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Hi everyone, im new to the whole medical system. I have not taken O-chem yet so i was curious on something I recently heard.

I heard that organic chemistry is very difficult. So difficult that if someone got a letter grade of "C", med school would still be ok with it.
If someone got an "A" or "B" grade, that would make them stand out even more. Is this true?
 
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Organic is memorization and understanding electron movement. Study it, memorize it and you'll be fine.
 
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You'll do fine if you study hard.

This.

Go in thinking it will be the hardest class ever and study like crazy. You will do alright.

Later, you'll realize it's far from the hardest class you will take. :D
 
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Quaero

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It was definitely something very different from everything else. I wish they would actually explain how each and every reagents work. Every mechanism can be understood by careful examination of electron density. Gotta love those balls and sags drawings.
 
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Propylene

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It's been said before but it's worth reiterating: if you put the work in it'll come! Don't underestimate the class and you you'll be fine.
 

TheMightySmiter

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I did not find orgo difficult at all...but some people do. Everyone has academic strengths and weaknesses. I don't think you'll know whether or not you're good at it until you take it. And whether it comes to you naturally or not, you HAVE to stay on top of the subject material.
 

V5RED

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The material may or may not be difficult for you, but whether or not it is difficult to get an A is a function of your teacher's choice.

As an example, analytical chemistry is not a particularly difficult course material wise, but exam wise it was ridiculous. My teacher liked to test us on random useless information such as "in example X in the chapter, which elements were discussed?", and he would give us too many long math questions for the time limit. People who had cleared organic chemistry were struggling to pass this class. My A in that class was by a wide margin the most hard earned one I have gotten so far.
 

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Haha, so many orgo threads this time of year. :D

Your experience with organic will be what you let it be. What you put in is what you'll get back out, for the most part.
 
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I think people just go in with this mindset that it is a hard class. It's a science class like any other. You study, you do well.

A "C" is never a good thing to have on your transcript. When schools ask you to explain the bad grades you have they don't add in parenthesis except orgo. Also saying, "well I got a C in organic chemistry, but come on, it's organic chemistry" will get your app placed in the rejection pile pretty fast.

It's not even an upper level class. It's a logical and intuitive branch of chemistry. Not hard, just new.
 
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circulus vitios

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It's not even an upper level class. It's a logical and intuitive branch of chemistry. Not hard, just new.

Yes, there's so much logic and intuition when you see hydroboration-oxidation for the first time. This goes doubly for the reactions where there is no mechanism because one doesn't exist. :laugh:
 
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Yes, there's so much logic and intuition when you see hydroboration-oxidation for the first time. This goes doubly for the reactions where there is no mechanism because one doesn't exist. :laugh:

:thumbup:

We could start a long list of organic concepts that aren't intuitive.
 
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It's highly relative. Actually it's very hard for me to describe since going through organic chemistry I've learned all the material and so I can do it very easily now.

When I was going through the material for the first time, there were very easy parts, easy parts, difficult parts, and very difficult parts. I seemed to struggle the most in problems needing you to think in 3 dimensions. I guess if you have an artistic mind then you won't find those problems too difficult. I remember I studied the textbook and went to professor + TA office hours most weeks.

For me organic chemistry was one of my strongest subjects, I actually struggled a lot more in general chemistry II than I did in Ochem.

But it's dependent on your professor. My professor didn't really test theoretical knowledge, the exams were mostly on your mastery of the presented curriculum. I suspect this is how most professors operate, so if you can do most of the textbook problems without looking at the solution manual on your own 100% correct, you should expect a 95-100% on your exams.
 

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Know how to draw the structures corresponding to a given compound name. Know that electropositive structures and electronegative structures react and how the electrons will move in such an interaction. You should do well if you can figure those out :)
 
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Organic chemistry, as my professor called it, is like "mental gymnastics". To me, personally, it was like solving picture/logic puzzles. Being able to manipulate and picture 3D molecules in your head will help a lot. Just study and work hard and it will make sense. And when in doubt, the answer is "nucleophilic attack on the carbonyl carbon".
 
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Yes, for normal people O-Chem is hard, so is medicine.

Can you take it and do well, yes. Can you take it and struggle, yes.

