Anything to prep for orgo?

I’m contemplating e-mailing the professor asking for the syllabus (at least from last year) and the book title/author/edition we will be using so I can buy it now and start reading through it this summer. I want to have a good grasp on the material before the semester starts so I nail an “A” this time vs. the B I got in gen chem II. You think they will concede and give me the info or simply tell me to wait like the rest of the students?

I don’t see why you couldn’t do that.

My CC actually keeps the current syllabus on the website, and the semester’s complete lecture packet is available in PDF form online (not the actual lectures, just what topics are covered from each chapter).

Also, it seems like you should be able to order, or at least preorder your books from the campus bookstore by now. That would let you find out the textbook and edition without getting in contact with the prof. Getting a prof to return an email could be the hard part! ond-Lan…

It’s a small university so I’m thinking that won’t be too hard getting a reply. I just hope I don’t brand myself before the semester begins with professors I haven’t met yet.

Make sure you buy model sets and learn how to use them; play with them - I use mine to emulate what I see in the books and try to understand why a reaction hits a certain part of the molecule along with subsequent reaction and new molecule.

Is your school using the Wade O-Chem book?


It’s a very good idea, Susan (aka BOOBS), to try and get on that particular course. I know I did and am glad I did!

My Alma matter has a great course, available online, with sound/video that is just absolutely super. Dr. Ariel Fenster has been teaching this course for decades! He has his own unique style. I went through it during the summer prior to attending the course. It was invaluable to me.

Check out:

There are several courses offered on that site by McGill University in Montreal. They are offered as a free service, NOT for credit though! Orgo. I is the first course right on top of the list.

Organic chemistry is a broad topic; the contents offered there may differ from that at your university. Nonetheless, you are sure to be exposed to very similar material.

Let me know what you think!


I will definitly look at that Presse thanks! (yes I did change the handle Seems a bit more professional no?)

I found the textbook companion “pushing electrons a guide for students of organic chemistry” very helpful. I read it and did the exercises the summer before my O-Chem class (I got an A).

I read some tips from the SDN website that the book “Organic Chemistry as a Second Language” by David Klein and the use of flash cards is very helpful.

I heartily endorse two things mentioned here: Pushing Electrons, and model sets. I could not have gotten through o-chem without them. Pushing Electrons is deceptively simple - it’s only as you keep going that you realize the repetition and exercises are really teaching you something. And there is NO substitute for real-live 3D model sets. O-chem is a very 3D kind of subject.


I’m also taking Orgo 1 in the fall. Would taking the Survey of Organic Chemistry class during the summer help? I was originally planning to review math and work on MCAT verbal but I’ve heard so many scary things about Orgo so I’m worried.

Obviously, I’m assuming the “survey” course is a lot easier than the real orgo course.

I am another who is embarking onto Organic Chemistry this coming fall. I do have the 2nd language book, but I also have a textbook by Janice Gorzynski Smith that received a lot of good reviews on the MCAT forum of SDN. I started reviewing it because it has been a couple of years since general chem. I’m really impressed so far. It is a used book, and with shipping I got it for $8.99. I found out from the professor that they are changing the text (they were using Wade) which bummed me a little because I’ve heard good things.

Anyone familiar with Brown and Foote?

I’m definitely going to use this summer to prep myself. I’m planning on holding my 4.0 average in science.

Check with your campus bookstore. They should have a list for all their fall courses pretty soon.

Organic chem is a real challenge, at least for most of us. If you have a way to prepare in advance, do so. You won’t regret it. I took orgo twice so I know whereof I speak

2nd Language is a pretty good introductory guide that teaches you some of the diagramming, resonance concepts, etc. in a gentle and easy to grasp manner.

You may find a 3-D model useful as well. I got one but didn’t find it as useful as I thought. I’m a visual kind of thinker already and found it easy to visualize the molecules in my head. Coming up with the rules of behavior, now that’s a different story…

I would seriously get the textbook and read as much of it as you can before the fall semester starts. Just take 2-3 hours a night and do it, and work all the problems too. If it’s some crappy book without problem sets, get one of the MCAT prep books and work the orgo problems in those. There’s some stuff floating around the internet, too.

Going into orgo with a clue is going to be helpful. It’s big, and builds on itself very nicely, so if you keep up you’ll be OK but if you get behind you’re lost. Best of luck,

  • Hirothecripplekitty Said:
Check with your campus bookstore. They should have a list for all their fall courses pretty soon.

Schools around here don't release the course list for the bookstore until 3 days before classes start. It sort of ensures you have to buy there I suppose.
  • LC2Doc Said:
  • Hirothecripplekitty Said:
Check with your campus bookstore. They should have a list for all their fall courses pretty soon.

Schools around here don't release the course list for the bookstore until 3 days before classes start. It sort of ensures you have to buy there I suppose.

Susan, are you checking with the school bookstore or directly through the science department. I know that in regards to the bookstore, they definitely want to keep the business, but maybe you might want to contact the professor directly.

Many times instructors will provide the name of the book because they too get frustrated with the high cost of some texts (although if they are a contributing author, that might be different ).

Two other options are to either look to see if previous organic chem students are selling their might be able to get an idea of what text they used. Once you get a name, you can just check to see if it will be the same textbook for the next semester (some schools stay with the same text for a couple of years).

The other option, which I am using, is to just use another text...for the most part it isn't going to be much different and the thing you'll gain is learning the concepts which should be the same. I always go for recommendations on what books are most helpful (for me it is the 2nd Language book by David Klein and a textbook by Janice G. Smith).

I was just at Borders and couldn’t remember the name of the book I did see a text by Klein, I almost bought it but it didn’t say 2nd language lol. Off to Amazon I go. But that’s what I was wondering if my actual profs would relinquish the text book info just because I asked or if they tend to stick by the bookstore for the sake of keeping funds coming into the school. I sent e-mails out though so hopefully they’ll respond.

Well, from what I have discovered…most of the professors that I met could care less where you get the books…they just want you to get them and read them. It’s amazing how there are always a few students in class that will brag that they didn’t even open the text, and even if they did well, how much better would they have been if they did open it.

Believe me, bookstores make out very well, because they know that students that have financial aid usually have no choice but to use their financial aid at the bookstore.