SN1/SN2/E1/E2 Decision Mind Map

by James

in Organic Chemistry 1, Organic Reactions, Uncategorized

Courtesy of Dave Blackburn, an organic chemistry instructor “who is giving an exam on this today”, here is a mind map of all the different concepts covered in the discussion on SN1, SN2, E1, and E2 reactions.

What’s interesting is that this mind map really boil the “SN1/SN2/E1/E2” decision  down to 3 options:

  1. SN2 reaction
  2. E2 reaction
  3. Formation of a carbocation

If the carbocation is formed, of course, it can go down several different pathways (SN1, E1, possibly preceded by rearrangement).

There are five key categories covered here: substrate, nucleophile, solvent, temperature, and leaving group. There’s no one place necessary to “start” although beginning with the “substrate” – i.e. ” primary, secondary, or tertiary alkyl halide? ” is always my first choice.

Thanks, Dave!

Click here for larger version

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }


That thing is terrifying. It looks neat but I hope he doesn’t give his students that chart.



If they have it in hand when studying, it’s a good reminder of the key concepts.



As a current Organic Chemistry student, this mind map looks incredibly unorganized and I would not fare well studying from it.



I would have to agree!



I’m actually in his o-chem class right now. While this looks very daunting at first glance, once you take the time to use it in conjunction with determining mechanisms, it’s very helpful! Start with one of the blue ovals and go from there.



Wow ungrateful! I suppose some people learn conceptually, while others…don’t.
This is amazing! Awesome!


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