MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
ACADEX: MIT Center for Academic Excellence

Lectures and Recitations: Subject-Specific Advice

Here is advice from fellow-students on how to optimize your experience in lectures and recitations, plus hints for success in some specific subjects.



5.12 Organic Chemistry

Not actually from students but from the good people who create and grade the exams—your professors. Remember, they were students once upon a time.

You Can't Do It All. Because over 10 million organic compounds exist, memorizing the structure, properties, and reactivity of all of them would be almost impossible. Luckily, a few fundamental ideas underlie all organic reactions. By understanding these themes and trends (not by memorizing them!), you should be able to rationalize unfamiliar reactions and mechanisms through analogy. Make understanding your aim in reading, lecture, and recitation; don't start a pset until you're sure you understand the material.

Video Lectures

Some large MIT subjects, especially the General Institute Requirements (GIRs), record each lecture for posting online sooner or later. A few even broadcast lectures live. Video lectures can be a useful tool for review when used carefully. Here are some suggestions on how to do that.