Test for Business English
Test 1 READING 1 hour PART ONE Questions 1-8 · Look at the statements below and at the five extracts on the opposite page from an article giving advice to people setting up a business. · Which extract (A, B, C, D or E) does each statement (1-8) refer to? · For each statement (1-8), mark one letter (A, B, C, D or E) on your Answer Sheet. · You will need to use some of these letters more than once. 1. You should plan ahead in case a founder of the company chooses to leave it. 2. A company which is expanding today may not always continue to do so. 3.
The distribution of equity among the founders can affect the smooth running of the business. 4. Your function in the organisation is different from that of the other managers. 5. Your method of running the business will have to be modified as your company develops. 6. Your business may evolve into a form that you are not satisfied with. 7. Delay offering employees a financial stake in the company. 8. You need to identify your personal strengths and weaknesses. A So you think you’re an entrepreneur, and you want to start up a company. First, be sure you’re really an entrepreneur, and not an inventor.
Inventors come up with ideas, entrepreneurs make a business out of them: it’s important to know where your abilities lie, as inventors can fail miserably at running a business. Also, you need to be confident that you can adapt your management style to meet new demands if your company is a success. Leading the management team of a growing business is very different from leading a newly founded company. B If your company proves successful, it will probably change out of all recognition, and may seem to possess a life of its own, with institutional shareholders, regulators and employees to consider as well as customers and bank managers.
That is the time to consider how far the aspirations of the business you founded still mirror your own. If they have diverged widely, and you feel you have built just the sort of business that you perhaps tried to escape from in the first place, it may be time to leave. C Bringing an idea to life requires an organisation. If you are going into business with your friends, make sure you treat them as professionally as you would your arms-length business partners, because the odds are that you’ll fall out with them.
It may not seem important at the start, but it will strengthen the company if you ensure that its constitution documents are designed with your specific business and circumstances in mind, and that they clearly establish what will happen in the event of a withdrawal from the business by one of the founding shareholders. D Think carefully about the capital structure of the business. You could be storing up a problem for the company in the future – for example, by allocating shares to founders in a way that could lead to a stand-off if they refuse to see eye to eye on key issues.
Similarly, when you eventually recruit new senior team members, think carefully about what to offer them. Don’t give away share options too early. As a rule of thumb, cash is sufficient reward for knowledge and skill. Keep equity up your sleeve for rewarding commitment. E As your business grows, you need to keep the right balance between management control and entrepreneurial spirit. Too much control, and the business will ultimately cease to grow. Too little, and growth could be unsustalnable.
You’ll need to employ managers, but remember that their job is to build the infrastructure to underpin a business that until now may have run on the basis of your salesmanship and excitement. The risk is to bring in managers who are too much like you, without the necessary experience of nursing a newly founded business through its evolution. PART TWO Questions 9-14 · Read this text taken from an article about marketing. · Choose the best sentence from the opposite page to fill each of the gaps. · For each gap (9-14), mark one letter (A-H) on your Answer Sheet. · Do not use any letter more than once.
How effective is your marketing? Gone are the days when companies had departments full of staff whose role nobody under- stood. Today we are all accountable and have to be able to demonstrate the value of our contribution to our businesses. And rightly so. But when it comes to marketing, what is effectiveness, how do you measure it, and why is its measurement so important? Businesses are starting to recognise the key marketing questions. Are we providing the right products for the right people at the right price? Are our brands better than those of our competitors? 9) That’s because marketing is not the fluffy stuff that can be axed when the going gets tough – it is the essence of business. So if marketing is important, it follows that it pays to know if yours is working. The first stage in the process is understanding your current position. How successful is your brand today? What is your market share? You should equip yourself with some sound facts and figures on which to base your conclusions. (10) It could be simply to boost sales. You may want to reinforce your leadership in a market or trounce a competitive brand.
Influencing future profitability, possibly by building a short-term brand share, may be a priority. A clear objective is essential. But how do you know if your marketing is achieving your goals? (11) Their success is not just related to how many boxes leave the factory. Effectiveness may not be tangible. It may be financial, it may not. ‘The brand’ is an intangible asset, but it is now seen as an import- ant one. Quantifying the value of an intangible asset is a difficult, but not impossible, task. It is also necessary to evaluate both long-term effectiveness and the short-term outcomes of any campaign. 12) But the care of a brand is a marathon, not a sprint, and it is important not to lose sight of the long-term consequences. Choosing the right measurement tools to evaluate a campaign is another important issue. (13) The accuracy they thus ensure should be consistent over time and correspond to the wider objectives of the business. Ultimately, marketing must deliver profit. The essential debate should no longer be about the importance of marketing, but what we should do to measure its effectiveness, and what measures will ensure survival. 14) But to others it is likely to be a controversial issue – and one which can produce responses leading to widely different directions for their enterprises. A Having done that, next comes establishing what it is that marketing activities should be achieving. B Because of this, you may want to generate return on investment, perhaps by raising the quality of your brand. C This shift in focus will be taken as read by the most successful businesses. D Addressing such issues should mean that profits take care of themselves.
