A practical book on General English for A/Level students

By Shalomi Daniel

How important is it to learn English? As an international language English is a vital instrument in today’s global village. In Sri Lanka’s post war era, English can be looked on as a link language. However, sadly, many Sri Lankans do not have even a basic grasp of the language.

General English is part of the G.C.E Advanced Level syllabus. The General English text book published by the government is designed in such a way that students are given a knowledge of how to use the English Language in their day to day lives.

A good grade in General English will undoubtedly prove to be an advantage when school-leavers enter the job market. But as it is not one of the main subjects, and as a pass in General English is not compulsory to enter local universities, students are inclined to overlook the importance of the subject.

Lack of proficiency and confidence in using the language is another reason for disinterest among students. The A’L pass rate for General English has not been satisfactory in the recent past.

‘General English-An Exam Practice Guide’ which was launched in December 2010 is aimed at helping students enhance their knowledge and obtain good grades.

This is the first time a work book has been published for Advanced Level General English.“I could not find a book that satisfied me in teaching General English to Advanced Level students. Therefore I decided to compile and publish my own book as I felt the need for such an approach,” explained the author Pararajasingam Sujeevan.

An English teacher with four years experience who teaches students from grades six to Advanced Level, Mr. Sujeevan is attached to D.S. Senanayake College, Colombo 7.

He added that answers have not been included in order to encourage students to make an earnest and serious attempt at the questions without checking the answers. As answers are not provided, the assistance and supervision of the teacher is needed.

The book includes an outline of the syllabus, past paper and model questions, grammar grids and a model exam paper. The marking criteria as per the most recent marking scheme is also added at the beginning of each section.

The book has been divided into various sections according to the questions at the exam. It provides guidelines for the teacher and provides ample practice for students before facing the exam. Adequate space has been provided to answer the question on the book itself. “Students should study the grammar grids at the end of the book thoroughly, and refer to them often, to remember the important grammar areas,” advises the author.

He went on to say that students should attempt the past paper questions first and discuss them with their teachers, before tackling the model questions. He advises students to time themselves when attempting the model question paper at the end of the book. Students can then discuss the paper with the teachers and score the papers to evaluate their standing in the subject, he adds.

Mr. Sujeevan further added that as the paper was of a high standard, and as the students are often not aware of the marking scheme, those who do not have a firm foundation or grasp of the language find it hard to pass the exam. Therefore practice is of paramount importance. Published by the Sarasavi Publishers (Pvt) Ltd, this is the author’s maiden publication. Priced at Rs.550, it is available at any Sarasavi bookshop outlet.

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