Back-to-School Study Bootcamp for Spring 2014: Day 3

Day Three

Organic Chemistry
Yesterday I did a glimmering overview of the first five chapters from my book (I’ll add the title later). The brevity wasn’t a measure of my mastery of those chapters so much as I was in a hurry to get to chapter six. Chapter six covers substitution and elimination reactions, the first topic that got me excited about organic chemistry.  I started reviewing chapter six carefully, going back to sections in earlier chapters as needed. Having the context of a topic I enjoyed (substitution and elimination) made reviewing topics in earlier chapters easier.  Here’s how my study session went.

  • Read the summaries.  The book had summaries for each type of reaction and then an overall summary and strategy guide at the end of the chapter.
  • Concentrated on a few sections. I then reviewed a few sections working some of the problems those sections. I’ve heard it from every organic chemistry professor that the subject must be studied in small chunks.  When I limited my self to reviewing just a few sections of the chapter for the day, the experience was pleasant.
  • Looked at the Pictures.  When my mind started to wander toward the end of the study chunk, I paged through the book looking at the illustrations. I figured all those color glossies were adding to the whopping cost of the book, so may as well make the most of them. An illustration of chair conformations caught my eye. I ended up getting drawn into a summary of the topic that was helpful.

Physics – Mechanics
I started working through the in-chapter problems for the chapter on motion in one dimension. The in-chapter problems have solutions and explanations.  As I have read this chapter before and was familiar with the topic, I thought working the in-chapter problems would be a good warm up for the tougher problems.  I skimmed the sections in the chapter, but mostly hunted through for problems.

Differential Equations
I read over my notes from yesterday (lecture two). As my book for differential equations hasn’t arrived, I looked at the preview of differential equations in the final chapters of my calculus book. I worked some of the problems. I realized that I should have found the book before I went to bed. Looking for it dampened my study groove. Will make bigger effort to gather together study material before going to bed.

My numbers:

Before 6 p.m.:
An hour in each subject.

After 6 p.m.:
Another 10 minutes or so in each subject reviewing what I had done earlier.
Workout: 35 minutes on the treadmill; 2.3 miles (a good pace for me); 25 minutes of basic exercises.

Eventually I will add some links to helpful study sites.

Sonjiala Jackson-Hotchkiss

Sonjiala (SON-ja-la) is currently pursuing an MS degree in chemistry at UC San Diego. As a member of the Bridges to Baccalaureate Program at San Diego Mesa College, her research in organic chemistry includes the synthesis of fatty acid esters of vitamin C that will be tested for their ability to inhibit glycolytic enzymes. In an additional research project she uses analytical chemistry techniques to determine the composition of World War II era California pottery.

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