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Nike1920Nike1920 Posts: 134Registered User Junior Member
edited December 2012 in Pre-Med Topics
How difficult is this class compared to say, AP Biology in high school? I know that it require a lot of conceptual thinking and memorization -- I don't know if I should buy into all the hype of how hard it is because my Bio teacher flat out told us we'd be memorizing the entire 362 page textbook throughout the year..should I be concerned with O-Chem? I know its heavily scrutinized by med schools.
Post edited by Nike1920 on
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Replies to: O-chem

  • i_wanna_be_Browni_wanna_be_Brown Posts: 5,260Registered User Senior Member
    depends a lot on the type of class your college offers.

    For example, I got a C in orgo 1 and a B in orgo 2 at my school but the level of orgo needed for the MCAT was very, very easy. I therefore imagine at some schools it's not that difficult.
  • Nike1920Nike1920 Posts: 134Registered User Junior Member
    So its pretty much going to vary from college to college?
  • kristin5792kristin5792 Posts: 2,026Registered User Senior Member
    ^definitely. I went the honors orgo route at my state school; without question the hardest class I took in undergrad. The regular version is "just" another big lecture class. A classmate from orgo is now an orgo TA at a top school and swears their class is easier than ours was in terms of conceptual difficulty and quantity of material to memorize.

    It's hard to compare unrelated classes to each other. If you think back to, say, 7th grade science, at the time it might have been the hardest class you could ever imagine. Then you get to HS, and now AP bio's one of the toughest classes you can imagine; but does it feel much different than the toughest classes ever in years past felt? Same concept applies to comparing high school to college, and (in my opinion) comparing college to med school.

    Regardless of how a tough HS class compares to a tough college class, it's great that you've chosen to take the tough HS class because it will almost certainly teach you how to be a better student--and if you've got med school on your radar, learning how to be an excellent student is certainly in your best interest.
  • plumazulplumazul Posts: 1,588Registered User Senior Member
    @Nike,
    How difficult is this class compared to say, AP Biology in high school? I know that it require a lot of conceptual thinking and memorization -- I don't know if I should buy into all the hype of how hard it is because my Bio teacher flat out told us we'd be memorizing the entire 362 page textbook throughout the year..should I be concerned with O-Chem? I know its heavily scrutinized by med schools.

    You should be "concerned" with all of your studies. There's no reason to fret about orgo since if you want to attend MS you must take it. Do your very best.
    When I took orgo, the class was curved to approx the B/C line. This is probably very common. If you have always scored in the top quarter of your classes, then there is little reason to think you won't continue to do the same in orgo.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,833Registered User Senior Member
    O-chem is a huge time commitment. It is usually one of the weeder classes in UG.
    It depends on schools, but AP Bio was much easier for my D. than her first college Bio class, which went thru AP Bio material in first 2 weeks. And O-chem was harder than that, it is lots of memorization.
    It absolutely does not mean that you cannot get another A in orgo. Just hasve to work harder. However, some students are saying that Gen. Chem is harder. Cannot say that, as Gen. Chem was the easiest science class for my D.
    Again. concern or not, does it make any difference? If you plan to attend Med. School, you have to take it. However you feel about it would be pretty irrelevant.
  • Kdog044Kdog044 Posts: 1,452Registered User Senior Member
    I think it depends on the school as different ones use different classes for their weeder class. Gen Chem at my son's was one of the more difficult ones. I think Orgo at any school would be tough.
  • RaycmrRaycmr Posts: 296Registered User Junior Member
    I do not understand that there could be differences in the degree of difficulty between schools that teach organic chemistry. Last year my daughter took a standardized test from the American Chemistry Society as the final so I thought that was a nation wide test.
  • cortana431cortana431 Posts: 5,015- Senior Member
    I do not understand that there could be differences in the degree of difficulty between schools that teach organic chemistry.

    All professors are not created equal. Think about it: some are much better at teaching the subject than others or other professors simply give more work, homework, or more difficult tests.
  • aldfig0aldfig0 Posts: 863Registered User Member
    Tests can emphasize different things. My old ochem professor's tests had many questions that contained a box between two chemicals (a chemical you start with and a product) and you were supposed to write down what reagents were needed to get from the starting material to the product. My current professor likes to put many questions that ask to draw mechanisms for particular reactions - an entirely different skill set (one of the students I know had trouble adjusting).
    plumazul wrote:
    f you have always scored in the top quarter of your classes, then there is little reason to think you won't continue to do the same in orgo.
    This statement has an assumption that the same skills are tested in equal amounts in all of these classes. Not everyone is equally good at all of these aspects (such as memorization, problem solving, math, etc).
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Posts: 6,539Registered User Senior Member
    And some classes go into greater depth than others. There is no national standardized curriculum for Ochem.
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Posts: 13,833Registered User Senior Member
    "How difficult is this class compared to say, AP Biology in high school?"
    -Much harder, not comparable. Lots of memorization, you will need huge time commitment.
    However, I agree 100% with "f you have always scored in the top quarter of your classes, then there is little reason to think you won't continue to do the same in orgo."
    If you always got an A, most likely you will get an A in Orgo as you have figured out by now what takes to get an A. I do not know any other approach except for spending more time in harder classes. Learn to go over material in your head while walking from class to class. Very useful skill in Med. School anyway.
  • RaycmrRaycmr Posts: 296Registered User Junior Member
    Since the orgo final appears to be standardized, it would be logical to spend a portion of class time to " teach to the test".
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Posts: 6,539Registered User Senior Member
    Since the orgo final appears to be standardized

    But in fact it's not. There is no national set of standards for the OChem curriculum. There are no universally given national standardized final exams for OChem.

    Most colleges and universities do not administer the ACS exam as a final.

    So when you say that OChem ought to "teach to the test"--what test exactly are you talking about? The MCAT? PCAT? GRE? PE exam for chemical engineers?
  • Kdog044Kdog044 Posts: 1,452Registered User Senior Member
    MiamiDAP wrote:
    If you always got an A, most likely you will get an A in Orgo as you have figured out by now what takes to get an A.
    I'm sorry but I have to disagree with this point. My son knew how to get A's and all though grade, middle and high school he never received anything but A's. His first semester in college was a rude awakening. Do you think he suddenly forgot how to study or slacked off? No, there are professors who intentionally make tests impossible and curve to get the percentage of students at each desired grade level. It was no longer about studying material presented in class or through homework. It was how to find the obscure information that could potentially be on test that might have never been discussed or conveyed in any way. It might not be like this at every UG and it's not in every class but I can attest for it's existence at my son's school. He has had to develop a whole new method of studying and processing information. Is he still an above average student? Yes, but he will never see a 4.0 again in his academic career.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Posts: 6,539Registered User Senior Member
    I have to say I agree with KDog here. MY DH was of the firm philosophy that there are some classes where getting an A just isn't worth the effort. This is not to say the class was not worthwhile or the material is too difficult, but rather the amount of effort required to get an A (as opposed to B+) just isn't reasonable.

    As in all things in life, grades require a cost/benefit analysis. If getting an A in a particular class is going to cause you to get Cs (or even Bs) in the rest of your classes that semester, the getting an A definitely isn't worth the cost it'll take to achieve it.

    Sometimes it's better just to cut bait....
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