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Sunday
Jul082012

How do I study for Organic Chemistry?

Well, you first of all realise that this is a much broader subject than you are used to and you will be required to understand concepts at a much deeper level than before. Since this subject sets up the foundations for Biochemistry, which you probably have to take at some point, it will help you in the long term to get into some serious and disciplined study habits pretty quickly. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Bring your General Chemistry knowledge with you - Periodic Table trends, concepts such as bonding, electronegativity, size of atoms and ions, ideas of reactivity and stability;
  2. Get going as early as possible; read the first chapter of the textbook before the first day of class - it's mostly stuff you've seen before so review it and remember it;
  3. Read ahead as often as possible (but maybe not too far) - we follow the textbook sequence almost exactly so you know what's coming up; read the book, listen to the chapter summaries;
  4. Take good notes in class but don't spend the whole 50 minutes furiously scribbling down notes; much of the note material is available on this website beforehand;
  5. Interact in class - ask questions whenever you want to; it's a large class but within a week it gets going such that students feel relaxed enough to stop me and ask for clarification;
  6. Take the recitation class, which is an extra session per week based on practicing problems and answering individual questions - the more practice you get the better;
  7. Talk chemistry when ever you can - office hours, class, recitation, whenever; it's a language and you can get better at it by talking to others that speak that language (prof, TA, peers);
  8. Sign up for the SI sessions that will be held once a week - another chance to practice problems and answer questions in a more relaxed group - proven to work for most students;
  9. USE OFFICE HOURS - you are paying for this so get your money's worth; also, professors won't write you letters of recommendation in the future if they don't know who you are.
  10. Use this website to its full - the videos work on your phone and iPad as well as your PC or Mac at home; listen to lectures before class instead of wasting time texting;
  11. Be aware that what you do now will set you up for years to come.

 

 

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