Why are there no answer keys posted for Dr. Starkey's sample exams?!

The key to success in organic chemistry is to practice what you've learned in class by working problems outside of class. The three most important things to do to prepare for an exam (and the best use of your time) are:

  1. textbook problems
  2. textbook problems
  3. textbook problems

Luckily, there are literally hundreds of problems for you to work through in preparation for each exam AND you have a Solutions Manual so you can check your work. The only reason you should be attempting the problems on the sample exams is because you've already done EVERY problem in the textbook TWICE and you're so bored that you're looking for something new to do. In that case, working on the sample exam and comparing answers with the rest of your study group might be a nice way to pass the time. If you go ahead and work on the exams anyway and bring them to office hours, I will NOT "grade" them for you or tell you if you got the problem right (your study group might be more helpful in that regard). Instead, what I will do is open up your textbook to either the exact same problem or an incredibly similar problem and we can work on that together instead. There is no magic to the questions on the sample exams (or the exams you'll be taking in my class). Almost every problem is derived from our notes or from the textbook, so I promise that if you can do the textbook problems with confidence, then you will have no problem with the exam.

So why do I have sample exams posted if I'm not expecting you to work on them? The sample exams are meant to give you a feeling for the length of a typical exam (will always be 50 minutes) and the types of questions you can expect to encounter (nomenclature, short answer, explain, transforms, predict-the-product, etc.).

I studied SO much for this organic chemistry exam - how did I bomb it?!

This is not an uncommon discovery after that first midterm - so what might have happened? Here are a few things to consider:

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