Book Review: The GCSE Roadmap by Francesco Limacher

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

By rights, as ‘The GCSE Roadmap’ is a rival to my own book, ‘Try Not To Laugh’, I ought to be damning of this small guide to preparing for exams. But I have too much respect for the highly talented Limacher family and, having read this book, I find it complements my work rather than rivals it.

Francesco Limacher, as he explains in his introduction, is a young man, living in the Netherlands who has, in recent years gone through the ordeal known to all British sixteen-year-olds as ‘GCSE exams’. Having performed well, and with the benefit of excellent education both at school and from very capable parents, Limacher has shared the tricks, tips and routines he believes to be useful – if not even essential – for students wanting to achieve the optimum results in their exams.

While the author is still young, he has considerably better experience than those of us who have been preparing students for exams (in my case, many decades). I haven’t sat in an equivalent exam for well over thirty years, even though I’ve spent most of that time training students successfully to pass them. Likewise, most teachers have only a bare knowledge of the actual process of sitting formal exams for the first time. It is easy to forget how it feels when you’re young. We concentrate a great deal on pushing knowledge into the minds of our students and give very little time to preparing them for retaining that information and coping with exams.

Limacher has been there much more recently and knows considerably more about the pressures and issues young people face. His writing is articulate, clear and the book presents simple, yet important, ideas which will help the those who are serious about tackling exams properly. The book is not necessarily wholly comprehensive and, indeed, suffers a little from being too short, but it takes very little effort to read and is more than worth the small price to pay. It is a good place to start for any student needing help, especially those who might flinch at the idea of having to read yet another thick text book. Limacher’s book is entirely digestible and is, in that sense, quite nutritious.

Social Entrepreneur, educationalist, bestselling author and journalist, D K Powell is the author of the bestselling collection of literary short stories “The Old Man on the Beach“. His first book, ‘Sonali’ is a photo-memoir journal of life in Bangladesh and has been highly praised by the Bangladeshi diaspora worldwide. Students learning the Bengali language have also valued the English/Bengali translations on every page. Listen to his life story in interview with the BBC here.

His latest book is ‘Try not to Laugh’ and is a guide to memorising, revising and passing exams for students.

Both ‘The Old Man on the Beach’ and ‘Sonali’ are available on Amazon for kindle and paperback. Published by Shopno Sriti Media. The novel,’The Pukur’, will be published by Histria Books in 2022.

D K Powell is available to speak at events (see his TEDx talk here) and can be contacted at Alternatively, he is available for one-to-one mentoring and runs a course on the psychology of writing.

Ken writes for a number of publications around the world. Past reviewer for Paste magazine, The Doughnut, E2D and United Airways,  and currently reviews for Lancashire Life magazine and Northern Arts Review.

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