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How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Organic Chemistry Semester

Leah here from and in this video
I’m gonna walk you through how to prepare for the upcoming Organic Chemistry semester. Organic Chemistry is notorious for having
a very high failure, withdrawal and retake rate. Now keeping in mind that every student and
every scenario is different. There are still things you can do before the
semester begins to give yourself not only a fighting chance but to put you ahead of
the class and ahead of the curve. When it comes to preparing for the upcoming
semester there are three main categories. There are students who are taking Organic
Chemistry 1 for the first time, students taking Orgo 2 for the first time, and students who
are retaking the course because of failure, withdrawal, or because you need a higher score. The way that you approach it is going to be
very similar with a few slight differences so let’s go through them one at a time and
make sure no matter what you know exactly what you have to do. When I first took Organic Chemistry, the time
when I withdrew because I didn’t want that F, I had no idea what I was getting myself
into. And by the time I figured it out, it was too
late! The first few weeks I knew it was a difficult
course but it didn’t feel difficult. It was General Chemistry review easy stuff
and by the time it got difficult or rather by the time it hit me that the material was
difficult, it was too late. I had already bum the first exam, we were
approaching the second exam and I was hopelessly behind. The biggest thing you can do going into Orgo
1 is making sure that you understand exactly what to expect. I don’t just mean hearing from other students
what the course is like, I mean being familiar with the material and understanding what these
topics are all about and what specifically makes it so difficult? The first few topics you will have seen before
probably in General Chemistry. But after that you wanna start getting familiar
with things like resonance, and mechanisms. What you do will depend on how much time you
have left but try to at least get through three chapters. The initial topics will look very familiar
to you because these are things you’ve seen in General Chemistry but then once you get
past that, you’ll get the things like resonance, acids and bases from the mechanistic approach,
and just mechanisms in general. These are very very important. But don’t just go into it thinking, this is
what I have to do, let me see how much I can get done, be deliberate about it, set a goal,
make a calendar, make a plan, and then work to execute it every step of the way. You don’t have to stick to it exactly but
you’ll have an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish. The first thing you need is a syllabus. Some professors will give it to you early,
and some professors will email it to you if you ask them. You can also try searching online for an old
syllabus by the same professor or asking a student who has taken the class before. If none of those options work, that’s no excuse. Just use my syllabus companion linked below
and go through that in order. The early topics are pretty similar, it’s
only when you get to mechanisms that the order tends to change between the schools. Then figure out what you want to accomplish. You can do this in two ways. You can decide on how many chapters you want
to cover or how many hours you want to devote. If you’re just starting out, I would focus
on hours as the goal and chapters as a recommendation. Because when you don’t know what to expect,
you don’t know how many chapters you can cover in any given time. So for example if you have three weeks, you
can decide one chapter a week or you can do two hours a day for three days a week every
week leading up to your class. During that time go in order, start with chapter
one, go through the book, go through videos, make sure you understand, move on to chapter
2. Don’t worry so much about doing extra practice
at this point rather focus on understanding the material and then anytime a question comes
up within the chapter or within the video, try it on your own and then look for the logic
behind the answer. Not just the answer but why is that the answer
and how does that work. That is the key to doing well making sure
you actually get what’s going on. Another option is to use the Orgo 1 Review
Preview playlist that I have linked below. This has the basic Organic Chemistry topics
from beginner to more advanced so each video goes on the next and if you set a goal of
say 1 video a day you’re still gonna get through a decent amount by day 1. Most schools break undergrad organic chemistry
into two so you have Orgo 1 and 2. Some schools break it into three especially
if you’re on the quarter system. Organic Chemistry is a subject where one chapter
builds on the next which builds on the next. So you can look at Organic Chemistry 2 as
Orgo 1 on steroids. In Organic Chemistry 1 you learn Acids and
Bases, in Orgo 2 you’re gonna learn acids and bases again but instead of a simple alkyne,
now you’re looking at benzene, now you’re looking at enolate ion formation. Same concept more complex. In Organic Chemistry 1, you looked at a lot
of reactions. You looked at mechanism, you looked at synthesis. Same thing in Orgo 2 but they’re more advanced. The molecules are bigger, there are more exceptions
and there’s definitely more steps in every reaction. So how do you prepare for this? There are two things you have to do. The first is to make sure you actually remember
everything from Orgo 1 so you have a foundation to build on. And the second is preview and get as much
of the new material as possible. Let’s face it, if you’re taking Orgo 2 after