E Concerning the latter, it may be tempting to be seduced by efforts that yield quick results and satisfy investor pressure for immediate returns. F These should be precise and based on empirical data. G Good strategies are not necessarily linked to production or sales figures. H Today we are all accountable and have to be able to demonstrate the value of our contribution to our businesses. PART THREE Questions 15-20 · Read the following article about recruitment in the UK and the questions on the opposite page. · For each question (15-20), mark one letter (A, B, C or D) on your Answer Sheet. graduate recruitment has a growing role.
But companies need to know whether their recruitment staff who interview candidates for jobs really know what they’re doing. Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), acknowledges that in a perfect world, the people who recruit graduates would have been in the role for some time building up workplace knowledge. He says the reality is that the high turnover of graduate recruitment managers in most blue chips means there is little continuity in how companies operate. ‘There’s the difficulty in maintaining important contact with university careers departments, for example,’ he explains. You need a depth of understanding to appreciate where the company is coming from and how it’s progressing. ‘ We can identify two specialisms within the recruiter’s role. Those that work on the recruitment and selection side need traditional human resources (HR) skills such as good interviewing technique, observation, common sense, objectivity, patience and listening skills. But increasingly there are those who take a strategic view and look more widely at how their company is represented in the marketplace. It’s a clear advantage if you can identify with your target audience.
Many young members of middle management are seconded into HR for a year because their firms feel they can identify with job-seeking graduates. Yet in an industry that has been revolutionised by the internet, privatised career services and rocketing numbers in higher education, it is questionable how relevant these managers’ experiences are. Some high-fliers see a secondment to HR as a sideways move; a firm’s HR function might not carry the same kudos as, say, the finance department, although obviously the recruitment and retention of staff is of crucial importance.
Georgia de Saram, specialising in graduate recruitment at a law firm, is one of a new breed of young dynamic recruiters who see HR as their vocation rather than a transitory career move. ‘I was attracted to the profession because I enjoy working with people and it’s an obvious follow-on from my anthropology degree,’ she says. ‘In this capacity, you get to know people and they know you even though they might not know other people in the firm. ‘ As a recruiter, she sees herself as the interface between graduates and the firm that’s looking to attract them?
It’s such a tug of war between law firms for the best trainees – often they’ll turn you down in favour of an offer they’ve received from elsewhere. You need to be good at marketing your firm, to know what interests graduates and how you can reach potential employees, whether that’s through virtual law fairs or magazines. ‘ A recent AGR survey suggests that the sectors in which there is less turnover of graduate recruitment managers are more successful in recruiting the graduates they want.
The legal sector’s sophisticated understanding of the market, for example, means they manage to recruit exactly the right number of trainees despite intense competition and thousands of applications. The people recruiting seem to build up a specialism and then pass on their knowledge and expertise to those new to the graduate recruitment sector. Jackie Alexander, an HR partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, feels that HR professionals are finally reaching board level and receiving the sort of acknowledgement they deserve. They are judged by the value they add to the business,’ she says, ‘and, as a professional services firm, the right people are our biggest asset. ‘ As Georgia de Saram points out: ‘From our company’s point of v. iew, if I can’t establish a rapport with a candidate and bring out their best, it might not be just their future but also ours that is at stake. ‘ 15. According to Carl Gilleard, many recruiters lack A. detailed knowledge of their sector. B. appropriate academic qualifications. C. understanding of graduates’ expectations. D. experience of the companies they work for. 16.
What change in the recruitment process is mentioned in the third paragraph? A. Recruitment staff are re-training. B. Broader approaches are being adopted. C. Traditional abilities are being given less value. D. Different interview processes are being used. 17. On what grounds are certain managers seconded to HR departments? A. It is believed that they will relate to potential recruits. B. It is thought that they will benefit most from new developments. C. It is assumed that they will be able to apply specialised knowledge. D. It is expected that they will take advantage of new promotion opportunities. 18.
Which of the following areas does Georgia de Saram mention as an aspect of her work? A. representing her company effectively to its recruits B. increasing recruitment numbers at her company C. encouraging a wide range of company recruits D. influencing her company’s recruitment policy 19. What was revealed about law firms in a survey? A. They are competing more effectively than before against other sectors. B. They prefer to retain trainees for extended periods wherever possible. C. They have managed to employ particularly knowledgeable HR staff. D. They appeal to those HR managers who are keen for promotion. 20.
What point is made about recruitment in the final paragraph? A. New levels of qualification are being developed for it. B. It is now being perceived as key to increased profitability. C. Higher numbers of managers are being attracted to it. D. It is becoming central to a business’s survival. PART FOUR Questions 21-30 · Read the article below about job satisfaction. · Choose the correct word to fill each gap from A, B, C or D on the opposite page. · For each question (21-30), mark one letter (A, B, C or D) on your Answer Sheet. How important is job satisfaction? At its most basic, a job is just a collection of tasks and duties.
