Top critical review
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Too Many Errors
on 15 July 2013
I bought this book in preparation for my Professional Skills Test and more specifically for the numeracy side of the examination. The thing that appealed to me about this book is the assumption of a very low level of mathematical ability. The book was true to its word, it starts each section as if it is the first time you have encountered, say, fractions or probability. I found that it explained mathematical procedures more clearly than the Bond et al book which you have no doubt come across if you are shopping around for this kind of thing.
As I was working my way through the book I began to notice errors in their answers. The very fact that I had to buy this book may lead you to question my reliability in highlighting errors in a maths book, but believe me, each time I came across a potential error I worked through it over and over and then showed it to friends and family more proficient at maths than me to be absolutely sure it was the book and not me. The errors were not sums done incorrectly, the methods in the book were always correct, but it was careless errors that, despite using the right method, gave the wrong answer. An example of this is in Chapter 9 on question 4 of the Easy Questions section. It asks you to work out how tall a pupil is in inches if he is 1.6 m tall and 2.5 cm to the inch. The answer in the book gives you a great method to work this out. The only problem is that the answer is dealing with a pupil whose height is 1.5m not 1.6m like the height given in the question. I wasted a long time working out why my answer wasn't coming to the answer in the book before realising this.
I didn't bother finishing the maths section of this book. I got to Chapter 12, by which point I had found around 7-8 errors and lost complete faith. When I was working with a sum I found difficult, I didn't know whether if it was my incorrect application of method or if they had made yet another mistake in the book.
Unfortunately all this book served to do was shake my confidence in maths rather than solidify it. Probably the best resource I have come across is actually what the direct gov site provide you with. On the site you have 4 practice tests which you can take in real time or print off as a PDF and study at your own pace. They also have a section that details all the areas that will be covered in the test and provide you with basic explanations and a few practice exercises to make it clearer.
The concept of this book is a good one, but it is massively let down by the unforgivable errors that should never get past a proof reader before publication. I suspect in a couple of editions time this may well be a valuable source once they have eradicated the mistakes, but for now, from my own experience, I wouldn't bother with this one.