Organic Chem Advice

<p>Hi all,</p>

<p>I'm trying to help out D who is not feeling the love for chem right now. She's a 1st semester freshman who will be taking organic chem I next semester. Do any of you have any tips or suggestions for survivng orgo? I know she needs to STUDY and she's read about understanding mechanisms (?). Are there any supplemental books that really helped you? Does anyone have any experience with 'Teach Yourself Organic Chemistry Visually in 24 Hours'. I am skeptical, but thought I'd ask anyway.</p>

<p>She (and I) would appreciate any words of wisdom you have. This is an amazing forum and it is so good of you all to give so much of your time.</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>We had to buy "Organic Chemistry as a 2nd Language," I haven't read it but my friends say it's helpful and does a good job of breaking down the mechanisms and concepts. Has your daughter thought about pushing back Orgo I to next year, so she can take I and II back to back instead of having a summer gap?</p>

<p>D's school (smallish LAC) only offers Orgo I in spring and II in the fall, so she doesn't have that option. </p>

<p>Thanks for the book suggestion. I'll have her check it out.</p>

<p>Orgo as a freshman, huh?</p>

<p>Well it is definitely something that needs to be studied consistently, in other words, every day or several times a week. An hour a day, or a couple hours every so often during the week is very helpful. Also, be very thorough when studying; it is a subject that builds on itself and if one doesn't understand a concept, it is a major problem because that concept will come up time and time again.</p>

<p>I agree with GoldShadow's advice. I took organic chemistry I as a freshman and I realized that it wasn't a difficult subject, just a very time-consuming one. Your daughter should be prepared to put in the hours and to not breeze over any of the material because she will see the same concepts over and over and over again. It's also important to understand the HOW and WHY components, instead of just getting an answer and pretending you knew how to get there.</p>

<p>I think what's said above is all great advice.</p>

<p>I'm going to be taking Orgo II next semester. Is Orgo II not very different from Orgo I? How much harder and time-consuming will Orgo II be? How can you ensure you'll be successful in Orgo II?</p>

<p>ysk1, organic II for me right now is just learning one type of reaction after another. Many do overlap and you will hopefully notice a pattern so that they are easier to study. We have spent the past couple of chapters learning basic biochemistry, which is much more interesting. </p>

<p>As nerdy as this will sound, my advice to prepare for next semester is to look over the material you're learning right now over your winter break. My org II class picked up right where we left off at the end of spring semester and the professor expected us to remember all stereochemistry, nomenclature, SN1/SN2/etc, reducing/oxidizing agents. Topics like chair conformations, which I thought I'd never see again, have found its way into later chapters.</p>

<p>Focus should always be on how electrons move - that is the one constant thread through every reaction. Electrons tend to move in similar ways. If you can understand how/why electrons move rather than just memorizing the reaction, you'll be able to solve most reactions even if you haven't seen them or they happen to be upside down and backwards on the test (that was a favorite quote of my organic professor "That seems pretty simple, so how will I blow your minds on the exam? I'll put it upside down and backwards! And half of you will miss it!)</p>

<p>Also remember that every reaction is simply the joining of an electrophilic portion of one molecule with the nucleophilic portion of another. I think that often gets lost in the scope of discussion.</p>

<p>If the "24 hours" book is like some similarly-named tech manuals I've seen, you may find the title a bit misleading. It doesn't imply that a day after you start, you'll have mastered the topic. Rather, it means that the material has been divided into 24 lessons which one can theoretically complete in an hour apiece. Realistically, this kind of learning has to be done in a distributed manner spread over time, with plenty of review of prior lessons.</p>

<p>From my experiences, the only way to truly master chem is to enjoy it. I'd suggest starting out with a beginner's book (such as Carey's or Brown and Foote's) and then working up to the advanced material (Clayden's!).</p>

<p>I finished orgo 2 last semester with an A. I found that the way to succeed in it is to first master all the reactions and their mechanisms as quickly as they are covered, and then do as many textbook problems as you can. Most textbook problems, especially synthesis ones, take up very much time, so it's important to do those questions little by little and consistently during the semester, not pile them up until exams. I piled them up once for my midterm, and it was HELL to do all of them at once. Ask any questions you have related to mechanisms, textbook problems and virtually anything else to your prof or TA as soon as possible.</p>

<p>My thoughts:</p>

<p>When it comes to intro (premed) classes you'll either have it or you won't. Sure, if you major in something like chemistry you can improve in time. However, taking a class a semester, you'll either get it or you won't.</p>

