Some good newsif you took General Chemistry, this class starts out with a bunch of topics that should be a review. Even better newsif you did well in General Chemistry, these first few topics will be relatively easy. You’ll notice, as you progress in Organic Chemistry, that new topics will be built off of the previous ones. So, we’re going to start with some relatively simple stuff and work our way up from there.

The topics we’ll cover in this section are going to be concepts such as valence, Lewis structures, formal charge, condensed structural formulas, geometry, hybridization, and resonance. Hopefully, a few of these, if not all of them, should sound pretty familiaryou probably have at least a basic idea what these are. If not, don’t worryyou should be able to learn these topics without too much trouble.

The Building Blocks of Organic Chemistry

Essentially, your goal for this section should be to have a strong understanding of

  1. what molecules look like in 3D space,
  2. different ways we can represent these molecules on paper,
  3. how lone pairs and electrons interact and move to create formal charges and resonance structures.

A huge part of Organic Chemistry deals with structures of molecules, and if you master these three topics, you’re on your way to understanding a lot of Organic Chemistry.


When dealing with resonance structures, draw out all of the atoms in the molecule, including Hydrogens. Remember that only lone pairs and bonds are allowed to move. You can never move atoms, especially Hydrogens. That’ll come in handy a lot when dealing with resonance problems.

7 Curated Resources

Mastering Organic Chem is going to come in clutch a lot, and this is a good place to start. They did a whole series about how General Chemistry relates to Organic Chemistry, so you should definitely check it out or just focus on any of the sections you’re shaky on.

Valence Electrons

free, Article

This article touches on some of the basics of valence electrons. It doesn’t go super in depth, but this should be review from general chemistry so hopefully this should be enough to act as a refresher.

Formal Charge

free, Article

Here’s a solid review of formal charge, another skill that may seem basic but will be extremely important and you should have a strong knowledge of.

Molecular Geometry

free, Chapter

This website goes into a good amount of detail about molecular geometry and the different ways molecules will orient themselves in space, another crucial skill for the rest of your organic career.

Resonance structures will likely come up a lot during the course, and knowing how to draw them is a must. This article goes pretty in depth about drawing structures.

The Basics

free, Video Series

Leah4Sci is a great website and resource. She has a ton of videos that you can use throughout the entire course. This specific link brings you to an overview of all the basic stuff that will likely come in handy in the beginning.

The Basics

free, Video Series

Khan Academy is a pretty well-known resource, and they have an entire series devoted to Organic Chemistry. They go extremely in depth for most subjects, so it may be more information than you need, but it’s always useful to know more if you have the time and patience.