Unlike Discursive Essays, Reviews are not mandatory in the Cambridge English exam series, from FCE to CPE, which means you have different options to choose from, for example: Emails/Letters, Articles, Reports, Stories, et cetera, depending on which exam you take. That said, should a Review come up in the Cambridge Writing Exam, it is an excellent option, as it follows the same Dialectical Structure (Introduction + Thesis + Anti-Thesis = Synthesis [Book Recommendation, in this case]) as the Discursive Essay.
In training our students for the Cambridge English exam series here at ISI, we like to get them writing Book Reviews using Comic Book or Graphic Novel format, as the “co-mix” of art and literature lends itself well to expeditious production in preparation for their respective examinations. Moreover, the students not only improve their writing but also their visual literacy skills, which can then be applied to the production of Film, Theatre or, indeed, any other in a range of Experiential Reviews: Restaurants, Holiday Resorts, Exhibitions, and so on.
Having completed the task through a “real world” peer-review process, we then collate the class effort and publish it in a D.I.Y format known as a Zine, which lets authors—the students in this case—take control of the process of publishing. Principally created in the American science fiction fandoms of the 1930s, Zines take their name from Fanzine, which is an abbreviation of “Fan Magazine.” Decades before the advent of the Internet, Zines, which perfectly embody comics or “co-mix” culture, enabled fans to collaborate on writing and artwork, to distribute ideas and analyses, and to create networks with like-minded individuals.
Presenting an appealing alternative to the hierarchical and commodified world of mainstream publishing, Zines can be produced and printed cheaply, and have proven to be an excellent non-commercial vehicle for the expression of ideas and art within our school. Time and again, they have facilitated fun yet formal personal training not only for Cambridge Exam preparation, but also for Erasmus+ pedagogical methodologies such as CLIL, while also boosting class, school, even inter-school morale: building connections between people and groups; providing modes of communication in addition to information dissemination.
With all of that in mind, we hope you enjoy reading our ISI C1/C1+ Review!