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Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
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I took this class in Winter of 2016 and I can say that it has probably been the most enjoyable upperdivision class that I have taken at UCLA. Alex (prefers to go by first name) is funny, engaging, and incredibly smart with the lecture material. The only downside is the fact that his tests are difficult, and they can literally test on ANYTHING. His slides are vague as well, so if you don't go to class, thats on you. If you do better on the final, you can actually replace your midterm grade with it. I got about a 70% on the midterm and a 92% on the final, and so i had a 92% on both categories. My numbers may be a little off but he also does offer an EASY extra credit project which can boost your grade up by 5-10%!!! Take advantage of that and you should be fine. Just be prepared to ask questions, and write down EVERYTHING on the cheat sheet that he lets you take into the test.
My recommendation is to go to OH when you have questions, they help a lot. I would definitely recommend his class for Biochem majors who need an upper div elective.
Spokoyny is an AWESOME professor! He is very laid back, which makes him super approachable. He had office hours on Friday, but he invited students to stop by whenever and if he's available, he would welcome them.
He structures his class for the success of his students. It is really simple: if you do the work, you'll get a good grade. He offers extra credit, and a cheat sheet. No reason to fail! Take him!
Professor Spokoyny is a very good professor and really does his best to get the students to really understand the material.
The Wikiproject is not bad at all. It easy points. Just don't leave it to the last minute.
If you have time do the extra credit project! It totally helped save my grade.
As for the midterm and final do his practice exams, super helpful.
Spokoyny gives you slides ahead of lecture, but you have to attend lecture because the notes by themselves aren't that helpful. His wiki project is all or nothing points, so just make sure you do it on time and put in a decent amount of effort. He also offers extra credit (you have to make a video related to inorganic chemistry). He gives you a lot of options for it. I wouldn't wait until the end of the quarter because it actually takes some time. The more creative/fun, the more points you're likely to get.
The tests aren't too hard, as long as you have some chemistry intuition. He does make you remember some small details, but you have a cheat sheet so just write those facts down.
I would recommend this class.
Wow, so much to say about Professor Spokoyny. For one, I absolutely loved his class. Not only were his lectures engaging, but they were full of neat facts regarding inorganic chemistry that really changed my mind on the subject. Outside of class, he was very helpful and patient in explaining concepts in greater detail; he really cares about you learning and enjoying the material. If I could take another class with him I absolutely would.
Alex is just simply amazing! He's a very effective presenter, funny, an absolute genius and a nice person in general. He was very approachable and the OHs helped me grasp the material better. I think listening to lectures and studying the slides are the key to a good grade in this class. None of the questions in the midterm or final were "out of nowhere" type of question. I think 95% of questions were straight out of lecture slides and 5% were based on lectures but required higher level thinking. Also there is a ton of extra credit offered in this class which is nice. I felt like I came out of class with a vast knowledge of inorganic chemistry and a passion to continue learning about this subject, in spite of not being a huge fan of it prior to taking this class. I have recommended this class to many of my friends and I believe it was the single best class that I've taken at UCLA.
I loved taking Chem 171 with Spokoyny. Over winter break, he had us read a book to get us interested in the different elements we would be learning about in class. The book was very interesting and got me excited for the class. Spokoyny kept every lecture very engaging and was encouraging for providing help outside the designated class periods.
Spokoyny's course was structured differently than the other 171 course, but his course is way more engaging and I definitely learned a lot of material.
Alex Spokoyny is great. He really cares about his students and the subjects that he teaches. All of his lectures are well thought out and engaging. He usually adds a funny slide to each lecture. He is very nice and approachable. His tests are quite hard, but he adjusts the scores well (not exactly curving them). I would recommend him to anyone.
I really enjoyed this class, and as a chemistry major, I am now very much leaning towards the inorganic chemistry side because of this class. Alex is super cool, funny, and understanding. The material itself is very interesting and covers many, many real-world/relatable topics that I didn't even know had to do so closely with inorganic chemistry. With that said, most of it is introductory and general. It only gets specific and more problem-solve-y towards the end with NMR and orbitals stuff, which I really liked. Demos are informational fun (know why they happen). I went to his office hours almost every week and most of the time I would learn from other people's questions, and we also just talked about normal every day things. I definitely recommend office hours if you're not confident in the problem-solve-y stuff; he'll go over it with you real quick and easy. The Wikipedia group project was literally my first group project at UCLA and I believe was really helpful in that 1) you gotta get social with different types of people, 2) you have the freedom to venture into any topic that is inorganic chemistry-related, 3) read some real science/journal articles. Overall, I understand some people were a little frustrated with his style, but it was his first quarter and he was obviously trying what was best for us, and I thought it was a pretty neat way to do it. He also curved generously and gave extra credit. The extra credit thing was fun and you get placed and win little prizes (and extra credit). For studying, I recommend that you print out the PowerPoint and take notes directly on this since his lecture slides are mostly pictures. He tests directly from what he says about the slides. Most exam questions were short answer facts about general inorganic chemistry topics. Some bigger problems are the problem-solve-y ones. He doesn't try to trick you and it's all really fair. Mostly, just have fun in this class and if you find it genuinely interesting, then you'll do great.
He's a FANTASTIC professor. One of my memorable events while taking this class was the flexibility of his lecture. One time a student asked a very good question and Spokoyny asked the whole class if they are also interested in this question. Once he got a yes he changed his lecture on the spot! He addressed the student's question thoroughly in a clear and engaging manner. We resumed his planned lecture the following class. The point is he KNOWS his material VERY WELL...so well that he can adjust his lecture on the spot. No book is required for his class but I recommend buying it as reference especially in this day in age for any working chemist - for class sake you can save money since the book is not very necessary. Don't let the salty reviews fool you! You're only at UCLA once (maybe twice) so don't let some reviews written out of anger stop you from participating in classes taught by GREAT professors.