Saturday, November 12, 2011

When Will These Rxns Stick??

Honestly, I really enjoy organic chemistry. I know I am supposed to say it is gawdawful, but it is not. It is logical. It makes sense. I can see how things move and form. I can see the reactions in my head and when I look at my blank sheet of homework paper. It is blank. Then I draw blanks and wonder which thing does what to what.

This is the memorization part of ochem that people are afraid of.

So, I am making note cards now on top of doing the homework which are different than the ones I did before. Now, I have cards with products, reactants, and gizmos above and below the line.

As I mix them up on table, I pull from each pile to see what I would get, then ask myself why that would work, and if not, why not.

I WILL get that elusive A in ochem. I will!!


XOXO Dr. Kay Elizabeth said...

Oh wow, that is a great way to think. I believe you will as well. You're definitely doing the right thing right now.

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to weigh in on your organic chemistry discussion, but haven't had a chance until now.

It sounds like you're doing a lot of the things that I did when I took the class, with a couple of tweaks. First, you're focusing your study time on understanding the principles, rather than memorization, which is good. It also looks like you're working a lot of the problems from the textbook, which is also good.

One thing I found, as far as notecard use goes, was that I learned more if I wrote the reaction mechanism out each time I reviewed. So, rather than looking at the reactants and then deducing the products, I forced myself to draw out the entire mechanism, even on exams When you're finished, the product or products will be right there on the paper. If the question asks for the mechanism, you've got that too.

This feels awfully redundant for simple substitution reactions, but when you start including things like methyl and hydride shifts, it gets really useful. I can't remember a whole lot of organic reactions, because I never really "learned" reactions and I can't look at a reaction and tell you what the products are. I have to draw it out. Studying this way was a real life-saver for me during second semester, since it seems like there are a jillion reactions.

You're doing well and actually learning organic chemistry, which is awesome, so keep it up.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you both!

MSO, I am doing that now myself. If ind if I get stuck just trying to put the product on paper, I get a little worried I'm wrong, but if I draw out the mechanism then I'm sure to get my stereo/regio chem correct. Also, I don't start doubting myself... which I do easily.

Tomorrow, or Monday, I'm also buying myself a white board and "teaching" my son organic chemistry while he holds the flash cards.

He understands enough chemistry to be dangerous, and at a minimum, he can ask me to explain things; if I can, then awesome! If not, then I know I need to do more work.

He is so very much behind me in this adventure, and generally, very much willing to do whatever he can to help.

I'm lucky (and tired, and... dare I say, excited! - so very close now)

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

You will succeed, of that I am sure. You are covering all the right information and as MDO affirms your learning and studying methods my confidence in you strengthens. Cheering you from the mighty redwoods in northern Cali.