C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher)

Reading

Six parts, 52 questions, one point per question. One hour. 25% of the exam.

Introduction

The questions in the reading paper are of equal value and you will receive one mark for each question. If you do not answer a question, or if you answer incorrectly you will receive zero points. You do not lose points if your answer is wrong. I always remind my students that it is important to write an answer to all the questions, even if you are not sure of the answer or if you have no idea at all. However, if you write multiple answers then to a multiple-choice question, then you will receive zero marks.

I also recommend that you make sure you go on to the next question if you find a question difficult and cannot find the answer. It is important to manage your time well during the reading exam, so do not waste it on one specific question which only has one mark. Go on to the next question and try again later if you have time.

It is important to use different techniques for each part of the paper. With some parts, you don’t need to read everything or even to start with the reading text. You are not reading an email or a report which you need to read from beginning to end. You are doing an exam and your objective is to find the answers to the questions. In fact, you don’t need to do the test in the normal order, starting with Part One and continuing to Part Five.

You can find out more about choosing the order to answer the reading paper questions in the C1 Business Higher Preparation Guide, available here.

C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher) Reading Part One. 8 points.

The Task

There are five short texts and eight statements. The task is to decide which text each statement refers to. There are no extra or incorrect statements.

You can download an example of Reading Part One here.

Procedure

  •  Read the first short text A. Read the text quickly for general understanding then go back and highlight the keywords and/or the parts of the text which are specific to the person writing or the specific topic/area of the text. This can be a quick process because at this level your reading skills should be strong and because the texts are short.

C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher) Reading Part One Question
  • Read statement 1 and decide if it has any connection to text A. If you are sure it relates to text A then write A next to the sentence. If you are not sure, write A and a question mark ?. If you are sure it has no connection do not write anything.
  • Repeat the process with statements 2-8.

  • Then read text B, for understanding then going back to highlight the keywords and then read the statements again, repeating the process above.

  • Repeat the process with texts C D & E. You will often find that when you read texts C-E you will recognise the statements which are connected with each text. This is one advantage of following this procedure.

  • Review your answers. Check that you do not have more than three sentences 1-8 for each short text A-E. Usually, for one or two texts there will only be one sentence connected to it.

C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher)

Reading Part Two. 6 points

The Task

There is a long text/article and eight sentences. There are seven sentences missing from the text. The task is to place six sentences into the correct place in the text. The first missing sentence is given to you as an example. There is one sentence you do not need.

You can download an example of Reading Part Two here.

Guide to the Task

This is a very complex task. If you put a sentence in the incorrect place, you can actually lose two marks because firstly the answer is wrong and secondly because the sentence could be correct in another space.

Procedure

  • The first thing you should do is put a line through the sentence H because this is the example, it is already in the correct place in the text and you do not need to read it. I have often had students who not only read this sentence but also try to put it as an answer. Put a line through it first so you do not make this mistake.

  • Read the context. This is given in the first line of the task description.

. C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher) Reading Part Two Question
  • Find the number 9 and read the sentence before and after it only. Highlight the keywords which can be vocabulary AND reference words. Reference words refer to something already mentioned somewhere in the text. They are words you know, like, he/she/it/they/ or this/ these/those, his/her/their. It is useful to highlight words like this because they help you decide if a sentence is correct or not, even the difference between this and those (singular vs plural) can be helpful here.
  • Quickly read the seven sentences looking for any words similar to your vocabulary keywords. For example, if you highlighted employees, then words like staff and workforce are similar. Highlight any sentences containing similar words. Hopefully, there will only be one or two.

  • Highlight the reference words in the possible answer sentences,

  • Then check if the sentence fits in the text, do the reference words match? Check for singular and plurals, For example, they and companies. You could also check if your sentence(s) are positive or negative. This can help you decide if the sentence fits.

  • Then read sentences before and after 10 and repeat the process and so on with 11-14.

  • Finally (re) read all the paragraphs containing the missing sentence or at least read the parts of the text containing the missing sentences. Does it make sense with the sentence you have chosen? If not, look again at the problem sentences and make changes. Remember that this could save you 2 points in the exam.  

Now that you understand how to maximise your score for the C1 Higher Reading Parts 1 & 2 you are now ready to start learning how to prepare to succeed in Parts 3 & 4 and Parts 5 & 6.

If you prefer to focus on improving your score in a different part of the C1 Higher exam then try Writing, Listening, or Speaking.