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Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by myjaan, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. myjaan


    Jun 18, 2008
    I am trying to study Organic chemistry and it seems so different from what I studies back in my college days...... How much details should we go into ? Do we really need to study where the X or R goes to in the Alkene...or alkyne( structurally) I mean showing the trans and cis configurations?.. It is driving me crazy... PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!
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  3. unsung

    unsung 10+ Year Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    Yes, you definitely have to know cis/trans, and predict products of reactions. But no need to fret- it's all based on the same concepts over and over again.

    Know the basics of what is a nucleophile, what makes something a stronger or weaker nucleophile, or a stronger or weaker base. Understand steric hinderance and how that encourages something to act as a base vs. a nucleophile. Definitely know your periodic trends and concepts of electronegativity.

    And something you'll run into over and over again: weaker = less reactive = more stable. For example, a strong acid has a weak conjugate base, meaning the conjugate base is not likely to react as a base, so is pretty stable. From that point, it's just a matter of understanding what contributes to stability- i.e. resonance might play a role, or inductive effects through electron withdrawing, etc. etc. Seriously, just knowing that much allows you to predict a lot of things.

    I love o-chem because it's actually possible to really *understand* why everything happens, instead of just memorizing XYZ. Anyway, don't panic... there's actually so little you need to memorize, it's mostly a matter of getting the basics down. Good luck!

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