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Is Organic Chemistry really as hard as everyone portrays it to be? I'm just wondering because i will have to take it soon, and want to prepare myself.
 

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I've been told general chem is harder. O-chem is more or less supposed to be fun if you like thinking abstractly. The concept of thinking abstractly however is difficult for most premeds.
 

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Its not that bad. Personally I think Ochem is way more interesting(and even easier than) Gchem, but I don't know I have had some pretty kickass Ochem professors.
 
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Is Organic Chemistry really as hard as everyone portrays it to be? I'm just wondering because i will have to take it soon, and want to prepare myself.
I am wondering the same thing. I am a chem major and I am actually looking forward to it in some sick way. That being said, its better to over estimate the enemy rather than under estimate it so I keep telling myself its this evil being that I need to murder.
 
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I'm taking Organic Chemistry right now and I was just talking to my friend who is taking it next year about it. The best way I can describe Organic is by comparing it to learning a second language. OChem II is ALL synthesis and mechanisms. Synthesis is basically when they give you a compound to start off with and they give you a target molecule to "synthesize". The analogy of learning a second language goes like this: How you go from compound A to compound B is kind of how you write a sentence, in that you have to plan out your train of thought to get from the start of the sentence to the end. You build sentences from letters which make up words and you synthesize molecules by memorizing reagents. People say you shouldn't memorize in Orgo, which is true, but there is no way getting around memorizing reagents.

Orgo I is much easier than Orgo II but Orgo II I think is much more interesting. Honestly orgo really isn't that hard. What makes it hard is the attention to detail you have to pay. I lose more points per test on silly things like not drawing the right number of carbons on a chain, than I do for getting something conceptually wrong. I'm sure you're smart enough to get it. But it's not necessarily about how well you get it, lots of people are smart enough to understand organic chem, to me and from my experience it comes down to how well you can perform on a test and NOT make silly errors. And it's the silly errors that will frustrate you. But maybe you don't make those kinds of mistakes and in that case you'll be fine :)

DON'T LET PEOPLE SCARE YOU ABOUT ORGO. Everyone used to say, "Oh wow it's so hard" and it's not easy, but it's not unbearable. It's not as if I think to myself everytime I'm reading or in lecture, "Oh my goodness this is so difficult". When you're in the moment of it, it'll be just like taking another class and the pre-infactuation every pre-med has with it will disappear :). GOOD LUCK!
 

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ochem sucks donkey nutts. It's function is more like a weed out class than anything. You don't use a ****ing thing from this class. Who the hell cares how you hydrogenate a double bond and then break it up again to add an alcohol group? What a low down piece of **** class.
 
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ochem sucks donkey nutts. It's function is more like a weed out class than anything. You don't use a ****ing thing from this class. Who the hell cares how you hydrogenate a double bond and then break it up again to add an alcohol group? What a low down piece of **** class.
I enjoy your hatred of ochem :) I wish there was a way to "like" this.
 

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I enjoy your hatred of ochem :) I wish there was a way to "like" this.
Yeah, very fond memories of this class.... thank God I got into med school despite that vomit riddled subject.
 

UnfeatyOblation

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ochem sucks donkey nutts. It's function is more like a weed out class than anything. You don't use a ****ing thing from this class. Who the hell cares how you hydrogenate a double bond and then break it up again to add an alcohol group? What a low down piece of **** class.
Did o-chem steal your girl?
 

rxlea

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Ochem was my favorite pre-req class. All those cool experiments (like making luminol or esters) was really fun. And I agree with one of the above posters- it is like learning a second language. Trust me, when you learn to "read" the mechanisms, it is hella fun to do problems. Yes, it is a weed out class but it isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Ochem is important when you get into biochemistry- enzymes, drug action, etc- which you DO get into in med school :) so drink up ;)
 

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Ochem is fine, learn to bond.
 

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Ochem was my favorite pre-req class. All those cool experiments (like making luminol or esters) was really fun. And I agree with one of the above posters- it is like learning a second language. Trust me, when you learn to "read" the mechanisms, it is hella fun to do problems. Yes, it is a weed out class but it isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Ochem is important when you get into biochemistry- enzymes, drug action, etc- which you DO get into in med school :) so drink up ;)
You sure about that? I mean YOU might see a lot of it being a pharm student but besides from compound names I don't see us having to know what mechanism the drug interacts with the body. Most of it pharmacokinetics using the Michalies-Menten enzyme curves but that's gen chem. Hydroboration? Dier-Alders reactions? SN1/SN2 attacks? yeah, doubt it.
 
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I'm in Organic I.

General Chemistry is the weed-out class at my school and typically is because it's a hit-or-miss class. You get only 1 answer that is possible, and if it's something else, it's wrong.

Organic Chemistry has multiple possibilities so asking the questions is generally harder especially since it is more about the stereochemistry and properties of carbon molecules than the mathematical calculations of steric strains. I got tested, but for me, in organic chemistry, railing myself by doing problems over and over got the concept into my head, and then I was able to do them on my own.

