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He's pretty good overall! He's quite clear and knows+loves his stuff. He's also very likable: funny, answers all questions, and has a few demos! He's very conceptual, which I like. As for having chemistry background, my high school honors-not-AP chem background was enough for me grade-wise, but I still don't understand ~5% of the concepts, so maybe AP chem would've helped. Who knows?
Now for his tests. If past reviews about his scary test averages are true, then don't worry: averages have improved to ~50% raw, with ~20% as one SD if I remember correctly. I think they're designed to be 60% straightforward (i.e. algorithmic, doable without understanding, studying guarantees this, etc.) and 40% not-as-straightforward, but doable if you understand concepts. I think a physics background can help with the harder 40% bit. For example, one hard question was really just analyzing the situation, isolating a couple equations you need, and solving those equations, so it's quite similar to a physics problem. Not to mention that chem 20A covers physics material! In any case, the tests are doable. However, he did test us on an obscure concept that he probably spent 5 minutes total in lecture on, so pay attention in lecture. Studying-wise, I studied by doing all EOC OWL problems, asking chem-major friends for help, reviewing lecture notes, and using another chem professor's course reader for concepts if I needed to. The OWL problems and course reader really helped me. I never read the book but people who did said it helped, so you can try that. There's also lots of optional OWL problems that might help, though I never tried them.
The only complaint I have with his class is that the OWL homework didn't always correlate with lecture or the tests, so some OWL problems used obscure equations that never mattered to our grade but still caused panic.
Final tips: go to every lecture, do the OWL homework, and study for tests. If that's not enough, use his office hours, either in-person or online. He's very good at replying to online questions the night before a test, which was very helpful for me! If you like physics more than chemistry (like me), I think you will enjoy this professor.
I took Chem 20A with Schwartz Winter 2016. I have read all the reviews on Bruinwalk beforehand about this professor, so I will provide some clarity on his class and whether the previous reviews are accurate.
Yes, he teaches Chem 20A or Chem 20AH every four years. His exams are DOABLE, but intimidating at the same time.
Here was my experience:
First week of class, around 20% of the total people enrolled dropped the class. Majority of the people who dropped were mainly intimidated by the past BruinWalk reviews. After the first midterm, more people dropped the class.
Otherwise, Schwartz was an AMAZING lecturer; it must be due to the notion that he mainly teaches graduate students. The one quarter I spent with him made my tuition worth its full price. He has biweekly demos, cracks jokes frequently, and knows all his stuff. I highly recommend attending every one of his lectures. It is true in the past reviews that he is described as a nerd. Hence, if you enjoy learning chemistry or have some familiarity with all of the concepts in the class, then you will enjoy his class. Most people rant about his class on Bruinwalk because they must not had had a pleasant experience with him. If you are a STEM major who has to take a whole chemistry series, his class will be a good indicator of whether or not you enjoy chemistry.
A note of his lectures: people get lost frequently. You need a solid chemistry background in high school and attend every one of his lectures to at least pass the class. He assumes you know all the basic stuff and that you have some familiarity of the concepts he presents in class, which most (if not all) people do not have.
Outside of class, I barely spent time on the online homework assignments. I scored a 3 on the AP Chem exam, which I do not regret obtaining a 4 to pass out the class. I was very glad to have gone through the entire quarter with Schwartz. I usually plan 1-4 hours once a week to do the online homework assignments. However, that was because I already knew how to do most of the stuff in the class due to my two years of high school experience in chemistry. I only skimmed the textbook, and by opening the textbook, I probably only read 60 paragraphs total the entire quarter.
His exams were very similar to the online homework assignments and to his lectures.
Go to his office hours for clarity in his lectures. He understands that he made his class more difficult than necessary. He will tell you what will be on the exam and what will not. If Schwartz mentions something in the class, then it will be on the exam. Otherwise, 90% of the stuff you find in the textbook or in the online homework assignment will not be on the exam. He is not an intimidating guy, he always wants to help students who are willing to seek his help.
Suggestion: He incorporates a lot of physics in his class. I highly recommend taking this class with at least 1 year of both high school chemistry and physics, AND to be concurrently enrolled in a introductory physics class (e.g. physics 1A).
If you have no physical science background from high school or no chemistry experience, you will fail his class.
