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Organic chemsitry

  1. Sep 19, 2009 #1

    I'm going to be taking O chem this quarter in college. I took a year of general chemistry last year, but didn't do so well in the first two out of three quarters.

    Now I think that I don't remember anything from general chemistry.

    what do i do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2009 #2
    review everything from the first chapter of your organic book. It should basically be a comprehensive coverage of most of the gen chem topics you'll need for ochem.
  4. Sep 19, 2009 #3


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    Organic chem is a class that requires a *lot* of memorization, at least in the beginning. Be sure you devote enough time to it. Not sure if you have labs...I presume so. Those labs take a huge amount of time to write up; consider that in your time scheduling.

    When I took it, the lab was worth 1 or 2 credits (it's been a long time, not quite sure now). Looking at it as (hours studying)/(credits earned), it's among the hardest credits I ever earned. Well worth it, though.
  5. Sep 19, 2009 #4
    Just be prepared to memorize, a lot.
  6. Sep 20, 2009 #5
    I'll third (or fourth?) this. Memorization in O Chem isn't really just direct "easy" memorization though. Memorization takes the form of memorizing procedures... for naming compounds, as well as procedures for how reactions occur (what reactants, catalysts... and even environmental conditions, such as temperature).

    I actually tend to admire organic chemists the most of any branch of chemistry. Most of the organic chemists that I know first design molecules that might have use or functionality based on a similar structure to an existing compound or drug, or based on a structure that itself might be functional as a molecular machine (motor, gear, etc). The next step is designing a set of reactions that would result in that molecule (with a good yield, and hopefully low environmental impact, since most of the solvents used are environmentally unfriendly!). Then they set out to actually do these steps, characterizing their products along the way. In a sense, they are architects/engineers on a molecular scale (and if the process ends up of commercial interest, production is upscaled by the expertise of chemical engineers).

    I guess inorganic chemists really do the same too... but with non-organic molecules. Upper level inorganic chemistry classes are of that nature.
  7. Sep 20, 2009 #6
    There's very little memorization in a sophomore organic chemistry, contrary to what most people would think. At least, not any more than say a physics or math class. You learn some rules and principles and then apply them in lots of different situations. The memorization only comes with a junior/senior level course where you just go through reactions that are more selective and specific.
  8. Sep 21, 2009 #7
    I didn't find Organic Chemistry to be near as brutal as people had warned me about. It is almost completely different from general chemistry. There are no plug and chug equations like the gas laws. Much of what you learned in general chemsitry won't be used too much. The things to review from general chemistry would be acids/bases, oxidation numbers, trends on the periodic table, balancing equations, electrophiles versus nucelophiles, and I'm sure I'm forgetting other stuff. Nomenclature will be completely different. A big part of Organic chemistry is general reaction profiles. If I mix an alcohol and carboxylic acid together, what will happen? There are almost always exceptions to these rules, but you need to understand exactly how they work to be successful on an exam. As everyone else has said, there is a lot to memorize. If you'll put the work in, you'll be fine. There's nothing incomprehensible about sophomore level organic chemistry.
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