How To Prepare For Organic Chemistry Exams

Posted on January 13th, 2012

Preparing for Exams
We get a lot of questions about the right way to prepare for Organic Chemistry Exams that test a lot of reactions. Just like anything else, succeeding in this course takes time and patience and perseverance. Its almost like running a marathon- you need stamina and you need to pace yourself. You can not learn organic chemistry overnight and you cannot run 22 miles in 3 minutes.

So let’s review some study tips:

  1. Get a clear idea of what examination content you will be test on. It would be a shame to study something you aren’t tested on.
  2. Try to find out the ways in which you will be asked tested.Example: Fill in the blanks in reactions, multi-step synthesis problems, drawing out mechanisms, comparing and contrasting different reactions etc…
  3. Make a game plan, figure out how much time you have to study then plan our your study timeline. Here is a sample plan for two weeks prior to an exam or midterm:Days 1-5: Review the content and spend time learning the basics. Read your course’s assigned textbook.Days 6-12: Begin memorizing and committing the details to memory, learn the ins and out of the material, learn reactions backwards and forwards and how they relate to one another. Use the Reaction Pages and Organic Chemistry Study Charts to test yourself and gain insight on help hints and tips for each reaction. Use the Reaction Roadmap to understand the intricate interrelationship of the reactions you will be tested on.Days 12-14: Review and test yourself
  4. When you study something, make sure that you know not just how to recognize it but how to draw it out yourself. For example, you should know how to draw out the reactants, reagents and products on paper. Use the organic chemistry flashcards, cover two elements then draw out the third on paper.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. Run through the flashcards many times, and try to come up with your own examples of each reaction
  6. While many questions are centered around organic chemistry reactions, other exams test other concepts and ideas aside of reactions. Make sure you study everything you need to know!