OChem Synthesis

So I am in the 2nd semester of ochem. While I was exempt from the final for ochem 1 because I did so well, I am struggling with synthesis!! I have my first mid term on Monday and for the first time in ochem I am terrified. There is just so much to remember!!! Does anyone have any advice? I think what I really need are more practice problems. I have exhausted all the materials given to me by the instructor and I am still drowning. Just when I think I have…doh! there is something else I am supposed to remember. (**sobbing)

something that I started doing at the end of OChem II, I don’t know if I would have benefited at the beginning from it or not:
I made fill-in-the-blank study sheets - I used excel but you could use anything - but I made them generically by functional group.
then I would study by changing the font in one column to match the background - this makes it disappear
but if you put your cursor in the cell you see the content/answer up at the top.
learning these like building blocks really helped.
what really helped me was to say things aloud as I studied - and every problem, I stated the problem in terms of functional group & target chemistry. hopefully, the problem stated in this way resonated with a rxn I had studied phrased the same way.
how to make an alkane –
how to make an alcohol –
how to make a —
then when I’d see an alkane as the product I’d think - ok, before that it must have been either a or b or c -
how can I get THERE from the starting reagent - try to synthesize backwards.
here’s a good link to check your thinking: http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/~hs0bcl/org1.htm

Sorry I'm a bit late here. I hope that you did well and I will add a few suggestions.
As Lisa said reverse synthesis is really helpful. In my class thats exactly how it was taught and we called it retro-synthesis. For example, I have an alcohol how do I make an alcohol? Grignard. Ok now I need grignard reagents, and so on and so on. This will help you put things together but of course you need to know the reactions.
I used note cards, although that suggestion about excel sounds pretty cool. I grouped them by functional group as well and definitely said every reaction out loud as I studied them. I wrote out mechanisms repeatedly in notebooks and on blackboards. This repetition helps ingrain it in your head and may make connections you hadn't seen before.
You obviously have the basics regarding what makes reactions more or less favorable (you did very well firs semester). Those basics are key and figure in to every reaction so when your in a bind simply think about some of the basics. Whats the nucleophile Whats the electrophile? Acidic or Basic? Resonance etc. Once you connect the basics to the reactions, synthesis shouldn't be memorization game any more.

sorry so late, but for the future…
the advice already given is the best thing to do…making notecards, esp with if you have this and want this…what you need to do…
Now, this is wacky…but you never know, and most days i would do about anything to improve my test results.
they say that floral smell while studing and testing improves your memory.
meditation(like you have time) will help with the anxiety which slows down the memory.
now for the wackiest part…
i bought subliminal memory tapes, listen to them while i sleep and they help me to focus and recall information easier.
it might be in my mind, but if it is working who cares how it does it.
i am pre-dent and in org 2 with the synthesis problems too!
so good luck to you! biggrin.gif