A common complaint I have gotten from students for years centers on the “Predict the Products” section of my exams. While they can derive every mechanism for every part of every question (late in second semester, each of my 5-6 Predict the Product questions might have 3-4 reactions in sequence), they don’t have time to do so. My students want to know how they are supposed to organize all these reactions in order to move through the Predict the Product section faster.
I’ve tried “webs” or “mind maps,” and those are nice, but I keep coming back to what I call the “reaction notebook.” It is not an assignment. It’s not something I collect or grade. Students can choose to make one or not.