Test It, Fix It: Business Vocabulary

Test It, Fix It: Business Vocabulary
Kenna Burke and Amanda Maris. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2006. Pp. 1 + 88.

Reviewed by Juan C. Palmer-Silveira
Universitat Jaume I, Spain

Test It, Fix It: Business Vocabulary is part of a series of books based on the identification of problems that business English students might have while learning Business English and, in turn, offering a possible solution in order to fix those problems. The main concept is based on the unusual format of allowing the students to think about the mistakes they make and to help them think of all the possible ways to solve them.

The book is divided into twenty tests (devoted to a specific concept) that have been devised by the authors in order to concentrate on the common mistakes often made by business English students when trying to improve their language skills.

Each one of the twenty tests composes a separate section formed by four different pages, each one having its own aim. The mechanics to be followed can be defined as extremely easy. The initial page of each section has been designed to offer an initial test, to be corrected by the students themselves; whereas the second one is made up of some additional activities, forming a follow-up test that is used by the students to check if they have acquired all the concepts. The third page of each test/section offers the answers to both tests and adds some notes in order to explain in great detail the most important aspects studied within the unit. While correcting, the Fix It notes appearing in this third page allow students to read specifically about the problem observed, giving them the opportunity to correct themselves. Finally, the last page of each unit is a review section that can be read by the students at any time, offering extended notes and examples; this has been designed to give them a summary of all the basic information they should keep in mind after completing the unit.
After defining the structure of this book, one general question might be asked: Does it really work in actual ELL classrooms? Having tested this book for four months with two different groups of business English students (intermediate level), the results have proved it to be a fairly positive asset in our classes. It also works extremely well as a self-learning material for part-time students who cannot attend all classes. Additionally, it might be important to add that explanations are extremely clear for non-native students, something fairly positive, as these materials should pay attention to these users.

As a summary, Bourke and Maris have completed an interesting volume of material that can be easily used by those of us teaching English for non-native students. This type of book, despite its external simplicity, offers a good set of material for students to enhance their knowledge of English for business purposes.