<p>Orgo is basically about synthesis of compounds. The key to solving the synthesis problems is to know what puzzle pieces (reactions) you have in your arsenal. So, it's important to keep track of what things you are able to do to the molecules.</p>

<p>There is a lot of emphasis on mechanisms as well because understanding how the electrons move will help you figure out what's the "best" way to go about synthesizing (and getting the highest yield). I found it really helpful to visualize the molecules so I could see where there is more empty space for things to move. Definitely draw each step of reactions - this is not the time to be lazy. And of course, do as many problems as you can. It's all about practice - you'll start picking up patterns and shortcuts soon enough.</p>

<p>Reaction Mechanisms, Synthesis, Types of Reactions, IUPAC Naming, Misc Concepts (not in order of difficulty) are the major Components of Orgo. Trust me, it's a good idea to treat this class as you're NUMBER 1 priority. I didn't and I not only messed up the first time, but also when I was retaking it. It's all about taking good notes, and practice practice practice. Try learning how to take cornell notes, they are really helpful for orgo. As for textbook suggestions: Organic Chemistry 7th Edition, by: Robert C. Atkins, Francis A. Carey. This book is about as heavy as my car but the book along with the solutions manual will turn you into a genius (If you actually read it and do the problems). Once again, I didn't and I paid for it, dearly. Good luck in your Chemistry adventures, I'm bracing my self for orgo 2.</p>

<p>you can't look at Orgo with a defeatist attitude, you have to really make an effort to master it and really understand what's going on, after all, the basic concepts from orgo are extremely important in biochemistry. i think the best way to do this is to study with a friend. my friend and i both did miles better together than we would have done studying alone. after attending lectures and going through the material on our own, we would work out practise problems and check our answers, and whoever got it right would explain it to the other person if they got it wrong: helps both people, because teaching someone something proves you understand it. then we would make up examples of our own, giving each other a product molecule and asking the other how this could have been synthesized, etc.
also, studying with a friend makes it a lot easier to keep each other calm and focused and stops you feeling depressed and anti-social the night before a big test :)</p>

<p>I can tell you that dislike of chem is not a predisposition to dislike of orgo. I really liked orgo and not so much chem.</p>

I can tell you that dislike of chem is not a predisposition to dislike of orgo. I really liked orgo and not so much chem.


I second it. I absolutely hated gen chem but really loved orgo.....</p>

<p>I see people are up late, so I will ask this of them.</p>

<p>My 16 yr old could take orgo (a 1 semester course) as a senior in high school. However, her work ethic may be a little suspect. She wants to take organic chem, but she is also taking physics (the hardest, calculus based), calculus 2 and then 3, and PE and English and a social studies course, and a foreign language.</p>

<p>I don't want her to get a C or worse in something from overload.</p>

<p>She says she loves 'organic molecules'. </p>

<p>She's smart, just hasn't really had to work that hard--I mean, she procrastinates and then tries to get it all done, and that hasn't always worked. </p>

<p>Her chem teacher initially hesitated, because he's teaching the orgo class, and he had her last semester (A first semester -- a repeat of her previous chem class, then C second semester, would have been a B but for problems with calculus 1 siphoning off study time). Then he said as long as she watched the drop date in case of need.</p>

<p>Do you think a high school senior should have this kind of pressure? It would nix a social life, that's for sure. Not that she had much of one before, though. She tends to ignore the world and get involved a lot on the computer--usually writing stuff.</p>

<p>I can say from personal experience that although I was extremely happy with the AP credit I got out of it, I regret not having more fun in high school. I think I cried every day junior year from work overload (whether I actually had too much work or whether I was just too stressed and unable to handle what I did have I don't know....but either way it's not a situation you want). My advice would be yea, work hard, as your daughter clearly is, but high school is a time to have fun as well, and taking orgo in high school is UNNECCESSARY. if you're saying she is still in high school procrastinator mode (I know EXACTLY what you mean, I did the same thing) then orgo is probably the worst class she could take, she will overload herself and she will not be able to put in the required effort and therefore nothing positive will come of it. You only get out of orgo what you put into it.
That said, I know if my parents had told me not to take a class in high school because it would be too much work, I would have completely ignored them because I thought I should be able to handle anything and they didn't know what they were talking about =/ Yea, I handled it, but I think I missed out on a lot in the process. Hopefully your daughter has a bit more sense than I did and will listen to her parents' advice...</p>

<p>Anyone have a recommendation for a really good textbook that explains the concepts clearly?</p>