Preparing for Organic - topics to review?

Taking Org. I this fall. Any recos on Gen. Chem. topics to brush up on? I scanned the first few sections of our textbook and orbitals/electron configuration is a must. Anything else?

I’m planning to review my notes/test from Gen. Chem just to wake my mind up, but want to really get into anything that is critical for Organic.


Warning: I haven’t taken ochem yet, so my opinion might not mean much. Still, I’d recommend watching a couple videos a day in the ochem section over at khan academy. From those, you might get an idea of what you already know and what you need to work on…plus a good preview of the course.

Organic Chemistry I As a Second Language: First Semester Topics

By far the best source of practice problems and better explainations than the textbook. I used it every night to practice my reactions and synthesis.

You won’t be disapointed. Best 16 bucks that you will ever invest in an Ochem book. The other is buy yourself an ochem model kit. It will totally help distinguish the direction of rotations when it comes to chirality and optical activity.

God Speed!!

I would honestly just get ahead in the organic book. They tend to cover everything you need to know. The best way to understand organic is to treat it like a new language or hobby that you need to do everyday. If you just want a topic list of things to review for some other reason, the following would be a good place to start:

-Valence Shell Electron Repulsion Theory (VSEPR)

-Sigma bonds are strong. A pi bond is weaker than a sigma. A double bond is stronger than a single bond but not two times as strong because it is sigma+pi not sigma+sigma. Triple bond > double bond > single bond.

-Electronic geometry and molecular geometry (more so molecular)

-Generally what acids and bases are (Bronstead-Lowery and Lewis)

-Oxidation is loss of hydrogens/electrons; reduction is gain of hydrogens/electrons (OIL RIG)

-Energy of activation diagrams: activation energy, catalysts effects, delta G, spontaneous or not

-General stuff about pKa: the lower the number (more negative) the stronger the acid. The higher the number (more positive), the weaker the acid - which reactant is more likely to lose a hydrogen? the one with the lower pKa = the more acidic one.

I don’t mean to oversimplify but A LOT of orgo can be explained by hydrogen bonding, steric hindrance, or where the electrons are. Always keep that in the back of your head - especially if you are making an educated guess!

  • Julio Cesar Said:
Organic Chemistry I As a Second Language: First Semester Topics

My school uses the textbook based on these books written by the same author. If your school doesn't, I'd ask your professor if it would be harmful for you to just use that textbook instead (David Klein, ISBN-13: 978-0471756149). Get the solutions manual. @Julio Cesar are you the Brazilian Goalkeeper?

I’m registered to take ochem this fall too. The university where I’m my class is offering a jump start ochem session. It’s about 8hrs long over 2 days right before the semester begins. You could check with your school to see if the academic counseling or tutoring services may have a similar type of program.

@Julio Cesar are you the Brazilian Goalkeeper?”

LoL!!! Na, I’m just a Cuban immigrant working towards medical school.

Excellent - thanks for the input, All. Love these boards!

Make sure you know your nomenclature. It will help you in the long run and also pay close attention to trends. At first Organic seems like another language but if you look at the trends and NOMENCLATURE life will be a little easier. But I can’t stress enough, NOMENCLATURE

Great book.

I’m in Ochem I this fall, too, so thanks for all the suggestions also. I’ve had Organic Chem As a Second Language on my bookshelf for about a year ever since I saw it recommended on these boards. I got one off Ebay, but if it’s as good as everyone says it’s probably worth the brand new price tag, too! I also bought Pushing Electrons off Ebay after I found a suggestion for it somewhere. I haven’t cracked that one yet, though. I am focused on finishing up my 1st semester Physics right now and then during my 2 week break get some Ochem preparation in. I’ve read part of the beginning of the text but because of Physics I haven’t invested in it much. However, the introduction and/or first chapter as I recall went through a good review of gen chem stuff that will be important for Ochem. I imagine any decent textbook would do something similar to get a student reacquainted with those concepts one should already know well.

corewr: An Ochem jump start program?! That’s excellent. I’d be so game for that. I will see if my University has such a thing, but you know budget cuts, budget cuts. Or so everyone says ad nauseum around campus so I sincerely doubt it exists where I’m at. I have an appt. with my premed advisor before classes begin again so I’ll ask her, too. What a great idea, though!

@shanport: Yeah, the jump start course started today. It’s a nice refresher of gen chem. The session is actually done by a professor and 2 chem tutors. The tutoring services at the univ offers help for gen chem and orgo. If they have evening hours, I might have to check them out. I bought my textbook today (eek!). I need to get Organic chem as a 2nd language from the library or ebay.

Turns out there is no “jumpstart” course at my university, unfortunately. So, I’m doing my own using Khan Academy, Organic Chem as a Second Language and my textbook. So far I’m doing it all kind of half a**ed but better than nothing. I watched three KA videos while on the treadmill yesterday and casually read the beginning of the text in bed and started Org as 2nd language very casually, too. I may up my game this next week as the clock is ticking, but we’ll see. Keep posting how you are doing as the fall semester moves along.

Shannon–get a model kit! Prentis makes a great one… if you have any problems visualizing the different confirmations (shapes/organization of molecules) in spatial arrangement, and if you are at all unclear on stereochemistry (much of the 1st semester), you will be VERY grateful to have it.

Honestly, you can have mine if you want… just pm me your address. =) It’s currently being used as a toy for my 5 year old. LOL

My other advice to anyone starting organic? Spring for the solutions manual to your textbook if one exists. MORE than worth it!

Hey Carrie, I sent you a PM…