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Is organic chemistry 1 AND 2 all memorization?

  1. Oct 30, 2009 #1
    i know this is a physics forum, but i figure you guys might like chemistry too? and i know you guys probably took up to orgo to get your physics degrees. anyways over the summer session assuming i pass my current classes and my classes in the spring, i will be taking orgo 1, orgo 2, and calculus 1. i have heard that orgo is very memorization heavy. i have heard chem 101 and 102 are much more math heavy. i am in 101 now, and the math isnt terrible, but ive ehard 102 is pretty bad. anyways i am better at memorizing so i was just curious. i have also heard that you have to draw structures./.

    btw can anyone help me with quantum numbers. i dont really understand them. and for electrn configuration with d orbials is this order right? 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s1 4d10 5p6

    i know it depends on he element but im not sure if im ordering the ds correctly for the general...(and idont understand the shorthand version so i use this one)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2009 #2
    An introductory, undergrad course in Organic Chemistry does require a lot of memorization, but it is not all memorization. Nomenclature and learning about the different kind of reactions (there are a lot of them!) require lots of memorization, but problems in spectroscopy are best learned by doing tons of practice problems.
    I am not certain of what you mean by Chem 101/2 but if you are referring to Inorganic Chemistry, I found that it was just a step up from first year Chemistry. I found that it did not require much complicated math at all (although my degree was in math so I am biased) - if you do lots of problems you should be fine.
  4. Oct 31, 2009 #3
    Pffft, I just finished Chem 1 and 2 and they were a breeze. What math? You mean keeping units straight? The first two chem courses have little math, little memorization, and mostly concepts. Obviously you're going to bomb if you don't put in a decent amount of time to actually learn it, but if you do work on it decently, it should be no problem.
  5. Oct 31, 2009 #4
    chem 101 and 102 are general chem 1 and gen chem 2.
    anyway can someone answer my electron question?
  6. Oct 31, 2009 #5
    chem 1 and 2 definitely aren't math heavy. They are arithmetic heavy though, lots of division and conversions. It is kind of annoying to keep track of but it isn't as detail heavy as say Statics or most lower-mid level engineering classes. I don't think you even really have to use any calculus until analytic or physical chemistry.
  7. Oct 31, 2009 #6
    from what i know chem 2 is very heavy in logarithmic stuff. ive heard that orgo 1 and 2 has a lot less math period than chem 1 (which is far less than chem 2) im in a trig class, so im not the best at maths.

    the prerequisite for chem 1 and 2 is algebra 2, however a lot of people in my class never took that (at the college level for credits nor did they pass out of i for credits) maybe thats the reason my teacher told me personally that my class is the worst and most immature class he has ever had the displeasure of teaching chemistry,.
  8. Oct 31, 2009 #7


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    I think it is fair to say introductory organic chemistry requires a significant amount of memorization. The amount of memorization can be reduced by a firm grasp of concepts, but I believe even an individual with much understanding draws upon a substantial collection of memorized facts. How long is this summer session? I would think a full course in organic chemistry and a half course in calculus would be a heavy load for most people unless he/she had prior exposure or natural ability in at least one subject. In addition those subject require additional time if more that minimal familiarity is needed.

    The recall obital orders I use the following device write out the orbitals an fill diagnals

    2s 2p
    3s 3p 3d
    4s 4p 4d 4f
    5s 5p 5d 5f
    6s 6p 6d
    7s 7p

    Which yeilds

    1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s, 4f, 5d, 6p, 7s, 5f, 6d, and 7p
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  9. Oct 31, 2009 #8
    That's pretty strange. This is college level chemistry? Even at my fairly uncompetitive school we require that you have taken a chemistry course and algebra 2 in high school or you have to take remedial classes first. In a typical algebra 2 course we would cover:
    Equations and Inequalities

    Linear Equations and Functions

    Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities

    Matrices and Determinants

    Quadratic Functions

    Polynomials and Polynomial Functions

    Powers, Roots, and Radicals

    Exponential and Logarithmic Functions

    Rational Equations and Functions

    Probability and Statistics

    Trigonometric Ratios and Functions

    Or something similar. Is this what you mean by Algebra 2? If so I don't see how more than a couple remedial students could not have taken it in high school. Most science majors start out math at the level of precalc or calc 1 and so are taking one of them concurrently with university physics or general chemistry. I'm not sure why anyone who hasn't had Algebra 2 is taking Chemistry 1.

