nico05

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I just bombed my first orgo (I) exam...has anyone done terrible on the first exam and then turned it around and aced the class? Just wondering...Oh yeah, and if so, how?!
 

ComfortableWolf

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nico05 said:
I just bombed my first orgo (I) exam...has anyone done terrible on the first exam and then turned it around and aced the class? Just wondering
I had a rough time with orgo at first- the most imporatant thing to reallize that it is virtually impossible to cram for- the way to succeed is to study a little bit consistantly every/most nights and do plenty of practice problems with out using an answer key as a crutch. I think this is why medical schools are so interested in the orgo grade... it is not necesarily indicative of brilliance but rather of persistance and the ability to memorize many seemingly inane rules and facts then apply them- much like learning a new language

Hope this helps
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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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.
 

Mimidoc^2

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ComfortableWolf said:
I had a rough time with orgo at first- the most imporatant thing to reallize that it is virtually impossible to cram for- the way to succeed is to study a little bit consistantly every/most nights and do plenty of practice problems with out using an answer key as a crutch. I think this is why medical schools are so interested in the orgo grade... it is not necesarily indicative of brilliance but rather of persistance and the ability to memorize many seemingly inane rules and facts then apply them- much like learning a new language

Hope this helps
Yes, I actually failed my first Orgo 1 test! (a 65 I believe) I would echo ComfortableWolf's statements that cramming is a huge mistake, and the best strategy truly is to do some Orgo work most days(if not every day) and practice as many problems as possible. I began using this strategy after Exam 1, and I made the highest grade on Exam 2, which was the most difficult of the semester! By maintaining my study approach I was able to make an A or B on all subsequent exams. Also, my prof devised these really helpful "reaction maps," which showed a visual arrangement of reactants, reagants, and products and how reactions were connected stepwise to reach various products. I studied these alot! You can access a sample of these maps from the following link: http://faculty.leeu.edu/~ebrown/Organic Chemistry II/LectureNotes/
 
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nico05

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Thanks guys, awesome advice! Great input! :thumbup:
 

americanangel

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I'm taking organic II now, and I actually love the class! I found that the first semester was actually a lot of memorization. The way the organic sequence is broken down at my school, the first semester is just the basic: alkanes, alkenes, stereochemisty, regiochemistry, cyclic molecules, simple hydration, Sn1, Sn2, E1 and E2 reaction. The second semester is more of the synthesis and retrothinking (which i really enjoy).
My tips would be:
-Read the section you are working on before coming to lecture and then after again
-MAKE NOTE CARDS (it may seem like a lot of working, but rewriting the reactions will really help you remember then especially when you get to synthesis)
-Practice all of the problems in the book including the hard ones
-Talk to your professor and if he gives you additional problems work them

There is a lot to organic chemisty and some of it you really just have to memorize. I think the key to organic is actually understanding what you memorize. If you just memorize a bunch of reaction, you won't be able to apply that mechanism to a different situtation. Even though you have the mechanism memorized, you need to understand what's going on so you can apply that later on!
Knowledge is cumulative, trust me what you learn in your first semester will definately come back in the second semester. Just don't put up a mental block, try and have fun with it (a lot of o-chem is a just a jig-saw puzzle)
Best of luck! :luck:
 

SD Skunk

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nico05 said:
I just bombed my first orgo (I) exam...has anyone done terrible on the first exam and then turned it around and aced the class? Just wondering...Oh yeah, and if so, how?!
there's only one way to do it: work problems like a crazy dingus (without relying on an answer key). really, there's no substitute. get your hands on as many practice tests as possible, and after you run out of problems to do, do them over again. if you want the A, keep doing the practice tests over and over again until you understand every damn trick.

when you get tired of doing that, draw structures of your own and test yourself (this is more for the second half of orgo though, when you've got a lot more knowledge at your disposal and have more flexibility with problems)

more than any oher class i've taken in college, orgo is the class in which your grade is a near-perfect reflection of how hard you work and how many practice problems you do

hope this helps. good luck!
 

Psycho Doctor

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QofQuimica said:
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.
that's excellent advice, and very reliable coming from an organic tutor and TA :thumbup:
 

CanIMakeIt

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May I suggest "Pushing Electrons" by Daniel P Weeks ............ excellent book

and as someone else suggested..........work problems like crazy....

well, I loved organic so working out problems was sort of fun.....so if you don't like organic make yourself do those problems

:luck:
 
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nico05

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hey guys, thanks again for the great advice, its reassuring to know that others have been there. Best of luck to all. :thumbup:
 

45408

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nico05 said:
I just bombed my first orgo (I) exam...has anyone done terrible on the first exam and then turned it around and aced the class? Just wondering...Oh yeah, and if so, how?!
:laugh:








:laugh:




:laugh: Oh, yeah. I got a 59 on my first exam, a 94 on the second, and a 47 on the third. I ended up with the sixth highest final exam score though in a class of over 80. I studied my ASS off though. Do organic. All the time. Every day. MAKE FLASH CARDS. If you don't memorize some of the basic reactions (Grignard, reducing/oxidizing (like chromium - PCC or Cr2O7), acylating rxns, different benzene reactions, you'll never be able to do synthesis. Do mechanisms. Lots of them. The same ones. Repeatedly. And with slight changes. Repeatedly. If you can't do a hemiacetal/acetal mechanism in your sleep, then keep doing them.

It's not all about memorizing everything, but you do need to memorize the "vocabulary" of the language, as well as the grammar.

Yes, you can turn it around.