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Strategies for the BULATS Business English Interview Task

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

One of the best ways to ensure success on the BULATS speaking test is to be well-prepared. In this lesson, students will learn about part 1 of the speaking test as well as some strategies for answering the questions.

BULATS Speaking Part 1

What is one of the first speaking tasks you must complete when applying for a job? It's the job interview, of course. Because a successful job interview is so important, you may take the Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) speaking test in a business English course or during the job application process.

The interview task is part 1 of the online BULATS speaking test and takes approximately four minutes to complete. During part 1 you will be asked eight questions about a variety of topics. These topics will include your:

  • Background
  • Education
  • Job
  • Studies
  • Career plans
  • Personal interests

You will hear all eight questions through your headphones. After you hear each question, a timer will appear on the screen that indicates how much time you have to answer. Normally, you will have 10 seconds each for questions one through four and twenty seconds each to answer questions five through eight.

BULATS Interview Question Examples and Strategies

This section will provide an example and speaking strategies for each of the eight questions in part 1 of the BULATS speaking test.

Questions 1 and 2

These questions are usually pretty basic and are typically similar to the following:

  • Tell me your full name.
  • How do you spell your surname?

You will have ten seconds to answer each of these questions. There's a good chance it won't take you ten seconds to answer these questions. Don't worry about silence. If it only takes you two seconds to say your name, remain quiet for the remaining eight seconds.

The key to answering these questions successfully is to speak clearly and at a normal pace.

Questions 3 and 4

These questions will likely be about your background such as where you are from or where you went to school. For example:

  • What school did you attend?
  • What did you like most about your university?

Remember, you will only have ten seconds to answer each of these questions. To answer question 3, you would simply state the full name of your most recent school. You can also add the location of the school.

To answer question 4, you should give a few details, but try not to speak too long. For example:

  • I liked the professors at my school. They really inspired me to learn and made me a better person.

Questions 5 to 8

You will have 20 seconds to answer each of the last four questions in part 1 of the exam. Your answers to these questions should include more details and you should try to speak for almost all of the allotted time. These questions will be about your job, career plans and personal interests. Questions may include:

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