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Turn Complexity in Clarity with AceOrganicChem

Feeling lost in a maze of organic chemistry online concepts?  You are not alone.

Organic chemistry can be daunting, with its intricate structures and reactions.  But here is the good news: AceOrganicChem Elite and "86 Tricks to Ace Organic Chemistry" are you secret weapons. 

We provide an ocean of resources, from video review to practice problems to mini-movies, tailored to simplify and demystify organic chemistry. 


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Professors told us the best ways to study.

Professors told us in a survey exactly what to study to ace organic chemistry. We took it all and turned it into the most comprehensive vault of organic chemistry learning on the web. We provide all the materials you need & guide you on what to study each week.

At AceOrganicChem, we're not just educators. We're your partners in learning.

Our mission is to make organic chemistry accessible, understandable, and fun.

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Professors said the three most efficient ways to study are...

1. Practice problems: The #1 answer to that question is practice exams and practice problems. Almost 90% of the professors we surveyed said this was the best and most efficient way to study for o-chem. 

2. Videos: We observe that there are three types of org chem videos on the web.  Full lectures, course summary and special topic videos.  We think full lectures are too time consuming, so we get you tons of summary and special topic videos to maximize your study time. 

3. Learning reactions and mechanisms: The third most popular way among our professors for studying is by learning as many reaction mechanisms as you can. 

We make sure you get it all (and more) for one low price. 

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Students love AceOrganicChem Elite

  "Your videos single-handedly earned me an A (literally didn't attend a single class after failing the first test, and still got an A at the end of it all)" - Jon D.

  "thank you for creating such a great website! :) it's an excellent source of learning, esp bc my learning curve for organic chemistry was really steep " -Melissa K.

   "Your Organic I videos helped me so much for the first semester. You guys are doing a great thing!!" -Abbey J.

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  "I used Elite back in 2012 when I was preparing to take the DAT. At that time you requested that I write a recommendation quote for how insightful and helpful your course was. After studying for organic chemistry with you, I scored a "27" (98.7% percentile) on the DAT organic chemistry section. I scored in the "100.0% percentile" for the test, overall" -Graham C

  "Im definitely going to recommend this website to other students at my university. Thank you so much for your help" --Carly S

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Why are you an expert in organic chemistry?

Just a short biography: Dr. Michael Pa is the founder of He got his bachelors degree in chemistry from Binghamton University, a masters degree in organic chemistry from the University of Arizona and a PhD in bio-organic chemistry from the University of Arizona. His research focus was on novel pain killers which were more potent than morphine but designed to have fewer side effects. Prior to all of this, he was a chemist at Procter and Gamble. After all of that, he (briefly) worked as a post-doctoral assistant at Syracuse University, working on novel organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). In between, he did NOT compete at the 1996 Olympics, make the 1994 Atlanta Braves opening day roster, or become the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, as he had intended [#fail] During this entire time, he always loved helping students, especially if they were struggling with organic chemistry.

In 2006, Dr. Pa founded in order to make learning organic chemistry online fast and easy. 14 years and about 60,000 students later we are still helping students to learn organic chemistry online one reaction at a time.

Car ship

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5 Tips to Help You With Organic Chemistry.

#1. Watch out for the “Flunking Professor”. Because the sciences have become so popular in recent years, many of the larger universities have several professors teaching organic chemistry, which means in financial terms, this is a buyer’s market. You have choices on whose class you take and whose class you avoid. Of course the best way to learn who is good, who is bad, and who is ugly is to ask the boys and girls who have already taken the class. In lieu of that, here are a couple of tell-tale signs that you are about to enter the realm of “Professor Flunks-alot”: 1) On the first day, the professor brags about how many students fail/drop the class. 2) The professor is anti-medical school. (Organic chemistry is a big med school prep subject) 3) The professor does not have a degree in organic chemistry; some schools, due to staffing needs, will run someone out there with a degree in another field of chemistry, or worse—a biology degree. 4) The professor is not receptive to student questions in office hours.5) The professor does not incorporate examples of more recent organic chemistry into the lectures. This is a tricky one. It might show that the instructor is a little out of touch, or doesn't care enough to find more interesting examples to present.6) The professor focuses a lot on physical organic chemistry (orbitals and such). First, this is not the main part of organic chemistry, which rotates around the synthesis of new molecules. Second, it is very boring.If you determine that you have a bad professor, the first thing to decide is if there is a better one out there, preferably teaching the course this semester. If it is easy, and you feel comfortable, switch to the other class. If you consider yourself a masochist, tough guy, or just can’t switch, then sit back and make the best of it.If you really need to get out and can spend a little extra money, many universities will accept a junior college transfer credit. Call the registrar’s office at your school, ask if they will accept organic chemistry from the local community college and take it there. More often than not, the community college will offer a simpler version of the course, which you can take back with you to avoid the whole mess of a jerk professor.

