will be brief and clear and the difficulty of the task will not lie in understanding context but in identifying or interpreting meaning. A wide variety of text types, representative of those likely to be encountered in international business, can appear in this part, for example, , advertisements, internet newsflashes. Each text will be complete and have a recognisable context. PART 2 Matching In this part, there is an emphasis on reading for detailed comprehension. Sample task and answer key: pages 13 and 2. Each correct answer in Part 2 receives 1 mark. This is a matching task comprising one text and five questions, which are often descriptions of people s requirements. Candidates are required to match each question to an appropriate part of the text, labelled A H. (As there are only five questions, some of the options act as distractors.) The testing focus of this part is vocabulary and meaning, using skimming and scanning skills. PART 3 Matching In this part, there is an emphasis on interpreting visual information. Sample task and answer key: pages 14 and 2. Each correct answer in Part 3 receives 1 mark. This task consists of eight graphs or charts (or one or more graphics with eight distinct elements) and five questions. Each question is a description of a particular graphic (or element of a graphic) and candidates are expected to match the questions to their corresponding graphs, which are labelled A H. PART 4 Right/Wrong/Doesn t say This part tests the candidate s ability to locate detailed factual information. Sample task and answer key: pages 15 and 2. Each correct answer in Part 4 receives 1 mark. information is not given in the text (C Doesn t say ). Candidates are not expected to understand every word in the text but they should be able to pick out salient points and infer meaning where words in the text are unfamiliar. The questions refer to factual information in the text, but candidates are required to do some processing in order to answer the questions correctly. PART 5 Multiple choice This part tests candidates reading for gist and specific information. Sample task and answer key: pages 16 and 2. Each correct answer in Part 5 receives 1 mark. This part presents a single text accompanied by six multiple-choice comprehension questions. The text is informative and is often taken from a leaflet or a newspaper or magazine article. Candidates are expected to employ more complex reading strategies in this task, in that they should demonstrate their ability to extract relevant information, to read for gist and detail, to scan the text for specific information, and to understand the purpose of the writer and the audience for which the text is intended. PART 6 Multiple-choice cloze This part tests candidates grammatical accuracy and understanding of text structure. Sample task and answer key: pages 17 and 2. Each correct answer in Part 6 receives 1 mark. This is a multiple-choice cloze test. Candidates have to select the correct word from three options to complete 12 gaps. This part has a predominantly grammatical focus and tests candidates understanding of the general and detailed meaning of a text, and in particular their ability to analyse structural patterns. PART 7 Note completion This part tests candidates ability to transfer information. Sample task and answer key: pages 18 and 2. Each correct answer in Part 7 receives 1 mark. Candidates are given two short texts, for example a memo and an advertisement, and are asked to complete a form based on this material. There are five gaps, which should be completed with a word, a number or a short phrase. In this part, candidates are tested on their ability to extract relevant information and complete a form accurately. For this part, candidates need to transfer their answers in capital letters to an answer sheet. This task consists of a text accompanied by seven 3-option multiple-choice questions. Each question presents a statement and candidates are expected to indicate whether the statement is A Right or B Wrong according to the text, or whether the 8

11 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing reading PARTS Preparation General Make sure that the students read as widely as possible in class and at home. Classroom reading can include a range of reading texts from authentic sources such as business magazines and web pages, as well as Business English coursebooks. Encourage students to interact fully with each text by focusing on pre-reading questions. These stimulate interest in the topic dealt with by the text and train students in prediction techniques. It is useful for students to refer to dictionaries and grammar books while studying. However, they should also be encouraged to read texts without thinking that they need to understand every word. They are not allowed to use a dictionary in the examination and they should be trained to try to guess the meaning of unknown words from the context. Students sometimes spend too long processing the text at word level rather than trying to get a more top down view of what it is about. It is