5 Must-Do Things to Master Organic Chemistry for the JEE

Hello, hope your JEE Preparation is in full swing. If you are in class XI at present, you probably have not been introduced to the realm of Organic Chemistry for JEE yet. If you are in class XII, I can assume that you are well introduced to the nuances of the subject.

Although there is not much to study in Organic Chemistry for a class XI student, the syllabus forms the basis of everything you need to know about Organic Chemistry for JEE. It is essential to have a firm grip on the basic concepts of an otherwise extremely exhaustive subject. So, let us take notes on a few must-do points in order to build a strong understanding of the subject.

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Build a Strong Grip on General Organic Chemistry for JEE

General Organic Chemistry (GOC) is the most important building block of Organic Chemistry for JEE. Unfortunately, it is also a topic which most students overlook. It is almost impossible to progress further in Organic Chemistry unless your concepts regarding various reaction intermediates, their stability in different conditions, their effects on the physical and chemical properties of a compound etc., are clear. You can’t just go on memorizing all the possible reactions. That is quite impossible. And even if you are able to mug up all of them, it is highly possible to find a totally new question in the JEE.

These days the paper setters focus more on the mechanism of the reaction than the products (which are easier to memorize even with a weak grip on the basic concepts.) So you could be given a totally unexpected molecule, be required to analyze its properties, carry out the given reactions, and decipher the product. And all of this within a single question.

Some questions simply ask you to arrange the given compounds in order of acidity/basicity or order of rate of reaction with a given reagent etc. All these things can’t be memorized, and unless they are at your fingertips, Organic Chemistry for JEE can be a nightmare.

Build a Strong Grip on Stereo-Chemistry

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Along with General Organic Chemistry, Stereo-Chemistry is an important part of properly understanding Organic Chemistry for JEE. Most of the commonly known mechanisms (read Nucleophilic Substitution and Elimination) have a lot to do with Stereo-Chemistry of the compound.

Many beautiful questions can be framed combining Stereo-Chemistry with a given reaction. The most important part is the various rules of nomenclature of organic compounds. Then comes the importance of Conformational Analysis. Almost all reactions involving cycloalkanes involve Conformational Analysis. This comes in handy when you study the chapter on Biomolecules. Provided you understand Conformations of Cyclohexane well, you will find yourself breezing through the above-mentioned chapter.

Practice, Practice, and Practice a Lot

Organic Chemistry is best mastered by solving problems that involve multiple concepts at the same time. You must figure out the best approach to attack each problem. As you can see, mastering this subject is a slow and steady process.

There will be problems in the beginning due to a lot of hidden concepts from the above mentioned two topics. But as mentioned above, it is essential to have a stronghold on them. This takes time, and you need to let it take time.

Don’t try to rush through topics just for the sake of completing the syllabus. Be patient, try to make your basics strong by solving a lot of problems. Once you can do that well, you will find the rest of the portion extremely easy and small to wrap up.

Understand the Mechanisms of the Reactions

There are a lot of reactions which you are sure to find in your JEE papers. To name some:

  • Aldol Condensation,
  • Cannizzaro Reaction,
  • Perkin Reaction,
  • Reactions of Amines,
  • Reactions of Aromatic compounds, and
  • some important tests like Iodoform test, etc.

Tollen’s test proves handy in quickly identifying some compounds. Several Oxidation and Reduction reactions involve different pathways and products that also form another interesting part.

So, after studying the specific reactions named above, you should also be aware that they won’t be given to you in isolation. Instead, a lot of them are combined. Also, the reactants on which they must be carried out can be different from what you took when you learned them.

Thus it is probable that you would get baffled seeing such a large number of unknown problems at one place. The key to overcome this problem is to know the mechanism of each reaction.

So you must first know the intermediate species (if any) involved in the reaction. So you must search for the possible electrophilic centers in the molecules or any nucleophilic reagent. Once you find these two things, it’s almost done.

Now as you know a nucleophile attacks an electrophile, you just need to know how the electrons will move in the molecule. Make the necessary electron displacements and you are done. But this is something that may not strike you immediately when you see the question. You would need to revisit point no.3, which stands as the only way to master those type of problems.

Solve All Previous Years’ Problems

This is another important part which you can’t neglect during your JEE Preparation. This point applies to all the subjects–and Organic Chemistry is not an exception. Looking at the present level and type of questions being asked helps a lot in selecting resources and deciding on study patterns. You don’t want to read out of syllabus topics or solve questions from them, as that would be a waste of your study time.

Also solving past questions gives a boost to your morale! It lets you know that you can successfully face similar questions on your JEE exam. As you solve them you will realize the importance of the above mentioned four points. Thus, make sure that no past problem, be it a mere objective type question or a subjective question — is left unsolved before the final exam.

So, that’s all for now. Organic Chemistry is one of the most logical parts of chemistry. You don’t need to do much hard work in solving questions from it provided you fulfill the above five points. It takes hardly thirty seconds to arrive at an answer to its problems, but only when your concepts are sound. So, pick up a good reference book, preferably by some foreign writer, digest the contents slowly and patiently, solve plenty of problems and explore the magic of organic chemistry.

All the best!

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