a break, say winter break or summer break, what’s the chance that you actually remember
everything from last semester? Not a lot! And even if you just finished the class and
you got an A, chances are you could still benefit from a review. In one of my Orgo 2 exams, I got an A with
a 78 cause the class average was at 44. That means there was 20% of the material that
I was not comfortable with and I still got that A. But that 20% of uncertainty just gets
bigger and bigger and more confusing the more you try to build on it. So no matter what happened in the past, take
that time to review. Fill in any knowledge gaps go back and refresh
on anything you forgot and make sure you’re crystal clear with all the basics. The second thing you wanna do is start previewing
the new chapters, start learning the new material. If you only have a few days and all you can
accomplish is review, you’re still gonna be ahead of the class because your classmates
forgot everything, your professor expects you to remember everything and you need to
be ready for the new material. If you have more time, yes, definitely get
ahead with as many chapters are you can. There are two ways you can break this up and
I have a couple of sample study calendars linked below. You can break it up where say one third is
review and two-thirds preview, and that could be for example if you have three weeks, one
week Orgo 1 review, two weeks of new Orgo material. Or you can break up every study day for a
part review part preview. Say you study for 2 hours a day maybe the
first 30 minutes is to skim through on Orgo 1 topic and the remaining 90-minutes will
be going through a new chapter or going through new videos. Last but not least if you’re retaking the
course, the way you setup your study schedule is gonna be very similar to what we discussed
already but you have to add in that emotional component because for a lot of students, just
a fear of failure is what scares them so much and hold them back that it end up hurting
them even in this new semester. When I first took Organic Chemistry and withdrew
I was so scared of taking it again that it took me two years, two years to find the courage
even though in that time I took so many more difficult classes, I was just so scared of
taking it again and failing it again. What if I put in all this time and money to
pay for this course all over again only to get another F! I didn’t want that to happen. Before you start studying, ask yourself, what
happened last time? Why am I in this position that I have to retake
the course? In speaking to a lot of students, I hear everything
from not understanding the information, not doing enough practice questions leaving things
to the last minute and then cramming or not practicing the right way. Figure out what it was and then ask yourself,
how can I make sure, how can I prepare in advance to do things differently so this does
not happen again. If you didn’t understand the material, very
simple, make sure you understand the material. If you’re book is not enough, watch a video. If the video is not enough, go to a study
group, go to office hours, get a tutor, find someone to explain it to you so that you’re
not confused this time around. Not enough practice? That’s an easy fix. Time consuming but easy, just do more practice. Don’t wait till the last minute though, practice
consistently. As your study maybe build in extra time with
every chapter to do practice problems. Do the end chapter problems, do the end of
chapter problems, anytime a problem comes up in a video, pause the video, try the question,
make sure you understand it before you move on and then have an extra resource for practice
during the semester so that you don’t fall into that same pattern. Waiting until the last minute, well that’s
easy, we’re talking about this right now, hopefully before the semester begins so that
you’re getting a head start and not forced to cram at the last minute. And finally not practicing the right way,
ask yourself what went wrong. Some students said they did the practice,
they did all the questions but when they got something wrong they just memorize the answer. They did everything from memorization rather
than understanding. It’s a simple fix, you make a mistake, you
ask yourself why was this a mistake and how do I fix it? These are just some examples but you need
to figure out what held you back, how you’re going to fix it, and then give yourself permission
to do better this time around. It’s a mental thing but it really really makes
a difference. And then create a study plan, exactly what
we discussed earlier or used one of the samples linked below. If you’re preparing for the upcoming Orgo
semester, first thing you need to do is subscribe and then click the bell icon. This will make sure that anytime I post a
new video, you’ll be the first one to know. And second, let me know in the comments below
when your semester begins and what is the biggest thing you’re scared of, either because
of what you’ve heard from other students or your past experience. Are you struggling with Organic Chemistry? Are you looking for resources and information
to guide you through the course and help you succeed? If so, then I have a deal for you. A FREE copy of my E-book, 10 Secrets to Acing
Organic Chemistry. Use the link below or visit
to grab your free copy. After downloading your free copy of my e-book
you will begin receiving my exclusive email updates with cheat sheets, reaction guides,
study tips and so much more. You’ll also be the first to know when I have
a new video or live review coming up. If you enjoyed this video please click the
thumbs up and share it with you Organic Chemistry friends and classmates. I will be uploading many videos over the course
of the semester so if you haven’t subscribed to my channel yet, do so right now to be sure
that you don’t miss out.

