STANDARD GRADE GEOGRAPHY: QUESTIONS AND SKILLS. HIGHER GRADE GEOGRAPHY CORE:QUESTIONS ANS SKILLS. By John Greenlees. Hodder amp; Stoughton, pound;6.99 each
Did you hear the one about the two TV aerials who got married? Lovely reception. I'm sure John Greenlees can look forward to a similar response to his text, a prediction based on one or two gut reactions which can often sell a book as well as any detailed analysis. It looks and feels right - splendid colourful cover, softback and manageable, excellent spacing, and living up to all the claims of both publisher and author.
It's almost a product of the league tables - a book solely concerned with getting better exam results. Lauren in my fourth year wants "a list of things we need to know for exams". This is it, Lauren!
The layout could not be simpler: 17 chapters, one for each key idea (stated as a chapter sub-heading), and grouped under physical, human and international. Each chapter has about 10 to 15 differentiated exam-type questions, with marks. They are almost all exclusively based on having to interpret an excellent array of maps, diagrams, sketches, graphs and photographs. In other words, exactly what the pupils will face in May. Even the new exam layout is catered for, with at least three questions coming into the "enquiry skills" category. Six of the questions refer to the Stirling extract inside the back cover, the only colour in the book. This keeps the price down and is perfectly realistic, since the exam papers are in black and white.
The jewel in the crown for me, however, is the introductory section, almost worth the very reasonable pound;6.99 on its own. For homework, exam revision or classroom testing, this is the book for you. Mr Greenlees, your timing could not be better!
It isn't always the case that an author can follow up an excellent Standard grade text with the same formula for Higher and come up trumps, but John Greenlees has managed to do just that.
The rather fragmented and meandering Higher core syllabus has been taken and shaken and dusted down into a simple, practical and meaningful eight chapters, four on core physical and four on core human. Pupils love material like this, because basically what it does for them is prune down their mountain of notes and worksheets into concise and manageable pages.
But there's more. As with the partner Standard grade text, the author has slipped in an excellent section on information handling skills, but with the added bonus here of sections of methods and techniques, model answers and exam answering hints.
Once you see this, you'll know deep down that getting your hands on a class set will turn out to be your smartest move in 1998. The partner text on "Applications" is due in April 1998, same price.
Bryan Ryalls is principal teacher of geography at Liberton High School, Edinburgh