Tips to Succeed in Organic Chemistry:
- Review Material Before Class: The night before, briefly look over the material that will be taught in class, even if it does not make sense. This will allow you to prepare your brain and not overwhelm you during class.
- Don’t Memorize Everything: When it comes to learning reactions, memorizing the general reaction is probably the best technique. However, try your best not to memorize the mechanisms. Your brain can only remember so much. Instead, try to understand what is going on in the reaction and the mechanisms will make sense.
- Study For A Hour Each Day: Take one hour of your day to study organic chemistry. Cramming the day before the exam will only stress you out and will not work, especially in this class.
- Form A Study Group: Get together with your classmates and work out problems together. Maybe your classmate will have a different approach to material than you do that will help you understand better.
- Practice Practice Practice!: Repetition is key when it comes to organic chemistry. You should do as many practice problems as possible. Invest in a white board and do practice problems on that. Writing down the reactions and going through the mechanisms will really help you understand! (This tip personally helped me a lot!)
- Attend SI Sessions: Regularly attending SI Sessions will help you reinforce the material you learn in class. These sessions will allow you to learn material in an innovative and fun way!
Epoxide opening seem to be the most challenging so far from the reactions we have learned. A lot of you asked me why strong nucleophiles attack the least substituted carbon whereas an acid (HZ) attacks the most substituted carbon in opening of epoxides. With an acid (HZ), the oxygen has to be protonated first to make it into a good leaving group, which also provides the source of a nucleophile (Z-). The protonation causes the more substituted carbon to be partially positive, which makes that carbon more stable. The reaction will follow the more stable process. Hope this makes more sense as to why an acid attacks the more substituted carbon. Your book gives a very thorough explanation on it, and you should check it out if you’re still confused.
Videos and Handouts
Hydroboration Oxidation Reaction
*Lecture from UC Irvine that is very thorough and clear that I think will be helpful if you are struggling with Chapter 12. If you have time, you should definitely look at this video.*