Reynold King

42 Replies to “How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Organic Chemistry Semester”

  1. My second semester starts next week and Organic Chem is one of my modules. This really opened my eyes. Wont let my guard down! Thank you!

  2. My ochem class starts on the 22nd and I'm scared….but I'll email the professor to get the syllabus.
    Thank you so much for your advice!

  3. You are a great orgo teacher
    But I want to ask Something which book you would refer for organic chemistryπŸ˜…
    I want your suggestion πŸ˜„

  4. That would be great a help for me and thankx for suggestions about how to study throughly and for Ur Notes. And Again a big thankx

  5. Hi Leah! Thanks so much for your helpful videos! I'm just reading up on isomers. Is it possible to construct more that one structure out of the C2H3Cl (vinyl chloride)??

  6. Leah, your beauty is only rivaled by your insight! Looking forward to these videos helping me in my upcoming Chemistry II class this semester! Thanks a ton

  7. Miss Leah, I have a very important question to ask you. How can one be such an intelligent person and as beautiful as you are? I was told that such an imbalance of perfection and imperfection in the universe would break the laws of thermodynamics. Surely, you are bringing too much negative entropy to the world. On a side note, could you, in the future, cover reactions with organometallics? It's coming up pretty soon in my Orgo 2 course. I am aiming for an A in Orgo 2, on the account of my defeat in Orgo 1 with a satisfactory but unimpressive B+. I love your videos.
    Sincerely, Jonathan.

  8. Hello leah thanks for the tips please do you have an idea on how to manage time and study for both orgo and physics in the same semester

  9. Dear Leah,

    I just wanted to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for your kind help and encouragement for the students studying Organic Chemistry.

    Thanks much and best regards,

  10. Ma'am you look so beautiful. ❀❀😘 … Most beautiful chem teacher i ever had…. And also your videos are awesome … Just like you 😘

  11. I'm happy to find this video even if i'm a bit late to the party. I'm starting my organic chemistry class tomorrow. I took it before with a different professor but had to withdraw. I'm still nervous about forming bonds/study groups with fellow classmates, how the new professor teaches, understanding the material after taking a break from general chem, and not having enough study time due to other courses or having to work, but this video has helped me a lot. I like what you said about retaking the class on how it requires a emotional component. I actually really enjoy the topic of chemistry but because i don't have a strong background in the subject and find the pace to be extremely fast, it's definitely going to be a challenge. However, i think this video has boosted my courage a bit regarding this next sem! So thank you Leah! I will definitely be checking out the links you provided.

  12. Just dropped by to say thanks! I've been bingeing your resonance and acid/base series' for my test tomorrow and I'm glad I found the resources so early in the semester – I'll definitely continue to use them.

  13. I am so nervous for my first organic 2 exam this Wednesday. It is so hard having two labs a week and having to learn everything at such an accelerated pace. I really felt that part about the fear of failure even though I have not failed a college class yet. I am having a really hard time with one of the chapters, but your videos are helping. I wish we had organic 2 tutors at our school.

  14. Thanks a lot for sharing these valueable tips my semester starts from 28
    i really want to improve my marks this time but i have issues with my time table i understand the material but forgot it soon but i'll make sure to make this up really this time as you advise it to practice again and again

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