Organic chemistry is one of the most interesting subjects ever. However, a lot of students consider this subject to be their nightmare. If you are just memorizing all the reactions, organic chemistry will seem endless, and the arrows in mechanisms will make no sense.
Well, organic chemistry becomes easy if you understand some concepts and apply them in all the chemical reactions. With the proper guidance and knowing some tips and tricks, you can score full marks in all organic chemistry papers. So, here are the tips that will help you excel in organic chemistry.
1. Do not get scared.
Students tend to get scared of organic chemistry even before they start learning it. This becomes a major problem as the first impression of the subject can hugely affect your performance in the exams. You may face this problem as people around you, like seniors, will keep on whining about how tough organic chemistry is. The only solution to this problem is not to listen to them at all. If you see people around you whine about it, just change the topic, or run away. Trust us; it is not as hard as they say.
If you have fallen victim to this fear, then you need to understand that you are viewing this subject from other’s perspectives, not yours. So, get away from such pessimistic people, have faith in yourself, study, and prepare well, and that is it.
2. Understand, not memorize.
If you plan on writing all the chemical reactions in a notebook and memorize them, do not do it. Because at the end of the year, all you will end up with is a notebook full of chemical reactions and a mind full of despair, as you will find no end to the number of chemical reactions.
Memorizing everything in organic chemistry is a poor strategy. Students would resort to it only if they did not make a proper plan beforehand or were unable to understand the concepts behind these mechanisms. Instead, you can use techniques such as learning how chemical reactions work in real life to help better understand and learn the concepts.
If you are able to differentiate between the points you need to memorize and the concepts you need to understand, you will understand that organic chemistry is mostly application-based, and there are only a few things that you need to memorize. Thus, organic chemistry becomes a piece of cake. If you are able to understand the mechanisms (not memorize) and the electron shifts, then you can find the product of any reactions with ease.
If you are a beginner, it is possible that you may not be able to understand anything in organic chemistry. And not everyone can excel in this subject by just studying in school, as some students require special attention. We recommend you hire an organic chemistry tutor. For more information, you can check TutorOcean.
They are experienced teachers who can give you the one-on-one attention you need. They can help you understand all the concepts of organic chemistry and point out the things you need to memorize. They can also formulate a study plan so that you can use the time you have efficiently.
3. Develop a strong foundation.
Every year, students tend to ignore the first few chapters of any subject, thinking they are easy. Thinking the same way about organic chemistry is a terrible idea. Those initial chapters are the foundations of organic chemistry. They will not only support you for the current year but also for a lifetime if you want to pursue further in organic chemistry.
If you feel some part of the subject is hard for you, go and read the initial chapters. If you read them thoroughly and come back to the hard part, you will see everything makes sense. You cannot understand the hard bit unless you understand the easy one.
4. Practice! You do? Then practice even more!
The best way to ensure that all the mechanisms and concepts become engraved in your brain is to practice as much as you can. The more you practice problems, the more you will be able to apply the theories you have learned till now.
If you understand how your theories are applied, you will be able to remember them. Also, more practice will ensure that you get more accurate results, and the examiner will have no excuse to deduct marks from your answer sheet. It will also give you a lot of confidence, which is vital in excelling in any subject.
5. Understand the pattern.
We mentioned above that you need to memorize a few things in organic chemistry that will solve all the questions. Now, let us talk about it.
If you look at the reactions, you will find lots of reagents, like reducing agents (LiAlH4) or oxidizing agents (O3). You need to remember these agents and understand how they react with different types of carbon compounds.
If you look at all the organic reactions, you will find a pattern between the reactants and products. For example, a reaction between alcohol and ketone in the presence of a reducing agent might create a specific type of product. If you observe carefully, you will see that similar products are formed whenever any alcohol, like ethanol or methanol, reacts with any ketone in the presence of that specific reagent. You need to find these patterns and remember them. Additional practice will ensure that you remember these mechanisms and understand where and how to apply them.
If you are unable to find these patterns, you can always take help from your teachers in your school or your tutor.
Besides that, you need to remember the definitions and the logic behind electron transfers.
6. Remember the acid-base reactions.
If you look at the contents of organic chemistry, you will see that a gigantic amount of the total content is based on acid-base reactions. If you can figure out how they interact with each other, you will see that a large amount of organic chemistry will be a piece of cake for you.
7. Practice with your study partners and solve test papers.
You do not have to tackle organic chemistry alone. You can always study with your friends. You can help each other to understand these concepts. Teaching something to your friend will not only help them to understand the concepts but also help you to reinforce the knowledge you have within yourself. You can also solve problems with your friends. This way, you can compare the answers and find out your flaws.
Lastly, if you want to crack any exam successfully, you need to understand the exam pattern and learn proper time management. You can only do this by solving test papers and giving mock exams. This will not only allow you to manage your time well but also prepare you for the real exam. You will be familiar with the question pattern and the exam environment, which will give you the confidence you need.
Here are all the tips that you should follow to excel in organic chemistry. In short, understand the concepts, learn to apply them, strengthen your foundation, practice as much away as you can, and stay away from the whiners.
We believe that you can excel in organic chemistry like a champ! So, we wish you luck