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From the Tutor: Getting Ready for Organic Chemistry

Which of the topics covered in General Chemistry form major parts of the foundation you need to succeed in Organic Chemistry? I have taught both courses many times and can tell you you NEED a few specific topics down COLD in General Chemistry before heading to Organic. Here are the "big four" in order from most to least important. 1. Lewis Structures Organic Chemistry is virtually all about structure. I often say that organic chemists can draw Lewis structures in their sleep. It would be great for you to get to that point, too! The good news: almost all organic structures obey the octet rule. Don't forget: the elements B, C, N, O and F can never exceed an octet in a structure! The concept of resonance is very important in o-chem. If you've forgotten this or had trouble with it, it would be useful to review it. Also make sure that you're clear on how to determine the formal charges on atoms from structures. The quick-and-easy way is: Formal charge... read more

From the SAT/ACT Expert: Smart Guessing - Making the Answers WORK For You

Every one of us needs a 'toolbox' of techniques to use when we simply don't know which answer to choose on a standardized test question. Sometimes these choices come down to guessing, but if we can effectively eliminate one or two answer choices, THEN a guess is a good bet! Read on! We've ALL been there....utterly clueless about which answer to choose for question #37. It can be AWFUL! Nothing beats knowing the answer, but often even if you feel totally at a LOSS...all is not LOST. Here are a few ideas you can use even in these difficult moments- 1 - The answer to one question is sometimes given away in another question (tests contain a lot of information - use it). For real - this works often! 2 - True/False Options: * If you're really unsure, select "true". The simple fact is that "true" is the correct answer more often than "false". * Remember that if any part of a statement is false, the whole answer choice is false. 3... read more

College Guidance - What SAT Math Score Do You Want?

Read on if you want to learn a -- completely reasonable -- way to improve your SAT Math score WITHOUT learning a BIT more Math! I show you how to give fewer answers and get a higher score. What score would you like to get on the SAT Math Test? You'd be surprised to learn that one important way to IMPROVE your math score is to answer FEWER questions! Every SAT Math test consists of fifty-four questions. Typically, about fifteen of these are easy, about twenty-eight are medium, and about nine are hard, and they are arranged in a way similar to what is shown below. Here is a typical pattern for the three math sections: Section 2 Easy -- 1-6 Medium -- 7-17 Hard -- 18-20 Section 4 - Multiple Choice Easy -- 1-4 Medium -- 5-7 Hard -- 8 Section 4 - Grid-Ins Easy -- 9-10 Medium -- 11-15 Hard -- 16-18 Section 8 Easy -- 1-5 Medium -- 6-14 Hard -- 15-16 It is important to remember that the multiple choice questions... read more

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