MedChic

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I feel like even if I know all the freaking mechanisms, I still manage to screw up. It's like you have to read the prof's mind. I ended up with a C+ on the first exam. I really need to salvage my grade....Does anyone have any advice on how to do well in this class? I feel like I did everything...wrote out mechanisms, made flashcards, read the book, made notes, memorized......I really need at least a B in this class. :scared:
 

braluk

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Organic is arguably one of the harder prereqs. For me, I did well by learning how to work with mechanisms outside of the basic ones in which we had to memorize. For example, being creative with benzene substitutions, employing different mechanisms.

There are also videotapes/DVDs I borrowed from friends which helped me learn mechanisms. These were mostly animations that were easy to memorize (visual learning). If you also peruse through the internet, Im sure you will come across flash animations that may be helpful as well.
 

Disinence2

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Hey,

I did very well in O-chem, in fact its the only class in my entire undergrad i have gotten 100% on a test in.

My trick was to understand the general concepts of O chem, for example in base catalised reactions don't use posative charges.

If you understand the concepts behind the mechanisms, and know the exeptions to thoes concepts u should be able to handle whatever your prof throws at you.
 
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JimJamJimmy

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Don't memorize. Do any and all mechanism problems in your textbook, making note of exceptions, stereochemical changes (if any), and reagents/solvents that further or delay the reaction.

Organic isn't hard when you make the effort. :p :D
 

xucardsfan08

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The difficulty of organic strongly depends on the professor (doens't every class?)

However, some professors make it a memorization class (mine didn't) and just do "write the product" type tests. Mine liked to make you think and gave at least 1-2 "This didn't happen as planned, propose a mechanism for what should have happened" on each test.

The best way is to memorize (don't stop reading just b/c of that) all of the trends, patterns, and rules. With all the trends (read electron density), you can predict any mechanism that you haven't seen before.
 

[pj]

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it's all about mechanisms and understanding why atoms act the way they do and why electrons move the way they do.

it seems kinda like magic, but in the end, it's all about patterns. an oxygen atom will act like an oxygen atom in all cases, etc. etc. etc.
 

crimsonkid85

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I feel like even if I know all the freaking mechanisms, I still manage to screw up. It's like you have to read the prof's mind. I ended up with a C+ on the first exam. I really need to salvage my grade....Does anyone have any advice on how to do well in this class? I feel like I did everything...wrote out mechanisms, made flashcards, read the book, made notes, memorized......I really need at least a B in this class. :scared:

here. if you can do these problems (they were our review questions for our ochem II final) in about an hour, you'll ace your class. i promise! :laugh: :smuggrin:
 

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MedChic

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Thanks guys. I guess I do need to do more problems and look at them from different angles. I'm ok with predict the products and mechanisms but our prof is big on synthesis problems and his own crazy made up molecules. I feel like I do understand the material though. However, when I do synthesis problems on my own I have this tendency to go through half the problem, check with the answer if I'm doing it right and go back to finishing it. I'm probably checking answers too soon but I feel like I get lost in the midst of the synthesis problems. Grr, I wish we had more mechanisms and conceptual questions on our exams.
 

xcel

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Just keep practicing. It will all come together. Unfortunately it usually happens in the end. I got a 26 on my first test. 67 on my second. Then a 92 and 95. It somehow clicks around the middle. (Then you forget it all a few months later :( )
 

DocYuki

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Ultimately you have to figure out what study method works best for you. To memorize mechanisms, I wrote each one out on 3x5 note-cards in different colors, and just flipped through those things like crazy (do it for reactions, too).

There is so much variability between undergraduate colleges, each situation is its own. My prof was very challenging, but generally fair. Admissions committees know this, and your MCAT score can do more of the talking. Good luck and keep your eye on the goal!
 

Doctormo24

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Currently in Organic 1...we're starting SN2 and SN 1 reactions....SN2 dont look bad so far but im sure things are gonna pick up
 

DocYuki

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Currently in Organic 1...we're starting SN2 and SN 1 reactions....SN2 dont look bad so far but im sure things are gonna pick up
Ahhh, the joy of SN2 and SN1. Take what you learn to heart; that stuff comes back on the MCAT to bite you!