important to make sure that the students are familiar with the standard format of the test by going through the sample materials with them. Make sure that the students are familiar with the instructions on the front page of the question paper, and for each part of the test. They should also be familiar with the technique of indicating their answers on the separate answer sheet, so that they can do this quickly and accurately. They will need to be shown how to do this and to practise in a timed exercise. They need to think about the relative merits of transferring their answers onto the answer sheet at the end of each task or waiting until the end of the test. If they find it difficult to complete the parts in the time allowed, it may be wiser to transfer answers after each part. When students are familiar with the different task types, it is a good idea to discuss which part(s) take them longer to complete. Following this discussion you may wish to suggest possible timings for each task. Students may prefer to attempt tasks which they find easier first. The outcome of the discussion will also help you to decide which sections of the paper to focus on for further practice and may lead on to assistance with faster reading strategies. By part PART 1 Expose students to a wide range of notices and short texts taken from business settings. Practise answering sample questions, asking students to explain why an answer is correct (and why the two incorrect options do not apply). PART 3 Practise understanding texts which describe trends and changes. Practise interpreting graphic data and the layout used to describe it. Practise useful vocabulary such as rose steadily, remained stable, decreased slowly, reached a peak. Increase familiarity with relevant topics, such as sales of goods, share price movement and monthly costs. PART 4 Train students to identify a false statement which means that the opposite or a contradictory statement is made in the text, and to recognise that this is not the same as a statement that is not covered in the text. This can be a difficult task for candidates who are not familiar with the three choices represented by A, B and C, and who might not understand the difference between a statement that is incorrect and one that depends on information that is not provided in the text. PART 5 Expose candidates to a variety of texts of a similar length. Provide practice in improving reading speed. Discuss the following areas: title topic the writer s purpose the theme or main idea of each paragraph factual details that can be found in the text the writer s opinions (if they are evident). PART 6 Practice in the grammatical and structural aspects of the language is useful in preparing students for this part. Analyse the structure and coherence of language within longer discourse so that students are encouraged to read for meaning beyond sentence level. Ask students to analyse errors in their own work, as tasks such as this typically focus on common grammatical difficulties. Pairwork activities might be productive, as students can often help each other in the areas of error identification and analysis. PART 7 Practise extracting relevant information from texts. Practise form-filling and note-completion exercises. PART 2 Encourage students to familiarise themselves with text types that are divided into lists, headings or categories, such as the contents page of a directory or book, the departments in a business or shop, or the items in a catalogue. Set students real-world tasks that require a simple interpretation of what different parts of a text mean, using authentic but simple sources. 9

12 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing WRITING PARTS Structure and tasks Writing Part 1 Task type and focus format no. of tasks and length Part 2 Task type and focus format no. of tasks and length Internal communication (e.g. note, message, memo or ). (Re)arranging appointments, asking for permission, giving instructions, etc. Candidates are required to produce the communication based on a rubric only (plus layout of output text type). One compulsory task. 3 4 words. Business correspondence (e.g. letter, fax, ). Apologising and offering compensation, making or altering reservations, dealing with requests, giving information about a product, etc. Candidates are required to produce a piece of business correspondence based on an input text and four content points. One compulsory task. 6 8 words. The two parts of the Writing paper Part 1 of the Writing test carries one-third of the total marks available and Part 2 carries two-thirds of the total marks available. Part 1 This part tests the candidate s ability to produce an internal communication in response to input. Sample question and scripts: pages 19 and 21. Task type and focus An internal company communication; this means a piece of communication with a colleague or colleagues within the company on a business-related matter; the delivery medium may be a note, message, memo or . The range of functions in the task includes rearranging appointments, asking