How should I study for my Organic Chemistry final?

Posted on April 23rd, 2013

Hello students! So many of you are likely in the home stretch of Organic Chemistry class and the final exam is rapidly approaching.

Here are three importnat items to consider when studying for the final exam:

1) Find out exactly what is on the exam

This sounds simple, but we cannot stress enough the importance of finding out exactly what you are expcted to know on your final. Most of the time the final exam is cumulative, however sometimes it is not. In addition, sometimes the exam focuses on the later part of the semseter- possibly on information that was not tested on prior exams for the course.

2) Know every reaction backwards and forwards

Final exams love to ask you questions that require you to draw upon a vast background of knowledge. Therefore, you must know each organic chemistry reaction backwards and forwards. Consider this:

Organic chemistry reactions are presented in the following basic framework:



Reactant A + Reactant B → Product

In order to truly learn organic chemistry you must know not just how to determine the product from the two reactants (determine C if given A and B), you must know how to determine A if given B and C and to determine B if given A and C.

This leads to the following blanks:




Traditional flashcards in organic chemistry only present A + B → ?

Most students will only try to memorize what product you will get when adding two items together. While this is certainly important, that’s only 1/3 of the subject material! That means that you are only 1/3 prepared for your examination. Professors are aware that students typically fall into this trap and will try to trick students on exam day by eliciting knowledge they don’t have because they only learned each reaction in this simplified format.

With’s Quiz Mode (members only) you can now master each entire reaction no matter what information is supplied to you. This is because you can choose what part of the reaction you would like to be tested on. You can even have this change randomly throughout the quiz.

3) See the big picture

We recommend beginning by going through each chapter and learning the reactions and concepts individually. However, the most crucial step to mastering organic chemistry is being able to synthesize the information and make connections between the various reactions.  Begin by taking a sheet of paper and drawing out all of the reactions. Then draw arrows to see how they interrelate. We already took care of this for you– check out the Reaction Roadmap. Members have access to it here: 


If you are not yet a member, you can sign up by visiting:

Happy Studying!