sworzeh

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I only used the second option (along with problems from the textbook) and I averaged 97% on the tests.

You may not even need all three.
 
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khan academy worked more for me than freelanceteach....thought he was kind of boring. Sal is the man though
 

REMMAH

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I liked khan and ochem as a second language. Didn't use the third option, though, so i can't comment on that.
 

GeorgiadisMD

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The book's problems in the back are the best. They are usually very similar to test bank questions the publisher distributes, if indeed the professor uses test bank. Our professor took out questions straight from the back of the book.

My answer would be your book, and if you need any more reclarification, use khan. I doubt you will though. The subject matter is usually quite simple, its just memorizing everything.
 

AestheticGod

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Is it really possible to understand anything they're saying in the book "organic chemistry as a second language," if you've never taken the course? I assume it teaches EVERYTHING you will learn in organic chemistry, but just not in-depth, so you can go into the course with a little background knowledge.


Honestly, wouldn't it be A LOT better if you got the textbook your future prof will use and study that? Just a thought i was wondering
 

Stumpyman

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Is it really possible to understand anything they're saying in the book "organic chemistry as a second language," if you've never taken the course? I assume it teaches EVERYTHING you will learn in organic chemistry, but just not in-depth, so you can go into the course with a little background knowledge.


Honestly, wouldn't it be A LOT better if you got the textbook your future prof will use and study that? Just a thought i was wondering
From my experience, the reading the textbook before taking the class isn't worth all that much, as you need the lecture to really understand the material.

I like the O chem as a second language book a lot, definitely does help to read it beforehand or while you are taking the class.
 

sworzeh

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Is it really possible to understand anything they're saying in the book "organic chemistry as a second language," if you've never taken the course? I assume it teaches EVERYTHING you will learn in organic chemistry, but just not in-depth, so you can go into the course with a little background knowledge.


Honestly, wouldn't it be A LOT better if you got the textbook your future prof will use and study that? Just a thought i was wondering
I read the first couple chapters of Ochem as a Second Language before I started the class, and I felt that it helped a lot; It gave me a head start. When everyone else was struggling on resonance forms, I already knew them.
 

KnightofBaldMt

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I actually hadn't heard of Organic Chem as a Second Language. So thanks for (most likely) improving my orgo grade this year! :laugh:
 

sinombre

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Try and find old exams... I always found old exams to be hugely beneficial.

In terms of actually learning the material, I would focus more on how you're studying than what resources you're using. Don't be like 80% of the rest of the class and cram right before the exam. If you study two hours every single day, o-chem will be a cake walk. Diligence is the key to doing well.
 

KnightofBaldMt

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Is using old exams considered academic dishonesty? I have heard it both ways, and I'm not sure... I wouldn't think so since it isn't the current test.
 

sinombre

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Is using old exams considered academic dishonesty? I have heard it both ways, and I'm not sure... I wouldn't think so since it isn't the current test.
You mean by the institution? I don't think so, unless the professor explicitly prohibits the use of old exams.

In terms of ethics: using old exams may seem ethically ambiguous, but I think this is largely dependent on specific circumstances. Keep in mind that these classes are curved, meaning that the number of students that are going to do well is pre-determined. I can also almost guarantee you that a large number of students have access to old exams if you're at a moderate-sized school.

I think professors should hand out old exams as a way of leveling the playing field. Students have access to them and will use them regardless of the professor's opinion and/or policy, and they should act accordingly. Explicitly prohibiting them will only give the students who use them an advantage.
 

mmmmd

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Every instructor, school, and ultimately offering of a course will vary. Your strategy has to account for this.

I'm not familiar with ochem curriculum at all schools, but at my school we had 3 courses: 1, 2, 3 (quarter system so this is the year-long ochem series). First quarter was introductory, drawing stuff, overview of the basic reactions that can occur, nomenclature, chirality, resonance, etc. Second quarter was mechanism intensive, dealing with all the different biomolecules' most important reactions. Now I'm in 3rd quarter and it's a lot of application-based review (we're just beginning basic pharmacology/"medicinal chemistry" after reviewing acids/bases, carbs, lipids, and nucleic acids).

For the 1st quarter, the only memorizing I had to do was write flashcards of the relevant reactions before each exam. Then I had to recall these and use them in synthesis problems and stuff.

For the 2nd quarter, there were lots of mechanisms, so I had a little side booklet I kept in parallel with my notes where I copied neatly every mechanism we were required to regurgitate on the following exam. This was crucial during the day/night/morning before the exam.

Now in the 3rd quarter, the motto hasn't really changed: get a good understanding of everything that is covered, but attend lecture to figure out what's going to be on the exam. Then study by doing practice problems on these subjects, or helping/collaborating with others. And make a game plan for the day, night, and morning before the exam. For my second quarter, this was re-writing all the mechanisms from scratch at 7am before the 10am class.
 

KnightofBaldMt

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Okay, this seems to make a lot of sense. Thanks man. I felt semi-guilty doing it last semester so I'm glad I can put my mind to ease!
 
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Try and find old exams... I always found old exams to be hugely beneficial.

In terms of actually learning the material, I would focus more on how you're studying than what resources you're using. Don't be like 80% of the rest of the class and cram right before the exam. If you study two hours every single day, o-chem will be a cake walk. Diligence is the key to doing well.
Bingo!

I will echo what many others have said about the exact structure of the course. Professors focus on different aspects of organic chemistry. I know one professor that focused a lot on physical organic chemistry and did not require students to memorize that many mechanisms. My professor, on the flip side, was extremely synthesis intensive. Our tests were often 100% multi-step synthesis. Adjust your studying to your professor.

Few points:
1) Follow the electrons. In this same breath, learn why the electrons are moving where they are.
2) If applicable (and they generally always are), identify the nucleophile and electrophile.
3) Learn all the reactivity patterns and why. For example, why the halogens differ in their leaving ability.
4) Learn to do the synthesis without looking at the answers first. Work any and all synthesis problems in your textbook plus old exams and exams from other professors.
5) Understand why certain steps are taking place. The #1 problem I see with organic students: they memorize random reactions and have no earthly clue why they are occurring. They can regurgitate that a carboxylic acid and alcohol forms an ester, but can not explain any reason this reaction occurs or how it is controlled.
6) Laboratory techniques can reinforce lecture material (especially instrumentation, solvent choices, and chromatography).

Have fun! Organic I and II were my favorite undergrad courses. They even made me go into organic synthesis research!