Diplomas and Tests in Business and Professional English
Your Key to Successful Communication in International Business

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


Prose sentences (45m) Business Vocabulary (45m)
Listening comprehension (45m) Listening comprehension (45m)
Reading comprehension (45m) Reading comprehension (45m)
Commercial Letter (45m) Commercial Letter (45m)

15 sentences in French to translate into English. Duration: 45 minutes Marked out of 100 points The sentences cover a variety of business themes (company structure, human resources, accountancy, banking and finance, import/export, insurance, transport, legal matters, environmental issues linked to business, business communication such as telephone/fax/internet as well as company life in general. Besides testing the candidate's knowledge of business terminology, the prose sentences test the candidate's ability to use the basic structures of the language

There are 50 questions in total. Duration: 45 minutes Marked out of 100 points Part 1 (a) - 20 sentences to complete with appropriate verbs / phrasal verbs / idiomatic expressions. Sometimes there is more than one possible answer. Part 1 (b) – 15 sentences to complete with appropriate words or expressions. No vocabulary is provided. Sometimes there is more than one possible answer. Part 2 – Text to complete using words or expression provided. For each of the 15 gaps, candidates must choose a word or expression from 4 options.
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.



DBE –TRANSLATIONS ORAL - 15 minutes Marked out of 100
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.
Part 1 - Interview
The candidate is asked to introduce him/herself and talk briefly about his/her company, job, studies or work placements.
Part 2 - Presentation
The candidate is given a sheet on which 5 themes are proposed. The candidate chooses a theme and has 3 minutes to prepare. He/she is allowed to make notes. The candidate is then asked to talk uninterrupted for about 5-7 minutes on the theme. The examiner can ask questions to keep the conversation going if necessary.
Part 3 - Role-Play
After the presentation, the candidate is given instructions for a role-play (in English) on a professional theme. He/she has one minute to read the instructions and is then asked to act the situation with the examiner.


Candidates obtain a score out of 100 for each of the 5 papers and a global score out of 500.
Global Score Grade CEF Level *
480-500/500 Highest Distinction C2+
450-479/500 High Distinction C2
400-449/500 Distinction C1++
350-399/500 Merit C1+
300-349/500 Pass C1
200-299/500 Fail B2+
100-199/500 Fail B2
0-99/500 Fail B1
    * 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.