Premedalltheway

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ive been studying day in and day out for this class(most of my time is invested in this class) and I'm still struggling with synthesis problems... :scared:

Any others felt the same way?
 

cheapdate

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Premedalltheway said:
ive been studying day in and day out for this class(most of my time is invested in this class) and I'm still struggling with synthesis problems... :scared:

Any others felt the same way?

do retro-synsthesis
 

AStudent

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You can't cram for orgo, don't try.

Orgo is like building up a resistance to poison. You had to take it a little at a time, every day, until you can stand it. If you try to take it all at once...you're going to kill yourself.

Try writing down the synthensis problems on a notecard (A-> ? ->B, with '?' on the back) and taking the last 20 minutes before bed reviewing them as you learn them in class. They won't go away, even in orgo 2, or on the MCAT. You MUST learn them by rote memory.

Good luck.


PS- I HATE using notecards, orgo was the only class I ever used them in. Also, a "dry erase" board and some markers will be a wise investment....trust me.
 

Ambs

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Synthesis problems can be awful, but you should keep up the practice. Practice makes perfect in organic chemistry. I promise! Don't fear synthesis-- be confident and stay on track. Do extra problems from your text, go into your professor's office hours and have them maybe give you extra problems to work on. Don't memorize -- look for general trends, really see and investigate how and why things work a certain way. Try classifying certain reactions within related groups. Make flashcards. Don't let your mind think it's impossible! Also, don't panic during an o-chem exam -- sometimes that gets the best of you.
 
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Premedalltheway

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I don't cram for thiis class and I never intend to...the material just doesn't click with me... :confused:
 

Ambs

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AStudent said:
PS- I HATE using notecards, orgo was the only class I ever used them in. Also, a "dry erase" board and some markers will be a wise investment....trust me.
I agree - a dry erase board is a very wise investment.
 

AStudent

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You can't MEMORIZE every synthensis, only memorize the steps. You can do this 20 minutes at a time right before bed.

There are 100 different ways to get from A to B......

Premedalltheway said:
I don't cram for thiis class and I never intend to...the material just doesn't click with me... :confused:
 

Without Wax

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AStudent said:
You can't cram for orgo, don't try.
PS- I HATE using notecards, orgo was the only class I ever used them in. Also, a "dry erase" board and some markers will be a wise investment....trust me.
I believe everyone learns differently. I crammed for orgo without any problem. It was much easier to cram actually because it was nothing but memorizing and regurgitating.
 

AStudent

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Cramming only stores it in short term memory for a few hours. If you want to LEARN it and KNOW it forever, you need to take it 1 grain at a time, so that when the MCAT rolls around you're prepared.

Without Wax said:
I believe everyone learns differently. I crammed for orgo without any problem. It was much easier to cram actually because it was nothing but memorizing and regurgitating.
 
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Premedalltheway

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my goal is to ace the other parts of the test and bomb the synthesis problems miserably...
 

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Premedalltheway said:
my goal is to ace the other parts of the test and bomb the synthesis problems miserably...
All you have to do is do every problem in the textbook. If you understand polarity, which leads to nucleophilicity and electrophilicity, then you understand all of organic chemistry. Memorizing the additional quirky reactions is the difference between a 3.5 and a 4.0 in the class (like, say, the haloform reaction).
 

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Compared to what you will have to study later (ie. your major courses), organic chem is going to look like cake. I don't mean to scare you, but that's just the way it is - you deal with complex things as time goes on.

With that said though, you definitely can ace orgo, and I'm sure it won't take all of your time. You can either take really good lecture notes or read/take notes from the book. I ended up doing the latter for the first semester, but stopped afterwards because it was indeed very time-consuming. You may want to use the book as a reference because it will give you more insight onto things your professor may have skipped out on.

By far the one of the most beneficial things to do is to understand the concept of electron pushing (for mechanisms); if a potential atom will be overloaded with too many bonds, it will have to move over to another acceptor. For synthesis, you absolutely need to memorize the GENERAL reactions. Your book will probably do a good job of going over all of the general trends from one reaction type to the next. You don't need to make flashcards, but you do need to review these reactions many many times. What I used to do was just get out a sheet of paper after I'm done going over the lectures or when I was sitting on break in the libary and write out all of the reactions I had memorized (+ reagents, etc.). When you have to take your exam, you will see many of the starting components they give you will be of a certain functional group and of a certain structure type, and based on that, it will resemble one of the general reactions you know - from that, you can construct a product. The reverse is also true with retrosynthesis.

