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Let's tackle that Organic Chemistry..

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by Insomniac12, May 1, 2007.

  1. Insomniac12

    Insomniac12 2+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    for people that have taken it, share tips/etc. about how to make that A in it, to people who have not taken it yet.

    Lets do it!. Yuh! I feel pumped!.
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  3. acetyl

    acetyl 5+ Year Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    Study a lot, until you think you know it, then sit down with a blank piece of paper and draw out reactions proving that you know it. Mechanisms just take practice.
  4. Aex005

    Aex005 2+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    I found that the best way to get through organic chem at my school was to study previous years exams and basically understand the concepts and not just memorize. Take your time on your exams so that you do not make any mistakes, its all those little -1 pts and -2 pts that add up and will be the difference between an A and a B.
  5. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    I offer three pearls.

    1) Have an IQ over 130. If not, plan on spending days studying.

    2) Once you get around to it, free radical reactions, grignard reaction, and the diels-alder equations are your friends because they let you do crazy stuff to chemicals. With the classic "any non organic reagent and methane" cabinet of toys, I found I can make my way to just about any chemical using those three.

    3) Most of it is useless. Medicinal Chemistry is more about pH/pKa than reactions or synthesis. The only reaction you need to know well is hydrolysis.
  6. noodles221

    noodles221 2+ Year Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Don't wait till the last minute to takes time to learn all those reactions! Practice all the reactions as much as possible
  7. triplerox

    triplerox Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    im taking it over the summer. its an accelerated course at my school where we'll cover 3 quarters in 9 weeks. any advice?
  8. suppaman808

    suppaman808 2+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Start memorizing the small reactions about 9 hours before the test. Keep in mind it's hard to concentrate during the full 9 hours so devote about 5 of them to watching the Chapelle show. Once you have them memorized, you're gold. Just think of it like a puzzle and synthesize whatever it is they want you to make.

    That's what got me an A in ochem2.
  9. bromine

    bromine 2+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 2006
    I got an A, and the most important thing is to RELAX and not freak out. Keep reminding yourself that it's not that hard. Take good notes so you don't have to rely on the textbook (I barely opened my book except to do problems). Do problems EVERY DAY to even out the workload and keep the material fresh in your mind.

    Before I started the class, everyone I knew kept telling me it was an impossible class and no one gets an A. I wanted to prove them all wrong, so I took it one step at a time and ended up with an A. It wasn't even that bad. You can do it too!
  10. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    My O-chem teacher actually never did give anyone an A. It's not just a crazy myth at WVUP. I got a 63/70 on the ACS O-chem test, I'm beating the scores of kids at f'n Ivy League schools, the next highest score is a 40-something, and she gives me a B.

    That's why anyone who bags on community college courses instantly pisses me off.
  11. nerv12345

    nerv12345 ... Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    Southern California
    practice practice practice. the only way you're going to conquer ochem is by being very familiar

    also i suggest you pay attention and recognize all the small details in the class. it may seem unnecessary but it will help the fartehr you go along in the course

    ochem is a very technical least to me
  12. KEC5071

    KEC5071 2+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    WVUPharm2007---I am in the same boat that you are in. My whole noncurved grade is based on 3 (100 point) exams and the 100 point final. I am about to take the ACS final---any tips?
  13. Lurkerkat

    Lurkerkat Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    Do every single assignment the professor hands out even if they don't grade it. Do the problems in the book they don't assign. If you want to ask the professor for extra practice problems. Practice, practice, practice!

    Also either buy the molecule models or at least buy some gummy candies and toothpicks. I really wish I would have used some sort of aide to help me understand enantiomers.
  14. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Know that damned SN1/SN2 **** like the back of your hand. I missed, like, 4 of those. Other than that, it's just knowing your reactions. Of course, keep in mind I took mine back in 2003 when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. No idea if it's changed since then.
  15. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Yeah, that's important in pharmacy school, too. It allows you to understand why Nexium and Xopenex are a damned ripoff.
  16. OUgotin2PharmD