An employee’s enjoyment of his or her job will thus (21) depend upon whether or not he or she is happy with the particular mix of tasks and duties (22) to that position. Naturally, each and every member of staff is different – some employees want to do easy, (23) tasks without any responsibilities at all, whilst others prefer challenging, varied ones and are pleased to accept any additional responsibilities offered to them. Of course, with a job there are more (24) in play than this: work conditions, pay, working relations and future prospects are (25) too.
Nevertheless, tasks and duties are the central feature, and should therefore be considered as a separate (26) in themselves. So, how important is an employee’s enjoyment of his or her individual (27) of tasks and duties? Most business owners and managers would (28) that it is very significant indeed. If a member of staff considers his or her tasks and duties to be too easy or unchallenging or, in contrast, too diverse or irksome, then he or she will feel dissatisfied, and all the inevitable knock-on effects will (29) themselves – absences, lateness, reduced work-rate and performance, conflict, low morale, or even resignations.
Thus it is important that staff are well suited to their employment, that jobs are improved as far as possible and redesigned as and when necessary – all to (30) that your employees enjoy what they do. 21. A. highly B. largely C. extensively D. widely 22. A. devoted B. intended C. identified D. allocated 23. A. customary B. habitual C. usual D. routine 24. A. pieces B. roles C. factors D. parts 25. A. connected B. relevant C. appropriate D. related 26. A. result B. effect C. issue D. outcome 27. A. et B. order C. rank D. line 28. A. insist B. accentuate C. reiterate D. assent 29. A. uncover B. demonstrate C. unmask D. manifest 30. A. confirm B. ensure C. convince D. assure PART FIVE Questions 31-40 · Read the text below from a brochure. · For each question (31-40), write one word in CAPITAL LETTERS on your Answer Sheet. Paragon: great business space A new concept for the twenty-first century, Paragon is a totally unique showpiece development of high-quality office and call centre buildings, hotel and leisure facilities.
Many cities find (31) increasingly difficult to allocate office space, but the city of Wakefield is already ahead (32) the game with Paragon. Paragon offers an extensive parkland setting with low-density buildings, and room to expand in the future. Yet, (33) the vast majority of business parks, Paragon has not been exiled to the distant edges of the city. Instead, this large site is only I km from the centre of Wakefield. This offers massive advantages: employees can easily walk or cycle to work, saving stress and pollution, and significantly cutting (34) on commuting time.
There is (35) more driving along the motorway to distant outposts of business empires for the Paragon worker. But Paragon’s location sacrifices nothing (36) terms of communications. It is perfectly placed for road and rail networks. A further attraction of Wakefield for Paragon is the ready avail- ability of a skilled workforce. (37) are more than 233,000 people available for work within an hour’s journey, and an enormous catchment population of 20 million within two hours’ travel.
The city has a long history (38) an administrative centre, and its recent success in attracting top-name companies is evidence of its solid business credentials. Figures from the developers suggest that up (39) 5,000 jobs could be available in the initial phase of its development, with more to follow, making it (40) of the most significant areas of employment in the region. PART SIX Questions 41-52 · Read the text below about IT training. · In most of the lines (41-52) there is one extra word. It is either grammatically incorrect or does not fit in with the sense of the text.
Some lines, however, are correct. · If a line is correct, write CORRECT on your Answer Sheet. · If there is an extra word in the line, write the extra word in CAPITAL LETTERS on your Answer Sheet. IN-HOUSE IT TRAINING One of the most important things you should consider before implementing an IT training program is whether that the content is current, accurate 41 and easily be understood by trainees. In general, you should look 42 for a training program that has done an affiliation with industry 43 leaders. For example, a course on Windows 2000 should at least 44 be pproved by Microsoft. A course that has been co-developed in 45 this way ensures so that trainees will study relevant and correct 46 information. Also, take into your account the availability of practical 47 exercises. Many off-site, instructor-led programs which provide learning 48 labs for trainee practice, but take good on-site training courses can 49 include hands-on simulations that resemble to an actual networking 50 or desktop environment. This supply allows trainees to interact with 51 the programs without crashing down a live system.
It also means that 52 trainees can study while at work so that less time is going missed, and production schedules are not interrupted. WRITING 1 hour 10 minutes PART ONE Question 1 · The graph below shows the turnover for three kinds of retail outlet, all owned by the same company, during a three-year period. · Using the information from the graph, write a short report comparing the changes in turnover in the company’s three types of outlet. · Write 120-140 words. [pic] PART TWO Write an answer to one of the questions 2-4 in this part. Write your answer in 200-250 words.
Question 2 · Your company would like to break into a new overseas market with your new range of sports goods. You have been asked by the Marketing Director to investigate ways of doing this. · Write a report for the Marketing Director, including the following information: · how you carried out your research into the market · the existing competition · your target customers · ways of promoting the products in the new market. Question 3 · Recently you have become unhappy with a service that has been provided to your company for a number of years. You have decided to write a letter of omplaint to the service provider. · Write your letter to the company that provides the service, including the following information: · which service you are complaining about · why you are dissatisfied with the service · what action you want the service provider to take · what you will do if there is no improvement in the service. Question 4 · Your Managing Director is considering how to improve the company’s internal communications, and has asked you to write a short proposal giving your views on communication within your department. · Write the proposal for the Managing Director: describing how communication currently takes place within your department · pointing out the weaknesses of the present situation · recommending one or two improvements that should be made LISTENING Approximately 40 minutes (including 10 minutes’ transfer time) PART ONE Questions 1-12 · You will hear the founder of a company called Manshee talking to business students about its development. · As you listen, for questions 1-12, complete the notes, using up to three words or a number. · After you have listened once, replay the recording. THE DEVELOPMENT OF MANSHEE 1.
The speaker had a problem finding ……………….. for his computer. 2. Initially, the speaker bought from ………………… businesses. 3. Four years after its launch, Manshee’s …………………. was ? 6 m. 4. The company grew rapidly without having …………………. 5. The main factor in the company’s decisions was the current month’s ……………… 6. …………………………. fell as a result of competition. 7. Manshee’s consultants work mostly with …………………… 8. The consultants made Manshee’s directors put their future ……………. in order of priority. 9.
The directors first focused on ……………….. and financial goals. 10. What the speaker feels was particularly valuable was the ……………… of the consultants’ advice. 11. Manshee classifies its customers on the basis of their ……………………. 12. The most successful division is the one working with the …………….. sector. PART TWO Questions 13-22 · You will hear five different people talking about problems and responses to them in the companies where they work. · For each extract there are two tasks. For Task One, decide which problem each speaker mentions from the list A-H.
For Task Two, decide which response the company made to the problem from the list A-H. · After you have listened once, replay the recording. Task One – Problems · For questions 13-17, match the extracts with the problems, listed A-H. · For each extract, decide which problem for the company is mentioned. · Write one letter (A-H) next to the number of the extract. A The directors’ experience was narrow. B Certain products went out of fashion. C There was a reliance on poor-quality supplies. D There were conflicts between directors. E Too many new products were launched at the same time.
F Reasons for previous success were misunderstood. G There was a failure to understand economic trends. H Some advisors made poor recommendations. 13. …………………………… 14. …………………………… 15…………………………… 16…………………………… 17…………………………… Task Two – Responses · For questions 18–22, match the extracts with the responses, listed A-H. · For each extract, decide which response the company made to the problem. · Write one letter (A-H) next to the number of the extract. A Large severance payments were made.
B New shares were issued. C A takeover bid was accepted. D Low-cost products were introduced. E A partnership abroad was formed. F One division was sold off. G Some products were rebranded. H A cost reduction programme was introduced. 18…………………………… 19…………………………… 20…………………………… 21…………………………… 22…………………………… PART THREE Questions 23-30 · You will hear a discussion between two senior managers, John and Deborah, about an assistant manager, Colin, who has applied for a new post. For each question (23-30), mark one letter (A, B or C) for the correct answer. · After you have listened once, replay the recording. 23. The new post is being created as a result of A. plans to change corporate culture. B. criticisms of management practice. C. changes to overall company structure. 24. What reason has Colin given for applying? A. to have a more challenging role B. to make full use of his qualifications C. to raise his profile within the company 25. John was particularly impressed by the way Colin A. treated a dissatisfied client. B. responded to an unreliable supplier.
C. dealt with an inefficient member of staff. 26. What current strength of Colin’s does Deborah commend? A. his analytical skills B. his product knowledge C. his flexible approach 27. On a recent sales trip, Colin succeeded in A. improving the terms of a contract. B. identifying a new method of selling. C. making a number of new contacts. 28. In what area did Colin excel during recent training? A. team working B. report writing C. prioritising 29. What does Colin’s reference say? A. He expects too much of others. B. His confidence will grow in time. C. He sometimes lacks objectivity. 30.
What support will the successful candidate receive? A. contact with an in-house advisory body B. performance appraisal meetings C. coaching from a consultant SPEAKING 16 minutes SAMPLE SPEAKING TASKS PART ONE In this part, the interlocutor asks questions to each of the candidates in turn. You have to give information about yourself and express personal opinions. PART TWO In this part of the test, you are asked to give a short talk on a business topic. You have to choose one of the topics from the three below and then talk for about one minute. You have one minute to prepare your ideas.
