Friday, 6 January 2012

Organic Chemistry II study tip of the week - Let's talk about how NOT to fail, shall we?

So, you're in organic chemistry class and you are committed to passing, possibly even doing well if you are ambitious. Maybe you're a premed. Maybe you just want a challenge (woo). Regardless, you're physically enrolled in ochem II class and that's a very good thing. Why? Because you passed ochem I. Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it. And now take a deep breath, it's going to be a bumpy ride because this aint ochem I, ladies and gents.

I'll tell you a secret, since I seem to be in a highly veracious mood this morning. A lot of students fail organic chemistry II. It can be a beast, and with a myriad of other course material from X, Y, and Z classes, ochem II can be very difficult to keep up with. So, I have a couple of pointers I'll share with you today about how to avoid getting an "F" on your transcript.

1) Never miss a lecture. You will fall behind.

2) Make a commitment to practicing as often as possible. And do whatever you can to figure out the solution on your own first. If it doesn't make sense to you, then take the initiative to find the relevant material in your textbook. If that doesn't make sense to you, there is most likely a key area where you are lacking comprehension. E.g. electronegativity, lewis structures, electron flow, charges, etc. Identify what you are not understanding and try to fix it.

3) Start to build a reaction notebook. Inside, keep all of the reactions you go through. You can even colour the reagents and/or write notes. Make sure you understand what portion of your starting material is reacting and the reagents they interact with.

4) Hand in every single assignment ON TIME. I don't care how good at organic chemistry you are. Or, how poor you think you are, for that matter. Every bit counts.

5) Never miss your exams without a valid reason. Need I explain?

6) Think about investing in a white board. If you have room, and find it helpful to practice while minimizing harm to the environment, go for it. Likewise, you can use your tablet or tablet PC as a writing tool for your practice.

7) Build a good relationship with your professor by attending office hours. Organic chemists love their chemistry. Talk to them. They are much more than just the people who give you your grades at the end of the day. Show them you want to succeed because chances are, without talking to them, you are going to end up being just another one of the "X" hundred students without a voice.

That's the tip of the week! Let me know what's going on through your minds. If you have specific questions, I can answer them. Or, I can come up with my own and hope they help you. Good luck, everyone.


  1. Love the idea of creating a reaction note book - I did the same thing! By the end of the course it was about 70 pages long!

  2. I used 1 2 3 and 6 to pass it. Of course, after three attempts xD.

    #7 is actually the most important, however I was too shy to try it out.

  3. You passed it without 4 and 5?

  4. Colouring different reagents in different colours is FTW. Colour coding notes is saving my butt in MS1.

    (7) is the one I never mastered despite four years of undergrad.

  5. Ellorie,
    Just curious. What is MS1?

  6. MS1 = first year medical student. Sorry.

  7. Thanks for the clarification.
    Med students have so many fancy abbreviations it's hard to keep up :)

  8. worried pre-med student!17 May 2012 at 23:15

    this will be pretty late in comparison to everyone else's post but i just finished freshman year with a 2.6 and i have to retake ochem1 since i got a D :/ do i have a chance still?

    1. also, if you could email me your reply :/ sorry for the trouble! my extra-old email is
      (ignore it, it's from middle school :p)

    2. Not a prob! Please check your email! :)


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