    Apr 17, 2007
    I believe a key component in tackling Organic Chem. is to know
    the general reaction path for each group of compounds. It's very easy
    to get "trapped" into a narrow view of the principles of Organic Chem.
    While it's important to know about radicals, and conjugation, orbitals,
    etc., it's more important to know how to "synthesize" a ketone, a secondary
    alcohol, - the products of a certain "typ" of reaction. This methodolgy will
    help you focus on the big picture. Most Organic Chem. texts have an end
    of chapter review "map" that outlines the reaction steps for the respective
    unit covered. Print this out BEFORE you go to lecture for that unit. Reaction
    mechanisms, and sequences will make a lot more sense if you condition
    yourself to "predict" the expected product.
  17. guestxyz

    guestxyz But my lips hurt real bad 5+ Year Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    St. Petersburg, FL
    I studied a lot, plus I also would read every section of the classroom textbook and then go re-read about the same information in the Organic Chemistry I for Dummies book. This helped to reinforce the material presented in the textbook with simpler explanations. Strange, but true...

    I got A's in both Organic Chemistry I and II. Again, read the textbook, do all the problems within the chapter at the end of each section, as well as at the end of the chapter. Purchase the solutions manual to make sure you are doing all the problems correctly!

    Also, if you are allowed to, record the lectures and re-listen to them and revise your notes to include anything you missed! I used a digital voice recorder, but there were three people in my class who actually videotaped the lectures using cameras attached to their laptops.

    Also, make flashcards of your nomenclature rules, reactions, and mechanisms using index cards. These will also come in handy should you have a cumulative final at the end of the semester.

    Good luck!
  18. anh80

    anh80 Going through PharmD 10+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2006
    dont memorize. i suck at memorizing, but i still made it out w/ an A. What worked for me was to understand the mechanisms. Use ur common sense. where would such and such molecule (reactant) attack such and such substrate.
  19. crystalpink

    crystalpink Bunny lover 5+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    Pay attention to the lecture really well.
    Read the textbook at least once.
    Don't try to work for more than 20 hours per week while you're taking more than 12 units in one semester/quarter.
    Try to have fun with the mechanisms and multi-step synthesis. Pure memorization will cramp your brain. Trust me. ^__^
    For O Chem part 2, when you have an exam, study at least one day ahead. Don't procrastinate.

    That's all my counsel for you =D
  20. Idesiretosling

    Idesiretosling 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2006
    Practice drawing structures all the time. To truely understand reactions understand how to do them forwards and backwards! I thought the model kit was useless unless my S/R got messed up then the model could be handy.
  21. MR. C

    MR. C 2+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    buy a dry erase board!
  22. pmp85

    pmp85 5+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2007
    Dirty Jersey
    Tip of the century: If your pencil isn't moving, you're not studying.
  23. StringTheorist

    StringTheorist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    ive taken orgo I and II, and all i can say is practice practice practice. do homework until you cant take it. then you'll own everyone when you take the tests. good luck! (i loved orgo:love:)
  24. acetyl

    acetyl 5+ Year Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    Those S isomers are harder to isolate. Man hours of lab work= a way to get more of everyones benjamins. Stereochemistry is pretty cool, I remember in the Jones book him talking about how the one thalidomide isomer caused birth defects, but the other one didn't.
  25. RZArectah

    RZArectah 2+ Year Member

    Mar 24, 2007

    i took organic at a community college. my instructor is known throughout alabama as a really good chem professor. he has been teaching at the same community college for 31 years. he just doesnt want to teach anywhere else. he was tough, just as tough as organic professors at Mercer University. i know b/c i have compared exams and labs.

    There are easy organic professors at 4 yr schools, and difficult ones at 2 yr schools too.

    Face it WVUPharm2007, you should quit making excuses and come to the realization several people who took organic at a 2 yr institution may just be smarter than you.
  26. aer12

    aer12 New Member 2+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2006
    I think that using a white dry erase board to re-write reactions over and over and over again helps a lot!
  27. Farmercyst

    Farmercyst On with the Poodles already Pharmacist Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Along these lines, I have a pair of bed trays (those trays with fold out legs for breakfast in bed) that have a surface that looks just like a dry erase board. I decided to use dry erase marker on them and would you believe they work just fine. Comes off with paper towel. It was way cool when I was tutoring physics, good for my OChem too.
  28. TheHillCrew

