Spotlight on FCE Student’s Book

I will admit that before opening this text I had to look up what FCE actually was. FCE stands for the Cambridge ESOL First Certificate in English, which made me apprehensive about opening the textbook as there are so many test preparation books on the market that I was prepared to ‘yawn’. I was pleasantly […]
Reviewed for Teflnet by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi

I will admit that before opening this text I had to look up what FCE actually was. FCE stands for the Cambridge ESOL First Certificate in English, which made me apprehensive about opening the textbook as there are so many test preparation books on the market that I was prepared to ‘yawn’. I was pleasantly surprised. It is very colorful and extremely easy to follow and full of great exercises. The text itself is divided into 16 units covering interesting and modern topics. They are detailed clearly in the contents page, listing all the relevant areas of practice, i.e. Vocabulary, Grammar, Use of English, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. Each section lists the relevant test section for each practice in the unit, which makes navigation easier.

The first five pages after the contents page are really important to read as they give a great, detailed overview of the test and also the changes made to it from December 2008. There is also an exam glossary, which is very useful. The overview lists recommended pages for studying each paper on the test, which I felt was really useful because it makes it easier for students to navigate around the text, focusing on areas they want to.

Throughout the book there are grammar tips, and also advice on how to approach activities and checklists for activities. At the back of the book you will find a Grammar Reference, Speaking Exam Files, Writing Guide, Tapescripts, Useful Expressions, Information Files (answer keys), list of phrasal verbs used in the text, Wordlist for each unit and an Irregular Verbs list.

The book also comes with the MyFCE Online resource. It is divided into the five main exam components mentioned above, and has a number of online activities that students can do. It targets specific skills for each paper and contains extensive vocabulary strategies and guidance in the exam papers.

So what did I think? It seems like the authors have thought about what is user-friendly and it really pays off. Most test preparation texts are grouped by test section but Spotlight on FCE is set out like a ‘normal’ textbook and is very colourful, making it more appealing. I would be happy to use this text not only for test preparation but also in an ordinary classroom.

Reviewed for Teflnet by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi
May 2009 | Filed under Exam Materials

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