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Linguaskill (Bulats)

8 key information to remember

Created in 1996, the Linguaskill, formerly known as Bulats (for Business Language Testing Services), is a “business” English test implemented and administered by the Cambridge University. Find out everything there is to know about this test, which is increasingly sought-after, abroad.

Linguaskill (ex Bulats) is a linguistic level assessment test in English, mainly focused on the business realm and takes place on computers. This test can be used for recruitment, certification for training but also for a personal challenge. Linguaskill (ex Bulats) is therefore, like TOEIC, which is used to assess the ability of candidates to communicate in English in a professional environment. It uses business English in an international context. The Linguaskill diploma is issued by the Cambridge English Language Assessment Institute.

This exam is recognized worldwide and used by many companies, universities and ivy league schools, to assess their new recruits in terms of their level of “business English”. It is a reliable and an objective tool to determine the language skills of candidates. Originally, this test existed in several languages but only the English version of Linguaskill carried on, after the 2017 reform.

Just like with all standardized exams, a preparation phase is required to pass the Linguaskill. The course of this test responds to specific patterns with which it is important to be familiar in advance. Score for Linguaskill (ex Bulats)is based on the CEFR, a document defining the international standard of language levels, recognized all around the globe.

Linguaskill (ex Bulats) has three distinct sections:

  • The Listening & Reading section: oral and written comprehension
  • The Speaking section: oral expression
  • The Writing section: written expression

These 3 sections follow one another and the instructions are stated at the beginning of each part. It is not compulsory to pass the 3 modules and you can completely choose to pass one or two, depending on your project and the certifications you are asked for.

The addressed topics relate to the business realm and may for example include understanding emails, commenting on charts, questions about the working environment or any other business situation. Linguaskill stands out as it includes an evolving assessment system, which adapts questions to the candidate level. Due to this system, the number of questions asked but also their level of difficulty vary according to the previous answers. When the candidate answers correctly, the difficulty increases. If the candidate gives the wrong answer, the level decreases. Therefore, Linguaskill is a personalized test.

Linguaskill Listening & Reading

The Linguaskill "Listening and Reading" test quickly and precisely identifies the candidate's written and oral comprehension skills. Therefore, the candidate’s grammatical and lexical knowledge are assessed. This test lasts from 1h to 1h20. It is divided into two sections and has two different exercises. The candidate is tested on his oral and written comprehension, and on his general knowledge of the language. The questions asked are of various forms and supports: multiple choice questions, fill in the gap sentences, gap texts with or without propositions, comprehension questions on audios or texts (articles, e-mails, etc.).

To help you get a clearer idea of the content of this test, here are some examples of questions relating to reading comprehension (Reading) :

Exemple 1 : Fill in the gap

He arrives at the office __________ everyone else.

  • A. previous
  • B. already
  • C. earliest
  • D. before

Right answer and explanations: you had to answer (D) (“before”) .. “Previous” generally follows a pronoun or an article, “already” would not be used here with the simple present, and “earliest” must follow a “the” to be correct.

Exemple 2 : Read and select

An image is presented to you, followed by 3 choices of your choice:

  • A. We have been building for 30 years.
  • B. Our reputation is based on recent experience.
  • D. We have done this kind of work for a long time.

Right answer and explanations: proposition (C) is the right one. (A) does not refer to the text presented and (B) evokes the opposite of what is expressed in the text.

And now some examples of what to expect in the Listening test:

Exemple 3: Listen and select (text)

You hear this:

“Man – Well, that was a long meeting. I didn’t realise he could talk so much!
Woman – It was long, wasn’t it, about an hour and a half I think.
Man – And what have we achieved? What a waste of time!
Woman – Well, now we all know about the new projects, so there’ll be less confusion.
Man – True.
Woman - … and we know about the team changes. All in all, I thought it was useful.
Man – I suppose so.
Woman – And now I’m ready for a coffee.”