    TheHillCrew 2+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2007
    Just pray that you get a teacher that isnt horrible and try to get your hands on tests from previous semesters.... A teacher can make Organic Chem as hard as they want it. I got an A in ORgo 2 but I feel like if I took it again with a teacher with a bad reputation I would probably not pass.
  29. pharmk011

    pharmk011 5+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    like a few other people have said, stay on top of the material. sure, you can cram a few days before and probably get a decent grade.. but if you do problems right after lecture to reinforce the material, you'll have a much easier time. write out the reactions on note cards or lists on paper and study those.. then practice mechanisms a LOT!! it's not an impossible class.. it just requires you to know a lot... if you don't wait til the last minute, it's not too bad. definitely do problems in the text even if they aren't assigned and buy a solutions manual!

    and, as a lot of people have said, the class depends a LOT on the professor. for o chem 1 i had 2 professors and they didn't try to trick you. they'd give you last year's exams and the exams would look a lot like them (different problems of course but same set up) you knew what to expect. this semester in o chem 2, the professor is completely unpredictable and our last exam's average was around a 50%. no one really knew were he got his questions from.
  30. timbutt2

    timbutt2 5+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    office hours...

    Know your professor and how he tests-ask your professor what you should focus on.
  31. love2hate


    Oct 9, 2006
    Flash-cards always helped me :D
  32. cycloketocaine

    cycloketocaine 7+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2006
    The Boonies
    Stoooopid mirror images!!!!!!!!!!!:mad:
  33. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Something tells me reading isn't your strong point.

    I went to a community college for pre-pharm, too, there, genius. Nobody in the class got As and my ACS exam score was over the 90th percentile. If anything, you should be agreeing with my sentiment.
  34. Idesiretosling

    Idesiretosling 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2006
    You need to settle down and learn to read.....obviously YOU are NOT one of those community college students that is smarter than anyone...haha I do not think your reading skills speak well for community college education, you set your cause back buddy.
  35. KatieBaby848

    KatieBaby848 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    For me, I found that it was helpful to make notecards for each reaction. This worked for me because each test builds on the previous material so not only do you need to know the new reactions from that section, but you also still need to know the ones from the previous material. This is a class that takes a lot of work and time. Don't wait until the last minute to study and don't try to just memorize the reactions-try to actually learn them. It will make things a lot easier in the long run. Good luck!
  36. lily83

    lily83 2+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    I just got done with ochem recently and successfully got the grade that i wanted. My advice: just memorize all the mechanisms that are covered in class. Sure it would be nice to actually sit down and try to understand the mechanisms (and would probably help you remember what you've learned better) but not when you're taking it for a's just too time-consuming. I'm the type of student who hates learning through memorization and prefers to understand what I'm learning but honestly that's not how you survive ochem. My test score started improving once I stopped trying to understand and just memorize. After you've learned the mechanisms, make sure you practice, practice, practice! Good luck, i know it's a hard class but you'll get thru it!
  37. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    The scary thing is that pharmacology in pharmacy school is about 3 times as hard as organic chemistry. :eek:

    I'm so glad I don't have to take another class ever again.....
  38. comet81

    comet81 Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2006
    Well, I got a B on both organic I and II but I tried everything (memorizing/drawing reactions, nomenclature, attending lecture regularily, attending study groups, and etc)except this one. I did not go over enough problems on each chapter. But, I realized that this is very important step. Go over and understand all the problems in your textbook!!
  39. abr

    abr 2+ Year Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    I am taking Honors Organic Chemistry next semester...
    I am hoping it will go well. I have only heard negative things about O-chem, but I am hoping for the best.
    Maybe some of these suggestions will come in handy!
    I love general/inorganic chemistry,:biglove: it is actually one of my favorite subjects and it comes very naturally for me, so I hope O-chem comes as easily... I am kind-of worried.
  40. fsupharmguy

    fsupharmguy Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2006
    Gainesville, FL
  41. RZArectah

    RZArectah 2+ Year Member

    Mar 24, 2007

    do u mean "bag" as in people insulting 2 yr schools. i thought you meant "bag" as in someone who is "bagging" their courses at a community college. im sorry i do not know your weird slang. please tell your boyfriend :love: Idesiretosling to quit taking up for you. :laugh:
  42. MichaelJames

    MichaelJames Pharmacy 4 Life 2+ Year Member

    May 10, 2007
    I remember Organic Chemistry. I was lucky enough to have an excellent instructor.:p I got a "B' in Organic Chem I and an "A" in Organic Chem II. He gave me a recommendation too! :D Most doctors and pharmacists will tell you that Organic Chemistry was the hardest class they ever had to take. :mad:

    My advice:

    1) First-Brace yourself! Be prepared to study more for this class than any other class you have taken before. :scared: Make sure that you have time for it.

