Debra B Pires
Department of Life Sciences
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2.4
Overall Rating
Based on 20 Users
Easiness 1.4 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 2.0 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 1.6 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 2.8 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

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GRADE DISTRIBUTIONS

18.6%
15.5%
12.4%
9.3%
6.2%
3.1%
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Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

19.3%
16.1%
12.9%
9.6%
6.4%
3.2%
0.0%
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A
A-
B+
B
B-
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C-
D+
D
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Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

16.9%
14.0%
11.2%
8.4%
5.6%
2.8%
0.0%
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A
A-
B+
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B-
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C-
D+
D
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F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

23.0%
19.1%
15.3%
11.5%
7.7%
3.8%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

20.8%
17.3%
13.9%
10.4%
6.9%
3.5%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews (15)

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
April 2, 2015

Ilove Deb Pires!

Her tests are tricky but fair. In order to do well, you just need to review all the material in depth. Don't worry about material from the textbook for the exams. You'll only be asked about book material for those quizzes. In order to beast the exams, just focus on the lecture slides.

In order to get a solid A you should
-Makes sure to get 100 on all the online quizzes
-go to office hours! She's super helpful
-Do all the practice tests she gives you and ask around for the correct answer
-Study! In detail from lecture slides.

TAKE DEB for LS3!!!!!!
-

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 11, 2014

Grading:

Midterm 150
Mini-midterms 80 (2x40)
Final Exam 200
Discussion 50
LaunchPad 150
Participation 76
----------------------------------
Total Points 706

She grades on straight-scale, or at least she said so.
Dr. Pires really cares about her students. However, the problem is: she lectures too fast and sometimes glances over stuff.
She is not that bad, but you really have to put in a lot of effort.
Launchpad (homework assignment) is a pain to finish each week. They don't take a lot of time, but it's scary to think that she grades on straight scale, so you basically have to be careful with each assignment, and that's stressful.
Mini-midterms are really fair, but the actual midterm is kind of hard. You really have to know your stuff in order to do well on that midterm.
Participation by clickers, and there are quizzes in discussion. The quizzes should not be that bad.
She is really good at explaining why things are cool, but the way that she lectures is just very boring.
Overall: doable class. She is not that bad, but again, be prepared to put a lot of effort into it. Losing 1 point does not seem a lot, but they add up, and you are warned that the class might not work on a scale.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 19, 2012

Things that "I" did not like (personal thoughts)
1) Clickers. Simply annoying especially when you use cell phone. Also, you have to pay for it.
2) Professor thinks that her class is the only class students are taking in the quarter.
3) Professor wastes a lot of time talking about who knows what. For example, she would spend first 15~20 minutes of the class talking about how to study... stuff that you would know if you are in college.
4) After midterm 2, we had thanksgiving break. She did not tell us that she will not post grades until after the break and maybe she thought that is nice for people to not know grades before the break. I logged on to myucla every day during the break to see if my grade was up. I would much rather know my grade asap.
5) it's been almost two weeks since I took the final at this moment, the final grades are still not up. I have been logging on to myucla everyday since the final to see if the grade is up because my future plans depend on this class' grade.

Things that I liked.
1) Tests were all multiple choices so I didnt have to worry about memorizing the entire steps of whatever.
2) I loved my TA. She was so nice. I hope she taught the class.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 12, 2012

I never take the time to evaluate professors so lets just say Deb is worth the time. She was BY FAR the best LS professor I have had at UCLA. I've heard numerous complaints about how Deb has an "attitude" but I regularly attended office hours and found her extremely helpful and motivating. She loves teaching (a rare trait among UCLA professors) and enjoys her research. If you are genuinely interested in the material and want to learn she's on board with helping you understand. Don't be afraid of her! She has a unique character thats for sure, but she loves to help and cares about her students :)

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Quarter: N/A
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Feb. 20, 2012

Pires is eh. I hated that she had clickers so you had to attend lecture, but I really didn't find the class to be all that difficult. If you are good with memorizing then this class shouldn't be too difficult. The quizzes given in discussion do absolutely suck and are fairly difficult, but I didn't find her midterm and final to be all that hard. Honestly, if you have a photographic memory of any kind or have a knack for recognizing the correct answer on a multiple choice test than you can likely pull an A. Plus, she really does care a lot about her students which is nice. Overall, the class really didn't take much time out of my life. I just did the readings and crammed the night before tests and managed to breeze through the class with an A.

