Integrated SequencePhysics Chemistry Organic Biology

WikiPremed Resources

Module 5 in the Syllabus

MCAT Essential Reaction Mechanisms
Mechanisms and explanations from the Organic Mechanisms Pocketbook

Functional Groups in Organic Images
Image gallery for study with links to larger teaching JPEGs for classroom presentation

Question Drill for Functional Groups in Organic Chemistry
Conceptual Vocabulary Self-Test

Basic Terms Crossword Puzzle

Basic Puzzle Solution

Overview of Functional Groups in Organic Chemistry
Functional groups are combinations of atoms within organic molecules that are responsible for the reactivity of the molecules, and functional groups play a role in determining their physical properties. Although the chemical behavior of certain moeities may be modified by overall molecular structure, the approach to the reactivity of organic molecules through functional groups is a powerful analytical method. Every functional group has its own personality.

Functional Groups in Organic Chemistry on the MCAT
Understanding the behaviors of the main organic functional groups in organic chemistry is another way to describe, really, the discipline as a whole. Straight out organic chemistry comprises approximately one third of the Biological Sciences section of the MCAT typically, so there will be many instances on the test where your familiarity with the properties of various organic functional groups will play a role as a conceptual ground.

Conceptual Vocabulary
AlkaneAlkanes, also known as Paraffins, are chemical compounds that consist only of the elements carbon and hydrogen linked together exclusively by single bonds.
AlkeneAn alkene, olefin, or olefine is an unsaturated chemical compound containing at least one carbon-to-carbon double bond.
AlcoholAn alcohol is any organic compound in which a hydroxyl group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom of an alkyl or substituted alkyl group
KetoneA ketone is either the functional group characterized by a carbonyl group linked to two other carbon atoms or a chemical compound that contains this functional group.
HydroxylHydroxyl in chemistry stands for a molecule consisting of an oxygen atom and a hydrogen atom connected by a covalent bond. When the oxygen atom is linked to a larger molecule the hydroxyl group is a functional group.
PropylPropyl is the substituent form of the alkane propane.
ButylButyl is a four-carbon alkyl substituent derived from either of the two isomers of the alkane called butane.
AldehydeAn aldehyde is an organic compound containing a terminal carbonyl group.
AlkyneTraditionally known as acetylenes or the acetylene series, the alkynes are hydrocarbons that have at least one triple bond between two carbon atoms.
Carboxylic acidCarboxylic acids are organic acids characterized by the presence of a carboxyl group.
EtherEther is the general name for a class of chemical compounds which contain an ether group, which is an oxygen atom connected to two alkyl or aryl groups.
AmineAmines are organic compounds and a type of functional group that contain nitrogen as the key atom, structurally resembling ammonia, but one or more hydrogen atoms is replaced by alkyl and aryl groups.
CarbonylA carbonyl group is a functional group composed of a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom.
HaloalkaneThe haloalkanes (also known as halogenoalkanes or alkyl halides) are a group of chemical compounds, consisting of alkanes, such as methane or ethane, with one or more halogens linked, such as chlorine or fluorine, making them a type of organic halide.
Carbonate esterA carbonate ester is a functional group in organic chemistry consisting of a carbonyl group flanked by two alkoxy groups.
EsterEsters are a class of chemical compounds and functional groups consisting of an inorganic or organic acid in which at least one -hydroxyl group is replaced by an alkoxy group.
PhenylThe phenyl group consists of six carbon atoms are arranged in a cyclic ring structure. A member of the aromatic family, this functional group is highly stable.
Acyl halideAn acyl halide (also known as an acid halide) is a chemical compound derived from an acid by replacing a hydroxyl group with a halide group.
AmideAn amide is an organic functional group characterized by a carbonyl group linked to a nitrogen atom.
ThiolA thiol is a compound that contains the functional group composed of a sulfur atom and a hydrogen atom. Often referred to as mercaptans, these compounds are the sulfur analogues of alcohols.
AcetylAcetyl (ethanoyl), is the term for a functional group which is the acyl of acetic acid.
PeroxideA peroxide is a compound containing an oxygen-oxygen single bond.
PhosphateA phosphate is an ester of phosphoric acid in organic chemistry.
ImineAn imine is a functional group or chemical compound containing a carbon-nitrogen double bond, often synthesised by the addition of an amine to a ketone or aldehyde followed by an elimination of water
NitrateNitrates in organic chemistry are the result of the esterification of nitric acid with various alcohols.
SulfideThe term sulfide refers to several types of chemical compounds containing sulfur in its lowest oxidation number of -2.
Disulfide bondA disulfide bond is a single covalent bond derived from the coupling of thiol groups.
HeteroatomIn organic chemistry nomenclature, a heteroatom is any atom that is not carbon or hydrogen.
Advanced terms that may appear in context in MCAT passages
ImideAn imide is a functional group consisting of two carbonyl groups bound to a primary amine or ammonia.
Azo compoundAzo compounds refer to synthetic inorganic chemical compounds bearing the functional group in which two alkyl or aryl groups are bound respectively to two doubly bound nitrogens.
CyanateThe cyanate ion or functional group consists of one oxygen atom, one carbon atom, and one nitrogen atom, in that order.
NitrileA nitrile is any organic compound which has carbon and nitrogen triply bonded.
NitriteA nitrite is either a salt or an ester of nitrous acid.
NitrosoNitroso refers to a functional group in organic chemistry which has the general formula RNO.
SulfoneA sulfone is a chemical compound containing a sulfonyl functional group attached to two carbon atoms. The central sulfur atom is twice double bonded to oxygen and has two further hydrocarbon substituents.
SulfoxideA sulfoxide is a chemical compound containing a sulfinyl functional group attached to two carbon atoms. Such a compound could be considered as an oxidized sulfide.
ThiocyanateThiocyanates are rganic compounds containing the functional group SCN.

The WikiPremed MCAT Course is a free comprehensive course in the undergraduate level general sciences. Undergraduate level physics, chemistry, organic chemistry and biology are presented by this course as a unified whole within a spiraling curriculum.

Please read our policies on privacy and shipping & returns.  Contact Us.
MCAT is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges, which does not endorse the WikiPremed Course.

Creative Commons License
The work of WikiPremed is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License. There are elements of work here, such as a subset of the images in the archive from WikiPedia, that originated as GNU General Public License works, so take care to follow the unique stipulations of that license in printed reproductions. You can use the resources here for commercial or non-commercial purposes, but please give attribution and a link to the production credits and edit history of the resource. For the works here which began as my individual work, please attribute "John Wetzel, an author at".