Organic Chemistry I: Structure and Reactivity
Spring 2019 - Shuming consistently goes above and beyond for her students. I haven't had a single teacher or professor from elementary, middle, high school, or college as dedicated as her to teaching students. Her class is extremely tough-don't get me wrong, but she prepares students well for her exams. The homework is more-or-less free points, and it's very similar to what is on exams. She gives two practice exams which are fairly representative, along with additional problem sets. You can also get up to 2% extra credit, but you'll need it. Again, the exams are really hard. Most importantly, Dr. Chen herself does weekly review sessions in the evening, which contain even more practice and are highly useful. Her lectures are engaging, and very clear and useful. However, only buy the modeling kit-you get to use that on exams. Otherwise, the book is practically useless; just pirate it as you won't read much from it. Looking back after having taken Chem 30B with Merlic, her class really does give students the fundamentals to succeed in future courses. Her tests were definitely hard; I'd say that her synthesis problems were even harder than the ones I had to do in 30B, with over a dozen of steps compared to 5-6 max in 30B.
Spring 2022 - Considering that this is ochem and one of the most notoriously difficult subjects, I cannot tell you how glad I am I took this class with Corsello as a professor. The concepts are tough and you definitely need to read the textbook and/or watch videos to wrap your head around it, especially since there's a lot of content to go over in only 10 weeks. Luckily, the professor spends a good amount of time reviewing material, clarifying concepts, and doing practice problems, and the problem-sets closely resemble the structure and difficulty of exams. He doesn't care very much about obscure details or minute technicalities, and makes it really clear that he wants you to be able to think critically and understand the most relevant and important concepts. Attending discussion is extra credit, and usually an extra credit question makes its way onto the both midterms. The professor himself is a super stand-up dude; he's extremely responsive to student questions and has an underrated sense of humor that students often miss in the haze of functional groups and carbocation intermediates. Office hours really help for asking questions and going through examples, and he'll often go through the reaction mechanisms in greater detail there as well. If you treat this course like an organic chemistry course-- a course where you need to study your ass off, memorize a good handful of facts and chemical characteristics, and practice problems routinely to get good at the mechanisms-- you'll have no problem being successful and even enjoying yourself in the process.
Fall 2022 - Professor Harran is a great guy. He tries to make his lectures fun and attempts to connect with real world topics. He is a master at what he teaches, and often surrounds himself with friends that have great accolades in the field as well. BUT, at the end of the day it is OCHEM after all. This class is not easy, it is very demanding, professor is not demanding, the class is. Since there's no HW or any BS points, its just 2 tests and a final. So basically u have to get your sh*t together if u want to succeed. Class is curved, but that doesn't mean you can stop putting the effort in. The class averages were definitely scary every time. WARNING: don't try to memorize anything, he purposely makes tests that require you to have a decent understanding. So instead of memorizing reactions, learn how and why each of the steps work. (etc. electron pushing, resonance, stuff that you have to practice NOT memorize!) Averages: - MT 1 - ~60 - MT 2 - 51 - Final - we were not given an average or our scores back but take a look above and you can guess how we did. Class avg was probably curved to a C or C+.
Spring 2021 - OVERVIEW: Simply put, Pham is amazing. If you have the opportunity to take this class with him, he will make the introduction to organic chemistry as easy as it can. A fair warning: this class is not easy. Pham is an engaging and clear lecturer, and the class is set up to be as accessible as possible to help you learn best. He is extremely friendly, willing to help, and isn't boring: he has tons of personality, so go to office hours! GRADING: The grading scale of this class is not curved. You aren't competing with anyone other than yourself, so work is required. Everything is graded with no weighting, so one point on the homework is worth the same as one point on the exam. There's a few opportunities for extra credit here and there, particularly bonus questions on the exams, for maybe a few percentage points. This quarter, he ended up bumping your grade up if you were only 1-2 points off from the cutoff, which was awesome! HW: Homework is actually quite light if you pace yourself. There were only five assignments, each was about four pages of related material meant to correspond roughly with the lectures every two weeks. They are practically identical to the exams, which makes them excellent study material. Each is randomly assessed for accuracy, and also points are given for completion. Make a study group to do well! Homework alone is likely not enough to do well, but there are an infinite amount of worksheets from TAs and LAs accessible to anyone, plus lots of review sessions and solutions posted weekly. Expect to put in the time studying non-mandatory material. It is really nice to have few things to actually worry about turning in, however. EXAMS: There are no quizzes in this class, at least not in the online format. This does make the amount of points from the two midterms and final (all weighted equally) substantial. A warning: the tests are difficult. However, the tests are fair. Everything on the test is gone over in lecture. Homework, as previously mentioned, is basically identical to the test. Tons of material is available for practice. In the online format, it was open note, but to be honest, if you do enough practice you'll be totally fine even without notes. For organic chemistry, a fair test with ample preparation is the best you can ask for. Each test also has bonus point opportunities. SUMMARY: If you're considering taking this class, you must not fall behind. There is new information every lecture, and there's little time for review during the actual class. Make ample use of discussion time and office hours to ask your questions; the LAs, TAs, and Pham are all very happy to help and very accessible. If managed correctly, this class will not be as stressful as the 20 series can be because the format is just better, even if the material is harder.
Fall 2020 - Professor Reilly is the best professor I've had during my time at UCLA. If you have the opportunity to take this class with her, I would 100% recommend it. I would take her class again in a heartbeat. She really cares about her students and has been very accommodating during the pandemic. She holds office hours after class and during the weekend. We had 3 different types of assessment -- 5 Take-Home Assessments, 5 In-Class Assessments, 6 BACON. Take-Home Assessments were completion and she held workshops after they were due to go over each problem. In-Class Assessments were completed in 1 hour during class time. These were pretty challenging, but as I adapted to her testing/teaching method, it became easier over time. BACON worked to integrate our course materials with real-life, and although these were not for completion, they were very easy and took only 20 minutes. She also shows us pictures of her dog Kasey, who is absolutely adorable, during lecture. She gave numerous extra credit assignments including completing evaluations and memes/drawing.