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    This is similar to my other threads, but for chemistry this time. After 20 years of being a locksmith, I have decided that I want to get a university degree and I'll be starting next year! As part of my degree, I will be doing two chemistry courses which will cover:

    - Intermolecular forces, chemical equilibrium, energy considerations and chemical reactivity applied to aspects of chemistry and biochemistry
    - Structure of the atom and molecular bonding
    - Chemistry of the metals and non-metals
    - Bonding in transition (d-block elements, coordination complexes, bioinorganic systems)
    - Aspects of acid/base equilibria, kinetics and electrochemical processes
    - Importance of molecular shape and how chemists determine the structure of compounds using spectroscopic techniques including ultraviolet, infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
    - Chemical synthesis with reference to addition and subtraction reactions
    - Strategies for synthesis and properties of biologically significant molecules

    The problem? It has been two decades since I've touched any textbook, let alone a chemistry textbook, yet I need to learn chemistry from 'what is chemistry?' to first year university chemistry that is rigorous.

    If you were in my situation, what would your strategy be? Should I learn GCSE chemistry, AS/A-Level chemistry and then first year university chemistry? Or should I be able to start from a university chemistry textbook?
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    Chemistry is a progressive subject, you need to go up in levels if you will.
    I would start off at GCSE, then AS/Alevel then move to university, uni chem is pretty hard, I cant imagine it without alevel/gcse knowledge behind you.
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    GCSE will cover a lot of stuff which is unnecessary for further study so you should be selective.
    I would suggest going to A level but get a good general chemistry text book or two.
    A good one as you have limited knowledge to start would be Advanced Chemistry for You by Lawrie Ryan which is pretty basic but covers A level stuff and then also get something meatier like Clugston's Advanced Chemistry or Ramsden's A-level chemistry others are Chemistry in Context by Hill and Holman and New Understanding for A level Chemistry by Lister and Renshaw. You might be able to order these through a library so you can see them before buying as some are pretty expensive (get them 2nd hand on Amazon).
    Work your way through them and use on-line resources like Doc Brown's chemistry or pay £10 to subscribe to Bestchoice.net.nz (very good) and Chemsheets.co.uk has plenty of worksheets and exercises with answers to give you practice (some are free or you can subscribe for a minimal amount).
    Get past papers from freeexampapers.com or go to the exam boards' websites.
    Good luck
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    A-level will cover most of the good stuff you'll need. There might be some odd basics from GCSE, so you might need to briefly look over that in the process. I don't really remember needing much of it at all - but whether that's because I took it for granted, or that anything useful in GCSE is generally covered in AS again, but in more detail/using more accurate models or descriptions.

    Most of the core university texts (i.e. larger, staple textbooks) are not really suitable for a starting point - they're not written in a linear manner, and they are guaranteed to contain more than you'll ever require. When you do start getting into the course itself though, the Oxford Primer series of books are very useful for certain topics (can pick up copies for a tenner or less easily enough). Very good for courses like the transition metal chemistry, and the bonding stuff.

    I did OCR B at A-level, and I vague remember the first module being pretty decent at building some foundations: what are moles, structures of atoms, some basic inorganic reactions etc. and it covers the periodic trends, which is really useful knowledge. The best way to structure your learning may be to follow an A-level syllabus like that - and it will be very easy to find past paper material for the exams that students would normally take, so you can test yourself. Possible book for that route (and there's an A2 one, for after). Between those two books, you'd have everything an A-level student would go into first year with. They come with some CD, which is apparently decent, though I have no idea whether it is or not

    Is this going through an OU pathway or other? If it is through the OU then the books you can get for the modules may actually be reasonably helpful as they usually assume little to no prior knowledge for the first modules.
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    (Original post by Madasahatter)
    GCSE will cover a lot of stuff which is unnecessary for further study so you should be selective.
    I would suggest going to A level but get a good general chemistry text book or two.
    A good one as you have limited knowledge to start would be Advanced Chemistry for You by Lawrie Ryan which is pretty basic but covers A level stuff and then also get something meatier like Clugston's Advanced Chemistry or Ramsden's A-level chemistry others are Chemistry in Context by Hill and Holman and New Understanding for A level Chemistry by Lister and Renshaw. You might be able to order these through a library so you can see them before buying as some are pretty expensive (get them 2nd hand on Amazon).
    Work your way through them and use on-line resources like Doc Brown's chemistry or pay £10 to subscribe to Bestchoice.net.nz (very good) and Chemsheets.co.uk has plenty of worksheets and exercises with answers to give you practice (some are free or you can subscribe for a minimal amount).
    Get past papers from freeexampapers.com or go to the exam boards' websites.
    Good luck
    Are you saying that I should be able to start with an AS/A-Level chemistry textbook? Do most start from the absolute basics?

