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Pretty straightforward class. She advises students to read the textbooks, but overall the lecture slides are really straightforward and so are her tests (so you don't need to read any books, she won't be testing anything not in her slides). I got through the class just watching all her lectures on 2x and paying attention. She had iClickers during class for participation, but you can honestly just hop on the iClicker reef website and hit the answers while working on something else. She offered extra credit points if you answered/asked questions on the forum so that's a plus. Going into her first midterm, I was definitely a bit anxious since there were no previous tests for practice (I think she's new?). However, her tests are very straight to the point and very doable if you paid attention and took decent notes on everything she mentions (no curveballs!). The sections with Chris Caro were great too, he just provided us the answers to the problem sets and helped out if anyone had questions (really chill guy). If you want to do well, I'd say watch her lectures 2x, answer all the problem sets and compare your answers to Chris's key, and follow along her test guidelines through your notes. Yeah sometimes she may be a little strict in some regard, but it's to keep us on schedule. Highly recommend!
THIS REVIEW IS FOR CHEM 153A THIS REVIEW IS FOR CHEM 153A THIS REVIEW IS FOR CHEM 153A
Quite possibly one of the worst classes I took at UCLA. This class is further proof that the chemistry department at UCLA is where dreams and happiness go to die. Do you like review sheets that are barely a quarter-page long and are basically the titles of your PowerPoint slides? Do you like TA's that are either extremely unhelpful or sound like they hate this class as much as you do? Do you like a professor that gives you barely any guidance on what you need to know and makes you hate biochemistry more than you did initially? Well, Cuiwen He is the professor for you.
The five-star ratings for this professor are given by people who like to lick boots after getting an A and do not reflect how insufferable this class actually is. Probably the highlight of this class is the TA's secretly deducting a majority of the class's midterm scores by 10 points because they forgot to include hydrogens on the protein backbone, despite people being told they didn't have to. Mind you, this was AFTER the TA's messed up in deducting some people and not others. Do you like seeing your grade magically decrease because a TA was too incompetent to grade properly the first time and follow the rubric? Then this is the class for you.
Questions on tests are vague and confusing and sometimes rely solely on what comes out of the professor's mouth at a specific time point of a lecture, stutters and all. Questions on quizzes are extremely difficult and focus on details that the professor failed to explain thoroughly. Taking this class with open books and open notes was already difficult enough, so I could not imagine taking this in a normal setting without wanting to blow my brains out. Lectures make you want to fall asleep and the TA's, save for one, are extremely unhelpful, so I didn't even bother going to discussions.
The only benefit was that everything was open note and open Internet. The only way you can make this class bearable is by having a study group. I could not imagine taking this class alone in its entirety. This class was a gigantic mess and just goes to show why Chem/Biochem at UCLA is nothing but pain and suffering. Take with a different professor, and this goes without saying, but do not take this class if you do not have to.
Professor He is really nice, knowledgeable, and caring. She cares about each student and she is always willing to help. Her lecture was very clear and interesting. One of my favorite parts of her lecture was where she introduced scientists on each slide packet. It was interesting to learn about scientists that discovered what we were learning, as well as the dark side of female scientists that had to go through some misogynistic culture during the past.
Anyways, her midterms/final were very straightforward and fair. The questions were either pulled out from the problem sets or from some important points she emphasized during the lecture. Nothing tricky or difficult; it's literally the same questions that she asked. I didn't really use textbooks as I thought textbooks were not relevant to what she asks in the exams, so I just focused on her lecture slides. I personally found the quizzes to be more tricky, but since we were allowed to discuss with each other about quizzes, I was able to do well on those.
The TA Chris was very nice too! I really recommend that you take him next year if you have a chance. He was really caring and always willing to help.
I hope professor He continues teaching other biochemistry classes that I'll have to take in the future :)
Dr. He Cuiwen is such a knowledgeable professor in 153B material. Everything she goes over in lecture is fair game in exams and nothing is pulled out from thin air. With that being said, you still have to go over the lectures in depth because there are many ways a question can be asked but it's best to know the ins and out of a topic. I hope she continues teaching and if you have any further questions about 153B, just post 153B Cuiwen on reddit and I'll try my best to reach out and give my experience along with material that will help you succeed.