Based on 37 Users
Midterm averages "higher than expected" at 75% for M1 and 70% for M2;
M1 was pretty fair and tested the main topics that we expected to be on the test, required slightly more detail than expected, but still doable;
M2 was also pretty fair, although it placed a larger emphasis on Glycolysis than expected, which we had just started to learn about, so that made it more difficult than M1
The Final was insanely hard, probably the hardest final I've taken since Math 32A/B with Gang, but it ultimately was okay because of (probably) more lenient grading and curving etc. Avg: 69.5% High: 90%
Overall the exams were pretty difficult because they required you to really apply the material in class, especially for the final. It seems like she made the exams much harder than previous exams and than previous Tienson exams, but it was still doable at the end of the day. The Gradescope grading is pretty bullshit but it is what it is. You kinda have to word vomit as much as you can for each answer and hope that it hits all the marks that they used to grade the question, or else you just lose points all over the place. My biggest gripe with the class would be with the Gradescope grading because I think it was pretty unfair that you could understand and answer a question thoroughly, but still be marked off and "incorrect" just for failing to include every point that they expected, especially when the questions were very general (ex: which type of beta sheet forms stronger bonds and why?)
My advice would be to do every Study Question packet each week to keep on track (I fell behind and it made it hard to catch up for each exam, especially with the Sunday Final), and to make sure you don't just memorize and then dump info from quizzes because you will need to have most of it still memorized throughout the course (AAs, Enzymes, Glycolysis, TCA, etc.)
Awad is a great lecturer and a really great professor, despite having a difficult class. She provides all the materials possible to enable students to do well, but at the end of the day, the class material is just difficult/complex and it makes the class inevitably hard. Definitely would take classes with Awad again because she's so chill and because the large amount of supplemental material is extremely helpful. I believe Tienson's quizzes are in discussion, which means you have to go to your assigned discussion, but for Awad, we could pick whichever discussion worked for us, or we could just skip it (but don't because Discussions are really helpful; if your TA is bad like mine was, you can just go to another discussion). Also, Awad cancelled multiple lectures when we were ahead in terms of material (ex: Monday after Thanksgiving, etc.), which i thought was a pretty nice gesture, especially when a lot of professors would normally just be dicks and fill that time with busy work or "passion projects" or some crap.
2 Midterms (100 pts each) 200
1 Final Exam (200pts) 200
5 Quizzes (20 pts each) 100 (in class, 7 mins at the beginning of lecture)
iClicker Responses 25 (given a few free days)
Tentative Grade Ranges:
Final Grade Ranges:
A: 525-435, B: 434-370, C: 369-300, D: 299-180, F: 179-0
Up to 13 points for Group Video on a topic
2 points for instructor evals
3 points for "this Quarter in Biochemistry" one page paper about a research topic
Purely memory-based class. Almost guaranteed 90+ if exams were open-book. But this is exactly what makes this class painful because you will need tens of extra hours each week to simply remember everything she said in lectures. She basically gives anything in the exam, even if it was just mentioned in one or two sentences in the class. To make things worse, the grading rubrics are nitpicking and her wording for the questions are unclear. You would need some luck to guess what she wants you to answer (which is why you will not get full points if the exams were open-book.)
COVID-19 magically saved my grade because the final was changed to open-book. But be prepared to use tons of time for this class if you take it.
Honestly, biochem is not going to be an easy class regardless of the professor. I did everything that she recommended us to do, which were:
-Go to more than one discussion
-Go to her OH
-Go to TA's OH
-Do the study questions w/o using notes then pinpoint where I made mistakes
-Asked questions on the forum
-Went to all three LA review sessions
1st Midterm: 81.5/100
2nd Midterm: 76/100
Extra Credit: 20 (she also had an extra credit question in both MT1 and MT2 that everybody got, I just forgot how much they were worth)
So given my exam scores, I'm happy I got a B+. The extra credit will definitely save you in the end. But classes where there's a lot of extra credit is like that for a reason - b/c without it, many students will get very very low grades. So DON'T think that just b/c there is extra credit, you will get an easy A. And the struggle and hours that went into getting this grade was definitely unreal, and the agony that came with this class sort of took away from the intellectual gain. I really enjoy biochem and I loved the material, but taking the class really put me off from the subject.
One tip: There's so much material that a lot of people ended up overstudying, trying to remember every single slide, when it's not necessary b/c there were some slides that never came up on the exams. My TA, Joseph, told us exactly what to focus on for each exam, so it helped a lot to just focus on those.
