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Cambridge International AS and A Level English Language Coursebook (Cambridge International Examinations) Paperback – 21 Aug 2014
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The core aim of this Coursebook is to help students to develop and apply the key skills they need to achieve in AS and A Level English Language. They will build the skills needed for assessment through frequent activities. Divided into two distinct parts for AS and A Level studies, the book covers a wide range of reading skills, such as understanding aspects of style, voice and tone. It also addresses the conventions of key kinds of writing and spoken language, from scripted speeches to travel articles, and looks at how they can capture these conventions in their own work.
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A more obscure, cryptic, roundabout, enigmatic textbook would be, I think, nearly impossible to find.
This book is supposed to prepare students to take the AS or A Level English Language Examination and it's likely everything you need to know is in there, but good luck finding it! Not a chart, table, glossary, or summary to be found. Just swirly combinations of sample passages, responses, and exercises with a few relevant tips and bits of information seeded throughout like needles in a haystack.
The authors instruct the student to evaluate sample responses, but give no instructions or rubric to give the student direction in doing so. They give few useful explanations as to what differentiates a good response from a poor one, or what it is the graders of the exam will be looking for.
Relevant information is hidden so cleverly it seems intentional. The book never puts important ideas or vocabulary in the same font or location in the chapter. Never summarizes the teaching points in one place. Does not organize the material so that the student can construct a useful outline of the important points. Does not give any test taking strategies. Does not even explain the basic elements of the Exams - how long they are, how many questions there are, point distribution among the questions, or the overall goals to be reached for in your answers.
This book was purchased for a student in the United States at a school for which the Cambridge program is fairly new, and the teachers not as well versed in teaching the material as you would find in a country that has traditionally used the Cambridge assessments. We were looking for a book that could be used by the student as a supplement to his classwork, the way one might use a Barron’s or Princeton Review test guide. This was NOT that book.
Ironically, he found the Oxford Press published guide to the Cambridge English Language Exam much more practical in its approach and organization. I’d start there.