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Here is a study tip for all you science students.     Go to the library and find all the textbooks you can on your given subject - especially for Organic Chemistry.  Since I am referencing Organic, I will use the subject as an example.   When I was in first semester Organic Chemistry, there was an Emeritus Professor who left the department.  He was a great teacher, but more than that, he was a mentor and a friend to many of the undergraduate students.  When he left, his office still had all of his books in it and come to find out, he left all the books to the department.     There were only a handful of students who went to collect books and see if we wanted any of them.  I found a page labeled with the semester, year and exam number next to a problem.  That gave me the idea that there are books with old exam questions.   So, I not only took all the books that I could to practice the problems... read more

As a student of Chemistry, I would take the approach of Science is Art.  Now being a scientist you might not think of Science as Art, but I would argue that you have to look at every element, molecule, compound, etc as building blocks to creating whatever masterpiece that you want.   Whatever you do, make sure that you remember that a piece of paper is a two-dimensional plane, and you have to make three-dimensional art.  In addition, things on the paper are moving with animation - enjoy the mystery.   Please start your Organic career right by picking up "The Art of Writing Reasonable Organic Reaction Mechanisms" by Robert B. Grossman.  You will never miss an electron, understand orbitals better or write a better mechanism with this book.  In addition, this book points out common errors so you don't make the same mistakes.

I am excited for the semester break, but I am more excited for next semester.  Are you ready for next semester chemistry?  How well did you do last semester?     I am pleased to say -and I was very hesitant being that one of the students approached me with 5 days until their exam- that both of my students passed with flying colors last semester.   I am looking for students who are excited for the material; they want to learn the material, and they want more than a good start.  I am very engaged with my students.  I spend hours behind the scenes to get them to where they need to be, want to be and have to be.

Factors                        SN1                                SN2                         E1                             E2 nucleophile:               any(often weak)     ;    good, strong base:                        any (often weak)    ;   must have strong substrate                    3>2                      ;    methyl > 1 > 2          ;    3 > 2                ;  ... read more

Hi all,     So my experiment with the waiting list was a mixed success.  I had some students remain interested when I contacted them as availability popped up later in the semester, but it was about 20% of the people. It was still a useful way to remain visible to students so I'm going to continue it.   I have room this Fall for another student or two, so please contact me ASAP to avoid the waiting list! I'll have the most available time slots for the least amount of traveling.  This means that students who want to meet in Manhattan will have the easiest time / find my schedule the most flexible.  I've started doing a little tutoring in Python programming, so if anybody is interested in working on that at a discounted rate please contact me!  Cheers! Chris

Organic Chemistry is often one of the rougher classes for a lot of people in college. I both took it and taught it, so I feel like I have a good understanding of what you should and shouldn't do. Here are 5 keys to success that I swear by:   1) Treat Organic Chemistry Like Calculus. I think one of the biggest problems I see with people studying for organic chemistry is that they treat it like a cell biology or biochemistry class. I think this is such a big problem because most people taking the organic chemistry sequence are biological science majors. When I took biochemistry, for example, I spent a lot of time reading the book, highlighting, making flash cards, and memorizing. This is a recipe for disaster in organic chemistry. I think people should approach studying for organic chemistry like doing a homework assignment for calculus. Nobody spends time reading the chapter multiple times and highlighting formulas in calculus without doing problems until a few nights before... read more

Labs associated with the pre-med sciences are also required, and the difficulty of these labs varies depending on which school you go to.  The most frequent lament by college students is that their labs and lab reports command an unreasonably large chunk of their time, despite being only worth 1 credit.  Most college courses are 3 credits, meaning they meet for three hours of class per week; but labs, usually take anywhere from 3-6 hours per week, and ultimately do not carry much weight in terms of your overall grade in being just one credit.  You would think that the work required to succeed in labs is adjusted proportionally, but it's not. Most labs have weekly reports and a final paper/project at the end of the semester, right before finals begin.  Last year, I spent every Sunday just working on weekly physics lab reports.  I did well, but consistently lost a full day that I could have used towards other work.  That's the dilemma, though.  You... read more