for permission and giving instructions. Task format Candidates are asked to produce a concise piece of internal company communication of between 3 and 4 words, using a written prompt. The text must be produced in the form of a note, message, memo or . Candidates are given the layout of memos and s (e.g. to/ from/date/subject) on the question paper, and need not copy this out as part of their answer. The rubric specifies the reason for writing and the target reader, and bullet points explain what content points have to be included. Relevant ideas for one or more of these points will have to be invented by the candidate. Part 2 This part tests the candidate s ability to produce a piece of business correspondence in response to input. Sample question and scripts: pages 19, 21 and Task type and focus A piece of business correspondence; this means correspondence with somebody outside the company (e.g. a customer or supplier) on a business-related matter; the delivery medium may be letter, fax or . The range of functions in the task includes apologising and offering compensation, making or altering reservations, dealing with requests, and giving information about a product. Task format Candidates are asked to produce an extended piece of business correspondence of between 6 and 8 words. This task involves the processing of a short text, such as a letter or advertisement, in order to respond to it. A number of bulleted content points below the text clearly indicate what should be included in the answer. Some of this information will need to be invented by the candidate. Where the delivery medium specified for a Part 2 answer is a letter, candidates need not include postal addresses in their answer. Similarly, where the delivery medium specified is an , candidates need not include to/from/subject details. Although the use of some 1

13 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing WRITING PARTS key words is inevitable, candidates should not lift phrases from the question paper to use in their answers. They would not receive credit for the language in these phrases. Accuracy and appropriacy in s Nowadays a significant proportion of written business communication is transmitted electronically, both within the company and to people outside the company. In some contexts, this technological change may have altered the nature of what people actually write. It may be argued that a new genre has emerged, characterised by brevity, informality and a lack of conventions and even of regard for linguistic accuracy. However, linguistic inaccuracy and inappropriate informality within electronic business communications is considered unacceptable by many individuals and organisations, and can be counterproductive if employed in real life. As well as being used informally, is also widely used within business cultures in which appropriacy and accuracy are perceived to be important, and this is the context of use on which Cambridge English: Business Certificates focuses. Preparation Writing In preparing students for the writing tasks, it is beneficial to familiarise them with a variety of business correspondence. Analysing authentic correspondence helps students understand better how to structure their answer and the type of language to use. It is useful to focus on the following areas: the purpose of the correspondence references to previous communication factual details the feelings and attitude of the writer the level of formality the opening sentence the closing sentence paragraphing the desired outcome. If students are in a class, ask them to write and reply to each other s correspondence so that they can appreciate the importance of accurate content. Write and analyse memos and messages to help students recognise the different levels of formality involved. It is a necessary part of preparing for the test that students understand the uses of, and styles inherent in, different types of business communication so that they are aware of how and why different types of correspondence are used. 11

14 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing sample paper PRELIMINARY READING AND WRITING BEC PRELIMINARY READING BEC PRELIMINARY Part 1 (questions READING 1 5) Part 1 (questions 1 5) READING READING QUESTIONS 1 45 QUESTIONS 1 45 PART ONE PART ONE Questions 1 5 Questions 1 5 Look at questions 1 5. Look at questions 1 5. In each question, which sentence is correct? In each question, which sentence is correct? For each question, mark one letter (A, B or C) on your Answer Sheet. For each question, mark one letter (A, B or C) on your Answer Sheet. Example: Don t forget flight BA p.m. Example: Don t forget flight BA p.m. Example Example The plane arrives at The plane arrives at Telephone message A quarter to seven Telephone in the morning. message A quarter to seven in the morning. Bill Ryan B caught quarter 9.3 past six flight in the evening. due here 11.3 now, not Bill Ryan B caught quarter 9.3 past six flight in the evening. due here 11.3 now, not C quarter to seven in the evening. C quarter to seven in the evening. When