Crash Course On Alkenes

by James

Hey – this is out of date. Join Master Organic Chemistry Elite and you’ll get the Crash Course on Alkenes, plus Crash Courses for Alkynes, Resonance, and Stereochemistry. Check it out here

It’s a few weeks into class. And already it seems like new concepts are whizzing by at a frantic pace. Resonance. Substitution. Alkenes. It’s a lot to deal with.

It can get overwhelming.  And as you study, hour after hour after hour again, it’s easy to wonder if you’re the only one who doesn’t get it.

Hi, I’m James Ashenhurst. I got my Ph.D. from McGill University in organic chemistry and worked for 2 years as an organic chemist at MIT.

Over the past four years as an online organic chemistry tutor, I’ve spent countless hours observing students struggle with organic chemistry. I understand  how overwhelming it can be when a professor is shotgunning new concepts at you every day. They’ve moved on five steps forward –  while you’re still looking two steps back.

What makes it worse is that it’s often the first experience of doing really poorly in a course. Up until now, college has often been a story of success – a transcript with high grades that’s made students and parents proud. Suddenly, along comes organic chemistry, and it’s a different world.

But the very worst part is that when humbled students, after getting their first ever C- on a test, start asking their peers, instructors, and TA’s for advice, they hear things like:

  • “get a study buddy! “
  • “learn the concepts, don’t memorize! “
  • “just do all the problems in the textbook! “

It’s this last piece of advice that can be the hardest to take. “With a heavy courseload, lab reports to write, midterms to study for – I’m supposed to find time to do all the problems in the textbook?

And you know what? To their credit, many try to, at first – throwing themselves even further into it, working later nights,  drinking tons of coffee, Red Bulls, and doing whatever it takes to try to catch up in the course.

But along the way, something almost always goes wrong. They can’t keep up the pace. A lab report or anatomy exam comes up. Personal lives get in the way. Suddenly, organic chem gets pushed to the back burner – and before long, they’re behind in o-chem again.

At this point, it’s just a few weeks away from the final, and we’re even further behind.  What to do?

A better way

I saw this happen again and again with students, and it mystified me. Over the years of studying organic chemistry, I could see how the course is built up from a small number of important concepts and skills that repeat themselves in patterns, again and again. I asked myself, “what is it that I see that they don’t?”.

What I noticed is that typical o-chem students try to absorb everything the professor and textbook say with no sense of priority or structure. They get lost in the weeds of details and can’t zoom out to see the bigger picture. When they try to do practice problems, they easily get stuck – and frustrated.

What’s more, when students decide to go seek help, they often find that the people they were hoping to get a helping hand from – their instructors, TA’s, and peer tutors – are so busy trying to help other students that they’re unable to give them the hours of detailed guidance they so desperately need. And when they finally do get their ten or fifteen minutes of office hour time, they leave with even more questions than they started with.

“Help!! I’m behind. I have a test on Friday and I need help learning the reactions of alkenes! What do I do?”

Every week, for years, I’ve received questions just like this one.

And every time, I’ve wished I could just send people to a resource that does what I try to do as a successful tutor of organic chemistry:

  • assume that you are a total beginner
  • don’t waste your time with irrelevant details
  • concisely walk you through all the key “need to know”  skills and concepts
  • show you how to solve the most common types of problems, step by step

and most importantly, in doing so:

  • give you the confidence that you need to succeed on your exam – even if you don’t have much time to prepare.

Introducing the Crash Course On Alkenes

The Crash Course On Alkenes is the next best thing to having a review session with an expert tutor the week of the exam. I’ve used all the experience of thousands of hours of 1-on-1 tutoring with hundreds of students to craft a guide to this material that covers the key concepts you need to know in the shortest possible time.

Furthermore, I’ve gone through my personal vault of hundreds of exams to identify examples of the key types of problems you need to know how to solve in order to succeed in your course.

In the Crash Course On Alkenes, you’ll review how to:

  • draw mechanisms of the most important reactions of alkenes
  • identify the products of alkene reactions as enantiomers, diastereomers, or the same (key!)
  • learn about intramolecular reactions (an extremely common type of exam question!)
  • draw mechanisms for rearrangements (always an instructor’s favorite)
  • work backwards from products to draw starting materials (important, because few students study this!)
  • and a lot more! All with video walk-throughs of how to think through and solve each problem!

The Crash Course On Alkenes includes the following

  • A 73-minute video providing an overview on alkene reactions,  including key shortcuts for keeping track of all the reactions of alkenes
  • a collection of 20 key commonly encountered exam problems
  • video solutions for each problem, so you can completely follow the thought process involved in solving each problem type. Over 2 hours of video in all.
  • A one-page “cheat sheet” that covers the key reactions you’ll need to know.
  • Access to over 20 pages from the Reaction Guide, with examples, mechanisms, and a detailed walk-through of each reaction.
Learn how to prepare yourself for the most common exam problem you will encounter – “Predict the Product” – and by using the “3-bucket method” explained in the background video, understand this material in a fraction of the time you’d normally take.[ note – these videos are much bigger (640 x 480) in the Crash Course] 
Learn how to work backwards – so you can solve problems that ask you for starting materials or reagents (like this one!)[ note – these videos are much bigger (640 x 480) in the Crash Course]
Rearrangement mechanisms are one of the most popular types of problem you’ll see on an exam.  Full video walkthrough and many others included for this and other rearrangement problems.
[ note – these videos are much bigger (640 x 480) in the Crash Course]

A lot of students study hard for organic chemistry. But to succeed in organic chemistry, it’s not enough to just study hard. This material is difficult.  To master this material, you have to study smart. And that means not just memorizing it –  because at a certain point, who can memorize all the answers to the complicated potential questions you’ll get in a course like this? You can’t. What the Crash Course on Alkenes does is overlay a structure. A structure that lets you focus your valuable study time on the most important concepts and questions you’ll need to master for your exam.

Good students study the material from the chapter they’re being tested on.

Great students study the material from the chapter they’re being tested on – but also know how to apply material from previous chapters. 

You might not be a great student – yet – but the Alkene Crash Course can help you get there. 

Want more examples? Here’s a quintessential example –  applying Stereochemistry concepts to alkene problems (perfect exam material).

Organic chemistry is cumulative – you’re responsible for everything you’ve covered, not just the unit you’re currently being tested on!These problems help you review that material – like stereochemistry![ note – these videos are much bigger (640 x 480) in the Crash Course]
How do you be prepared for that “trick question” ? It’s not a trick question if you’ve seen it before. Be prepared by learning to solve many popular “trick questions”, like this one.[ note – these videos are much bigger (640 x 480) in the Crash Course]

This isn’t just more material for you to study. This will augment and support what you are already learning. 

This isn’t something I just came up with one day. These are the key lessons that came from spending thousands of hours of helping students 1-on-1 in organic chemistry at universities all over North America and the world. These are the exact same lessons I use when teaching this subject – available to you, at a tiny fraction of the cost of private tutoring (currently >$100/hr).

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By the way, if this doesn’t work for you – if you feel this doesn’t help you obtain a higher grade – simply email me within 30 days and I will grant you a full refund.

It’s that simple.

Instant Access:  $25 (One-Time Payment)


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