I had a great time with the professor this quarter. Yes, he is hard, and he gives tough exams that reflect the high level with which he expects you to know the curriculum. With that said though, I am an electrical engineer who will only ever have to take one chemistry class, and it was a great time. The class totally changed my attitude about chemistry into something more than a discussion about atoms interacting with each other. I would definitely recommend him to just about anyone.
When I read his reviews on Bruinwalk before I signed up for this class, I knew he was hard... but wow, I have no idea he was THIS hard! However, I am so glad I took this class. This class makes the tuition I pay worth it. As one of the reviewer said, it's one of those class where good grades are hard to come by, but you learn so much more than the grade indicated. His exams are extremely hard. During office hours, he admitted to the fact that he's not going to put something you have already seen on before. I believe that's the whole point. In real life situtations, everyone will be in a situation where he would have to apply what he learned to something he never seen before. A word of warning though, the wording on his exam makes his exams that much more difficult. I received a D (a 14/100 was a C-) on the first exam. However, I managed to pull even and received a B in the class by acing the 2nd midterm and performed very well on the final. It is not impossible at all if you work hard and stay on top of things. This was because I started going to office hours and seek help. Just because he teach graduates the majority of the time doesn't mean that he neglects undergraduates. He's quite helpful during OH. Oh yeah, if you want to find his old exams for 20A... forget about it. He teaches Chem 20A every 4 years or so (like I said above, he usually teaches graduate students). In conclusion, I highly recommend him, especially if you are a chemistry major or biochemistry major. However, if you are a premed (who unfortunately is force to take the 20 series for whatever reasons)... it will put a dent to your GPA.
I can't believe I was not told by my orientation counselor that chem 20A with this guy was gonna set me off on a bad start here at UCLA. His lectures were difficult to understand. His test were OUTRAGEOUSLY DIFFICULT. My advice....SO HARD....SO VERY VERY HARD....avoid him at ALL COSTS!
Even though the professor explained and introduced numerous concepts of chemistry in detail, his explanations were difficult to follow and his hand writing is horrid. Furthermore, his midterms and finals are very TRICKY! In addition to this, his lectures have nothing to do with the hw or tests and likewise, his tests do not really relate to the book or hw. Basically, take him if you already know chem 20A well and you are just a nerd and want to learn some more chem during your free time.
Professor Schwartz was a very good instructor. I liked his class already the first day because he sounded like he was there to help students (which he did). I'd hafta say chem 20a itselt is not an easy class, so i guess the low mean on our first midterm was not entirely his fault. 1st midterm was bad, but prof schwartz made the 2nd one dramaticaly better. I don't think his exams were impossible. It was just if you miss some parts, you'll get many points taken off. But i totally enjoyed his lectures. He prepared for class well, even though he did talk a little bit too fast, but you'll get used to it, and his handwriting was not perfect. He was very concerned about student's study and always had his office hours available to students. We also had review sessions before exams (compared to none for my math class...) Buttom line, if you take him, you'll learn a lot. However, you must work hard to get a grade that you want. What i've learned: Always do your HW problems even thought they aren't collected, and you'll be fine.
Professor Schwartz was a decent professor. He definitely knew the material, but I thought the pace was too fast. His mid-terms and his finals are very difficult, and his handwriting is hard to read. Professor Schwartz does care for his students, and he's very nice and easy to approach. He's not intimidating at all. Some of the demos he does in class are pretty cool. However, I don't know if that makes this class worth taking. Although I think Professor Schwartz is a decent professor, I don't recommdend him unless you can handle a fast-paced class.
Speaks very fast in class. While he does write notes in class, he has awful handwriting. Does not teach/explain material efficiently such that students comprehend basic chemistry. Class notes rarely prepare students for exams. Must read book, although the book hardly explains any better. Always available during office hours, but office hours are always packed with students so often hard to get in questions. Avoid.
Schwartz is a really great teacher--but a hard test giver. He explains things very thoroughly, but speaks very quickly. He is a challenging teacher, but you will learn a lot from him. The homework that he assigns is straightfoward, but his exams require a lot of "applying what you know" and he relates two topics from two totally different chapters and incorporates them into his exams. Overall if you're looking for a challenge and want to learn a lot, take his class.