Based on 73 Users
Beren was very considerate considering whole coronavirus situation and the sudden switch to online learning. The notes that he put on CCLE were very organised and really helped with understanding his lectures, which were also very organised. His exams didn't throw out any curveballs; as long as you studied the material, did practice problems, and understood the concepts, I think you should be fine. For this quarter, all of the exams were take home and we had about 48 hours to complete them, which is definitely more lenient than during normal chem 20B classes, so that might be something to keep in mind but overall I really liked this class, which is saying something since I hated chem in high school :,)
Overall, if you're looking for a Chem 20B professor, look no further than Christian. This guy is an absolute hero, and I'd highly recommend taking him over any other professor if possible.
Lectures are not necessarily the best, as he spends some time going over derivations, while my TA told me to completely ignore the lecture on titration graphs, since those won't be tested on the exam. However, his lectures are Bruincasted, so make the most of that time as you will.
Discussion is EXTREMELY helpful, and I'd highly recommend attending. The LAs actually force you to do groupwork, and the worksheets help you practice and are quite good at getting you to become good at the concepts and skills that will be tested on.
The grading is 10-25-25-40 (your standard scheme), and it's quite good! If you are lucky with your TA, homework is graded entirely on completion (Christian reaffirms this also), so that's a free 10% of your grade already locked up. Watch out for the first problem set, which is usually disproportionately harder than the others, but that's a deliberate scheme by Christian to get people to come to office hours, where he's one of the best professors you will ever have. This guy is amazing during office hours, and will explain everything so clearly that some people walk out of there looking like they've just achieved Nirvana or something. The midterms are extremely easy (the average for the first was an 86%, while the second one had a much lower average of 71%, so watch out for that), but honestly, in terms of difficulty, as long as you study the topics they warn you to study, you should be able to score quite highly on both of them. The final is also very very straightforward, most people were leaving the lecture room after an hour and 30 minutes (we had 3 hours for the final exam), and this guy also curves the average of the class to a B+, so nothing to dislike here (also doesn't downcurve). Don't worry about being screwed by the curve, the curve is only helpful and will not negatively affect your grade in any way. Excellent dude.
Amazing Human Being
GO FOR IT ....DON'T FALL IN THE "BAUGH" PIT and just take beren ... He is the best you would get and man's an absolute genius . He will take you on lab trips and will host A LOT of Office hours . Regrade requests are always entertained .
First of all, I got a C in CHEM20A with Christian last quarter, so don't let my grade scare you away from the class... I just never understood a thing about chem and had no background in chem. I wasn't expecting a grade any better than a C, and It's honestly a miracle I passed (C- is passing right??). Anyways, Beren is definitely a great teacher, better than the other professors available. Also the best TA is Jesus, and even if he isn't the TA for your discussion, you can always find his discussion and just join them (I did that for both quarters). Hopefully you do better than me!
Beren is an amazing human but there are tricks and tips to ace this class. The material is quite easy to understand in this class but you need to know exactly what to do to ace this class ( I didn't know until after I had already dug myself too deep into a hole). Things to know: 1) Kudu is a waste of time and money. He tells you to get it at the begging of the quarter but you never use it and everything you need is on cycle. 2) His problem sets are impossible unless you go to office hours (they are also graded on completion so you dont have to know how to do them when they are due but you MUST KNOW THEM FOR THE EXAMS!!!!!! 3) His office hours are key! they aren't necessarily necessary but he goes over the entire problem set throughout them and clarifies his kind of confusing lectures 4) A good TA is a lifesaver (specifically Jesus the man is a GOD and will pretty much teach you everything you need to know in a quick rundown at the beginning of each discussion and in review) 5) His tests are pretty much copy and pastes of his problem sets and his review so for the love of God know how to do them. 6) Most importantly value this man! he tries so hard to help everyone and is an amazing professor who does get the love and credit he deserves. Coming from a student who almost failed I take 100% responsibility for my grade and it is not at all his fault because he really cares and wants you to succeed. I wish you luck and work harder than I did because it only gets harder from here and you could have ended up in Baugh who is awful! (not a bad person just not a great teacher)
Beren is probably one of the kindest professors I've had at UCLA. He has a really nice grading curve and says he made the median a B+ (which was a heavy boost since our second midterm had a D+ average). The exams actually weren't that bad, I think a lot of people just underestimated the class and didn't study that much for them. In general, he actually tries to make the homework harder than the exams, which is pretty nice. He had office hours 4 days a week and was pretty helpful in them. His lectures were pretty good as well. I think overall everyone loved him, I didn't really meet anyone that didn't like him.
I had a great experience with Christian in Chem 20B. Him, the TA's, and the LA's all worked together well to ensure everyone had a positive experience. He is relatively new to being a professor so he can make a few mistakes. However he has plenty of office hours, is very responsive through email, and is clearly very eager to do the absolute best he can.
I would definitely recommend 20B with him, as the class was not stressful, the homework was very reasonable, tests were fair, and he is working hard to improve your experience. He also is very open minded, and does a great job with showing you how 20B can be applied. If you do have him for the future, here's some tips:
-The first homework (diffusion, etc.) was very hard, but do not get discouraged. It is set up to be hard, and does not reflect the rest of the class. Also, this material is not ever tested.
-Personally, I did not find the textbook useful, just study off the notes and material he makes. He's not out to trick you.
-Go to discussions! Although they are not required, sometimes important things are brought up that aren't in lecture.
-Thermo is the biggest part of the course, really prioritize learning it.
-The class exams were significantly easier than 20L, so don't just study 20B stuff for that.
BEREN IS THE BEST. He really cares about his students. In lectures, he would repeat multiple times to make sure that everyone gets it. If you have questions, go to his office hours. He won't make you feel stupid for asking silly questions. He also makes sure that you are prepared for the exams. The tests can be tricky sometimes because otherwise, everyone in the class gets an A. I looked forward to attending every one of his lectures because they are just good. Overall, I really recommend Beren!