Strategies for the BULATS Business English Communication Activity Task

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

One part of the BULATS Business English exam is a communication activity. This lesson offers you some strategies and ideas for how you can prepare for success on this portion of the test.

Taking the BULATS Business English Test

Are you getting ready to take the BULATS test, which will assess your proficiency with business English, or English that you might use in a business or marketplace setting? Having some anxiety before a standardized test like this one is natural, but if you prepare for the test properly, you have nothing to worry about.

The BULATS test looks at your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. One section of the speaking part of the test is called the communication activity. Because this is the final section of the speaking portion, you might be a little tired by the time you get to it! This means that you should spend some extra time familiarizing yourself with the communication activity task and internalizing strategies for success with this element of the BULATS.

Overview of the Activity

One thing that can be very helpful as you get ready for the communication activity task is simply ensuring that you know what to expect from the task.

For the communication activity, you will be shown a situation that will pertain to a business context. The situation will be a brief, two- to three-sentence description. Then, you will see a bulleted list of topics that someone might ask you about. After you are given 40 seconds to read the situation, you will hear five different questions. Your job is to answer the questions in relation to the situation at hand.

Hear Each Question Carefully

As you prepare for success on the communication activity, it is important to remember to listen actively, making sure to hear all of the words that the speaker is saying and the question from start to finish. After all, it does not matter how clear and interesting your speaking is if you are not actually answering the question at hand!

Practice by having some dialogue with a partner who asks you questions about a business or workplace situation. Try listening with your eyes closed, so that you cannot rely on facial expressions or body language as cues. Before answering any question, take a moment to make sure you have heard the entire question from start to finish.

Organize Your Thoughts, Then Speak

Another key to answering the questions on the communication task is allowing yourself some wait time. In this case, wait time might simply be a few seconds during which you think about what you are going to say in response to the question. This is the time when you organize your thoughts and quickly plan what you will say.

Though your wait time will have to be brief, it can still make all the difference in terms of ensuring that you have a plan and speak succinctly and clearly. Just as you think about questions for a moment before you answer them in real life, do the same when answering the questions on the BULATS exam.

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