It's all here

20th November 1998 at 00:00

By Simon Chapman, Philip Amor, Chris Drew, Rosemary Hector, Peter Simonds and Michael Yeabsley.

Oxford University Press Pounds 12.50.


By Tim Bayliss.

Oxford University Press Pounds 9.

Simon Chapman's team of authors do a good job in comprehensively covering the material needed for GCSE syllabuses in one volume. There is quality as well as quantity in Complete Geography's 256 pages. In time it should challenge the dominance of other well-established texts.

Most of the teacher authors share a teaching pedigree that includes Warwick School (where Chapman is head of geography) and Haberdasher's Aske's Boys School, Elstree, a geography department that has probably generated more successful textbooks than any other in the United Kingdom over the past 25 years.

From this background, you can be sure able pupils are catered for and challenged, through demanding questions, tasks and some decision-making exercises. But the book can be used for a wider range of abilities and has full-colour, good design and clear, acccessible structure. With material arranged thematically, a more thorough indexing for places would have been a benefit.

The only major reservation concerns the large pages. They increase the amount of text and make double-page lay-outs informative and attractive, but its size and floppiness may hasten the exfoliation of Complete Geography in school bags.

Geography to GCSE, described as a "summary book" and a "framework for study and revision", has more modest and utilitarian objectives but is more than just a crammer's desperate last hope, and fulfils its purpose attractively. The contents are divided into human, economic and environmental themes and are designed to reinforce class notes and act as a revision aid.

There are tabulated "key points" on all GCSE topics, as well as clear diagrams. Some readers will appreciate that the questions in which they are invited to "Test yourself" and "Stretch yourself" come with specimen answers.

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