CHEM 20A

Chemical Structure

Description: Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Preparation: high school chemistry or equivalent background and three and one half years of high school mathematics. Recommended preparation: high school physics. Requisite: completion of Chemistry Diagnostic Test. Enforced corequisite: Mathematics 31A. Not open to students with credit for course 14A. First term of general chemistry. Survey of chemical processes, quantum chemistry, atomic and molecular structure and bonding, molecular spectroscopy. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating 2.1
Easiness 2.9/ 5
Clarity 1.4/ 5
Workload 3.0/ 5
Helpfulness 1.8/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2019 - Talk about an absolute disaster. In previous quarters, it seems as though his lecturing style may have largely been the same, but the tests/quizzes, as previously mentioned, were written by generous TA's with material pulled directly from the homework. Therefore, any student willing to put in a basic level of effort into the class would, without a doubt, get an A. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Baugh, based on students' previous end-of-term comments, has decided that he would start writing the tests and quizzes himself. One would think that this would be a good thing, but this judgement could not be further from the truth. Before I even talk about the material covered by the questions, I must address how they were written. Every single form of assessment has had some form of crippling error/lack of clarity (ESPECIALLY the 1st midterm, which would have been strictly impossible had the TA's not rushed in to clarify basic grammatical or numerical errors in the writing of the questions). In discussion sessions, even the TA's are not sure what could have possibly been on Baugh's mind when writing them. On either of the midterms, the questions themselves were, in fairness, a mixed bag. While about 1/3 of the questions had clear influences from the homework, allow me to be clear: there was no case, either on a quiz or a midterm, where a question asked on the midterm was of comparable difficulty to a question asked on the homework. The 1st quiz had one question based on the homework that was far harder than any homework question. The 1st midterm, same deal but with two questions. The 2nd midterm had a question on molecular geometry that was legitimately impossible to complete based on knowledge that one would have gotten from completing the homework - it would have required prior knowledge of geometry not covered in the class. On a 6 question midterm, one could expect two problems with faint roots from the homework, two problems based on the reading, one question based on some topic that was particularly stressed in lecture, and a final question on a topic with origin unbeknownst to anybody, including the TA's. This would be alright, if there was some form of overlap between these materials. Unfortunately, all of the material covered by each of these ideas is completely mutually exclusive - the textbook is weak in that the problems rarely have anything to do with the reading, and Baugh is on a whole other tangent altogether. In short, do not be deceived by previous grading curves in this class. I have yet to see the final or my final grade in the class, and, despite my scoring significantly above the average on every single assessment thus far, I could hardly have less confidence in what my final grade will be based on the grading system in the class (midterms don't even matter). Beren may appear to have a harder grading curve, but I assure you, it is a strictly easier and less stressful environment than you will ever be in while in Baugh's class.
Overall Rating 3.3
Easiness 4.7/ 5
Clarity 3.3/ 5
Workload 3.3/ 5
Helpfulness 3.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2021 - I was afraid to take this class with Professor Bouchard due to negative past reviews. However, I did not pickup on any rudeness at all. He seems to be a pretty nice person from what I could see. Online, this class was very manageable. All of the homework and tests are given on a website called OWL. Professor Bouchard set homework to the hardest level (level 4). Midterms and the final were set from levels 1-3, so they were much easier than the homework. You can do very well on tests if you do the homework, learn the formatting of the questions, and learn how to use OWL. There are a few programs in OWL that can be confusing to use at first so make sure to know how to use them before the tests. Bouchard does not lecture. Instead he treats class like "office hours," which I personally disliked. I often skipped class and never felt like I was missing out on anything important. He made prerecorded lectures but I found that they were too repetitive with the textbook so I did not watch them. You do get points for attending discussion however. The way I learned in this class was very simple. I read all of the assigned textbook chapters and took notes. Then I filled in any gaps in my knowledge by watching videos on Youtube and taking more notes. The content is not difficult in my opinion. The most difficult topic for me was the quantum mechanics section but it was manageable and there honestly was not much use for the complex formulas on the tests. If you want to test your knowledge in the class do the end of chapter problems in the textbook. They are more complex and difficult. I don't think this is necessary, but a good option if you have some extra time.
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