Best Biology Textbook — High School Biology Books, Self Teaching Guides and AP College Biology Textbooks

A must for every science student is the subject of biology. This supposes that you need a good biology text to accompany your study on the subject. Be ready then to encounter the plethora of textbooks in the market. To help you choose, we’ve come up with some of the best biology textbook brands and featured one textbook from each that we believe will maximize your study time and facilitate the learning process.

If you want an easy way to learn biology at home, check out the following self-teaching biology textbooks.

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Content Type
Our Top Choice
Prentice Hall Miller Levine Biology
Owned by Pearson Limited, Prentice Hall is a renowned publisher of comprehensive educational materials for grades 6 to 12 and up to college level.
Written in large print. Comes with beautiful, self-explanatory illustrations.
Some topics might seem quite repetitive
Grade 9/10
Ken Miller & Joe Levine
560 pages
Best Value
Andrew Allot IB Biology Study Guide
Andrew Allot is a 1974 International Baccalaureate Diploma student who has turned around to become an International Baccalaureate curriculum developer and biology teacher.
Concise and straight to the point. Written in easy to understand English.
Might seem too rushed.
Andrew Allot
208 pages
Lisa A Urry Campbell Biology
A graduate of Tufts University with a double major in Biology and French, Lisa Urry is professor of biology with research papers on topics in the general field of biology.
Detailed explanations. Comprehensive content. Engaging, narrative approach.
The book might be more expensive than you have budgeted.
. College
Urry; Cain; Wasserman; Minorsky
1488 pages
Scott Freeman Biological Science
Scott Freeman has a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington. He conducts research in evolutionary biology and is a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award
Written in Socratic narrative style. Emphasizes experimental evidence and active learning.
The loose-leaf kind comes apart easily
Freeman; Quillin; Allison; Black
1360 pages
Deborah Goldberg Barron’s AP Biology
For fourteen years, Deborah Goldberg studied cells using electron microscopy. Right now, she teaches chemistry, biology and forensic science in Long Island.
Two standard examinations. Examinations in line with the new AP test. Gives extensive review of all AP test topics. Access to a full-length online AP biology practice test.
Quite a number of typographical errors.
Test preparation
High school
Deborah T. Goldberg M.S.
560 pages

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What is the Best Biology Textbook Reviews?

Having gone through our buying guide, you are now equipped with the necessary information you need to buy the best biology textbook. Be sure to peruse our product reviews and select the brand and textbook that will help prep you up for your study needs.

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Our Top Choice
The Miller Levine Biology Workbook is written in a unique storytelling style and makes use of both written and visual analogies to stimulate learning and enjoy studying biology. Looking for a biology exam prep book? Then check out the Prentice Hall Levine Biology Standardized Test Prep Workbook 2004c; an awesome tool to get yourself prepped for that biology exam.

Prentice Hall Miller Levine 2010 Edition Biology Workbook - Grades 9 And 10, Available in Softcover and Hardcover

The publisher, Prentice Hall, a subsidiary of Pearson PLC, was founded in 1913 by Charles Gerstenberg and Richard Ettinger. It publishes both print and digital content for grades 6 through 12 and higher classes. It distributes its technical titles through the Safari Books Online e-reference service. The authors, Kenneth Miller and Joseph Levine are both biologists. Kenneth Miller, a biology professor, is specifically a cell and molecular biologist and received his Sc.B. in biology at Brown University in the year 1970. Joseph Levine, a former student of Miller’s, has taught introductory biology, marine biology, neurobiology and physiology at Boston College.

The book, Prentice Hall Miller Levine Biology Workbook, is written in a conversational storytelling style that will make reading it worth your while. The text is quite engaging and focuses on the use of analogies. Comparing or contrasting two things, probably something new with something you’ve always known, will help cement this new knowledge making sure it is substantially retained by the learner. It is so easy to understand that it can be used for homeschooling. That is, you don’t need a degree in biology to use this book. The fact that it is written in large print is a huge plus since nobody wants to spend time trying to see what is written on the text before getting to understanding it.

The content is up-to-date with happenings in nature so that learners get a front row seat to observe what’s new and what’s out in biology. The topics are very relatable discussing current happenings in our ecosystem and human system. With its “The Chemistry of Life” chapter, chemistry is beautifully woven into the text and used to explain biology to give you a 2-in-1 learning bonus. Your knowledge of chemistry is neatly tied to your knowledge of biology and so you’re improving simultaneously in both areas.

