Amanda French (Macmillan 2009)
ISBN: (Student book) 978-0-2307-2794-6 (with key and audio CDs)
This is a book of CAE practice tests which aims to offer ‘tests that teach’. The students have four complete CAE tests to practise and sections of further practice and advice on exam technique.
I used this book with my CAE class in the final few weeks running up to the June 2010 Cambridge Advanced Exam. My students found the listening tests much easier than CAE past papers, so I would recommend introducing the listening tests earlier in the year well before the exam. The Reading and Use of English papers reflected the level of the exam more closely.
The Writing papers covered all of the tasks, giving the students some very useful practice. The Speaking practice tests cover the usual themes such as professions, holidays, science and money. My students found the photographs clear and interesting, but the rather childish drawings elicited a less favourable response.
The book contains several ‘further practice’ sections which cover all five CAE papers. These sections aim to ‘review the questions in the practice tests, helping students to reconsider their answers’. My students found this particularly useful when revising at home. I found the advice and further practice on the Writing paper a useful backup when teaching and revising this part of the exam. Finally, the advice on the Speaking paper was extremely useful for final revision and practice.
In general, this collection of practice tests and advice is a useful addition to an advanced course book. It is well constructed and covers all five parts of the exam thoroughly. It would be especially useful for teachers who are new to the CAE exam. The students benefit from exercises which develop exam techniques and from useful language for the Speaking and Writing papers.