Chemistry, in my opinion, is the most widely applied subject in the educational system. You can apply chemistry when you're cooking, cleaning, filling up your car, brewing beer or wine, welding, dating (carbon and speed dating), and thousands of industrial processes. I once heard from one of my chemistry professors, Dr. Chad Morris, "Chemistry is applied physics, and physics is applied math." Therefore physics, chemistry, and math all work in harmony.   You probably apply chemistry every day and don't realize it. When you make coffee in the morning, ever wondered about the chemistry involved in making a cup of joe? You have to first grind the roasted coffee beans to expose the caffeine and flavor compounds housed within the beans. You then have to filter hot water through the grinds to extract the much needed caffeine and flavors. Water works as a solvent to dissolve the polar caffeine and flavor molecules which pass through the coffee filter and into your carafe... read more

I think, by far, the most important part of being successful in organic chemistry is the ability to stay on top of the material. I'll start with this piece of advice for those you who are planning on completing both sections.     Make flashcards.   I know, I know, it's advice that everyone gives for every type of memorization, but I think that it especially helps with the amount of new reactions that you will see, especially in orgo II.   My recipe for the cards is to make cards that have the reactant(s) and the reagent(s) with a question mark where the product(s) would be.   e.g. CH3CHCHCH3 -----Br2----->  ?     This way will help you to recognize which reagents do what.   The other style is to leave out the reagents.   e.g. CH3CHCHCH3 -----?-----> CH3CHBrCHBrCH3   (You'll want to draw them out probably, but this software doesn't allow that)   If... read more

Organic Chemistry is always the subject you were warned about that could potentially crush your pre-med dreams. While it does have some bearing on your potential to become admitted to medical school, you should face the subject not with fear, but with love :).   Orgo is by far the most challenging yet most interesting subject you may take as a pre-med student. As a future doctor, organic chemistry sets the stage for you to understand any drug interactions and biochemical processes that you may become privy to as a student or future researcher. Orgo is definitely the cornerstone of pharmacology as well.   While it is true, some minds can manipulate shapes and see things in 3D better than others, the distinct skill set required for mastery of this subject can indeed be learned, but only through practice and diligence. While you may have been able to slack off in Gen Chem and push studying for your exam until the night before, it will not work in orgo. You... read more

Picture it: You're sitting in class and you keep hearing some stuff about phopsphodiester bonds... um... what? You know it forms links in the DNA deoxyribose backbone but... wait, what? If you have not had much chemistry start reading here; if you've taken organic chem feel free to skip ahead. Let's take it from the top. You always hear that all life is organic... Wait, Like Organic Chemistry? Yup! Organic refers to carbon. So now that we know we're talking about carbon bonds here, what do they look like? Well, like this: See how the red dots on the hydrogen atoms become shared with carbon atoms in pairs? These are your basic covalent bonds; or bonds that share electrons between atoms. Take it from me, after you have enough chemistry you get real tired of drawing all of those dots real quick so we can just draw little lines instead; it means the same exact thing: covalent bond. Now,... read more

It seems a bunch of Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) chemists were all vying to head up their local ACS PAH subchapter -- but they decided to choose by a random draw rather than suffer the tumult of an election. So they all threw their rings into the hat....

From the moment I was introduced to organic chemistry, back in 2008, I was immediately captivated...and this captivation has never subsided; instead it has intensified exponentially with time. Even when I was taking the class, I was constantly helping other students grasp and reinforce the concepts that even I too was just learning. It was as though my mind had made an instant connection with every aspect of the phenomenon that was organic chemistry. It coincided with every facet of my being, forcing me to gravitate towards it...just as the electrons orbiting the nucleus of fluorine are ever so unrelentingly drawn by the protons therein. I have have been tutoring ever since. The key to mastering this class is to learn to love it first; once this passion is developed, everything else flows naturally and you find yourself becoming one with the subject - understanding it inside and out and effortlessly demonstrating this through accurate application of its principles. I derive immeasurable... read more

Times are definitely changing in the world of education. Today, as with all things twenty-first century, there are no limits to a student's education. This is absolutely exciting since so many 'schools without walls' have adopted various technologies during the past few years to enable students excel academically. As an advanced tutor, it makes me dance in my shoes. Universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and MIT have posted several free virtual lectures for the average student on education applications via android devices, iPads, iPhones, and iPods. Today, I want to introduce some fantastic techniques to approach tutoring that will benefit the student who cannot meet physically with a tutor, or maybe a student who is in a town on one end of the United States while their tutor is at the opposite end of the map. Yes, tutoring can now be employed with the use of fantastic applications such as Skype and Scribblar. Skype: This is a tool by which a tutor can see his/her student... read more

An important piece I bring to the table in terms of tutoring is the fact each student is a unique individual, which may be better reached by creative thought concerning what will help them master the material of their subject. It also matters a great deal what their personal goals are in learning a subject. The teaching approach can be tailored in a way that addresses both what they want to learn, and the best way for them to learn it. This is certainly the advantage of having a tutor. In addition to helping them with a specific subject, I also seek to imbue students with the kind of study skills that will benefit them to not only do well in the course, but skills which will benefit them through out their professional development.

