Biochemistry: DNA, RNA, and Protein Synthesis

Description: Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour; tutorial, one hour. Requisite: course 153A or 153AH. Recommended: Life Sciences 2, 3, and 23L, or 7A and 7B. Nucleotide metabolism; DNA replication; DNA repair; transcription machinery; regulation of transcription; RNA structure and processing; protein synthesis and processing. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating 3.8
Easiness 1.9/ 5
Clarity 3.4/ 5
Workload 2.0/ 5
Helpfulness 4.1/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2022 - I found the material in this class really interesting because it tied a lot into my research, but otherwise I think it could be overwhelming, there is a lot of content. Class grading is based off of 2 midterms and 1 final, they are all a mix of matching/multiple choice, short answer, and interpreting experimental results. I thought the first midterm would be super easy because it covered the least content, but it was actually pretty tough -- I think sometimes the prof will try to make questions harder by providing poor/unclear images that you need to identify. My biggest tip for the exams would be to make a good "cheat sheet", be familiar with experimental techniques, and BE SPECIFIC when answering questions to avoid losing easy points. Also READ the questions, as sometimes he will almost make them trick questions -- be sure you know exactly what the question is asking for, and sometimes even one single word can mean a different question is being asked. The exams are not cumulative, which was nice, but there is a lot of content. Some of the experimental questions can be difficult as well, so make sure you know the mechanisms/pathways well. I also found that this class did not really have a big focus on mechanisms/molecular structure in the sense that 153A did, rather it emphasizes certain chemical elements in structures that are important, and large-scale pathways for DNA/RNA. So I didn't find it helpful to learn traditional ochem mechanisms, even though they were presented in class. I would recommend this class if you are interested in things like DNA/RNA repair, transcription, translation, etc. The prof. does a good job of responding to emails, and tries to make class engaging, although some of his jokes are a little cheesy. The last part of the class came from participation (discussion sections and class attendance).
Overall Rating 3.3
Easiness 2.3/ 5
Clarity 2.3/ 5
Workload 3.0/ 5
Helpfulness 3.3/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2019 - Silkworth is currently my favorite professor in the biochemistry department. Between 153A and 153C, I would say that I enjoyed 153B the most. However, there is SOOOOO much material that's taught in this course. It literally takes the central dogma (DNA --> RNA ---> Proteins) and tells you EVERYTHING about it. The trick to doing well in this course is very simple: Answer all the "what you should know" questions slides in the powerpoint. Do that, and ur pretty much golden for the exams. you don't need to attend any office hours (I didn't even once) or redo the clicker questions. And the best way to answer those "what you should know" questions is to record each lecture on your phone. After class, re-listen to the lectures, and use the recordings to answer the "what you should know" questions. I knew from previous students that this course was going to be hard, so I prepared myself. Going to tutorial also helps as well, cause silkworth dumbs the concepts down in tutorial. Make sure not to lose points over dumb things, like not attending discussion, or not taking the CCLE quizzes seriously (the answers to the CCLE quizzes are from lecture btw), or not doing the clickers. Don't think you can study all the material for this class 2 days before the exam. It ain't happening. Study the slides a bit each day (literally no more than 1 hour), and you will be fine. The average for both midterms was around 75%; for the exams, you will definitely need the whole time length, so be ready in that regard. I'm pretty sure this class is curved to having the average be a B/B+, so don't worry too much about it. Good luck to you all
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