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Mr Chen's anecdotes.

3 TYPES OF QUESTIONS TO EXPECT IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY

H2 Chemistry is not easy. Chemistry in itself is ranked as one of the most difficult major in Universities worldwide. (Trust me, I know).


Chemistry itself is separated into many fields. The 4 main fields are physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry.


My personal favorite is organic chemistry. Unfortunately, many students in JC do not share my sentiments. Students taking their A levels struggle with organic chemistry. They claim it is too much memory work and questions are difficult.


It can be rather difficult in terms of the level of difficulty in a question. However, the type of question itself may prove challenging for most already. In this article, I will identify the 3 main types of questions to expect in organic chemistry in A level H2 Chemistry.



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Table of Content:


Organic Synthesis



Organic synthesis is the easiest of the 3 types and my personal favorite. To draw parallels, organic synthesis questions are highly similar to qualitative analysis in Secondary School O-level Chemistry. A mind map is drawn for most questions with blanks in between to be filled. Questions would revolve around identifying the reagents and conditions used, the type of reaction, and drawing the structure of the product and intermediates.


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Organic Chemistry Mechanisms


Organic Chemistry Mechanisms (ORM) is the hardest type of question of the 3 types. Even at the University level, Chemistry major students are advised to stay away from ORM, a level 3 module at NUS.


ORM at H2 Chemistry can be rather manageable. These questions require students to demonstrate, through the drawing of arrows and movements of electrons, how a specific molecule is formed. In the recent A level papers, mechanism questions are found in paper 3 and the mechanisms asked are not a cut-and-paste from your notes.




Very often, ORM questions would have a short guide to lead you through the mechanism. The individual steps are listed clearly. However, questions do not remind students to indicate dipole moments and lone pairs. This is where students are usually penalized. Furthermore, the marking scheme for the mechanism is one mark for each error made. (You are only awarded maximum of 3 marks, do the math for the room for error.)


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Structural Elucidation

The bane for most A level chemistry students - structural elucidation.


Structural elucidation is a question that would always appear in H2 Chemistry paper 3. It comes in the form of a paragraph, littered with reactions and molecular formulas. This key information are expected to help you identify the exact structure of the unknown compound.


In addition to correctly drawing the structure of the unknown compound, students are expected to explain the reactions and observations given in the paragraph neatly.


Structural elucidation proves to be challenging for most students. Firstly, the lengthy paragraph causes difficulty for students to read and comprehend. The information presented requires a clear and precise understanding of each reagent and condition used. Even if they do process the information correctly, they are unable to piece fragments of information together to produce the structure of the unknown compound. Hence, such questions are always presented to test the level of understanding of organic chemistry in a student.



Organic Chemistry Can Be Easy


A significant number of students dislike organic chemistry. They claim that it requires an intensive amount of effort to memorize and yet these efforts may prove futile in the face of the 3 types of questions listed above.


It is true. Organic chemistry does require some memory work and a high level of application. However, students are studying organic chemistry the wrong way if they rely on pure memory work. In fact, there are clear reasons for why certain reagents are used, and hence, minimal memory work is required.




We, at VANTAGE TUTOR, have helped countless students improve in H2 Chemistry. Mr Chen prides himself in organic chemistry and alleviating his students to his level. He aims to help students see organic chemistry question the way he does and help them realize just how easy organic chemistry can be.


Currently, as Math and Chemistry tutors, we have seen countless students looking helpless in the face of organic chemistry. We would direct you toward the right path and also set you up for success by changing your perspective of organic chemistry. We will go as far as re-learning the entire organic chemistry from scratch. So hesitate no more, contact us today!


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I have passed my matriculation and now i have a keen interest in chemistry so if you know some tutors for chemistry near me in Delhi please let me know so that i can hire one for my further studies.

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