Check Your Vocabulary for English for the PET Examination

Title: Check Your Vocabulary for English for the PET Examination
Author: Tessie Dalton
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Consists of: A workbook for students.
Reviewed by: Sandra Bayona
Review date: March 2004

Planned to fit the new PET Examination (which is starting March 2004), this workbook covers the areas needed to take the test successfully. This may lead you to think it focuses only on those students who intend to take the examination, but in fact you will find that the topics and grammar points covered are useful for all lower intermediate students - whether preparing for the Cambridge exam or not. How is this achieved?

First of all, there are three great areas: words & grammar, topics, and pronunciation & spelling. Though they are divided for the sake of organisation, I think it is most useful to deal with them.

Connected to all the parts, a glossary of the terms most commonly used has been included right after the presentation of the workbook, so that the users do not get lost in trying to understand terms such as suffix or compound. This is a good measure, as both the grammatical explanations (which are clear and to the point) and the instructions for the exercises make full use of this grammatical vocabulary. The exercises provided are usually interesting and varied, and focus on the function, meaning and ways of using the words.

You should not expect to find topics different from those discussed in other books for PET. The originality of the workbook does not lie there, but in the variety of activities offered to practise the items related to the topic. This means that the user will have the chance not only to see how the words work in a context but also to apply them in different situations which may require their use of more than one language skill.

Pronunciation & spelling helps the students through those aspects of English which are usually tricky for us non-native speakers. Again, the focus is on vocabulary, so the activities fit perfectly well with the general aim of the workbook.

The author emphasises the importance of the use of the dictionary, and backs up her point of view by introducing exercises in which the students are actually directed to the lexicon! There is an introduction on how to interpret an entry, something I have found worth doing before asking my student to start using the dictionary.

A last point I would like to comment on: among the activities there are many which appeal to the students’ own experiences. This means that these exercises look to the personal dimension that should never be overlooked in the classroom.

So if you are preparing your students for the PET Examination or are studying on your own, take good advantage of Tessie Dalton’s work! ESL Reviews & ArticlesSandra Bayona is an EFL teacher from Argentina. She teaches in a Teacher Training College and also holds a degree in Modern Languages and Literature.