The correct does Bill answer Ryan is C, expect so mark to your arrive? When Answer Sheet like this: The correct does Bill answer Ryan is C, expect so mark to your arrive? Answer Sheet like this: A 9.3 A B C A 9.3 A B C B 11.3 B 11.3 C 12.3 C 12.3 The correct answer is B, so mark your Answer Sheet like this: The correct answer is B, so mark your Answer Sheet like this: 1 Office Staff Required 1 Office Staff Required Experience essential Experience essential Full training given (leading to Full training given (leading to recognised qualifications) recognised qualifications) 1 Office Staff Required Applicants 1 must have Office Staff Required Applicants must have A relevant qualifications. A relevant qualifications. Experience essential Experience essential B previous experience. B previous experience. Full training given (leading to Full training given (leading to C recognised training. C recognised training. recognised qualifications) recognised qualifications) Applicants must have Applicants must have A relevant qualifications. A relevant qualifications. B previous experience. B previous experience. C recognised training. C recognised training SPORTMASTER 2 SPORTMASTER Pakistan-based manufacturer of sports items wishing to do Pakistan-based manufacturer of sports items wishing to do business in Europe is looking for importers business in Europe is looking for importers TEL: TEL: Sportmaster wants to Sportmaster wants to A sell its products abroad. A sell its products abroad. B import products into Pakistan. B import products into Pakistan. C manufacture in Europe. C manufacture in Europe. 3 3 NOTICES FOR DISPLAY ABOVE THIS NOTICES FOR DISPLAY ABOVE THIS PHOTOCOPIER MUST FIRST BE PHOTOCOPIER MUST FIRST BE HANDED TO RECEPTION HANDED TO RECEPTION A You can photocopy notices at Reception for display here. A You can photocopy notices at Reception for display here. B Photocopied notices can only be displayed at Reception. B Photocopied notices can only be displayed at Reception. C Take your notice to Reception if you want it displayed here. C Take your notice to Reception if you want it displayed here. 4 THE AIRPORT EXPRESS DEPARTS FROM PLATFORM 3 EVERY 2 MINUTES 4 THE AIRPORT DURING EXPRESS THE DAY DEPARTS (EVERY FROM 3 MINUTES PLATFORM AT 3 NIGHT) EVERY 2 MINUTES DURING THE DAY (EVERY 3 MINUTES AT NIGHT) A The train service to the airport runs 24 hours a day. A The train service to the airport runs 24 hours a day. B Airport trains leave Platform 3 at 2 minutes past the hour. B Airport trains leave Platform 3 at 2 minutes past the hour. C The airport express takes half an hour at night. C The airport express takes half an hour at night. 5 Goods not normally dispatched unless paid for at time of ordering 5 Goods not normally dispatched unless paid for at time of ordering payment on delivery by special arrangement only payment on delivery by special arrangement only Customers should normally pay for goods Customers should normally pay for goods A when their order is processed. A when their order is processed. B when the goods are delivered. B when the goods are delivered. C when they place an order. C when they place an order. Turn Over ❿ Turn Over ❿ CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: BUSINESS CERTIFICATES bec HANDBOOK handbook for teachers preliminary reading and writing sample paper bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper 13 13

15 BEC PRELIMINARY READING Part BEC 2 PRELIMINARY (questions 6 1) READING Part 2 (questions 6 1) PRELIMINARY READING AND WRITING PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing sample paper PART PART TWO TWO Questions Questions Look Look at the at advertisement the advertisement below. below. It shows It shows services services offered offered by a business by a business consultancy. consultancy. For questions For questions 6 1, 6 decide 1, decide which which service service (A H) (A would H) would be suitable be suitable for each for each person. person. For each For each question, question, mark mark one letter one letter (A H) (A on H) your on Answer your Answer Sheet. Sheet. Do not Do use not any use letter any letter more more than once. than once. THINKING THINKING OF OF STARTING STARTING A BUSINESS? A BUSINESS? Need Need expert expert advice advice and/or and/or assistance assistance in one in or one or more more of the of following the following areas? areas? A Market A Market Research Research B Constructing B Constructing a schedule a schedule C Calculating C Calculating costs costs D Meeting D Meeting legal legal requirements requirements E Obtaining E Obtaining finance finance F Renting F Renting or purchasing or purchasing premises premises G Recruiting G Recruiting and training and training staff staff H Promoting H Promoting products products and services and services Margaret 6 Margaret Williams Williams needs needs help in help choosing in choosing the business the business loan with loan the with most the most competitive competitive terms. terms. 