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Cheat Sheet

Organic Chemistry II For Dummies

From Organic Chemistry II For Dummies by John T. Moore, Richard H. Langley

Organic Chemistry II is one of the toughest courses you can take. Surviving isn’t easy — you probably know that from your Organic Chemistry I class. Preparation is key: If you study the right way, prepare for your tests, and know your aromatic systems, you’re off to a great start!

Study Tips for Organic Chemistry II

Organic Chemistry II doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think. Follow these study tips to improve your understanding of organic chemistry, from carbon atom bonds to unnamed reactions, and everything in between:

  • Don’t simply memorize concepts, learn the concepts by working exercises.

  • Keep up with the material by studying Organic Chemistry II a minimum of six days a week.

  • Buy and use a model kit.

  • For each reaction you study, know where and why the electrons are moving.

  • Learn those named (and unnamed) reactions.

  • Use other resources in addition to your textbook (like the excellent Organic Chemistry II For Dummies, written by John T. Moore and Richard H. Langley and published by Wiley).

  • Read ahead in your textbook before class.

  • Take really good class notes and recopy them as soon as possible.

  • If you need help, ask questions.

Tips for Taking an Organic Chemistry II Exam

Taking an Organic Chemistry II test has a completely deserved reputation for being tough. Make life easier by following these tips before you take your next organic chemistry exam:

  • Remember that the carbon atom forms four bonds.

  • Don’t cram the night (or even a week) before a test.

  • Attend class religiously.

  • Correct the mistakes you made on previous exams and don’t make the same mistakes again.

  • Assign formal charges and use them to help decide most probable structure, sites for nucleophilic/electrophilic attack, and so on.

  • When writing an organic reaction, be sure you don’t lose any carbon atoms.

  • Relax and get enough sleep the night before an exam.

  • Include E/Z, R/S, and cis/trans prefixes when naming organic structures.

  • Think of spectroscopic data, especially NMR, as puzzle pieces and try to fit them together.

  • Work problem sets and practice exams twice.

  • If you find you’ve drawn a compound in which a carbon doesn’t have four bonds, go back to the beginning of this list.

Organic Chemistry II: Directing Groups for Aromatic Systems

In an Organic Chemistry II class you often add groups to aromatic systems. If you’re wondering where the substitution will take place, check out this table for some guidelines. When using this table, remember two things:

  • O-p-directors always beat m-directors.

  • Strong activators always beat weak activators.

Classification of Various Aromatic Substituents
Ortho-Para-Directors
Very Strong Activators -NH2, -NHR, -NR2, -OH, -O
Moderate Activators -OR, -NH-CO-R, -O-CO-R
Weak Activators -R, -C6H5
Mild Deactivators -F, -Cl, -Br, -I
Meta-Directors
Very Strong Deactivators -N+R3, -NO2, -CN, -CCl3, -CF3
Moderate to Mild Deactivators -CN, -SO3H, -CO-R, -COOH, -COOR, -CONH2, -N+H3
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