Organic Chemistry II: Reactivity, Synthesis, and Spectroscopy
Winter 2021 - The grading scheme for this class was on a straight scale based on the number of points from several categories: Each midterm is 100 points Final is 200 points Top 8 of 10 quizzes are scaled to 100 points Group projects during discussion section were 50 points. For a total of 550 points. The grade scale was relatively generous with 90% being the cutoff for an A, 84% for an A-, 81% for a B+, 77.5% for a B, and 74% for a B-. This class is difficult, as indicated by the grade scaling, but not impossible to do well in. The first midterm tested on IR Spec, H-NMR, C-NMR, and Mass Spec. This material was the most difficult for me as there were many tiny details that you had to pay attention to when doing the problems. It is very easy to miss something and lose points because of that. The second midterm tested mainly on Synthesis problems, with one spectroscopy problem similar to the first midterm. This class is all reactions after the first midterm. For me, Anki flashcards were key to memorizing all of them and doing all the practice problems from the book was great prep for the second midterm and the final. The final was also mostly synthesis questions, but had two spectroscopy problems. The timing for the tests was actually decent. I usually 'finished' about 30 minutes before I had to upload to gradescope, so I spent the next 25 minutes combing through my answers and checking for mistakes. Practice tests were posted before each midterm and final. They were all accurate in difficulty and helpful in gauging how prepared you are for the actual one. During the (open book/note) tests, I wrote down as much material as possible and had everything in front of me, although I don't think that will be possible in the future once classes are back in person. The lectures for the class were all pre-recorded and posted on CCLE. The actual lecture time served as office hours. The lectures were kind of dry, but decent enough. Dr. Ow gives you the material and constantly reminds you that the key to doing well is doing practice problems. Keeping up with the material is all on you, so don't slack on watching the lectures. Leave time in the week to do the book problems as well. I highly recommend getting the solutions manual to check your answers. I couldn't find it online, but its relatively cheap if you rent from Chegg or some other service (less than $15). During discussion sections, we were given 'reaction roadmaps' that showed how to go from molecule to molecule. The group projects were filling in the reagents, reactants, and products in these roadmaps with classmates in your discussion section. These group projects are basically free points if you go to your TA's office hours and make sure everything is correct. The roadmaps are also very useful during tests. Weekly non-timed quizzes were posted on CCLE, which covered the lecture material for that week. They were relatively easy, but worth checking your answers so you don't miss out on points. You only had one session to do the quiz as well, no stopping in the middle and starting it again at a later time. The average for both midterms was 64%. I got a 69% on midterm 1 and 85% on midterm 2. I don't know the average for the final, but I it was probably similar to the midterms. I got a 94% on the final and got an A in the class. I assume there was a small upward curve applied to the class as I don't think that I made the cutoff for an A based purely on points.
Fall 2021 - Overall, I thought this class was fine. Professor Pham is clear during lecture, but I wish that he had more time to spend going through examples or solving problems. A lot of material builds on information from 30A, so if you didn't do well in that class (like me), you need to really look at what went wrong and try to improve, or else it's likely you'll also do poorly in this class (like me). The class is broken up into two sections of reactions/mechanisms with a spectroscopy section in the middle, which is totally new and a nice break. The latter half of the class moves very quickly, so you need to make sure you are keeping up with content. Practice is the key to doing well.
Summer 2020 - Dr. Reilly was incredibly kind and offered a bunch of extra credit as well as a completion for all our problem sets rather than being graded for correctness. She made everything open book and compiled all the reactions but somehow still managed to make the tests hard which is honestly probably good for learning because you still had to spend time studying rather than just using everything she gave you. I did most of the practice problems in the book and flashcards and that helped me a ton! However, I'm not sure if this applies to her other classes, but since it was summer, the information was PACKED. Like, I used to watch my math lectures at 2x speed but here I barely managed 1.5 and had to stop a lot because the information was so incredibly dense and with little breaks, making the 2 hour lectures straight a bit rough. Overall, awesome class and good prof, but definitely still hard, good luck!
Summer 2020 - Professor Zinke is a very funny person who really wants to make sure that students succeed. He was a bit technologically challenged, but overall made a 3-week summer intensive Organic Chemistry class very doable and enjoyable! He offered an extra credit project due the last day of the course that was worth 10 test points (10%) consisting of creating a parody music video about the class content. After the class, he kept in contact through letters and email! REALLY recommend him for his humor, stories, and knowledge! :)