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A Guide to Organic Chemistry Mechanisms is a new reaction mechanism workbook designed to accompany a standard organic chemistry textbook. This book uses example based teaching. It is self-guiding, you can learn reaction mechanisms without additional help. The book presents reaction mechanisms at three levels of difficulty: basic, intermediate, and advanced. You complete the missing information. In Part A, the easiest, the (easy to follow) curved arrows are missing. In Part B, the same problem is repeated with every other intermediate or product missing. In Part C, the problems are written in textbook fashion, and the same number of reaction arrows have been retained. Thus, you are guided from learning the logic of a reaction to writing a complete mechanism. Once you have mastered a mechanism, you should be able to solve similar problems in your textbook. Part D gives completed mechanisms.

The book uses our ability to recognize and learn patterns. Therefore, an emphasis has been placed upon teaching the patterns of reactions. It is those patterns that are used to solve new problems. The book helped us increase our class averages on the American Chemical Society’s Standard Examination in Organic Chemistry by up to twenty percentile points.

There are many books explaining organic chemistry, from A to Z, from Organic Chemistry Made Simple to advanced organic chemistry. There you have it, all of the explanations anyone needs. So, why do we need another book? Memorization, although necessary, is not learning. This book was written for, “How does our brain work?” As you use this book, you will see why it is so unique and why it is only a workbook. The structure and objectives of this book prevent lengthy explanations. It is a very short book and cannot provide the depth equal to a 1200 page textbook. Yet, it does what the 1200 page textbook cannot, it helps you to LEARN.

It is difficult to tell students how to learn organic chemistry because it isn’t about memorizing facts. It isn’t something that I can put into a simple sentence or a paragraph. I have written about it and this website contains much discussion about learning. You should spend some time on this website, not just in looking at the pages or the content, but look at how well students have done in my classes. Ask yourself, “How can I learn?” That is the objective of this book.