Ready for FCE

Roy Norris (Macmillan Education 2008)
ISBN 978–0–230–02761–9

This textbook is well laid out with a pleasing lack of unnecessary background tints leaving a lot of white paper, which makes it much easier to use than others on the market. Illustrations are also used sparingly; many are intriguing and get the students’ attention, which helps them engage with the text or topic and they don’t look as if they will date quickly. The syllabus is clearly laid out at the beginning and this provides a good guide for the users.

Each chapter is organised round a topic, has a good emphasis on vocabulary from the beginning and, taking the chapters together, all the important language structures and functions are covered. In every chapter one part of each paper is focused on and there are frequent, useful notes on strategies in the ‘How to go about it’ and ‘Don’t forget’ panels. The review section at the end of each chapter provides good reinforcement of the structures covered and continues the emphasis on vocabulary and word formation that is a feature of the author’s approach.

Another useful feature of this book is the ‘Ready to’ section where each paper in the exam is focused on and the reader is taken through it step-by-step with examples and a clear indication of what to expect on the day. A final useful section is the selected vocabulary at the back based on the chapter topics. It is too easy to tell students that they need to increase their vocabularies in general – here there is a much more focused approach that is relevant to the exam.

Duncan Fitzhowle
EAC Language School, Edinburgh