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Learning Strategies for Organic Chemistry (CHM 2210)

This semester, the Center for Academic Success (CfAS) is offering a program called “Learning Strategies for Organic Chemistry” that has been recently restructured to more closely follow the class syllabus. Specific skills are necessary to be a successful student in chemistry. Learning how to visualize concepts in 3-D, paying close attention to detail, and knowing how to break words apart by prefixes, roots, and suffixes are just a few examples of how studying for organic is unique from all other courses.

This program is facilitated by tutors who have been very successful in organic chemistry and are former students of FIU organic chemistry faculty. They have experienced the same frustrations as many organic chemistry students and are excited about sharing the learning strategies they have identified as most successful for the course. The following are expectations for participants in this program.

The center will be eliciting feedback from you as students to refine the program to suit your needs as learners and the faculty’s needs as educators.

  • Workshop Expectations
    1. Be prepared. Bring your general chemistry textbook, syllabus, and any pertinent materials related to your class. Any forms of research material are extremely helpful.
    2. Be on time. Sessions are one hour in length. While workshops consist of 10-15 students, our tutors need all of this time in order to provide each participant with the necessary attention and detail to his/her progress.
    3. Be consistent. Your professor may provide an extra credit incentive. In order to receive the possible extra credit, be consistent in your session attendance. If you miss the first week or two consecutive weeks later in the semester without notifying your tutor, your spot in the session will be reopened to other students.
    4. Be receptive. You will receive a variety of strategies, organizers, handouts, and study rubrics throughout the sessions. Keep these in your ‘metacognitive bank’ and ask your tutor questions.
    5. Be responsible. Once you register for a workshop at the Center for Academic Success (CfAS), you are reserving a place that no other student can take. Be considerate of these workshops. Keep your Panther ID handy when you arrive to the center. You must enter your information at the front area of our center, and make sure that your tutor records your attendance. At the end of the semester these records will be submitted to your professor.
  • Workshop Availability
    1. Workshops are available at the Modesto Maidique Campus. The Center for Academic Success, MMC is located in the Green Library, room 120 (next to the Starbucks). Workshops are available at various times throughout the week, excluding weekends. The center has extended hours for evening workshops.
    2. Visit the workshop schedule and to register for a time and day most convenient for you.
    3. Once you register for a series of workshops, you are expected to attend the same day of the week at the same time for eight weeks. You will also be expected to attend at least two study halls throughout the semester.
  • Workshop Syllabus

    Please note that the Workshop Syllabus is subject to change. 

    Session 1:Crash Course

    This workshop covers background knowledge organic chemistry I students need including Lewis structures, resonance structures, and acid-base chemistry. By the end of this session, students should be able to assemble Lewis structures and predict acid-base equilibria.

    Session 2:Stereochemistry

    Understanding different visual representations of molecules in organic chemistry is one of the most fundamental skills required in order to understand concepts related to stability and limitations in chemical reactions. This workshop will cover classifications of different isomers along with the different models’ students will encounter throughout organic chemistry.

    Session 3:Study Hall

    Bring your materials to prepare for the upcoming exam!

    Session 4:“The Big 4”

    Almost every mechanism in Organic Chemistry is built from four basic mechanisms: Substitution (Sn) 1 and 2, and Elimination (E) 1 and 2. This session focuses on what conditions are required, how they happen, and, most importantly, how to decide which to do when given a problem. This will ensure a strong foundation in mechanisms throughout the rest of the semester.

    Session 5:Nucleophile, Electrophile, Arrow Pushing, Leaving Group, Carbocation

    In this session students will learn how nucleophiles, electrophiles, and arrow pushing all relate to a chemical reaction. This session will also focus on how to identify a good leaving group and what to do when you come across a carbocation in a reaction.

    Session 6:Study Hall (the week after Spring Break)

    Bring your materials to prepare for the upcoming exam!

    Sessions 7 & 8:Select Alkene Reactions

    In this workshop, students will be looking at common alkene reactions and their mechanisms will be discussed in great detail. The session will focus on the conformations that these molecules take under certain conditions, labeling whether these alkene reactions are syn/anti, and whether they are regioselective, stereospecific, or stereoselective. Finally, students will solve problems with the intention of practicing good technique and with the sole purpose of attaining mastery.

    Session 9:Radicals

    Radical reactions involve halogens and heat/light. They form unstable intermediates known as radicals, which vary in stability. This session focuses on identifying the most stable radical intermediates and how they affect reactions, as well as how to predict products when alkenes or alkanes react with heat or light. These reactions are common in synthesis and roadmap problems.

    Session 10:Alcohol

    This session takes a look at the chemistry of alcoholic beverages and the hangover. Students will then explore the reactions that are most common for converting alcohol groups to different functional groups.

    Sessions 11 & 12:Study Halls

    Bring your materials to prepare for the upcoming exam and the final!


On the registration page, select the topic(s) that interest you. Then enter all the fields of requested information.