From gen chem, you have to understand Lewis Bases/Acids. Then you're able to follow through what's going on in through things such as radical reactions.

If you follow what i'm trying to say, it's more just a building block sort of class so if you pound yourself in the beginning to understand the basics, you'll be great.

In gen, you can pound yourself all semester long but still fail due to sig fig, misplaced units, etc...
 
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it's mostly just a PITA. organic 1 was more interesting, being more about the background of the subject while organic 2 so far has been nothing but reactions we have to memorize. the material itself isn't difficult to grasp at all but you need to use it to solve problems that are sometimes tricky.

there's probably nowhere providing the class that doesn't take its arbitrarily assigned weed-out function seriously and in my case the exams are always this close to being unreasonably hard. i was nearly traumatized by one of my organic 1 exams. exam averages in our class are usually in the 50s-60s.

it seems the main goal of the subject is to be able to devise reaction sequences to synthesize desired compounds, which is sometimes fun, but otherwise the subject is pretty dry (imo). wish i could feel the same way as a few people i've seen who genuinely loved it.
 

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It's horrible if you don't study or try to get away with studying "enough." You kind of have to go overboard with orgo and learn things in and out.

I personally liked it. Just because I think I understood the above while everyone else thought it was some sort of mystery how to do well. study!
 

rxlea

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You sure about that? I mean YOU might see a lot of it being a pharm student but besides from compound names I don't see us having to know what mechanism the drug interacts with the body. Most of it pharmacokinetics using the Michalies-Menten enzyme curves but that's gen chem. Hydroboration? Dier-Alders reactions? SN1/SN2 attacks? yeah, doubt it.
I was thinking more along the lines of functional groups. Not so much the mechanisms. Also, I think ochem helps you think about things a little differently than other pre-reqs. For instance, the bios are rote memorization. Sure, first half of ochem is memorizing the mechanisms. But, in ochem 2 when you put it all together, you can't just rely on the memorization of what each reagent does. You have to think 1,2, and 3 steps ahead (or work backwards) to "build" your end product. My ochem prof related it to what we would be working with in healthcare (i.e. drugs)which made it interesting and enjoyable.

For me, physics was brutal. Math is not really my strong suit. Whereas I understood how to set problems up, I would make stupid math mistakes. I also got confused with some of the trig :-/
 

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I'm finished with Orgo I, and about half-way through Orgo II.

I thoroughly enjoyed Orgo I, and so far I'm really liking Orgo II as well. The material is somewhat difficult, but it's certainly not impossible. You can do very well in the course if you work hard to really understand the material as it comes. And I found that it got a little easier as it went on; you just need to get used to thinking of things at the atomic level, in my experience.

I like orgo much more than general chemistry, and find it a lot more interesting. Whereas general chemistry is more or less limited to, well, general chemical trends and principles, orgo talks about why reactions actually happen. It has great explanatory power.

Although orgo may appear unimportant at first, it's got enormous relevance to biochemistry. The biochemical reactions we learn about in all of our biology classes can be completely explained by organic chemistry -- why they happen, why enzymes can encourage them, and why other reactions may or may not occur instead. So if you like to understand things all the way through to the most basic level, like I do, orgo might be a lot of fun for you.
 
D

da8s0859q

You have to think 1,2, and 3 steps ahead (or work backwards) to "build" your end product.
This. For the OP and anyone else reading this thread down the line, ochem is essentially solving a puzzle. Matching reactants, reagents, knowing what to expect in a mechanism, etc. If you break it down step-by-step, you might find that it's easier than its reputation suggests.

Oh, and I will say that you should heartily ignore reputations like this; "knowing" something to be difficult generally doesn't help much. Just make sure you cover the material adequately for your own retention, and to hell with the reputation. For me, I heard the same horror stories, but when it came time to go through the class, I did the same thing I did for any other class -- and made sure to cover my notes just a little more as dictated by the course, not what people told me about the course.

For my fellow pianists, there's that Argerich bit about how she learned the e'er-so-tricky Gaspard de la Nuit in five days; she said that "it was not difficult because I didn't know it was supposed to be."
 

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I'm doing my second semester of Organic, and originally the subject did take some getting use to, but if you study and do tons of practice problems you should be fine.
 

Morsetlis

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I think it depends on the professor. I never had to open the book for Ochem. This is because my professor was AMAZING. Like, I owe half of my BS section score on the MCAT to him alone.
 

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I'm currently in o-chem II and I couldn't agree more with the post below.
I completely disagree with the person that said the labs were cool... they were a total waste of time and they sucked. Organic chem overall is not hard.

I'm taking Organic Chemistry right now and I was just talking to my friend who is taking it next year about it. The best way I can describe Organic is by comparing it to learning a second language. OChem II is ALL synthesis and mechanisms. Synthesis is basically when they give you a compound to start off with and they give you a target molecule to "synthesize". The analogy of learning a second language goes like this: How you go from compound A to compound B is kind of how you write a sentence, in that you have to plan out your train of thought to get from the start of the sentence to the end. You build sentences from letters which make up words and you synthesize molecules by memorizing reagents. People say you shouldn't memorize in Orgo, which is true, but there is no way getting around memorizing reagents.

