Nov 12, 2010
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Hello,

So this is my first year in pre- vet classes and I did not do so well on my organic chem midterm. Does anyone have any suggestions, I am doing well in all other classes but this one.

Thanks :)
 

skittles12

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How was the class average on the exam? I know that I did terrible (40s) on my exams, but so did the rest of the class. In the end, I came out with a C and it didn't hinder me at all.
I would suggest talking to your professor--maybe go over the problems you missed and make sure you understand why you missed them. Also, be sure to stay on top of the material. I made this mistake, and by the end of the semester, I was faced with an avalanche of reactions and mechanisms to learn. If you have a tutorial center, take advantage of that as well.
 
OP
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Hello,

The class average was 60, I was in the 40's as well. That's what happened to me before the midterm I was busy with other midterms and fell behind with assignments but I plan to catch up this weekend :) Hopefully I can come out strong with the final

Thanks for the advice
 
Feb 11, 2010
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Hello,

The class average was 60, I was in the 40's as well. That's what happened to me before the midterm I was busy with other midterms and fell behind with assignments but I plan to catch up this weekend :) Hopefully I can come out strong with the final

Thanks for the advice
O-Chem sure wasn't any cake walk -- I think just about everyone struggles with it at first. I received a less-than-stellar score on my first O-Chem exam, but I took it as kind of a wakeup call and decided to completely throw myself into studying it, which really worked out. It's been years since I took the class, but I know that a lot of fiddling around with molecular model kits (they really helped me as I'm a big time visual learner) and lots of drawing of reaction mechanisms (I got a little white board and just drew things over and over and over) was what got me one of the top scores in my class.

Don't get discouraged -- you'll do fine as long as you put the work in!
 

chyactnate

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Hello,
The way I did well was I looked at the notes right after class and did the homework and problem sets he gave us right at school (I am a commuter), so if I had a question I could run to him. Also, I made tons of flashcards, writing everything over and using a dry erase board. My professor was awesome and really understanding. But if you are having problems I would recommend meeting with your professor to see what can be improved. Organic can be kind of a shocker at first, but just keep doing problems and I am sure you will get the hang of it. I thought I was going to hate it, but I really enjoyed it and received the top marks in both sections. I am taking advance organic in the spring and currently do research with the professor now, so I can say that it kind of grew on me ahahaha. I know I am a freak :laugh: Good Luck with Organic :)
 
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twelvetigers

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Also, don't be embarrassed to get a tutor or to seek help at the student center or whatever your university offers. It makes a world of difference.
 

roughleggedhawk

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chyactnate, you're not the only one! I enjoyed both organic chem courses I took and did pretty well in them.

sask17, I'll second everything that's already been said and add that doing practice problems really helped me understand the material and flashcards were critical for me to memorize all the reactions I needed to know for synthesis questions.

Hang in there! Organic is hard work, but if you can keep up with it, you should do fine.
 

SocialStigma

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You're not alone, I ended up with a C+ in organic chem and it's been my only mark below a A- in university. The course average was 52%, and the prof refused to bell curve.

In the end I don't think a couple of Cs will hurt you (nobody's perfect!) as long as it's not part of a downward trend. Do the best that you can, go to office hours, get a tutor, do 4302943243 practice problems, etc.
 

that redhead

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My organic experiences were made up of just sticking to the averages - doing my best to get even a little above. What helped me immensely was doing the mechanisms over and over and over and over and over again (ad nauseum) until I was dreaming mechanisms! Seriously, mechanisms are the bulk of OCI and OCII and you need to know them like the back of your hand.

There's nothing wrong with asking for help and doing textbook problems. I made Bs in OCI (the second time) and OCII (first time) with an overall average of around 60. In gen. chem II, my grade is in the high 40s and its considered a high C. So averages really are everything.
 

scb44f

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When I took organic I, I got a C. I had a 74.5% and a 75% was a B. Let me tell you, I was a little pissed, but, looking back, I fully deserved it.

To be honest, my study habits sucked. Although I studied in groups and read and took notes from the book, none of my learning was active because I wasn't retaining much when it was all said and done. However, I also know now that the teaching style of my professor just didn't work for me. He was too scatterbrained.