7 Ibrahim 7 Ibrahim Shah Shah wants wants to be to sure be that sure there that there will be will enough be enough demand demand for his for product. his product. 8 Maria 8 Maria Fernandez Fernandez would would like some like some advice advice about about where where to advertise to advertise a new a line new of line goods. of goods. 9 Kim 9 Seng Kim Seng wants wants to research to research new laws new on laws constructing on constructing buildings. buildings. 1 Peder 1 Peder Andersen Andersen needs needs to know to know whether whether his existing his existing funds funds are enough are enough to set to up set his up business. his business. Turn Turn Over Over ❿ ❿ bec handbook preliminary reading and writing CAMBRIDGE sample ENGLISH: paper BUSINESS CERTIFICATES HANDBOOK for teachers bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper 13

16 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing sample paper PRELIMINARY EXAM READING LEVEL PAPER AND WRITING BEC PRELIMINARY READING Part Part 3 (questions (questions 11 15) 11 15) BEC PRELIMINARY READING PART PART THREE THREE Questions Questions Look Look at the at the chart chart below. below. It shows It shows a restaurant s a restaurant s income, income, total total expenditure expenditure and and advertising advertising costs costs during during an an eight-month eight-month period. period. Which Which month month does does each each sentence sentence (11 (11 15) 15) on on the the opposite opposite page page describe? describe? For For each each sentence, sentence, mark mark one one letter letter (A (A H) H) on on your your Answer Answer Sheet. Sheet. Do Do not not use use any any letter letter more more than than once. once Income Income Total Total expenditure expenditure Advertising Advertising A A B B C C D D E E F F G G H H Month Month In this In this month, month, total total expenditure, expenditure, like like income, income, showed showed a fall, a fall, while while spending spending on on advertising advertising demonstrated demonstrated the the opposite opposite trend. trend Total Total expenditure expenditure rose rose slightly slightly in this in this month, month, while while advertising advertising costs costs reached reached their their peak, peak, leading leading to a to higher a higher income income the in the following following month. month Despite Despite a decline a decline advertising in advertising costs costs in this in this month, month, expenditure expenditure as as a whole a whole rose. rose This This month s month s improvement improvement in income income was was particularly particularly welcome, welcome, as as it was it was not not matched matched by by an an increase increase expenditure. in expenditure While While this this month month saw saw a low a low point point the in the restaurant s restaurant s income, income, expenditure expenditure continued continued to fall. to fall. Turn Turn Over Over ❿ ❿ CAMBRIDGE ENGLISH: BUSINESS CERTIFICATES bec HANDBOOK handbook for teachers preliminary reading and writing bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper sample paper 15 15

17 BEC PRELIMINARY READING BEC Part PRELIMINARY 4 (questions 16 22) READING Part 4 (questions 16 22) PRELIMINARY EXAM READING LEVEL PAPER AND WRITING PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing sample paper PART PART FOUR FOUR Questions Questions Read the Read advertisement the advertisement below below for a hot for drinks a hot drinks machine. machine. Are sentences Are sentences on 22 the on opposite the opposite page Right page Right or Wrong? or Wrong? If there If is there not enough is not enough information information to answer to answer Right Right or Wrong, or Wrong, choose choose Doesn t Doesn t Say. Say. For each For sentence each sentence 16 22, 16 mark 22, one mark letter one (A, letter B or (A, C) B on or C) your on Answer your Answer Sheet. Sheet. ADVERTISING ADVERTISING FEATURE FEATURE Save Save money money and and keep keep your your staff staff happy happy It can It be can expensive be expensive to keep to the keep the canteen canteen open to open serve to drinks serve to drinks your to your staff through staff through the day. the Our day. QVM Our hot QVM hot drinks machine drinks machine replaces replaces this service, this service, so that so you that can you close can the close canteen the canteen between between mealtimes. mealtimes. You can You install can the install QVM the hot QVM drinks hot drinks machine machine anywhere anywhere in the in building. the building. One machine One machine is suitable is suitable for a staff for of a staff of ten to fifteen ten to people. fifteen people. It costs It 13 costs to 13 to buy, or buy, 11. or 11. per week per to week rent over to rent over 6 months. 