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Dec. 21, 2011

So you’re considering taking Pires are you? You might have heard a few things about her by now. You might be second-guessing the advice of your friend just because they usually don’t do well in classes anyway…she can’t be that bad can she?

The answer: yes, it CAN be that bad.

What makes me an authority? Nothing, but you should know that I am a straight A student and I did pull off an A in Pires class, and I’m not trying to brag here, you letting you put my review into context.

I took Pires for LS 3 for Fall 2011, I didn’t have a choice because the other professor’s class didn’t fit into my schedule. I read some of the reviews on Bruinwalk and I didn’t think that it would be that bad anyway. She sounded like she would be an okay professor.

Before class started, I was discussing Pires with my two roommates who both had Pires for LS 1. When I told them that I was taking Pires for LS 3, they told me, multiple times that I was going to end up hating my life, and that I should rearrange my schedule and try and get into the other class.

I didn’t listen. After all, how could it be that bad?

I’m not saying that Pires isn’t a good person on the inside or any of that crap. She seems nice enough and I liked that she always wished her students a good weekend at the end of Thursday class. And she’s even a good lecturer, she’s pretty interesting, that is, if you can manage to stay awake during her 8 am class (which is hard, and you NEVER get used to waking up that early).

But her teaching style sucks. Let me sum it up for you,

I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it.

She makes it so that you are ALWAYS being tested, which is pretty fricking stressful if you ask me. This is supposed to help you memorize the material in bits and pieces and prevent you from having to cram as much. It sounds nice in theory, but it doesn’t work.

This little quizzes and tests throughout the quarter are NOT easy, and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking they are.

You’ll have a reading quiz every week from Week 2 to Week 10. It sounds fine at first when she explains it in class, since she emphasizes that it is open book and that she only expects you to skim over the reading. But, it is way worse then you will expect, and don’t let the fact that it is only 10 points every week lull you into feeling that it is okay to do badly on these, it will all add up at the end. For these quizzes, you’re going to HAVE to read the book (which sucks by the way and good luck with that) which honestly takes hours to read depending on the section. It likes to use abbreviations a lot and it gets confusing and sounds nothing like English. So, if you decide to take Pires for LS 3, good luck with that. I remember once I took a reading quiz that had nothing at all to do with the section I had just read. Boy, that was fun.

You also have a quiz in discussion every other week. This quizzes can be fricking hard. You HAVE to study for them if you expect to do well. Basically, they are like mini-midterms, you have to be prepared for anything that was in the slides from the past week. Sure it sounds easy because it’s only two (occasionally more) lectures, but these SUCK. And they’re not multiple choice like her midterms, they’re short answer, problem solving questions.

And then you have lab quizzes. These are fine. Just read the lab manual. But I have to say that I HATED every single LS 3 lab. I thought they were really boring and I hated even having to go to lab every week. (But this isn’t a fault a Pires, just a fault of the curriculum itself.) Honestly, they’re not really well explained by either Pires or the TAs

Also, haha I forgot to mention that she takes attendance with clickers during every lecture. That is fricking sucky. I also HATE HATE HATE that she takes attendance with clickers but still refuses to bruincast her lectures. All you’re going to get is the audio, which is really fricking annoying when you’re trying to rewatch a lecture because you can never be sure which slide she is on.

And then there are her midterms. Don’t let the fact that they are multiple choice fool you, because they fricking SUCK. She expects you to know waaayy too much information, and if you study for your midterms the night before the test like I did, good freaking luck. And now you might be judging me and thinking, well if only this person studied ahead of time and didn’t try to cram for the midterms then they would hate her class less. And hahaha, if you think that, go ahead and takes Pires class and dismiss my warnings. I don’t really care if you suffer.

Her final is mostly on the material after the second midterm, and for her LS 3 class Fall 2011, mostly on material she didn’t cover (because she wasn’t teaching the class due to her pregnancy) and she didn’t tell the sub to cover. And she STILL tested on it. Honestly, that final was hell. And I am glad that I never have to take it again.

The bottom line is that Pires, while she has good intentions, has the worst teaching style that I have ever had to experience at UCLA, and I’ve taken a lot of sucky classes with a lot of sucky professors. She expects too much from her students, especially a class that is an INTRODUCTION to something. She doesn’t understand that her students don’t have all the time in the world to spend on her class, and that they have other classes to worry about in addition to hers.

Honestly her class stressed me out the whole quarter, and I can’t even tell you how many allnighters I had to pull because of her class.

