Second Quarter in Organic Chemistry (CHEM238)
My brother, doctor and inspiration to all, told me that organic chemistry was going to be the worst experience of my life. While my brother is very smart and great, he is not always right. Because I took the first quarter of the organic chemistry series and it didn't ruin my hopes and dreams. I wasn't miserable or grief-stricken. I really liked it. This only intensified during the second quarter-- we got to learn more interesting reactions and did some really snazzy retrosynthesis problems (I really enjoy retrosynthesis problems. They're like fun chemistry puzzles.). I am looking into research that might combine my two chemistry interests: organic chemistry and transition metals-- organometallics. I'm hoping to get involved in the fall, if all goes well. I'm also planning on adding a chemistry minor to my degree (the minor requirements are fulfilled by my biochemistry major requirements so... why not?). But without further ado, here are scans of select pages from the three midterms and the final, with some notes.
Pictured above: Midterm 1
The first midterm was on allylic systems and reactions with dienes-- very general stuff. I fared well, just under one standard deviation above the mean. I chose this page because this was the worst page on the test for me. I remember sitting, thinking "How can a diene have this molecular formula? It doesn't add up!" and eventually finding a "creative" solution to the problem. I walked out of the test and immediately looked the formula up on my phone-- it was a cyclic diene. Of course.
Pictured above: Midterm 3
This midterm was brutal for most of the class, partly because of this problem. But, oh, how I enjoy these problems. My professor has been referred to as "the smiling assassin" because he is constantly smiling in lectures, but then slaughters everyone's GPA. This midterm had an average of around 53%, which was significantly lower than the previous two. But at any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed these retrosyntheses. The top one took me awhile, because I misinterpreted the original structure and I was thoroughly stumped. Once the lightbulb went on-- it was easy.
Pictured above: Midterm 2
The second midterm went extremely well-- I got a "great!" by my score courtesy of my TA (who also provided the smiley face next to my answer on the bottom problem). I really liked the material for this test, and my professor tended to recycle old exam questions, so I found one of his course websites from a couple quarters ago and used those midterms as practice, and this entire question (with a few changes) came directly from one of them. Sneaky? I prefer resourceful.
Pictured above: Final Exam
Ah yes, this was a flurry of terrible. I'll start by saying the average on this test was 59.1 points out of a possible 175. My professor's previous tests had been extremely fair and accurate reflections of our knowledge, but this final was just... unfair. With an average of 34%, it's not the students' fault for not studying or not doing well, it's the professor's for not creating a good test. This was one page from the test where I actually knew what was happening, and my final score is shown in the upper right corner. Nice.