6 months. It is not It is expensive not expensive to to operate: operate: for example, for example, the cost the of cost of power for power one for day one is 3p, day is nearly 3p, as nearly as cheap as cheap the price as the of price one of hot one drink hot drink from the from machine. the machine. Our company Our company will carry will out carry a out a weekly weekly service, service, at a charge at a of charge 1.. of 1.. We can We also can refill also the refill machine the machine with with drinks ingredients drinks ingredients for an extra for an charge extra charge of 8.. of Some 8.. customers Some customers prefer to prefer do to do this themselves, this themselves, however. however. There are There eight are choices eight choices of hot drink of hot drink available available from the from QVM the machine, QVM machine, and and our company our company offers one offers month s one month s trial trial free of free charge, of charge, so that so you that can you can estimate estimate how popular how popular the machine the machine will be and will see be and what see the what actual the savings actual savings are. are With 16 a With QVM a machine, QVM machine, companies companies can avoid can having avoid having a canteen a canteen altogether. altogether. A Right A Right B Wrong B Wrong C Doesn t C Doesn t say say 17 The 17 QVM The machine QVM machine provides provides enough enough hot drinks hot drinks for up for to fifteen up to fifteen people. people. A Right A Right B Wrong B Wrong C Doesn t C Doesn t say say 18 Most 18 customers Most customers prefer prefer to rent to the rent QVM the machine QVM machine over sixty over months. sixty months. A Right A Right B Wrong B Wrong C Doesn t C Doesn t say say 19 The 19 electricity The electricity used daily used by daily the by machine the machine costs less costs than less the than price the of price a hot of drink. a hot drink. A Right A Right B Wrong B Wrong C Doesn t C Doesn t say say 2 The 2 machine The machine company company empties empties the money the money from the from machine the machine as part as of part its service of its service agreement. agreement. A Right A Right B Wrong B Wrong C Doesn t C Doesn t say say 21 Customers 21 Customers can refill can their refill machines their machines with drinks with drinks ingredients, ingredients, if they if want they to. want to. A Right A Right B Wrong B Wrong C Doesn t C Doesn t say say 22 During 22 During the trial the period, trial period, the customer the customer pays a pays reduced a reduced amount amount to rent to the rent machine. the machine. A Right A Right B Wrong B Wrong C Doesn t C Doesn t say say Turn Over Turn ❿ Over ❿ bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper 16 bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper 15

18 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing sample paper PRELIMINARY EXAM READING LEVEL PAPER AND WRITING BEC PRELIMINARY READING Part 5 (questions 23 28) Part (questions 23 28) BEC PRELIMINARY READING PART PART FIVE FIVE Questions Questions Read Read the following the following review review of a of book a book called called The The Bosses Bosses Speak. Speak. For For each each question question on 28 the on opposite the opposite page, page, choose choose the correct the correct answer. answer. Mark Mark one one letter letter (A, B (A, or B C) or on C) your on your Answer Answer Sheet. Sheet. The The Bosses Speak John John Stuart Stuart is an is an executive executive Stuart Stuart doesn t doesn t seem seem interested interested in anyone anyone can be can equally be equally successful, successful, recruitment recruitment specialist specialist who who has has these these differences. differences. The interviewees The interviewees which which is definitely is definitely not not the the case. case. turned turned to writing. to writing. The The result result is this this work work in everything, everything, from from retailing retailing And And the other other qualities qualities are ones are ones book, book, based based on interviews on interviews with with to airlines to airlines to software, to software, and it and is this it this which which most most successful successful bosses bosses I ve I ve twenty twenty Chief Chief Executives. Executives. variety variety that that forms forms the main the main theme theme seen seen definitely definitely do not do not have. have. So in So in of Stuart s of Stuart s book. book. the end the end I m no I m wiser no wiser about about what what Each Each top manager top manager none none of them of them really really goes goes on. on. famous famous names, names, surprisingly surprisingly is is I have I have to say to that say Stuart s that Stuart s approach approach given given a short a short chapter, chapter, and and there there is is annoys annoys me. me. He rarely He rarely stays stays at a at Perhaps a Perhaps I m being I m being unfair. unfair. As long As long some some introductory introductory material material and and a distance a distance from from his his interviewees, interviewees, as you as you don t don t think think about about whether whether conclusion. conclusion. This This means means you you can can who who are mostly are mostly presented presented in their in their you d you d like them like them as friends, as friends, and pay and pay jump jump from from one one person person to another, to another, own, own, positive positive words. words. If this