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I am doing my GCSE's very soon, and so have been revising for the past few weeks. The revision books my school sells are CGP, so it made sense to buy them!
In this review i will be reviewing GCSE level Science, Maths and History CGP revision books. The Science books are at higher level, the Maths at intermediate and the History is Modern World History. The History and Maths books are for no specified exam board, and the Science book is for AQA modular science.
There are 2 books needed when revising modular science. One is the 'early modules' revision guide, which is needed throughout year 10, as separate modular tests are taken at different stages. The other is the 'final exam' revision guide, which covers the modules you cover in year 11. The 'early modules' guide also has some information needed for the final exam, outlined in blue boxes.
---Early Modules book---
This covers module 1 (Humans as organisms), module 2 (Maintenance of life), module 5 (metals), module 6 (earth materials, module 9 (Energy) and module 10 (electricity). These are all the topics you will need for the year 10 modular tests.
Each module is in separate sections, which are colour coded, so when flicking through the book, you can find the one you need - Humans as organisms topics are written in the corner of the page in green, maintenance of life's in blue etc.
The modules are split in to separate parts, so they are managable to learn eg, on Humans as organisms, topics are separated into to topics; Human bodies, Digestive system, breathing system, transport, disease and dissolved substances. These are split again on the contents page in to more topics, for instance, the topic 'Breathing system' is split in to Lungs and Breathing, Alveoli, Cells and Diffusion, and Respiration. This is the same throughout the book and modules, so each part of a topic is easy to learn.
The contents page shows all the modules, and all the topics in them, with page numbers so you can find what you are looking for quickly, should you just want to look something up. I tend to just work through the book, but this is useful right before the exam, when you want to recap.
All the pages in the book have pictures, and different coloured writting, to make it eye catching, and suposedly look less daunting to start learning. I admit that i am more likely to look at a colourful page, with diagrams, than a page full of plain black and white writing! It is also usefull how their are many coloured sub headings with key facts, meaning that I remember the key points of information, and so it is easier to learn what follows.
The pages are half pictures, with useful diagrams, which does make it easier to learn the infomation. The diagrams are simple and straight forward, so they are easy to copy. They are also very colourful, making them eye-catching.
The different sized and different coloured writing makes it easy to remember the key facts, and to separate the information, so it is all easier to learn.
The book has 108 pages in total, including the index, but without the pictures, this would be halfed. There is alot of information, but it is all what you need to know, and the layout does make it easier to learn. I find that each module would take about a week to revise, if you do two pages a night. There is also some test questions at the end of each module which you need to keep practising untill they are easy. This book DOES imropove grades.
---Final exam book----
This book has a similar setout to the eary modules one, covrering the topics of Environment, Inheritance and Selection, Patterns of Chemical Change, Structures and Bonding, Forces and Waves and Radiation.
Again, there are lots of pictures, lots of information, and all the things you need to know. These modules are harder than the earlier ones, which means i find it takes longer to learn, however, it is well paced out.
Some sections (modules) are longer than others, with Environment only being 10 pages, whereas Inheritence and Selection is 19. There is alot to take in, and i don't find the method of revision recommended by this book helps. At the bottom of each page, there is a comment by the writer, usually saying not to panick and to cover the page and copy down what you remember. However, i don't find this works. Everyones method of revision is different, but if find simply covering and copying means you only remember for a short time, like in a memory game, so i do not follow that advice. However, the test questions at the end are very useful for testing what you know.
I do reccomend these books for anyone doing modular science.
Maths is not my strong subject, so i always hate revision for it. However, the CGP maths revision book is not as bad as some others.
Like science, it is split into separate sections:
Section one - Numbers mostly Section two - Shapes Section three - Bits and Bobs (basically everything that doesn't fall into the other catagories) Section four - Statistics Section five - Graphs Section six - Algebra mostly
There is only one maths book needed for the final exam, and it contains all the information you need. Topics covered include; Standard form, square and cube routes, triganometry, ratios, percentages, mean median mode, cumulative frequency and all the other super things they make you learn in maths!
It does make learning easier, and alot of the things i haven't learnt in class, i have been able to teach myself with this book. It allows you to work at you own pace, and find your own ways of remembering things.