    The textbooks you recommended - how much do they focus on calculations? I do want a textbook that focuses a lot on calculations and prepares me very well for chemistry at university.


    (Original post by Nymthae)
    A-level will cover most of the good stuff you'll need. There might be some odd basics from GCSE, so you might need to briefly look over that in the process. I don't really remember needing much of it at all - but whether that's because I took it for granted, or that anything useful in GCSE is generally covered in AS again, but in more detail/using more accurate models or descriptions.

    Most of the core university texts (i.e. larger, staple textbooks) are not really suitable for a starting point - they're not written in a linear manner, and they are guaranteed to contain more than you'll ever require. When you do start getting into the course itself though, the Oxford Primer series of books are very useful for certain topics (can pick up copies for a tenner or less easily enough). Very good for courses like the transition metal chemistry, and the bonding stuff.

    I did OCR B at A-level, and I vague remember the first module being pretty decent at building some foundations: what are moles, structures of atoms, some basic inorganic reactions etc. and it covers the periodic trends, which is really useful knowledge. The best way to structure your learning may be to follow an A-level syllabus like that - and it will be very easy to find past paper material for the exams that students would normally take, so you can test yourself. Possible book for that route (and there's an A2 one, for after). Between those two books, you'd have everything an A-level student would go into first year with. They come with some CD, which is apparently decent, though I have no idea whether it is or not

    Is this going through an OU pathway or other? If it is through the OU then the books you can get for the modules may actually be reasonably helpful as they usually assume little to no prior knowledge for the first modules.
    Same question I asked Madasahatter, does that textbook focus on calculations?
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    (Original post by Lockie123)
    Are you saying that I should be able to start with an AS/A-Level chemistry textbook? Do most start from the absolute basics?

    The textbooks you recommended - how much do they focus on calculations? I do want a textbook that focuses a lot on calculations and prepares me very well for chemistry at university.
    I think 'Advanced chemistry for you' would be ok but if you want something GCSE then get a traditional textbook like Complete chemistry by Gallagher and Ingram or Longman GCSE chemistry by Jim Clark
    For calculations try Calculation in AS/A level chemistry by Jim Clark or
    calculation for A level chemistry by Eileen Ramsden.
    A good book for lots of practice including calculations is Practice in chemistry: Progressive questions for AS and A level by McCarty, Benfield and Hillman.
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    (Original post by Madasahatter)
    I think 'Advanced chemistry for you' would be ok but if you want something GCSE then get a traditional textbook like Complete chemistry by Gallagher and Ingram or Longman GCSE chemistry by Jim Clark
    For calculations try Calculation in AS/A level chemistry by Jim Clark or
    calculation for A level chemistry by Eileen Ramsden.
    A good book for lots of practice including calculations is Practice in chemistry: Progressive questions for AS and A level by McCarty, Benfield and Hillman.
    What do you think about this:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chemistry-Ce...423214&sr=1-11
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    (Original post by Lockie123)
    What do you think about this:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chemistry-Ce...423214&sr=1-11
    This is an American college chem book. They are quite could and tend to start from scratch but the style and some of the conventions are different to UK.
    Personally I would stick with a UK book.
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    (Original post by Madasahatter)
    This is an American college chem book. They are quite could and tend to start from scratch but the style and some of the conventions are different to UK.
    Personally I would stick with a UK book.
    I was never aware of this, what differences are there between chemistry in the UK and the US?

    Do you think I would be able to start with Clugston and Flemming's, "Advanced Chemistry"? I assume that will cover the relevant parts of GCSE + AS/A-Levels, correct? Will I be prepared for university chemistry after using this textbook? Final question, how much does it focus on calculations?

    If not, should I pair it up with Clark's, "Calculations in AS / A Level Chemistry"? Perhaps doing a few questions from that book once I've completed the relevant section in, "Advanced Chemistry"?

    Thank you so much for helping!
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    (Original post by Lockie123)
    I was never aware of this, what differences are there between chemistry in the UK and the US?

