Alan Garfinkel

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Easiness 3.7/ 5
Clarity 4.5/ 5
Workload 3.7/ 5
Helpfulness 4.5/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Spring 2024 - Notes: Much less coding now than previous quarters. Data analysis assignment is solo now. Class uses iClicker for lectures (2? are dropped). The Class: WHO NEEDS STATS 13! Genuinely my favorite class I've taken at UCLA. Thought the material and instructor were great. I did not know I liked statistics, but now I do! Felt like we learned truly cutting-edge methodology in comparison to traditional stats courses. Finishing the course has left me feeling very capable of being a strong asset in a research setting. Professor Garfinkel: Super great guy who's clearly very passionate about what he teaches. He mainly teaches at David Geffen School of Medicine, which I think is pretty cool (as I am one of the many UCLA premeds myself). Lectures were always engaging. He does not post slides beforehand because he wants you to pay attention to what he says during lecture, but he posts them right after class. Favorite STEM professor I've had; it was always very rewarding to talk with him and engage in class concepts, especially with "out-of-the-textbook" ideas. Homework: If you've taken LS30A/B, I would say this is a similar flavor of homework but to a significantly lesser extent. Roughly 50/50 split between conceptual and coding questions, the vast majority of which the labs/lectures prepare you well for. In my experience, LS 30A/B homework took me roughly 6-12 hours a week (I take a very long time and am not the norm). The homework in LS 40 took me roughly 4-8 hours a week. Labs: Graded based on completion. Usually a reasonable length to finish during our 2 hour lab (unlike LS 30A/B). I thought they did a pretty great job preparing you for the homework. Our labs had 1 TA and 2 LAs, which was a pretty healthy allocation of learning facilitators for our lab of ~32 students. Understanding Checks: Every week you get a quiz on Bruinlearn covering concepts from that week. You get two attempts with the highest score saved. Felt kind of similar to the prelabs from LS 30A. Doesn't take long, maybe 20-25 minutes if you're slow like me. Pretty reasonable content-wise. Exams: You're given a very healthy amount of prep resources with problem-solving worksheets, practice exams, and the core coursework. Both the midterm and final were very predictable, and I felt the homework/labs/understanding checks did a good job preparing. I did not read the textbook in this class except for assigned problems and certain conceptual holes I had (though the textbook is pretty good). The exams were based purely on material we learned in lecture and homework. Combination of very basic calculations, conceptual questions, and pseudocode. Felt very fair. Data Analysis Assignment: More so than anything else, this is the culmination of what the class teaches you. It's open book and you have many days to complete it over, but you're not allowed to collaborate. It's very similar to the homework data analysis questions that you get throughout the course, except you have the reins on the kinds of questions/analysis you address. As the name implies, it's basically a mock study where you do everything. I REALLY liked it. Conclusions: This is the class my bros, broettes, and non-bronaries. Highly recommend. GOATed. I don't want to leave.
Easiness 3.4/ 5
Clarity 4.4/ 5
Workload 3.6/ 5
Helpfulness 4.8/ 5
Most Helpful Review
I'm actually embarrassed to write a review for this man because no length of words of praise and adoration is enough to express just how brilliant, and phenomenal this man is. He is incredibly enthusiastic about his work, prioritizes student learning and engagement, and is absolutely the greatest professor that I have ever had the honor of learning under. There is no question about why his reviews and ratings on BruinWalk are so high: All of the comments made thus far by his students are TRUE, and I will not even bother rephrasing what most people have already stated (but I probably will). Yes, professor Garfinkel is unavailable most of the time, but NO worries. He has chosen excellent teaching assistants to help you ANYTIME that you need help! Seriously, up to this point, I had been thinking of transferring to a private college because most of the teaching assistants that I have had so far were HORRIBLE (chemistry 14A, LS2, physics 6A, DESMA10) and the class sizes were HUGE (like, I literally had to sit on the stairs for Lavelle and LS2). Something is different about this class though. I don't know if this class has amazing teaching assistants because the class is relatively new, or if the professor is so charismatic that the teaching assistants themselves find themselves in a position where they want to give it their 110% to impress him, but in either case, they were AWESOME. His lecture wasn't HUGE either. It was just the right size, to allow for small class time discussions when people asked questions. Yes, his lectures are fantastic. I never got bored listening to his lectures, and to be quite honest, his late lectures were a huge concern for me in the beginning. His amazing lectures have made me disregard the bad timing of the lectures, and made me WANT to go to classes every day. There was once a poll going around in my freshman year, that stated that "if you were to have one last lecture, who would it be from?", and it's a shame that I didn't have professor Garfinkel sooner because I would have definitely chosen him. As for grading, don't worry too much. He even told us the first day that he doesn't believe in the bell curve and a percentage scale, and that if you demonstrate understanding of the material, you will get the grade that you deserve. l was worried a LOT before taking this class, because l hadn't taken AP Calculus BC since my sophomore year, and I didn't do any math review since then. Oh man, professor Garfinkel goes through EVERYTHING, as if we're learning math from the ground-up. Now, this doesn't mean that he goes easy on us. It means that he brings up different facets of the same subject that reinforces your previous knowledge. I know of no math professors that do this (which is awesome). He also has fantastic REVIEW sessions for the midterm and final, where he covers EVERYTHING that you need to know. How awesome, right? As for the charisma and brilliance of professor Garfinkel, I'll leave that up to you to witness.
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