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Textbooks and Educational Books

Academic textbooks, whether for high school, college, or ongoing professional certification and continuing education, can be challenging to purchase. A teacher may provide students with options for open or OER textbooks for learning material needed to complete a class. Curriculum changes frequently, and students may find instructional content through traditional printed and bound used textbooks and eBooks, or a combination of educational resources and related material.

How can students know if they're buying the right book?

Textbooks, particularly in subjects like science, mathematics, and English, frequently change versions. Faculty members will assign a text through their syllabus, and texts may also be identified in a course outline and campus bookstore. The correct text will have a 13-digit ISBN or international book identification number. Some materials used in education have different ISBN numbers for different options, such as a printed science text with an online access code, or the printed text sold without the code.

Are study books for exams like the GRE available?

Students who need to take tests like the SAT, ACT, or Graduate Record Exam to advance to graduate school will find many options for study books and sample tests. Test preparation manuals and workbooks are also available for other exams such as the NCLEX for nurses and LSAT law school admissions test for aspiring lawyers. Study guides may also be available for the following tests:

  • The AICPA Certified Public Accountant exam
  • Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam
  • The NCMHCE exam for counselors.
Are older textbooks suitable for learning math, science, or English?

Most academic fields change rapidly. Older textbooks in some subjects can serve as historical documents and contain useful information. However, students run a risk of obtaining outdated information in fields like science and even in math and English if they purchase older textbooks. That being said, some instructors may permit students to use older editions when updates have been minimal.

Can OER or open educational resources substitute for texts?

Many subjects from elementary education to the college level now have open-source learning content, often called OER. Instructors may assign and use this open content in addition to traditional textbooks, websites, or workbooks and videos. When a text is assigned, students may also supplement the text from these open educational resources. However, the assigned textbook should also be used.

Can an international textbook be substituted for a U.S. Edition?

In some cases, international versions of textbooks have different covers from U.S. versions, but the interior information is the same. The ISBN number for international books will differ from a U.S. number. Instructors will notify students if international editions are acceptable for coursework and assignments.

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