I often get asked what are the best textbooks and other resources for learning Organic Chemistry? Read on to find out!
Best organic chemistry textbooks
If you’re just starting out with organic chemistry and:
- don’t have a prescribed text for your course
- want to pre-study for the course
- want a ‘reader-friendly’ introduction to OChem
Then, my number one recommendation is “Organic Chemistry as a Second Language” by David Klein.
Highly Recommended Introduction: Organic Chemistry as a Second Language by David Klein
This is actually split into two books – first and second semester topics. So, if you are only doing one semester of orgo, you only need one book!
Best Full-Year Textbook: Organic Chemistry by David Klein
If you need something more comprehensive, and you’re doing the full year of Organic Chemistry, then David Klein has a more comprehensive textbook, aptly named “Organic Chemistry”. This is the prescribed textbook at many universities and colleges, and it is the best textbook I have used in my own teaching.
A Textbook with more detail: Organic Chemistry by Clayden, Greeves and Warren
If you would prefer a textbook that goes more in-depth on every concept, I recommend Organic Chemistry by Clayden, Greeves and Warren. The authors of this text are British and the text goes into more detail than Klein’s books. As a learning resource, it is actually my favourite textbook, and it is more appropriate for courses where the syllabus goes into more detail or you would like to go deeper into the topics to get a better understanding.
Other Recommended Organic Chemistry Resources
Apart from a good textbook, I recommend a few further items to help you ace your Organic Chemistry Exams:
- a molecular model set
- structure drawing template paper
- flash cards
Best molecular model set
A good quality molecular model set is invaluable for studying Organic Chemistry, particularly stereochemistry and isomers! Nothing reinforces the links between the 2D drawing on paper and the 3D molecules more than building it yourself. Fortunately, good quality sets, with lots of pieces have come down in price in recent years. The most important things to look for in a set are:
- pieces that ‘click’ together and apart easily
- a large number of pieces, preferably > 200!
It’s vital that the set have a large number of pieces, so you can not only make every structure you might need to, but also make multiple molecules and compare them. The best set that I have come across is the 239 piece one supplied by “Old Nobby”!
Best structure drawing paper
It should come as no surprise that I recommend the ChemPaper templates that I made! 🙂 Click here to check them out!
Best flash cards
Well, again, the best, IMHO, are the ones I made on Quizlet. When I looked at the flash cards that were available on Quizlet, I was disappointed with the quality. Not only were there frequent errors, but most were only text. Organic Chemistry is so visual, it needs to be studied using pictures and diagrams! So, I started making my own high quality sets on Quizlet. I have poured every ounce of my 20+ years Organic Chemistry experience into these and every card has an image or diagram to help you learn the concept – click below to check them out!
Beyond OChem – what about the MCAT?
I’ve deliberately focused on helping students with Organic Chemistry. It’s my bread and butter, and you won’t get better help and advice anywhere else! But, the flipside to that is – I don’t stray outside OChem to other subjects or into specific test prep. I leave that to the experts in those areas!
One resource I am happy to recommend is The Princeton Review. They are one of the leaders in test preparation resources.