    Do you think I would be able to start with Clugston and Flemming's, "Advanced Chemistry"? I assume that will cover the relevant parts of GCSE + AS/A-Levels, correct? Will I be prepared for university chemistry after using this textbook? Final question, how much does it focus on calculations?

    If not, should I pair it up with Clark's, "Calculations in AS / A Level Chemistry"? Perhaps doing a few questions from that book once I've completed the relevant section in, "Advanced Chemistry"?

    Thank you so much for helping!
    The chemistry itself it the same but like other Americanisms there are differences in conventions. In the US they use an 18 group periodic table whereas we still use 8 groups. We would have sulphur as S by they use S8 . Some organic substances are named differently and we use dm3 for volume they use L.
    Subtle stuff but it could be significant as it is new to you.

    I really like Clugston (you can get it second hand on Amazon) and Jim Clark's book is really good.
    Clugston will take you to A level standard and would be a good preparation.
    If I were you I would get Advanced Chemistry for You and Clugston and also the Jim Clark calculations book all second hand from Amazon.
    The Adv Chem for you will give you and easy introduction with pictures to the topics and then you top it up with Cllugston.

    I would also suggest you subscribe to www.chemsheets.co.uk and www.bestchoice.net.nz neither cost very much but offer excellent resources.
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    (Original post by Madasahatter)
    The chemistry itself it the same but like other Americanisms there are differences in conventions. In the US they use an 18 group periodic table whereas we still use 8 groups. We would have sulphur as S by they use S8 . Some organic substances are named differently and we use dm3 for volume they use L.
    Subtle stuff but it could be significant as it is new to you.

    I really like Clugston (you can get it second hand on Amazon) and Jim Clark's book is really good.
    Clugston will take you to A level standard and would be a good preparation.
    If I were you I would get Advanced Chemistry for You and Clugston and also the Jim Clark calculations book all second hand from Amazon.
    The Adv Chem for you will give you and easy introduction with pictures to the topics and then you top it up with Cllugston.

    I would also suggest you subscribe to www.chemsheets.co.uk and www.bestchoice.net.nz neither cost very much but offer excellent resources.
    Thank you for making the differences clear! I cannot seem to find "Advanced Chemistry for You" at my local library. Do you think it would be possible to just start from Clugston and use it with Clark?

    I'll also have a look into subscribing to those two websites.
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    Give Clugston a go but it might be quite heavy going as you haven't studied for some time.
    Adv Chem for you is available 2nd hand on Amazon or have you asked the library to order a copy?
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    (Original post by Madasahatter)
    Give Clugston a go but it might be quite heavy going as you haven't studied for some time.
    Adv Chem for you is available 2nd hand on Amazon or have you asked the library to order a copy?
    The library will see if there's another way they can get the textbook. If they can't, I'll just start with Clugston. Does it have any assumed knowledge though? Also, how much mathematics is there in the textbook?
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    (Original post by Lockie123)
    The library will see if there's another way they can get the textbook. If they can't, I'll just start with Clugston. Does it have any assumed knowledge though? Also, how much mathematics is there in the textbook?
    Clugston starts from scratch but does not spend long on the basics.
    If you can't get Adv Chem for you then Complete Chemistry (GCSE) might help with some of the basics like atomic structure and bonding it Clugston goes too fast.
    Clugston has the maths that is needed but to be honest A level chem doesn't really have any real maths any more just numeracy stuff.
    There is a good book called Maths skills for A level chemistry by Dan McGowan which is good.
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    (Original post by Madasahatter)
    Clugston starts from scratch but does not spend long on the basics.
    If you can't get Adv Chem for you then Complete Chemistry (GCSE) might help with some of the basics like atomic structure and bonding it Clugston goes too fast.
    Clugston has the maths that is needed but to be honest A level chem doesn't really have any real maths any more just numeracy stuff.
    There is a good book called Maths skills for A level chemistry by Dan McGowan which is good.
    What do you think about this textbook: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chemistry%C2...zg_bs_278012_1

    It seems to cover the foundations but I don't know how good it is.
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    (Original post by Lockie123)
    What do you think about this textbook: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chemistry%C2...zg_bs_278012_1

    It seems to cover the foundations but I don't know how good it is.
    I don't know it but it seems good.
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    (Original post by Madasahatter)
    I don't know it but it seems good.
    Excellent, I'll see if I can get it!
 
 
 
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