LIFESCI 7A

Cell and Molecular Biology

Description: Lecture, three hours; discussion, 75 minutes. Introduction to basic principles of cell structure and cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 5.0
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Overall Rating 3.0
Easiness 2.5/ 5
Clarity 4.5/ 5
Workload 4.0/ 5
Helpfulness 4.5/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2023 - LS 7A with Maloy was an absolute pleasure. Dr. Malloy is an excellent lecturer and is 100% the best professor to get for this class. With that being said, his superiority comes from only the lectures. Because LS 7a uses the same assignments and even take the same tests, the advantage of having Maloy over another professor comes from his experience and ability to effectively teach and present the material during lecture. Maloy is an extremely relaxed and caring professor who I would recommend to anyone able to enroll. As a freshman myself, I remember being quite unsure about this class when I applied so the text below will be a deeper synopsis into the course material, expectations, and tips I would recommend for new Bruins or people who are wondering about this class! MATERIAL: Ls7a does a thorough job at introducing and summarizing the field of molecular biology. Although introductory, this course contains a lot of information and can go into some very in depth concepts (compared to a high school biology class). If you have taken AP Biology and feel strong about the first 4 units you should be well prepared to take this course; if not, do not fear, all lectures and reading material assume you do not know any biology or chemistry! Here are some of the main sections which will be discussed in this course: biological chemical reactions, polarity/nonpolarity, enzymes[First 4 weeks] cell respiration, photosynthesis, transcription, translation[Week 4-8], DNA replication, gene expression, cell cycle [Week 8-10] GRADING: For grading I have some mild criticism of how grading is done, otherwise this class is very easy to obtain high letter grades in! This class uses a point based system meaning no specific type of assignment is weighted higher than others. For an example 15 points of a HW assignment is equal to 15 points on a Midterm. Because of this, the key is to maximize the amount of points you have, this means you should complete every assignment, quiz or extra credit they give you! A final note on general grading is about grade curves. There are NO grade curves for this class, this is beneficial and also harmful in my opinion as the tests can be difficult, but thankfully you will not have to compete with other students taking the class! My only critiques for this grading scheme are three things listed below: 1. Finding what your grade is. You will find that many grades will not be inputted into Bruin learn until after the Finals. This can be stressful when you are trying to maintain an A for this class. You can manually calculate this grade but due to the small margins between some grades, this can be inaccurate. 2. This class is too forgiving with work. In this class, some assignments are worth more than the actual maximum amount of points possible to achieve (this is so up to 1 or 2 assignments can be forgiven). Upon reading this you may think, "Yay extra credit!" but you would be mildly disappointed to hear that this does not happen. Instead, if you are a good little lad and do all of your homework you will be punished because you did 15 points more than what is necessary to get a 100% in the Hw category. This kinda sucks. 3. The difference between an A and a A- is very slim. In my case, I did all of the homework and extra credit, but due to a somewhat low first midterm grade, I only had a 30 point difference between receiving a A- and an A. TESTS: In LS 7A, you will have 3 main Tests. For some reason they think calling them a different name will make them better but this is untrue. In class they will refer to these tests as Assessment of Learning or AOLs for short! These tests are taken every 3-4 weeks and the third AOL is technically the final. These tests are way different than any traditional test you may find at school. The AOLS start off with little material and about 45 questions and will then progressively increase in material and number of questions(45,65,82). All questions are multiple choice and you will technically have two chances to take each AOL. You will also be surprised to learn that all of these assessments are taken online via Bruinlearn. Additionally, in your discussion section you will be assigned to a group who will take the group phase of the test with you! The group test is identical to your individual test and can be seen as retaking your test. the average of your team test and individual test will be your net score for the AOL! In my experience the first midterm is the hardest, followed by the final, with the second midterm being the easiest(scored 100+%). The questions asked on these tests can be quite vague and reflect how LS department makes their tests. This class requires you to understand the material instead of memorizing it. This means that questions will ask you to apply your conceptual knowledge about a concept in order to solve and actual real life example. This will be difficult getting used to but you will be able to adapt after taking the first AOL and taking more pre assessments! ASSIGNMENTS: Each week you will have 3 things to do: 1. PALS - These are practice tests which are worth very little points but get you ready for the real tests! 2. Pre-reading- You will read several chapters from the book before each lecture and then take several small quizzes about each section of the chapter. You will then complete a study guide to bring to class! 3. DSA - Every week you will go to your discussion section and do a small worksheet in class under the supervision of the TA's. you should get 100% most of the time as long as you interact with your team and ask for help if you need it! Extra credit: Every three weeks there will be a small 3 credit assignment which involves drawing, writing or creating a piece of art which relates to a topic discussed in the previous three weeks and something which you can relate it to in your own experience! Final Tips: 1. Do your reading and do your homework!!!!!! You will learn and understand the material way better down the road when you take the time initially to familiarize yourself with the concepts and learn to connect them! 2. Please participate and contribute your part to the team!- For God's sake nobody wants an unhelpful teammate on their team. Even if you feel unsure about the material, make an effort to reach out to team members, TAs or LAs for assistance, they have office hours and problem sessions for people who have questions. 3. Don't give up! Molecular biology is a small part of the enormous field of biology. Do not give up on your ambitions because of disliking this one class. Being able to understand when you need help and seeking it is important not only for yourself but also your team 4. Do all the small assignments. Trust me, they add up and help!
Overall Rating 3.0
Easiness 2.7/ 5
Clarity 3.3/ 5
Workload 2.3/ 5
Helpfulness 3.3/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2020 - (Took this class during COVID) This class is pretty difficult. I think the LS 7 series in general is less about memorization but more about actually understanding concepts and applying them to new situations you've never seen before, which can be difficult for people who haven't done so in high school etc. It's pretty similar to AP bio in a sense where you apply your knowledge instead of just regurgitating it. Even though this class was a lot of work, the LS 7A professors made accommodations for online learning which I think saved a lot of people's grades: group exams. For the 2 midterms and the final, there were two phases: an individual phase, where you would take the exam by yourself (open from 6 AM - 8 PM on a single day), and a group phase, where you would be assigned a group of 3 other people and have about two days to set up a time, talk about the exam, and individually submit a second copy of exam (all on CCLE). Your score for the midterms/final is an average of the individual and group phase exams. So yeah, you could straight up fail the individual portion but get carried in the group phase and come out with a relatively decent score, which I think really helped people out and changed perspectives on this course because I only heard negative things coming in (however there were students who *still* complained... despite having group exams). I'm not sure if the professors will continue doing this when things get back to normal, but I think it will really help the LS 7 series be more respected because there are many, many complaints about this series. As far as I know LS 7B and 7C have different kinds of accommodations in regards to helping recovering lost points on exams, but anything helps. In regards to the professor, I took it when McEvoy was co-teaching with Pires. I found Pires to be a lot more knowledgeable and prepared to answer questions, but I do recognize that it was probably McEvoy's first time teaching 7A (if I'm not mistaken) and I wouldn't call her "bad" by any means. They were both pretty good and kind. Be prepared to work hard in this class. It takes a lot of time to go through weekly launchpad readings but actually reading it and *not* just skimming it will actually help you learn the concepts, but I do get that sometimes launchpad content can give you more than you actually need to know. Clicker questions are probably the best practice tool you have in that class as they represent the questions on the midterms/final pretty well, so make sure to go through them while studying and be able to justify why an answer is correct or incorrect. A lot of people say they "skipped through launchpad" and "barely paid attention in lecture" and then wonder why they have a bad grade, I don't get it. If you're disciplined enough and put in the work you'll get the grade you deserve! You can do it! Good luck!
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