Changes in the lingo;Reviews;Revision Guides;Secondary

27th February 1998 at 00:00

SUCCESS AT GRADE C IN FRENCH. Collins pound;30. GCSE REVISION GUIDE: GERMAN. MGP pound;39.99. CLARISIMO! PRACTICE AND REVISION FOr SPANISH GCSE. John Murray. Student's Book pound;4.99. Teacher's notes and cassette. pound;25 + VAT.

Post-mock exam fever is upon us. Unfortunately, there's no magic formula: only practice and help with technique will improve performance. And this year modern language students face the revised GCSE with its rubric entirely in the target language.

Another major change is the use of dictionaries in the exam, which has meant paying more attention to dictionary skills training. Two areas of experience have also been expanded: the world of work and the international world.

The Heinemann French and German packs are impressive. Both the Listening andSpeaking and the Reading and Writing introductions have a reassuring, upbeat tone. The student is given a clear set of tips on how to approach revis-ion and gain extra marks. In the Listening section the work is graded into Foundation, Foundation Higher, and Higher, so pupils won't waste time with irrelevant sections.

Speaking practice covers all topic areas and explains how marks are allocated. Having thoroughly researched a particular role-play, the student is asked to listen to the model answer on the tape. Basic advice like "sound as German as you can" is included. Specific help is given in preparing for visual stimulus role-play. Students are given ideas on how to develop conversation on certain topics by adapting certain model answers. Speaking is arguably the most difficult skill to revise for, but there are many encouraging phrases en route, such as "Iyou have the power to direct a conversation along the lines which suit you I" Strong stuff!

The Heinemann Reading and Writing books train the student to memorise instructions and minimise the use of the dictionary. There are many useful tips on how to deduce meanings of words.

Collins' Reading and Writing GCSE Exam Practice in French is a set of photo-copiable worksheets of specimen material. It offers advice to teachers on how to use the pack itself; how to teach the reading and writing skills and how to incorporate information technology along the way.

Students are given the "Highway Code" for passing French with a host of bullet points and sound advice on vocabulary learning, dictionary skills and so on.

Success at Grade C in French focuses on students aspiring to a grade C. It comprises a set of photocopiable worksheets, extended reading and expert exam advice on every page.

GCSE Revision Guide: German, comprising workbook and cassette, is similar, but concentrates more than most on vocabulary learning. It also offers valuable help on study skills.

AClar!simo! Practice and Revision for Spanish GCSE is also available in a bookshop edition including cassette,transcripts and answers. The materials compare favourably with the rest of these publications.

Mary O'Sullivan is a lecturer inmodern languages at the Universityof Hertfordshire

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