Have you wondered how to revise each organic chemistry topic? Take a look at the format of each of your organic chemistry notes. It’s a good indication of what you need to know.
The H2 A Level Organic Chemistry is divided into different chapters. Except for the chapter on introduction to organic chemistry, the other chapters all talk about a certain functional groups (e.g. alkanes, alkenes, alcohols, etc.). And, except for the chapter on introduction to organic chemistry, all your organic chemistry notes probably follow the same format.
Format of each organic chemistry chapter
Each organic chemistry chapter is divided into the following sections:
Organic Chemistry Notes start with nomenclature
Most chapter will start off briefly with nomenclature, talking about how to name the organic compounds with such functional group ( whether as a suffix or prefix). This is usually a very small part of the lecture notes. Take a look at the past year papers and you’ll know why — very few questions on naming.
Followed by Physical Property…
Next, the notes will talk about physical property namely solubility in water and melting and boiling point. This is basically a revision of what you have learnt from chemical bonding chapter. Since most organic compounds that you learnt are simple molecules, this involves explaining the type of intermolecular forces between molecules.
Organic Chemistry Notes go on to talk about preparation of the organic compound
The notes then go on to talk about how to prepare the organic compound, basically reactions that form that compound. Many of these reactions are repeated from other chapters.
Next, we talk about reactions of that organic compound…
Next, we go on to learn the various reactions that compounds of that functional group undergo. We also learn the reactions that can distinguish that organic compounds of that functional group from others (so that we can do structural elucidation and distinguishing questions).
Some organic chemistry notes talk about Reaction Mechanism…
There are some chapters where you need to know the reaction mechanism in detail.
Just 5 chapters where you need to know the reaction mechanism in detail. These 5 chapters are (i) free radical substitution of alkanes, (ii) electrophilic addition of alkenes, (iii) electrophilic substitution of arenes, (iv) nucleophilic substitution of halogenoalkanes, and (v) nucleophilic addition of carbonyl compounds.
Some chapters have some explanation questions you need to know. Example of such explanation questions are comparing or explaining acidity of phenols, alcohols and carboxylic acids, comparing or explaining acidity of amines and more.
How to Revise Organic Chemistry
Now that you know the general format of your organic chemistry notes, how would you revise organic chemistry? Well, you can start off by revising each chapter. These are what you should know for each chapter:
Step 1: First start off by asking yourself whether you are able to draw a not complicated organic compound given its name, or name the first few members of the homologous serious.
Step 2: Next, be able to make use of concepts studied in chemical bonding to explain trends in boiling/ melting point and solubility for compounds with that functional group.
Step 3: Knowing the reactions is important when studying organic chemistry. Test yourself whether you know the reactions that form that organic compound with that functional group, and the reactions that they undergo.
Step 4: If there are detailed mechanism in that chapter, test yourself by drawing out the reaction mechanism.
Step 5: Finally, is there some “special topic” that you’ll need to be able to explain in that chapter? If so, learn how to explain them.
I’ve made a template that you can use for revising each topic. You can download it here.
Are you done after revising each chapter? No… Take a look at the past year papers. No functional group is an island. Each question on organic chemistry spans many different functional group (aka many organic chemistry lecture notes), and the best way to integrate what you’ve learnt over the topics is to practice questions.
Step 6: Practice, practice, practice.
- Organic Chemistry Reactions Tested in H2 A Level Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry Reaction Mechanisms
- Organic Chemistry Concept Maps Part 1
- Organic Chemistry Concept Maps Part 2
- Structural Elucidation Questions
On-demand A Level Organic Chemistry Courses
- Introduction to Organic Chemistry
- Alkanes, alkenes and arenes
- Halogenoalkanes and halogenoarenes
- Alcohols, phenols, carbonyl compounds (ketones and aldehydes), carboxylic acid and derivatives of carboxylic acids (e.g. esters and acyl halides)
- Organic nitrogen compounds (amines, amides, amino acids, peptides and proteins)
Physical and Inorganic Chemistry A Level on-demand courses
- Mole concept, stoichiometry and redox
- Chemical bonding and gaseous state
- Chemical Energetics
- Reaction kinetics
- Chemical Equilibrium
- Ionic equilibrium (acid and base equilibrium and solubility equilibrium)