Above all else, however, is that you must practice. I'm sure your orgo book has a bunch of problems in the back of each chapter - go over them, look at the solutions, understand them (do it as you go through the answers to reaffirm you know it), and before the exam, obviously do the problems again.

You'll do fine. I personally liked organic better than general chem.
 
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Premedalltheway

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to tell you the truth..all my classes weren't too bad....i spend at least 3x more studying for this class and at times..I just want to quit the class..But I can't let one class stop be from becoming a doctor..or can I?
 

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AStudent said:
You can't cram for orgo, don't try.

Orgo is like building up a resistance to poison. You had to take it a little at a time, every day, until you can stand it. If you try to take it all at once...you're going to kill yourself.

Try writing down the synthensis problems on a notecard (A-> ? ->B, with '?' on the back) and taking the last 20 minutes before bed reviewing them as you learn them in class. They won't go away, even in orgo 2, or on the MCAT. You MUST learn them by rote memory.

Good luck.


PS- I HATE using notecards, orgo was the only class I ever used them in. Also, a "dry erase" board and some markers will be a wise investment....trust me.
Yeah, it seems as if you're putting in the necessary time that's required for Orgo...perhaps more? Well, it's time to get strategic. We all want good grades for our application. Make sure u understand ur prof. as much as u can. Know if he's a text-book or notes guy. Know if he likes to bring 1 out of the 30 or so... probs. that he assigns for practice. Know if he's a hemiacetal or a Hoffman guy. I think most of us will agree that you'll be able to handle any Q better in an exam if you paid more attention to the material involved in it during exam prep. You'll prepare for the whole exam but w/ emphasis on what u think excites him!

Do all it takes to study ur material in a way that will stick best. Do what "A student" said; go to the library with 2-3 of these cards even on days when u plan to study something else and start by seeing if u can recall what's on the back of those cards. If not, take 5mins and look @ it and try when ur done studying. Write out the rxns and mechanisms on blank sheets of papers and post them on ur wall just around ur study table. That way, u become used to it like any other things around. Orgo is difficult sometimes b/c it's strange as compared to Bio wh/ we experience and hear about it daily.

It's very important to be able to put pieces of informations together. One way that can really help u remember pathways is to know the p'ducts INCLUDING by-products for a set of r'ctants. Figure out how u can, legally, leave from r'tant to p'duct Figure out what kind of by p'duct is involved and how u can get that off the main product during the pathway.

Hope this kinda helps.
 

RaaMD

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Just keep pushing yourself to study. It'll click in eventually. Good luck!
 

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whats there that needs to click? think of it as a puzzle, thats ihow i learn them. flash card and just memorize. then practice with a starting molecule and see what kind of whack things you can do with that molecule using synthesis. its not bad, just time consuming
 

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UCDavisdude said:
whats there that needs to click? think of it as a puzzle, thats ihow i learn them. flash card and just memorize. then practice with a starting molecule and see what kind of whack things you can do with that molecule using synthesis. its not bad, just time consuming
What needs to click is getting the reactions down.
 

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try to make it interesting. I practiced by doing the synthesis of amphetamines and methamphetmamines. These structures were in our book. TNT is another good one. If you get stuck on a step, look it up. It made things way more easier and it made time fly by knowing that my end product would be "usable", in theory.

Different strokes for different folks. Get old exams, from the prof or other students and go to all exam review session (many exam questions came directly from there!)

Good luck.
 

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Premedalltheway said:
to tell you the truth..all my classes weren't too bad....i spend at least 3x more studying for this class and at times..I just want to quit the class..But I can't let one class stop be from becoming a doctor..or can I?
To step back a sec and look at the whole forest rather than an individual tree, so-to-speak. Medical school is going to be roughly 3.8x harder (yes, I did just make up this number) than o-chem. If you aren't diggin' o-chem, which along with biochem is the foundation for most 1-2 years of medical school, you are going to have a miserable time in your future years of schooling. It's analogous to someone who wants to become a computer scientist (Ph.D.) but is having a totally rotten time with a computer foundations class. It's one of those situations that require 'soul-searching' to see if this is something you truly want to do. O-chem by all means should be a challenge, however it should make some bit of sense and it should end up being a love-hate relationship when it's done.

Just some of my thoughts that might help you with the bigger picture here..
Good luck w/ whatever you choose...
 

