Understanding Advanced Organic and Analytic Chemistry
By Kim Seng Chan and Jeanne Tan
Review by James (Chemistry)
For a long time, I never really understood how organic chemistry worked at school. The way the A level was taught revolved around memorising all these different reactions, conditions and mechanisms, without ever really exploring why things happened as they did. When I expressed these issues to my teacher, he pointed me in the direction of Understanding Advanced Organic and Analytical Chemistry by Chan and Tan.
Despite the rather intimidating title, this book, along with its companion Understanding Advanced Physical Inorganic Chemistry,does an excellent job of talking through difficult to understand concepts and problems in a discursive manner. It explained very well why certain processes happen in the way that they do. It also opened up organic chemistry to me as a subject all about creative thought and problem solving, rather than just applying memorised mechanisms to different questions in an exam.
I found Understanding Advanced Organic and Analytical Chemistry an excellent book to help prepare for my interviews, as the style of writing, question followed by explanation, was almost like reading through the transcript of a tutorial. I tried to answer the questions posed before looking at the explanations, which provided good practice for thinking about problems in an interview setting.
I would recommend this book to anyone studying A Level or equivalent chemistry. It provides explanations in much greater depth about much of the organic part of the course. To get the greatest benefit from reading Understanding Advanced Organic and Analytical Chemistry, I would not try and read it from cover to cover, but instead focus on topics which interest or which you have had problems understanding. It will certainly help you with your exams, and further your interest in chemistry as well.
Understanding Advanced Organic and Analytical Chemistry by Kim Seng Chan and Jeanne Tan