Be prepared and you will do fine, but to answer your question: yes, O-Chem is hard.
 
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Yes, there's so much logic and intuition when you see hydroboration-oxidation for the first time. This goes doubly for the reactions where there is no mechanism because one doesn't exist. :laugh:

I did ace it without much trouble but that was probably because I prayed to the Gabriel synthesis and hawthorne projections right. The majority of orgo is very logical if you can grasp a few basic concepts in the beginning. Every science has certain aspects that aren't.

This science has been around since the 1800's. How do you think they came up with most of it, blind luck?
 

music2doc

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Ochem is probably THE number one most overrated course in college.

It's only "hard" if you try to memorize everything. If you actually learn the concepts, it's actually pretty easy. I'd estimate it would rank in the top 25% of my easiest classes taken in college. If you find it particularly challenging, you're missing something. It's all logic/intuition. The problem for many people, I suspect, is that they don't integrate what they know and, instead, try to isolate every class they take. Ochem relies on gen chem, which relies on physics. If you learn to connect your understanding of the various sciences, they all become quite easy. If you forget the basics, the more specialized courses (e.g., ochem, pchem, achem, ichem, thermo, physio, etc.) will be much tougher.
 
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Ochem is probably THE number one most overrated course in college.

It's only "hard" if you try to memorize everything. If you actually learn the concepts, it's actually pretty easy. I'd estimate it would rank in the top 25% of my easiest classes taken in college. If you find it particularly challenging, you're missing something. It's all logic/intuition. The problem for many people, I suspect, is that they don't integrate what they know and, instead, try to isolate every class they take. Ochem relies on gen chem, which relies on physics. If you learn to connect your understanding of the various sciences, they all become quite easy. If you forget the basics, the more specialized courses (e.g., ochem, pchem, achem, ichem, thermo, physio, etc.) will be much tougher.

agreed
 
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BHaus9

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How are you guys all so comfortable answering this question so matter-of-factly?

It seems to me that any course is as easy or difficult as the professor chooses to make it. As with any other discipline, organic has fundamental principles and unresolved quandaries. If your exams ask you merely to count chiral centers or name compounds, then of course you're going to come away thinking organic chemistry is easy-peasy. If, on the other hand, you're given a list of 10 reagents, then asked to delineate the 3 most likely reactions and estimate relative yield of each, the matter becomes a little more complicated. There are general rules of thumb that prove helpful, but there are a plethora of exceptions as well. If you're not tested on these, I think you'll have a false conception of how potentially difficult the material is.

If you couldn't tell,organic chemistry was (for me) far and away the most difficult and time-intensive course I took as an undergraduate :laugh:. I hated it with a passion - the basics laid out in the text book hardly coincided with what we were expected to do on exams, and a 30% could earn you a B. Quantum mechanics, E&M, PChem... I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat to avoid organic.
 

music2doc

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How are you guys all so comfortable answering this question so matter-of-factly?

It seems to me that any course is as easy or difficult as the professor chooses to make it. As with any other discipline, organic has fundamental principles and unresolved quandaries. If your exams ask you merely to count chiral centers or name compounds, then of course you're going to come away thinking organic chemistry is easy-peasy. If, on the other hand, you're given a list of 10 reagents, then asked to delineate the 3 most likely reactions and estimate relative yield of each, the matter becomes a little more complicated. There are general rules of thumb that prove helpful, but there are a plethora of exceptions as well. If you're not tested on these, I think you'll have a false conception of how potentially difficult the material is.

If you couldn't tell,organic chemistry was (for me) far and away the most difficult and time-intensive course I took as an undergraduate :laugh:. I hated it with a passion - the basics laid out in the text book hardly coincided with what we were expected to do on exams, and a 30% could earn you a B. Quantum mechanics, E&M, PChem... I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat to avoid organic.

Sure, there are variations in course content and such, but my experience has been that ochem seems to be overrated at most schools. My school's ochem lecture (w the professor I could) tended to be similar to your tougher example. Yes, these can be challenging, but they're also kind of interesting and fun. That kind of problem and its inverse (give 3 ways to produce Y from X given limited/unlimited conditions) are a great way to practice and test critical thinking skills.

