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How can I teach myself O Chem II?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Exalya, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Exalya

    2+ Year Member

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    For complex reasons, I am taking O Chem II from the guy I took O Chem I from, and he is the most awful professor in the world... namely, he doesn't teach. At all. I wish I could take from the one other professor, but there are major scheduling conflicts with two other important classes. In O Chem I, I studied the book, I studied the lectures, I did the problems in the book... and it just wasn't enough. He tests on a level far beyond any practice problems that I could find in the book or online. He does not offer quizzes or homework. Supplemental instruction is available, however, I have to work during those times. So, I have my task: I need to teach myself everything there is to know about O Chem II, and I want to start now, before the spring classes begin.

    Do any of you have suggestions for texts I could use? Places that have highly complex practice problems? I would even go for educational software, if I could find it.
     
  2. DrBrizzle

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    Are you looking for course relevant orgo II (your level, specifically) or MCAT orgo II? As far as for your course, I cant really recommend anything head and shoulders above anything else. If you need to learn your prof's style of orgo, then talk to him: ask him for tips on "supplementary material" (or dress it up however you want). If you are looking for MCAT specific orgo II, i would recommend the Exam Krakers books, they're pretty comprehensive for the test. They have flashcards in the back too, which are nice. I used this book for my MCAT and did reasonably well, but I had taken a formal orgo II class. Hope this helps-
     
  3. redlight

    redlight Senior Member :D
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    what if you end up wasting your time by trying to do all this work over break?
    why not try and find out how others aced the course and emulate that?
    and yea talking to the prof sounds like a great idea too
     
  4. RevivedPreMed

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    Unless everyone in your class failed, then it's not the professor.
    I took OChem II with a professor who is notorious for being difficult, impossible even. It was the only section that fit my schedule so I went for it. A LOT of kids dropped and many failed, but not everyone. Sometimes you get the grade you deserve by putting tremendous work in, and sometimes you just get lucky.

    I got lucky because I ended up with an A without very much effort put it. Many people struggle with synthesis problems which was the bulk of his exams, that kind of stuff came easy to me so it worked.

    You need to look back and see what kinds of questions he asked and figure out if those are your weaknesses. I'd suggest getting a tutor if you can to help you with those.

    There could be other factors affecting you as well. Do you run out of time on tests? Are you overcome with testing anxiety? It sounds like you are doing all the right things so I'm curious about other factors influencing you.
     
  5. jsanchez

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  6. ar2388

    ar2388 rads resident
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    what really really helped me for orgo, especialy orgo II is to read the chapter and do just about ALLLLLL of the questions in the back of the chapter.
     
  7. RubyRed

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    Bruice really is a choice orgo text, but seriously it seems like you just need to spend more time with the material and do more problems. Orgo is probably one of the easiest courses to teach yourself: 1) internalize all the reactions presented 2) understand HOW and WHY example mechanism problems work 3) get an A.
     
  8. WolverineDoc13

    WolverineDoc13 Good Times in the Midwest
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    I'm not sure what to say in regards to getting an A in orgo II. Every university teaches it differently. All I can say is be aware of your learning style. Are you a visual learner? a verbal learner? an oral learner? I'd adjust the course material to how you learn best. Also, make sure to study in groups. Studies show that those who work in groups do better on exams.

    Also, for MCAT orgo, you may want to go here:
    http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/preparing/bstopics.pdf
    This is the AAMC list of orgo (and bio) topics you will need to know for the biological sciences section of the MCAT. It may be helpful to go through each topic and peruse your textbook for those specific topics. It helped me to take the large chunk of knowledge and break it up into little pieces. (probably why I'm more suited for problem-based learning)
     
  9. phonotactician

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    As WolverineDoc stated, every university teaches it differently...so take my input with a grain of salt. In my experience, orgo II is fairly different from orgo I.

    Orgo I is introductory - a little review from genchem, some concepts (stereochem, sn1/sn2, sterics, etc.), and some reactions. Orgo II is like the tail end of orgo I, times a million. It's all reactions, very few real concepts (except those learned that are specific to a reaction or class of reactions). So be prepared for a lot of memorization. If you want to prep ahead of time, I suggest flipping through the chapters, and pay attention to those tables at the end that list all the reactions. If you want to make a study guide, my suggestion is to have several: one guide is a list of all reactions (just reactants, reagents, products, and sometimes special conditions); another guide is all those reactions but show the mechanism (lots will be very similar, e.g. for carbonyls, so it's not as exhausting as it sounds). If your prof really likes those big synthesis questions, a really good way to organize the reactions is by what they produce. So you have a list of "all the ways I've learned how to make a nitrile", "all the ways I've learned how to make a carboxylic acid", etc.

    Another tip is that while your prof may be "the most awful", I guess the bright side is you already know the guy, how he teaches, and more or less what to expect for exams. And I think since orgo II is less conceptual and more memorization, the actual lectures might be less important for understanding the material. For me, lectures involved my prof walking thru reaction mechanisms, and everyone furiously copying down the blackboard before it got erased. But if you have hte mechanism copied down, then there really is nothing more to it. Don't get me wrong, it's a LOT of material and a LOT of time spent memorizing, writing out study guides, etc.
     
  10. dw2158

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    I loved my orgo II textbook: http://www.wwnorton.com/college/titles/chemistry/orgo3/

    And I'll echo what ar2388 said... read thoroughly and do ALL the practice problems. Eventually you'll start to see patterns.

    Have you considered a tutor? Even just another student who already took the class and aced it might be really helpful.
     

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