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The BCT (B) 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 the working environment.

I. Test Structure

The BCT (B) contains 92 questions and consists of three parts: listening, reading and writing.

Table 1 Structure of BCT (B)

Test Item Number of Questions Duration of Test (minutes)
Write down personal information (before the listening section starts) 5
1. Listening Section One 20 50 About 35
Section Two 15
Section Three 15
2. Reading Section One 20 40 60
Section Two 10
Section Three 10
3. Writing 2 40
Mark your answers on the Answer Sheet (after the listening section) 5
Total / 92 About 145

1. Listening

Section One contains twenty questions. A two-sentence dialogue between two people and a question based on the dialogue will be read once for each question. Choose the best answer from the four choices on the test paper according to what you hear.

Section Two contains fifteen questions. A four-sentence dialogue between two people and a question based on the dialogue will be read once for each question. Choose the best answer from the four choices on the test paper according to what you hear.

Section Three contains fifteen questions. Five passages followed by a few questions will be read to you once. Choose the best answer from the choices on the test paper according to what you hear.

2. Reading

Section One 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 a few questions, each with four choices. Choose the best answer to the question.

Section Two contains ten questions. There are two passages with five blanks each. Choose five best answers from seven choices to complete each passage according to the context.

Section Three contains ten questions. This section is divided into two groups, each with five questions. Four passages and several questions or sentences will be provided on the test paper. Match each question or sentence with its related passage.

3. Writing

Section One contains one question. A written text or table will be provided. Write at least 80 Chinese characters according to the directions.

Section Two contains one question. A written text or table will be provided. Write at least 150 Chinese characters according to the directions.

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

The BCT (B) 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 the BCT (B)

Sub-test Competence Description Content Illustration
Listening Capable of understanding general introductions in working and living environments Brief introductions of other people
Introductions of companies of business contacts
Introductions of projects and products
Capable of understanding basic instructions in working and living environments Information about one’s job
Training materials relevant with one’s own job
Route descriptions
Instructions of commonly used equipment and appliances
Capable of understanding notices and schedules in working and living environments Notices in daily life such as time and place of an appointment
Announcements in public places like airport, train or bus station, shopping mall, and hospital
Notices like conference program, working arrangement, and schedule
Capable of understanding news in test takers’ familiar fields in media News on radio, TV, etc.
Capable of understanding conversations for specific purposes Leaving a message on the phone or replying to the message
Communicating work issues with colleagues
Communicating equipment problems with servicemen
Communicating issues of product quality and after-sales service;
Communicating career planning with one’s boss
Capable of understanding formal talks or meetings Basic communication in activities like business dinners;
Conducting a job interview in one’s own professional or business field
Capable of understanding discussion or talk about something or someone in working or living environments Discussions by other people on common topics or important current affairs;
Giving a simple evaluation of goods and companies
Major points of the other side in business negotiations
Understanding basic attitudes of clients, such as agreement, opposition and complaint
Reading Capable of reading signs and labels in working or living environments Signs of meeting rooms, shop signs, names of companies and organizations
Traffic signs, warning signs on packages, information on name cards
Capable of reading complex language materials of certain lengths; capable of grasping their main idea, as well as important facts and details. Searching for necessary information in a given table, such as a schedule, program, menu, directory, list, visa application form, application form for leave, etc.
Understanding important information in expository and narrative materials, such as notes, emails, mails, notices, faxes, memos, travel guidebook, itinerary, product instructions, workflow instructions, product descriptions, formal letters like complaint letters, resumes, job application letters, contracts, project reports, work reports, business statements, rules & regulations, etc.
Capable of reading language materials of certain lengths, grasping the text structure, and choosing the appropriate linking sentences in terms of passage meaning and structure according to the context Choosing, according to the context, the most appropriate sentence from several choices to fill in the blank in the incomplete passage
Capable of reading a number of relevant materials and finding out the key information Searching and matching information of, such as several hotels
Writing Capable of describing daily life, work, social topics or tables & diagrams in an objective way, and conveying or expressing appropriate information Making lists, and writing schedules, notes, notices, faxes, memos and analysis diagrams
Capable of taking notes or explaining on a given topic, and writing relevant files or instructions; capable of showing the circumstances objectively and correctly and expressing one’s own view accurately Writing minutes of a meeting, instructions (such as short route instructions, equipment instructions, workflow instructions), business letters (such as complaint letters, letters of thanks, invitation letters), personal resumes, job application letters, reports (such as, survey reports and work reports), contract texts, or argumentation & analysis on a given topic  

III. Reference Vocabulary

The BCT (B) has set up a reference vocabulary of 4000 words according to language competence, can-do statements, word frequencies of various authoritative Chinese corpora, and the state of international Chinese language teaching.

IV. Score System

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

The BCT (B) 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 (B)

  Listening Reading Writing Total
Number of questions 50 40 2 92
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’ Chinese language communicative competence in a realistic business environment.

Provide positive feedback for test takers: evaluate test takers’ ability to complete various language tasks in a business environment 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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