A Customer relations: the importance to a company of reliable customer opinions of products B Staff development: the importance to a company of developing effective career plans for staff C Business strategy: how to maintain the confidence of company shareholders PART THREE In this part of the test, you are given a discussion topic. You have 30 seconds to look at the task prompt, an example of which is below, and then about three minutes to discuss the topic with your partner. After that, the examiner will ask you more questions related to the topic. For two candidates
Travelling to Work Your company’s location in a busy city centre means that staff often complain about the time taken to get to work. You have been asked to make some recommendations. Discuss and decide together: · whether it would be better for staff to use public or private transport · what the effects might be of allowing staff to work flexible hours. For three candidates Travelling to Work Your company’s location in a busy city centre means that staff often complain about the time taken to get to work. You have been asked to make some recommendations. Discuss and decide together: whether it would be better for staff to use public or private transport · what the effects might be of allowing staff to work flexible hours · what other measures the company could take to deal with the situation. Follow-on questions · Would you be willing to spend a long time travelling to work every day? (Why? /Why not? ) · Should companies provide staff with financial assistance if they have long journeys to work? (Why? /Why not? ) · What do you think influences a company’s decision to be located in a busy city centre? (Why? ) · What effect do you think technology will have in the future on where people do their work? Why? ) · What could be the long-term effects of changes in the hours people work and where they work? (Why? ) ?? Test 1 Reading Part 1 1. C 2. E 3. D 4. E 5. A 6. B 7. D 8. A Part 2 9. D 10. A 11. G 12. E 13. F 14. C Part 3 15. D 16. B 17. A 18. A 19. C 20. D Part 4 21. B 22. D 23. D 24. C 25. B 26. C 27. A 28. A 29. D 30. B Part 5 31. IT 32. OF 33. UNLIKE 34. DOWN 35. NO 36. IN 37. THERE 38. AS 39. TO 40. ONE Part 6 41. BE 42. DONE 43. CORRECT 44. CORRECT 45. SO 46. YOUR 47. WHICH 48. TAKE 49. TO 50. SUPPLY 51.
DOWN 52. GOING Test 1 Writing Question 1 Sample A The development of the turnover of FROZEN FOOD Ltd. The following report describes the changes in turnover by type of retail sector over the three years periods 2000 to 2002. In all three years the turnover made by supermarkets was the highest of all three retail outlets. Department stores remained the second greatest before small shops-outlets. The turnover reached by supermarkets increased steadily over the three years and was ? 80m in 2002. The turnover of department stores was? 50m in 2000 but fell to ? 35m in 2001. In 2002 it remained steady to the previous year.
After a loss in 2001, the small shops-outlets reached again a higher level but could not reach the ? 30m turnover of 2000. Band 3 All the content points are included and, despite minor grammatical errors and several lexical errors, there is reasonable control overall. It is a well-organised answer with an adequate range of language and fits the descriptors for band 3. Sample B Below is a report on the changes in turnover for three kinds of retail outlet, owned by one company, over a three-year period. The overall highest turnover of eighty million pounds was obtained by supermarkets in 2002.
On the other hand, the smallest turnover was made in small shops in 2001. Over the year 2000, a turnover of fifty million pounds was reached in department stores, whereas it then plumetted to about thirty-five million pounds in 2001 and maintained this position throughout 2002. The supermarkets turnover rose steadily from 2000, reaching its peak in 2002 with eighty million pounds. Clearly, small shops had the smallest turnover altogether. Thirty million pounds in 2000, a noticeable drop to twenty million in 2001 and a slight increase of five million in 2002.
In conclusion, the highest results were achieved by supermarkets, followed by department stores and then small shops. Band 4 This answer shows an accurate and natural use of language with a good range of structures and vocabulary. The slightly awkward organisation and the minor omission of a starting point for supermarkets prevent it from being a band 5. Question 2 Sample C Ways of break into a new market. The aim of this report is to present some ideas of the actions to be taken in order to succed penetrating the new overseas market.
First of all, it is fundamental hiring a well- known Marketing Research company in order to get all the information about the market of sport goods in that place. After that we need to know own competitors their strenghth and weaknesses, in that way we can find our posibilities and opportunities against them. The company have to build an diferencial advantage. Another important issued is our target customers, people interested in sports and health and also the kind of sports that it can be done in that place, it is vital information that the company need to know before go to the new market.
For our brand, we need to be agressive in our publicity campaign, by TV, making promotions and offering discounts in first purchase. In conclusion, the company need to have the certainty that there are opportunities in that market and then gain all the weapons to have a good performance with caracteristics differents from the competitors and good publicity. In short time become market lider in sports good. Band 2 This answer contains some irrelevance as the candidate has written a proposal rather than a report. This, combined with the number of errors, results in a band 2. Sample D Report concerning a new overseas market Introduction
This report sums up the results of my investigation in overseas markets, according to what was demanded by the Marketing Director. Findings Staying a few weeks in this part of the World allowed me to collect precious information about the market, buying habits, competitors, and to gather complete figures and statistics. I could carry out a market research interviewing potentials consumers on the street or even in sports shop. Then I had the opportunity to test local competitors’ products and to visit production premises. Furthermore, I analysed the data and found out two mains competitors, X and Y, who both shares half of the total market.
The others competitors are small companies representing few percentage of global sales. Finally, teenagers are the biggest consumers. In fact, 30% of them buy regularly sports articles, while adults declare only buying once a year. Therefore, the main target profile would be a 15-year-old to 25-year-old male. Conclusions In my opinion, this market would be a great change for the development of the company and I then recommand breaking into it. Recommandations I suggest carrying out an advertisement campaign in order to make them know their is a new competitor.