#2. Study in packs—there is safety in numbers.  This reminds me of my favorite video on YouTube . You are a pack of wildebeest, just chilling out by the water, trying to score a good grade in organic chemistry. But you are being hunted by pride of hungry lions (your professors) who would like nothing better to make a quick snack of the weakest one of you. After crouching in the brush, the lions suddenly pounce (pop quiz) and grab a hold of the smallest one of you (the student with the hardest course load). Two things can happen at this point: Either the rest of the pack of wildebeest will cut their losses and try to save themselves or they can go back and heroically battle the lions to rescue their fallen colleague. I am not going to ruin the video if you have not already viewed it, but I think you already know what happens. More than just helping others, studying in packs provides a number of other benefits:1) Studies have shown over and over that studying in groups directly leads to higher grades for all participants. 2) Studying in groups is generally more enjoyable for people, which leads to more time spent on the subject. 3) If you are weaker in one area of the course, you have the opportunity to have a peer explain it to you. Many students are more likely to understand a peer’s explanation over a stuffy professor’s. 4) If you are stronger in one area of the course, you will strengthen your overall understanding of chemistry by teaching it to someone else.Of course, when you are choosing study partners on the Serengeti, you need to be very careful to stay away from the jackals. These are the students that are more parasite than human and will just leach off of your talents. They will come to study sessions unprepared and expect you to teach the entire course to them. They are more Succubus than man and will not help you much. We suggest finding study partners that are interested in a good grade and are willing to put in the time necessary to achieve high marks in the course.

 #3.  Take the course at a more opportune time. A useful strategy that many students have used is to take chemistry in the “off season”. This means that they have taken Organic I in the spring and then followed with Organic II in the next fall. This presents a number of advantages, including that since you are “out of sequence” the class sizes will most likely be smaller; this will usually provide for a better learning environment. Many will ask if they should take it in the summer. This is not an easy "yes or no" question, and definitely depends on the student. Here are some of the considerations for summer classes:

     The Good: 1. It is only usually 5 weeks long. 2. If you are not working that summer, it is much better than just sitting around doing nothing.3. If you are not majoring in chemistry and don't want to go to medical school, it is a great way to get organic chemistry out of the way quickly.

     The Bad: 1. If you ARE majoring in chemistry, it is very easy to forget everything that you learned in the class because you crammed it all into 5 weeks.2. Classes are usually at least 3 hours per day, plus homework every night and an exam once a week. This can be overwhelming.

     The Ugly:1. If you get a bad professor, keep the hemlock close.

#4- Get away from the Pre-Meds. Yes, we realize that many of you that are taking organic chemistry dream of going to medical school someday. Everybody needs doctors, and the job pays well, so good for you. However, there is a seething underbelly to the pre-med world. Some horrible things that nobody wants to talk about are: 1) Pre-Meds are notoriously cutthroat. By this, we mean that they would slit your throat if it would get them another point on that quiz. We have seen pre-med students tear essential pages out of textbooks in the library because they didn’t want the other students to get that help. We have seen pre-meds steal the exam answer key off of the wall (most answer keys are online now, so that helps), so that YOU don’t know what the correct answers were. 2) They can be curve-wreckers. It is not unusual to find a professor who has the average grade in his class be a 50 out of 100 points. This means that anything above that line is a “B” and anything below is a “C”. Pre-med students are like the Terminator: they don’t feel pity, they don’t feel remorse, and they are relentless in their studies. The average grade in a class full of pre-meds is going to be much higher than one with only a few of them.

#5- Don’t over-emphasize the lab section. One of the biggest complaints that most TAs hear is that the laboratory section of organic chemistry is a lot of work for just one credit. There are no two ways about it…this is a true statement. Think about it. If you were to do everything most TAs require for the lab, you would spend at least one hour prior to the lab preparing for it, three hours in the lab itself, and two hours analyzing your data and writing your report. This equals six hours of work per week for one lousy credit. Compare this to your organic chemistry lecture class, which is usually three hours of class for three credits. We can’t change the system, but we can learn how to work it to our advantage. With respect to the pre-lab preparation, one trick we have found that works well is to get together with a group of labmates and split the work on the lab preparation by alternating who does the lab prep for that week. Some TAs want to you to have the MSDS sheets for all chemicals to be used, in addition to answering pre-lab questions about what you are going to do in lab that day. By alternating who does that each week, you could save hours of time that could be devoted to the lecture portion instead. The report to be written after each lab exercise is another place that many students waste countless hours. Remember that the most important part of the lab is to do the calculations correctly. It does not matter that your data is crappy, it matters what you do with that crappy data. Second, do not spend a ton of time on the narrative portion. Concisely write what you did and leave it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your TA is going to go over this with a fine-tooth comb. Many will find this to be a controversial statement, but we have found that a “B” in the lab section is not going to preclude you from going further in science, whether that be to a graduate degree or medical school. The one credit from the lab section does not factor that heavily into your “science GPA” or overall GPA. If you could spend three hours less per week on the lab and focus that time into studying the lecture portion, you are much more likely to see a tangible benefit down the road. Further, would it be worth spending that extra three hours on the lab portion if it were only going to raise your lab grade a little bit? (For example, from a “B” to a “B+”) This is even more true if all you want is to pass the lab section and don’t care about the grade. Do not mistake what we are saying here, as the lab portion can be a fun and rewarding experience. We are only advocating that for some students it may be helpful to not over-emphasize a class that is only worth one credit.

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