Again, there are alot of pictures and diagram in this book (mostly relevent to what you are learning!) and this makes the pages brighter and so makes wanting to revise that little bit easier! There is also and 'acid test' at the bottom of each page, allowing you to test what you have learnt from that page, so you can see how you are doing. At the end of each section there is a revision summary test like in the science book. This all makes revision easier, as you can check your progress, and everything is broken up in to small chunks.
I reccomend the CGP maths revision book to anyone doing GCSE maths.
Once again, there is a similar set up to the other exam books. Lots of pictures, colourful pages and all the information you need. CGP books are definatly the most colourful books i have used!
This book is split into the sections; Exam skills The Road to War (1900-1914) The First World War (1914 - 1918) The Peace Settlement (1919 - 1929) The Collapse of International order (1929 - 1939) Germany between the Wars (19 19 - 1939) The Russian Revolution (1917 - 1941) The Second World War (1939 - 1945) The Birth of Superpowers and Cold War The Cold War and International Relations (1963 - 1991)
I find this book a bit harder to revise from because it has inforamtion in it that you don't need. In GCSE history, you do not cover all the topics, but do case studies on certain ones, and then chose the relevant question to answer in to exam (for example, we did not do the Weimar republic or the Russian revolution). Even the things that everybody has to learn seem to be mixed into other sections, making it hard to pick out what you have to learn, and ignore what you don't. It is also best to ask your teacher to highlight what you have to do, but this is difficult because there is so much information irrelevant to different people learning different things. When CGP put the book together, i think they put in all the information that EVERYONE would need, so picking out what you need is difficult
Although this book has all the useful features of a CGP book (such as revision summary tests, good layout, colourful pages etc) I do not recomend it as main revision book, because of all the information in it that you don't need. However, for a book to look up factual information in before the exam, or to test yourself, it is a usefull book.
This book covers subjects such as Leauge of Nations, Depression, Wall street crash, Cuban missile crisis and the Treaty of Versailles. It has the information you need, but in muddeled up places. It is best to look for another main history revision book , in my opinion.
What do the books look like? - The books are quite plain on the outside, and different dull colours, which is suprising, seeing as what they are like inside! The title is clear, and the CGP logo is on all books. On the back, there is either a cartoon advertising the book (on eary modules science it is one about mashed potato being 'just right' like a CGP book!) or a straight forward advert. There is also a bar code with a weird comment over it such as 'Keep refrigerated'. I think this is all meant to add to the 'funny' factor of the books.
How much are they? - £3.50 in book shops, but you can get them cheaper (for £2) through some schools.
Where can you get them from? - Many book shops, including Smiths, Some schools, the Internet (www.cgpbooks.co.uk) and from the catalouge you can request.
Do they improve grades? - Yes, if you revise everything and regularly do the tests.
Are they fun to revise from? - CGP is all about making revsion fun and making there books different from the 'dull' ones other people have. However, no matter what you revise from, it is never going to be fun! I suppose it makes revision as fun as it can be!
What is CGP? - CGP stands for Coordination Group Publications. Inside the book, under the heading of 'What CGP is all about' it says - "Our sole aim here at CGP is to produce the highest quality books - carfully written, immaculately presented, and dangerously close to being funny. Then we work our socks off to get them out to you - and at the cheapest possible prices." I think they do this.
Do they have any other features? - In the Science books, there is a formula section with things like Speed = Distance divided by Time, and in the history book, there is a time line.
What other books do they do, other than the ones mentioned? - There are many GCSE books at different levels (Higher, Intermediate, Foundation) and also SATS revsion books. They also offer homework books, that many schools use to set homework from. All the books they do are listed on the website www.cgpbooks.co.uk.
What a terrific review... now get revising..lol. I thought this would be very helpful indeed to the target audience (well perhaps next year's anyway..lol). You even threw in humour at times and this was a very enjoyable read even if I am now double the age of most people who are sitting GCSE's - I was one of the first..lol.
benraiben 02.06.2005 18:37
I had to use these too when I did my GCSEs, excellent review, very ver useful.