Tips for taking Organic I

I am looking at taking Organic I with Lab this fall. I will also be taking Physics I with lab and be working 30 hours. I’ve read a lot about how hard organic tends to be.

Any specific tips as to how to do well in this class would be really helpful. Just trying to get a headstart. Thanks folks!

get a copy of Daniel Weeks “electron movement” (like 5 bucks used on amazon) it is a short work book less then 100 pages where u draw electrons and follow them. Almost every reaction and mechanism is O-Chem is based in electron movement. Most people get overwhelmed in Ochem because they try to just cram the info. Understanding how electron move is key. Also reviewing all the acid/base types and understanding them (eg Lewis Acid, Bronsted-Lowry Acid, Acid Rock, etc…) Lastly, don’t get behind, stay ahead or you’ll drown. 691439/…

Organic is difficult if you don’t keep up. You can’t really cram last minute for it, since it’s so conceptual. I tutored students for a year, and the ones who had problems were the ones who blew off class and tried to learn it out of a text book right before an exam.

On the bright side, if you show up regularly for lecture and do the problems when they’re assigned, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how straightforward it is. It can be easier than gen chem.

I like that the advice in the post before this was stay AHEAD…

I read “Pushing Electrons” before I took OChem-I and it helps.

My professor did a really nice job of organizing notes for us that connected all of the types of reactions. I may email to ask him if I can post them here. I found them indespensable.

You do need to understand the underlying mechanism but you also need to spend plenty of your time memorizing reactions. Be able to move from one type of molecule to another.

I’m taking ochem I in the fall with physics & cell bio (all with lab of course.) Plus, working about 20 hours a week in a hospital.

One question: do people actually get As in ochem ever? Everyone complains about ochem so much that I wonder? thanks!

I got an A but I had a wonderful professor. It’s completely possible to get an A, you just have to be of the mindset that you can tackle it head on rather than be scared of it. You can do it!

I’m also taking it in the fall with an upper division microbiology (my school offers a lower div microbio too but I figured the higher level one was best) and a poli sci class since I’m working on a 2nd BS and they want me to take it (never took it last time).

I’m not sure how it’ll pan out yet, but my plan has been to try and strengthen my gen chem skill set this summer by taking a summer course in chem. As soon as it’s done I’ll switch over to a review from 2 books: Organic Chemistry as a Second Language & Pushing Electrons. I saw a third that I’m somewhat interested in, but am questioning if that’d be over kill. The Second Language book has been highly recommended by faculty at my university. I found Pushing Electrons on Amazon and the reviews are really good. Seems that it fills in the gaps where Second Language leaves off.

Finally, my current professor is also my orgo prof in the fall, so I’ve been meaning to ask if she’ll be around on campus over break in case I have questions when reviewing. I’m dead set on getting an A in that class. Hopefully my plans and strategy toward that end will work out.

I received an A in organic while working 48 hours. It’s possible…but you must study ahead and work problems. I typically stayed 100 pages in front of the class. Work every problem you can find until you are board intellectually with a specific type of problem. Take old exams and find out what you know and what you don’t know.

A strategy I found useful is to think globally about reactions and reagents. For instance when I think about alkenes, I think how can I make them, what can I do with them and then I think about the reagents like sodium amide in terms of what I can do about them. I also learned, the hard way, that if a problem looks hard its easy if it looks easy its hard.

I have not yet taken OChem myself, but I would recommend getting “Organic Chemistry As a Second Language”. For me it has been a “no-fluff” and straight to the point yet practical survey of the basic OChem concepts.

After about half way through reading and working the problems I feel like I have a comfortable handle on what to me had been some pretty esoteric concepts, like resonance and conformations.

Whereas the topics in Gen Chem are somewhat more isolated from one another throughout the course, OChem seems to be a cumalitive building on top of previous material, which “Second Language”

reinforces through short bit sized showcases of a topic followed by problems (with an answer key).

Unlike just a few weeks ago, I can now understand what Mtnbiker said in that it can be easier than gen chem, if you have a solid grasp of the foundational concepts…which “Second Language” has given me.

And as I have learned from other OChem veterans here on OPM… I am also starting to see the dividends in competence and confidence by working through, as many of the problems as possible, ideally with the molecular models.

Best of luck!