B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage) Reading

5 parts, 45 questions, one point for each question.

1 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 B2 Business Vantage Preparation Guide, available here.

B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage)

Reading Part One. 7 points

The Task

There are four short texts and seven statements. The task is to decide which text each statement refers to. There are no wrong statements. You will need to use the four short texts more than once.

You can download an example of Reading Part One here.

Procedure

  • Read the context of the short texts first. This is in the first line of task description under the words Questions 1-7.

  • Read the first short text A. Read one or two sentences, then go back and highlight the keywords, then repeat the process until you have finished the text. 

B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage) 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 2-7.

  • Then read text B, highlighting the keywords and then read the statements again, repeating the process above.

  • Repeat the process with text C & D. You will often find that when you read text C & D you will recognise the statements which are connected with each text.

  • Review your answers. Check that you do not have more than two sentences 1-7 for each short text A-D. For one text there will only be one sentence connected to it.

B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage)

Reading Part Two – 5 points

The Task

There is a long text/article and seven sentences. There are six sentences missing from the text. The task is to place five 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.

This is a very complex task. You can download an example of Reading Part Two here.

Procedure

  • The first thing you should do is put a line through the text G because this is the example, it is already in the correct place in the text and you do 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.

  • Find the number 8 and read the sentence before and after it only. Highlight keywords. For this task, the keywords are both vocabulary AND reference words. These are words which refer to something already mentioned, they are words you know like, he/she/it/they/ or this/ these, his/her/their. It is useful to highlight words like this because they refer to something.

B2 Business Vantage (BEC Vantage) Reading Part Two Question
  • Quickly read the six 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 9 and repeat the process and so on with 10-12.

  • The advantage of this procedure is that you are using two techniques to help you find the right answer, vocabulary and reference words. You also read the answer sentences several times which helps you to understand them better, and you avoid reading the long text in too much detail.

Now that you understand how to maximise your score for the B2 Vantage Reading Parts 1 &2 you are now ready to start learning how to prepare to succeed in Parts 3 & 4 or Part 5.

If you prefer to focus on improving your score in a different part of the B2 Vantage exam then go to Writing, Listening, or Speaking.