2 Mistakes with Chair Conformations (and How to Avoid Them!)

Once you've mastered the art of drawing chair conformations, it's time to stick some axial and equatorial substituents on those beautiful chairs. In marking thousands of exam papers, there's 2 mistakes that I've seen over and over again. Here's how to avoid those mistakes ace any chair conformations in your OChem exams.

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The 2 biggest mistakes in drawing chair conformations...

Drumroll please...

The wrong angles!

Did you expect something more complicated? More often than not, students like you are drawing the axial and equatorial substituents at the wrong angles.

At best, it looks ugly. It isn't representative of the bond angles that we're trying to represent.

At worst, and more often than not, the wrong angle also gets marked down on the exam because it's not showing how the substituents are related to each other, and that's what us Profs are testing for.

There's an easy fix, to get you drawing both types of substituents the right way every time. And I can teach it to you in 1 minute - click below!

Is that all there is to it?

Yep, that's it! Just remember:

  • equatorial are parallel to ring bonds that are not adjacent, but the next bonds over, and
  • axial bonds are always vertical, going away from the vertex

Draw exam-winning chairs!

Get chair cyclohexane templates, as seen in the video above, and get better at drawing chair conformations with axial and equatorial substituents! 

Follow the formula and practice!

I love being able to switch my brain off and just follow a formula. Follow the recipe for drawing chair conformations and these steps for putting the axial and equatorial substituents in, and then practice until it becomes second nature.

Your OChem exam results will thank you for it!

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Mark Coster

About the Author

Mark Coster

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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