If you happen to be studying for the MCAT while taking any pre-med classes, it helps to crack open an MCAT review book because it goes over things like that succintly. 2nd Semester organic is typically a lot more "useful" for pre-meds anyway, because you do things like aromaticity, carboxylic acids, alcohols, esters, ketones, etc. In other words, things you'll do in biochemistry.
 
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Doctormo24

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Ive been using Organic Chemistry as a Second Language and its really a great tool to anyone taking Organic Chemistry. I found out about it through here and have been using it since and it clarifies a lot of stuff. Any tips for SN2 or SN1 reactions?
 

XRanger

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mechanism isn't that bad...wait until you get to synthesis
 

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I used to draw mechanisms repeatedly until I got to be able to reproduce it without any hesitation. Also try to do every single problem at the back, ideally twice or even three times.
 

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Every time I see one of these I feel the need to reiterate...do not memorize the mechanisms. UNDERSTAND the mechanisms. Take as long as it takes to sit and figure out WHY this part of the molecule is attacking that part of the molecule and WHY this molecule is electrophilic versus that nucleophilic one and WHY this one is more stable than that one and so forth.
 

brianmartin

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We barely ever have to memorize complete mechanisms.

We do have to know EVERY reaction/reagent...and be able to do novel synthesis problems very quickly.

And spectroscopy is fun but not if you have to deduce a structure in 5 minutes on a test.

I actually really enjoy o-chem, it's just the speed that kills it for me. We blow through everything so fast that it never really sinks in. But that IS why med schools look at o-chem grades....you have to be able to absorb large amounts of information in a short period of time.
 

ocwaveoc

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Personally chemistry has come easily....with hard work of course. My grades have been A+'s in Gen chem I/II and Ochem I. For me understanding the fundamentals of chemistry helped me understand everything else that seem to build on those fundamentals. ie understanding what is going on on an atomic level, orbitals, what the orbitals really look like in 3D, all the general trends of individual atoms in terms of electronegativity, physical size, acidity/basicity, knowing where ALL the electrons are at when you draw Lewis structures and in 3D where they are located to make what shapes and why they are in those locations/shapes.....etc..... For me chemistry is very visual. I try to visualize most things in 3D. Then, in Ochem the other 50% is just memorization which builds upon the aforementioned basic ideas. If you are proficient at the basics, it's just the matter of putting in the time. ALOT of time. Probably many times more than what you are actually putting in. However, if you don't have solid basic understanding of what I've mentioned, you are likely fighting more of an uphill battle than the ones who have solid understanding of them.
 

tacrum43

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I feel like even if I know all the freaking mechanisms, I still manage to screw up. It's like you have to read the prof's mind. I ended up with a C+ on the first exam. I really need to salvage my grade....Does anyone have any advice on how to do well in this class? I feel like I did everything...wrote out mechanisms, made flashcards, read the book, made notes, memorized......I really need at least a B in this class. :scared:

Oh...I thought you meant literally, because it O-chem II lab definitely stinks literally. This one girl and I used to discuss how "assnic" a compound was, and the different degrees of "assnicity" among compounds found/made in lab. For example, "This furan has a high degree of assnicity". Ah...O-chem, and I thought studying for that class took a long time.

But seriously, I found going to office hours to be helpful. I went at least twice a week. Still didn't crack a B+ though no matter how I tried.
 

Flower2006

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Practice, practice, practice.
I used "Organic Chemistry as a Second Language" for Org I and II. You probably will need to know Org I well for your final if you are taking the ACS exam. I did really well on my Org Lab and lecture with the help of those two study review books and with additional practice questions from other Org text books. If you study for at least 30 minutes everyday and practice the related questions (a total of 1hr in Orgo everyday) you will do very well in the class. Oh, and always be ahead of the lecturer/professor. If you read the review guide before the lecture you will know what to ask if you find something confusing during lecture (and teachers make mistakes too, sometimes).
 

cdb190

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If you think organic chemistry is too difficult do society and yourself a favor and don't pursue medicine.
 

novawildcat

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throw all your not cards recopied notes etc away. the only way to do well in organic is by being able to do most or all of the problems at the end of the chapter WITHOUT going back once in the chapter to look up concepts again. if you can do this, you will ace any organic exam. the best part is the fact that if you can do this for every chapter you will hardly need to study for the final exam at all. i think i maybe studied for about 1 hour for my organic I and II final and completely demolished them because I already had the concepts hammered down, I didn't study for exams simply to forget the material after the test was over.
 
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