This is easily one of the most disliked courses that every premed has to take. I have even seen a T-shirt that said “How does O-Chem Save Lives?” on the front and had “because it keeps idiots out of med school” on the back. Although taking O-Chem can be a huge time commitment, it is manageable.
Here is some advice I have for those taking O-chem:
1. Flashcards! There’s no way around it, especially in the second half of O-chem. You simply just have to straight up memorize reactions. I think I probably made 200 flashcards during O-chem.
2. Prepare for the national O-chem standardized test by using the ACS study guide. I literally crammed in a day and only missed one question on the exam. I don’t recommend doing that, but it shows how helpful the study guide is. Order it online at least two weeks ahead so that you can have it to study a week before the exam. Or better yet, borrow it from a friend who is done with O-chem.
3. Study with friends. I know you might have the urge to be a gunner and study by yourself to break the curve, but you really will do much better by studying with others. Quiz your friends on reactions and O-chem laws. Verbalizing answers and teaching others helps you to retain information better than just flipping through flashcards.
4. Practice electron-pushing mechanisms on difficult reactions. Looking at diagrams is not enough to learn and reproduce these tough reactions on the exam.
5. Focus on remembering basic concepts for the MCAT. The MCAT doesn’t test your knowledge of specific reactions, but you can count on it testing your knowledge of things like substitution vs. elimination reactions, solubility, polarity, sterics, nomenclature, etc.
If you have any tips that have helped you, please post them below!