BULATS Exam for International Students

Though the Business Language Testing Service’s proficiency assessment, known as the BULATS exam, has long been overshadowed by more famous English language tests like the TOEFL and TOEIC is slowly but surely winning over students and employers alike. Nor should this come as much of a surprise. Developed in part by the world-famous Cambridge ESOL Department, the English-language versions of the BULATS is the only standardized proficiency exam designed with working professionals in mind. Much like other standardized assessments, the BULATS provides potential employers with a consistent means by which to compare candidates from different backgrounds. What sets it apart from the pack – and makes it ideal for those who are seeking to learn English for business – is the fact that it alone is designed to assess a candidate’s ability to deal with real-life work situations in particular.

Better still, the BULATS recognizes the diversity of modern English as it is used around the world. As a result, though the exam was developed in the UK, it employs a mixture of the many accents and vocabularies found throughout the English-speaking world. As a result, regional variations are accepted if they are used consistently enable candidates to succeed no matter where they learned business English.

Given all of this, an increasingly large number of multinational employers are now using the BULATS exams to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their workforces. More than 12000 employers around the world – including such notable multinationals as Banco do Brasil, GlaxoSmithKline, and Hitachi – accept the exam as proof of English proficiency. Of course, such recognition has not escaped the notice of these companies’ would-be employees and international students, too, have signed on in greater numbers than ever before. If you would like to join them or just find out more about how the BULATS exam can help you learn English for business.


BULATS Computer Adaptive Test

The BULATS Reading and Listening Test is a Computer Adaptive Test which uses adaptive testing techniques to make the test-taking process easier and more accurate than typical paper exams. It does this by fundamentally changing the nature of the testing process used in most classrooms throughout the world.

Unlike paper exams, which are the same from beginning to end for all test takers regardless of their particular ability (and are notorious for steadily increasing their difficult level without respect to student performance), the BULATS CAT exam works to pinpoint (and eventually ask questions only at) a student’s level using adaptive testing techniques.

It does this by using the answers provided to earlier questions on the test as a way of selecting future questions within the same section. In practice, this means that starting with the second question, the BULATS CAT selects and presents each subsequent question on the basis of the answers to the question (or stream of questions) immediately before it. If, for example, the test taker gets the first question right, the second question will be harder but if he or she gets it wrong, the second question will be easier and so on throughout the exam.

In this way, the BULATS CAT hones in on the applicant’s true level by monitoring the difficulty of the questions and eventually choosing only those questions which match the candidate’s skill set. The test continues until accuracy threshold has been reached and the appropriate level has been determined. Thus, while all test-takers make get the same first question, no two testing scenarios are completely identical and while all test takers may take the same number of questions, those who answer more questions at a higher level correctly will earn higher scores than those who answer the same number of lower level questions. A demonstration of BULATS CAT can be viewed here