I was so scared to take organic II that I waited 3 years to take it. I have a professor now whose teaching style is more conducive to the way I learn. I copy my notes every day (or at least once a week if I'm busy) after class. Before tests, I go back through and find every generic reaction we covered and copy them down on a separate sheet, and do the same with reagents, specific reactions he said would be on the test, molecules we named, etc. and I study with a group. I got a 96% on my first test in the class and our next test is on Friday. Let's just say, I really enjoy going to organic II now :)

My advice for you:

Organic Chem I as a Second Language: This book helped me (re)learn the basics about organic I before I stepped into organic II, which was invaluable to me. I feel like I know organic I better now than I ever did when I was actually in the class.

Find someone who teaches in a way you can learn, be that a friend, classmate, tutor, TA, etc. If the professor's style works for you, go to office hours and go over mechanisms you don't understand.

Look back over your notes every day to understand what you covered. Learn why the mechanism is as it is, don't just memorize the reaction.

Go to review sessions, or have your own with friends. You know the material better when you teach someone else a reaction or two.

ETA: We didn't have assigned homework in organic I. If that is the case for you, do problems out of the book to quiz yourself. That would have helped me tremendously...
 

168135

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I'm jelous that you all had profs that scaled :(
 

orgohacks

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Hello,

So this is my first year in pre- vet classes and I did not do so well on my organic chem midterm. Does anyone have any suggestions, I am doing well in all other classes but this one.

Thanks :)
The students I've seen who initially struggled and turned things around did a few important things:

1) made their own summary of notes and tried to make sure there wasn't anything they didn't understand - if they didn't understand, they asked.
2) did problems to solidify their knowledge of the concepts
3) had a study partner or sought out tutoring.
The first two points are really key - writing out your own notes based on your own understanding, and then doing problems. This will make a difference.
I'm a tutor so I'm biased on the third point but I think it helps.
 

that redhead

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Organic Chem I as a Second Language: This book helped me (re)learn the basics about organic I before I stepped into organic II, which was invaluable to me. I feel like I know organic I better now than I ever did when I was actually in the class.
I can't believe I forgot to mention Organic Chem I as a Second Language AND Organic Chem II as a Second Language (they make both). This was the best resource - I didn't use the textbook for either of the classes, just did these problems which helped SO much. Definitely get these!
 

LittleWiz

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Yes, definately get Organic Chem as a Second Language by Klein. Very helpful!
I'm in Organic II right now and it's my most stressful class this semester, so you're certainly not alone.

The class average for the first test was a 49%!! So, technically, my 24% that I received isn't ALL that bad :laugh:

There really isn't much to say that hasn't been said already, but practice, practice, practice those sample problems in the book(s).

Good luck.
 

LoveTheMICES

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I am currently taking O chem 1 at Harvard (mistake #1) and withdrawing from it tomorrow. I would have an exam tomorrow.

I started off my semester working full time (as usual) but minus a lab manager (who was fired in April, why wasnt she replaced by now??? we have 35 ppl in our lab) its been utterly mad. I was also studying for my GRE's, working on Vet school applications, shadowing a vet one day a week, as well as taking a public speaking course (required for some Vet schools). I ended up NOT applying this year to vet school (financially unable) and rescheduled my GRE's. All of this was too late though.. for my poor little o chem grade. Too much failure to recover from at this point.

Maybe I was crazy but I am used to fulltime work, parttime school. I've been doing it since 2007. My apps are not going to be as pretty now, even though I already do have 1 W, but maybe if I can go to a foreign country and save some whales over the summer, Ill still get in. Be careful out there pre-vetters.
 
OP
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I was wondering if anyone has tips on mastering SN1 and SN2 reactions ( including E1 and E2). I am still having difficulty remembering how to distinguish which reaction is which and how it will proceed.


Thanks
 

NStarz

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Please take this post with a grain of salt. I sucked in organic.

That being said...
SN1/SN2 and E1/E2 are different mechanisms. S stands for substitution, while E stands for elimination. SN1 is similar to E1 but they are different mechanisms.

SN1 I remembered as 2 steps--a carbocation is formed first via the leaving of the leaving group and then the nucleophile comes in and attaches to the carbocation. SN2 reactions occur in one step (so the leave group leaves and the nucleophile comes in, with no carbocation formation).

