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Any advice on studying organic chemistry in advance?

ahart01

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Oct 5, 2019
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Hello everyone,

I'm a non-trad post-bacc student like most of folks here on this thread (it's been 9 years out since my undergraduate). I'm seeking advice on how to well prepare for organic chemistry 1, which I will be taking in the fall. My initial plan was to take biology 1 over the summer to alleviate the burden of taking both biology 1 and orgo 1 at the same time in the fall as both courses at my school, where I'm doing post-bacc premed program at, are known to be really tough. However, due to COVID everything is now online, I decided not to take biology over the summer and cram everything crammed in 7 weeks.

I have taken gen chem about 4 years ago, so I would probably need a refresher on it for sure, but I heard that organic chemistry is a bit different from gen chem. Since I will be taking bio1 and orgo 1 at the same time in the fall (and I have a part time job as a medical interpreter working three days a week at a hospital) I wanted to get a head start on at least one of the courses and just completely review it so that at least while during the course I can alleviate the pain of juggling both heavy classes. I think previewing and studying orgo might be helpful in the next two months (July, August - school starts Sept) since orgo might also help understanding bio better. Should I hire a tutor? If I do so, I'm not sure what I would use to study. Not sure if using the textbook is going to help either since it really depends on the instructors and lecture material.

Any advice and thoughts would be greatly appreciated/welcomed. Thanks!
 

GreenDuck12

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Khan Academy is a good resource to get started with. Reviewing electron orbitals from general chemistry (s, p, and hybridization). Organic chemistry as a second language is useful resource.
 
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jamaica jan sun princess

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I read part of organic chemistry as a second language before starting organic. Honestly, I didn't find any benefit to pre-reviewing because you don't know how it will be taught and what topics the professor will emphasize. Maybe work through a chapter of an MCAT book every week at most.
 

esob

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I read part of organic chemistry as a second language before starting organic. Honestly, I didn't find any benefit to pre-reviewing because you don't know how it will be taught and what topics the professor will emphasize. Maybe work through a chapter of an MCAT book every week at most.

I didn't find that book helpful either. At the end of the day, what helped me was learning nomenclature early, as that took a big burden off the other areas.
 

indviduality

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Jun 18, 2020
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Just took Organic 1, I would say to ask your professor for the syllabus to see what will be covered. Start with nomenclature, then work your way through reviewing lewis structure and on to formal charges. After that I would say get familiar with line angle notation and resonance. That should give you a good start!
 
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deophob

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May 27, 2020
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I had a 6 year gap between gen chem and ochem 1. Leah4sci's Gen Chem for Ochem Review helped bridge the gap for me. I then watched some of her ochem 1 videos before the start of the semester to get an idea for what to expect.
 
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jhmmd

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Get these two books: Pushing Electrons and Organic Chemistry as a Second Language. I would do the first book the semester before ochem (on the weekends, maybe?) and skim through the second beforehand, while supplementing your textbook w/material from Organic Chemistry as a Second Language (while you take ochem). You won't understand everything in Organic Chemistry as a Second Language right away, so don't push yourself if it's confusing. I also really like the book Chemistry by Sildeberg, which should give you a good basic understanding of gen chem before you start organic. Good luck!
 
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IsleyOfTheNorth

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- Organic won't help you with Biology 1. However, it will help with Biochemistry.
- I think molecular models are a waste. You need to be able to do it in your head - you get better at that by... doing it in your head.
- I though "Organic Chemistry as a Second Language" was a waste as well, though some people like it.

The trick to O-chem (just like most chemistry) is practice, practice, practice. Understand how atoms work and why and you'll be set.
 

jhmmd

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IsleyOfTheNorth said:
- Organic won't help you with Biology 1. However, it will help with Biochemistry.
- I think molecular models are a waste. You need to be able to do it in your head - you get better at that by... doing it in your head.
- I though "Organic Chemistry as a Second Language" was a waste as well, though some people like it.

The trick to O-chem (just like most chemistry) is practice, practice, practice. Understand how atoms work and why and you'll be set.
Bio 1 should be a pre-req for organic, so not sure why the OP would be taking organic before bio in the first place

Organic should help with many courses throughout a post-bacc and/or a bio major, including everyday problem-solving.
 

whenpeanutmetbutter

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Jul 10, 2020
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I have taken gen chem about 4 years ago, so I would probably need a refresher on it for sure, but I heard that organic chemistry is a bit different from gen chem. Since I will be taking bio1 and orgo 1 at the same time in the fall (and I have a part time job as a medical interpreter working three days a week at a hospital) I wanted to get a head start on at least one of the courses and just completely review it so that at least while during the course I can alleviate the pain of juggling both heavy classes. I think previewing and studying orgo might be helpful in the next two months (July, August - school starts Sept) since orgo might also help understanding bio better. Should I hire a tutor? If I do so, I'm not sure what I would use to study. Not sure if using the textbook is going to help either since it really depends on the instructors and lecture material.

Review orbitals, take a look at nomenclature, and strongly consider picking up a molecular model kit. Molecular models are helpful (and super fun!) if this stuff doesn't come naturally to you, but even for those of us for whom it's easy can still get a benefit. Yes, you'll have to visualize things in your head but not on the first day and it's a skill you work on.

Once the class has started: ALWAYS read ahead, DON'T procrastinate, and ALWAYS do the homework. You should be able to tell early on if you'll need a tutor and if this is the case don't wait! Good luck!
 
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