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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Elysium, Dec 21, 2001.

  1. Elysium

    Elysium Not Really An Old Beaver 7+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2001
    Just thought I'd throw a question out there...

    My friend and I both took OChemI this fall at two different schools. She and I had totally different approaches to the material. In her course, they were taught concepts and the emphasis was placed on predicting reactants for various reactions. In my class, the entire thing was memorizing every mechanism under the sun, writing detailed mechanisms for different reactions, predicting products, etc. She did far better than I did...
    They actually had a multiple choice final. Still don't know how that's possible.
    So I was wondering about other people's Orgo I class. How was it taught? And which way was a better prep for The Beast?
    Can you tell school is over and there's nothing else to think about?? :rolleyes:
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  3. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001
    They both sound the same to me...Don't know what the problems are :)

    Predicting reactants from products versus doing the mechanisms. I loved mechanisms b/c you could see the product and the reactants and then just play around with it. Just think of it like a puzzle. There are basic reactions that are most commonly used and then there are some obvious ones like replacing a Phosphate with a carboxyl group...So really it's just testing a bunch of different hypothesis. It's good when you find the structure of your favorite drug and then you attempt to synthesize it yourself. Whew! We've had a few blasts in my lab but we are still flying high!

    Oh, and for the beast...The style of ochem won't matter. It's all good. They basically tell you a story and then some ochem reactions come out of nowhere but they are so basic if you slept through the class you'll be fine on that portion. Rather, study the manner in which you take the test. If you memorize all the material, you'll get a 30...if you figure out HOW to take the'll get much higher.
  4. italianlove

    italianlove Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    St. Louis, MO
  5. BUmiken12

    BUmiken12 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    Waco, TX
    I haven't taken the MCAT yet, but I just finished with Orgo I. We had three multiple choice tests and three written tests. For the multiple choice tests, the way we were tested on whether we knew the mechanism is we were asked what some of the intermediate products were (i.e. tetrahedral intermediates, resonance structures, etc), and some questions were just name the major product given this set of reactants. I have to say that the written was easier because there was partial credit and you could work your way through the problems.
  6. Tweetie_bird

    Tweetie_bird 7+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    Wow! Multiple choice tests in ORGO???
    Life must be good.....

    I have taught this subject, and I want to stress one thing--do not memorize!! I think of Organic Chemistry as a foundation to Biochem, and medicine. It explains all the reactions in our body on the molecular level. For those people that memorize, it will get them a 4.0 for the time being, but they will miss out on understanding the beauty and mechanism of the human body. The important part is to see trends in reactions, learn functionality of different groups and see how they behave. This will be applicable not only for your O. Chem class, but also in Med School when you have to understand why certain kinds of medications don't work on us, and some do. Personally, I thought ORGO was beautiful....and when I got to Biochem, my O.Chem understanding definitely helped.
    If you walk into the MCAT with a thorough understanding of HOW it all works, I am sure you will do well. But then again, I haven't taken the MCAT yet.

    Good luck to you!

  7. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Jersey
    My Orgo exams were all mostly multiple choice with only a couple short answer questions on each exam. Thats what happens when you go to a large state university and people don't want to grade like 1,000 papers. They find a way to make the questions hard so there is a curve. I think that it prepared me really well for the MCAT, though, (well enough anyway I got a 10 in Bio). Actually Orgo on the MCAT is not bad as long as you understand what the basic funtional groups do. Then they just throw in stuff to confuse you and try to make you think you don't know what you're looking at. Again, a lot of it is a matter of just getting used to the test.
  8. shorrin

    shorrin the ninth doctor 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    the tardis
    multiple choice huh? I went to the wrong school... The first day of ochem our prof said " I don't want to see any note cards. The way I teach is that you'll never need to memorize anything, just understand". Our tests were like you get two molecules some catalysts, solution etc. and then show what you get and how you got it. Then the second quarter was like you get the product, now show what you needed to do to get it. sheesh. The pr helped me more with ochem on the mcat than that class.
  9. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    Our exams consisted of usually one complex nomenclature problem.

    Then the rest of that page was usually the special, non-reaction material for the two chapters. For example, this would have included stereochemistry, conformers, etc.

    The next two to three pages included nothing but reactions. Usually the first page gave you the reagents and the reactants and it asked for the product. Then the next page gave reactant and product and asked for reagent.

    The last two pages usually had a synthesis problem (one of ours included about 5 or 6 steps) and a mechanism problem. There was also a couple "mystery material" problems...we were given a chemical formula and several different reactions were given also. We then had to come up with the structure (including stereochemistry) of the common molecule.

    I've been told our organic class is among the more difficult ones.
  10. Ranger Bob

    Ranger Bob Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2001
    Cincinnati, OH
    I had an orgo professor who discouraged rote memorization. However, I think that the memorization vs. understanding debate is silly. In my opinion, memorization is simply an early step on the path toward understanding. Unfortunately, there sometimes just isn't enough time to take the next step beyond rote memorization when you're trying to cover so much material so quickly.

  11. Wow! Multiple choice tests in Organic chemistry?? I've seen the future... And I had to work my *&#@ off for an A like a &*(# dope :D
  12. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    New Jersey
    You'd be surprised how hard they can make multiple choice be :) They have perfected the art--you should have heard the people bi*ch and complain--you know the usual whine at every school throughout the course. They tend to give you things you have never seen before and make you figure them out from your knowledge--sounds a little like MCAT huh? I think it's harder than short answers actually because at least with short answers you can get partial credit. Well I guess that's just my opinion :)
  13. Tweetie_bird

    Tweetie_bird 7+ Year Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    Hi Ranger,
    I see what you're saying, and I think the majority would agree with you. But having been on both sides, research versus clinical, I realized how beautiful the clincal can be, if we just understand a bit behind the "basic science/research" aspect of it. I didn't mean to imply that O.Chem and Biochem is the end all approach, that if you don't appreciate it, you won't appreciate medicine. I was saying that the beauty of medicine can be enhanced if you understand the basic mechanics behind it. I said it before, and I stand by that opinion.

    The reason Thalidomde produced malformed children in europe, was that it was given as a racemic mixure, when only one can be metabolized by our body. The reason L-Dopa is given in combination with carbidopa to a person with Parkinson's, is that it helps carry it into the blood brain barrier, and finally make dopamine. If you go into an ER, and see a patient that has OD'ed on Methanol, what do you give him? Ethanol. Why? B/c EtOH is a competitive inhibitor of MeOH. Knowing the mechanisms, and their applications simply made medicine come alive to me. I actally UNDERSTOOD what/why/how some (if not all) diseases occurred biochemicaly, and medications worked to fix them. I have been around a lot of PA's and nurses, who say that docs have a no care attitude about learning why a certain medication works...apparently nurses are taught that stuff that we aren't. Ofcourse, not all docs would agree with what I am saying....anyway,that's just my two cents....Sorry if I offended anybody.

    Happy Holidays! :p :D

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