Organic chemistry is not merely a compilation of principles, but rather, it is a disciplined method of thought and analysis. Success in organic chemistry requires mastery in two core aspects: fundamental concepts and the skills needed to apply those concepts and solve problems.
Organic Chemistry, 2nd Edition
Readers must learn to become proficient at approaching new situations methodically, based on a repertoire of skills. These skills are vital for successful problem solving in organic chemistry. Existing textbooks provide extensive coverage of, the principles, but there is far less emphasis on the skills needed to actually solve problems.
Students who perform poorly on organic chemistry exams often report having invested count-less hours studying. Why do many students have difficulty preparing themselves for organic chemistry exams? Certainly, there are several contributing factors, including inefficient study habits, but perhaps the most dominant factor is a fundamental disconnect between what students learn in the lecture hall and the tasks expected of them during an exam. To illustrate the disconnect, consider the following analogy.
Imagine that a prestigious university offers a course entitled “Bike-Riding 101.” Throughout the course, physics and engineering professors explain many concepts and principles (for example, how bicycles have been engineered to minimize air resistance). Students invest significant time studying the information that was presented, and on the last day of the course, the final exam consists of riding a bike for a distance of 100 feet. A few students may have innate talents and can accomplish the task without falling. But most students will fall several times, slowly making it to the finish line, bruised and hurt; and many students will not be able to ride for even one second without falling. Why? Because there is a disconnect between what the students learned and what they were expected to do for their exam.
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