Ochem.... I love that subject
Ask all my friends....I smile in lecture and am the happiest gal in the room!
1. Read the chapter before lecture and actually do the problem sets (at the end of the chapter and throughout the chapter) before
the lecture. I cannot emphasize that enough.
2. Re-do those problem sets after lecture. I did my problems at least a few times before exams. Before the final/cumulative exam, I re-did all the problems....from the very first chapter to the last.
3. OChem like Biology (at least for me) is to study on a regular basis....devote around 2-3 hours/day. More if you need it or/and if you like the subject.
4. Get a hold of old exams (don't memorize the answer), but it will give your a glimpse of what your teacher emphasizes. Believe me: every teacher is different.
5. Go to google.com and type in "exam I ochem I" or similar phases. You should be able to find old exams (from other universities) on line. If you see overlapping questions/synthesis/mechanism......most likely it will appear one way or the other on your exam.
6. Get a good mechanical pencil (the ones that have the pressing part near the finger and not at the top) and eraser. These little things will save precious exam time and let you focus on deciphering the question.
7. Make flash cards or else write down the reactions on white paper. Somehow, writing on white paper works much better than loose leaf paper.
8. If you do the problems many time, you will find a pattern amongst these similar looking mechanism. I think it was finding patterns that helped me out a lot.....especially in epoixide.
9. Re-write classnotes.
10. When you take down classnotes, do so in two different color pens. I did mine in traditional blue and hot pink. This gives life to your notes and should allow for contrast/compare of important concepts.
11. There should be a section in your old library that has old ochem textbooks. Look for those and do additional problems. My ochem professor told me that this was how he use to study for his exams.
12. Even if the professor tells you that exam I will cover chaper 12-15, I would do the problems in those chapters as well as chapter 16-18. OChem is an accumulation of previous topics. If you find chapter 12-15 material in chaper 16-18, it is most likely a very important concept.
13. Don't be afraid to talk to yourself when you do those problems, such as "nucleophile attacks electrophile," etc.
14. Be sure not to take too many challenging courses when you take ochem classes. Most people that I know people who took three challenging science classes (ochem included) ended up getting less than what they would have otherwise.
15. Get help early if you need it.
Ochem is not a topic that can be crammed a few nights before the test....it takes hard work and sacrifice.
These were the tips I used when I took Ochem II. I wish I came up with these strategies when I took Ochem I.
Good luck. I will post additional ideas when they come to me