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Level B

Review ~ Compact First
Reviewed May 2013 by Vanessa Pasini
Compact First

Compact First

Compact First is a textbook for students preparing for the Cambridge: First exam, commonly known as the FCE. Compact First was my main text early in 2013 and, I think this is one of the best such texts that I’ve come across. Its clear and thorough approach makes it very easy to teach from but still allows teachers to adapt exercises.

The ten units are divided thematically, each tackling a separate grammar and vocabulary point as well as one or two parts of each paper in the FCE. In addition to this there is: a writing guide supplying model answers for each writing question; a speaking guide with tips, visual materials and useful phrases; a wordlist; a grammar reference; and the CD ROM. All these elements made my class feel they had a good understanding ofwhat was required in the exam.

One thing I really appreciated was the fact that no space is wasted in this book. Although the content of the units only make up about half the total space in the book, there is more than enough material to cover. Any pictures are either directly related to speaking tasks or can be adapted for this purpose.
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Review ~ Breakthrough Plus 3
Reviewed Apr 2013 by Stephen Case
Breakthrough Plus 3

Breakthrough Plus 3

Breakthrough Plus 3 is an intermediate level, twelve-unit, multi-skills course. It is written by Miles Craven, who was one of the authors of the excellent Q:Skills series of listening and speaking books as well as the previous Breakthrough series. In style it is much like its predecessor Breakthrough. Each unit contains listening, speaking, reading and writing components based around a theme with fairly typical presentation and style. Four pages of each unit are spent on the presentation, form and practice of the unit’s core language point, while the last two “Expansion Pages” review and re-practice what has already been taught. Although it has parts focusing on all different skills, the main strength of this book is its easy to use and implement communicative activities.

Each unit follows the same pattern. Speculation on pictures and warm-up questions introduce the topic. The warm-up questions typically try to personalize the topic in some way by asking about the students’ own experiences or opinions on a topic. These questions provide a lead in to a recorded conversation on the topic, which in turn introduces new grammar and vocabulary for the unit. Brief vocabulary and grammar activities follow this to check comprehension.
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Review ~ Managing Projects
Reviewed Mar 2013 by Jamie Lesley

managing-projectsPublished by Delta Publishing in conjunction with UK-based corporate trainers York Associates, Managing Projects is intended for learners at CEF level B2 to C1, and as such, is perhaps unsuitable for those not already at or moving towards a high level of English proficiency. It is principally viewed as a group learning resource but may also accommodate one-to-one teaching, as well as self-study. Its major selling points are its handling of cultural issues affecting work performance and communication, and its promotion of personalised goal-setting to monitor progress with learning diaries and action plans, both of which consolidate the learning process and encourage work-skills transfer. The book is one of a series of four entitled International Management English. It rests on the well-founded belief that to manage people and execute
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Review ~ Complete IELTS: Bands 5-6.5
Reviewed Mar 2013 by Margaret Bade
Complete IELTS: Bands 5-6.5

Complete IELTS: Bands 5-6.5

Complete IELTS: Bands 5-6.5, written by Guy Brook-Hart and Vanessa Jakeman and published by Cambridge University Press, is a welcome resource for teachers preparing students for the academic module of IELTS (International English Language Testing System) at the intermediate level (B2). The eight-unit Student’s Book is designed as a short course for IELTS preparation of around 50-60 classroom hours. It includes a full IELTS practice test as well as all grammar and vocabulary considered relevant to this level, informed by the Cambridge English Corpus, not to mention plenty of well-explained IELTS practice exercises in each unit. The full set of answers and CD-ROM are a bonus. There are also two Class Audio CDs which contain additional listening practice, as well as recordings for all the listening sections.

