2020 US National Chemistry Olympiad

  • #1
trienebutdiene
1
1
Summary: Thread for discussing the USNCO and how to do well on it. More specifically, tips for doing well on the national round and making the study camp are welcome. Anyone with experience with the olympiad is welcome to post, especially previous study camp qualifiers and honors/high honors recipients.

Hey guys! Starting a thread to discuss chemistry olympiad in the US, but others in the world feel free to discuss and give input! This past year I made it to the national round but didn't make study camp, which is the goal for this coming year. So, those of you who have made the study camp in the past, please give some input - would be highly appreciated!

1. What do you guys recommend for textbooks to prepare for the national round? Most of what I've seen says Atkins for General Chem and Klein for Orgo for all knowledge needed for Parts I and II. Is that accurate? Also, which editions would you recommend - 7th and 3rd respectively? Those are the newest, so I'd think so but not sure. Where can you find these books to buy online for the cheapest? I know Klein is easy to find online for pdf download, but I think I'd rather have a physical copy to use.

2. What resources do you recommend other than textbooks? Obviously doing past papers and problems and studying solutions is important, anything else? Would you say if I were to know those two textbooks backwards and forwards and do a good amount of past test practice would I be in good shape to make the study camp, just based on Parts I and II?

3. That brings me to Part III of the national round: the labs. Best thing here is practice, practice, practice, but does anyone have recommendations as to a list of specific labs to go through?

4. I'm pretty concerned with orgo, since that's my weakest area. That's why I will focus heavily on Klein for this coming year, but I'm wondering if you guys think anything else for orgo prep is a good idea? Such as online orgo courses or lectures? MIT OCW has only exams and problem sets for orgo, but no lectures so that's not ideal. Any other orgo resources to prepare for the orgo on Parts I and II for the national round?

5. Does anyone have any experience with ChemWOOT? Is it worth it or helpful to making study camp?

Again, most of these questions are geared towards past USNCO qualifiers and study camp qualifiers, but anyone interested in the olympiad or chemistry in general feel free to add to the thread.

Study Camp Qualifiers -- What did you do specifically in order to make the Study Camp, especially for ORGO?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
James Pelezo
Gold Member
190
58
For organic review, I've found that the following two resources are great fundamental preps for students entering organic. These are ...
=> Danial Weeks, Pushing Electrons, 4th edn., Saunders Publishing, and
=> Calvin VanderWerfs, Acids, Bases & Chemistry of the Covalent Bond, Reinhold Publishing.

Week's Pushing Electrons is a brief review of Lewis Structures, Resonance & Reaction Mechanisms. It is easy (in my humble opinion) to follow and grasp concepts in these topics. The text is a well written workbook in paperback form, so if you decide to purchase one, I'd suggest getting a new volume as the pages are perforated and easily removed. A used edition may have pages missing. So and extra buck or two may be some insurance in getting all the text. Search 'Week's, Pushing Electrons' and you'll get numerous sources for purchase.

Calvin VanderWerf's, Acids, Bases & Chemistry of the Covalent Bond is a rather old publication (~1961) but is a priceless review of chemical reactions from an acid-base point of view. Don't know if it can be purchased any longer but I did a search and found it in PDF form => search 'Calvin VanderWerf, Acids, Bases and The Chemistry of the Covalent Bond' and you should get several PDF citations that can be downloaded.

Hope this helps in the Organic quest... I know it's a daunting task, but doable with a positive attitude. All the best. Doc
 

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