The class all medical major students dread, Organic and Biochemistry. Everyone has heard the horror stories about it, but there is no way to get around taking it, so you have to make the most of it. Not going to lie, this class is not easy by any means, but there are strategies that can make your experience in this class a little better.

1. Know Your Functional Groups

Basically everything you do in this class has to do with the functional groups you learn in the beginning of the semester. You need to be able to identify and pick out the functional groups in a molecule or structure. This is also extremely helpful when working on the nomenclature (naming) of molecules.


2. Know How Many Bonds Each Element Can Make

There are a few elements that you will need to know the number of bonds they can make. These elements include Nitrogen (N), Oxygen (O), Carbon (C), and Hydrogen (H). These elements are super commonly used in organic molecules, so you will need to know how they bond. One of my professors taught us the acronym HONC to remember these bond rules.

H-1 bond

O-2 bonds

N-3 bonds

C-4 bonds


3. Understand and Practice Nomenclature

Nomenclature (naming molecules) is one of the main topics in organic and biochemistry, so it is important that you know and practice doing it. It starts off pretty easy, but then can get very complicated and confusing, so you need to remember all the rules associated with it. The more you practice naming various molecules, the easier it will be for you to identify and name the molecule.


4. Attend Your Discussion

When you sign up for your Organic and Biochemistry lecture, you will sign up for a discussion class too. This discussion class gives you extra time with your professor and to work with your classmates. The professor gives worksheets to work on in groups, and he will walk around and answer questions. You get points for doing the worksheet and it is really helpful getting to work through it with your classmates.


5. Talk to Your Classmates

It is so important that you have someone to give you the notes if you miss class because you will need them later on. Also, talking to your classmates will make your discussion a lot less awkward and make you more comfortable working with other people. It is also nice to have people in your class to ask questions to or work on homework together.


Although Organic and Biochemistry is a hard class and can have a bad rep, there are ways to make it manageable. You can also always attend your professor’s office hours or go to the Chemistry success center if you need additional help in the class, but by studying, using the people around you for resources, and focusing on learning the main concepts, you should be able to make it out alive.



Gabby Driessnack

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