5 Rules for Organic Reaction Mechanisms

5 Rules for Organic Reaction Mechanisms

By Mark Coster

March 2, 2019

mechanisms, reaction mechanisms

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If there's one thing you're guaranteed in Organic Chemistry exams, it's to be asked mechanism questions! Reaction mechanisms in organic chemistry are the bread and butter of exam questions! So how do you avoid the most common mistakes?


The best way to get good at mechanisms is through lots of practice! But, apart from that, what are some simple guidelines for drawing good mechanisms?

The 5 Mechanism Commandments

In marking hundreds of Organic Chemistry exam papers, there are a few things that come up time after time in students' work. They're like red rags to a bull, and they really signal to your Professor that you haven't mastered the basics.

I've created 5 Rules that will help you ace Organic Mechanism Questions in the exam. Take them on board and you'll be far less likely to make some of the most common mistakes. Or, use them as a checklist, once you've completed a question - a sanity check! If you've broken any of these, you know that something is not right.

Did any of that strike a chord? What do you struggle with, when answering mechanism questions? Let me know in the comments below!

Mark Coster

About the author

The 'team' is Dr. Mark Coster. :) Mark makes stuff. When he’s not making stuff, he’s teaching other people how to make stuff. Mark was one of those kids who loved nothing more than to build things out of Lego. He still feels that joy, but now his ‘stuff’ is molecules that he builds from atoms. He occasionally writes biographies in third person. ;) And he still likes Lego too. Organic Chemistry Explained

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