Study Skills in English – M.J.Wallace, 208 pages, ISBN: 0-521-53385-6
Cambridge University Press, 2004. Study Listening – T.Lynch, 214 pages, ISBN: 0-521-53387-2
Study Reading – E.H.Glendinning, B.Holström, 159 pages, ISB: 0-521-54776-8
Study Speaking – K.Anderson, J.Maclean, T.Lynch, 224 pages, ISBN: 0-521-53396-1
These four books are second editions of already popular courses in skills for academic purposes, aimed at students at intermediate level or above attending English-medium universities.
Study Listening is organised in ten thematic units, based on talks by lecturer from six different countries. Each unit adopts a uniform structure: pre, while and post listening activities, with a focus on a particular strategy such as predicting, clarifying and evaluating, and a focus on language and sub-skills. Note-taking skills are featured throughout. Lecture transcripts and sample listener’s notes are sensibly included. The book is ideal for those preparing to attend international conferences.
Study Reading is less balanced, beginning with two units dealing with basic reading skills, which are essentially revision, before moving on to seven thematic units based on passages dealing with general global topics rather than specific academic text types which might have been more challenging. Nevertheless, reading sub-skills and text exploration are practised in some depth and the application tasks at the end of each unit are realistic. The last unit deals with reading for research, which, given the target learners, might well have been expanded. The book has been updated to take account of the growth of on-line resources, and is appropriate for either classroom use or self-study.
Study Speaking is an ideal book for students who may need to take part in discussions or give presentations as part of their academic work. The choice of tasks also encourages learners to build confidence in general conversation, an area often lacking in the academic learner. A variety of strategies are employed in developing discussion and presentation skills, and there is a very useful checklist of techniques for giving presentations. The most original section, however, is the first, which involves eight scenarios based on realistic situations occurring between students and academic staff or administrators, which are intended to be developed into role-plays, involving a wide range of spoken discourse types.
Study Skills in English is designed as a complete course, covering not only study skills such as effective reading and note taking, but also organisational skills such as time management. There is an excellent section on preparing for examinations while the techniques involved are pitched at the appropriate level. This edition has been updated to include the use of computer-based resources, and modified by the inclusion of self-study material. Study Skills in English would usefully serve as a standard text in any introductory programme that a university might offer as well as a personal study guide.
The reviewer has yet to see revised editions of companion volumes Study Writing and Study Tasks in English, but on present evidence, this set of books would be an excellent investment for any current or prospective university student.
186 August/September 2005