Features of the Cambridge BEC Higher English exam, level C1

If you are thinking of taking advantage of your advanced knowledge of English to open doors in the international arena, today we are going to help you. We want you to take into account the possibility of taking the Cambridge BEC Higher English exam, level C1, with which you can demonstrate your skills in English to work both anywhere in the world and from your country, but with international companies. If you don't know where to start, don't worry, as we leave you all the details you need. We explain what the certificate consists of, how you can prepare it on your own, when you can take the exam and the fastest and safest way to enroll.

Structure of the Cambridge BEC Higher English exam, level C1

It is one of the Cambridge English qualificationsShow that you have the language skills necessary to work effectively in international settings.

With the C1 Business Higher qualification you show companies that you have reached an advanced level in Business English.

The Cambridge English: Business Certificates (BEC) suite consists of three exams. Each exam is aimed at a different level and C1 Business Higher is the third of them. The content of each exam is based on everyday work and business tasks and is designed to develop your English skills in business.

In the following table you have the most relevant data visually:

Scale score:


Exam format:

Computer or paper version

Number of tests:


Exam duration:

About 3 hours

The C1 Business Higher certificate shows that you can:

  • Communicate effectively at a professional and managerial level;
  • Security necessary to participate in work meetings and presentations;
  • Express yourself with a high level of fluency;
  • React appropriately to different cultural and social situations.

Reasons to choose C1 Business Higher:

  • Open the doors to your business future.
  • You gain the necessary skills in English to develop in a business environment.
  • Recognized worldwide by international companies and leaders in their sectors such as Procter & Gamble, HSBC, and Ferrovial, as well as educational institutions and business schools.

This degree is recognized worldwide by thousands of leading companies, universities, and organizations in their sectors. With Cambridge, you have the necessary security and confidence that will open the doors to your academic and professional development. You have all the information of interest necessary to perform the test: 

Exam format

The C1 Business Higher consists of four tests developed to assess your skills in English. You can see the content of each test below, in the following table, in which you have all the data collected:



(% of total)


Reading Comprehension
(1 hour)

6 parts


Show that you can handle different types of text fluently.

Written expression
(1 hour and 10 minutes)

2 parts


You have to be able to write different texts, such as memos, letters, emails, reports and proposals.

(about 40 minutes, including time to transfer answers)

3 parts


You have to be able to follow and understand various oral content, such as interviews, discussions and presentations.

Oral expression
(16 minutes for each pair of candidates)

3 parts


It tests your ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face situations. Your speaking test will take place face-to-face with one or two other candidates. This makes your test more realistic and reliable.

—The C1 Business Higher reading comprehension test consists of six parts with different types of text and questions. In each part you have to read a long text or two or more related texts of shorter length.

Take a look at the following summary table to begin with:



1 hour

Number of parts:


Number of questions:



25% of the total

Length of the texts:

There are 3,000–3,500 words to read in total.

Part 1. Pair:

What is Part 1 made of?

A single text divided into sections or five related short texts plus a series of statements. You have to match each statement with the text or section where the information can be found.

What do I have to practice?

Reading to find out the essence and global meaning.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

One point for each correct answer.

Part 2. Pair:

What is Part 2 made of?

A text with six numbered blanks, each of which represents a missing phrase, and some phrases (A – H). You have to read the text and the sentences and then decide which sentence corresponds to each blank.

What do I have to practice?

Understand the structure and read to find out the details.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

One point for each correct answer.

Part 3. Multiple choice:

What is Part 3 made of?

A text followed by some multiple choice questions. They can be complete questions or incomplete sentences. In each there are four options and you have to choose A, B, C or D.

What do I have to practice?

Understanding of general points and specific details.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

One point for each correct answer.

Part 4. Multiple Choice Blanks:

What is Part 4 made of?

A text with some numbered blanks, each of which represents a missing word. You have to choose the right word for each blank from four options (A, B, C or D).

What do I have to practice?

Reading - vocabulary and structure.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

One point for each correct answer.

Part 5. Blanks with open response:

What is Part 5 made of?

A text with some numbered blanks, each of which represents a missing word. You have to identify the correct word for each blank.

What do I have to practice?

Reading to find out the structure of the text and the characteristics of the speech.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

One point for each correct answer.

Part 6. Correct text:

What is Part 6 made of?

A text in which some lines are correct and other lines contain an unnecessary word left over. If the line is correct, you must write 'CORRECT' on your answer sheet. If the line is incorrect, you must write the remaining word

What do I have to practice?

Reading to understand the structure of sentences and identify mistakes.

How many questions are there?


How do they score?

One point for each correct answer.

How to prepare for the exam on your own

The University of Cambridge makes available to the candidate all this concentrated material, essential and necessary to prepare for the exam. You will find old tests such as models, activities, and exercises, as well as recommended books for further preparation.

Take an English level test, it will allow you to know if you are ready to face this exam. It's free and only takes a few minutes. Remember that if you do not have well-internalized knowledge of English of a C1 level for the workplace, you cannot take this exam.

In addition to all this official, basic and necessary material to pass the exam, we also want to leave you a complementary and general material that can help you a lot to achieve your objectives. Remember that it is a C1 level, a practically bilingual level, which allows you to approach the English language without adaptations as a native would do, so you can use all the material you want. Also keep in mind that it is a level that requires effort and work, fundamental daily planning to achieve your goals:

Exam dates and results

In the following link, you have all the information related to the exam centers that may interest you the most.

In any case, from the search engine, you will be able to see all the options that best suit your needs. Get in touch with them, as they are the ones who can assure you precisely when the tests will be done, under what conditions, registration dates, and prices. Directly from this same link, you can register, so that you do not run out of your place and so you can take the exam.

All candidates receive a Score Report and, if they pass the exam, they will also receive a certificateYour Score Report will be available online four to six weeks after the paper test, and two to three weeks after the computer test. 

They will send your certificate to the test center approximately 2-3 weeks after the scores are availableThen your test center will send it to you. If you took a paper exam, we will send your certificate to your center between seven and nine weeks after your exam date. If you took an exam by computer, we will send your certificate to your center between five and six weeks after the date of your exam.

Depending on the university, college, or organization you wish to apply to, you will be asked to achieve a specific grade or score, either globally or in a specific skill. In B1 Preliminary the following scores will be used when presenting the results:

Score on the Cambridge English Scale


CEFR level











Level A2


The exam is focused on Level B1 of the CEFR. The exam also provides a reliable assessment of the level immediately above B1 (Level B2) and below (Level A2).

Scores between 120 and 139 are also included in your Grade Report, but in that case, you will not receive the B1 Preliminary for Schools English Test certificate.

Your Rating Report (Statement of Results) will contain the following information:

  • Scores according to the Cambridge English Scale in each of the four skills: Reading Comprehension (Reading), Written Expression (Writing)Listening Comprehension (Listening), and Oral Expression (Speaking) ;
  • score according to the Cambridge English Scale on the comprehensive exam;
  • grade (A, B, C, Level A2) in the global exam;
  • CEFR level in the global exam.
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