Orgo I is much easier than Orgo II but Orgo II I think is much more interesting. Honestly orgo really isn't that hard. What makes it hard is the attention to detail you have to pay. I lose more points per test on silly things like not drawing the right number of carbons on a chain, than I do for getting something conceptually wrong. I'm sure you're smart enough to get it. But it's not necessarily about how well you get it, lots of people are smart enough to understand organic chem, to me and from my experience it comes down to how well you can perform on a test and NOT make silly errors. And it's the silly errors that will frustrate you. But maybe you don't make those kinds of mistakes and in that case you'll be fine :)

DON'T LET PEOPLE SCARE YOU ABOUT ORGO. Everyone used to say, "Oh wow it's so hard" and it's not easy, but it's not unbearable. It's not as if I think to myself everytime I'm reading or in lecture, "Oh my goodness this is so difficult". When you're in the moment of it, it'll be just like taking another class and the pre-infactuation every pre-med has with it will disappear :). GOOD LUCK!
 

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It's really not hard. I think it's a ton more fun than general chem. And once you get to orgo 2, it's all mechanisms. Just read the book, memorize some stuff, get an A.
 
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It's horrible if you don't study or try to get away with studying "enough." You kind of have to go overboard with orgo and learn things in and out.

I personally liked it. Just because I think I understood the above while everyone else thought it was some sort of mystery how to do well. study!
I agree with the above. I think it can be fun and challenging at the same time if you put in the time and effort and don't fall behind.
 

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In gen, you can pound yourself all semester long but still fail due to sig fig, misplaced units, etc...
I hate it when little things like that mess you up.
 

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Am I the only one that got incredibly bored with Orgo 2, after really liking Orgo 1?


Biochemsitry was a lot more fun.
 

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It's a weed out class in the sense that it requires a lot of your time and people who aren't willing to put in the required time end up failing. I guess the people it really weeds out are the people who wouldn't get by by studying barely enough in med school anyway. It's not like it's anything you can't learn if you just invest the time to memorize the mechanisms/reagents/etc.
 

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I'm in my 2nd quarter of O Chem right now and it has proved to be the most difficult class I have taken so far. Because of this class I will lose my science 4.0, not sure if it's entirely do to the fact that I find it really difficult but it sure didn't help when I panicked on the first midterm and scored below average on a chem midterm for the first time, I've been trying to recover but the damage is already done.
 
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I'm a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major... so maybe I'm a little biased. Unfortunately at my undergraduated, the Gen Chem is condensed into 1 semester so inadvertently you end up taking O-Chem I 2nd semester freshman year and O-Chem II first semester sophomore year (and because of the 2 year premed chem requirement, you have to take the next course which is Inorganic, but I guess thats sorta like Gen Chem II) I digress....
Organic Chemistry makes a fair amount of sense assuming you go in knowing that it will be a lot to digest in a short period of time. The good thing about it, is that much of the class is designed to teach you the behavior of the functional groups/atoms as opposed to strict memorization. You can technically get away with memorization only in O-chem I where you memorize the effects of certain chemical reactions on carbon-bound functional groups, however, if you go this route it will soon become evident that you will not last long in organic II.
Organic II becomes more of an application type course. While the beginning will cover some groups that you have not been exposed to, a majority of the course will cover synthesis and the nature of organic compounds that we come across in every day life. This class is based heavily on your ability to see a molecule and understand its behavioral characteristics (electrophilicity/nucleophilicity, leaving group capabilities, reactivity) based solely on its groups. If you are good at seeing the big picture and working out scenarios in your head, then Organic II will be a breeze. If not, keep hammering the basics that were covered in Organic I until they make some sense.
My honest opinion is that Organic Chemistry is useful beyond just the biochemistry portion you may use in Medical School. We live in a carbon-based world and its nice to actually understand whats going on when you are debating filling up your vehicle with the fatty-acid methyl esters that derive your biofuel. That being said, however, don't expect to use this chemistry outside of your organic lab unless you plan on working in the pharmaceutical world or in the chemical-manufacturing plants. The only other way would be in clandestine chemistry in which you either enrolled in Organic for all the wrong reasons, or you've hit rock bottom...

Regardless, Organic Chemistry is only hard if you go into it without taking any interest in it. There's a lot of really cool concepts involved in it and if you find it remotely stimulating then it'll connect with you.
 

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Ochem is like playing with stick figures. It's fun and ultimately useless (unless you're going to be a chemist).
 

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Ochem is like playing with stick figures. It's fun and ultimately useless (unless you're going to be a chemist).
One of the docs I work(ed) with took a look at my cheat sheet for an O-chem test (the prof allowed them because his tests were killer... whatever you could fit on an index card) a little less than two years ago. He chuckled and said something like, "Can I tell you? I have NEVER seen this stuff since taking the MCAT." *Sigh* I already knew that was the case, but still.

Also, one of my chem professors likes to tell this joke, "Why do chemists take Organic Chemistry? So they know what page to turn to."