Tips on how to make the grades

17th March 2006 at 00:00
Like other titles in Hodder Gibson's How to Pass Standard Grade series, the French book sets out for pupils what they should expect in their ongoing assessments and final examination and how to prepare for both.

Chapter one provides a comprehensive guide to how each of the four skills -reading, listening, speaking and writing - is assessed and how each contributes to the final mark and grade. There is also an excellent grammar grid, outlining the linguistic knowledge expected in the speaking and writing parts of the exam at Foundation, General and Credit levels.

The SQA's list of Standard grade topics has also been reproduced, demonstrating the vocabulary areas pupils should be confident in across the four skills.

Thereafter, the four skills are addressed individually, starting with reading. The practical details of this part of the exam are followed by advice on how to tackle specific questions. Examples are given from past exam papers and pupils are guided through the process of finding the answers and shown how these questions were marked by the SQA. Advice on dictionary use is included, plus several practice questions.

The listening section follows a similar pattern, with the practice questions split into topic areas to help with vocabulary revision. The passages on the accompanying CD follow the same format as in the exam and transcripts are reproduced at the end of the chapter.

For both the reading and listening sections, answers are provided so that pupils can work individually.

Speaking and writing are addressed thoroughly in this book. The practical aspects of assessment in both skills are explained and invaluable advice is given on the different types of speaking and writing tasks which contribute to the assessments. There is help with structure, topics, tense usage and vocabulary areas, and the grade-related criteria for both skills are reproduced to let pupils see exactly how their work is assessed.

The glossary of structures and vocabulary for each topic area will help pupils to prepare thoroughly for all speaking and writing tasks.

With its insight into assessment procedures and exam and revision techniques, this book will be an asset to teachers and pupils. It gives an overview of exactly what is required of candidates within each level of Standard grade French.

Carolyn McInnes teaches French at Eastbank Academy, Glasgow

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