study tips

The Simple Two-Step Pattern For Seven Key Reactions of Aldehydes and Ketones

August 18, 2017

“There are just so many reactions! I can’t remember all the mechanisms!!” – distressed organic chemistry student Yes, yes there are a lot of reactions, particularly in second semester organic …

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This Is Why Students Use Flashcards

This Is Why Students Use Flashcards

October 2, 2015

A long but interesting letter from a reader who I’ll call “Annie” on how preparing for an exam the “right way” (learning the mechanisms for every reaction) as opposed to the ‘wrong …

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What Does “Don’t Memorize!” Mean, Anyway?

What Does “Don’t Memorize!” Mean, Anyway?

September 4, 2015

“Memorize Everything!” was good organic chemistry study advice in 1952. From the MIT Technology Review, a letter to the editor: A Memorable Chemistry Final There is only one final exam that i can date from…

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How Esther Bounced Back From a “C” To Get A’s In Organic Chemistry 1 And 2

How Esther Bounced Back From a “C” To Get A’s In Organic Chemistry 1 And 2

October 8, 2014

The importance of attitude The student who is the subject of today’s success story, Esther,  didn’t start off doing well in organic chemistry. Actually, she says that the first time she took organic, she got …

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Success Stories: How Corina Got The The “Hard” Professor – And Got An A+ Anyway

Success Stories: How Corina Got The The “Hard” Professor – And Got An A+ Anyway

February 5, 2014

Does your school have that one “hard” organic chemistry instructor that most students try to avoid? Today’s success story comes from Corina, a student in Texas who got assigned the most challenging i…

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Success Stories: How Zach Aced Organic Chemistry 1

Success Stories: How Zach Aced Organic Chemistry 1

January 16, 2014

With the first semester over, I recently asked my readers if they could share their stories of how they succeeded [or even failed in] organic chemistry. In the first of a series of posts, I’ll share the response…

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Organic Reaction Flashcards Version 2.0 Is Here!

Organic Reaction Flashcards Version 2.0 Is Here!

May 10, 2013

Do you ever study by making flashcards of reactions? You might recall that a few months ago Rich Apodaca (of Metamolecular) and myself released the first version of The Organic Reactions Flashcard App for iPhone, a mo…

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“America’s Top TA” Shares His Secrets For Teaching O-Chem

“America’s Top TA” Shares His Secrets For Teaching O-Chem

August 10, 2012

[image photo credit: www.nyapplecountry.com] What does it take to be a great organic chemistry TA? A few weeks ago, Dan Coiro, a graduate of Rutgers University, was awarded the title of “America’s Top TA&#…

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How John Pulled Up His Organic Chemistry Exam Grades

How John Pulled Up His Organic Chemistry Exam Grades

July 18, 2012

The other week, loyal reader “John” (not his real name) wrote in to tell me how he had pulled up his exam grade in organic chemistry from a 44% on the first midterm to a 90% on the second midterm. I asked …

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How To Prepare for Organic Chemistry Exams

How To Prepare for Organic Chemistry Exams

June 22, 2012

A common problem students tell me is that they feel that they know the material, but when they write an exam, they don’t do well. It’s hard to isolate the exact reasons for this, but there are certainly ca…

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