Then consumers are attracted by sales promotion like price reductions and I propose launching our products this way. Last but not least, we could starting offering three products to the price of two. Band 3 This is a generally well-organised answer with good use of cohesive devices. The candidate uses an adequate range of structure and vocabulary with a number of minor, mainly non-impeding, errors. Question 3 Sample E Dear Mr Smith, I am writing to express my concern about your poor delivery service. First and foremost, not only arrive the orders late, but they are also damage.
Secondly, when we telephone your office to resolt the issues, the dutty person is always busy on the phone. Although his secretary takes our mesages and tells us that he is calling back, we never recieve his call. Finally, it is not surpriced to have problems with your invoices (suplements and extra-services which are inclueded in our contract with your company). Because of this, I have extra-cost in telephone calls and paper work. I will be grateful, if you do delivery the orders on time and in perfect conditions. Moreover, I will be easy to contact to you, if you do have more staff. And finally, it is important to issue correct invoices.
As a result of your poor service, I think it is only fair, if your company starts to improve. If I do not see any improvements, I will be forced using another suplieyer. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Yours sincerely, Amparo de la Iglesia Band 2 All the content points are included and the answer is clearly organised with a good opening and closing. However, the number of basic errors means this is a band 2 rather than a band 3. Sample F Dear Mr Smith, We have been using your company for a number of years, however, recently we have experienced some problems with the quality of products and delays in delivery.
As our customers have been devoutedly visiting our shop for years purchasing the best quality products, we feel obliged to make some remarks. Not only have we notice that the date for which dairy products should be consumed was extended but also in some yogurts we found that the labels describing the content were misleading. A cherry yogurt turned out to be a strawbery one. Furthermore, bottles of milk were not sealed properly which resulted in leaking and making the milk go off quicker. On top of everything, there have been delays in delivery if not a non-delivery that occured already a few times.
We trust you will give this matter your immediate attention and that everything will get back to normal, as we would still like to use your service. We hope it is just a temporary disposition. Sadly, however, we have to state clearly, that if no improvement will be made both with the quality of items and delivery we will have to change the supplier, for our customer sake and our reputation. Yours sincerely, Aneta Mroczek Band 4 This is an ambitious attempt at the task, showing fairly natural use of language, despite a number of non-impeding errors. It is well organised and cohesive. Question 4 Sample G
I have carried out a research about company’s internal communications and show you our study methods and our findings. METHODS 1. We designed a paper to cover all kinds of questions which may show company’s internal communications. Then we selected a team in charge of the whole process of implemetion the survey. 2. We chosed some people random who come from different departments to have a panel to express themselves freely regarding the topic. Then, we had a good record and notes of that. And some of them provide some useful suggestions. On the whole, the methods we conducted the program are scientific and effective.
FINDINGS 1. Most of staff think we should improve company’s communications. 2. The causes of preventing internal communications are as followed below: 1. Different departments seldom exchange informations about what they are doing now and what are their newly outcome and something like that. 2. Different team rarely cc e-mail to other relative team of other staff to share their informations. 3. The time to express oneself is too limited and everyone is just oriented to their own job itself and seldom share resources. 4. The activities which are attended by different departments or different teams are not common.
PROPOSALS To respond the above problems and findings, I will propose as below. 1. To CC e-mail each other in the internal company which include not only in the department but among departments. 2. To exchange information among different departments and different teams oftenly. In order to achieve this goal, we can organize different activities to creat a atmosphere for them. Such as a panel, a training class, a outdoor travel and so on. 3. To open a company know-how discussion or training routinely to let every staff have a strategic idea and a long-term eyesight. Band 1
There is considerable irrelevance in this answer and a serious lack of control. An appropriate format is used, but the lack of cohesion and non sequiturs (e. g. in ‘Finding’ number 3) result in a very negative effect on the reader. Sample H Making communication better We have 10 people working in our admin department. All kind of communication between each other is very important and it needs to be quick and affective. At the moment we do send Emails for sharing happening in every day basis. We also have a weekly meeting where some of us get together and look over the subjects from previous week and also make plans for the up coming ones.
There is also someone there to make notes which will be typed over to correct minutes and sent to everybody who attended the meeting. My concern is that on those meetings we don’t have the whole admin team present and therefore many times we have talked on the behalf of the ones who are not attending. This kind of communication might bring miscommunication to place. To resolve this matter I think that we should have everybody on that weekly meeting to get correct information from the right people. At least it is worth to have a go. Best regards, Kaie Sirak Band 2 This answer contains frequent errors, which sometimes obscure communication.
The content points are all covered but not dealt with in depth. The end is particularly weak, leaving a negative impression on the reader. Overall, it fits more of the descriptors for band 2 than 3. Test 1 Listening Part 1 1 ACCESSORIES 2 MAIL(-)ORDER 3 TURNOVER 4 (A/ANY) STRUCTURE 5 CASH FLOW 6 (PROFIT) MARGINS 7 SMALL BUSINESSES/SMALL COMPANIES/SMALL FIRMS 8 INVESTMENT(S)(PLANS) 9 STRATEGIC (TARGETS)/ STRATEGY/STRATEGIES 10 OBJECTIVITY 11 BUYING BEHAVIO(U)R(S) 12 TRAINING Part 2 13. G 14. B 15. D 16. C 17. F 18. E 19. H 20. A 21. B 22. F Part 3 23. C 24. C 25. A 26. B 27. B 28.