Other biology resources from Prentice Hall/Miller and Levine include:
  • Prentice Hall Levine Biology Standardized Test Prep Workbook - To help you prepare for that biology test
  • Prentice Hall Biology Guided Reading and Study Workbook - That will help steer you in the right direction of what to read
  • Prentice Hall Miller Levine Biology Student Edition Spanish - For those with Spanish as first language or those that are just familiarizing themselves with the language
Best Value
The Andrew Allot IB Biology Study Guide is a comprehensive course book that takes its bearing from the 2014 syllabus. It’s a good tool for students who are studying biology at the standard and higher levels. The IB Biology Course Book: 2014 Edition: Oxford IB Diploma program 2014 ed. Edition is what you need if you’d rather have the full text.

Andrew Allot IB Biology Study Guide -- 2014 Edition

The publisher, Oxford University Press, currently publishes many titles in many countries in many languages and in different formats. From dictionaries to English teaching materials, printed music sheets, textbooks for higher classes and even children’s books, it publishes practically everything. It is driven by the core values of scholarship, research and education derived from its mother body, The University of Oxford. The author, Andrew Allot, got his International Baccalaureate Diploma in 1974. He currently acts as an IB (International Baccalaureate) advisor and helps develop and review the curriculum. He is also Head of Biology department at Shrewsbury School, United Kingdom.

The book, Andrew Allot IB Biology Study Guide, is an embracive study guide that matches up to the new 2014 syllabus. For students at both the standard and higher levels, this is good news because you are getting a book that touches on all the important topics that you need to know. All the topics come properly explained and expatiated because they are interested in you doing well in your International Baccalaureate test.

The concepts are broken down into friendly chunks and clearly explained to make understanding easier. Coupled with the diagrams and illustrations, learning with this text will be quite engaging and fun.

Examination preparation materials are incorporated into the text for you to assess yourself as you go. With the materials, you can build your confidence in your ability to perform well in the test before you do it for real. It properly prepares you for assessments, tests or examinations using revision questions, past question papers and exam strategies.

The clear and straight forward language in which it is written makes this book a veritable tool for learners with English as an additional language. You don’t have to waste precious time and mental energy trying to decode phrases and sentences used in the text, just concentrate on learning biology.

Other books by Andrew Allot include:
  • IB Biology Course Book: 2014 Edition: Oxford IB Diploma program 2014 ed. Edition - A course book that helps you learn biology in its finest details
  • IB Course Companion: Biology (International Baccalaureate) 2nd edition - That comes with the International Baccalaureate course content
  • Biology for the IB Diploma by Andrew Allot (2007-12-15) - Another good book for biology students
Andrew Allot’s books are useful to everybody taking the International Baccalaureate test in biology.
The Lisa A Urry Campbell Biology textbook is up-to-date, reflecting in its updates, evolving research and new learning methods such as problem solving skills and visualization of figures and visual skills questions. If you need help preparing for that biology exam, then you could also check out the Preparing for the Biology AP Exam (School Edition) (Pearson Education Test Prep).

Lisa A Urry Campbell Biology Textbook -- 11th edition

The publisher, Pearson Education Inc., provides a host of educational materials and products in different media. These materials come in form of educational assessment for teachers and students, teacher professional development and certification programs and textbooks. It is dedicated to providing actionable and affordable educational intervention so every student has the chance to succeed. The author, Lisa Urry, is a graduate of Tufts University where she studied French and Biology. She’s currently a Biology professor and chairs the biology department at Mills College in Oakland, California. She also drops in as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.

The book, Lisa A Urry Biology Textbook, is one interesting read. Written in an engaging narrative, the reader gets the sense of being spoken to. You feel like you’re being engaged in a conversation with someone, so reading the book is quite engrossing. It relies heavily on the use of art, photos and other such media to pass across its message and hold the reader’s interest while at it.

One other thing Lisa Urry brings to the table with this book is the opportunity for students to have a hands-on experience of biology. She does this by providing activities and exercises, both in the text and online, that help students apply their knowledge to real life situations.

There is a way that she ties chemistry to biology in this text that is just beautiful. She helps you learn biology through your knowledge of chemistry or she helps you learn chemistry through your knowledge of biology. Whichever way, there is a two-part learning going on.

What you get in this book mirrors the recent changes that have been happening in the world of research and learning. Some of the concepts reflected include; problem solving, visualizing figures and lots more. What this means is that, throughout the text, you will be coming in contact with content that will challenge and improve your problem solving skills and general mental capability through already prepared exercises.

Lisa Urry has authored some other biology books including:
  • The Preparing for the Biology AP Exam (School Edition) (Pearson Education Test Prep) 5th edition - Specially designed to help students prepare for the AP (Advanced Placement Program) test in biology
  • Investigating Biology Laboratory Manual - For those interested in the workings of a biology laboratory
Plus, many other books that are sure to be what you need.
The Scott Freeman Biological Science is great for introductory courses for biology majors and contains a unique BioSkills section that helps the student develop scientific skills through the creation and interpretation of models. For high school students preparing for biology exams, check out the Study Guide for Biological Science 6th edition, another book by the same author.

Scott Freeman Biological Science- 6th Edition, Available in Kindle, Hardcover and Paperback

The publisher, Pearson Education Inc., provides a host of educational materials and products in different media. These materials come in the form of educational assessment for teachers and students, student information systems, teacher professional development and certification programs and textbooks. It is dedicated to providing actionable and affordable educational intervention so every student has the chance to succeed. The author, Scott Freeman, holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Washington. He was awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award by the University of Washington plus various other awards in journalism. He has also been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize.

The book, Scott Freeman Biology Textbook, contains introductory courses for biology majors. The book is written in the Socratic style which emphasizes on experimental evidence and active learning. What this means is that the book gives room for hands on experience instead of just forcing a lot of random information into your head. Hands on experiment helps you better understand and retain the subject matter.

This book serves to force you out of the confines of memorization and into the embrace of active engagement. The beauty of this is that it presents this to you in a personal focused way, so, you’re learning biology like it’s just you and nature. This edition emphasizes some of the concepts and notions that were highlighted in the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education report, which means it is up-to-date with current happenings and changes in the world of undergraduate biology education.

With its unique BioSkills section, students are able to develop skills that they will need to become real scientists. This section comes with a ‘making models’ sub-section and a ‘put it all together’ sub-section. The ‘making models’ involves interpreting and creating models while the ‘put it all together’ helps students connect the textbook world to real life.

Other books by the same author include:
  • The Study Guide for Biological Science 6th edition - To help you study for that biology test or will just help you better understand what you’ve learnt
  • Evolutionary Analysis - Another interesting one from Scott Freeman as he does not just state the principles of evolution but breaks it down into understandable bits
With Scott Freeman, no two books can be the same.
The Deborah Goldberg Barron’s AP Biology is a necessity for any biology student that is about to take an AP (Advanced Placement Program) test as it gives quite a broad and extensive review of all AP test topics. Barron’s AP Biology Flash Cards, 3rd edition by the same author is a beautiful choice if you’re in the market for some ready-made biology flash cards.

Deborah Goldberg Barron’s AP Biology – 6th Edition, Available in Kindle and Paperback

The publisher, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., is one of America’s leading publishers of test preparation manuals. It has begun to broaden its publishing scope by venturing into other books like children’s books, foreign language learning books, pet care books and even parenting books. The author, Deborah Goldberg studied for her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Long Island University. For fourteen years, she studied cells at the New York University Medical Center and New York Medical College using electron microscopy. For the succeeding years, she has been teaching chemistry, biology and forensic science at Lawrence High School on Long Island.

The book, Deborah Goldberg Barron’s AP Biology, gives an elaborate review of AP (Advanced Placement Program) test topics. If you’re going to be taking this test, you should be thinking of getting this book because it addresses all the topics that the test will be taken from. The topics are properly elaborated on and concepts that are related are compared and contrasted to aid better understanding and even broaden your knowledge base.

It comes with two AP mock examinations that are in line with the style and the context of a standard AP exam. This gives you an edge in the exam situation, and will give you the opportunity to see how you can handle mistakes in the exam before actually doing it. Of course all the questions are possible AP questions so you might even get one or two questions from this mock test that will appear in the real thing.

There are yet hundreds of additional random questions. The beautiful thing here is that, all the questions, including the mock exams, come with their answers and explanations. You’re told what the answer is and why it is what it is. You can go ahead to apply these explanations to similar situations.

Amazingly, you get free access to a full length online AP biology test if you purchase this book. All the questions come with their answers and the answers, their explanation.

Other biology books by the same author include:
  • Barron’s AP Biology Flash Cards, 3rd edition - Ready-made flash cards that allow you memorize and study on the go
  • Barron’s Subject Test Biology - A good study guide for biology students preparing to take a SAT exam
  • Deborah Goldberg’s biology study materials come with answers that are explained, so the books are basically one-stop-books.

    How Do I Choose the Best Biology Textbook?

    The study of biology is important to basically everybody. Why? Because it is the study of life; your body, everything that goes on inside you and everything that goes on in the other living things you share this planet with. In choosing a biology textbook to aid you in your study, it is crucial that it contains quality content and organized topic presentation.

    With the right biology textbook, you could get an edge in your exams, what with the practise questions, mock examinations and evaluation exercises that usually come with the workbook. Preparing for that exam won’t be that difficult because of the practice you have had with the simulated tests integrated after each chapter. The approach to learning as presented by the organization of the text with the aid of illustrations shifts the focus of the learner from strictly memorization to exploration and experimentation. Just as a good web design book is not all theory but a practical approach to learning web design, so is a biology textbook with updated information, organized logically, with practice integrated coherently.

    While getting your textbook, you may also want to couple that with a good subject notebook where you can scribble those important notes and a highlighter to help you mark those important portions of the textbook for further review later on. Now before grabbing just any biology text off the shelf, let us tell you a thing or two on what to look out for in a biology textbook before you pick one so that you can get value for your money.


    Best Ways to Study Your Biology and Ace Your Exams. | Courtesy of CXC Biology Tutor
    A good book is a priceless treasure. But quality does come with a price. A biology textbook will typically cost between $15 and $200. It all depends partly on the scope they cover, their volume, the quality of their book material and binding, among other things. Just so you know, we saw some ridiculously cheap biology textbooks but since we can’t vouch for the accuracy and relevance of their contents, we’ve left them out.
    Here are some features for you to bear in mind while making your choice of biology textbooks.
    • Content
    • Clarity of information
    • Illustrations
    • Purpose
    • Year of publication
    Construction and Design
    Making the choice of biology textbook to use is a serious decision that should be based on a few factors. Basically, reason should be a critical factor. The thing is that there are lots of biology textbooks. First of all, there are different texts for different educational levels. Then there are different texts for different examinations and also different texts in different languages. See why you need to consider your reason? If you’re a teacher and want to recommend a text for your kids, you have to factor in their grade and what exam they are preparing for so they don’t waste their money on something irrelevant to their level and exam preparation.

    Because you are dealing with the sciences where things are new every hour, the year of publication is another important factor to consider. Biology texts are usually revised as often as possible to reflect the constant changes in our environment. Updated information and content gives learning the edge.

    You should also consider what the book is about and who it is designed for. This is because you don’t expect a book designed for experts to be sympathetic about your ignorance on the subject matter. Know your level of expertise in the subject matter and in the language used, and then get the right book for you. Don’t get a book that is obviously not intended for you and then turn around to complain of complexity or over-simplicity.
    Performance and Ease of Use
    No matter the amount of information a text carries, if you, the reader, is unable to understand it, it is as good as useless to you. So make sure you go for a book whose concepts are properly explained and expatiated on, Aside from the subject matter of the text, be sure that you are able to understand the language used because a book is as good as its understandability. Pick a book whose grammar used you understand so you don’t use half your biology learning time to learn grammar, lexis and structure.

    If you see a biology text without a picture or diagram or an illustration of some sort, you should probably look in the opposite direction. See, here is the thing, biology is not one of the courses in the humanities or arts. It is a core science subject. This suggests heavy reliance on empiricism, that is, observation and experiment. A good biology text should have visual representations of whatever is taught, seeing as biology deals with very tangible things. The summary of this is, go for a text with descriptive illustrations and you’ll be fine.

    Video: How I Take Biology Notes

    Notes from my biology textbook. | Studyquill

    Get the Best Biology Textbook of 2023!

    Thank you for reading to the end. You can go ahead now and place that order for the textbook that you need.

    Our Top Choice
    Prentice Hall Miller Levine Biology
    Best Value
    Andrew Allot IB Biology Study Guide
    Lisa A Urry Campbell Biology
    Scott Freeman Biological Science
    Deborah Goldberg Barron’s AP Biology

    Biology Textbook FAQs

    Where can I find a biology textbook?
    You can find a biology textbook online. Just go to your favorite online retailer and search for a biology textbook. When you find one, click buy, check out, and wait for the delivery of the book. If you are looking for a biology textbook to buy, we have reviewed some of the best.
    How much does a biology textbook weigh?
    On average, a biology textbook weighs 4.5 pounds. The one you buy could be lighter or more substantial than that depending on the page count.
    How much does a biology textbook cost?
    The cost of a biology textbook is $100 on average. However, you could pay as little as $25 if you buy it during the back-to-school season. That’s because of the enormous price cuts offered by publishers and retailers at that time.