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Cambridge International English

Since I have been busy the past few years preparing students for the Cambridge International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test, I thought I’d blog about the various textbooks I have used in class, plus the additional resources I found in the college library.

First up is Interchange Student’s Book 2 with Audio CD (3rd Edition), which I’d used with two groups of intermediate students.

“Interchange Third edition is a four-level series for adult and young-adult learners of English from the beginning to the high-intermediate level.

The Interchange Third Edition Level 2 Student’s Book builds on the foundations established in Level 1 for accurate and fluent communication, extending grammatical, lexical, and functional skills.

Topics such as travel, childhood, customs, personality, and predicaments are presented in unique ways using interesting real-life information.

Each Student’s Book contains 16 teaching units, frequent progress checks that allow students to assess and monitor their own learning, and a listening self-study section.

Included is a Student Audio CD that contains the conversation, pronunciation, and self-study sections from the Student’s Book.”

Each unit of “Interchange – Level 2” follows almost the same structure:
1 Preview of the topic with questions to start a class discussion – Chinese students are quite assertive and enjoy this part.
2. Listening to a dialogue
3. Grammar focus – Students pay close attention to this section but since our college did not include the Workbook, I felt that the students lucked out on grammar practice.
4. Listening – gap-filling exercises – This section seems challenging to them especially as spelling and grammar problems would surface.
5. Speaking – Pairwork exercises
6. Vocabulary – Pairwork
7. Pronunciation
8. Writing – I like that creativity/imagination is encouraged even on non-fiction topics.
9 “Interchange” – communicative activities – whole class
10. Reading – I found it a bit weird to have this section at the end because in many cases, foreign language students lack the vocabulary to express themselves. Sometimes, I find myself going to the “Reading” section after we do activities 1 and 2.

A colleague and I preferred the Second Edition (which I can’t locate on Amazon) because we felt that the graphics were better and some of the activities were more engaging.

If you’re looking for intensive IELTS practice books with sample exam questions, here are some good ones: