Studying for Organic Chemistry

(back to Organic I | Organic II)

Organic Chemistry is all about practice practice and more practice

You are advised to dedicated at least one hour on practicing problems (this time does not include reading notes and revising).

Most common techniques for studying Organic Chemistry:

  • Rewriting your notes in more organized way the same day

  • Practicing problems, not only the ones that have been assigned in the syllabus but other problems in the book.

  • Form a study group with students you study well with and meet regularly to solve problems.

  • Solve the problems again and again for better understanding.

  • Come and see me if you are stuck on a problem

  • Use other books for practicing problems (you can find these in the library or get them from me)

  • If you like practicing on the computer then see me for the software. (Keep in mind that this is the not the best way to learn to write out mechanisms, but this is still good for practice)

Learning the course material is your responsibility, I am there to help you understand concepts and how to apply them. Your learning is in your hands, the more time you spend on it the better your understanding will be and the consequently you will earn a better grade. My job is not to give you answers to all your questions but to guide you to the answer.

For a full load of 12 credit hours you should be spending 36-48 hours studying on your time. For every science class of 3 credit hours you need to spend four times the credit hours (12 hours) practicing and studying. If you are not committed to put the time and effort required for a class then you should also be expected to earn a lower grade in class.

The above is only my advice. If you think you have a better way of studying by all means follow it.

Student Voices: (C&E News: page 44 April 16, 2001)
Bottom line: Organic Chemistry is Intense but Doable

Panels advice to students:

  • Organic is not as terrible as the rumors say but its labor intensive

  • Read the textbook. It was my best friend for the better part of the year

  • You have to study a little at a time; you can’t cram everything in just before a test

  • Go to class. Go to group help sessions even if they are not mandatory

  • Work extra problems. Build models. Recopy your lecture notes – you may realize there are things you don’t completely understand

  • Model sets are great resource. They’re essential to understanding stereochemistry. There s nothing better than being able to hold a model in your and twist it and turn it.

  • Working on synthesis ties together everything you’ve learned

  • If you the underlying reasons why stuff happens, you can figure out a reaction your never studies before