_pxmudi_
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So, I've been not that good in the organic chemistry department since O level. But now as I am sitting for A level exams in May I really need to brush up on it. Any tips on how to handle Organic Chem pls? Thank you.
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_NMcC_
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Firstly Organic Chemistry isn't actually designed to be hard. Think of it like a computing language. Quantum Theory is like speaking 'Binary logic', Organic/Inorganic Chemistry are like the 'Programming language' and Molecular Biology/Chem.Eng are like using 'Windows or Mac OS'.... if the 'molecular world' were a computer...

In terms of learning Organic Chemistry; You will have to memorise a few basic reactions initially but the trick is actually to see that there are actually patterns of reactivity in the Polar reactions of Organic Chemistry. - (Pericyclic reactions are a completely different class of reaction that A level doesn't cover).


In relation to Nucleophiles and Electrophiles....Some key areas (not exhaustive) you should probably know,


. Learn how the Carbonyl Group works (i.e It's polarised Molecular Orbitals) along with Alpha,Beta unsaturated systems. The carbonyl almost always reacts in the same way, it will be a major friend.


. Learn the reactivity of other basic functional groups (like Halogens, Nitrogen, Esters, Carboxylic acids)


. Learn how Aromatic compounds behave (they are usually ones with a Benzene-ring in it but ''aromaticity'' isn't actually restricted to benzene). They also have very predictable patterns (Electron withdrawing and Donating groups).


. Sn2, Sn1, E2 and E1 also have to be learned well. - Looking at 'Leaving Groups' helps with this...


Those are like learning the basic functions of maths, Polar Reactions; are the class that refer to Nucleophiles and Electrophiles (apply to the above).

. Radical reactions; are a different class and can always be shown to involve this pattern; Initiation, Propagation and Termination.

Above all, the most important thing to do once you've learned or even just looked at the basic reactivity of organic compounds, apply your knowledge to loads of Past Paper Questions and you'll find (eventually) that electrons actually move in very similar/predictable patterns due to Functional Groups having their own 'characteristic reactivity' - It sounds mad at first but with time you should realise this.


It's like breaking down a complex mathematical formula into it's constituent elements.


Past paper questions are the key to Organic Chemistry...even if you do it 'open-book' style i.e Referring to your notes....worked extremely well for me.

This is one of the best websites out there, slightly above A level but you should find most A level O.Chem in this.

https://www.masterorganicchemistry.com/

I don't know your exam board though but usually only Polar and Radical reactions are covered at A level.
Last edited by _NMcC_; 1 year ago
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_pxmudi_
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(Original post by _NMcC_)
Firstly Organic Chemistry isn't actually designed to be hard. Think of it like a computing language. Quantum Theory is like speaking 'Binary logic', Organic/Inorganic Chemistry are like the 'Programming language' and Molecular Biology/Chem.Eng are like using 'Windows or Mac OS'.... if the 'molecular world' were a computer...

In terms of learning Organic Chemistry; You will have to memorise a few basic reactions initially but the trick is actually to see that there are actually patterns of reactivity in the Polar reactions of Organic Chemistry. - (Pericyclic reactions are a completely different class of reaction that A level doesn't cover).


In relation to Nucleophiles and Electrophiles....Some key areas (not exhaustive) you should probably know,


. Learn how the Carbonyl Group works (i.e It's polarised Molecular Orbitals) along with Alpha,Beta unsaturated systems. The carbonyl almost always reacts in the same way, it will be a major friend.


. Learn the reactivity of other basic functional groups (like Halogens, Nitrogen, Esters, Carboxylic acids)


. Learn how Aromatic compounds behave (they are usually ones with a Benzene-ring in it but ''aromaticity'' isn't actually restricted to benzene). They also have very predictable patterns (Electron withdrawing and Donating groups).


. Sn2, Sn1, E2 and E1 also have to be learned well. - Looking at 'Leaving Groups' helps with this...


Those are like learning the basic functions of maths, Polar Reactions; are the class that refer to Nucleophiles and Electrophiles (apply to the above).

. Radical reactions; are a different class and can always be shown to involve this pattern; Initiation, Propagation and Termination.

Above all, the most important thing to do once you've learned or even just looked at the basic reactivity of organic compounds, apply your knowledge to loads of Past Paper Questions and you'll find (eventually) that electrons actually move in very similar/predictable patterns due to Functional Groups having their own 'characteristic reactivity' - It sounds mad at first but with time you should realise this.


It's like breaking down a complex mathematical formula into it's constituent elements.


Past paper questions are the key to Organic Chemistry...even if you do it 'open-book' style i.e Referring to your notes....worked extremely well for me.

This is one of the best websites out there, slightly above A level but you should find most A level O.Chem in this.

https://www.masterorganicchemistry.com/

I don't know your exam board though but usually only Polar and Radical reactions are covered at A level.
Thank you so much, the advice is like gold for me. Yes I totally get where the "past papers help" come from. It teaches you how to apply your knowledge to exam-based questions, and the answers are mostly the same style.
I am doing CIE A levels btw.
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