Three elements to get Through Organic Chemistry


I once asked a fellow student how to study for an upcoming test, and he told me to make a list of comparisons for everything.  I thought the idea was crazy at the time, but did it anyway. I made a list for each exam and found that it helped me greatly.  I used them as a reference guide and had to go back to them many times. I also found that having a study partner to help me worked wonders because, what you may not be good at, your partner may be able to teach you. Study partners are good because you can help each other.  You will need to also make a list of what you don’t know, and study that before the test and not what you already think you know. Review all labs before entering lab and you will do well in lab.  Make notes from the notes, comparisons, and finding a study partner should help you through this class.


     Make Lists of all chemicals, or reagents that can change to make a chemical, from A to B. Take a piece of paper and label it as study guide for test one, or what ever test you are on.  For an example, you may be taught about a substitution reaction.  In short it is called a Sn (for substation) 1 being the type of substitution. There is also a Sn 2 Rxn.  Draw a line down the center (of your paper) and label it, for example, Sn1 Rxn compared to Sn2 Rxn.  This way you can list how A. is different than B.  This is just an example.  There will be many reactions given to you from your notes. You must make the comparisons from A. to B. on a separate piece of paper for each exam, before you take it.


If the exam is soon and you’re still un-prepared, there is still hope. Make a wish list for the next exam coming up soon (TWO DAYS).  There will be a list of things you need to remember, but don’t know how to memorize them. You have memorized so many all ready, but what about the ones you could not get around to memorize, or know?  From the notes you were suppose to memorize but didn’t, you still can.  A day or two before the test make a list of what you don’t know.  This is your wish list.  This is what you can’t carry into take the exam.  Study that piece of paper you make, ten minutes before that exam.  Once you have your exam, immediately copy your new knowledge onto a blank sheet of paper given by the instructor.  I say this because once you think you can remember what everything does, and see the exam in front of you it is hard to remember. The best advice I can give is to know what you don’t know before each exam and study it well.  Also, don’t forget a wish list.


Sometimes you need a study partner.  That person will help you with the problems that you need to solve.  The tutors are sometimes too pre-engaged or active, to answer your questions.  With a study partner, you can learn from each other. The point is that you do need some study partner to ask questions.  Also, take some time to study away from your partner, that way you can each teach something new to each other.


(LAB)  ALWAYS  READ AND REVIEW BEFORE CLASS ON LAB DAYS!  I can honestly say that the labs were easy because following directions are easy.  How hard is it to follow lab protocol?  Remember what you have been previously been though.  This teacher will mark off points for inappropriate behavior, or just not following the lab protocol. I must say that I may not have done well on the exams, but I understand the labs.  You must use common intelligence. There are chemists that assist all teachers in the back room to make your job easier.  Basically it shortens your lab time experience.  One time in the lab, a lab personal did a fractional distillation for me, I was grateful.  What you may not know is how long it takes to do some things in the lab, but I now do. Wash all your glassware because if you don’t a lab tec. will and points will be deducted.


To summarize, make a comparison list before each exam, and save those lists because you will to go back to them in the future. Also, don’t forget to make a wish list of what you don’t know, and find a study partner to help you. Review labs before walking into the lab room to save time. Walk into the lab room prepared and ready to go. Know what you are going to do before all labs. With this knowledge, Organic I and Organic II  will be a little easier.


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