New Headway’s Pre Intermediate Workbook
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  • New Headway’s Pre Intermediate Workbook
  • John and Liz Soars
  • Published by: Oxford University Press
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2001

A course book that offers plenty of activities which focus on all 4 language skills. The book aims to prepare the student to move on to the intermediate level and an equal focus is placed on both British and American English activities. This book can be used in a group class or in one-to-one lessons.

Review posted: 15/10/2013
Have you used this book?

A very common situation that serious language students encounter is one where they hit a slump and are not able to move on to the next level in their studies. From personal experience working as a language teacher I have observed that this stage commonly and frequently takes place in the pre intermediate level. In order to help your students get past this stage and move on to the intermediate level with confidence, a good teacher needs a good book to rely on.

Headway’s Pre intermediate Workbook is a somewhat useful tool for the modern day teacher. Young adults and adults who enjoy learning modern day vocabulary and using it in a “real life” context will find this book extremely useful as well. As soon as you open the first page you will see that the book begins by briefly reviewing grammar structures from the elementary level.Little by little the lessons begin to go over some more advanced topics, but what’s so unique about this book is that the lessons are presented with a more modern twist. The book has 12 units, and each unit covers a specific theme to work with. The 12 units you will find in this book are:

Getting to know you

The way we live

What happened next?

The market place

What do you want to do?

Places and things


Do's and Don'ts

Going Places

10 Things that changed the world

What if ...?

Trying your best

If we take a look at unit 4 there is a reading activity entitled “The Amazing World of Ebay.” There are also sections in the book that focus on business English with reading activities about floating markets in Thailand and outdoor shopping areas in Morocco. There’s even a fill in the gap activity in the book relating to purchasing and asking questions while shopping; (how much does it cost? How many? When do you close? Etc.) In this section there is also an example which reads “How much does that Vogue magazine cost?” When we see a question like this in an English workbook it is obvious that the book has taken a more modern day approach.

At first glance this book may seem a bit lengthy and overwhelming, but the activities found inside the book are presented in a very clear and structured form. Both traditional and modern day teaching methods are combined in each lesson; fill in the gap activities are placed alongside pictures of popular magazine covers. Audio clips of casual and somewhat informal conversations are then tied together to a structured writing activity. You will even notice that the activities in the book are designed in a way that all 4 skills are constantly put to use (listening, reading, writing, and speaking). The way grammar is introduced is also very different from most books out there. Rather than explaining the grammar structures and rules right away, the student is encouraged to look at some real life examples presented by listening or reading exercises.In some cases the lesson doesn’t even explain the grammar structure at all, which in a sense helps the student learn rather than memorize the information given to them.

"The way grammar is introduced is also very different from most books out there. Rather than explaining the grammar structures and rules right away, the student is encouraged to look at some real life examples presented by listening or reading exercises."

Positive Points

The book is perfect for intensive courses or for students who want to prepare themselves for the intermediate level in a relatively short period of time. It is perfect for those who want to learn grammar and not just memorize rules or structures. Due to the fact that each unit gives real life examples, common English expressions, and even covers a wide range of topics (business English, hotel/airport scenarios, conversation starters, phrasal verbs and Idioms) It’s ideal for students who are planning to travel abroad. The book also uses articles and listening activities which are not too academic but not too informal either. The language presented in the exercises is modern and the listening activities are in both American and British English, which I believe is extremely important.

Negative Points

Having a close look at every unit we can observe that most if not all the exercises need to be done with the help of a teacher or in a small group. For this reason, independent learners won’t get too much benefit out of using the book. The exercises also focus too much on written and fill in the blank activities; although the activities focus on all four skills it fails to give enough attention to the speaking aspect of the book. This is a pre intermediate book, but personally I was expecting some more conversation based activities in the last few chapters in order to prepare the student for the intermediate level. Another very important thing to take note of, especially if both you and your students require a copy of the book, is the price. The book by itself is relatively affordable but the price can skyrocket once the audio CD’s are added to your purchase.

If I could rate this book on a scale from one to five I would give it three stars. This book is very useful and extremely well put together; it is great for the student who wants to get a crash course and prepare themselves for an intermediate level exam or for students who are traveling abroad and simply want to make themselves understood (without the aim of having a full conversation). However, there will come a point where the teacher will have to find complementary material to make up for certain parts which are lacking such as activities which help students practice their speaking skills.



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