Like yours, our test averages tended be low. (Our average midterm score was a 58%, which was an F in the course. They don't round. It's criterion-based. If you didn't meet the necessary criteria, you failed. That said, I scored a 96%, so I know it's not impossible. It's the simple fact that many students don't quite understand how to think. It's not logic in the traditional math/science modality. Instead, you must think in a more creative, intuitive way.)
 

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Any class and especially Ochem can be pretty ugly if a particular professor choose to make it so...I thought the Ochem lab was much more challenging than the class.
 
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gettheleadout

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B+ is the good grade, A is the excellent grade. I dont think they will care if you get a C.
O rly?

Your GPA might care, as might adcoms that review your application; LizzyM has stated before that reviewers look particularly to the prereq's and even more specifically organic and physics.
 
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music2doc

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Any class and especially Ochem can be pretty ugly if a particular professor choose to make it so...I thought the Ochem lab was much more challenging than the class.

This is true of any class. If taught poorly or in a manner to be difficult, any course can be "the most difficult class" but ochem seems to get a much worse reputation than it deserves. This may be because it is so frequently the first upper level chem course many people take. As a result, they are simply not used to the rigor involved.
 
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Lots of people get A's and B's in ochem, so if you have a C, you're already behind them in that respect. Being willing to take a C like that and then say "ohhh, it's ochem, it's alright" is not a good attitude for a premed to have. This is especially true since the ochem concepts you don't get the first time around come back to haunt you on the MCAT.

Now, I can't speak for every college, but where I go to school, the chem classes are graded on a bell curve. Because of this, it really doesn't matter how hard the material is. It's hard for everyone, and your job is to not fall behind your classmates. Since just about everyone who takes bio or chem, and even some of the people in engineering have to take ochem, that should be plenty doable.
 
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Lots of people get A's and B's in ochem, so if you have a C, you're already behind them in that respect. Being willing to take a C like that and then say "ohhh, it's ochem, it's alright" is not a good attitude for a premed to have. This is especially true since the ochem concepts you don't get the first time around come back to haunt you on the MCAT.

I think this is actually a pretty good metric to use... if the "organic chemistry" tested on the MCAT is even in the same ballpark as your OChem course in terms of the breadth of knowledge required, it's no suprise that you might come away thinking OChem is not that hard.
 

kunalp89

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Hi everyone, im new to the whole medical system. I have not taken O-chem yet so i was curious on something I recently heard.

I heard that organic chemistry is very difficult. So difficult that if someone got a letter grade of "C", med school would still be ok with it.
If someone got an "A" or "B" grade, that would make them stand out even more. Is this true?
I think people just make a big deal out of it. If you understand it conceptually and memorize, you will be fine.
 

artsciencelove

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Got an A both semesters, thought I was hot ****, but I found a few of the MCAT o-chem questions really put me in my place. I was never able to get above a 12 on BS because of o-chem. I also have a job tutoring general and organic chemistry :(

If you have good 3D visualization ability, a good memory, and you put the work in, you should do well.
 
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How are you guys all so comfortable answering this question so matter-of-factly?

It seems to me that any course is as easy or difficult as the professor chooses to make it. As with any other discipline, organic has fundamental principles and unresolved quandaries. If your exams ask you merely to count chiral centers or name compounds, then of course you're going to come away thinking organic chemistry is easy-peasy. If, on the other hand, you're given a list of 10 reagents, then asked to delineate the 3 most likely reactions and estimate relative yield of each, the matter becomes a little more complicated. There are general rules of thumb that prove helpful, but there are a plethora of exceptions as well. If you're not tested on these, I think you'll have a false conception of how potentially difficult the material is.

If you couldn't tell,organic chemistry was (for me) far and away the most difficult and time-intensive course I took as an undergraduate :laugh:. I hated it with a passion - the basics laid out in the text book hardly coincided with what we were expected to do on exams, and a 30% could earn you a B. Quantum mechanics, E&M, PChem... I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat to avoid organic.

That's the difference between knowing the information and using the information. This is something that, regardless of subject matter, people either can do or not do, and the reason why the MCAT is more about applying knowledge rather than spouting off facts. My orgo exams were the exact same way. There would be some, name these molecules questions, but many more giving you the start and finishing molecule and using what you know to get there or draw what you think the H NMR for the product of this molecule mixed with this reagent would look like.

