Diplomas and Tests in Business and Professional English
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Diploma in Business English (DBE)

The Diploma in Business English is the oldest and most prestigious Diploma of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Created in 1901, it was the very first Business English examination to be used in France, and, for several decades, was the only business English Examination on offer in the country

To pass the Diploma in Business English (DBE), candidates are required to have reached a C1 level on Common European Framework).  

A candidate who reaches this level is able to function successfully in an executive or non-executive position in an international company based in a French-speaking country or abroad. 

There are 2 versions of the Diploma in Business English: DBE TRANSLATIONS and DBE ALL ENGLISH VERSION 

DBE TRANSLATIONS includes a translation paper (Prose Sentences) and the instructions for the COMMERCIAL LETTER paper and ORAL exam are given in French. To take the DBE Translations exam, candidates need to be able to read French fluently and have good notions of business terminology in French.  

In the DBE ALL ENGLISH VERSION the Prose Sentences are replaced by all-English vocabulary exercises and in which the COMMERCIAL LETTER and ORAL questions are in English. This version of the exam can be taken by all candidates, whatever their mother tongue


LISTENING COMPREHENSION (the same for both versions)  

5 recorded passages – questions and answers in English Duration: 45 minutes Marked out of 100 points The candidate hears 5 dialogues lasting approximately 2 minutes each. Each dialogue is heard twice. The candidate can make notes and write his / her answers at any time.

READING COMPREHENSION (the same for both versions)

3-4 texts, questions and answers in English Duration: 45 minutes Marked out of 100 points This paper is made up of 4 passages. The texts can be extracts from business correspondence, advertisements, press articles, extracts from contracts or commercial brochures. There are open questions and True/False questions.

COMMERCIAL LETTER (the same for both versions)Duration: 

45 minutes Marked out of 100 One business letter or e-mail to write following instructions, in French for the DBE-TRANSLATIONS and in English for the DBE ALL-ENGLISH version.


15 minutes Marked out of 100

DBE –TRANSLATIONS ORAL Part 1 - Oral summary 

 Candidates are presented with one short extract from the French business press (about 250-300 words). The candidate has 3 minutes to read the article. He/she is not allowed to make any notes. After the 3 minutes, the examiner will ask the candidate up to 5 questions (these questions are written on the Examiner’s instruction sheet). The final question is designed to encourage the candidate to express his or her opinion about the subject. This is where he / she can make use of any additional information found while researching the subject (the themes are given in advance). 

Part 2 - Role-play After the presentation of the article, the examiner gives the candidate the Candidate’s Instructions (which are in French) for a role-play situation. The candidate is allowed about one minute to read the instructions before starting the role-play. During the role-play, the examiner and candidate act the situation. They must both follow the order of the prompts. The candidate can add relevant information to help make the situation ‘come to life’. The examiner must stay as close as possible to the script. 

Candidates obtain a score out of 100 for each of the 5 papers and a global score out of 500.

CEF Level *

* Common European Framework

To pass the Diploma in Business English, a candidate needs to obtain a global score of at least 300/500, which is the equivalent of a C1 level on the Common European Framework. 

Candidates who fail the exam receive a certificate showing their level according to the FBCCI and Common European Framework scales.