    2) At the end of the chapter, be able to work the practice problems. Use the study guide too. The book may come with a CD-ROM disk and the publisher may have a website you can use.

    3) As crazy as it sounds, buy a molecule model set and start trying to look at things three dimensionally may help.

    4) Practice naming molecules and learn the IUPAC rules.:eek:

    5) Learn your functional groups:D

    6) Learn the reactions-thats mostly what its all about:laugh:
  43. Krisss17

    Krisss17 2+ Year Member

    I totally agree! The professor who teaches Ochem at my CC has his PhD in Organic Chemistry, but chose to teach in a CC versus a university.

    There good and bad instructors in both venues...don't generalize by saying one is better over the other, unless you know for certain.
  44. greatdeals225

    greatdeals225 5+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2006
    Worcester, MA
    I think it all depends how you memorize better. Is written text better for you or are you more of a visual person?

    My professor had an excel worksheet that has a few columns for reagent , product, solvent used, special conditions (heat), the name of the reaction as well as any exceptions. So while he was lecturing, for every new reaction, we were filling 1 line of the table, so that was like a summary.. and we studied pretty much that, with examples he gave us during the lecture. I found that studying with a partner was good too. We would just compare our chart and homework, explaining or asking for explanations... sometimes ur friend explains it better than ur professor. I got an A- and I took it during an 8-week summer session.

    Good Luck!
  45. ButlerPharm.D.

    ButlerPharm.D. Honor Before Glory 5+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Greatdeals, that sounds like a really well thought out way to organize all the the reactions. I wish I had thought of something like that when I was taking organic!!
  46. pharmacyanalyst

    pharmacyanalyst 2+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2007
    L-ville, Ky
    I think it all depends on picking the right prof. 1st semester I struggled to get a C but 2nd semester I breezed on thru with an A.

    My advice- don't sweat it. O Chem is not so bad- now P Chem... YIKES!
  47. Circuspeanut

    Circuspeanut College Slave 7+ Year Member

    Mar 20, 2007
    Ok, you've got me biting my nails. :scared: I made a good grade in Ochem, but I studied my butt off all semester, dry erase boards, flash cards, practice problems, the whole shebang. I still have nightmares about it. Just how bad is pharmacology? What does it entail exactly?
  48. ButlerPharm.D.

    ButlerPharm.D. Honor Before Glory 5+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    Pharmacology isn't that bad. I hated Organic but I love Pharmacology and Med Chem. Organic and Med Chem/Pharmacology are very different courses. Pharmacology and Med Chem focus on the chemical structure and function of classes of medications where as Organic might have focused on how to synthesize certain "drugs" or chemicals. For Med Chem/Pharmacology you'll need to remember your organic functional groups and pKas; everything else you will be taught. It's a great class and you really learn a lot; I really enjoy it!
  49. Circuspeanut

    Circuspeanut College Slave 7+ Year Member

    Mar 20, 2007
    Thanks, panic attack averted. I can handle that.
  50. Insomniac12

    Insomniac12 2+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2006
    the purpose of this thread is being served :D

    people helping people out to beat the system!..woooo

    thanks to all in here, don't let this thread die!
  51. emotive43


    May 16, 2007
    I wish I'd have had some helpful hints like this a year ago. I just finished Organic 2. I got a C in Organic 1 (my first C in a class ever), but earned an A in Organic 2. What helped me the most was memorizing the reactions. Be sure to know which reagents are used for which reactions. I remember on my Organic 1 final our professor gave us somewhat of a study guide with a list of reactions and it showed the starting materials and reagents and we had to fill in the products. I spent hours finding all the products and memorizing them. Then the exam comes and he gives the starting materials and products, but asks for the reagents. I was VERY mad.

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