There is a negative stigma attached to organic chemistry courses saying that they are impossibly difficult to pass. To a certain extent, it is true that organic chemistry is hard. Chem 230 at Bloomsburg is slightly different from how organic chemistry is traditionally taught though. Organic chemistry is usually taught through two courses, but fundamentals of organic chemistry is a combination of the two, meaning that more information is taught in one class. This raises the difficulty of the class somewhat, but it also means that you do not go as in depth into the material because you do not have the time. This class is tough, but there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you have the edge in the class.

1.Study for at least 2 hours for every lecture hour

This class is comprised of three one-hour lectures per week, and as such it is important to keep up with the material. As the old saying goes, for every hour of lecture you should do about two hours of studying. This is especially true for organic chemistry as most of the material is best learned through repetitive practice in order to truly understand it. What worked best for me was trying to study the material right after the lecture (if time permitted) to establish my understanding of the material while it was still fresh in my mind. Do whatever works best for you, but know that you should spend at least two hours of studying per lecture hour.


2.Go over textbook problems

It is essential that you get the textbook for this class because many of the exam problems come directly from the textbook chapter questions. The textbook chapters also do a good job of explaining the lecture material, thereby reinforcing your understanding. This is true at least if you are taking the class with Dr. Bell, but regardless, working on the textbook questions is an incredibly helpful way to reinforce your understanding of the material.


3.Get a study group

Studying in groups is a great way to ensure that you understand the material. Try explaining the concepts learned in lecture to each other, and try explaining the textbook problems to each other. This is a great way to know if you truly understand the material, because if you can correctly teach it to each other, then you know it. It is also a great way to learn about the things that you’re foggy on by going over them with your classmates.


4.Review with the professor

If you ever have any questions about anything you’ve learned, or if you don’t understand a concept, don’t be afraid to go to the teacher for help. Whichever chemistry professor you have will be more than happy to explain  it to you.  Dr. Bell  did an excellent job at clarifying everything students didn’t understand and going over textbook problem solutions. Because of her, student’s understanding of organic chemistry improved a lot.


Organic chemistry can be difficult to learn, but it is by no means impossible to pass. Allocate a lot of time to going over class material and reading the textbook. One of the most important things to do is work on the textbook chapter problems because these are the types of problems to expect on the exams. Most importantly, go to the professor for any questions you may have; their guidance can mean the difference between passing and failing.  Do these things and Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry will be made a lot more manageable!


Patrick Scubelek

Environmental Biology major at Bloomsburg University

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