The field of organic chemistry can sound frightening for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. And if it’s something that’s exciting or interesting to you, then you shouldn’t let anything steer you away. So instead, take a look at some of the things you need to know about how to study organic chemistry.
The good thing is, you can even figure out how to learn organic chemistry on your own, as long as you have a good road map to chem. So, we’re going to give you a roadmap that you can use in the best way possible to set yourself on the right path for your chosen career.
So, let’s take a look at the best way to study organic chemistry and just what it will take for you to be ready to move on to more science classes or even an entirely different field. There’s no reason not to enjoy this class and do well while you’re in it.
What are the Best Ways to Study Organic Chemistry?
Okay, so you’re ready for some organic chemistry self-study, and you’re not quite sure how to do it. Or maybe you just want to know how to do well in organic chemistry at school. No matter what you plan, there are some essential things to keep in mind.
For one thing, you need to actually focus on the information. Organic chemistry can be a complex subject if you’re not careful and you’re not paying attention. So, take the time to read the chapters in some of the best organic chemistry textbooks. Then make sure you actually understand the material.
Before you walk into class or start your official program, you’ll want to go through some of the information that you can about organic chemistry. That means looking at your textbook or reviewing quality information online. This will give you a foundation to work with.
Understanding the information is essential rather than just being able to spit out facts or memorized information. This might take a little more time, but it’s going to make it easier for you to actually build on the knowledge you start with and continue to understand the more advanced concepts as you go in class.
Is Organic Chemistry Hard?
This is going to be up to you, and it’s something that no one can answer for you. On the one hand, many find that it’s not as difficult as they thought it would be. On the other hand, chances are you hear the phrase ‘organic chemistry,’ and you immediately think of something complicated. But that’s not really the case.
In general, this section of chemistry and science is not everything that it’s cracked up to be. But, in fact, it’s not as terrifying to most students once they actually get started with the class. And you might even find that it’s easier than general chemistry or at least a little more interesting.
On the other hand, some people find that it’s exactly as advertised. So, you might find yourself struggling with all of the different concepts you need to know to be successful with organic chem. These include different molecular theories, reactions, nomenclature, and more.
For those who are good at learning large amounts of information, you might not have a problem here. In fact, you might really enjoy all of the different components. But many people may have trouble with so much memorization (though you should be focused on understanding rather than just rote memorization).
How Many Hours a Week Should You Study for Organic Chemistry?
If you’re taking a formal organic chemistry class, you can expect it to be about three hours each week. This could be a single three-hour session, or it might be a few shorter sessions throughout the week. Either way, you should expect to spend that entire time in class learning the material.
Once your class is over, however, you should still expect to spend a decent amount of time studying organic chemistry on your own. In fact, it’s generally recommended that you review at least 1-3 hours outside of class for every hour that you spend inside the classroom.
This means you could be spending up to 9 hours outside of your classroom still studying for organic chemistry, and if you want to do well, it’s a good idea to allot as close to that amount of time as possible. That’s because the subject requires a great deal of attention, and it will require you to pay close attention throughout the class, not just during exam time.
An important fact to consider is that ,you may want to increase the amount of time you spend studying during exam time. So, instead of studying and working on homework or outside work for 9 hours each week, you may need to add another hour or more each week for specific exam prep. This ensures you aren’t rushing yourself too much.
How to Ace Organic Chemistry?
If you’re going to take a class, you want to make sure that you’re going to get a good grade, right? So, how do you make sure that you’re going to ace your class? Well, you’re going to need to start by being prepared. That means getting all of the materials that you’ll need for class including textbooks, note-taking materials, and other study materials and bringing them with you to every class.
The next thing is to make sure that you’re studying throughout the class rather than just at the end or around exams. This means making sure that you follow along with what’s going on in class at all times and that you are going over the notes you take each class period as well.
You will generally also want a study schedule that will help you stay on top of what you need to study and when so you don’t feel like you’re cramming a lot of information at the end of the class period or section. In addition, having a schedule that lays out the different things you need to study and when will make you feel a little more at ease.
9 Organic Chemistry Study Tips
Once you’re ready to start really studying for organic chemistry, you’re going to want to take a closer look at each of these tips to help you along. You might even be surprised how much you can accomplish if you know where to get started.
1. Find a study partner
The number one thing that you should do is find a study partner who will help you stay on task. Just having scheduled times that you get together with another person to study can make a huge difference in whether you study at all and whether you’re studying the right things.
2. Practice the problems
You’ll have a lot of different types of problems in organic chemistry and a great deal of lab work as well. So make sure you’re actually practicing the different problem types throughout the class. And then be sure that you’re doing hands-on work with the labs as well. Chances are you’ll be part of a group during this section of the class, but you want to get some experience personally.
3. Stay on target
This is a subject that’s going to require you to stay on task. If you fall behind, you’re going to have a very hard time catching back up, so make sure you talk with your teacher, your study partner, or someone else if you do find yourself struggling. That way, you can catch up as quickly as possible and get right back to it.
4. Use the triage method
There are going to be some things that you need to focus on more than others when it comes to studying organic chemistry. First, look at the information that’s going to be most important and spend more of your time on that. Then, spend a little less time on less important information or on information that you already feel pretty comfortable with.
You may get through the first exam pretty unscathed and feel like you’ve got it made. Organic chemistry isn’t going to be a problem for you. You’re going to sail through. And then you get to test number two, and you do poorly. That’s common, and the best way to make sure it doesn’t happen to you is to not get complacent. Keep studying even if that first test or the first couple of tests seem easy.
6. Practice daily
You likely won’t have organic chemistry every day, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study every day. In fact, this is one of those subjects that you should absolutely set aside time for each day. Even if it’s just a short period of time, you want to review the information that is giving you the most trouble to make sure your brain has a little more time to absorb it.
Lectures may get boring, and you probably find yourself struggling to pay attention for longer sessions, but they’re going to be essential to your success. If you don’t’ listen to the lecture, you’re going to set yourself up for a whole lot of problems in the future when you’re trying to study for an exam and don’t know the material.
8. Review before class
Instead of just looking at the material after the teacher has assigned it, take some time to review before you walk into the classroom. For example, if you know you’re going to be working on chapter two, then take a little time to read chapter two and skim over the practice problems. That way, you have a foundation to start with when you get to class, and you have questions to ask before you fall behind.
9. Just keep trying
You may struggle with organic chemistry at first. Or you might be one of the lucky few that actually does well right off the bat. No matter which way it goes for you, make sure that you’re still trying. This will likely include working with others, but the most important thing is to just keep working at it.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Study Organic Chemistry?
Studying organic chemistry doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. As long as you know what you’re doing and you put your mind to it, you can absolutely achieve a good grade in the subject. While you may not ‘ace it,’ you can still feel comfortable and confident with your achievement.
The first thing to remember is that you always attend your classes. You never know what you might miss if you decide to skip a lecture, or even worse, a lab. After that, work on regular studying and especially studying with other people in a group. You’ll give yourself a much better chance of success when you do.
Check out Organic Chemistry by Jonathan Clayden, Nick Greeves, Stuart Warren if you are looking for a text which will aid you in your organic chemistry journey.