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Premedalltheway said:
ive been studying day in and day out for this class(most of my time is invested in this class) and I'm still struggling with synthesis problems... :scared:

Any others felt the same way?
I used to.

Don't worry, it'll be over soon. You just have to learn to calm down when taking an o-chem exam, and think to yourself, "this is going to be curved."
 

QofQuimica

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Premedalltheway said:
ive been studying day in and day out for this class(most of my time is invested in this class) and I'm still struggling with synthesis problems... :scared:

Any others felt the same way?
Here is a message I posted for another thread; you can read the entire thread here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=164965

**************

I am an organic TA and tutor, and my advice to students is to approach studying organic like you'd approach studying a foreign language. Some students mistakenly believe that they can memorize their way through the course. But this is impossible, because there are an infinite number of possible reactions out there. You do have to learn the vocabulary and "grammar" (mechanisms) of organic chem, which requires some memorization. But the real test of fluency in these types of subjects is whether you can now take what you've learned and apply it to new reactions (or make up new sentences) that you've never seen before.

That kind of ability can only be achieved by working a lot of problems, just as learning to speak another language can only be done if you spend a lot of time practicing speaking it. Ideally, you should spend an hour every day studying organic if possible. Forgo re-reading the chapters in favor of working every problem in your book (yes, all of them, even the challenge ones) and really try to work them out yourself before reading your solutions guide. Ask your TA for help as needed, attend all of the problem sessions and classes, and go to your professor's office hours every week. Students that put in this kind of effort invariably do well come finals time. Plus you have the added bonus that the prof will actually know your name and can write you a letter when you go to apply for med school.
 

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Just a quick question...

I did fairly well in ap chemistry, but i'm only taking physics the second semester of my freshman year. Would I be better off taking general chem again, or going straight to organic chem? I got a 4 on the ap exam (and could have done better with more study). I'd like to just take organic chem next semester, because I hear that general chem sucks at UNO and organic isn't too bad, and a lot of the stuff in general chem isn't terribly important for organic.
 

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Shaz said:
I used to.

Don't worry, it'll be over soon. You just have to learn to calm down when taking an o-chem exam, and think to yourself, "this is going to be curved."
You know, I hear this a LOT on SDN... I have never had a class that was curved. Ever. Not calculus, not bio classes, not chem classes. Not one. And I know in two of my classes no one got an A, but several people failed. So I wouldn't count on a test/class being curved.
 

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opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one.

It is clear that everybody has different method of learning, and you can not force or preach that to somebody else.

My advice: you have to develop your own techinique. But to do that, you need to invest time and effort into it. Only way to learn
 

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ShyRem said:
You know, I hear this a LOT on SDN... I have never had a class that was curved. Ever. Not calculus, not bio classes, not chem classes. Not one. And I know in two of my classes no one got an A, but several people failed. So I wouldn't count on a test/class being curved.
Same here. 1/4 of my class FAILED o-chem 2, and some for the 3rd time. The prof was proud that his average was 55-59% every time he taught the class. I would never count on a class/test being curved.
 

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i think how you should study organic chemistry is something you really need to find out for yourself. nobody is going to give you some amazing tip that saves your butt, at least not a tip that you dont already know. if what youre doing now isnt working, try something else. it really is that simple, and dont base it off how you may study for all your other classes. orgo is different for a lot of people. it would have been best if youd been experimenting with study methods last semester and not just now thinking about it, but oh well.

i for one have found my ideal method. when i first started, i read the chapters ahead of time, went to class, did every problem in the book, reread the chapters etc, i could have recited the text almost, BUT id sit down for the test and poof, id go blank. id joked about drinking a beer beforehand, and it probably would have been a good idea but ive yet to try it. next i tried flash cards, poof, same result. id walk out of the test and could again tell you every thing there was to know, i was just stressing out way too much. finally, i was so swamped with work for another class, i stopped going to chem, hadnt read a thing until the weekend before (monday night tests). i read once, glanced over the solutions to the end of chapter ?s, and then just sat with the nice list of rxns my book has as i watched movies. id accepted the fact that id fail, or with the curve probably get a B- or C heh, turns out i got one of the highest grades in the class, shoulda tried that a long time ago.
 

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try this: write down all the reactions you need to know for an exam before you start it. then during the exam you can refer to your little cheat sheet and not be bothered with trying to remember each reaction and reagent