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How to study for OChem?

Discussion in 'DAT Discussions' started by Aurora, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. Aurora

    Aurora Member
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    Hello Everyone,

    I'm trying to re-take the DAT and I don't even know how to study everything for OChem. I was wondering if it's better to memorize the reactions (there are so many!) or just try to memorize the oxidizing/reducing agents and the acids and bases for each reaction. I'm lost!! Please help.

    Aurora
     
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  3. gatorfan99

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    The way I did it was to write down on paper all the major reactions, worry only about major products and reactants.. Then write then over and over again until you can say those reactions out loud.. :)
     
  4. Beam of Light

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    I went to the ADA website, and saw what chapters are covered from ochem on the dat. I got my textbook and read those chapters and did all the problems at the end of the chapters. I think I only missed one question on the ochem section on the actual DAT. My score was a 27
     
  5. Aurora

    Aurora Member
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    Wow...that is awesome! Congrats!! How long did it take you to study for the OChem section?
     
  6. Beam of Light

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    it took me around a week and a half of continuous studying. roughly 8-12 hrs a day
     
  7. Aurora

    Aurora Member
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    Just for the OChem section or for the whole DAT?
     
  8. Beam of Light

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    for the ochem. i was originally a bio major so the bio section was a piece of cake for me. (studied for like 4 days combined for that section). I told myself if I really nail one section i can do mediocre on the other sections and still get a good AA. Here were my overall scores in case ur interested:

    AA:22
    TS:24
    chem and ochem:21 and 27 (studied week and half to make great score)
    bio:23
    pat:18
    RC:21 ( didnt study for this section except for the 3 topscore tests)
    math:20 (read www.gre.org on the math review section...really helped me a lot)

    good luck
     
  9. Beam of Light

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  10. Aurora

    Aurora Member
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    Thanks so much!!! You have been so helpful. I feel so lost when I sit down to study OChem. I don't know what's wrong with me...just can't seem to get a grasp on it. I've been out of school for 5 yrs so I don't really remember much from my classes.

    Thanks again for your help

    Aurora




     
  11. ShawnOne

    ShawnOne DDS over DMD
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    Just flat out know the entire organic section in the Kaplan study guide (cold). Then use the kaplan practice tests and Topscore to test yourself. This method earned me a very good score.

    I have also heard good things about "exam crackers".
     
  12. HBomb

    HBomb Senior Member
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    Aurora,
    In this case, for OChem, you'll have to do both to earn a high DAT score. Memorize reactions for sure. You should also know what things will oxidize what functional groups up to what level. Understand their limitations too. But this section goes beyond just pure memorization. The better you understand concepts, the better you will perform on test day. So if you have time, also try to go for understanding.

    Also, something I was thinking about...even though folks like Beam of Light only studied a few weeks for the OChem section, this approach might not work for you. Beam did great, no doubt about that. But it is very likely that Beam did very well in undergrad OChem and took the DAT shortly after completing OChem. Whereas, if you weren't a good student (I'm not saying you were or weren't) and/or if you took it a long time ago, it will take you significantly more time to prepare for this section. I know for me personally it took longer than 2 weeks to prep for OChem. In general, I think it takes a month of active learning to fully integrate things to memory. Stephen Covey says it takes 21 days to learn/change a habit (not that I care too much what Covey says). If time is on your side, I'd space out memorizing reactions more to something like 30 days...using daily iterations through all the varying reaction types. Make it habitual, so you can spend less time on the exam trying to remember the reaction and more time working on the problem.
     
  13. Aurora

    Aurora Member
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    Beam of light, Gatorfan, ShawnOne, and Hbomb,

    Thanks all for your help. It's so nice to know that so many of you responded. You have really given some great advice and I appreciate it so much. I feel a lot better about things now.

    I have decided to go through my Lesson book from Kaplan first to study the basic stuff and then go to the review book for a more indepth understanding of everything. I finally feel that I'm making some progress.

    Thanks again :)

    Aurora
     
  14. mcataz

    mcataz Senior Member
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    My compliments to the author of this post. This is an excellent post and I would encourage this member to post more often. All of the advice that has been given on SDN has been constructive. I think all members mean well, but one thing that is generally missing in most advice is the author's background. For example, someone who has taken AP chemistry in high school and then got A's in o-chem in college will not have to extensively study o-chem to succeed on that section of the DAT. That person might advise you to do what he or she did which wouldn't exactly benefit you in the same manner that it had for him or her. For that person, merely reviewing the Kaplan book or memorizing a list of equations will suffice.

    However, if you are a student who didn't do well in O-chem the first time, and it has been some time since you last took O-chem, you may need to do more than merely read the big Kaplan book and doing topscore. Not to get sidetracked, but how does one go about memorizing an 800 page book? :) That seems to be the trendy answer on here: Memorize the Kaplan book. That's answer is rather vague and it doesn't really provide anyone with a detailed plan on how to memorize that book. I know people mean well and are busy enough with their own lives to provide a recipe but I can empathize with being told to just "memorize the Kaplan book" and I still felt clueless. :) Merely memorizing a list of equations or reading the Kaplan book 2 times isn't going to get you a 20 on O-chem. If you don't understand what you are memorizing, then spending hours memorizing is fairly futile. That is really important. For some if not most members on here, memorizing the Kaplan book is great advice, but it doesn't apply to everyone.

    I like the idea of memorizing a list of equations and the basics related to o-chem. But I would spend some time with a tutor or a professor and get the basics down before you start memorizing. That may seem like a lot of studying but you will be able to memorize matter quickly when you understand the material to some degree.

    Now for the good news, the DAT o-chem is fairly basic. Unlike your o-chem class in college, you don't need to have a firm of understanding of every little reaction and all the individual mechanisms associated with each one. That is overkill in my opinion. What is more important is knowing a little bit about everything. You do need to know the basics of each reaction like the reactants, products and catalysts. You must know this so well that you can recognize the same reaction if it has been slighly altered with different groups etc. Then know the basics associated with chiralty, enantomers etc. Some IR might be useful.

    There is such a thing as overkill. Be aware of that phenomenon. It's better to know a little bit about everything as opposed to knowing a few parts of o-chem really well to the exclusion of other aspects of it. I think one of the biggest challenges of the DAT and other standardized tests is not learning the material as it is recalling the material in a timely manner during the exam. The only thing that can solve that is practice. Learning all the o-chem shouldn't take you long (maybe 6 weeks?). I think you will that your biggest challenge doesn't lie with knowing the material but how fast you can recall your knowlege on the exam. If you had ample time to complete the natural sciences section, I'm sure most of us could score in the 20's. However, completing o-chem under a strict time limit is something entirely different. I really liked what HBomber had to say about spending 30 days memorizing the material. You need to be able to instantly recall facts on the DAT and that takes practice

    Good Luck :)
     
  15. Mo007

    Mo007 Gifted Hands
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    If you can get Kaplan Flashcards - they would be a great review for all sciences.
     
  16. PERFECT3435

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    aurora,

    it sounds like you haven't taken both ochem courses yet. if you haven't taken them both, then i understand why you feel confused. however, if you have taken both and are still having difficulties, then i would do what shawnone suggested. i did the same thing as he did (we took kaplan together), did the kaplan practice samples over and over until i had the mechanisms down. after that, i basically kept testing myself with topscore and my kaplan book and earned a score of 25.

    good luck!
     
  17. HBomb

    HBomb Senior Member
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    Hey, thanks mcataz! I appreciate the nice words.
     

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