FUD First O chem exam

Hi all,

Preparing for the first O Chem exam and definitely experiencing some FUD. Any tips on acing this one?

I don’t know when your exam is, but the way I always aced mine was the Sunday before an exam I spent 6 hours in the library rotating from problems, to flashcards to notes in intrevals.

You first OChem exam is mostly nomenclature, right? I think that is what I remeber from last year. The key is flashcards. And doing the problems as many times as possible.

Chemistry is my weakest point, and recognizing that became an advantage.

The best advice I got in regards to OChem is that it’s like learning a foreign language, and the same rules apply. You’ll have to memorize a lot, afterall, you have to build a new vocabulary. You’ll have to know where exceptions exist, and learn those inside and out-that way on test day, you won’t waste time trying to decide between the “regular” option and otherwise.

Personally, I’d recommend reading Wilkes’ Organic Chemistry as a Second Language prior to starting each chapter in your textbook. They teach the concepts really well! I used it to lay a great foundation, and now Orgo II is a breeze.

And yes, lots and lots of practice problems. Good luck!

Do other folks find flashcards and class notes helpful for organic chemistry I (my teacher is terrible-so class notes aren’t so great)? I’m just working/re-working problems, problems, problems, referencing my text, O chem as a 2nd language, and David Klein’s new O chem text when questions come up. I’m not used to studying for an exam by just doing problems? I have solution manuals for 2 texts which is fabulous.

Do practice problems. DO practice problems. DO practice PROBLEMS. DO PRACTICE PROBLEMS!!!

I cannot say this enough. Memorization in organic is torture. Understanding will make it more bearable, and just like physics and calculus it only makes sense if you practice and practice and practice.

My organic professor always said if you look at your answer and you “understand it” but you didn’t get it 100% right then you need to keep working.

Ditto what Pixie said…Do practice problems. Does your prof provide old exams to study from? I found those very helpful…they were never verbatim, but helped me to see patterns and areas that I needed to strengthen my understanding.

O-chem is logic…learn the rules and how to systematically apply them. You won’t look at a question and be able to spit out a pat answer…you have to be methodical and work through it step by step.


Having been there, done that…and am currently doing it all over again (because it was so darned fun the first time!), I have to echo the PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE sentiments. Also, I second the use of O-chem as a Second Language. Valuable study tool! Don’t just read it. Get out your pencil and work the problems.

I just had my first midterm in o-chem. What I did to practice was work all of the problems from the assigned chapters, work all of the associated problems in O-chem as a Second Language, went over previous quizzes (this year’s and last year’s) and last year’s midterm, and I went through the lecture slides and practiced the clicker questions. I think I actually did pretty well (based on viewing the answer key). Better than I’ve ever done on a chem exam for sure. We’ll find out for sure tomorrow!

Oh…a side note: don’t neglect your state of mind and body. This class can be grueling. Take care of yourself and make sure it doesn’t consume you. Practice stress relief techniques during exams if you need them. For me that made all of the difference in the world. I just wish I would’ve figured that out sooner.

Good luck to you!