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Secondary;Coming to terms;Subject of the week;Economics and Business

GCSE A-Z BUSINESS STUDIES HANDBOOK. By Arthur Jenkins. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;7.99

THE COMPLETE A-Z ACCOUNTING HANDBOOK. By Ian Harrison. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;9.99

The ability to use business terms and concepts accurately is one of the ways an A-C grade GCSE candidate is distinguished from a D-G student and a meritdistinction GNVQ candidate from a pass student. Both these publications support students in the development of business vocabulary.

They follow on from Hodder's successful A-level Complete A-Z Business Studies Handbook and are essentially dictionaries of business terms, including definitions backed up by extended explanations and examples for the more important concepts.

In GCSE A-Z Business Studies Handbook, the definitions are clear and well explained and there is plenty of cross-referencing. I used it with some teachers recently to research some key terms in a GCSE business studies case study examination. We were pleased to find good definitions of deregulation and management buyouts, which indicated that the book covered both traditional and more recent business developments.

There is a useful explanation of GCSE examiners' favourite phrases; the author identifies and explains 44 key words, from "advice" to "write a report" and relates these clearly to the GCSE assessment objectives. The book is designed to cover the range of knowledge needed for GNVQ Intermediate Business as well as GCSE, although GNVQ does not itself get a definition in the Handbook while NVQ does.

Apart from some well-known logos, there is a lack of business illustrations in the book to stimulate understanding.

The Complete A-Z Accounting Handbook is aimed at A-level accounting and accounting technician students and provides substantial detail for specialist students. While the quality of the entries is again good, with some impressive worked examplesw, the dictionary format does not work as well with accounting. There are some 26 entries that begin with the word "accounting" and there would have been 25 entries beginning with the words "Statements of Standard Accounting Practice" had not the editor decided to scatter them through the book under their sub-headings.

The relative size of an entry is more often determined by the length of a worked example than by the importance of the concept. Thus "apportionment of reciprocal service overhead costs" gets a three-page entry, while "balance sheet" and "profit and loss account" warrant only one page each.

At times it looks more like a textbook than the intended reference book. There are again useful examiners' terms, but with only 27 different ways of asking a question!

Ian Chambers is general adviser, vocational and careers education, for Tameside LEA

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