Her class is doable on an easy schedule, but I would only recommend doing it then.

Understand that if you take Pires, that you are signing yourself up for suffering.

I would not recommend Pires to anyone.

Even if you don’t have a choice and you HAVE to take her and you’re just reading this review to find out what she is like then I would say wait a quarter and take someone else. It’s really not worth it.

You have been warned.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Nov. 25, 2011

Pires is one of the most dedicated lecturers. Despite being pregnant with twins, she nevertheless came to give lectures for 6 weeks before having to be hospitalized. Though her exams can require rigorous study, she is highly helpful if you ask. The best studying method I found was studying her lectures then going to the book to read parts that the lecture covers while ignoring parts the lec doesn't cover.

Some info from the syllabus:

Labs: There are five labs for this course during weeks 2,4,6,8 and 10. Each lab is three hours long. These labs are designed to give you practical experience in molecular biology techniques, and reinforce material you are learning in lecture. You are able to drop your lowest lab score, with the exception of lab 3 (everyone must attend and complete that lab). If you have to miss a lab for any reason, then that is the score that will be dropped. There will be 20 points pertaining to lab material on the final exam.

Discussion sections: In weeks where there are no labs you will attend discussion section. You can find the appropriate discussion room on the LS Core Labs website http://lslab.lscore.ucla.edu/. There are five discussion sections during weeks 1,3,5,7 and 9. These discussion sections are approximately 1 ½ - two hours in duration and attendance is mandatory. Discussion sections are run by your TA’s and are your opportunity to ask questions about material that may seem unclear, or to go over problems that have been assigned to help you study for the exams. You must attend the discussion schedule in which you are enrolled. If you need to switch a section you must confirm it with your TA and the TA for the section you will be attending that week. You may not simply show up to another section or lab without arranging everything ahead of time. There will be short quizzes and group exercises given during discussion sections. Each discussion section is worth 20 points towards your final grade.

Reading Quizzes: There will be a quiz administered on the CCLE course website beginning in Week 2 and ending in Week 10. There will be no reading quizzes on the weeks with midterms. These quizzes are based on the current week’s reading. In order to prepare for Week 2 reading quiz read the assigned material in the schedule for Week 2. They are only available for a limited time (11 AM Sundays until 1 PM Mondays), you must login and take the quiz before the quiz times out. Reading quizzes are open book, and they are designed to help you look over the material and be prepared for what we will be covering in class. Under no circumstances are the quizzes meant to be done together with other students.

Exams and Review Sessions: You have two midterms for the course. Both midterms are held in the evenings, so please plan accordingly. The midterms for this class are on October 18th and November 15th. You must take the exams on the scheduled date as there are no make-up exams. Failure to appear, hand in, or take an exam will result in a zero for that exam. There are no exceptions to this policy. There are weekly review sessions Thursday mornings from 7-8. These are question and answer sessions only. You are responsible for bringing questions, and I will provide answers.

Enrollment: All questions related to enrollment should be taken to the LS Core office in the Life Sciences building room 2305. You can also e-mail them at the following e-mail address: LSCore@lifesci.ucla.edu. If you would like to switch sections, there is a sign-up board just to the left of the door to the Core Office where you can try to find students that are also looking to switch sections. If you find a student to switch with, then both of you must go to the Core Office together and they will change your official section enrollments.

Exams and Grading: Material for the exams will be taken from lectures, the text, additional posted readings, problems that have been posted on the course website, problems handed out in lecture and material from your discussion section. There will be a mix of multiple choice and true/false questions on the exams. The exams will cover all material up to the Thursday before the exam. For example, the first midterm will cover material from weeks 1-3. All grades will be posted into MyUCLA. You will have a chance to review your exam during the discussion section following the exam, you will not be able to keep your midterms or finals.

Midterm 1: October 18th, 5 – 6:50 PM
Midterm 2: November 15th, 5 – 6:50 PM
Final Exam: December 9th 11:30 – 2:30 AM

NOTE EXAMS CHANGE TIMES AND THESE ARE RELATIVE DATES FOR FALL QUARTER LS3

Regrading policy: Any request for a regrade must be made within one week of the assignment being returned to you. If you think there has been a simple addition error on the assignment then write a note explaining which page was added incorrectly, attach this to the front of the assignment and let your TA know when you return the assignment during discussion or lab.

