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The Lalaholding Beaker
The Lalaholding Beaker
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Survival Guide to Organic Chemistry

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Going into my sophomore year, I decided to take Organic Chemistry. As a pre-med student, it was a requirement and a dreaded course by most pre-med students. I have heard many horror stories about the class, but after taking my final exam today, I thought I would share some tips that have gotten me through it.

  1. First of all, I recommend taking inorganic chemistry before organic. In my brain, the concepts made more sense to me and acted as building blocks to organic. In organic chemistry, I feel like everything is just kind of thrown at you with little explanation.  
  2. Second of all, ask questions. I feel like this is pretty obvious but organic chemistry is one of those courses where everything builds on each other. Meaning if you don’t understand one topic, you won’t understand the next.
  3. Another thing that I think helped me initially in the class was buying the book Chemistry for Dummies so that I could look through the topics before I even stepped foot into the classroom.
  4. Also, if you do not understand a topic, STEM guides here at DePauw are absolute lifesavers. They can help you with any topic, worksheet, or even look over labs even if they themselves have never had the same lab.
  5. I recommend always doing the pre-class reading. At least in my class, it was a flipped classroom so we would do group work in class and all of the reading and notes outside of class. If you are lost during the group work because you have not done the reading, it is hard to catch up since you learn a new topic the next day.
  6. Lastly, talk to your classmates. They ultimately are going through the same rough class that you are and you can help each other without copying. 

I promise you are going to make it through this. While organic chemistry is notoriously difficult, it is possible to get through this class and not drop your GPA significantly. You got this!

Hi! I’m Alicia and I’m a sophomore at DePauw University! I’m majoring in biology on a pre-health track and I write for the features sections of DePauw's HerCampus!
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