General text books


There are now several books written specifically for the IB chemistry programme for first examination in 2016 (see separate page) and I feel that each student should have their own copy of at least one of these. However, there are many other good chemistry text books written for national examinations for 16-19 year olds. I think it is also helpful to buy some copies of these for the library that students can consult or refer to in order to back up the IB books. One thing I have noticed when I visit schools in the English speaking world is that many teachers only tend to have ever seen text books from their own country. It is as if US and Australian books do not exist for teachers working in British schools. Likewise many US teachers have never see a British text book. I think it is beneficial to have some books from different cultures as they are surprisingly different and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Rather than give a long list I provide below what are arguably the best from the USA and the UK. Others may disagree, and they may well be right, as there are many other good general text books available which you may prefer instead.

Recommended books

Chemistry 10th. Edition, S.S & S.A. Zumdahl & D.J DeCost, 2018, Publisher: Brooks Cole, ISBN 9781305957404 (Cost US $245.00)

An American book but also produced as an international edition. A classic US text book written by a husband and wife team from the University of Illinois. The emphasis is on problem solving and how to think like a chemist. Good on physical and inorganic chemistry but weak on the organic chemistry needed for the IB. Does not contain much of use for the options.

Advanced Chemistry (2nd Ed.), M.Clugston & R. Flemming, 2013, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-839291-0 Cost UK £49.99

A British book written to cover the various different A level examinations. Written as two-page spreads it is very well illustrated and very readable. It covers almost everything that is in the core and AHL and has some material that could be useful for some of the options.

  Chemical Ideas and Chemistry Storylines, Salters Advanced Chemistry, 2008, Pearson. A complete package - for further details and cost see the weblink.

Salter's chemistry takes a problem then looks at the chemistry needed to solve it. Many UK teachers are enthusiastic about this course and it has much material that is useful to teaching IB, particularly for some of the options such as Option D - Medicinal chemistry.

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