Turning Point Clickers: Students are required to bring Turning Point clickers to class beginning 10/04. Students use clickers to respond to questions posed during lecture. Each lecture is worth 4 points. You must register your clicker online to be included in the course roster and to receive participation points. You will receive two “free days” of points – this means that you can miss two lectures and not be penalized points. You must answer all of the questions each day to receive full participation credit for that day. You may not share a clicker with someone else in this lecture. Answering questions for another student not in attendance constitutes cheating and both students involved will be referred to the Dean of Students for academic dishonesty. You should check your participation daily to make sure that you are receiving points. If you have noticed a problem (i.e. your points aren’t showing up and you know you attended class) then you must notify me by the end of Week 3. Many times the issue will be that you did not register your clicker correctly. I am not responsible for any issues with your participation grade if you fail to inform me of any problems during the quarter and choose to wait until the end of the quarter to bring up any issues. If you lose your clicker and purchase another clicker you must notify me in person so that I may change your clicker ID on the roster.

Point Breakdown:

Midterm 1 120
Midterm 2 120
Final Exam 190
Lab 80
Discussion 100
Reading Quizzes 70
Participation 72

Total Points 752

If the class mean is 75% or higher, letter grades will be based on a straight percentage of the total points in the class, see the breakdown below. Within each letter grade, a minus (-) will be assigned to the bottom three percentage points and a plus (+) will be assigned to the top three percentage points (e.g. 80-82.9% is a B-, 87-89.9% is a B+). If the class mean is lower than 75% the scale will be adjusted to compensate (e.g. 89% may become an A-). Under no circumstances will grades be curved down. You can use the straight grading scale as an indicator of your minimum grade in the course. I am not responsible for tracking your progress in the course, you should keep track of your own points so that at any time during the quarter you know your standing. If for any reason you have concerns about your grade, then that is a great time to come and see me so we can discuss study techniques or alternative strategies to help you along in this course.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
June 29, 2011

Took LS3 with Pires Spring 2011, intitially thought she was a total bitch but by the end of the quarter when I finally figured out her teaching style I really think now she is one of the best professors to take for lower division LS classes. All MC exams (with 2x midterms worth only 16% each on the overall grade, easy discussion points, online quizzes which have a couple of tricky questions but are not too hard, although I will admit the turning point clicker attendance crap was kind of annoying (but she gives 2 free days).

Now, on to her teaching style: she seems to be one of those younger, "newer" professors. Basically she just uses her lectures to introduce key concepts to focus on (hint: on the exam). Sure, her lecturing style is a big random and she jumps from point to point but I really found the last couple of lectures (especially that antifreeze protein fish stuff) to be really cool.

Also, the 'assigned readings', outside of using them for the online quizzes, are nearly useless. The readings cover way too much information but do have some good stuff in them, I would recommend skimming them and focus on the topics brought up in lecture. I do remember she recommended consulting wikipedia on a specific topic in lecture one time, but I didn't catch on to that tip until finals week. Really, although wikipedia does have some erroneous information, for the major bio topics it's actually pretty useful.

My best tip I would give to people in the future that take Pres would be to attend lectures and search those topics brought up in lecture (or the lecture slides she frequently & conveniently updates) on wikipedia and study off of that.

Also, the study guides she gives before each exam also are good to study off of pre-exam. Attending her office hours to check what you got wrong on your midterm is kind of a bitch, but I honestly found it to be really helpful for the final.

anyways gl hf 15 mins no rush BIG UP PIRES!!!!

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Quarter: N/A
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March 27, 2010

She is an awful lecturer. Her lectures are unorganized and she jumps from topic to topic, inserting side stories, so you don't know what's important and what's not. Her slides are hard to understand because she repeats the same figures several times in slightly different contexts and only puts a few words of description. Write down everything she says in class, even if you don't think its important, sort through it later when you are studying. Her tests are difficult because the questions are often unclear and she wants answers that she didn't specifically ask for. Tests require you to try to figure out what she was trying to get at more than knowledge of the material. The only way I learned in this class was looking up on Wikipedia all the important words from the slides. Studying for her tests was so painful because you can't tell what goes under which topic on her slides. It's not impossible to get a good grade, but you have to study the slides and do all the study guides she gives. The one thing that really helped was there are more possible points on the exam than it is graded out of.

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March 26, 2010

One of my favorite professors at UCLA. Extremely knowledgeable and concerned about student learning.
I would def recommend her for LS3 (I don't think you should take her for LS1, considering how the subject is just not that useful for life science majors and she stresses too much minor details).

