Biochemistry: Introduction to Structure, Enzymes, and Metabolism
I didn't think that Dr. Martinson was "easy." So, I think I arrived at the conclusion that the class, 153A, is hard no matter who you take. My advice to you, who's reading this, is don't take Martinson just because his review for difficulty is a 7 instead of an 8 compared to bates. I loved this class, and it was because I thought the material was so interesting and applicable to everything that I have learned in sciences so far. Dr. Martinson is a great lecturer. You walk out of class learning something everytime you attend lecture, but you also have to do your part. You MUST read the book!!! Even though he is conceptual, his so called concepts come right out of the book. It's just that he explains them more clearly than the book does. It's really really annoying how he spends lecture time talking about how to study. That kind of bothered because I think that he thinks we're stupid. I mean, we're all UCLA students and I think that by the time someone takes chem 153A, he/she knows how to study! But then again, that's just how he is. He thinks his teaching style if revolutionary, but I didn't really think so. Overall, exams are very tough. But, he makes them that way in order to challenge our learning (sarcastic tone here), and the averages are very low. So in terms of getting an A, it's totally doable. I liked the fact that he is very patient with students and is available to talk to you anytime. Occasionally, he'll put you down for asking dumb questions, but I wouldn't get discouraged because who cares...it's your grade and he doesn't know you. I'd recommend him but the class is TOUGH!!! Study a little for it almost everyday, do his past exams, read the book, understand lectures, ask him questions...and good luck!
Morin Leisk is the nicest, most caring , and enthusiastic professor you will get for chemistry. If you value the character and personality of the professor, you will not be disappointed. She has that early enthusiasm that is seen in new professors. As for the lecture and materials, I feel that there was too much info and all of the different topics lacked cohesion. But maybe this is just the nature of the course and this will be the same regardless of the professor you take. I don't like her lecture style. She writes on the projector on printed out power point slides. I wish that she would just post the slides with the notes on them because I really prefer to pay attention during lecture and not be so focused on writing notes. And now...for her exams. You know how Napoleon got a bit too ambitious when he decided to invade Russia? Well yea.. She says that she designs her test so that student's can get a C- just by putting the crappiest answers possible. Let's just say that I wouldn't even qualify as crap based on her criteria. The exam was way too long for 50 minutes! Overall I recommend her. I believe that she will only improve as a professor and considering that your alternative is Tienson, I think it would be wise to take Morin Leisk for 153A.
Sooo I took this professor during session A this summer, and overall, this was not easy. She says on the very first day not to take the summer course, so that's a clue right there...but I had to stay b/c it fit my schedule and nothing else. I commute to school on the bus everyday, and while I was taking this class I worked 20 hours a week at night, so after 4pm Monday-Friday, I could NOT study anything. BUT, I did end up getting an A in the class. So there is hope! I went to lecture every day, and yes her writing on the compendium overhead is kind of annoying but not too horrible, kinda just wasted a few minutes every day, I went to a couple different TA sections during the week, and multiple CLAPS sessions. I didn't buy a textbook, and I memorized the entire compendium...no joke -.- not fun...I wrote and rewrote allllll of the pictures and notes in the compendium, so that when the final was coming, I didn't have to look at the compendium to study, I just used my own notes. Definitely do all of the CLAPS and hw questions, even the ones not assigned, and bring questions to discussions, they help A LOT. The midterms were straight up memorization, so memorize everything :/ but the final was random. I did not end up leaving early, and I almost cried when I came out of the room. I had left some parts blank, and I thought I was gonna get a C...I started to get nervous during the final and began just writing whatever I could remember without thinking into much detail b/c I didn't have enough time, and thank God the memorizing worked and I wrote out everything like a reflex. There were some naming of molecules that came out of the blue, but I had to use knowledge from the chem20/30 series info to help me on those...So again, midterms are memorization (very doable) and final is more conceptual. I never asked her questions so I don't know whether or not she was easy to get a hold of...but pretty much I had to study every day till 4pm, did notes, rewrote notes, memorized EVERYTHING, and came out with a solid A...and it was the summer...Just focus (which I know is hard to do with this kind of class) but you gotta just pump yourself for the class. I also studied with 2 good friends and we studied together every day, sometimes next to each other in the library, but having a solid study group is very helpful. To summarize again, memorize the compendium, have really good and thorough notes, go to multiple discussions and CLAPS sessions, go to class every day, and FOCUS. It was kind of hard for me to focus during the summer b/c a lot of my friends were out having parties, touring abroad and such, and it was easy to just give up, but if I can do it, anyone else can. Trust me. My brain isn't exactly wired to be a genius, I'm not, and I was kind of jealous of the kids in discussions that got everything right away, but you have to work hard. It's not an easy class, but you can still get an A. :] Good luck!
Well, this was a fun ride. I guess I can say I'm glad to be done with the class. But how will future students prepare for Nelson (if she does stick around)? Here's probably the best advice: DO NOT SLACK OFF AFTER THE SECOND MIDTERM. The first two thirds of the class are rather manageable, but eventually you have to memorize glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and the electron transport chain. While not too difficult to memorize on their own, it's the other stuff that comes with them that really gets to you. I don't know what my grade is yet, but based purely on experience, do not fall behind after the second midterm. Keep up and really pay attention to every word she says in those final jam-packed lectures.
