C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher)


Three tasks.

25% of the exam.

A guide to help you understand each speaking task and what you need to say.

The Speaking Test can be the hardest part of the exam for some people. Students are not sure what they have to do, they worry about making mistakes and don’t think they can prepare. Speaking can be stressful, but you do it a lot already don’t you? 

 There are two examiners during the speaking test, one will speak, the other will listen. There are usually two candidates (sometimes three). Two of the tasks are individual but, in the final task, you will have to speak to the other candidate.


  • You don’t have to speak perfect English, or speak with an English accent.

  • The test is 16 minutes long but you don’t speak all the time.

  • If you don’t understand a question you are allowed to ask the examiner to repeat the question.

You need to say one of the following sentences.

Could you repeat that, please?

Sorry, I didn’t quite catch that?

Make sure you say that or your sentence is incorrect. Sometimes my students ask “Could you repeat please?” I always reply “Repeat what?” because the question is not clear.

C1 Business Higher (BEC Higher)

Speaking Part One – The Interview

This part is for about three minutes, you answer questions about yourself, and give your opinion about a general business topic.

You can download an example of Speaking Part One here.

 The examiner will also ask your partner questions. Therefore, this part is in fact only 90 seconds long for you. 

 General advice.

     •  Listen carefully to the question so that you can answer it!

     •  Give a short answer to the question and add one extra detail.

 For example.

 Q: What is your profession?

 A: I’m an English teacher. I teach the English language to adults.

 Q: Where do you work?

 A:  In a language school. We teach English and French, and most of the students are adults.

     •  Copy the grammar in the question

 For example…

Q: Do you prefer working in a team or alone?

A: I prefer working…

You can prepare for questions about yourself!

Read the article here which has 65 common speaking exam questions for Part One. Check that you know the correct vocabulary to answer them and talk about your job, your daily tasks, and your company.

You can also check that you know the correct grammar.

Which one is correct?

I am working in a bank

I work in a bank.

It is the second sentence. Use the present simple to describe facts or routines in your normal life.

You can learn more about the correct grammar to use in this part of the Speaking Exam, in the C1 Business Higher Preparation Guide, available here.

You can also make sure you know the correct prepositions for the correct situations. If you don’t know, check online.

To work for a company or organisation

To work in place

To be responsible for

To be in charge of

To work in a team.

Now that you understand how to maximise your score for the C1 Higher Speaking Part 1, you are ready to start learning how to prepare to succeed in Parts 2 & 3.

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