Pires is different from other profs because she stresses critical thinking instead of pure memorization. She expects you to understand the details, but what she really wants is for you to be able to take what you've learned and actually apply it in a lab setting. I think this class is very helpful for students who are research assistants in labs, it really teaches you to think critically.

Her tests are hard, but extremely fair. Pretty much all of the problems on the midterms/final (MC and short answers) have shown up in one way or another on her practice questions/handouts/study guides. It's really important that you do these seriously, and compare answers with a friend. She also holds review sessions once a week before class starts. And she is always available for OH, pretty much. For us she held office hours on the Sunday before finals week in her office when she was sick. That's how dedicated she is. Go to her with questions and she will answer them all for you. Most of the time she will even answer study guide questions, which is extremely helpful.

Her grading is more than fair, if you put in the effort. Participation (she uses clickers) and lab grades are pretty much half of your grade. And she puts in extra points on all the midterms. She doesn't curve usually unless it's absolutely necessary. TAs vary greatly. Mine felt sorry for us and pretty much gave full points on labs.

In terms of studying the book isn't helpful at all. She gets her materials from another book anyway. Her lecture slides and study guides are the most helpful. I would recommend listening to the podcasts again since she talks extremely fast.

Again, this class was hard work, but I enjoyed it a lot. If you are a serious life sciences student and is truly interested in molecular biology, definitely take Prof Pires :)

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
April 2, 2015

Ilove Deb Pires!

Her tests are tricky but fair. In order to do well, you just need to review all the material in depth. Don't worry about material from the textbook for the exams. You'll only be asked about book material for those quizzes. In order to beast the exams, just focus on the lecture slides.

In order to get a solid A you should
-Makes sure to get 100 on all the online quizzes
-go to office hours! She's super helpful
-Do all the practice tests she gives you and ask around for the correct answer
-Study! In detail from lecture slides.

TAKE DEB for LS3!!!!!!
-

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 11, 2014

Grading:

Midterm 150
Mini-midterms 80 (2x40)
Final Exam 200
Discussion 50
LaunchPad 150
Participation 76
----------------------------------
Total Points 706

She grades on straight-scale, or at least she said so.
Dr. Pires really cares about her students. However, the problem is: she lectures too fast and sometimes glances over stuff.
She is not that bad, but you really have to put in a lot of effort.
Launchpad (homework assignment) is a pain to finish each week. They don't take a lot of time, but it's scary to think that she grades on straight scale, so you basically have to be careful with each assignment, and that's stressful.
Mini-midterms are really fair, but the actual midterm is kind of hard. You really have to know your stuff in order to do well on that midterm.
Participation by clickers, and there are quizzes in discussion. The quizzes should not be that bad.
She is really good at explaining why things are cool, but the way that she lectures is just very boring.
Overall: doable class. She is not that bad, but again, be prepared to put a lot of effort into it. Losing 1 point does not seem a lot, but they add up, and you are warned that the class might not work on a scale.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 19, 2012

Things that "I" did not like (personal thoughts)
1) Clickers. Simply annoying especially when you use cell phone. Also, you have to pay for it.
2) Professor thinks that her class is the only class students are taking in the quarter.
3) Professor wastes a lot of time talking about who knows what. For example, she would spend first 15~20 minutes of the class talking about how to study... stuff that you would know if you are in college.
4) After midterm 2, we had thanksgiving break. She did not tell us that she will not post grades until after the break and maybe she thought that is nice for people to not know grades before the break. I logged on to myucla every day during the break to see if my grade was up. I would much rather know my grade asap.
5) it's been almost two weeks since I took the final at this moment, the final grades are still not up. I have been logging on to myucla everyday since the final to see if the grade is up because my future plans depend on this class' grade.

Things that I liked.
1) Tests were all multiple choices so I didnt have to worry about memorizing the entire steps of whatever.
2) I loved my TA. She was so nice. I hope she taught the class.