Also, stick to TA's OH. Personally, Dr. Awad's OH will not help you if you are confused or lost. Every single question asked, her response is literally 5 seconds or less. Don't go to her OH expecting her to reiterate anything from lecture, she will not give any detailed explanation on anything. On the other hand, if you just need clarification on something you already understand, OR you are curious to know more about a concept, then go to her OH.
I am trying to give a fair review, since there's many other factors that could have went into my performance for this class (first quarter at UCLA as a transfer, commuter, etc). But everything I wrote is my honest opinion, and I also agree with every single other fall 2019 reviews on here.
I really enjoyed taking Chem153A with Awad and wish she were teaching again. This class has a reputation for being difficult, but I genuinely believe that it is very manageable. The workload is only heavy if you fall behind on study questions, which you don't even have to turn in. Professor Awad talks very quickly, but she bruincasts so when I missed anything, I would just write the time down and rewatch the lecture. Awad is very clear on what is going to be on the exam, ie one page will be entirely about Michaelis-Menton. She did have to rewrite the entire final, and it was kind of weird because it was all hypothetical LS-style, but looking back at the exams, they were not ambiguous in any way and they are very doable. The averages were in the 70s, with a standard deviation around 12/13 I believe. I wish she were teaching other biochemistry courses :(
Writing this review because I see that a lot of people left reviews right after the final exam and I think they are pretty unfair. Yes, the final exam was challenging but any final exam at UCLA is going to be challenging. I think what made the exam hard for a lot of people was that it was on Sunday of week 10. However, if you study in advance you can do well. A lot of the questions were very similar to the weekly study questions and the practice final exam questions. As for the rest of the class, I thought the exams were pretty fair and tested main concepts from the lectures. If you do the weekly study questions and her practice exam then you can do great. I agree with everyone else that the rubric on the midterms was nit picky however, you can still get most of the points correct AND you do not need to score very high on the exams to get an A in the class. Awad offers a lot of extra credit (15-20 points) and you need to get an 85.7% in the class to get an A. At the end of my class, she also even lowered the A range to an 82% and added 5 points to everyones grade to help out. Another study tip that helped me a lot was to listen to her bruincast and make sure you write down everything she says and study that. Overall, Awad is a really caring professor and wants her students to do well. I think she provides so many resources for students to do well and as long as you put in the effort and stay on top of the material, I think getting an A in the course is very doable. She is definitely the best professor for this course.
Dr. Awad is one of the best professors I will ever meet in my life. She truly has a gift for teaching and is engaging, clear, and compassionate. Her lectures are very well thought-out and it's clear she puts in a great amount of time for students to succeed. She always made herself available and seriously cares about her students. She is incredibly relatable and it is obvious that she really wants to see you succeed.
Lastly, I would recommend doing all the extra credit assignments. They are really easy and they boost your grade significantly
Scored average on both midterms and ended up with an A- in the class(also scored 97/100 for the quiz). I personally think that the final was not that hard overall despite the fact that I just skimmed through week 1-7 material a few hours before the final exam(just looked over the discussion worksheets). As a result, I scored 20% above the average on the final. I'm not a fast test taker so that may be the reason why I did better on the final than I did on the 50-minute midterms. Overall, this class was not that hard than expected, but expect to put in a lot of effort.
I think that Dr. Awad was AMAZING. If you take biochemistry, take it with her 100%. There is so much content and it can be daunting, but she is able to somehow fit everything in during her lectures and does so in a very clear, coherent, and structured way. This class was definitely very hard and challenging but it is also very doable if you put in a bunch of effort to go through all of the weekly packets and her slides. There are a bunch of tests from Awad and Tienson that can be found in many places so definitely take a look at previous tests to get some practice and a sense of what to expect. She gives a lot of extra credit. I got like around 91% on both midterms and like an 83% on the final and still got an A+ in the class because of the generous grading along with the extra credit as a combination. This class is hard but it is also very interesting as it ties together both bio and chem and makes sense of everything!!!
I felt like Dr.Awad was very fair and yes the tests are nit-picky but she offers a lot of extra credit throughout the quarter. She is a very nice person and if you go to office hours you can definitely see that. Main thing to do well in this class is to go over the bruin walk lectures and make sure you understand the study questions. Biochem is a hard subject and Awad makes it easier to understand with her organization. I would definitely take this class again with her.