    If exponential functions aren't pretty trivial for you, you might want to work on that before chemistry 102 comes around.
  10. Oct 31, 2009 #9
    thanks for answering my orbitals question!!!!!
    as far as memorization goes that is where my strength lies. i am currently in bio 2 (gen bio 2) and the memorization is pretty rediculous so i think ill have my memory tuned up enough for orgo chem. as far as conceptually, i think the chem 1 and 2 will give me a little tune up in that. last summer i took bio 1 with english 2 and math151, and i survived lol. i have no prior exposure to this stuff, but the orgos do not overlap with eachother so i think with dillegence i can survive. in all honesty, i would be happy as long as i got a b- in calulus. id actually be proud of that. calc is a gpa killer for most people. right now im averaging a b in my trig class, but im not applying myself so unless i change my ways and get my act together, i wont be getting a b in calc this summer. im a science major but my true goal is medical school. i figure i need to maintain a 4.0. for as long as i can. i need to save my messups for the harder classes, and thats going to be this summer. if im taking all of these classes for my associates degree im dreading what my bachelors will look like.
    hey, well i know in order to get into the class im in right now you need satisfactory completion of high school chemistry or remedial chemistry if you havent done chemistry in high school. and theres a math prerequisite of math 151 which is alg2 with some trig introduction. a lot of people who pass alg 2 in high school, fail that on their class placement test upon entering into college. one of the girls in my class that is doing poorly, claims she aced algebra 2 in highschool, although she hasnt taken the alg 2 course in college. Its kind of embarrasing but i had to take elementary algebra, and algebra 2 upon entering college. elementary was a non credit course. i am now in a college algebra/trigonometry course and i think we dive into the very basics of precalc. if all things go well i hope to take calculus in the summer session with orgo 1 and orgo 2. the orgo 1 will be in summer 1 and the orgo 2 will be in summer 3. last summer i took bio,english2,and the alg 2 class together in the summer, so i think i will be ok. i dont have a social life right now anyway so im not to bothered doing the summer thing. with science courses, they all are prerequisites of eachother so in order to graduate with my 2 year degree in .....2 years i need to do this in the summer. after this semester is finished im going to buy precalculus for dummies and study that over the break between fall and spring term. i figure that will prepare me for my precalc class, and if ic an handle that math it will probably help me in chemistry.

    sorry for the spelling i rushed
  11. Oct 31, 2009 #10


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    Some of the Algebra may become a little tricky during the topics of solubility of sparingly soluble compounds and equilibria of weak acids and bases. Other than those, the mathematical procedures in "Quantum Chemistry" at this level of study are much like learning a set of math counting games. Time consuming to study, not well enough easy to understand why, but just a bunch of rules to learn to use.
  12. Oct 31, 2009 #11
    The shortcut is to replace all the lower crap with the symbol for the last noble gas you passed. So, Lithium is [He]2S1 instead of 1S2, 2S1.
  13. Oct 31, 2009 #12
    yeah but to know the shorthand dont you still haver to figure out what he is? otherwise how do you know that li is 2s2? lol.
  14. Nov 1, 2009 #13
    any insight on the shorthand?
  15. Nov 1, 2009 #14
    There's some memorization involved, but it's about the same as any other science class. It just seems like memorization because you're learning all about the underlying principles, believe me when I say that it's nothing compared to the memorization required for an advanced synthesis class :)
  16. Nov 1, 2009 #15


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    If you're allowed to use a periodic table, there are some really nice shortcuts that will save you from memorizing nearly anything regarding the order of quantum orbitals.
  17. Nov 2, 2009 #16
    yeah we're allowed to use it but it just seems i dont understand it. like let's say we have titanium i know that is
    1s2 2s2 2p6, 3s2, 3p6 4s2 3d2 i hope? lol

    but if you told me to write titanium as ar and then whatever comes after that itd be kind of confusing for me to do without rewriting the stuff again. am i missing something? like woouldnt i still have to write what i just wrote out to figure out argons configuration? and fro mthere how do i know in my head what to add to that to get titaniums?
  18. Nov 2, 2009 #17
    The shorthand electronic configuration is [Ar] 4s2 3d1
    You start by putting the last noble gas before the element in square brackets and continuing with the electronic configuration. The element after argon is K, which begins the 4s subshell, so you start the configuration with 4s after [Ar] and continue from there.
  19. Nov 2, 2009 #18
    You should really open your textbook.
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