BCT(A)

BCT(A)

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The BCT (A) is an international, standardized test in Chinese language proficiency that focuses on testing non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities to use the Chinese language in real business or common working environments, and that evaluates the language tasks they are able to complete. Following the principle of practicality, oriented towards speaking and listening, and emphasizing abilities in the workplace, this test aims to recreate actual situations in the workplace and takes practical content for communications as the method of examining test takers’ abilities to use Chinese to meet their needs in a working environment.

I. Test Structure

The BCT (A) contains 70 questions and consists of three parts: listening, reading and writing.

Table 1 Test Structure of BCT (A)

Test Item Number of Questions Duration of Test (minutes)
Write down personal information (before the listening section starts) 5
1. Listening Section One 10 30 About 20
Section Two 10
Section Three 10
2. Reading Section One 10 30 30
Section Two 20
3. Writing 10 10
Mark your answers on the Answer Sheet (after the listening section) 5
Total / 70 About 70

1. Listening

Section One contains ten questions. You will hear a word or phrase for each question twice. On the test paper, there is a picture for each question. Answer whether the content of the picture is true or false according to what you hear.

Section Two contains ten questions. You will hear a sentence for each question twice. On the test paper, there are three pictures for each question. Choose the right one according to what you hear.

Section Three contains ten questions. For each question, you will hear a dialogue between two people and a question based on the dialogue twice. Choose the best answer from the three choices on the test paper according to what you hear.

2. Reading

Section One contains ten questions. One or two sentences with a blank will be provided for each of the first five questions. Choose the best answer from the choices to complete the sentence. The other five questions are five blanks in a table or a short passage of practical writing. Choose the best answers to complete the table or the passage.

Section Two contains twenty questions. A series of reading materials will be provided, including pictures, tables, paragraphs, passages, etc. Each piece of reading material will be followed by one to three questions, with three choices. Choose the best answer to the question.

3. Writing

This part contains ten questions. For each question, there is a sentence with a blank. Use the correct Chinese character or phrase (Pinyin of the word or phrase will be provided) to fill in the blank.

II. Competence Description and Content Illustration of BCT (A)

The BCT (A) examines the communicative competence of test takers in realistic situations when using Chinese. The competence description and content illustration are listed in the table below:

Table 2 Competence Description and Content Illustration of BCT (A)

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Sub-test Competence Description Content Illustration
Listening Capable of understanding articles for use closely related to work and life Simple daily articles and office supplies
Capable of understanding basic information about number and quantity in working and living environments Basic information in a visa form such as name, and passport number
Numbers (including date, time, and price)
Capable of understanding other people’s brief introductions in working and living environments Names, ages, nationalities, company names, positions, contact information, etc.
Hobbies, interests, physical conditions, etc.
Capable of understanding basic instructions and requirements in working and living environments Making a phone call, giving a signature, etc.
Capable of understanding basic daily expressions in working and living environments Introductions, greetings, welcomes, wishes, appreciations, apologies, farewells, etc.
Capable of understanding basic instructions and requirements in working and living environments Enquiring about price, payment method, etc.
Capable of understanding introductions or descriptions of other people’s basic information in working and living environments Companies, positions, contact information, etc.
Capable of understanding introductions or descriptions of other people’s conditions in working and living environments Physical conditions, working conditions, etc.
Capable of understanding the introduction or description of something in working and living environments Features and price of a commodity, introduction of a place, etc.
Capable of understanding brief notices and arrangements in working and living environments Conference notices, routes, time arrangement, etc.
Reading Capable of reading Pinyin, basic Chinese characters, phrases, numbers, personal information, etc. Simple signs (such as those of washrooms, supermarkets, subways, and airports)
Simple places (such as office and hotel room), menus, schedules, etc.
Capable of reading basic Chinese characters, phrases, sentences, and short written materials; capable of understanding requirements and acquiring related information from short written materials Simple forms such as visa forms, price lists, balance sheets, and calendars
Simple expressions in working and living environments
Name cards, notices, notes, messages, short messages, etc. which are commonly used in daily life
Capable of reading short written materials common in daily life and work, understanding their general ideas, and recognizing basic information; capable of identify in passages of familiar topics specific information needed Frequently used expressions in business etiquette and formal occasions
Brief introductions of products, advertisements, etc.
Short weather forecasts, traffic information, etc.
Notices, telephone records, messages, notes, short messages, emails, calendars, etc.
Writing Capable of writing from memory basic Chinese characters  
Capable of filling in forms as required Simple forms such as visa forms and customs forms
Simple in-company forms such as leave application forms, and reimbursement forms
Personal calendars recording one’s daily life and work arrangements
 

III. Reference Vocabulary

The BCT (A) has set up a reference vocabulary of 600 words according to language competence, can-do statements, word frequencies of various authoritative Chinese corpora, and the actual state of international Chinese language teaching.

IV. Score System

The BCT (A) score report records a test taker’s sub-test scores and total score, without setting a passing score. The report will also provide competence descriptions for all levels of test takers.

The BCT (A) test paper consists of three sub-tests: listening, reading and writing, with a total score of 300 points. Its score system is shown in the table below:

Table 3 Score System of BCT (A)

  Listening Reading Writing Total
Number of questions 30 30 10 70
Maximum score of sub-test 100 100 100 300

V. Test Principles

Promote learning through examination: encourage Chinese language learners’ interest and confidence, and further broaden the scope of the test in accordance with the actual demands of overseas Business Chinese learners and Chinese speakers in a general working environment.

Promote teaching through examination: provide teachers and self-learners with graded, task-based teaching resources and suggestions related to business Chinese, and help teaching and training institutions systematically and effectively improve business Chinese learners and speakers’ abilities to use the Chinese language in real business or common working environments.

Provide positive feedback for test takers: evaluate test takers’ ability to complete various language tasks by asking them to carry out a series of typical business language tasks and provide positive feedback for Chinese language learners to plan their future studies.

VI. Test Purposes

  1. Provide a basis for employers to assess non-native Chinese speakers’ (candidates) Chinese competence in daily work. Test scores can be used as a reference for employee recruitment, selection, placement and promotion.
  2. Help relevant teaching and training institutions to assess students’ business Chinese proficiency in recruitment, class divisions, and granting credits.
  3. Help learners to evaluate and improve their business Chinese competence.

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