Welcome to the IB Textbook Guide

Welcome to the IB Textbook Guide. The aim of this site is to provide up-to-date information for teachers, students, and parents about the textbooks, study guides, and other resources that are available for the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP).

The site provides a range of information to help you make the right choice when selecting these resources. If you are new to the IB Diploma Programme, please read the information below to ensure you are clear about the various terms used on this site. This textbook guide covers each of the IB Diploma Programme groups, but the core components like Theory of Knowledge (TOK):

  • Group 1: Language A
  • Group 2: Language B
  • Group 3 Individual and Societies
  • Group 4 Experimental Sciences
  • Group 5 Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Group 6 The Arts
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Extended Essay

Dedicated textbooks

Oxford and Cambridge typically have textbooks available for the most popular IB courses such as Chemistry and Maths. However, in some subjects there is no dedicated textbook and teachers rely on a range of general books to cover all aspects of the syllabus. Sometimes different teachers and students have preferences for one book over another: this site includes a selection of books which have been generally considered to be useful for the course.

Standard Level vs Higher Level

IB subjects (with a couple of exceptions) are taught at either Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL). The differences between the SL and HL courses can vary greatly. Typically HL students study all SL content plus additional topics. Some textbooks cover the entire syllabus (SL and HL) in one book, which makes things a bit easier; others have separate volumes for SL and HL students.

Some subjects, such as Geography and History, have several different optional topics from which students and teachers study a small number. In the case of Geography, some textbooks omit these optional topics and cover them in separate volumes.

The information next to each book on this site makes it clear which components of the syllabus are covered by the book, so you can be sure you have a textbook which covers everything you will be studying, but not buying anything unnecessary.

Syllabus Year

Another consideration is the year of the textbook. The IB tends to update its courses on a 5 year cycle. While core material in many subjects does not change (Pythagoras after all, is still Pythagoras), a new syllabus may add new topics, remove old topics, or change the structure of the internal assessment.

IB subject guides have a ‘first exams’ year which describes when the exams for that syllabus will be sat by students – but of course, teaching of the course will start two years before that. For example, a syllabus with ‘First exams 2015’ will be taught by teachers starting in August 2013 (for May exam schools) or January 2014 (for November exam schools).

Wherever possible, the IB Textbook Guide includes only textbooks which cover the most recent version of the syllabus; where this is not the case, it is noted.

Purchasing and Shipping

Shipping books to international schools can be fraught with difficulties. For each resource here we have included links to Amazon stores in multiple countries, as Amazon tends to be the most reliable supplier and has good prices. If Amazon do not ship to your country, Book Depository is an excellent alternative. It has a wide range of stock and offers free worldwide shipping on all orders.

An increasing number of textbooks are becoming available in electronic formats – where this is the case, links to these versions are included.

If you purchase books through the links on this site, we receive a small commission which we use to help maintain the site.

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