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How much do we actually need to know about ligands?

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I did a past paper 3 the other day for HL on spectroscopy and there was a question about how would the splitting of d orbitals when nickel had formed ligands change the colour of the solution if it were nickel and ammonia or something like that but the question was basically askng you to predict the colour. How do you predict the colour? There's hardly anything about it on the course. I had it explained to me by this chemistry god guy who goes to oxford and did the IB. Anyway I get the whole sigma donating and pi acceptng properties stuff but he said he cant explain it more without going into group theory which is undergraduate level.

Anyway how much of this do we have to know? Should we actually be able to determine the colour?

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You need to know/be able to do anything in the syllabus:

http://www.ibsurviva...chemistry-2009/

I'm assuming that you've chosen option A if you were doing past papers on spectroscopy - have a look through that part of the syllabus and it should enlighten you as to exactly the extent you need to know it all in. It sounds to me like section A8 fits the question pretty well - it has those ligands, the bit about d orbitals and also requires you to determine the colour. Also, if you still feel this question was outside the bounds of what is noted in the syllabus, make sure the paper is from May 2009 onwards. This is the date of the latest syllabus change and any old exam papers therefore may possibly not reflect the syllabus any more.

Personally, I think option A is dire and would never pick it, but it's up to you I guess! :P I did Drugs & Medicines and Further Organic Chemistry, and of those two I'd definitely recommend D&M. Not the second one!

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My teacher says D&M is rather difficult, but because of the nature of the career i wish to pursue, i feel like its the most applicable option.

Do you think it would be hard to self-study?

Our teacher will be teaching one option, and that is further organic.

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Yeah I'll check through the syllabus tomorrow, it just seemed a bit advanced for the level most of the text book is at and the text book really has nothing on it. I took Spectroscopy because its the most useful one for a degree in chemistry, medicine and drugs is interesting but pretty useless as its only a very superficial view although I wish I'd done further organic, that's a really good one to do :)

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