Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
There are a lot of reading each week, but you are supposed to skim them instead of reading them in depth. You also need to keep track of the assignment deadlines as there are several due each week.
Here is the class breakdown from when I took it:
Perusall Annotations (15%)
You need to write seven annotations on each reading on Perusall. You don't really need to think about writing them, but they each have to be spaced out through the reading and a certain length. These are due at every class meeting.
There are two of them. They are basically mini essays. Aim for about four or five pages. He wants you to write a persuasive argument about the text by analyzing its contradictions.
Commonplace Book (10%)
There are ten of these. You have to draw a picture for the readings of the week.
Peer Review (10%)
This is a short essay about someone else's paper. He gives a template for it and should be about one to two pages long.
Term Paper (45%)
This is worth almost the entirely of the grade. I got an A on almost every assignment throughout the quarter and received a B+ because of a low grade on the term paper. I recommend going to office hours to make sure your argument conforms to his standards. For secondary sources, make sure to bring down people that disagree with your claim in order for you strengthen your argument based on them. While length matters, it is not at all sufficient to get a good grade. Aim for about 13-15 pages.
I was shocked by my final grade in the class. I thought that I was doing well throughout the quarter, but my grade ended up plummeting due to term paper at the end.
Generally 4-point quizzes with two questions each throughout the quarter. I highly recommend doing the readings to be prepared for the quizzes because he will sometimes ask obscure details. However, he's very helpful by posting study guides for the readings that we will likely be quizzed on. If you want to do well on the quizzes, do all the study guides and you should be good. The quizzes also, sometimes, included questions from lecture. So definitely keep track of those. He's also very generous and drops your lowest quiz score.
Close Reading (10%)
He asked us to choose a quote or section from the text to analyze. It was a simple assignment and I think everyone got a 100 on it. It was only a 1-page paper.
Peer Review (10%)
When preparing your term paper, you will have it reviewed by one of your classmates. It was a simple one-page assignment.
Term Paper (50%)
According to the syllabus, a good paper is usually about 10-15 pages. I strongly recommend hitting that number of pages. Also, definitely talk to him during office hours for your paper. He was very kind and helped me outline my paper. My paper essentially contained three sections that each evaluated one of the author's arguments, a counterargument, and a summary that includes additional readings he recommends (but doesn't require for the class). He was super helpful during office hours and gave me an A for the paper.
I really enjoyed the class. It was very engaging and he constantly encouraged debate. I would pay attention during his classes because he often presents opposing arguments/interpretations about the readings that you could use as inspiration for your term paper. Unfortunately, he doesn't record his lectures, so I strongly recommend going to them to succeed on your term paper. Overall, great class, great professor, and would definitely take again.
Before taking his PS 114A class, I was a little nervous after seeing some negative reviews about him on BruinWalk, but he's actually an outstanding professor. I came away from this class with a lot of knowledge, and Professor Trojan really helped facilitate that. The workload can be pretty heavy depending on the week, so make sure you set aside some extra time for this class to get the work done. The final is a term paper, and he's great about helping students come up with topics and write great papers. Overall, this class is really rewarding, and I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn more about early American authors.
So this review is for 114B but I don't see an option to do that class. Regardless, I've talked to people who have taken 114A and it's literally the same class (same structure, grading scheme, etc.) with the only difference being the books you read.
tbh I was seriously considering dropping this class... I'm not a pol sci or humanities major, and I don't like reading so the reading was pretty overwhelming and people were telling me he grades the quizzes and essay hard. You have to read at least a full book every week, sometimes even two, which I was totally not used to. I'm so glad I stuck w/ it tho cuz it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and I needed this class for a GE requirement right before I was about to graduate.
So someone here already posted the grading breakdown. For starters, the close reading assignment is very easy. You literally just take a passage from any book and produce a 1-2 page analyzation. He essentially gave everyone full credit for this assignment.
Now the quizzes are a bulk of your grade, and I would fully recommend coming to class because he gives you at least half the answers in lecture. And this is important b/c sometimes the texts aren't obvious and require a certain interpretation, so it's nice for him to give you those interpretations in lecture. I went to practically every class, and while I merely skimmed thru all the books (except for the one I did my essay on), I still got a 100 on all the quizzes because of the lecture and study guides. All I would do is the day before class, I would use the study guides as a reference and skim thru chapters until I found a passage related to the study guide questions. Then I would memorize all of these. The quizzes are only two questions at most, but they're short essay style. After the first quiz or two, I kinda had a grasp of what types of questions he likes to ask. There wasn't a single question on the quizzes that wasn't on the study guide, so make sure you use it as a reference. Sometimes there are lots of questions on the study guide, but usually he picks the questions that cover the overarching topics of the book. And like I said, they're always gonna be short essay style so focus on the ones that cover big concepts rather than just small facts. If you do this you can easily get a good grade on the quizzes. Also, he drops one quiz so you get one freebee.
Now for the peer review, I felt like he graded it harder than the close reading. Everyone I talked to got full credit on the close reading, but I came across a good # of students who didn't get full credit on the peer review. Although it's only worth 10%, it's important that you maximize your points on everything up until the essay because the essay is worth half of your grade and he's known to be a relatively tough grader. So make sure you actually spend time on the peer review and analyze your peer's essay to a deep level.
Now the big boy- the essay. I spent a lot of time on this, and it showed cuz I got a pretty good grade on it. MAKE SURE you get your argument checked out by him before you work on it. He has OH after every class and he is very good with making sure he spends time w/ everybody. Once it gets to week 9, it's gonna get crammed w/ literally everybody there so you may wanna get it checked out before then. It's absolutely imperative that you get his okay on the argument b/c it's the biggest portion of your paper. And it may be sort of confusing on what he expects, I know I was confused and overwhelmed in the beginning, cuz basically he wants you to make sort of a controversial interpretation of the reading, and then spend 10-15 pages proving that interpretation. You wanna go to OH and get his verification cuz he'll give you tips, and if you know your argument is good, that's almost half the battle right there. Also he doesn't like emailing about specific questions about the essay b/c he reserves a lot of time in OH for that (which is understandable), so you wanna make sure you use OH to your advantage... don't expect to just be able to email him about it like you may have done for other classes
Overall, this was a good class and I learned a lot from it. I would take it w/ him if you're a pol sci major and this is a major requirement, but if you're someone like me who just needed a GE req it may be better for you to go w/ an easier class. This class was far from an easy A and required a lot of work, but Trojan is a great, helpful professor
Evil professor. Pure evil. He attempted sexual assault and made offensive comments to students among other things. He also came unprepared to teach and didn’t know what he was talking about. I doubt that he read the books that he assigned. Awful class! Worst professor at UCLA!
I honestly dont think I learned much in this class. readings are overwhelming and very fast paced. pop quizzes probably once a week that are 30% of your grade. and are honestly what hurt my grade. The questions are pretty detailed and pretty stingy with points. He's a passionate and nice guy but lectures are a waste of time and the only reason anyone goes is because of quizzes.
I dropped this class after the first two weeks, so my words are not the most reliable on his class. You have to be a theory (i.e. philosophy) person to enjoy this class, or to even want to be in the classroom. I am sure that for theory nuts this class is super interesting, but if you can't understand the material, then you better drop it before it's too late.
I feel a little bit too happy once I hit the drop button. I got all As in my other classes and I thank God I dropped it for my GPA. Professor Trojan is a good person, and his class is very interesting. If only the course material is not all "alien letters" then I would continue with this class. Be warned that this class is beyond your imagination of hardness.
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