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Quarter: N/A
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Dec. 12, 2012

I never take the time to evaluate professors so lets just say Deb is worth the time. She was BY FAR the best LS professor I have had at UCLA. I've heard numerous complaints about how Deb has an "attitude" but I regularly attended office hours and found her extremely helpful and motivating. She loves teaching (a rare trait among UCLA professors) and enjoys her research. If you are genuinely interested in the material and want to learn she's on board with helping you understand. Don't be afraid of her! She has a unique character thats for sure, but she loves to help and cares about her students :)

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Feb. 20, 2012

Pires is eh. I hated that she had clickers so you had to attend lecture, but I really didn't find the class to be all that difficult. If you are good with memorizing then this class shouldn't be too difficult. The quizzes given in discussion do absolutely suck and are fairly difficult, but I didn't find her midterm and final to be all that hard. Honestly, if you have a photographic memory of any kind or have a knack for recognizing the correct answer on a multiple choice test than you can likely pull an A. Plus, she really does care a lot about her students which is nice. Overall, the class really didn't take much time out of my life. I just did the readings and crammed the night before tests and managed to breeze through the class with an A.

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Dec. 21, 2011

So you’re considering taking Pires are you? You might have heard a few things about her by now. You might be second-guessing the advice of your friend just because they usually don’t do well in classes anyway…she can’t be that bad can she?

The answer: yes, it CAN be that bad.

What makes me an authority? Nothing, but you should know that I am a straight A student and I did pull off an A in Pires class, and I’m not trying to brag here, you letting you put my review into context.

I took Pires for LS 3 for Fall 2011, I didn’t have a choice because the other professor’s class didn’t fit into my schedule. I read some of the reviews on Bruinwalk and I didn’t think that it would be that bad anyway. She sounded like she would be an okay professor.

Before class started, I was discussing Pires with my two roommates who both had Pires for LS 1. When I told them that I was taking Pires for LS 3, they told me, multiple times that I was going to end up hating my life, and that I should rearrange my schedule and try and get into the other class.

I didn’t listen. After all, how could it be that bad?

I’m not saying that Pires isn’t a good person on the inside or any of that crap. She seems nice enough and I liked that she always wished her students a good weekend at the end of Thursday class. And she’s even a good lecturer, she’s pretty interesting, that is, if you can manage to stay awake during her 8 am class (which is hard, and you NEVER get used to waking up that early).

But her teaching style sucks. Let me sum it up for you,

I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. I hated it.

She makes it so that you are ALWAYS being tested, which is pretty fricking stressful if you ask me. This is supposed to help you memorize the material in bits and pieces and prevent you from having to cram as much. It sounds nice in theory, but it doesn’t work.

This little quizzes and tests throughout the quarter are NOT easy, and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking they are.

You’ll have a reading quiz every week from Week 2 to Week 10. It sounds fine at first when she explains it in class, since she emphasizes that it is open book and that she only expects you to skim over the reading. But, it is way worse then you will expect, and don’t let the fact that it is only 10 points every week lull you into feeling that it is okay to do badly on these, it will all add up at the end. For these quizzes, you’re going to HAVE to read the book (which sucks by the way and good luck with that) which honestly takes hours to read depending on the section. It likes to use abbreviations a lot and it gets confusing and sounds nothing like English. So, if you decide to take Pires for LS 3, good luck with that. I remember once I took a reading quiz that had nothing at all to do with the section I had just read. Boy, that was fun.

You also have a quiz in discussion every other week. This quizzes can be fricking hard. You HAVE to study for them if you expect to do well. Basically, they are like mini-midterms, you have to be prepared for anything that was in the slides from the past week. Sure it sounds easy because it’s only two (occasionally more) lectures, but these SUCK. And they’re not multiple choice like her midterms, they’re short answer, problem solving questions.

And then you have lab quizzes. These are fine. Just read the lab manual. But I have to say that I HATED every single LS 3 lab. I thought they were really boring and I hated even having to go to lab every week. (But this isn’t a fault a Pires, just a fault of the curriculum itself.) Honestly, they’re not really well explained by either Pires or the TAs

Also, haha I forgot to mention that she takes attendance with clickers during every lecture. That is fricking sucky. I also HATE HATE HATE that she takes attendance with clickers but still refuses to bruincast her lectures. All you’re going to get is the audio, which is really fricking annoying when you’re trying to rewatch a lecture because you can never be sure which slide she is on.

And then there are her midterms. Don’t let the fact that they are multiple choice fool you, because they fricking SUCK. She expects you to know waaayy too much information, and if you study for your midterms the night before the test like I did, good freaking luck. And now you might be judging me and thinking, well if only this person studied ahead of time and didn’t try to cram for the midterms then they would hate her class less. And hahaha, if you think that, go ahead and takes Pires class and dismiss my warnings. I don’t really care if you suffer.

Her final is mostly on the material after the second midterm, and for her LS 3 class Fall 2011, mostly on material she didn’t cover (because she wasn’t teaching the class due to her pregnancy) and she didn’t tell the sub to cover. And she STILL tested on it. Honestly, that final was hell. And I am glad that I never have to take it again.

