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NUS Chemistry Module Review: CM3221 Organic Synthesis (and Spectroscopy) – A Disconnection Approach

TL;DR: Overall an interesting module. It teaches organic chemist to think creatively and utilize the reactions we had learnt throughout year 2 in CM2121. In Prof Koh’s part you can expect to learn some new chemistry regarding the use of boron, silicon and sulfur.

Longer Version:

Like the name of this module, you will be expected to do a lot of disconnections on larger molecule and using known chemistry to synthesize the target molecules. The module starts out easy by recapping the fundamentals of enolate chemistry. I would suggest that you study properly for the first CA as it is much more of a familiar territory as compared to the second part. In the second part of this module when prof Koh takes over, you will be learning new chemistry regarding boron, sulfur and silicon. These primary concepts are then bridged into the synthesis of hetero-cycles. Nonetheless, it should also be mentioned that knowledge from Prof Zhao’s part is required as well.

Overall, this module has a steep bell-curve as most of the questions set during CA and finals are largely manageable. Knowing where to look for resources (clayden, warren, etc) may be beneficial. These practices aims to familiarize you with how to synthesize different molecules using different disconnections. Of course the tutorial are also great ways to practice. Personally, I would also recommend research papers and challenge yourself to make the molecules. Both the lecturers in charge of this module are great lecturers and they are very willing to help you out with your queries so dont be afraid to ask questions.

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