What pre-meds most likely find difficult about orgo is just this is the first time they are asked to actually do stuff with what they know. Gen chem and bio mainly are learned in high school and you just need to be able to follow a formula to solve a problem or learn what the different animal phyla are.

This is also what separates out those who can't cut it (why so many drop pre med after orgo I) and why an upward trend in your grades is looked at favorably (shows you have gotten better at applying knowledge).
 
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Got an A both semesters, thought I was hot ****, but I found a few of the MCAT o-chem questions really put me in my place. I was never able to get above a 12 on BS because of o-chem. I also have a job tutoring general and organic chemistry :(

If you have good 3D visualization ability, a good memory, and you put the work in, you should do well.


Basically picture a chess board with all the pieces. Now play a game of chess in your mind. If you can do that, (not counting the 4 move checkmate) then you'll be ok.
 
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I think this is actually a pretty good metric to use... if the "organic chemistry" tested on the MCAT is even in the same ballpark as your OChem course in terms of the breadth of knowledge required, it's no suprise that you might come away thinking OChem is not that hard.


I'm not saying that the MCAT questions are as difficult as in-class questions. However, if you want a good score on biosciences, your MCAT ochem needs to be air tight. If you want an A in a college ochem course, you can probably get away with doing 65-75%. I'd say that knowing MCAT ochem perfectly and college ochem at the A level is about equally difficult (for MOST universities at least. I don't know about MIT and Harvard). If you disagree, I really hope you've never missed an ochem question on the MCAT.
 

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Ochem was one of my favorite courses I took, and not at all the "nightmare" people had made it out to be. To be fair, I had a really excellent professor for first semester, who made sure we understood the mechanisms instead of memorizing them. It was like puzzle-solving to me, and I ended up in the top 5 in the class as a non-science major. Meanwhile, I struggled HEAVILY with physics and even some stuff from genchem. I think whether or not Ochem is hard for you strongly depends on your professor (maybe more so than for other courses), and your learning/thinking style.

Like the others said -- don't go in thinking the class will be easy, devote enough time to studying it, and you're fine.
 

BHaus9

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That's the difference between knowing the information and using the information. This is something that, regardless of subject matter, people either can do or not do, and the reason why the MCAT is more about applying knowledge rather than spouting off facts. My orgo exams were the exact same way. There would be some, name these molecules questions, but many more giving you the start and finishing molecule and using what you know to get there or draw what you think the H NMR for the product of this molecule mixed with this reagent would look like.

Frankly, I found the MCAT to be quite a bit easier than organic midterms, so I don't think one's capacity to integrate/apply information is the entire story, since (as you say) the MCAT is about application of knowledge.

I'm not saying that the MCAT questions are as difficult as in-class questions. However, if you want a good score on biosciences, your MCAT ochem needs to be air tight. If you want an A in a college ochem course, you can probably get away with doing 65-75%. I'd say that knowing MCAT ochem perfectly and college ochem at the A level is about equally difficult (for MOST universities at least. I don't know about MIT and Harvard). If you disagree, I really hope you've never missed an ochem question on the MCAT.

The thing about MCAT organic is that it seems to require very little actual knowledge of organic chemistry outside of what might be taught in the first two weeks of your first semester. Even if you fail to master these concepts, there seem to be so few in-depth organic questions on the MCAT that I believe you can get a respectable BS score never having taken organic at all.
 

iqe2010

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My PCP said organic 'kicked his butt'

but he's still a doctor..

so yeah..

you'll be fine.
 

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to answer your initial question directly, no, med schools won't overlook a C in organic. they expect an A just like in everything else, but are okay with a B. as mentioned above, people vary greatly in how difficult they find orgo. good luck!
 
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its hard for dummies! :p i got A's in mine, but did somewhat poor in genetics. To each his own.
 
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As someone just starting to take ochem for the first semester, what is the most important/crucial topic or step that you should make sure you understand?
 
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Ochem is definitely over-hyped. I really don't get whats so hard about it. Its just another class, and I actually found it to be easier than Gen Chem.
 
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