CHEM 30A

Chemical Dynamics and Reactivity: Introduction to Organic Chemistry

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PROFESSORS

Craig Merlic See Full Profile

Overall 4.4 Easiness 1.7 Workload 1.4 Clarity 4.3 Helpfulness 4.1

Most Helpful Review

Merlic is a really good professor. You can understand him during lecture, and he basically tells you what you need to know. His practice tests are very similar to his actual tests, although they are a bit harder, as expected. His office hours are very helpful, and he'll even give you practice problems if you ask. He also gives out review rxn problems before each test. The class is tough as it is, and he makes it a bit easier. I'm sure he makes it easier than other teachers do. The only bad thing about him is that he goes through the material pretty quickly during lecture, so that if you don't come to class prepared or are good at understanding ochem pretty quickly, it makes it difficult to understand lecture. But if you take notes and look back on them later, along with reading the book, it makes things easier. The good thing about him is that during lecture, he tells you everything you need to know. He doesn't make you go to the book and fill in blanks or leave you confused as to what you need to know for the tests. But be sure to read the book. He could ask you for definitions that he didn't completely explain during class, and you can better understand how to explain things, e.g. what makes a certain molecule acidic, what a Lewis Acid/base is, what makes something a protic/aprotic solvent (besides having or lacking hydrogens). His review sheets for the rxns really come in handy because you really start to understand how the mechanisms work. And be sure to know the mechanisms! Although, when you get to the Sn/E rxns, he mostly wants you to know what reactants you need or what reactants you start with or what products are created. But understanding the mechanism is the key way to know what reactants you need. And the extra credit problem for the second midterm asked for the H2SO4 mechanism and he had 3 2 mechanism problems on the final.

June 10, 2010
Sharon Neufeldt See Full Profile

Overall 4.6 Easiness 3.8 Workload 3.6 Clarity 4.8 Helpfulness 4.6

Most Helpful Review

Materials
You didn't need anything for this class besides the textbook. You could only get that in a bundle at the UCLA Store for near $200 and it includes a solutions manual, Pushing Electrons supplementary book, and a model kit. To save money, get the textbook another way and find a buddy with the solutions manual to do homework with. You should probably buy a model kit off of Amazon.

Grading Scheme
Midterm 1 25%
Midterm 2 25%
Final 45%
BACON 4%
Class Evaluation 1%

Grading Scale
99.0 = A+ (lol)
95.0 - 98.9 = A
90.0 - 94.9 = A-
86.0 - 89.9 = B+
82.0 - 85.9 = B
82.0 - 85.9 = B
78.0 - 81.9 = B-
74.0 - 77.9 = C+
69.0 - 73.9 = C
63.0 - 68.9 = C-
55.0 - 62.9 = D+
45.0 - 54.9 = D
35.0 - 44.9 = D-

At the end of the class, she curved down a little by adjusting the grade breaks (lower the barrier to get a certain grade), depending on how the class did overall. After that, she added in extra credit. By a little, I mean a little, like 5% at most.

Lectures
Her lectures were all right. They were interesting and she had a cute sense of humor. My only complaint is that they were too trite. There weren't enough examples given, so I had a hard time doing the homework and had to resort to the textbook for some basic stuff. But that's a rather petty complaint. She held good review sessions.

Discussions
Not mandatory. The TA would go over the week's material and do practice problems. TAs with beginning of the week discussions tended to preview the week's material and TAs with end of the week discussions tended to review. I thought it better to go to end of the week discussions.

Homework
Simple. We didn't have any assigned, but it existed. She would write down a ton of problems on the board each day. You had to do these in order to get practice for the clicker questions the following class. She also had weekly problem sets and their answer keys made available, and these were the ones you wanted to master in order to do well on the exams. Simply put, she provided us a lot of resources, not to mention those of the TAs.

Exams
Midterm 1 Median: 80
Midterm 2 Median: 58
Her practice exams were a good indication of the format of her exams, but they're hard regardless, especially because they're 50 minute ones. I got a D+ on the first one, a C- on the second, and an 80% on the final to end with a C+ in the class.

BACON
This was easy. We had six tutorials, of which the four best scores would be taken, so once you finished four, you were essentially done.

