Book of the Month
600 Essential words for the TOEIC

Publisher: Barrons
Author: Dr Lin Lougheed

ISBN 1-56414-076-8


The TOEIC is the Test of English for International Communication. It is an exam aimed particularly at people who use English for international business. As this includes deals which involve a great deal of money, it is important to be certain that you say exactly what you mean and understand exactly what other people are trying to tell you.
  This book is designed to increase vocabulary through understanding and practice. It is in fact a vocabulary-building exercise set that encourages the user to do one lesson a day, and learn twelve words during that day. At the end of the course the reader will have learned the 600 words in the title. One does not need to be studying for this exam to do these exercises. The words are the sort that one finds in international business English, but are in general use, so this book will benefit anyone who needs to build their vocabulary.

There are 325 pages in the book, but the book itself is A4 sized, so this makes it larger than the page count indicates. In all, 267 pages are the actual exercises, with the remainder being a brief introduction explaining how to use the book, an answer key, appendices and index at the back. There is however a substantial amount of 'white space' with up to a third of some pages unused. This makes the book easy to read and work with, but adds to the cost and bulk.
  Each of the 50 lessons in the book as the same format. First the twelve words for the day are introduced and defined. Then we see the 'word family' which shows (for example) the verb, noun and gerund forms of the word. Then there are exercises such as multiple choice error-checking and gap fill reading which give the student a chance to use the newly learned words in context.
  A considerable part of the book is in the attached audio CDs. These give short conversations in the style of the TOEIC test. Accompanying questions check that those listening understand how the vocabulary was used as well as issues such as the general purpose of the conversation and how many people were involved in it. The lessons are organized in groups of five each about a particular business theme. So, for example, lessons 16-20 are on Purchasing, with the lesson titles being Shopping, Ordering Supplies, Shipping, Invoicing and inventory. In each lesson, the twelve words selected are appropriate, and at the right level for the exam. After every five lessons there is a review section which goes over the vocabulary just learned. As well as business, some cultural topics such as museums and cinema are included in the later chapters. The only pictures are rather grainy black-and-white photographs which set the mood for the listening exercises.

Who is this book for? According to the author, this book is focused on specific 'TOEIC business subjects'. However, since the TOEIC itself deals with a wide range of business English topics, this book is useful for anyone who wants to increase their vocabulary range in this area. An increasing number of websites and language apps cover the same vocabulary, but the focus and professionalism of this book mean that in this case, the book format wins. And as the text can now be purchased and read on an e-reader, users have the best of both worlds.

Verdict: Will teach those 600 words
Assessment 7/10
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