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Organic Chemistry Study Tips: How to use a “Study Buddy”

I can’t claim credit for this idea but unfortunately I can’t remember where I read it either.

Here’s a helpful and quick way to make use of a study partner.

Let’s say you’ve got a long list of reactions that you’ve learned, but you need to practice your synthesis skills. Here’s what you can do.

Both you and your partner can write out a plausible sequence of reactions that you know.  It can be two or three steps – or even longer (or shorter) if you like. Include the reagents. Keep it relatively simple. Don’t worry about making it hard. Stick to what you know. If you’re unsure of anything, don’t do it.

I’m just thinking something simple like this:

This is your copy. Now draw out the starting material and the product, and give it to your partner.

It looked easy when you saw all the answers in front of you. Looks a little harder now, doesn’t it?

By doing this not only will you get practice in drawing out reactions in the forward direction, you’ll learn about how to think backwards too.

Here’s an example of a possible Org 1 version.

By the way, Ian Gould’s site at Arizona State is a great resource for synthesis problems.

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