Summer 2020 - I love Patananan!! He's such a nice, funny guy who is genuinely concerned about student learning. This was the first time he taught 153A, and I think he did an excellent job. This class is notoriously a massacre, but I feel like he succeeded in making it very manageable. His exams weren't a breeze but they weren't necessarily difficult, but I still feel like I learned a lot. He also offered a bunch of extra credit. 10/10 would take again
The professor is not that bad as some students rated him! He is kind of boring, but he knows material really well. He is very kind old man if you talk to him. And low averages mean that if you put a tiny bit of effort, you are much ahead of everyone. I think professor Schumaker was easy in this class. His tests are for the logic and application of material, not for just memorization.
Summer 2018 - This is my first Bruinwalk review, and the reason I'm writing it is because I feel like more people should know about Prof Silkworth. This class was super interesting and hard as hell! but Prof Silkworth is so into biochem that it's hard not to catch his enthusiasm. Don't freak out if you bomb your first midterm. Even though he doesn't technically curve the class, he does scale your grades and offers a good amount of extra credit if the class collectively does poorly on a test. I studied my ass off, but was honestly floored when I got my final grade. A couple things: GO to office hours!! I know everyone says that, but seriously, go to his office hours. Lecture can be rushed due to the sheer amount of info, but office hours let you actually take time to go over difficult topics. Worry less about the problem sets and more about what he says to focus on in class. I started recording his lectures in case I missed something and it really helped, because he constantly drops hints about what to study. Focus on those problems in the sets. Do get the textbook. An older version is fine, but it just really helps to get that extra clarification on mechanisms and additional diagrams. I'm pretty visual and the textbook has lots of that. Finally, don't get too caught up with your grade. Just study hard and participate, and I think he recognizes that. You may be pleasantly surprised. Good luck!
Winter 2019 - I highly recommend you read the other reviews, as I found them to be generally accurate toward Tienson. Her lecturing is pretty mediocre, a solid 3.5/5 maybe. But her tests are the trashiest that I've ever seen. Her tests alone make my overall rating 2/5. In general, I don't think the any of the course is worth much emphasis except the tests. There's a ton of things that you can point out that's terrible, so let's just list them out. 1. Questions are worded vaguely or in a misleading way. You often struggle to figure out what in the world Tienson actually wants. Tienson doesn't seem to have the self-awareness to realize that if a bunch of students complain, then it's probably the question's fault, not every single one of the student's fault. 2. The short answer questions have a strange limitation that you cannot write more than x number of sentences. Mind you, x is usually something like 1 or 2. Try explaining a concept in 1 or 2 sentences. Then she takes off points during grading for not being detailed enough. Oh, and writing run-on sentences gets counted as multiple sentences. 3. Her grading policy allows partial credit in a question. The only problem is that her grading rubric demands relatively specific things to be mentioned, such that having a question mostly right will usually still net you almost no partial credit. 4. She only allows 10 regrade requests for the entire quarter. That is, 10 questions. Due to how vague the questions are and how oddly specific the grading rubric tends to be, it can often be a struggle to figure out if it's worth it to use up a regrade request on that question. Of course, if she does determine that the question was graded incorrectly, then you get one regrade request back, but come on. I've never seen a professor that mistrusts students to this degree to not abuse the regrade requests. The course is *not* graded on a curve, though the professor does scale it so that something like an 82% still counts as an A. Good luck getting even 80% on the tests though. Anyways, I find that the best way to prepare for the tests is to watch the Bruincast lecture vids before the test. That'll refresh your memory on what it was that Tienson brought up in class, since you can bet that she'll use something that's only mentioned in passing as a question on the test.
Fall 2019 - This man is 75 and a retired professor who only comes to teach when they need an extra section. I took this class last quarter and it was at 8am, four days a week (so already awful off the bat). Luckily it was bruincasted, his attendance was in the 20-30% every single lecture, which he was mad about (dont teach an 8 am then). His voice and lectures are not engaging whatsoever and the class is based almost entirely on two midterms (which are 50 min during class) and a final, all which was so hard. His TAs grade and look for verbatim words and phrases that he uses in lecture, and if you paraphrase, its wrong, and partial credit is rare. I shouldve taken Awad but both of her sections were full when I registered and I thought taking Weiss would be fine. Sike i was wrong. I would recommend waiting for a better professor if this is your only option. I am now paying the price and am going to have to retake the course.
I heard that summer 2001 will be the last time Whitelegge's gonna teach. I can see why people see him as a teacher who is not concerned about students, but I think he improved a bit when I took him. Still, he sounds a bit arrogant sometimes. Beside me, I know some other people who got intimidated by him. The hard part about the course is the material itself, and I believe that Whitelegge's test may be easier than Bates' already. One thing that makes me think Bates will be better is that she has her own reader, so you know exactly what to expect in the tests. While for Whitelegge, he just assign pages to read in the book (Which is hard and boring readings). Some details from the book ends up on the test, although he may have briefly mention it in lecture. He's not a high school teacher, so he doesn't write down every single thing on board; taking notes on what he says is more important than the stuff on board. To me, reading book is neccessary for succeeding in the class, because you won't be able to comprehend everything in lecture, nor TA will be good enough to answer all the questions you have. The readings are bad though, I feel like they take more time than the readings for my English Literature class that I took with this class.