Those are the basics, the way I remember them. There are specifics as to what molecules will form carbocations (and thus are prone to SN1 mechanisms) and which are more likely to undergo SN2 reactions in the abbreviated pathway. You'll probably need to memorize those, at least in the beginning. Once you do a lot of problems, the way the reaction will proceed tends to come via intuition.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong (which I probably am) :)
 

CurrySpice

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I am one of those strange students who liked orgo....
but the most important thing in first semester is to memorize everything when it first appears! If you know the structures, the reactions will make more sense.
I also did almost every practice problem in the book. 2 of my friends and I would have "study dates" and bring a teapot and a variety of teas to our science center, and then we would just go over reaction mechanisms on the whiteboard.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Even though I liked orgo, and understood orgo, I still spent more time on that class than any other. Knowing the material backwards and forwards allowed me to apply it on the exam.

At this point in the semester, you should really talk to your professor. There's a LOT of material to catch up on if you want to ace the final and you'll need to know how to prioritize.
 
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I don't have any advice but I can relate! Do not enjoy OChem at all, in fact I have an exam on it next week which I'm dreading. Hope you find some way of getting through it.
 
OP
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Thanks,

I write my final in a few weeks but I won't start studying till I get my other exams finished. Hope all goes well with you too.
 

Minnerbelle

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I was wondering if anyone has tips on mastering SN1 and SN2 reactions ( including E1 and E2). I am still having difficulty remembering how to distinguish which reaction is which and how it will proceed.


Thanks
Check This out, I swear everything will be sooooo much clearer!

X-Rated O'Chem
 
Nov 28, 2010
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LOL at the X-rated Ochem story. Not sure if that would have actually helped me with the actual studying but it sure is funny.
Organic is arguably one of the hardest prerequisites for vet school. I did poorly too but as long as you recieve a C (which is what most schools require as the minimum for a prerequisite), you should be happy :p Just make sure you get higher grades for all else so it doesn't drag your GPA down!
 

bee83

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Oct 30, 2010
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So, here's a question..I somehow ended up taking biochemistry this semester, and I won't be starting on my organic chemistry until next semester. Even though I have a good chance for a B in biochem, I feel like I'm at a BIT of a disadvantage because I haven't taken the org chem, genetics, or micro that many of the other students have already taken. But, do you think that biochem will help me when I take organic? I really don't know how similar the two are, except that biochem seems to build on some basic organic concepts. Any thoughts?
 

168135

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Organic was a pre-req for our biochem class. Our biochem class was more related to molecular biology, microbiology and anatomy/physiology than organic lol. The only thing we covered that was related organic were related to structure: sterioisomers, diasteriomers, mutarotation, stuff like that.
 

elkk

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I rewrote my notes every night. Literally came home from class, took a little break, then transcribed that days notes into a separate notebook. I'd have to say that was the pivotal point in my orgo career.
 

168135

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Bring this back up again...

I asked the prof if she could find me a tutor. And she's never in her office when she says she is. And the three or four times I've gone for extra help, she rushes me through the problem and sends me on my way. Then I try to do it by myself, get stuck, and she's not there when I return to her office.

Anyway...

I have a take-home exam due Monday.

It's all on NMR and mass spec.

I've read my textbook... read a textbook she loaned me... and started doing google searches... but so far, nothing has helped me tackle these "here is the spectrum, does it match this compound?" questions. I cannot for the life of me figure out how many protons there are in the spectrum!

Just wanted to see if anyone had any good mass spec/NMR websites!

I need to do well in this course to boost my vet app... but she struggles a bit with public speaking and goes WAY TOO FAST. I've been going to my classmates for help on assignments, but I'm usually the oddball and they aren't very willing to help me.

I'm pulling out my hair as a result. I spent 7 hours on our last assignment and didn't complete it (30 questions... and our assignments are only worth a total of 10% of our mark!). I spent a couple of hours on this exam already and don't have a single question finished. I have the in-class midterm on Wednesday, another test on Thursday and an assignment due Tuesday so I can't spend all of my time on this.

ETA: I'm allowed to ask for resources. I'm not allowed to get help with specific questions... so I'm not violating policy.
 