Extra Credit
Her extra credit came in the form of two clicker questions at the start of every class. If you were late, you would miss the questions. 55 questions were offered, and you would get 0.5% extra credit for every five questions, with up to 5% total extra credit possible, so you had a five-question leeway. But even that was not enough, because these questions were hard. It wasn't really the material, since you would know it if you did the homework, but rather the time. She would give us a minute to do each question. You just needed to stay calm.

Office Hours
She held two 1.5 office hours per week and was super helpful during them. Everyone went, so you didn't have one-on-one answering time, but everyone got their chance to ask a question.

Pro-Tips
- Study everything from the problem sets.
- Keep up with everything. You don't get any second chances in this class. That's how I ended up with a C+.
- Use your model kit, especially to understand stereochemistry! Dashes and wedges are tricky little buggers.

tl;dr Take Neufeldt. She provides you a lot of resources to succeed, but you're not going to be spoonfed an A if you don't do well on your exams.

June 24, 2015
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Hung Pham See Full Profile

Overall 4.7 Easiness 1.9 Workload 2.8 Clarity 4.5 Helpfulness 4.5

Most Helpful Review

While this professor has mainly positive reviews, there are some things about this class that deserve attention. Yes, Pham has very organized slides which include the material you need. Yet, this course requires a lot more than attending lecture/discussion to actually do well. For those who had a harder time understanding material, I do not think this professor was of much help AT ALL. He does provide some opportunity for extra credit, but if he was not FORCED to make the final optional during the pandemic, I probably would’ve failed this class because towards the end it was so fast paced and easy to fall behind with concepts. (For reference, I got a C on the midterm). He seemed to discourage asking questions and came off as rude upon confusion in office hours. Idk why this professor is so hyped up honestly.

Spring Quarter 2020
Amber Reilly See Full Profile

Overall 4.6 Easiness 2.8 Workload 3.5 Clarity 4.9 Helpfulness 5.0

Most Helpful Review

Prof. Reilly is an amazing lecturer. Everything in the lectures is extremely clear and I know I'll be using the notes from her class in the future. However, her tests are unfortunately unclear/unexpected/unfair. They have some problems that we either didn't cover at all or are 5 times harder than the hardest problem she had us do. The averages on her tests are very low for this reason. She is a very sweet professor and you will leave feeling like you have a good understanding of ochem, however, beware her tests! Your understanding will not always be reflected on your score.

Fall Quarter 2020
Yves Rubin See Full Profile

Overall 2.6 Easiness 1.6 Workload 1.6 Clarity 2.3 Helpfulness 3.4

Most Helpful Review

Rubin is BORING. I'm not one to fall asleep in class, but Rubin was really asking for it. He knows is OChem, but someone needs to breath some life into this man! The tests were similar to previous exams posted on his website, and that was very helpful. Overall I like organic chem a lot, but at points it was hard to keep my enthusiasm up with such a dull prof.

March 30, 2004
Beatriz Ruiz-silva See Full Profile

Overall 4.0 Easiness 2.5 Workload 2.2 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 4.8

Most Helpful Review

Great Prof! Super straightforward exams and extremely nice. Cares a lot about the learning about students and if you put in the effort you should do well!

Aug. 2, 2015
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Jacob Sanders See Full Profile

Overall 5.0 Easiness 2.7 Workload 2.3 Clarity 5.0 Helpfulness 5.0

Most Helpful Review

One of the BEST professors I have ever had in my life. He did Sunday Office hours, which he came to Ackerman Union and help us with homework and answer questions near Panda. He is a SUPER efficient lecturer and his writing is clear and good. He made sure everyone could hear him and there was no need for reading textbook cuz his notes were way beyond that. I literally never study extra stuff for his tests except for the final, cuz there is no way you could screw up if you do all the problem sets and go to all the discussions. BTW, he posts the answers with the HW problems, and you just need to hand HW in to prove you have done the HW, and it's graded upon completeness. He has two midterms and one final, and he posts several practices before the actual tests. If you do well in those, you're definately heading for an A or A+. The practice tests are VERY similar to the real ones. Would definitely take again!

Spring Quarter 2017
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