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Topic: What should I expect from the second semester of organic chemistry?  (Read 13405 times)

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Offline Agent-X

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Hello, all.


I'm an undergraduate (super senior), and I'm taking the second semester of organic chemistry (Organic II) in the spring. I eventually wised up to how to understand and abstract from learned organic chemistry knowledge. However, much of my learning has passed, because I have not spent an adequate amount of time reviewing organic chemistry. The last organic chemistry class I took was in the summer of 2010.

What I learned from that semester was that I needed to be able to first understand the mechanisms, ideas surrounding the structures of molecules, and then memorizing and being able to abstract from and spit out that information.

I've read a website (I don't have the link anymore) that said the second semester of organic chemistry is pretty much the same except there is a larger emphasis on using and abstracting from a larger variety of reaction mechanisms. The website did not describe whether or not I would be using the knowledge learned in Organic I to a finer degree. Furthermore, it said I would have to do a lot more critical thinking with being given particular reagents and knowing mechanisms that help lead them to a particular product. I don't think this would be an issue if said reagents to said product only involved second semester mechanisms, but I don't think that's going to be the case.

Question 1: Do I have to know all of those mechanisms again before I walk into organic chemistry II?

As such, I am worried that I will have to be able to recall many of the reaction mechanisms I learned in the first semester of organic chemistry. I have been going over second semester material, and I've begun to notice that I can't quite recall how to name things, how mechanisms work, and so forth. I have noticed, however, that I seem to be able to better retain the information. I attribute my ability to retain more information to my time in the university system and dealing with 300-level and 400-level classes.

Question 2: Do I have to know all of those stereochemistry aspects before I walk into the second semester of organic chemistry?

Please, if any of you can, fill me into some details about what I need to pick up again. I really don't remember too much. As such, I know I am lacking many questions that I should be asking. I'm very willing to read any reply.

As a side note, I have been reading my organic chemistry book, and it would appear that some is still stored in my long-term memory and needs to be accessed again to get put into my working memory. Much of my learning has slipped into hibernation if not out of long-term potentiation.

Thank you for reading.

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Offline dunno260

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Re: What should I expect from the second semester of organic chemistry?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2010, 12:38:31 AM »
Its hard to say what reactions you HAVE to know and which ones you may not.  In general, you need to know everything though.  Mechanisms are going to become easier as you get more practice and see more reactions.  You absolutely need to know stereochemistry and organic nomenclature.  Thats not going away.  Substitution and Elimination reactions are something else you should know.

You should find its going to be much easier to relearn it though.  Org. Chem II is going to give you a LOT more reactions.  Get a head start and keep up and its more than manageable. 

Offline Jorriss

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Re: What should I expect from the second semester of organic chemistry?
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2010, 01:59:29 PM »
Dude, you're fine. Half the people don't even learn it the first semester.

Offline kunjal8015

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Re: What should I expect from the second semester of organic chemistry?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2010, 10:08:40 AM »

2nd semester of chemistry deal with different types of reaction and mechanisms


fisher esterification
fidel crafts acylation and alkylation

can't rememmber the other.

you start going in detail about stereo chemistry

so it's helpful to have basic ideas about it

Offline thatOneGuy

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Re: What should I expect from the second semester of organic chemistry?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 12:57:13 PM »
In the second semester of Organic Chemistry (II) I would definitely suggest you relearn a few things to prepare and make the class a little bit more manageable for you.

1) Nomenclature - this is a MUST! if you are given a name, you must be able to picture the molecule. If you are given a molecule, you must atleast have an idea of how to name it. Knowing this will make reading your texts easier, as well as understanding your lecturer. And plus, if you know the name of a molecule in your homework, it is much easier to find answers from other sources.

2) Be able to identify nucleophiles and electrophiles in any reaction. Even if you are not familiar with any specific reaction you are given, being able to identify the nucleophile and electrophile will no doubt help you figure out the mechanism and hopefully to your product.

3) Know how to push electrons (for mechanism) and show proper mechanism arrows. I cannot emphasize how much I take off points in my own students works when they are unable to do this (though it may differ with you TA/prof).

4) Know Sn1, Sn2, E1, E2 reaction mechanisms. Know in what kind of environment one is predominant over the other.

