Writing Section Overview of BULATS Business English

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.

If you are not a native English speaker and you work in an English business environment, you may need to take the BULATS test. This lesson provides an overview of the writing section of the BULATS.

Writing for BULATS

Being an effective and clear writer is an important business English skill. The Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) tests will assess your knowledge of two different types of business English writing. In this lesson you will be given an overview of the BULATS writing section as well as a few tips that may come in handy when you take the test.

Before you look at the details of the two parts of the writing section, it can be helpful to understand the format of the writing test. Make sure you understand the following test parameters:

  • The writing test is 45 minutes long.
  • There are two tasks.
    • Note: You have 45 minutes to complete both tasks, but you decide how much time to spend on each task. However, it is recommended that you spend approximately 15 minutes on part one and approximately 30 minutes on part two.
  • There is only one task in part one, and you must complete this task.
  • There are two tasks in part two, and you must choose and complete only one of the two tasks.

BULATS Writing Part One

In part one of the BULATS writing test, you will type a 50-60 word email. Your email response counts as one-third of your total writing score. The email you write will be a response to a prompt that asks you to reply or give information or instructions. The prompt will include three points that you need to address. The following is an example of a part one writing prompt.

BULATS Writing Part One Prompt Example

You receive the following email:

Dear Mrs. James

I am writing to confirm your conference room booking at the Atlas Hotel on May 15th. Can you please confirm the time you will need the conference room, how many tables and chairs you will need, and if you'd like to have refreshments available. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Mary Wilson

Write a reply including the following:

  • How long you need the room
  • How many tables and chairs you will need
  • Whether you'd like refreshments to be provided

BULATS Writing Part 1 Marking

While you can write more than 60 words, you should try not to write much more. If you write more than 60 words, you may start to ramble or write about things that are not part of the response required. Similarly, you should not write less than 50 words because you may be omitting information that is required in the response.

Your part one response will be primarily be marked in three areas:

  • Correct use of vocabulary and grammar
  • Clear and coherent organization
  • Complete, including all parts of the reply

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