If this were were no attention no attention to most to most of the of advice the advice in any in any order, order, which which is good is good for for always always the the case, case, at least at least you you they they give, give, the most the most readable readable parts parts people people who who are too are busy too busy to read to read would would know know where where you you were. were. But But are where are where the bosses the bosses describe describe their their a book a book from from cover cover to cover. to cover. For For he he seems seems to to dislike dislike certain certain route route to their to their present present position. position. a management a management book book it isn t it isn t interviewees. interviewees. As a As result, a result, I don t I don t expensive, although whether it s know whether to accept any of his Stuart seems to think that his book expensive, although whether it s know whether to accept any of his Stuart seems to think that his book good value for money is doubtful. opinions. would be useful for people aiming good value for money is doubtful. opinions. would be useful for people aiming for the for top, the top, and and that that it might it might even even Some Some of the of twenty the twenty interviewees interviewees It also It also means means that that the book the book gives gives make make a few a want few want to start to start their their own own started started their their own own businesses, businesses, no clear no clear lessons. lessons. At the At very the very least, least, company; company; but, but, in fact, in fact, what what they they while while others others joined joined a company a company I expected I expected to learn to learn what what makes makes a could a could learn learn here here is very is very limited. limited. and and worked worked their their way way up. Some up. Some successful successful Chief Chief Executive. Executive. But But Seen Seen as light as light business business reading reading for for are are fairly fairly new new in their in their position, position, these these people people seem seem to share to share two two a doctor a doctor or teacher, or teacher, though, though, this this and and others others have have had had years years of of types types of qualities. of qualities. Some Some of them of them book book would would provide provide some some good good experience, experience, though, though, strangely, strangely, are very are very common, common, suggesting suggesting that that entertainment. entertainment The The reviewer reviewer suggests suggests that that one one advantage advantage of the of book the book is that is that A A it is it better is better value value than than other other management books. books. B B it does it does not need not need to be to read be read right right through. through. C C it is it about is about well-known well-known people. people The The book book concentrates the on fact the fact that that the twenty the twenty executives executives who who are are interviewed interviewed A A work work in a in number a number of different of different industries. industries. B B started started their their companies. companies. C C have have worked worked for different for different lengths lengths of time. of time The The reviewer reviewer cannot cannot accept accept Stuart s Stuart s opinions opinions because because Stuart Stuart A A makes makes unreasonable complaints complaints about about the the interviewees. B B writes writes too positively too positively about about the the interviewees. C C has has different different attitudes attitudes towards towards different different interviewees Reading Reading the book the book made made the reviewer the reviewer think think that that A A there there are are certain certain qualities qualities which which all Chief all Chief Executives Executives need. need. B B it is it difficult is difficult to discover to discover how how people people really really run run a company. a company. C C running running a company a company is easier is easier than than many many people people think. think Which Which parts parts of the of book the book did the did reviewer the reviewer most most enjoy enjoy reading? reading? A A how how the the interviewees became became Chief Chief Executives Executives B B what what sort sort of people of people the the interviewees are are C C the advice the advice given given by the by the interviewees The The reviewer reviewer recommends the book the book for people for people who who A A intend intend to set to up set in up business. business. B B want want to become to become senior senior managers. managers. C C are are outside outside the field the field of business. of business. Turn Turn Over Over ❿ ❿ bec handbook preliminary reading and writing 16 bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper sample paper 17 17

