Reviews of our books and CD-Roms
A review by a Senior IELTS Examiner...
- 정지원 , 2001-6-9 작성 (★★★★)
101 Helpful Hints for
IELTS – Academic Module
REVIEWED BY ANDREW THOMAS
The first offerings from the Adams and Austen Press were reviewed in EA Journal 14,1 (1996) and EA Journal 15, 1 (1997) respectively. Since then, the popularity of these coauthored works has led to new editions, new module specific versions and new colours for the covers. And more, we are told, is on the way. So, with the plethora of IELTS Test preparation materials which have flooded the market in the last five years, what differentiates the Adams and Peck products from the rest?
The answer, surely, lies in how the authors perceive their student readers. The assumptions they make about what prospective test-takers want to know are simply different from those of most other IELTS materials writers. They assume that their readers want nothing left to chance in their bids to be successful in their IELTS preparation. The result is the Adams and Peck hallmark of thoroughness, down to the last meticulous detail. At every turn in their books, you find numbers and icons, referring you to the relevant ‘Helpful Hint’, section, exercise, or appendix. And the ‘Golden Rule’ of IELTS? ‘Always give the monkey exactly what he wants’ (Helpful Hint 7, p 15)! The number ‘7’ appears frequently - though not, to my surprise, as a reminder for the practice Speaking Tests, where you might expect it!
The design of both versions of 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS is identical. The Introduction (pp 4-10) starts with advice on how to use the book. This is followed by a comprehensive description of the test, ‘Myths and Truths’ about IELTS, and a most fascinating, well researched map showing ‘some interesting world wide websites for teachers and students’. The map doubles as a chart of the IELTS centres around the world. (The USA is not shaded, so this will have to be amended in the next edition.) Other distinctive inclusions are the Glossary – a three-page word list of ‘useful’ words for IELTS and the Further Reading List.
The books are almost evenly divided between Practice Tests (two complete ones, and two with just reading and writing modules) and the other components (mostly the 101 Helpful Hints). As the review of the early edition made clear, the books are brimming with useful suggestions (to saturation point, it has somewhat unkindly been said by those who dislike the Adams and Peck approach). A good example of what divides teachers into two camps is the authors’10 Point Guide to Presentation and Layout (p 47). Under Helpful Hint 59, Adams and Peck stress what they term the ‘psychological aspect' of trying to impress the examiner by making the writing ‘look presentable’ on the page. Among the suggestions to achieve this we find:
Now, its easy for teachers to scoff at such punctilious advice to students, but judging from the immense popularity of the series, the cynics may not be accurately gauging what many test-takers feel they need to assist them towards ‘test-readiness’.
Currently a 16-page insert accompanies the version for the Academic Module (the General Training version has already been fully updated. The authors sensibly, if predictably, stress that preparation for the interview is the key to success; they emphasize that ‘this is not an ordinary conversation’ and underline the need for candidates to ‘make good use of the questions asked’ as the examiner frame prevents examiners from eliciting information in the same way that teachers might in the classroom. They also rightly warn candidates not to expect the examiner to provide feedback on performance.
Common questions, suggested words and phrases, dos and don’ts abound. Two Practice Speaking-tests are included, which give students a fair idea of what to expect in a live test.
As with the Cameron Supplement, I felt that students may need more examples of how, in Part 3, as the IELTS Handbook puts it, ‘Examiner invites candidate to participate in discussion of more abstract nature, based on verbal questions thematically linked to Part 2 topic’. And aren't the authors being a little disingenuous when they assert that recording the interview is purely ‘to ensure that the examiner conducts the interview properly’? Another slightly misleading statement appears in the initial outline of the Speaking Sub-test: the interviewer’s questions are not designed to reveal the candidate’s background, just to cover a range of familiar topic areas - which may include homes and families, jobs and studies. Another minor correction: at the beginning of Part 2, the examiner automatically provides paper for making notes. I wouldn’t like students to unnecessarily rehearse, ‘Could I have some paper, please?’
Rehearsal for the test is, perhaps, what so many students avidly crave - and it’s what Adams and Peck so exhaustively provide.
It’s the same story of scrupulous attention to detail down to the last touch with 202 Useful Exercises for IELTS. The review copy was the International Edition. The Contents page looks identical to the 1996 edition but, by a sleight of hand, we now have two versions of 202: International and Australasian. The five areas of topical interest appear the same but, in fact, the topic focus undergoes a geographical shift. ELICOS students in Australia enjoyed using the earlier edition, with its emphasis on Australian content, though it tended to give the impression that IELTS was an exclusively Australian test. For the International Edition the local subject matter has largely been replaced; references to Australia are expunged and we and ourselves in Europe - mainly the UK. On page 42, for example, the gapfill about a CD-ROM register of Australian actors is recast in Britain for the International Edition. Similarly, in the Writing exercise on page 49, Asian countries in the bar chart become European and the Australian college becomes a college in the south of England. Hey presto! Welcome to the International Edition! The latest Australasian Edition was not sent for review but presumably preserves many of the features of the original 202 Useful Exercises.
The new International Edition has had a few tweaks in the design department: the addition of boxes and shading gives this edition a more contemporary look. However, the structure and layout remain the same; fresh practice material slots effortlessly into the old frame. The heading numbers still can confuse: with the same numbering system for each of the skill areas dealt with in the five topic areas, the same section numbers can appear up to five times. I was sorry to note that the Key to Links with 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS has been dropped, as has the Further Reading List. However, there is just too much valuable practice material to mention in this review. The exercises are suitable for both classroom or student self-study. The Listening Sub-test practice requires the accompanying cassette.
For sound advice and thorough guided practice for the IELTS test, students can rely on these companion volumes for comprehensive exam preparation. The authors even remember to wish good luck to students intending to take the IELTS examination soon, bless them (202 Useful Exercises p 4)!
EA Journal Volume 19 No 2 – 2001
101 Helpful Hints for IELTS
This book would be very useful, because it provides hints for students to help them do the IELTS exam. It also provides some practice tests that are easy and helpful for the students to do before the exam.
This IELTS book contains practice tests. These practice tests include three skills Listening, Writing, and Reading. It is well organized and contains lots of different topic, which make it very interesting for the students to use this book to prepare for their IELTS exam.
I recommend this books for the students for the reasons above and because this book contain topics that are necessary to prepare for the IELTS exam like the Grammar and Vocabulary Exercises.
Mohammed Saeed Jaber
202 Useful Exercises for IELTS
Garry Adams and Terry Peck
The book has all English practice questions for grammar and vocabulary. It has thousands of questions for every section with different levels of English. It's a good book to be used to practice for the IELTS exam.