The 166 pages include a map of the units and an IELTS Academic Module: Content and Overview at the front, and at the back a speaking, writing and language reference (giving the additional descriptions of grammar covered in each unit) to give students more of what to expect “on test day”. A detailed word list of useful words from each unit is also provided here but some teachers could consider the detail given a little complex, and students might be better off finding the meaning for themselves.
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Review ~ Speakout Upper Intermediate
Reviewed Jun 2012 by Kate Gamble
Speakout Upper Intermediate

Speakout Upper Intermediate

Speakout (Upper Intermediate), written by Frances Eales and Steve Oakes and published by Pearson, is a general English course covering speaking, listening, reading and writing and featuring authentic material from the BBC.

The book (Students’ Book with Active Book) comes with a CD that includes the e-book of all the materials, including all audio and video content as well as additional material. This was the first time I had seen this format and while I am not yet completely familiar with how everything works, it seems to be excellent and hopefully other books will adopt a similar approach in the future. Having the audio and video included with the student book (rather than just a few as in the Face2Face textbooks) means that students can really make the most of the book outside of lessons as well as during class.
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Review ~ English in Mind
Reviewed Dec 2011 by Belinda Molnar
English in Mind

English in Mind

English in Mind (Second Edition) is a course that the publishers claim is fresh and inspiring, especially designed to motivate teenagers, with 100% up-to-date content and extra attention on developing fluency. It has a Student’s Book DVD-ROM that contain games, extra exercises and video dramas featuring the photostory characters. The photostories also have a “videoke” function for students to record themselves taking part in the dialogue.

The books are level 3 which is B1 council of Europe level. They are standard A4 in size with a purple jacket. Inside, the student book is divided into 14 sections, with each one covering a different aspect of grammar, based around different topics. The first section is a recap of tenses previously
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Review ~ Global Pre-Intermediate
Reviewed Feb 2011 by James Taylor
Global Pre-Intermediate

Global Pre-Intermediate

Global is the new coursebook series from Macmillan. It consists of a student coursebook, an eWorkbook, a teacher’s book with resource CD, audio CDs, a version for interactive whiteboards and a regularly updated website. At first glance, Global doesn’t differ that greatly from the coursebooks that teachers the world over are accustomed to using, in that it is divided into themed units containing grammar, reading, listening, and vocabulary, along with speaking and pronunciation components. At the end of each unit is a ‘functional’ page to practise ‘useful’ English, a writing task and a review section.

So far, so typical. However, as you begin to dig deeper you begin to notice aspects of the book that make it quite unlike other coursebooks of a similar ilk (New English File, Cutting Edge etc). One of author Lindsay Clandfield’s stated aims is “for students to learn about English…We believe that (this subject) is
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QSE Pre-Intermediate
Reviewed Oct 2009 by Sophie Crowley

Most English language teachers find it difficult to find a course book that is both up-to-date and sufficient in its exposure to natural English language. This intermediate course book provides rich practice of the four language skills, whilst exposing learners to modern and controversial topics that are often forgotten about in most course materials, and which foreign students often want
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Language Leader Pre-Intermediate
Reviewed Oct 2008 by Dave Allen

Components: Course book and CD-ROM, Class CD, Teacher’s Book and Test Master CD ROM, Workbook and Audio CD
Authors:
Ian Lebeau and Gareth Rees.
Publisher:
Pearson Longman
Summary
: For learners who ‘only want to talk’ this is probably not the best textbook. But for students who ‘want to learn’, Language Leader is a very solid and inspiring series.
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Language Leader Intermediate
Reviewed Sep 2008 by Dave Allen

Authors: David Cotton, David Falvey, Simon Kent, David Alberry (Teacher’s Book); John Hughes (Workbook)
Publisher
: Pearson Longman
Components
: Course book and CD-ROM, Class CD, Teacher’s Book and Test Master CD-ROM, Workbook and Audio CD
Summary
: Motivational, inspirational, comprehensive, concise and relevant to today.

Review:
If the title Language Leader sounds familiar then it’s probably because you are familiar with its predecessor, the successful business English textbook series, Market Leader. Written by the same authors, the language leader series is a General English textbook series
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