19 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing sample paper BEC PRELIMINARY READING Part 6 (questions 29 4) PRELIMINARY EXAM READING LEVEL PAPER AND WRITING PART PART SIX SIX Questions Questions Read Read the the article article below below about about team-building. team-building. Choose Choose the the correct correct word word to to fill fill each each gap, gap, from from A, A, B or or C on on the the opposite opposite page. page. For For each each question question , 4, mark mark one one letter letter (A, (A, B or or C) C) on on your your Answer Answer Sheet. Sheet. TEAM-BUILDING THROUGH ACTIVITIES Nowadays, Nowadays, company company bosses bosses are are increasingly increasingly trying trying to to find find unusual unusual team-building team-building events events as as part part of of their their training training programme. programme. An An activity activity park park (29) (29) Fast-track Fast-track has has just just opened opened to to offer offer (3) (3) events. events. It It specialises specialises (31) (31) events events to to attract attract the the corporate corporate entertainment entertainment market, market, (32) (32) is is growing growing all all the the time. time. The The park park is is situated situated just just a few few kilometres kilometres outside outside the the city city centre centre (33) (33) it it provides provides events events that that (34) (34) entertain entertain as as well well as as train. train. Clients Clients can can try try outdoor outdoor attractions attractions such such as as sailing sailing or or climbing, climbing, (35) (35) availability availability clearly clearly depends depends entirely entirely (36) (36) the the weather. weather. Activities Activities of of (37) (37) kind kind are are perfect perfect team-building team-building exercises. exercises. I d I d (38) (38) been been to to an an activity activity park park before, before, explained explained James James Black, Black, a company company manager. manager. Before Before we we came, came, I didn t didn t think think we we (39) (39) enjoy enjoy ourselves ourselves so so much much and and I didn t didn t expect expect the the huge huge difference difference that that Fast-track s Fast-track s programme programme has has (4) (4) to to my my team. team. Now Now we we work work better better together together than than we we did did before. before A calling calling B calls calls C called called 3 3 A such such B like like C so so A at at B for for C in in A who who B which which C what what A and and B but but C or or A ought ought B will will C shall shall A because because B although although C since since A on on B of of C with with A a B these these C this this A still still B ever ever C never never A must must B would would C might might 4 4 A made made B had had C done done Turn Turn Over Over ❿ bec handbook preliminary reading and writing CAMBRIDGE sample ENGLISH: paper BUSINESS CERTIFICATES HANDBOOK for teachers 17

20 PRELIMINARY: Reading and writing sample paper PRELIMINARY EXAM READING LEVEL PAPER AND WRITING BEC PRELIMINARY READING Part 7 (questions 41 45) Part (questions 41 45) BEC PRELIMINARY READING PART PART SEVEN SEVEN Questions Questions Read Read the the memo memo and and note note below. below. Complete Complete the the claim claim form form on the on the opposite opposite page. page. Write Write a word a word or phrase or phrase (in CAPITAL (in CAPITAL LETTERS) LETTERS) or a or number a number on lines on lines on 45 your on your Answer Answer Sheet. Sheet. MEMO MEMO TO: TO: Barbara Barbara Sinclair Sinclair FROM: FROM: Peter Peter Rogers Rogers DATE: DATE: 25 May 25 May SUBJECT: SUBJECT: Insurance Insurance Claim Claim Could Could you you deal deal with with this? this? It s It s our our insurance insurance claim, claim, for for the the damage damage at the at the weekend. weekend. The The insurance insurance policy policy is in is my in my name, name, and and we we bought bought the the carpet carpet for for 3, 3, although although it will it will cost cost at at least least 5 5 to replace. to replace. Luckily Luckily our our office office carpets carpets seem seem fine. fine. Thanks Thanks OWEN OWEN SMITH SMITH INSURANCE INSURANCE COMPANY COMPANY with with compliments compliments Thank Thank you you for for your your recent recent phone phone call call regarding regarding flood flood damage damage in your in your photocopy photocopy room. room. Could Could you you please please complete complete the the attached attached form form and and return return it to it me to me as soon as soon as possible. as possible. Martin Martin Morris Morris Insurance Claim Claim NAME OF POLICY HOLDER: (41)..... NAME OF POLICY HOLDER: (41)..... POLICY NUMBER: LD47563C POLICY NUMBER: LD47563C ITEM(S) TO BE REPLACED: (42)... ITEM(S) TO BE REPLACED: (42)... LOCATION OF ITEM(S): (43)... LOCATION OF ITEM(S): (43)... VALUE WHEN PURCHASED: (44)... VALUE WHEN PURCHASED: (44)... CAUSE OF DAMAGE: (45)... CAUSE OF DAMAGE: (45)... DATE OF DAMAGE: Sunday 19 May DATE OF DAMAGE: Sunday 19 May Turn Turn Over Over ❿ ❿ bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper 18 bec handbook preliminary reading and writing sample paper 19 19

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