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squirrelsrule

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I haven't done it yet, but someone else in our class said that for a more clear understanding of the NMR to look it up on youtube. I guess there is some guy that goes over it and explains everything really well and she said after watching that she finally got it. I will admit, I have been putting off the NMR stuff because I really don't get it. I mean I get that it maps the different hydrogens and that but the theory and what you actually get seem very different to me. We skipped the main NMR chapters to do aromatic chemistry, but coming Monday we are going into great detail about the NMR and infrared. I'd check out youtube though, it might help.
 

168135

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Is the guy named freelanceteach or something like that? If it is, he's AMAZING. He helped me through organic I.

I totally understand NMR! It's just that in class, the questions told us how many protons are in each peak. One of my spectrums on my test (an actual NMR spectrum) tells us that there is 1.5 protons in this peak, 2.7 in this peak, and one peak isn't labled at all. Buh? The compound I have to compare it to has 20-something protons, but I can never get that number when I add that total together or multiply certain ones or round them up. So... does it mean my compound doesn't match my spectrum? Or am I doing something wrong?

All I want someone to look at that thing and determine how many protons are in my total stucture and I have no idea how to do that.

IR is EASY. Just match the peak to the table. Voila.

I did find a good basic site for NMR last night: http://www.chem.ucalgary.ca/courses/351/Carey/Ch13/ch13-nmr-1.html
 
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LetItSnow

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Hello,

So this is my first year in pre- vet classes and I did not do so well on my organic chem midterm. Does anyone have any suggestions, I am doing well in all other classes but this one.

Thanks :)
I suppose it depends on what part you find tough. I found the naming and whatnot to be easy, but remembering all the reactions to require more effort. My solution was large notecards with one reaction per notecard along with all the assorted information you might want. I carried them everywhere in my pocket, and whenever I had 5-30 minutes I'd pull them out and keep memorizing and following electrons around..... :)
 

libster06

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I don't have a ton of advice, but I can offer consolation! I just don;t get Organic.... and it really angered me when people acted like it wasn't "that hard".... uhmmm yes, it is that hard for some people. I literally could not make myself study (I would go workout to put it off!). In OChem I, I made a B, but that was because our teacher was a huge fail and everyone's test grades were curved about 30 points, giving me and A on a test. I got C's on the other tests, so it was an okay average. The second half of organic left me completely motivation-less.... my OChem II test averages: 32, 48, 50-something..... unfortunately in my case, I was alone in my terrible test grades, because everyone else seemed to do decent... but I made out with a C, somehow.... and now I am in my first-year-second-semester of vet school, so it's really not the end of the world.

The best advice I can give is to get help from someone who knows what they're doing. If you're like me, just sitting down with your notes and "teaching" yourself is not enough. It will just confuse me and I am liable to end up learning something wrong. So, if possible, get a tutor. Secondly, practice the problems over and over. I didn't do that, and it probably would have been the key to succeeding in that class. I just had absolutely no motivation to study or memorize any of that.... good luck!
 

spicykimchi

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Perhaps give the book Organic Chemistry I for Dummies a try? I've heard raving reviews about it. Such as this one:

"An excellent book

I saved myself many hours by reading this book. This book cuts through all of the countless details that fill up my million-page organic chemistry book and gets right down to the stuff that you really need to know for a test. I learned more from this book than my $100 textbook. The writing is even very funny at times, but the humor never comes at the expense of providing information.

Thankfully, this book is very easy-to-read. The writer addresses the reader directly, and the language is both simple and clear. Our class had already covered a lot of the material before I bought this book, so reading through the whole thing took me only about a week. Still, after reading through this book, all the concepts that confused me initially really started to make sense. The concepts and the connections between the different reactions and ideas clicked. In any case, the problem-solving guides, particularly on nomenclature, resonance, and spectroscopy are worth the cost of this book alone. Once I had worked enough problems using them, I found myself miles ahead of the other students in class.

I think if you read the chapters in this book before going to your class, work a lot of problems in your textbook, you will do well. "


More: http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Chemistry-Dummies-Arthur-Winter/product-reviews/0764569023/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
 
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libster06

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I just didn't understand the concepts. Its very detailed, and I was always forgetting the rules and exceptions. It's been about 2 years since I took it, so I don't remember a whole lot of it, but for me, I just simply didn't understand the material. I had exceptional trouble with radicals. Organic chem I was do-able, because it was only half of the information I needed... then OC II came along and added another 4 months of info, and I just couldn't keep up.
 
