Advice for Summer Intensive Organic Chem Students

Questions asked at the end of Chem 261 – Summer 2011
Question 1: What advice would you share with future students of this intensive organic chemistry course?
Question 2: What do you wish you knew about this course before starting it?

Question 1: What advice would you share with future students of this intensive organic chemistry course?

  • Do the exercises at the end, study with other people, utilize the web, eat breakfast.
  • Read ahead and do all practice problems.
  • If you like to sleep, don’t take it.
  • Do not take more than 1 other class with the intensive and try to get as much sleep as possible.
  • Get started on the study aids right away! They are helpful for the end, but would have been more helpful if I’d done them as soon as assigned.
  • When taking this class, buy the BIGGER model kit. It is easier to see how the molecules move and gives a really good visual. Also, don’t get behind! Keep up with the work given.
  • Study ahead of time and never get behind!
  • Do the exercises and understand them after each class corresponding to the sections covered. EVERY TIME I did this, I got 30/30 on quizzes. When I didn’t, I got 24-28’s.
  • Be prepared to not have a life that doesn’t include o chem. And the more you convince/believe/grow to enjoy it, the better you’ll do.
  • It’s a lot of fun if you spend a lot of time understanding the material. Make sure you ask questions right away if you have any. Do as many practice problems as you can.
  • Just study hard and read the activities before coming to class so they should understand what’s going on in class.
  • I advise studying with a partner/group and doing the exercises from the workbook.
  • Try and stay ahead, that way you won’t fall behind. Read ahead. Use weekends to your advantage!
  • Learn a way to absorb everything as fast as possible. Do lots of practice problems.
  • Go over reactions and mechanisms many times.
  • Be prepared to spend the full 3 weeks only during ochem, in school and at home for many hours. Flash cards are your best friend because there is a lot of memorization.
  • Understand the concepts – do not memorize! If you know the concepts then you could easily build on it but memorization allows for only so much.
  • Start looking over the material BEFORE the quarter begins.
  • Practice practice practice. Reactions and mechanisms! Be sure you can handle it! Takes a lot of time, energy, effort!
  • Use your time wisely – read the books with all the chapters before taking this class. Study more on weekends. Do more exercises.
  • Do the practice problems in the back of each activity.
  • Buy the books early. Make plenty of time for studying.
  • Make sure you do the exercises and at least skim through the last chem activity worksheet before coming to the quiz.
  • This course is doable if you commit to being diligent out of class and complete the exercises. Then review them until you understand what is going on.
  • Reaction Tree – write it over and over until memorized, then write in details like syn/anti/trans/cis/aldehyde/ketone, etc. The flow chart is worth doing once but not repeating like the tree. Also, do lab stuff in advance on weekends!
  • Study every day so to not fall behind, and don’t work if possible.
  • Do the prelabs prior to each week on the weekend otherwise there simply won’t be enough time to memorize anything and you will fall behind.
  • Keep up with the material and study hard!
  • Study hard, keep practicing over and over again. Know the concept.
  • You have to study from day one because a day is like a week in a normal course.
  • Study daily and never miss a class.
  • Make sure it’s the only class that you are taking because it requires A LOT of extra study.
  • I would like to tell them to study every day and read over the chapter before coming to class.
  • Learn the reactions right away.
  • Be prepared. Maybe read a little in advance. Freshen your memories about bonds, orbitals, etc. from gen chem. Don’t get behind!
  • Just knowing going in that you will be focusing all your time on ochem and then it isn’t that bad.
  • Study reactions a lot and understand the synthesizing problems well.
  • A nice place to study.
  • Review general chemistry concepts (i.e., acids and bases)
  • Four hours after class studying is needed. Do prelabs one week for next week.
  • Prep labs on weekends, buy book early and work in workbook, read text before class, great notes with evening reviews, ask questions over material you don’t understand immediately.
  • Get plenty of sleep to pay attention in class.
  • Be prepared to study a lot!
  • Study like you are studying for the final EVERY DAY! Ask why, don’t just go with it.
  • This is my first time taking organic chem and I absolutely love it, but I made some mistakes and I paid the price – there is time write the labs well in advance. Print the powerpoints and review them right after class – it helps. Write and rewrite and write again and again, all of the reactions.
  • Make sure you draw your reaction mechanism and work all the problems in the exercises.

