5 Must-Know Organic Chemistry Concepts
A major difference between the MCAT and college organic chemistry exams is the exam format. In your college class, you may have been asked to draw molecules and arrow-pushing diagrams. The MCAT is a multiple-choice test and doesn’t contain any free-response questions. In addition, the MCAT focuses more on the foundation concepts of organic chemistry than specific reaction types.
- Structure and Stability. This is a basic topic but one just as important as all the others. A lot of organic chemistry questions on the MCAT can actually be answered by choosing the answer choice with the most stable molecule.
- Amino Acids. You may have heard that biochemistry is a big deal on the new MCAT and it’s true. One of the major biochemistry topics, amino acids, is also an organic chemistry topic. For the exam, you need to know the structure of the side chains, the pKa of the side chain (if applicable), the one-letter code, and the three-letter code for each amino acid.
- Separations and Purification. If you’ve taken organic chemistry lab, then you may recall that much of the experiments involved separating and purifying compounds. For the MCAT, you will have to recall some of those commons techniques that you may have used such as thin-layer chromatography, distillation, and liquid-liquid extraction.
- Absorption Spectroscopy. An equally important but distinct set of laboratory techniques is absorption spectroscopy. As opposed to separating compounds, these techniques focus on identifying specific features of the compounds.
- Carbonyl Chemistry. One of the most important functional groups in biology is the carbonyl group. Numerous biochemical reactions in the body involve carbonyl functional group reactions. For the MCAT, you need to know nucleophilic addition reactions, how enolates are formed, and the reduction/oxidation of carbonyl groups.
To best prepare yourself for the exam, you will want to make sure to learn from the best Organic Chemistry tutor.