Secondary;Model answers;Reviews;Revision Guides
The flood of new revision guides shows no sign of abating; enter HarperCollins with a series of attractively produced books in full colour and with some interestingly different approaches.
The GCSE guides are by experienced examiners and textbook authors, so the analysis of test papers and model answers carries real authority.
Comments on sample answers to the questions point out where candidates have made errors, such as missing out units, and most of the guides have sections on improving examination technique.
In my school, the attempt to cover the whole science syllabus in one volume also presented problems for students who had to make extensive use of the contents to find the relevant sections for their tier. The mathematics guide, covering intermediate and higher tiers, clearly differentiates work for the higher tier by using tinted pages.
All the books make extensive use of diagrams and the geography guide is particularly impressive in this respect. The French, German and history guides were appreciated most by higher ability students. A CD-Rom is provided with the language books which enables students to practice listening and speaking.
The key stage 3 guides are among the best I have seen. The general approach is clear and the layouts are attractive. Material is arranged by level, but students can easily cover a topic across several levels. As in the GCSE guides, tests and answers are provided at regular intervals.
The explanations of answers are thorough and were much appreciated by all students. The mark schemes and examiners' comments are particularly clear in the science book. It is of course less easy to provide such material for English.
An interesting difference between the books is their attitude towards Level 8 of the national curriculum. The science guide has extensive material, the maths book covers the level very sketchily while English ignores it completely.
Ian Wilson is headteacher, Woodcote High School, Croydon, Surrey