What’s the best way to study Organic Chemistry?

Posted on September 9th, 2012

Ah, yes, the age-old question. What is the best way to study orgo… the quick answer: there is no one best way. The best way is the way that works for you. Since every orgo student is different you need to find a method that works for you.

Here are some thoughts:

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 tested.Example: Reaction “Fill in the blanks” questions, 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 out 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 StudyOrgo.com Study Guide and Exercise Sets, Study Mode Reaction Pages and Organic Chemistry Study Charts to learn the material and gain insight on help hints and tips. Use the StudyOrgo.com Reaction Roadmap to understand the intricate interrelationship of the reactions you will be tested on.Days 12-14: Review and test yourself using the StudyOrgo.com Quiz Mode.
  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. The StudyOrgo.com Quiz Mode’s drawing box allows you to do just that! Alternatively, you can use the StudyOrgo.com organic chemistry flashcards, cover two elements then draw out the third on paper.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. Run through the each element of the program and 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!
  7. Get together with friends and test each other. When you teach someone else, you learn it better yourself.