5) This may be in addition to nomenclature but: know your STEREOCHEMISTRY.

These are the major ones I can think of. If you find yourself struggling in your first few days, don't stress. You will only get negative feelings about the class and it will be a downhill spiral after that. Manage your time well, if you think you are a bit behind your classmates because there were semesters in between ochem1 and ochem 2 for you, I would suggest buying a review book to look over when you find you cannot remember it from your memory. This ofcourse is not a replacement to your textbook.

One of the review books I used when I was an undergrad were Organic Chemistry as a Second Language by David R. Klein. good, to the point review book and lots of practice problems. There's one for Organic I and II. There are others but I'm not familiar with them so I can't really comment on them.

And finally, if you really want a comprehensive list of what was covered in Organic 1, go ahead and email the TA or prof in your school and ask for a past/current syllabus. They will more than likely give one to you. Just don't burn yourself trying to go over each and everyone of these. If you've already taken the class before, some of these will come back to you, so don't panic.


Oh also: concerning memorization. I would not get into this habit in your ochem class. I think it is much better for you to practice more problems than trying to memorize them. It will bite you back once you realize that changes in the solvent, reagents, etc... may change the outcome of your products. So instead of memorizing mechanism, or starting material->product formation, practice problems related to that instead. The more you practice, the better off you'll be in the class. Just my opinion though. (And keep good notes! this means showing which electrons in your mechanism are moving, and where they are coming from. It will help you.)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 01:09:15 PM by thatOneGuy »

Offline azmanam

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Knowing why you got a question wrong is better than knowing that you got a question right.

Offline Agent-X

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Well, I'm done.

I didn't like the teaching method, which involves fast talking, fast writing, and little time for learning. She did offer office hours, though. None were too valuable, as I found.

Exam averages were about 41%, 31%, 37%, and for the final 51%. I believe people had about 45% as the average quiz score, of which there were about 11 quizzes.

Yes, there was stereochemistry, not a lot of it, though. But I really could have used the ability to quickly figure out R and S configurations. I got away with the bare minimum. Horsechair conformations were useful, as were those peace-sign thingies.

With such low averages, I don't feel as though much was learned. I find that extremely disappointing. I didn't do well in the course either. I was hoping I'd do well, as I've got some pretty good skills, but apparently they were not good enough for this course. Honestly, having taken advanced undergraduate courses and 500-level classes, I thought maybe just hard work and good study habits would be enough for organic II.. They weren't...

Maybe... Perhaps there is some external influence, such as corruption via insider trading of past exams, lecture notes, quizzes, and so forth amongst students. Preventing insider trading is a very hard thing to do.

Actually, my grades went up after I started to ask students who had the same professor how to study for the class. I find that using insider trading to help me to be an unfortunate task to partake of.

I'm very disappointed with how this course went about. I'm not sure I'm disappointed with myself, though, as I did my best for what I could. And knowing many people fail this course (about 23% of the class failed), I am glad that I was able to succeed.

I feel as though the only real way to have prepared for this course was to have done a variety of carbonyl chemistry practice problems found in organic chemistry books.

Still, it irks me that some students would score 90% on the exams. I find that impressive, as the amount of time offered about 90 minutes (iirc), with 13 or so exam pages... offered quite a challenge.

I don't consider the amount of teaching via lecture to have been enough to have done that well on the exams. Definitely not. My guess is that people went to office hours or used external learning resources to do that well. Otherwise, perhaps they possess some natural gift for organic chemistry. Still, quite impressive that many of the A students never showed up to lecture. I'm curious how they did so well without being around to take lecture notes. Again, perhaps insider trading. Keep in mind, the book was barely used and not always immediately related to lecture material.

For those who plan on taking it, expect losing a lot of sleep and coming out with a grade that you're not satisfied with.
Intermittent SFN member. Former RS member. Washu is the bomb.

Offline Sepelio

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If people did extraordinarily well, generally its because they studied their arses off.You should look at some of the recommended organic text books on this forum, many of them are a good help. You can get the majority of the text books on amazon pretty cheaply.

Offline Vidya

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You can refer different books ,websites or lecture notes.you will find same reactions everywhere .The basic requirement is understanding and practice.Understanding the concepts and practice plenty of questions is the key to get A in organic chemistry

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