The bottom line is that Pires, while she has good intentions, has the worst teaching style that I have ever had to experience at UCLA, and I’ve taken a lot of sucky classes with a lot of sucky professors. She expects too much from her students, especially a class that is an INTRODUCTION to something. She doesn’t understand that her students don’t have all the time in the world to spend on her class, and that they have other classes to worry about in addition to hers.

Honestly her class stressed me out the whole quarter, and I can’t even tell you how many allnighters I had to pull because of her class.

Her class is doable on an easy schedule, but I would only recommend doing it then.

Understand that if you take Pires, that you are signing yourself up for suffering.

I would not recommend Pires to anyone.

Even if you don’t have a choice and you HAVE to take her and you’re just reading this review to find out what she is like then I would say wait a quarter and take someone else. It’s really not worth it.

You have been warned.

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Nov. 25, 2011

Pires is one of the most dedicated lecturers. Despite being pregnant with twins, she nevertheless came to give lectures for 6 weeks before having to be hospitalized. Though her exams can require rigorous study, she is highly helpful if you ask. The best studying method I found was studying her lectures then going to the book to read parts that the lecture covers while ignoring parts the lec doesn't cover.

Some info from the syllabus:

Labs: There are five labs for this course during weeks 2,4,6,8 and 10. Each lab is three hours long. These labs are designed to give you practical experience in molecular biology techniques, and reinforce material you are learning in lecture. You are able to drop your lowest lab score, with the exception of lab 3 (everyone must attend and complete that lab). If you have to miss a lab for any reason, then that is the score that will be dropped. There will be 20 points pertaining to lab material on the final exam.

Discussion sections: In weeks where there are no labs you will attend discussion section. You can find the appropriate discussion room on the LS Core Labs website http://lslab.lscore.ucla.edu/. There are five discussion sections during weeks 1,3,5,7 and 9. These discussion sections are approximately 1 ½ - two hours in duration and attendance is mandatory. Discussion sections are run by your TA’s and are your opportunity to ask questions about material that may seem unclear, or to go over problems that have been assigned to help you study for the exams. You must attend the discussion schedule in which you are enrolled. If you need to switch a section you must confirm it with your TA and the TA for the section you will be attending that week. You may not simply show up to another section or lab without arranging everything ahead of time. There will be short quizzes and group exercises given during discussion sections. Each discussion section is worth 20 points towards your final grade.

Reading Quizzes: There will be a quiz administered on the CCLE course website beginning in Week 2 and ending in Week 10. There will be no reading quizzes on the weeks with midterms. These quizzes are based on the current week’s reading. In order to prepare for Week 2 reading quiz read the assigned material in the schedule for Week 2. They are only available for a limited time (11 AM Sundays until 1 PM Mondays), you must login and take the quiz before the quiz times out. Reading quizzes are open book, and they are designed to help you look over the material and be prepared for what we will be covering in class. Under no circumstances are the quizzes meant to be done together with other students.

Exams and Review Sessions: You have two midterms for the course. Both midterms are held in the evenings, so please plan accordingly. The midterms for this class are on October 18th and November 15th. You must take the exams on the scheduled date as there are no make-up exams. Failure to appear, hand in, or take an exam will result in a zero for that exam. There are no exceptions to this policy. There are weekly review sessions Thursday mornings from 7-8. These are question and answer sessions only. You are responsible for bringing questions, and I will provide answers.

Enrollment: All questions related to enrollment should be taken to the LS Core office in the Life Sciences building room 2305. You can also e-mail them at the following e-mail address: LSCore@lifesci.ucla.edu. If you would like to switch sections, there is a sign-up board just to the left of the door to the Core Office where you can try to find students that are also looking to switch sections. If you find a student to switch with, then both of you must go to the Core Office together and they will change your official section enrollments.

Exams and Grading: Material for the exams will be taken from lectures, the text, additional posted readings, problems that have been posted on the course website, problems handed out in lecture and material from your discussion section. There will be a mix of multiple choice and true/false questions on the exams. The exams will cover all material up to the Thursday before the exam. For example, the first midterm will cover material from weeks 1-3. All grades will be posted into MyUCLA. You will have a chance to review your exam during the discussion section following the exam, you will not be able to keep your midterms or finals.

