Organic Chemistry: Reactivity and Synthesis, Part II
Dr. Hardinger teaches organic chemistry on a conceptual level. I would highly recommend him for chem 30C. As everyone else has stated, he has a nearly endless amount of helpful resources and practice problems on his webpage. As in any science class, you have to put in put in hard work in order to get an A; however, attending his lectures will give you a good conceptual understanding of the course material.
Spring 2022 - There are a lot of bad reviews about Kwon, but, unless she changed suddenly, she is now a very nice and efficient professor. Objectively, she has done nothing horrible this entire quarter and instead makes the occasional joke and is very willing to teach. She is clearly experienced, the consistency in her lecture is easily noticeable, especially if you look at her past recordings. The only hard part is that the entire grade was based off exams. 20%, 20%, 60% for midterms and then the final respectively. How to succeed? Do practice exams. Do all of them. (She reuses questions) Get course hero, and you will find the class much more manageable. (I have not even looked at the hw tbh) P.S. Do the bloody past exams. Do more than the ones she sends you. No joke, had midterms where I knew all the questions beforehand. Look very specifically at the answer keys, there are some points where she looks for very specific things, even just words (e.g. extremely stable vs stable).
Professor Lam is an incredibly intelligent person. He is well educated in chemistry and you can learn A LOT from him. He is a difficult professor. OChem is really, really hard. You MUST study hard. But at least he is organized, actually cares about his students, and gives practice tests and review sessions prior to each exam. I recommend going to office hours as much as possible because you might hear something that will help you understand better or give you a heads up about what is really important to focus on. We were lucky to have Dr. Lam for both 30B and 30C.
Winter 2018 - I cannot express enough the regard I hold for professor Merlic; he is easily one of best instructors I have had the privilege of learning from. On the last day of lecture, I even found the triumph of finishing orgo colored by melancholy, as I realized our time together had come to an end. Though organic chemistry is often discussed with a degree of dread, Prof. Merlic's wit and contagious enthusiasm, dare I say, made the class something to look forward to. He lectures at a brisk pace, but provides ample supplementary materials with which to study. He also demonstrates CONSIDERABLE patience, given some of the more "quirky" students in class this quarter. Though he initially grinned and bore the disruptions, by ninth week he began to lay down the hammer on the hysterics; in my opinion, he could have done this sooner. Exams and grading was fair. Complemented by a very competent TA team, I would fully recommend this course with Prof. Merlic. My only regret is that I did not have time this quarter to take his Honors Seminar.
Spring 2020 - I took this class the first time Pham taught it online, during the pandemic. I've previously taken Chem 14C with the dude (I switched from life sci to biochem), and knew that I would like him. For context, I tried out taking Chem 30C with Merlic for the first 2 weeks of Winter (before the impacted course drop deadline) and REALLY did not like Merlic's teaching style. I personally know that I do fine with slides and appreciate the greater organization over seeing everything drawn out. Merlic was a lot more messy and harder to follow, and spoke so goddamn fast that lecture was just excruciating. I just couldn't retain anything from his lectures because of it, which made me super anxious. But Pham is highly understandable, able to point out key concepts and good at simplifying things. For huge ochem buffs, you may prefer Merlic since Pham may have a tendency to over-simplify (but not in a way that would hurt you on an exam b/c his exams reflect what he teaches you), but I definitely didn't mind. Because of the nature of this quarter, we only had one midterm and one final. Everything was open-book, open-note. We were given 24 hours to submit, but were encouraged to follow guidelines for taking it within 2 hours for the midterm and 3 hours for the final. However, this was only an honor-based system and he only started pushing this more heavily when he felt like students were taking advantage of the system...and ended up going back to saying 24 hours was okay at the end of the quarter when things were getting crazy with the protests. The class was originally supposed to be 50 points BACON, 100 points midterm, 100 points problem set, and 150 points final, but Pham was extremely accommodating following the protests. He made the class instead out of 250 points, and the final optional. Essentially, he adjusted the final to be 100 points and would just take the better exam between the midterm or final. If you did take the final, it was made no-harm as well. The problem sets and BACON were the same number of points. Problem sets weren't bad at all. Only select problems were graded. He added them so we wold have more buffer points during this online quarter. We had a total of 3 main opportunities for extra credit. CryOFF project for 8 points + 2 more points if you were chosen as best project, 2 points for evals, and 1 point for pre-midterm survey. Following the protests, he gave everyone minimum 6 points on CryOFF though. On the midterm, there was one random EC point (not skill). On the final, there was 4 EC points, with 3 points coming from some ochem relevant knowledge (knowing UCLA professors) and 1 free EC point. But yeah, Pham was great, although it was sad to see him less enthusiastic/more down this quarter. He's a good teacher, although I finally understand why some people say he's not as patient with questions. He switches between being usually pretty nice during lecture, to being potentially blunt/intimidating for individual questions during OH or at the end of class. But I know he means well and just tried not to take it personally. I still really appreciated him b/c ochem could be somewhat confusing/convoluted to me with other profs, but I had no trouble whatsoever with Pham, even though it's been 2 years since I took ochem. He was more than fair - promising us that he would not make the exams any longer or harder than he normally would even with all his accommodations. And I can verify that this is true. Never in a million years did I expect ochem to go this smoothly, and yes there were a lot of accommodations, but I still feel like I learned a lot :).
Dr. Rubin isn't a very good lecturer. He tries to make the class fun and while some jokes are funny, majority are not. I don't even known why i bother going to class. He pretty much reads aloud the textbook. He audio casts which doesn't help because ochem is very visual. The best thing about his class is that his curve is super generous. Pretty much 30% can get A's (includes A-) which is unheard of. His exams look the same from year to year so just do his practice exams and of course read the book.