Why you should know Berlitz before applying to any Call Center job
This is your quick guide on the Berlitz computer-based exam.
Do you agree that you will do much better on any job application if you are 100% prepared? Have you gone through a BPO job application in the past and got surprised by the whole process? Are you about to go through your BPO job application without knowing what the different stages are? Unliversity is giving you a preview of what goes into those computer-based exams. The goal is to provide you with a leg-up. As they say, knowing is half the battle. In this Unliversity Essay Series, we will give you a preview of what goes on in Versant, SVAR, and Berlitz computer-based tests.
Unliversity.com is a 100% FREE ONLINE COURSE SITE that aims to upskill and coach applicants of the BPO industry.
Series 2 of 3: BERLITZ
Berlitz is another test to determine the English communication skills of the applicant. Berlitz doesn't just measure your English accent and pronunciation. It also measures how you handle real conversations with real people, like how a call center agent should do.
There are two types of how a Berlitz exam is set up:
One is through a person who will facilitate the exam by listening and talking to the applicant in English. You will be handed a phone and someone will call you and talk to you about anything under the sun. The facilitator will then grade your English communication skills based on the conversation.
Another one is where the facilitator is a computer-based voice prompt. So you will wear headphones with a mic for this version.
Let’s separate this lesson in 2 parts:
PART 1: BERLITZ CONDUCTED BY A PERSON
There are 3 stages of the Berlitz test conducted by a facilitator.
STAGE 1: INSTRUCTIONS
The Berlitz facilitator will give an introduction and explanation of the exam. Instructions will also be provided. Remember to listen very carefully to ensure you understand the instructions.
STAGE 2: INTRODUCE YOURSELF
You will be asked to introduce yourself, just like in a job interview. You can repeat your standard answer to the question, "Tell me about yourself." Feel free to be creative and add more information. Just make sure that all information is true because the follow-up questions may be based on the answers you gave.
During the conversation, you will be asked some random questions. Don't be afraid to give your honest and personal opinion. There are no right or wrong answers in Berlitz. You are measured on how efficient you get your point across.
STAGE 3: Q&A
This is easy if you speak fluent English, or you have experienced Berlitz before. If you feel the need to brush up on your English grammar, enroll in one of Unliversity's Basic English courses. It's free! You can go back and study the basics - grammar, pronunciation, tone of voice, etc.
SOME TIPS IF YOUR FACILITATOR IS A PERSON:
1. Polish your English as best as you can.
Enroll in one of Unliversity's Basic English courses. All Unliversity courses are free!
2. Build rapport with your facilitator
Avoid being monotonous and be positive. If your facilitator is a person and not a computer prompt, don't speak too loud and too slow. Not too loud or too soft. Not too fast or too slow. You have to balance your volume, your speech rate, and your tone.
3. Be direct to the point, and don't stray away from the question.
Don't beat around the bush. The best way to structure your answers is to use the PREP METHOD:
P is for POINT to the question
R is for REASON behind your answer
E is for EXPLANATION
P is back to your POINT
I love going to Singapore for short vacations. - POINT
Because it's such a clean and orderly country. - REASON
The citizens are disciplined, and the city infrastructure was carefully planned. - EXPLANATION
And that's why I love going to Singapore for short vacations. - BACK TO POINT
4. You can correct your statement.
If you feel you need to correct a statement you just said, don't be afraid to apologize and correct the statement. That will be a plus point for you too since they can see that you made an effort.
There are no right or wrong answers in the Berlitz test. If you go armed with this information, you certainly have more chances of passing.
PART 2: BERLITZ CONDUCTED BY COMPUTER-BASED VOICE PROMPT SOFTWARE:
The Berlitz program will randomly choose a few questions from among the many questions saved in the system. In each question, you will be given background information on a situation or a conversation. Then you will be asked to answer a question as if you were part of the situation or the conversation. You have 30 seconds to think about your answer and another 90-120 seconds to answer the question.
The common challenge is the time pressure of having to think about your answer in just 30 seconds. In this situation, many people instinctively focus and think about what the correct answer is to the question being asked. With the short time being given, focusing on finding the right answer causes some people to stutter, to stop speaking, or to give up and go blank.
What most people don't realize is that the Berlitz test is not looking for the correct answer, because there is none. It does not assess your opinion on the matter. It will not be impressed or disappointed with what your answer will be. It will simply measure your communication skills as you answer. Of course, you cannot answer gibberish. Your answer should still be somewhat related to the given situation, even just a little bit. You can choose to just talk about something familiar to you that does not directly answer the question and then, later on, relate it back to the situation or question being asked. You can also just focus on talking about a specific key point in the situation or something general and then just go back to answer the question briefly. You can even talk about not knowing the answer to the specific question and then just talk about what you know that is even just slightly related to the situation. As long as you communicate well when you answer, the Berlitz test will give you a passing score.
You should not use the first 30 seconds to think about the correct answer, but instead, you should use it to take a deep breath and relax then and decide what you're going to talk about (even if it is just remotely related to the situation) and how you're going to deliver it. Do not try to find the correct or the best answer, because there is none. Just decide what you can comfortably talk about. It does not matter if its something true or if you're pretending or if it's not exactly about the question but rather just something a tiny bit related to it. You just have to talk.
After the 30 seconds given to you to think, you will then be given 90-120 seconds to talk about your answer. If you find the 90-120 seconds too long, know now that you don't have to keep talking for the entire duration. Still, you cannot give a one-sentence answer that's too short either because the Berlitz test will assess you as "unmeasurable." An answer that’s too short cannot give the Berlitz software with enough material to measure your communication skills. If you find your actual answer to the question to be too short, then expound on something that you are comfortable to talk about, even if it does not directly answer the question anymore then just relate it back to the situation in the end.
The background information given before the question is asked can be useful to you as well. The key points there give you more options on what to talk about. You can choose to talk about one or several points without really thinking about how they connect to the question. Your answer does not need to be 100% connected to the topic. You just need to speak up because Berlitz does not measure you on your comprehension and ability to understand or solve situations here. You need to speak up because you are Berlitz is measuring how well you speak and communicate your thoughts. It’s a communications test. It’s not a logic test. It’s not a behavior test. It’s purely a communications test.
You are not expected to be knowledgeable about the situations given in the Berlitz test. Many questions are tailor-fit to the American culture and not ours. If you encounter questions that you can’t relate to, it doesn’t matter. You just have to talk about something else then even if it’s just a tiny bit related to the question.
For example, you might encounter a Berlitz question asking you if you prefer the NBA basketball team Phoenix Suns or the Memphis Grizzlies and why? You might not be a fan of the NBA. You may not even be a fan of basketball. But there are several ways that you can answer this, given the situation. You can choose to pretend that you like NBA teams and give pretend answers based on basic knowledge or common sense. Or you can simply say that you do not know much about the NBA, but you are, however, a big fan of the PBA or UAAP, and then you can talk about your favorite local teams and why. You can even say that you are not a basketball fan, but you do like football, and then you can just talk about your favorite football team instead.
However, you choose to answer the question, the truth, the accuracy, or the logic of your answer will not matter; you just have to talk enough that Berlitz can measure your communication.
There are many types of computer-based tests depending on which company or which kind of account you will be applying for in the BPO industry. Knowing at least one of the three common tests will significantly improve your chances of success!
For more comprehensive BPO JOB APPLICATION preparations, head to Unliversity and sign-up for the EFFECTIVE BPO JOB APPLICATION COURSE. All Unliversity courses are 100% free!