How to memorize the reactions in Organic Chemistry?

I shared how to memorize the qualitative analysis tables for cations in one of my previous posts. In this post, I will be sharing with you how to memorize the reactions in the organic chemistry chapters, namely alkanes, alkenes, alcohols and carboxylic acids.

The topic I like to revise most is organic chemistry. Despite having quite a number of chapters, be it in O levels or A levels syllabuses, the good thing about these chapters is, they are linked. One useful method to summarize the reactions in these chapters is by using mind maps.

What are Mind Maps?

According to wikipedia, a mind map is a diagram used to organize information.

You start off with a central topic, and link the central topic to other subtopics. These subtopics are then linked to other topics. As such, the main purpose of studying with mind maps is to see the association between different topics. You can find more information on mind maps here.

Applying Mind Maps for Organic Chemistry Reaction

Step 1: Think of a Central Topic
As can be seen, the first thing you need to start a mind map, is to decide on a central topic. Take a few minutes, and think of which central topic you would like to start with.

Many spend too much time deciding on the central topic, and at the end of the day, give up on the doing mind maps. Well, honestly, while having a good central topic may make creating a mind map easier, it really doesn't matter. I gave my students 2 minutes to come up with a central topic, and start creating mind maps from this central topic. No matter which central topic they come up with, they all manage to complete a mind map with all the important reactions.

So, what's your central topic?

Step 2: Link all the information together

Once you have decided on a central topic, the next steps required are to link all the key reactions to the central topic. And, you have a mind map for organic reactions.


The purpose of a mind map is to aid you in your studies. As I discussed above, you shouldn't be spending too much time on coming up with a central topic (the first one you can think of in 2 minutes should be it), and linking up the information.

While mind maps are a very good way of summarizing what you have learnt, I would recommend that you read through all the chapters on organic chemistry first before you start to make your own one. It is only when you have an overall understanding of what you need to know, then can you make a mind map that captures the key information required.

In order to develop a mind map for organic chemistry reaction, take note of the following while reading the chapters:

  • what are the reactions
  • which functional group is the product/ reactant in
  • can the product/ reactant form another compound. If so, what reaction is it.
With the information above, create a mind map.

In the next post, I will be sharing with you the steps to creating a mind map for organic chemistry reactions. Stay tuned!

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