Organic Chemistry II as a Second Language: Second Semester Topics 2nd Edition
THE GOAL OF THIS BOOK
There are a lot of reactions that you will learn this year. Perhaps you could try to memorize them. Some people are good at that. But rather than memorizing, you would actually be better off if you tried to focus on building your skills. You will need certain skills in order to do well in this course. In this book, we will focus on those skills.
Specifically, you will learn the skills that you need to do three very important types of problems:
1. Proposing a mechanism
2. Predicting products
3. Proposing a synthesis
As you progress through the course, you will soon realize that it is not enough just to learn the reactions. To do well in this course, you MUST learn how to approach and solve these three types of problems. You must become a master of very specific skills. These skills will guide you in solving problems. These three types of problems represent the core of an organic chemistry course. If you master the skills you need, you will do very well.
Each chapter in this book will focus on the skills that you need in order to master a particular topic. The chapters in this book are designed to map out fairly well onto the chapters in your textbook. For instance, when you are learning about carboxylic acid derivatives, there will be a chapter in this book with the same title.
We will not have enough space to cover every topic in your textbook. This supplement is not designed to replace your textbook or your instructor. Rather, it is meant to provide you with the core skills that will allow you to study more efficiently.
Although we will focus on three major types of problems, we must place the major emphasis on mechanisms. Mechanisms are your keys to success in organic chemistry. If you master the mechanisms, you will do very well in the class; if you don’t master them, you will do poorly. It is hard to talk about synthesis problems if you don’t know the reactions well enough (and the same is true for predicting products). That is why Chapter 2 is devoted to laying the foundation you need to master mechanisms. That chapter is important. So, even though it won’t correspond to a specific chapter in your textbook, make sure to go through Chapter 2 anyway.
In Chapter 2, we will see that mechanisms follow a small number of basic themes and ideas. By focusing on these basic themes, you will see the common threads between mechanisms that would otherwise appear to be very different. This approach will minimize the need for memorization. In fact, we will soon argue that students who focus on memorization will miss problems that are trivial when you understand the basic concepts. This book will provide you with the fundamental language and tools that you need in order to master mechanisms. And while we are at it, we will work on the skills you need to solve synthesis problems and predicting products as well.
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