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Tips On How To Do Well In Organic Chem I and Physics I???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Confused 20, May 9, 2008.

  1. Confused 20

    Confused 20 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    I will be taking Organic Chemistry I and Physics I in the Fall ( in 107 days) and am looking for recommendations on how to do well. I currently have the Physics textbook and will be getting the Organic Chemistry textbook and syllabus for each course very shortly. Is it most advantageous to spend as much time as possible reading the chapters and continue to practice the homework problems? Is there any specific way to approach learning Organic Chemistry? I am unbelievably frightened because I am a mediocre student in terms of ability and am especially poor in mathematics and visual learning. My Physics professor is tremendous but the individual I have for Organic Chemistry received a few sub-par reviews. Any input will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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  3. sully677

    sully677 7+ Year Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    Learn the concepts for Organic. Do NOT just memorize the reactions and answers. Do a lot of problems and study early. Physics is different. Just do a lot of problems, and you should be fine.
  4. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    lol I love how you knew that....Dont sweat over it too much...and definitely dont start studying now.,..other than that I agree with above poster.
  5. 135892

    135892 Guest 2+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    You're going to study for classes that you'll be taking in the fall??? WOW.... you must be a real cool guy.....
  6. tardyturtle

    tardyturtle 2+ Year Member

    Mar 1, 2008
    whoa, whoa, whoa...

    first off... PUT DOWN THE BOOKS! You are not allowed to study before the first day of classes. Doing so is just a waste of your time. Take a break, get some clinical experience, do some volunteer work... anything but worry about classes you have to take in 107 days (sheesh... and you're even counting down!)

    Tips for success: Success in physics and organic come down to understanding fundamental concepts and applying them to various situations. In each physics chapter, there are three or so "typical" problems, which every single problem will be like. If you know the three or so equations used in that chapter, and can correctly understand the basic, fundamental concepts involved, then you can answer any question in the chapter. Do as many practice problems as you can. Do them until you feel confident that you can answer them all. But really, there are only so many kinds of ways they can ask you questions, and you will see this as you take the course, so you can use these to anticipate what you'll see on the MCAT.

    For organic, you'll basically just learn that nucleophiles attack electron-poor atoms. Many of the reactions and their mechanisms are similar and predictable if you just learn the patterns. Once again though, do as many practice problems as possible until you feel confident that you fully understand the material.

    Finally, there are some Organic supplements that you can get at your bookstore or online (eg. that are very helpful. Usually, organic books don't explain in a way that is easy to fully understand, and they give bloated explanations. I highly recommend getting Organic Chemistry as a Second Language (there is one book for each semester of organic, although your school may teach some second semester material in first semester and vice-versa, so I'd just get both at the same time). It explains things in a very clear way, teaches the fundamental concepts that you can use to solve any problem, repeats what you need to know so that you can drill the ideas into your head, and has a bunch of typical examples. I also liked the "you can do this" attitude of the book.

    Another popular book is Pushing Electrons, which I do not have experience with, although there are several threads (1 2)discussing these two books and what other users liked about them.

  7. Del Griffith

    Del Griffith Banned

    May 8, 2008
    Practice problems. Thousands of them. Do them multiple times until they're just second nature. Reading is ok, but you learn from writing things down from memory and recalling for problems.
  8. mdgator

    mdgator 2+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    As for orgo...I tried to read through the chapters to be covered in class and memorize all the reactions/ concepts first. After spending a couple of days doing this, I started doing as many problems as I could. There was a copy of the answer book to all the questions in my orgo text in the library. I photocopied enough pages of answers to last for about a week, and worked through all of them. When I got a question wrong, I made sure I understood why, and later I worked the problem again. By the time the test rolled around, I usually felt like I had seen basically every problem the prof could dream up. Problems are definitely the key to orgo.

    Physics is all about memorizing formulas and concepts, and, like orgo, working problems. I don't think there's any great secret, other than to do a bunch of problems and make sure you have some way check your work. Get an answer book or go ask your professor. Often my physics lectures consisted of nothing but the professor working problems from the text on the board that the class asked about. After class we went and worked them out ourselves.
  9. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    Miami, FL
    Both courses are highly cumulative in their learning. In other words, the stuff you learn in the first few weeks is the foundation that the rest of the semester builds on. The basic concepts are important. Therefore, do your best to keep up with the material and do not fall behind. If you fall behind, you'll quickly learn that things can get overwhelming pretty quickly.

    In o-chem learn the concepts and don't just worry about memorizing facts and minutia. If you learn how all the reactions work (where the electrons go, acid-base chemistry, stability, etc), you will be able to problem solve with less memorization. Physics is about learning the concepts, and then hammering them into your head by doing tons of different practice problems. You may think you know how to apply a formula for example, but then see a different type of problem that is new to you and crash on how to proceed.

    You'll do fine...just keep up and work hard. The math in non-calculus based physics is really simple and more a matter of plugging into a scientific calculator...basic algebra manipulations, very minor trig, etc, "solving for x" sort of deal, and then plugging in numbers. If you are having trouble, address it early and get help. Go to the place in your school in charge of tutoring and academic help and get someone to clear stuff up for you.
  10. Livingapparatus

    Livingapparatus 7+ Year Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    good god only 107 days; you should have mastered half of the material already. your cutting it close my friend :).
  11. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd 2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    my own little world
    I was similarly nervous about physics 1, due to a bad experience (dropped the class) many years ago in physics. This time around, A in both physics & ochem.

    I did actually pre-read physics for a month or so before the class started, and I think it helped. Most of the "secret" to doing well was to do problems pretty much all the time during the semester, I max out (in physics 2 now) at 10 problems per day, but try to do problems 3-4 days per week. After 10 or so problems, they stop making sense to me.

    Had good luck with o-chem; for me much of the class was about recognizing patterns of how reactions worked. There was a great book I read BEFORE the semester, called "the nuts and bolts of organic chemistry". The book is designed to be read prior to starting the semester. Also, I've heard good things about "pushing electrons". Same thing for that class regarding daily studying; my professor said after speaking with huge numbers of his students over 20+ years, he'd learned o-chem only "sinks in" for about 2 hours at a time, up to 2 sessions per day. In his research, "cramming" to try to learn 3 chapters in a weekend is totally useless; gotta study daily for this subject.


    Dec 24, 2007
    O. CHM I- do as many practice problems as you can find as early and as many times as possible.bDo not overestimate nomenclature. Most students do worse on the test with nomenclature and stereochemistry than the test with substituion and elimination reactions.

    Physics-review lots of varied problems for each concept. For physics, the same concept can have different math approaches an that is where students sink.
  13. Livingapparatus

    Livingapparatus 7+ Year Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    do you mean underestimate?
  14. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy" 5+ Year Member

    May 23, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Given an unlimited amount of time, it is possible to learn anything. This is why I don't recommend studying during summer or winter breaks for everyone. It teaches you to depend on sometime you have very little of (time).

    I'd maybe gloss over the topic you'll be covering and figure out HOW to study, not what you are studying. For some people, going to lecture is absolutely critical in order to do well in class. Other people learn from the book just fine.

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