Question 2: What do you wish you knew about this course before starting it?

  • That I need to set aside 4 hrs/day for pure study, and 3 hrs/day for lab write-ups and prelabs
  • I had no idea it would be this exhausting!
  • The time it REALLY took to do well in this class. The amount of time spent doing something for this class.
  • How fast we would actually be covering material! Ha!
  • Pre-lab structure and expectations so they could be done beforehand.
  • It’s a lot of memorizing! A different style of learning from gen chem.
  • I wish I knew it would take so long to drive here.
  • I might have taken the later lab so I could get more sleep.
  • That sleeping is an option; not required! : )
  • To pack my own lunch.
  • The schedule and how the class would be structured in terms of lecturing: group time ratio.
  • I’m loving this class and there isn’t anything that I wish I had known first. I just wish that I could enjoy the learning and not be so concerned about trying to get the A. It is a REALLY fun class and I like the intensive atmosphere.
  • I wish I knew beforehand that I had to buy a POGIL workbook and we were going to be doing the problems in groups every day.
  • How much work it is! I knew it would be work but the postlab add on a lot more after a 7 hour day and having to study and do practice problems.
  • I wish I knew there are so much memorization involved.
  • That this course is going to be hard especially in summer! I wish I would have more knowledge on acid/base/conformational isomers beforehand.
  • How to tell the difference between a strong base/weak base and how crazy hard it is for a first timer taking the class. Thanks for an amazing class! I didn’t think I could learn this much in 3 weeks!
  • A better understanding of general chemistry.
  • I wish I knew the material! But realistically I wish I knew how to study the reactions before having to learn them all at once. But they weren’t too bad!
  • I wish I knew that writing out examples multiple times worked best for studying.
  • Good places to study, online reference sites, etc. Not much I can think of. It was good to know ahead of time how many hours to put into the class (6 hours/day!) I actually had many nights where I put more than 6 hours in to learn everything I needed to know for the next day.
  • I wish I knew this class would require so much more time to study outside of class.
  • How much time it takes to do the pre/post labs every night. I would advise doing all the prelabs in the first couple of nights so that you have more time for studying as the material gets harder.
  • How much time it would require outside of the classroom, and how important it is to manage your time both in and out of the classroom.
  • It really requires a lot of effort and time, and workload is high!
  • How it goes by so fast!
  • I wish I reviewed some of my general chemistry like sp orbital stuff – it would have made things more clear at the beginning and I would have started off with a better “base” understanding.
  • How tired I would be from the 7:30 am labs.
  • I knew it was going to be very intense so I wish I reviewed my gen chem before I started the class.
  • I wish I knew the techniques that I should use to study for all the quizzes.
  • I wish that somebody told me the advice that I have in the previous question!
  • Name of the books. How many tests we’d have.
  • Exactly how many reactions we needed to learn.
  • I would have liked to know how lab would be structured (i.e., that the first quarter is lab technique based). Then I would have read on those techniques before the quarter started to be more comfortable performing them in lab for the first time.
  • Some students tried to get by without the workbook. Bad idea!
  • Though fast pace was expected, didn’t realize postlabs were going to be given for every lab. So time after class besides studying takes a long time.
  • Everything can be on any test. Memorization of organic chem takes more repetition than typical subjects.
  • This class is very hard and requires a lot of memorization.
  • Mechanisms and reactions.
  • It’s harder than it looks.
  • I wish I had a list of all the reactions on day 1 because one or two days just isn’t enough time for me to memorize that stuff.
  • The reactants.
  • I tried to memorize everything but then I realized understanding it would be the only real way to succeed. It’s hard to catch up in this class.
  • Nothing, really. I appreciated the early email saying to study 6 hours a day outside class and that is exactly what I did (more on weekends).

Last Updated June 30, 2014