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I am taking organic chemistry this semester. What can I do to best prepare for the class? Does anyone have any tips for being successful?
 

studentdocftw

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Actually learn the concepts...don't just memorize reactions. Obviously some memorization is required..but pay attention to trends...what makes a good nucleophile...a good electrophile...what impact the substrate has on a given reaction..etc.
 
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Munty

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First, people make organic out to be super scary and something you will make a C in. If you go in thinking this, you are more likely to end up with a C. So first and foremost, know that it is very manageable if you set aside the time for it, and you can definitely make an A.

Next, don't just cram for tests. I studied almost every day when I took organic. Flash cards are really great when you get into synthesis, review them a lot. After lecture each day I would sit down and go through my class notes and make new note cards or practice naming/structure rules. Just make sure you constantly refresh the material in your mind. A week before tests I would probably study and extra 20-30 hours to solidify the information.

Also it is usually semi-cumulative across all tests, as is the nature of the subject, so don't fall behind because you will be hurting to catch back up.

All gloom and doom aside, it is manageable and can be interesting if you approach it with the right attitude.
 
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AlfonsTheGuru

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Procrastination is death.
 

banana_phone

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Use the search function. SO much information on this topic, including recent posts. good luck!
 
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I felt like a good understanding of principles related to electrostatics (as seen, for example, in acid-base chemistry from gen chem) was useful to imagine the behavior of electrons in reactions. Overall, I think a lot of principles from gen chem were essential for me. Atomic structure, molecular orbitals... it all comes together if you keep up.
 
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Yojimbo_OGT

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I felt like a good understanding of principles related to electrostatics (as seen, for example, in acid-base chemistry from gen chem) was useful to imagine the behavior of electrons in reactions.
This is exactly my thought. When I tutored students, I harped on following electron flow so much. Although there isn't much preparing for this.. it's more of "keep this mindset while taking the course."

My professor picked out a phenomenal textbook (Organic Chemistry, Carey and Giuliano), so reading it helped out a lot.
 

Nucleophile1

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I second the Organic as a Second Language comment! That book is really helpful.

Always go to class. If you are struggling, go to office hours, tutors, etc. Do all the practice problems you can get your hands on. Study as the class progresses. Don't wait until the weekend before the test to start studying.

Don't try and memorize individual mechanisms. Instead learn the patterns and figure out why the electrons move the way you do. It will make mechanisms so much easier for you.
 

nhnative

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I actually loved organic, but did poorly in gen chem. Focus on understanding the mechanisms, and what properties of individual molecules make them behave a given way in reactions (electrophilicity, nucleophilicity, stereochemistry, etc.). Definitely study every day, work through additional problems to make sure you understand basic concepts. Working through reactions stepwise helped a lot as well; draw out every step with arrows indicating where each electron pair will move so you don't skip steps.

Good luck!
 

cantankerous

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Back tests. Most profs are way too lazy to keep drawing new structures year after year for exams.

If all else fails, just answer everything with "resonance," "steric hindrance," or "dipole-dipole interaction"
 

lilmiffy

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Do a LOT of practice problems. I feel like applying things you learn in class is the best way to consolidate the information.

And if you can, have some fun with it! If you can make it fun, make orgo like a puzzle game, it won't feel so bad studying for it.

Good luck OP!
 

Cpt Ahab

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What does everyone think about taking ochem I and II over the summer? My questionable guidance counselor told me to take these classes then. However, I have a co-worker who aced part one over the summer but failed part two. In fact, everyone I've spoken who has taken these classes over summer got no higher than a B. And by everyone I mean my scribe coworkers.
 

GCS-15

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What does everyone think about taking ochem I and II over the summer? My questionable guidance counselor told me to take these classes then. However, I have a co-worker who aced part one over the summer but failed part two. In fact, everyone I've spoken who has taken these classes over summer got no higher than a B. And by everyone I mean my scribe coworkers.
I thought it was easier over summer. Focusing on 1 or 2 classes >>> focusing on 3 or 4 classes, internships, clubs, and other activities during the school year.
 
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theonlytycrane

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consistent studying! specifically practice problems that will be similar to what you will see on a test. also getting any questions answered each week at office hours so that you can stay on top of the material.
 

narvik2016

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What does everyone think about taking ochem I and II over the summer? My questionable guidance counselor told me to take these classes then. However, I have a co-worker who aced part one over the summer but failed part two. In fact, everyone I've spoken who has taken these classes over summer got no higher than a B. And by everyone I mean my scribe coworkers.
I took orgo I over the summer. It was challenging and basically it was my summer job, but it was really nice to focus on one thing and as a result I did really well in it and I was prepared for orgo II. Not sure what your school's summer schedule is like, but taking both in one summer sounds really scary. If you can take orgo I in the summer and then take orgo II right away in the fall it's a good transition because there isn't a lot of time off in between the two and you won't forget everything.
 

Glazedonutlove

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I am taking organic chemistry this semester. What can I do to best prepare for the class? Does anyone have any tips for being successful?
Don't let people scare you about this class--it's not hard as long as you understand the concepts/know how to use logic rather then memorize
 

Glazedonutlove

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What does everyone think about taking ochem I and II over the summer? My questionable guidance counselor told me to take these classes then. However, I have a co-worker who aced part one over the summer but failed part two. In fact, everyone I've spoken who has taken these classes over summer got no higher than a B. And by everyone I mean my scribe coworkers.
Take I--if you do well and feel confident enough to take II, then do so
 

Doxorubicin

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When you're first learning reactions, practice, practice, practice them until your eyes bleed. Learn the mechanisms. Then do synthesis problems until your eyes bleed. Once you have a lot of reactions to work with, go back over those same synthesis problems and find alternative ways to do them.

Organic isn't bad at all as long as you stay on top of getting those reactions down and understand the logic behind them. Those who fell behind rarely caught back up, so I can't emphasize the importance of staying on top of your studying enough. If you can manage that and then make a mental roadmap of the connections of all the reactions you're learning, everything will fall into place.

EDIT: Also, although you may not need it, invest like $10 in a molecular model kit. I found mine pretty helpful at first when we were learning about steric hindrance/chirality/ring conformations/etc. A few professors may even let you use the set on exams, which can be helpful for answering questions or checking your work.
 

frosted_flake

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Back tests. Most profs are way too lazy to keep drawing new structures year after year for exams.

If all else fails, just answer everything with "resonance," "steric hindrance," or "dipole-dipole interaction"
It's always resonance!
Speaking of, be good at drawing all of the resonance structures. Pretty important concept.