This course will provide
an introduction to the structures and reactions of organic compounds.
Vollhardt, K. P. C. and Schore,
N. E. Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function, 5th Edition.
This class is not
about memorization. It is about developing analytical thinking and problem-solving
The specific skills we will
explaining and predicting
the structures of organic molecules
proposing reasonable arrow-pushing
mechanisms for organic reactions
predicting the reactivity
of organic molecules with particular reagents
explaining and predicting
the regio- and stereoselectivity for various organic reactions
planning multistep syntheses
of organic molecules
using spectra to identify molecular structures
No early or late exams (midterms or final) will be given. For students
with a legitimate reason for missing a midterm (written documentation
of the reason for such an absence is required), the final examination
(since it is cumulative) will be scaled to count for 350 points.
You must take the final exam in order to pass this class. Students who
miss the final examination will receive a grade of "incomplete"
only if written documentation of a legitimate reason for their absence
is provided and they have a passing grade going into the final exam.
from errors in totaling points, exam regrading will only be performed
for requests of 5 or more points. If you think you deserve at least
5 more points than you were given on an exam, you may request a regrade.
To do so, you must describe, in writing, why you think you deserve additional
points ("I just thought I'd ask" is not sufficient) and submit
this request, along with your exam, to your TA within one week of the
day your exam was returned. Do not make any changes to or marks on your
exam or you will forfeit your right to a regrade. Keep in mind that
the entire exam will be regraded. Note also that some original exams may be photocopied before they are returned.
We are all adults and should treat each other as such. Cheating of any
kind (including plagiarism, beginning an exam early, continuing to write
on an exam after time is called) will not be tolerated.
work lots of problems:
You cannot work too many problems. The problems in the textbook and
the "problems-of-the-day" are representative of the types
of problems you will encounter on the midterms and the final exam; the
problems on the reading quizzes are, in general, easier than those on
exams. Be sure to practice all types of problems (synthetic, mechanistic,
explain, and problems that combine them).
Build models whenever you can! This is especially important for solving
problems that deal with stereochemistry.
it or not, Organic Chemistry is not about memorization. It is actually
about pattern recognition. Everything fits into a pattern (or is extremely
interesting because it does not). Your goal should be to discover the
patterns (I will help!) and practice recognizing them. If you can learn
this skill, you will be able to answer almost any problem thrown at
you, whether or not you've previously memorized the details of the particular
case in question. Here's a little secret: exam-writers often try to
make problems seem difficult by adding "spinach" to molecules
that might distract you from seeing the relevant pattern(s) (while this
is tricky, it is also representative of most organic chemistry problems
encountered in real research!). So, another goal should be to become
comfortable with cutting through the spinach so you can focus on the
pattern; i.e. find the part of a molecule (functionality) that you have
learned about or that is analogous to something you have learned about.
Reread your notes and work problems after every lecture. Last minute
cramming rarely works in an Organic Chemistry class.
Many great tips can be found at Saundra McGuire's website
(of particular relevance is her "Acing Organic Chemistry"
presentation). UCD also has a Learning
Skills Center, which, among other things, holds regular workshops.
just me?: I
view chemistry problems as puzzles or games and have always liked building
models because they are like toys. This does not mean that anything
in this class should be taken lightly. It does mean that you should
try to find some way to make problem solving fun.