Master Organic Chemistry
Is Organic Chemistry tough for you? If yes, maybe you are going the wrong way. Are you memorizing reactions after reactions and there seems to be no end to them? Or do you feel lost in all those arrows in mechanisms? Well, I’ve got some help for all you students out there. Read on to master organic chemistry!
Forget the bookish definition. Here’s what you need to understand: Organic Chemistry is like a really long movie. Every character has some side story, and if you jump in between, you will feel lost. But if you follow the plot from the start, it all makes sense.
The truth is: Organic Chemistry is the most logical section of Chemistry for the JEE and you need very little memorization to get good at it.
Pro Tip: Start with the basics. Always use the principle: Remember less, apply more.
In this article, we’ll discuss 7 key tips to master organic chemistry and make the journey easier for you.
Learn About Structure
Organic chemistry can be this huge jungle, thanks to such a large number of compounds. The good thing is, we can arrange all these compounds into groups, based on their structure. Structure gives properties to a compound. It tells us which reactions are possible and which are not.
Understand how to draw structures from a name and how to identify the number of bonds, hybridization of different atoms. Have you heard of bond line diagrams? You must have seen that in benzene we draw lines instead of atoms. Can you identify all the atoms in such a diagram? It also clearly shows which part of an organic compound will be most active in reactions. Learn them properly to master organic chemistry.
Build a Strong Foundation
Students tend to skip the beginning of the lecture and early chapters of material because it’s “background” or “really easy” and jump into the material they don’t understand. This is a recipe for self-defeat! Organic chemistry is like a pyramid – the top will collapse without a strong base. Even if you think you have no time, go back to the introduction and early chapters and spend some time reviewing this material. You will likely be surprised how much better you will grasp the “hard” material once you completely understand the “easy” bit!
Work the Problems
Of course, if you have a great attitude but don’t take the time to work the problems, the results will still be ugly! Learning Organic Chemistry requires problem practice. You should attempt all NCERT questions, then your reference book exercises and hit the past year papers. Spend all the extra time you save from theory for organic chemistry into solving problems. So, work the problems! Work the problems! Work the problems!
Prepare Mind Maps
In the course of organic chemistry, you will find many reagents. Some are reducing agents(LiAlH4), some oxidize(O3), while some dehydrate.(conc. H2SO4). Know what they do, make a list, and remember them.
Make a chart of reactions of a specific class of compounds to master organic chemistry. You can start with benzene. The most important thing is to do it by yourself.
Don’t Forget Acid-Base Reactions
Did you know that more than half of organic chemistry is based on acid-base reaction? You can call them Electrophile and Nucleophile if you like. Know how they interact with each other and 90% of organic chemistry will be a breeze for you.
The Lewis Concept of Acids and Bases teaches us a very important concept in organic chemistry. That is, the ability to predict where the charge is most stable. It is important because in any reaction, the molecule tries to get its more stable form. If we can predict where the charge is most stable, we can predict what direction the reaction will take, and what the product is.
Focus on Understanding, Not Memorization
Memorization is; overall, a poor strategy that is resorted to when people haven’t planned ahead sufficiently and have to cram the night before an exam. There are; however, certain aspects of the course that require memorization – like nomenclature terms, reagent names and acronyms, functional groups, and so on. While some students might get the hang of it after a few weeks of the course, others might have to resort to flash cards or other memory-centered devices in order to remember the course material. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s coupled with a dedication toward understanding the deeper concepts.
Use Study Partners for Homework & Tests
You’ll be astonished at what you learn when you have to explain something to others. Don’t ever feel like you need to tackle organic chemistry by yourself. Getting together to do your work with your fellow students is a fantastic idea. Not only can others help you with concepts you’re struggling with — you can also get a stronger grasp on the material you already know by explaining it to someone else.
To conclude, there’s no magic to doing well in the organic chemistry. It involves discipline, doing problems, focusing on learning concepts, and staying on top of the material.
By following these 7 tips, you will feel fresh, have a clear mind and have the best chance of getting an A on the exam. Good luck!
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Remember – organic chemistry makes up a big chunk of the JEE Advanced question paper. It’s important to be thorough with this section to do well in the exams!
Learning the right way is the best way to love organic chemistry.
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