Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"We covered dehydration of aldol condensation products, crossed aldol condensations, aldol cyclizations, and Claisen ester condensation. Then we began to review for the final; synthesis of and reactions of ketones and aldehydes."
"We worked through a practice test that covered E1, E2, SN1, and SN2. We also looked at a number of reactions including osmylation, ozonolysis, borane addition and bromine addition. We discussed the mechanism and the stereochemical consequences of the mechanisms."
"The student and I covered a broad range of organic chemistry topics in our first meeting. We talked about nucleophilic substitutions (SN2 and SN1), the E2 reaction, acidity and basicity, nomenclature and determining the base chain, carbocation stability, Markovnikov's Rule, hydride shifts, alkyl shifts, stereochemistry, ethers, and even a little bit about synthesis. I believe that she has an overall good understanding of the concepts and that her understanding will surely improve over time. Overall, I believe she will do well. One thing that will be key to her success in this course is to very carefully watch her professor's words and to make sure she gets clarity on anything that isn't clear. While reviewing concepts with her, I made several drawings so that she will get a better visual idea of how certain things work. Some of these, I only drew and showed to her, but there were drawings I felt that she should keep because they gave her a better understanding than how her professor explained the concepts."
"We covered SN1 and SN2 reactions. The student wanted help understanding the difference between each. We made a chart noting how to determine if a reaction is SN1 or SN2. Specifically, we talked about differences in rate laws, "big barrier" (i.e. carbocation formation vs. steric hindrance), types of solvents, alkyl halide structure, and stereochemistry. Mostly the student was struggling with conceptual issues. So I tried to begin with an overview of what the difference between nucleophiles and electrophiles was. We then talked about the various types of alkyl halides, primary, secondary, or tertiary with examples of each. We went through the chart to explain how each criteria affected whether a reaction was SN1 and SN2. We also went over study skills and methods she has used in the past to succeed in or go. I recommended her trying to do practice old exams if they're available under a timed and controlled setting."
"We reviewed for her final exam she will be taking tomorrow. We went over thermodynamic problems, ph problems and bonding. We went over her practice test to make sure we answered her specific question and understood them. She will continue to study for her exam. She had a great attitude."
"The student and I reviewed some topics in her organic chemistry classes such as alkene reactions. We went over how alkenes are halogenated, dehydrated, and are created via hydration. We also did some practice problems from her supplementary textbook regarding formal charge and resonance."
"The student and I continued to work on chapter 6 covering chirality and stereochemistry as well as the four main types of chemical reactions: addition, elimination, substitution and rearrangement. We first discussed the basics of what each reaction should look like (i.e., how many reactants will turn into how many products). We also reviewed how to draw arrows to show the movement of electrons. In the beginning of the year, I showed her the proper way to draw the arrows and also told her that the arrows will always go from nucleophile to electrophile; at this stage in her studies she is now learning what these things mean. Once she demonstrated that she understood the basics, we moved on to specific types of these reactions, such as radical reactions. I reminded her that with radical reactions, we are only moving one electron at a time so she would have to adjust her arrows appropriately, using only a half arrow to signify one electron moving. She thought that this section was very simple, which is great, but I reminded her that this is the beginning to the next semester and a half of complex reaction mechanisms, so it is absolutely crucial that she fully understand the basics. We worked through the example test problems from chapter 5-6 at the end of our session to review her knowledge."
"This session we went over the student's most recent exam. While it was a definite improvement over her first exam, we discussed potential ways of updating her study habits in order to further raise her test scores. Particularly, we went over how to get the most out of the textbook, and I encouraged her to pre-read for her lectures. She is an intelligent student capable of understanding the material, and simply needs a little help putting in the needed time to excel in this class."
"We focused on NMR spectroscopy. We worked on using the information given from the spectra, in order to deduce the correct structure of the molecule. We identified patterns to look for, as well as general guidelines to make the process easier."
"Today's session included a review of the ketone and aldehyde mechanisms and concepts covered last week. Specifically, we went over a quiz that the student had just taken and had difficulty with. I provided guidance with the mechanisms while she did the critical thinking in order to arrive at the correct answers. We then began covering a new topic of carboxylic acid derivatives, going over the nucleophilic acyl substitution and the concept of leaving groups. I left the student to do the group work assigned by her teacher as a review of this new topic, and the next session will be utilized as a review session before her next cumulative exam. She seems to be improving in her methodology in approaching questions that ask to provide step by step reactions within a mechanism."
"The student and I spent today's session going over her second test from the semester, which she struggled on because as we identified today she didn't have the tools to successfully answer the questions. While she had some good reasoning and logic to solve synthesis problems, she didn't have all of the necessary mechanisms and reactions memorized to solve synthesis problems, which was the majority of her exam. I helped her to reason through each question and we identified what information she was missing and filled in those gaps. I then instructed her to make flashcards of all the reactions in order to get on top of the material and begin to prepare for her final."
"We discussed and worked through some of her lab material. We worked on understanding the NMR signals that the product produced. The student did an excellent job recognizing electron withdrawing and donating groups. She was also able to explain to me how the electron withdrawing groups were able to create meta splitting in the NMR signal. I was able to help her compose her thoughts for the report, and she showed a very good understanding of the mechanism. Additionally, we worked on organo-metallic reactions. We discussed the ability of certain metals to provide a complex with alkanes and hydrides. We also discussed the quiz material she will be having on Friday. Again, the student showed a good understanding, and I encouraged her to write out the reaction map multiple times to increase muscle memory for the quiz tomorrow."