The Dreaded Org Chem

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    Hello everyone!

    I am starting to register for spring classes. Organic chemistry I is the next in line. I have an A so far (half way point) in gen chem. I am terrified due to all of the horror stories.

    For all of you who have made it through Organic, how closely related to Gen Chem is it? What is it? I know that it concentrates on hydrocarbons, but this does not really tell me anything. How bad is it, really, if you can keep on top of material and readings? Is it all memorization?

    Anything that you all can tell me about it to lessen anxiety would be greatly appreciated. The faculty here just brush off my questions with, “You can’t describe it.” and “You’ll know when you get in there”.

    Thanks in advance!
    Brandi 🙂


    Hey there! I am currently in my second quarter of O-chem. Last year, I took 2 quarters of general chem and one of organic. I have found organic chem to be SO much easier than general chem. General chem focuses more on math (which is not my forte). The first quarter of organic for me was mostly learning structures. This quarter is a little tougher… we’re learning how to predict reactions and describe their mechanisms.

    Anyway, if you really put in the effort and stay on top of things, I think you will be fine in O-chem. 🙂


    Hello, do not fear Organic chemistry it is really not bad at all. I found it to be very interesting and had a great time in that class albeit a lot of work. It is really not much like anything you will see or have seen in general chemistry, no math involved, just a lot of reactions, following electrons, stereochemistry, and stuff like that. Make sure that you understand organic from the get go, in other words do not try to memorize (although some memorization will be required) but try to understand why such and such compound will react or not with this or that compound. It is a lot like cooking, you mix this and that and you get something else! Good luck and have no fear.


    Hello :wave: . I found o-chem to be much harder than my other intro science courses, and required about 15 hrs/week study minimum 😮 . However, now that I am in medical school I can see why it is required. Also, the difficulty is comparable to medical school–so if you can handle ochem you will do fine in med school. Just don’t expect to be able to cram for this course. My advice: write out the reactions over and over until you have them memorized. Keep track of where the electrons move to and WHY. You will use ochem in understanding biochemical reactions, physiology, pharmaceutical science, molecular genetics, and much more. Plus, it gets your mind in the habit of working a little bit harder to figure stuff out.

    At the end of my last ochem exam I felt that I had really accomplished something. You will too.

    Elise 😀
    Med 1


    Hi All,
    Haven’t posted in a while so I thought I’d add my 2 cents. I loved O-Chem! Yes it is VERY different from gen chem, the only thing you’ll find useful from your gen chem is a good understanding of how electrons work, so be sure you have a good grasp on bonding.

    Math is not my forte’ either, so I was very happy to find that there was virtually none involved in O-Chem. However, I too studied very hard, both for lecture and for lab…probably averaged about 20-25hrs/week out of class. Just be prepared for that and try to avoid taking concurrent classes which will require loads of time.

    Enjoy it, it really is fascinating if you choose to make it so!



    Thanks SO much for putting organic chem in a new light. No one had the typical “horror” stories that I have heard! 😮
    Our Dean of Arts and Sciences will not even talk to pre-med students without looking down on them and their “lofty ambitions” until they ace out of Organic, and they also push Biochem hard. :goodvibes:

    I love these new emoticons! Really cute! Can we just post cute faces?

    Seriously, thanks again for the upbeat org attitudes!

    Brandi 😉


    Don’t let the “horror” stories bother you. I put in HALF the study time I put into general chemistry. Organic chemistry is such a…….beautiful puzzle. You have to memorize the pieces, but putting them together to “solve” the puzzles is a LOT of fun. I enjoyed organic SOOOOO much that it pursuaded me to pursue a graduate degree in Organic chemistry. So take heart……you may LOVE it!

    Tangee FoxTangee Fox

    Well, I’m currently taking Gen.Chem II and Org. Chem I and while I’m ready to KILL my gen. prof (but that’s a different story, to be posted under–I’m ready to Kill my chem. prof)I really enjoy Org. We’re past nomenclature, which is really fun and easy. It’s like learning a foreign language, roots, prefixes, suffixes. Some memorization, but it all makes sense. (Although I made a few stupid errors and only got a be on my nomenclature exam) Right now we are predicting reactions and describing the mechanisms of them. The closest thing I have come to what this reminds me of is doing proofs in geometry. You have a beginning product, and you have an end product, and you have to figure out what happens in the middle to make the product. It’s actually kind of fun and challenging. And, as for the labs, I’ve had the BEST time. I feel like a “real” chemist, as opposed to a kid playing around in the lab. Instead of doing a completely prestructured lab just to write down and analyse the results, we actually do things that might come in handy some day. I can isolate substances, sublime them, take MP readings to see how pure my sample is, etc. where as in gen chem. it was “mix these two things and observe if there is a precipitate.”

    I’ve really enjoyed it so far, although ask me again after my final exam in Dec. 🙂


    Gosh, it must be nice to be able to have the time to devote 15 hours a week to one class. With work(35 hours a week) and classes(five plus 2 labs, including OChem), I devote one hour of study a week to Organic and I am passing with a B. Everyone else is right, though: Organic is rigorous and at times barely understandable, but what is great about it(and this is why I like sciences) is that once you fully understand something, the logic of it is so clear. In hindsight of my first half of Organic I, it hasn’t been that bad. The key is to hang in there and thank God it doesn’t involve math. Good luck!



    Wow Courtney, you must be an amazing person. You will fly through med school if you only need one hour/week to study for ochem to get a B! Had to study my you know what 😮 off to get my B’s, lol. You go girl!


    Let me reiterate … WOW, Courtney!

    I am working 30 hrs/wk and only taking two classes (one w/ a lab) and feel overwhelmed. My daughter takes up all my so called spare time!

    You go girl!



    I know what you mean, I’m only taking Biochem this semester, and I feel I have no time. My dautgher takes a lot of time away from studying, but I’m still getting a least a A-. Still the time has to be put in. I took Org.Chem I and II and I can’t even tell you how much it has helped me for biochem. I loved org. (unlike gen. chem. 😮 maybe its because I had 2 brains working instead of one (Iwas pregnant)Anyway don’t worry about the stupid horror stories, they are nothing and said just to intimidate you. Get a GREAT TEACHER otherwise the horror stories will get you. Good luck.


    Hello! I am just in the first semester of Gen chem, but wanted to share with you some encouragment my cousin’s wife gave me. She is a 3rd year vet school student. She said she hated gen chem, actually found ochem easier, and did better in it than gen. This doesn’t make me think it will be easy, but it lessens the anxiety that there is hope. Good luck!

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