C 29. A 30. A Tapescript Listening Test 1 This is the Business English Certificate Higher 3, Listening Test 1. Part One. Questions 1 to 12. You will hear the founder of a company called Manshee talking to business students about its development. As you listen, for questions I to 12, complete the notes, using up to three words or a number. After you have listened once, replay the recording. You now have forty-five seconds to read through the notes.. [pause] Now listen, and complete the notes. [pause] Man: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m honoured to have this opportunity to talk to you.
Eight years ago, I bought my first computer, but I soon discovered that where I lived, it was difficult to find accessories for that particular make. That made me realise that other people must have the same problem. Then I found that foreign magazines contained plenty of advertisements of mail order companies, so I started buying spare parts and things that way and selling them on to my friends at a small profit. That was how my company, Manshee, was born. Four years later, Manshee was making a profit and had reached a turnover of six million pounds. We had four directors – myself and three of my friends – plus a staff of seventeen.
The culture was young and the working environment didn’t have any structure. The company just grew and grew with its own momentum, and everything we did seemed to strike lucky. If we needed to buy some equipment or redecorate the sales office, we decided yes or no in isolation, only taking the short term – usually the cash flow for that month – into account. However, the market became increasingly cut throat, and that led to falling margins. We realised, rather unwillingly, that the time had come to structure our future, but we didn’t really have much idea how to set about it.
So we went to a firm of consultants who specialise in helping small businesses, and it proved a turning point. They insisted that we four directors sit down and rank our investments in order of importance for the coming years. It seems obvious now, but we’d never realised the value of doing it before. Initially, we set out strategic and financial targets for the next three years, and now we’re pleased with just how many of those objectives we’ve met. The value of bringing in outside expertise was that it gave us objectivity. It’s so easy to take things for granted, and to go on in the same mindset.
Using consultants meant we received invaluable advice on our business priorities. Planning has allowed us to make notable improvements. For instance, by segmenting our customer base, we realised that we could put our customers, currently in excess of a thousand, into four distinct groups, according to their buying behaviour. That made us realise we could increase sales if we allocated different people to deal with each group. So we set up four specialist divisions, and the most successful one has increased its sales by over twenty per cent, and that’s the division involved with the training sector.
We’re signing off the next plan for growth. People are sometimes concerned that planning leads to rigidity, but we certainly don’t find that it stops us from being as flexible as we need to be. Thank you. [pause] Now listen to the recording again. [pause] That is the end of Part One. You now have twenty seconds to check your answers. [pause] Part Two. Questions 13 to 22. You will hear five different people talking about problems, and responses to them in the companies where they work. For each extract there are two tasks. Look at Task One. For each question 13-17, decide which problem each speaker mentions, from the list A-H.
Now look at Task Two. For each question 18-22, decide which response the company made to the problem, from the list A-H. After you have listened once, replay the recording. You now have thirty seconds to read the two lists. [pause] Now listen, and do the two tasks. [pause] Speaker One Woman: Well, now it’s all over, I can only hope we’ve learnt the right lessons from the experience. Although the consultants at the time urged caution, the board were sure of the plan – after all, it was the sort of thing they’d pulled off before – and ploughed ahead with the launch of the new division.
But the board wouldn’t accept that the predicted boom in these new overseas markets was bound to be unstable because of likely fluctuations in currency rates and share prices, and that’s where it all came unstuck. They reacted sensibly, though, and now we have established a good joint venture there, which is a better bet than going it alone, or slashing costs all over the place and laying people off in a panic. [pause] Speaker Two Man: In the end, you’d have to say we had a lucky escape – I mean, it could have been a lot worse. It’s very difficult to know where your brand is really positioned.. we’ve always accepted that our research almost inevitably will be running a bit behind. Consumer tastes change so quickly these days, and that’s where we suffered, and lost market share. The directors, once it was clear what was happening, attacked the problem and looked at various options. They could have looked to generate revenues with a share issue, but I think they were right to go for clipping back by reducing expenditure wherever possible – you’re better placed to re- group with a tight ship. The plans to develop higher quality products for the future look pretty plausible now. [pause]
Speaker Three Woman: Well, I now know to take all this talk about the importance of communication skills seriously… I used to think it was all rather woolly, but when you’ve seen the damage misunderstandings can do… I suppose the board was a grouping of people with such strong backgrounds individually that each of them expected to be top dog, and that it was perhaps inevitable that they’d clash over what direction the company should go in. Anyhow, it looked very grim for a while but, in the end, two of them took the pretty sizeable payoffs they were offered and moved on. From our point of view, at east it saved us from the prospect of the group being split up and the shares sold off. [pause] Speaker Four Man: We were all extremely glad to see the back of that particular episode in the company’s history. I know there’s quite a trend to constantly reviewing your sourcing in the search for cost savings, but it was crazy to move over to such an untried firm. The trouble was we were getting nearly all our parts from them, so everything was leaving the factory here with faulty components, with appalling results. We should have listened to the consultants, but on this one we thought we knew better.
