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Guiding lights

Michael Mitchell reviews resources for successful revision

Revise for Citizenship Studies GCSE AQA

By Sue Patrick and Joan Campbell; Heinnemann pound;6.25

GCSE Citizenship Studies Exam Techniques

By Peter Brett Folens pound;6.99

Success for Schools GCSE Short Course Citizenship

By Kim Richardson Letts pound;8

Success for Schools GCSE Short course Citizenship Teachers Resources

By Kim Richardson and Trevor Green Letts pound;25

Unlike most recent curriculum initiatives, the progress of citizenship through the key stages has not been stifled by a lack of available resources, whether from the voluntary sector, government agencies or commercial publishers. The rapid growth in GCSE entries in the past two years is now leading publishers to promote materials to aid GCSE revision for the citizenship short course.

Revise for Citizenship Studies is clearly aimed at the AQA specification and methodically takes the student through each element. Each section has a number of exam-related questions, with answers at the back of the book.

Each section also has a checklist for revision, this time without any guidance to help you know which level of knowledge you have acquired. The last quarter of the book is devoted to assisting students with responses to various parts of the exam paper. Each part is supported with indicative material relating to the top bands of the mark scheme.

The section relating to practical citizenship activity is given only two pages, which seems a little brief when it is worth one quarter of the marks for the question paper.

The short essay section uses "student" responses, if only we all had students who could express themselves with such fluidity and knowledge.

A useful index and glossary enables students to use the book effectively.

This book will enable those students who need to recap a broad area of content quickly to do so effectively.

Citizenship Studies by Peter Brett is aimed at all three awarding bodies'

specifications. It claims to offer a 15-week revision programme, but considering many students will take the exam after only one year of study, many will spend less time than that with this book. It is clearly aimed at developing those skills that are essential to citizenship and placing them in the context of exam techniques.

Specific content revision is left until the final third of the book. The use of lurid print colour and rather dated line drawings shouldn't put the reader off, as the text contains mainly useful tips to help get the grade required.

This book, while a stand-alone text, would also work well alongside teacher-led preparation for the exam. It doesn't attempt to cover the entire knowledge base of the programme of study, but uses examples to help students develop a variety of different styles of response.

An index and glossary would have improved it, but this book represents an excellent purchase for students and teachers who need reassurance.

The two Letts books are complementary. One is aimed at students; the other is a resource bank for teachers. The student's book is certainly eye-catching: every page is swathed in a range of bright colours, drawings and artwork.

The book is well supported by the teacher's resource book, which adds a few carbohydrates to the heavy protein diet of the student text.

The materials clearly support the structures of the student book, and the lesson plans are extremely helpful, especially the answers for the teacher to some of the questions.

These two books work well together and will help non-specialist staff.

Michael Mitchell is head of social science at Exmouth Community College

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