IB Chemistry home > Syllabus 2016 > Organic chemistry > Synthetic pathways

Syllabus ref: 10.2 Syllabus ref: 20.1 Syllabus ref: 20.2

Synthesis means making a product from determined starting materials.

Nature of science:

Scientific method - in synthetic design, the thinking process of the organic chemist is one which invokes retro-synthesis and the ability to think in a reverse-like manner.


Essential idea: Organic synthesis is the systematic preparation of a compound from a widely available starting material or the synthesis of a compound via a synthetic route that often can involve a series of different steps.

The synthesis of an organic compound stems from a readily available starting material via a series of discrete steps. Functional group interconversions are the basis of such synthetic routes.

Retro-synthesis of organic compounds.

Applications and skills

Deduction of multi-step (not more than 4 steps) synthetic routes given starting reagents and the product(s).

In Chapter 10.4