This is a 150 page workbook and accompanying CD by Andrew Loughe and Jane Mansfield for the Cambridge IGCSE examination. The writers, both experienced teachers and examiners, say they wrote the book to help pupils prepare for the demands of the exam, with a particular focus on the techniques and vocabulary needed to succeed.
The black and white workbook, liberally sprinkled with pictures, contains 10 units, each with listening, reading, speaking and writing exercises. Topics are:
- Jeunes sans frontières
- En ville et à la campagne
- Bon séjour!
- Une semaine typique
- Bon appétit!
- Ça m'intéresse
- Nouveaux horizons
- A votre santé
- Projets d'avenir
- Notre planète
In addition there are to practice exam papers covering the four skills preceded by a gebneral advice section. In each unit there are examiners' tips, boxes featuring words not in the defined syllabus, word riddles and reminders about aspects of French relevant to the exam.
There is a good range of exercises types which cater for a range of abilities:
- Grids to complete with notes
- Matching tasks (e.g. French phrases to the person speaking on the tape)
- Multiple choice
- Matching vocabulary to pictures
- Querstions and answers in French
- True/false with French cues
- Ticking correct sentences from a list
- Sentence completion in French
- Matching French statements to paragraphs
- Wordsearches and anagrams (not a fan!)
- Cloze texts with a choice of words or phrases
- Matching short paragraphs with pictures
- Re-ordering to create grammatical sentences
- Questions and answers in French
- Phrases tombées (I hadn't seen this type of task before - select the picture below to see how these work)
- Practice conversation questions (pupils would have to write out their model answers in a separate book)
- Preparing short 1-2 minute presentations on topics
- Composition writing with bullet points as a guide
- Role-plays to write out
- Sentence completion (e.g. via an "organigramme" - flowchart)
- Grid completion with notes
- Letter writing
- Gap-filling with a choice of words
- Writing questions to go with given answers
Written texts vary in length and difficulty level and audio recording are suitably clear.
The exam advice section is very useful, including, for example, a guide on how to produce an effective oral presentation, example questions and answers and writing models with examiner's comments in the margin.
Overall it's hard to fault this book. It certainly fulfills its brief of preparing students for the exam, is clearly laid out and is approachable by all pupils. We know pupils like to have their own revision workbook to fill in and I'm sure they would lap up this material which, while unexciting in itself, is perfectly aligned with the exam requirements. The book with CD costs around £12.50 before discount. If your department or your pupils can afford the book I would recommend it without hesitation. I imagine many pupils would choose to buy in.