In at the deep end;Secondary;Reviews;Mathematics;Books

22nd May 1998 at 01:00
HELP YOURSELF TO ADVANCED ALGEBRA. HELP YOURSELF TO DIFFERENTIATION. HELP YOURSELF TO INTEGRATION. By Hugh Neill. Longman. pound;5.25 each

Those familiar with Hugh Neill's work for teachers and students of A-level maths, in particular the Nuffield Advanced Mathematics course, will welcome these handy, inexpensive and useful books.

Designed to supplement any advanced mathematics course, they contain worked examples and exercises in essential techniques which will help to increase students' fluency and confidence in algebra andcalculus.

The series is probably most appropriate to students starting the second year of a two-year A-level course, as a knowledge of basic theory is assumed. The graded worked examples, with full, clear, written commentaries, provide a practical and accessible way for learners to come to a more sophisticated overview of the subject. Too often acquiring technical skill is dismissed as tedious rote learning.

These excellent little books illustrate how important the detailed setting out and checking of analytic solutions can be to acquiring a deeper theoretical understanding. My Year 13 teaching group, only weeks away from final A-level exams, pounced on the texts and declared them particularly good as consolidation material for topics on which they still felt shaky. No doubt others will share their enthusiasm.

* Richard Choat is head of information and communication technology at William Ellis School, north London (part of the LaSWAP Sixth Form Consortium)

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