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Most Rigorous General Chemistry Textbook

  1. Sep 1, 2012 #1
    I am seeking the most challenging and rigorous gen. chem. textbook to learn from. I have it pretty well narrowed to Oxtoby vs. Atkins.

    Caltech appears to use Oxtoby. Furthermore, the description for the Oxtoby book touts itself as "the most modern, rigorous, and chemically and mathematically accurate book on the market."

    The Atkins book, however, is apparently used by MIT. Moreover, it is consistently recommended by those taking the Chemistry Olympiad as the best, most challenging book.

    Whats the deal, chem. experts? Is there a significant difference? Is one more rigorous than the other?

    Note: I plan on studying for both the AP test and the chem. olympiad. This brings in additional confusion, because the Oxtoby book is cited as an example book suitable for AP Chem., while Atkins is left off the list. Meanwhile, Atkins is recommended for chem olympiad, while I haven't once seen Oxtoby recommended. Also, how do the Zumdahl and Silberberg books compare? They are also frequently recommended for AP and chem. olympiad purposes.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know neither of these books, but in your place I would go to the library where I could browse them and see which one suits me better. On some level (after you are left with the best books on the market) which book is "better" is a matter of personal preferences - so even if you will get advice from others, it will be still a bunch of personal opinions that don't have to work for you.
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