Question :

What is the woman's opinion on the meeting?

  • A. We have been building for 30 years.
  • B. Our reputation is based on recent experience.
  • D. We have done this kind of work for a long time.

Right answer and explanations: Proposition (C) is correct. Propositions (A) and (B) express the opposite of what is said.

Exemple 4 : Listen and select (images)

You hear this:

“Well, this has been a good year for our shops. Sales of printers have been very good and laptops have also done well. And we are expecting the XP160 camera to be a great success when it goes on the market next month.”

Question : Which product does the company intend to launch ?

You can choose from three images:

  • A. a printed image (printer)
  • B. image of a laptop (laptop)
  • D. image of a camera (camera)

Right answer and explanations: you need to answer (C) here . “the XP160 camera to be a great success when it goes on the market next month” means that cameras are not yet on the market but will be next month.

Linguaskill Speaking

The Speaking part of the Linguaskill (ex Bulats) test is aimed to assess the candidate's skills in oral expression, always in a professional context. This expression test is also entirely carried out on a computer and the candidate is asked to speak into a microphone. The test is quite short, lasting about 15 minutes, but it is very complete and divided into 5 exercises, each equivalent to 20% of the score.

  • answer 8 personal questions
  • read 8 choices out loud
  • express oneself on a give topic for a minute
  • comment a chart
  • give opinion on a subject

Before each test, the candidate has 40 seconds to 1 minute of preparation.

Linguaskill Writing

The Writing part of the Linguaskill exam assesses the candidate's skills in written expression. It lasts approximately 45 minutes and consists in coming up with two texts: a first short text of 50 words and a second of at least 180 words, using materials provided in the instructions. Having solid knowledge of grammar and vocabulary is therefore key, to obtain a good score. Like the other three, this written expression takes place on a computer as well.

Each of the 3 Linguaskill sections assesses specific skills in the English language and leads to a score. This score corresponds to a precise estimate of the general level of business English for each category of written and oral comprehension, written expression and oral expression. After passing your Linguaskill, you are given an overall score but you also get the details of the scores for each section. The overall score corresponds to the average of the scores for each activity.

The score in the Reading & Listening section is obtained right after the last question. The Linguaskill Writing score is obtained 12 hours after passing the test and the Speaking score within 48 hours.

The final Linguaskill score is between 1 and 100 and corresponds to the 6 levels established by the CEFR.

The Linguaskill score (ex Bulats) is based on the levels of the European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the internationally recognized assessment scale for language skills. Therefore, it is easy to instantly interpret one’s level according to the overall score which has been obtained :

  • A score between 1 and 19 corresponds to a beginner level (A1)
  • A score between 20 and 39 corresponds to an elementary level (A2)
  • A score between 40 and 59 corresponds to an intermediate level (B1)
  • A score between 60 and 74 corresponds to an advanced intermediate level (B2)
  • A score between 75 and 89 corresponds to an advanced level (C1)
  • A score between 90 and 100 corresponds to a higher advanced level (C2)

The correspondence CEFR standard also appears on the Linguaskill certificate of results. With regard to the oral and written expression tests, the CECRL assessment is more detailed: in addition to the level (from A1 to C2), a mention “+” or “-” is also assigned, making it possible to more precisely visualize the skills of the candidate.

Do you wish to take the Linguaskill exam? To obtain this precious certificate, you can register for the Linguaskill (ex Bulats) through two ways: either with a Linguaskill agent (ex Bulats), or at a test center.

A Linguaskill agent is an organization which is approved and authorized by the Cambridge English Language Assessment, to distribute and administer the exam to professionals and individuals. The test centers are not dependent on Cambridge but simply allowed to take the test on their premises: these could concern companies, schools or universities.

There are several approved centers in several major cities all around the globe. As each center is independent, registration conditions and prices may vary.

To ace the Linguaskill (ex Bulats) and obtain a good score, it is essential to prepare several months in advance by practicing the exam exercises. Knowing the structure and instructions of this standardized test will help you to be effective on the D-day, in a major way. Moreover, the vocabulary used for this specialized examination in “business english” being related to the world of business, it is important to get familiarized with this particular lexicon. The Linguaskill training materials (ex Bulats) are there to help you know and master the structure of the exam, so that you are more comfortable on the day of the test. You can train through exercise books, journals, audio and video resources, and online platforms. During your Linguaskill preparation phase, do not hesitate getting familiarized with business English by reading specialized books or magazines on the company and/or by watching films or documentaries in English related to the world of “business”.

Please note that the validity period of Linguaskill (ex Bulats) is unlimited, that is to say that the diploma you will obtain at the end of this test will be valid for your entire life. However, some establishments may ask you to present a Linguaskill certification dated less than 2 years ago.

Our GlobalExam training platform offers you several supports to get trained for the Linguaskill online. This unique training solution gives you access to several modules for a productive and complete training program:

  • A Training mode consists of corrected standard exercises
  • An exam mode allowing you to take timed mock tests in order to get trained in real exam conditions. For each exercise, a personalized and detailed correction is provided to you
  • Last but not least, GlobalExam also gives you access to your progress statistics so that you can follow the evolution of your level and identify your possible weaknesses, in order to progress faster

The preparation for Linguaskill online on GlobalExam does not stop there. In addition to the 60 hours of training that are at your disposal on our platform, you will find other course materials, which are useful for your revisions of business English. Our expert teachers have done their best to write several practical sheets addressing grammar and vocabulary issues but also "language functions" which will be tested during the exam. These revision sheets are available online at any given time and are a key element for your Linguaskill preparation.

In addition to the GlobalExam training platform, we also put a blog at your disposal which has a lot of advice but also tricks on the logistic aspects to prepare for the test, and offer you optimal training. How to be efficient during the training phase? How to score points in written expression? Why pass the Linguaskill (ex Bulats) ?How to register? You’ll find all the answers to these questions and much more, on the GlobalExam blog.

Notre plateforme d'entraînement GlobalExam vous propose plusieurs supports pour vous entraîner au Linguaskill en ligne. Cette solution unique d'entraînement vous donne accès à plusieurs modules pour un programme d'entraînement productif et complet :

  • Un mode Entraînement compose d’exercices types corrigés,
  • Un mode Examen vous permettant de passer des test blancs chronométrés afin de vous entraîner en conditions réelles d’examen. Pour chaque exercice, une correction personnalisée et détaillée vous est fournie.
  • Enfin, GlobalExam vous donne également accès à vos statistiques de progression afin de vous permettre de suivre l'évolution de votre niveau et d’identifier vos éventuelles lacunes, dans le but de progresser plus vite.

La préparation au Linguaskill en ligne sur GlobalExam ne s’arrête pas là. En plus des 60 heures d'entraînement qui vous attendent sur notre plateforme, vous trouverez d’autres supports de cours utiles à vos révisions d’anglais des affaires. Nos professeurs experts se sont en effet appliqués à rédiger de nombreuses fiches pratiques abordant les points de grammaire, de vocabulaire mais aussi des “language functions”qui seront testés au cours de l’examen. Ces fiches de révisions, disponibles en ligne à tout moment, constituent un élément clé de votre préparation au Linguaskill.

En plus de la plateforme d'entraînement GlobalExam, nous mettons également à votre disposition un blog rassemblant de nombreux conseils et astuces sur les aspects logistiques de la préparation au test, dans le but de vous offrir une préparation optimale. Comment être efficace pendant sa phase d’entraînement ? Comment gagner des points en expression écrite ? Pourquoi passer le Linguaskill (ex Bulats) ? Comment s’inscrire ? Vous trouverez toutes les réponses à ces questions, et bien plus encore, sur le blog GlobalExam.