An aspect of how to learn organic chemistry or how do we learn is the textbook that we use. For organic chemistry there are two main groups, functional group based and mechanism based. The functional group based one are the more frequently encountered and have the oldest tradition of teaching. I favor the mechanism based textbooks for two reasons. In my classes, I had switched from a mechanism based textbook to a functional group based textbook and I discovered that the average of the median student had fallen by five percentile points on the ACS organic chemistry exam. The other reason is that I believed a mechanism based book was a better teaching model to work from. To explain why this may be true, we will need to think about some chemical reactions and how our brains work.

I believe the key to how our brains work is that they are very good at discovering and using patterns (real and imaginary).