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Preparation for Chemistry Olympiad

  1. Feb 8, 2012 #1

    I am a high school student looking for resources to prepare for the US National Chemistry Olympiad. I have already taken AP Chemistry (although my teacher did not cover a few topics, such as coordination compounds) and I did well in the class and on the exam.

    At this point, I need a book/website that can provide me with the content that is not present in an average AP-level book. Could someone recommend a textbook that would be helpful? Also, is anyone aware of a source of olympiad-level problems that I could use to practice (other than the official website, which I'm already aware of?)

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2012 #2
    At what stage are you in the competition? If you are going to the national finals, I reccomend you to get a standard 1st semester general chemistry book and work through it. Maybe also some of the 1st year organic chemistry curriculum.
  4. Feb 8, 2012 #3
    I haven't actually competed yet. The local exams will be held some time this March. I've looked at questions from both the local and national levels, and I generally knew (or at least had some idea of) how to solve them. However, some questions from the International Chemistry Olympiad involve concepts I'm unfamiliar with.

    For example, the question on pg. 11 of the attached file talks about the vibrational energy of a molecule, which I neither saw in my book, nor learned in the AP class. Another example is the question on energy diagrams on pg. 7. I've only seen very simple energy diagrams, where the graph has only one local maximum. The correct graph has several maxima.

    I need something that has details like these, but is accessible; a full-blown physical chemistry book would be overkill. One book I've been considering is Chemical Principles by Atkins. Do you think it's at the right level? Are the problems in it difficult enough?

    Attached Files:

  5. Feb 8, 2012 #4
    You have plenty of time to worry about the international problems. These are difficult no matter how you prepare, and are designed to be challenging even for well prepared students. That said, as long as you learn what you need to, I don't think reading a proper physical chemistry book is overkill. I cannot view your attachment yet, but maybe you should see if it you can find one in the library of your school or local university when the time comes.

    For reference, when I was preparing for the international exam 2 years ago, I familiarized myself with the entire first year chemistry curriculum (General chemistry and organic) and read Atkin's physical chemistry book.

    I haven't read his "Chemical Principles" though.
  6. May 12, 2012 #5
    how did it go?

    the general advice is to go for breadth of knowledge. you want to be familiar with general, organic, inorganic, and analytical chemistry before delving deep into physical chemistry.
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