Greetings, scholars! One of my dad's favorite sayings is, "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is." The website Coursera is an example of why that saying needs the word "probably". The idea of taking real college courses from top-notch instructors at prestigious schools for free sounds impossible, yet students around the world are doing just that. When I first heard of Coursera, I was skeptical. To try it out, I enrolled in some basic undergraduate courses so that I could see how they stacked up against the classes I took at KU and Emporia State University. I am currently taking precalculus at UC Irvine, organic chemistry at Illinois, and calculus at The Ohio State University. All three classes are superlative. The video lectures give me new insights into familiar concepts, and the online quizzes motivate me to practice my skills and keep them sharp and up-to-date. Best of all, they haven't cost me a dime, and I can attend class from the... read more

Hello! This whole site is pretty new to me, but I wanted to briefly show my interests and experiences, as they are fairly diversified: Sciences: As noted above, most of my experience is with chemistry. Organic Chemistry is my specialty, but I am also familiar with Inorganic Chemistry. I've been a Teaching Assistant for college freshman level courses through upper level chemistry courses. I started off as a Biology/Pre-med major, so courses like Physics and Biology are high on my understanding. Tutoring in most of the sciences will be my highest level of knowledge/experience. Math: I was a mathematics minor as an Undergraduate, so I am very familiar with a fair amount of mathematics divisions. Calculus is fairly fresh, but I am most proficient with Algebra. I have a secret love of the mathematics, so tutoring math in some way would definitely be great. Dance: I just noticed that dance was an option for the "subjects", so I listed it. I am a Lindy Hop dancer and... read more

Heyo! So far the Fall has been pretty good, a bit light as compared to the Spring, but most tutoring doesn't take place until after the first exam has passed or is just about to happen. Things are picking up and I am going to make good on my plan to have people meet me. If you are interested in a lower hourly rate and are willing to travel to meet me, (within the city) let me know! I will tell you what borough I'll need you to meet me in that day and where exactly. Examples so far have been the Barnes & Noble on Union Square, the Student Union in Queens College, and the Graduate Center (CUNY) right across from the ESB. Looking forward to meeting new people and exploring more parts of the city this Fall. Cheers, Chris

This current summer season has been particularly productive in terms of successes achieved with students who either enrolled in fast-paced Organic I and II courses or desired a jump-start for Fall Organic I. A variety of concepts were dealt with, including nomenclature, acidity and basicity rankings, conformational analysis, stereochemistry, resonance stabilization, reaction mechanisms, functional groups, synthetic routes, and spectroscopic analysis (IR, C-13 and proton NMR, mass spectral). The frequent focal point for clarifying discussions was a list of core General Chemistry I and II topics that had immediate bearing on a particular O-Chem. topic. In other instances, molecular models proved to be invaluable in visualizing ideas that were difficult to grasp in two dimensions. The question arose from several students, particularly those with pre-med orientations, about why organic chemical knowledge would even be necessary for their chosen careers. First, virtually all pharmaceuticals... read more

I was asked this question recently by several mothers about which book (singular, not plural) they should get for their sons for their upcoming tests. To both of them I replied: "Get the Princeton Review edition of the book." And while I believe this to be the CORRECT answer, this answer unfortunately is misleading because what I actually want to say is, "Get ALL editions of the book." For example if there is a Barron's version, a Kaplan version, a Princeton Review version, etc. etc. of AP Chemistry, then I would advise the moms to get ALL of these books for their sons (assuming of course that they'll read them). The reason is because one book doesn't have enough practice problems. From experience, after reading the first test preparation book or textbook, the student will have a rather hazy outline of the subject material. Books 2-5 make the outline clearer. Most students don't begin to really understand the subject until around Book 7. And that's the reason... read more

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