Mastering Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry requires consistency and self-discipline. Out of all of my other courses, I have spent the most time studying for organic chemistry. Staying consistent with studying and doing practice problems was the challenging part of the course.

I will share my strategies and resources that has helped me improve and enjoy organic chemistry! Try them out and see what works best for you.

To start, it is important to understand orbitals and how orbitals are involved in bonding and resonance. Having this foundation helps with understanding why and how reaction mechanisms work. Doing practice problems along with reading about this topic is highly recommended! Working with reactions helps you see a pattern and apply it to other reactions to obtain the same product. While it may sometimes be overwhelming to learn about different reactions and their mechanisms, it is helpful to have different pathways and options to choose from. In the course I am currently taking, my professor explores different pathways that will help obtain the desired product. Again, doing a lot of practice problems (especially synthesis problems) has helped me understand multiple reactions at once and not feel overwhelmed. The lecture often follows the course’s syllabus and textbook’s chapters on specific topics, doing the chapter’s assigned problems offers a lot guidance. If there are any confusion with a topic or textbook problem, talking to professors in office hours can help you walk through the problem and thoroughly explain. The more practice problems sets you do and clarifying anything with your professor, the more comfortable you will be during exams.

Synthesis and reactions are the primary topic of organic chemistry. However, there are other topics that become incorporated such as functional groups, IUPAC Nomenclature, spectroscopy and more! Resources that have helped me understand these topics were:

  • The Organic Chemistry Tutor (YouTube)
  • Khan Academy
  • Leah4Sci
  • David R. Klein’s Organic Chemistry book
  • Bozeman Science
  • Master Organic Chemistry
  • Office Hours!!

Organic chemistry lab brings you the experience to learn more about the topics in the course, making it more interesting to learn and apply in a hands-on environment!

Having a planner and study routine is helpful to becoming organized and staying updated on exams and assignments. Studying and becoming consistent with a routine can be difficult for many. Something that has helped me become more disciplined with my habits is to think about my goals and remember why I am in in the pre-health track. The hard work I am doing currently can bring a lot of opportunities in the future. Having a positive attitude with your goals and studying can make studying a little more enjoyable. This helps change the idea of studying from being a stressful task to an opportunity to get closer to a desired goal. Also, avoid comparing yourself with other people! What works for them may not work for you, everyone has different abilities and learning methods. Compared to my first semester of my freshman year, my study habits have changed a lot based on what worked for me. I have tried different methods from watching videos, making flashcards and color-coding my notes. I incorporated what worked for me and even combined them! Currently, my study method is using the Pomodoro technique along with watching videos and practice problems. The Pomodoro technique is a time management system that breaks down studying into 25-minute slots and 5-minute breaks. The intervals help keep you on-task while also having a break, so studying doesn’t feel crammed and overwhelming.