Most helpful critical review
26 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Useful for teachers sometimes and Great as a door stop!
on 25 February 2005
This book is useful for A-level teachers who want to brush up on something or read around the topic, but should NEVER be used as a textbook for A-level students! My students hate it with a passion - they find it difficult to understand, struggle with the small text and find the physical weight and size of it unmanageable. The lack of colour and also the fact that there are no questions built into the text make it very difficult for students to absorb and assess what they are reading. The absence of questions also makes more work for teachers who then need to create their own exercises - yes there is a separate teacher's pack but that's more money for something which isn't actually particularly useful or creative.
For high ability students it is worth their dipping into the school/college's library copy for added depth, but even then, their reading needs to be guided so that they don't get lost in the depths. The book contains huge amounts of information not useful to the course while at the same time missing out lots of essentials such as key material on research methods and also large chunks of material needed for the OCR Individual & Society unit (despite the chapters that promise to cover it all).
The weight and size of it is a real problem - try getting students to bring it to lessons, or try shifting a class set around the college - at my last place we actually ended up using trolleys to transport them because lifting and carrying them was just impossible (and that was the considerably lighter 4th edition!).
Overall, this volume seems to have remained the standard text through inertia rather than any real merit as an A-level text-book.