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Check This out, I swear everything will be sooooo much clearer!

X-Rated O'Chem
Haha. Where was this when I was taking orgo? :laugh:

I will confess that I could not for the life of me recall the difference between SN1 and SN2 until the inevitable "back-side attack!" jokes began. It's now probably the only part I'll never forget.

I'm pretty certain I'll never grasp the whole E1/E2 thing. Elimination reactions were my least favorite part of Organic I.

So, here's a question..I somehow ended up taking biochemistry this semester, and I won't be starting on my organic chemistry until next semester. Even though I have a good chance for a B in biochem, I feel like I'm at a BIT of a disadvantage because I haven't taken the org chem, genetics, or micro that many of the other students have already taken. But, do you think that biochem will help me when I take organic? I really don't know how similar the two are, except that biochem seems to build on some basic organic concepts. Any thoughts?
I'm not sure if it was the way it was presented or what, but I found Biochem to be pretty much a carbon copy of Cell & Molec with periodic unfortunate forays into the realm of chemistry. Some professors push the chem angle more... my class was more bio-centric.

I don't think that Biochem would really have helped me much with Organic, but it would have given me a definite boost in Cell & Molec (in much the same way Cell & Molec helped me master Biochem).
 
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I don't have a ton of advice, but I can offer consolation! I just don;t get Organic.... and it really angered me when people acted like it wasn't "that hard".... uhmmm yes, it is that hard for some people.
Consolation over here, too. My father has a PhD in Organic, most of our family friends had chemistry doctorates, and my brother and three of my cousins all considered majoring in chem at one point. (One might have. I'm not sure... I know he teaches it at the high school level now.)

Somehow, the chemistry gene managed to elude me.

I'm surrounded by people who can't seem to grasp that not only do I find it "that hard", I also fail to find it entertaining. I was pretty good about keeping up with I, but by the end of II, forcing myself to study (or even drag myself to class) was a major struggle. And I'm pretty sure I couldn't have understood acetal formation any less if it had been presented in Chinese. ;)

Wasn't my least favorite class, but it was a strong contender.
 

168135

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I don't have a ton of advice, but I can offer consolation! I just don;t get Organic.... and it really angered me when people acted like it wasn't "that hard".... uhmmm yes, it is that hard for some people. I literally could not make myself study (I would go workout to put it off!). In OChem I, I made a B, but that was because our teacher was a huge fail and everyone's test grades were curved about 30 points, giving me and A on a test. I got C's on the other tests, so it was an okay average. The second half of organic left me completely motivation-less.... my OChem II test averages: 32, 48, 50-something..... unfortunately in my case, I was alone in my terrible test grades, because everyone else seemed to do decent... but I made out with a C, somehow.... and now I am in my first-year-second-semester of vet school, so it's really not the end of the world.
Lucky!!!

I think I've mentioned before that our university doesn't scale at all. I had a 57 in organic I (which was around the class average) and 71 when I retook it (85 in the lab, 80 on my final, but bombed the midterm with a 60). Unfortunately, I have to do super well. I can't rely on scaling because it doesn't happen.

Luckily, this prof gives us lots of opportunities for bonus points. I got a 5/10 on the first assignment. I was allowed to re-do the questions that I got wrong and she gave me half-value for the ones I got correct. Ended up with a 7/10... but it's super time consuming to re-do assignments.
 

kaydubs

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Yeah.....not a fan of OChem in the slightest. Loved inorganic ("I'm not crazy - my mother had me tested" -Sheldon Cooper anyone??) but I had it so often that it's almost mechanical now (tutored for 3 years on top of 2 years of high school & 1 sem. of undergrad leaving me with 5.5 years of inogranic never changing...)

1st semester: good teacher sorta who helped you with questions etc.
2nd sem: same teacher who turned crazy. didn't help anyone at all & tranferred to Berkeley so...

I ended up with an A- 1st half, B- 2nd half (labs were similar, A & B - easy GA vs. crazy OCD GA....). And I worked my butt off for both. After 1 sem of biochem, organic was what it was for me still- HELL(-pful sorta).:laugh: