International Professional Training

Центр иностранных языков

What is BULATS?
The Business Language Testing Service (BULATS) is a language assessment service specifically for use by companies and organisations. BULATS is for organisations which need reliable ways of assessing the language ability of their employees.
The service is designed to test the language abilities of employees who need to use a foreign language at work as well as for students and employees attending language courses or business courses where foreign language ability is an important element of the course.

The service provides:

  • Relevant, useful and reliable language tests in work contexts
  • Test administration designed to suit each company's individual requirements
  • A rapid turn around of test results
  • Information to aid in the interpretation of test results
  • Advice to companies on appropriate strategies for language testing, assessment needs, and training


Why use BULATS?
Language skills are essential to any company working in today’s global economy. The following are just a few of the ways that BULATS can prove to be an indispensable tool for measuring and developing these skills:

1. Evaluating the language skills of company employees:
A company may decide that it wants a complete language profile of its staff. BULATS can be used to test some or all employees. The service can also be used at regular intervals to monitor the company's language profile.

2. Evaluating the language skills of job applicants:
A company may be recruiting staff to work in its international departments. BULATS provides a simple way of testing prospective employees and providing the company with an up-to-date and accurate assessment of their language ability.

3. Placing learners in suitable language training courses:
Training colleges provide language training courses for employees and need to place them in courses at the right level. BULATS can help determine how to best place the students in suitable courses.

4. Screening for learners who are unsuitable for the training courses provided:
A company may wish to concentrate its language training on employees who have nearly advanced to the level of language required. BULATS can provide a test to screen off unsuitable candidates and so help make best use of available resources.

5. Evaluating existing language training:
The training division of a company may need to assess the quality of language training being provided by an external training organisation. BULATS can be used to test employees at the beginning and end of the course to monitor progress.

6. Recommending suitable, standardised examinations for learners:
An organisation might wish to motivate its staff by sponsoring them to take standardised examinations which provide a certificate with worldwide recognition (such as the Cambridge First Certificate in English). BULATS provides a test to help advise which standardised examination would be most suitable.

The Computer Test
This is a fast, accurate test of listening and reading skills: The test is available in English, French, German and Spanish.

Topics
All the topics aim to be relevant to people using the language at work. They cover:

  • Job descriptions
  • Companies and products
  • Travel
  • Management and marketing
  • Customer service
  • Planning
  • Reports
  • Phone messages
  • Business correspondence
  • Presentations

The tasks in the test are generally practical ones, e.g. taking a phone message, checking a letter, giving a presentation, understanding an article or writing a report.

Results .
All the tests assess candidates across the six levels of the ALTE Framework, i.e. the same test is used for all candidates whatever their level. (Levels 0-5 of the ALTE Framework correspond to the Council of Europe Framework levels A1-C2.)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a computer-adaptive test?
This is a test where the computer selects questions according to how well you students answered previous questions. In other words the questions adapt to the level of the candidate. The Computer Test includes a large bank of test questions covering all levels of ability from Basic to Advanced levels.
Questions are displayed on-screen and candidates respond using the keyboard and mouse. As each question is answered the computer assesses the response and selects the next question. The questions are selected according to whether the candidate's previous answer was right or wrong; in this way the questions become progressively easier or harder until the system has a reliable assessment of the candidate's level.

2. Is there a sample version of the BULATS Computer Test?
A sample of the BULATS computer test is on their website. If you have difficulty accessing the test you can contact us.

3. How is the overall BULATS score calculated?
The overall BULATS score is not simply an average of the two section scores. The program uses encrypted tables to calculate the overall score as there are different ability weightings attached to the two sections. If the score on the Listening section is 50 for example, and the score for the Reading and Language Knowledge section is 60, it does not necessarily follow that the overall result will be 55.

4. Is there a set time limit for the Computer Test?
It is up to the discretion of the organisation delivering the test to decide whether to set a time limit, which can be set by the test administrator using the Supervisor program. Each test will vary in length due to the adaptive nature of the test although tests should ideally be completed within 40 - 75 minutes. Any tests taking less than 40 minutes may be considered invalid attempts.

5. Is supervision required during the test?
It is the responsibility of the end user to determine the appropriate level of invigilation for the test. We would recommend non-specialist supervision to ensure that collusion has not taken place while tests are being run.

6. Is it possible to conduct the test on the company's premises?
Yes. We can provide all the necessary information.

7. How long does the test last?
From 40 to 75 minutes.

8. Is a technical expert necessary to install the BULATS Computer Test?
BULATS is simple to install on standalone workstations. To install BULATS on a network you should consult your network administrator. If you have any problems you will probably find the solution in the User Manual or the Technical FAQs page of the website. If not you can call your BULATS Agent for further help.

9. Is it possible to assign a member of the company's staff as a proctor for the exam?
Yes, in which case a representative of your company will undergo training, and when registering employees for the exam, our centre along with this representative will receive passwords and access to the test. After that the appointed person will be solely responsible for monitoring the test.

BULATS Preparation Courses