It got so bad that predatory offers were being made for the division, and we had to think hard about how to save the brand’s reputation. Raising fresh capital through new shares was the right way to go and enabled us to cover the losses we made in sales. [pause] Speaker Five Woman: I sometimes really do think that the people who know least about a company are the people who run it… that’s why there’s such an industry in advising on and supplying the skills for managing change. We went along assuming that we were selling well because of what we saw as our core qualities – but we were wrong.
It was just that we happened to have got our pricing right, so when we changed that, it all started falling apart. Things got decidedly grim for a time, and drastic action was required. A merger was considered, and an aggressive takeover had to be fought off. In the end, it was easier to accept an offer for the Budget Products Division, and avoid major redundancies, than to go on trying to keep the whole thing afloat. [pause] Now listen to the recording again. [pause] That is the end of Part Two. [pause] Part Three. Questions 23 to 30. You will hear a discussion between two senior managers, John and Deborah, bout an assistant manager, Colin, who has applied for a new post. For each question 23-30, mark one letter (A, B or C) for the correct answer. After you have listened once, replay the recording. You have forty-five seconds to read through the questions. [pause] Now listen, and mark A, B or C. [pause] Man: Well, Deborah, we need to think about the candidates who’ve put in applications for the post of area manager. Woman: Yes, John, it’s an exciting new role, and it fits in with the strategy development plan. Man: Quite. It’s part of a logical progression in our approach to management, carefully consolidating our skills base.
It should mean a new chain of command, but based on tried and tested methods.. , we’ll be stronger as a result. Woman: Well that’s the idea. Now, the first one that’s come in is from Colin… Man: The assistant manager for the south-east? Woman: Yes. Colin’s clearly keen… Man: But of course, it’s an attractive proposition. Woman: And I think that’s what’s drawn him. He’s said his current post is demanding – as well he might – but that he’s keen to position himself in the spotlight here. Reading between the lines, I think the alternative, as he sees it, is to move sideways to IT, which is where his background is.
It would be a shame to lose someone like him … he’s hungry. Man: Yes, it’s a genuine application. He’s a serious contender. I was struck recently… I think it was last month.. , by his problem- solving abilities. He was passed a complaint – it wasn’t really his problem at all – but he took it up anyway, about some faulty goods we’d supplied, apparently. I think he saw it as an efficiency issue, and so relevant to any responsible person here. And he reacted really well, so that the customer went away happy after all. Woman: Right, and that suggests the qualities that are most germane to the job.
Ultimately, I suppose, we’re looking for a level of adaptability that it’s fair to say someone in his position may not have had the chance to really demonstrate yet.. , but his familiarity with the goods we produce is second-to-none, so I think the signs are there that he may become an astute analyst and problem-solver. Man: That’s certainly encouraging. And it’s not just in the office that he’s been looking good. I sent him abroad as part of that group a few weeks ago. The basic brief was to secure a continuation of the Asian contract. To be honest, that was a bit of a given, and what I was really hoping for was something extra.
And sure enough, he clearly really worked on all our contacts out there, and he came back with some great new insights into how we might be able to develop bulk sales directly through warehouses, rather than through the standard agency channels. Woman: Oh right, interesting – I missed the debrief on that one. But I do know he went on a training course not so long ago, and clearly reaped the benefits there. The content was mundane enough – ‘how to produce effective reports’ or some such – but he identified the points that really mattered, and saw that what it actually addressed was how to order the most pertinent facts for delivery to a team.
Man: So, it’s good news all round? Woman: Let’s look at what his reference has to say. He does have shortcomings, of course. His confidence is very strong, almost to a fault, you might say, which could lead to difficulties on the patience front.. , just because he gets the point quickly doesn’t mean he’s entitled to think everyone else does, that they share the same conclusions.. , others may be behind in terms of objectivity, still grappling with issues that impact personally on themselves. Man: Hmm, that’d certainly be something to watch, I guess.
Still, we’re not looking for perfection, are we? And we’re not going to be setting up a lone operator. Woman: Oh, far from it. Whoever gets the job will be well backed up. I was talking to the consultants the other day, and they were quite critical of our reliance on checking performance through the one-to-one appraisal system, so it’s been decided that this new post will be linked into the cross-departmental advisory group that was set up a few months ago, and benefit from dealing with them and getting their input.
That should help quite a bit. Man: That makes a lot of sense. Well, let’s talk about some of the other candidates… [pause] Now listen to the recording again. [pause] That is the end of Part Three. You now have ten minutes to transfer your answers to your Answer Sheet. [pause] Note: Teacher, stop the recording here and time ten minutes. Remind students when there is one minute . remaining. That is the end of the test.