Midterm 1: October 18th, 5 – 6:50 PM
Midterm 2: November 15th, 5 – 6:50 PM
Final Exam: December 9th 11:30 – 2:30 AM

NOTE EXAMS CHANGE TIMES AND THESE ARE RELATIVE DATES FOR FALL QUARTER LS3

Regrading policy: Any request for a regrade must be made within one week of the assignment being returned to you. If you think there has been a simple addition error on the assignment then write a note explaining which page was added incorrectly, attach this to the front of the assignment and let your TA know when you return the assignment during discussion or lab.

Turning Point Clickers: Students are required to bring Turning Point clickers to class beginning 10/04. Students use clickers to respond to questions posed during lecture. Each lecture is worth 4 points. You must register your clicker online to be included in the course roster and to receive participation points. You will receive two “free days” of points – this means that you can miss two lectures and not be penalized points. You must answer all of the questions each day to receive full participation credit for that day. You may not share a clicker with someone else in this lecture. Answering questions for another student not in attendance constitutes cheating and both students involved will be referred to the Dean of Students for academic dishonesty. You should check your participation daily to make sure that you are receiving points. If you have noticed a problem (i.e. your points aren’t showing up and you know you attended class) then you must notify me by the end of Week 3. Many times the issue will be that you did not register your clicker correctly. I am not responsible for any issues with your participation grade if you fail to inform me of any problems during the quarter and choose to wait until the end of the quarter to bring up any issues. If you lose your clicker and purchase another clicker you must notify me in person so that I may change your clicker ID on the roster.

Point Breakdown:

Midterm 1 120
Midterm 2 120
Final Exam 190
Lab 80
Discussion 100
Reading Quizzes 70
Participation 72

Total Points 752

If the class mean is 75% or higher, letter grades will be based on a straight percentage of the total points in the class, see the breakdown below. Within each letter grade, a minus (-) will be assigned to the bottom three percentage points and a plus (+) will be assigned to the top three percentage points (e.g. 80-82.9% is a B-, 87-89.9% is a B+). If the class mean is lower than 75% the scale will be adjusted to compensate (e.g. 89% may become an A-). Under no circumstances will grades be curved down. You can use the straight grading scale as an indicator of your minimum grade in the course. I am not responsible for tracking your progress in the course, you should keep track of your own points so that at any time during the quarter you know your standing. If for any reason you have concerns about your grade, then that is a great time to come and see me so we can discuss study techniques or alternative strategies to help you along in this course.

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June 29, 2011

Took LS3 with Pires Spring 2011, intitially thought she was a total bitch but by the end of the quarter when I finally figured out her teaching style I really think now she is one of the best professors to take for lower division LS classes. All MC exams (with 2x midterms worth only 16% each on the overall grade, easy discussion points, online quizzes which have a couple of tricky questions but are not too hard, although I will admit the turning point clicker attendance crap was kind of annoying (but she gives 2 free days).

Now, on to her teaching style: she seems to be one of those younger, "newer" professors. Basically she just uses her lectures to introduce key concepts to focus on (hint: on the exam). Sure, her lecturing style is a big random and she jumps from point to point but I really found the last couple of lectures (especially that antifreeze protein fish stuff) to be really cool.

Also, the 'assigned readings', outside of using them for the online quizzes, are nearly useless. The readings cover way too much information but do have some good stuff in them, I would recommend skimming them and focus on the topics brought up in lecture. I do remember she recommended consulting wikipedia on a specific topic in lecture one time, but I didn't catch on to that tip until finals week. Really, although wikipedia does have some erroneous information, for the major bio topics it's actually pretty useful.

My best tip I would give to people in the future that take Pres would be to attend lectures and search those topics brought up in lecture (or the lecture slides she frequently & conveniently updates) on wikipedia and study off of that.

Also, the study guides she gives before each exam also are good to study off of pre-exam. Attending her office hours to check what you got wrong on your midterm is kind of a bitch, but I honestly found it to be really helpful for the final.

anyways gl hf 15 mins no rush BIG UP PIRES!!!!

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March 27, 2010

She is an awful lecturer. Her lectures are unorganized and she jumps from topic to topic, inserting side stories, so you don't know what's important and what's not. Her slides are hard to understand because she repeats the same figures several times in slightly different contexts and only puts a few words of description. Write down everything she says in class, even if you don't think its important, sort through it later when you are studying. Her tests are difficult because the questions are often unclear and she wants answers that she didn't specifically ask for. Tests require you to try to figure out what she was trying to get at more than knowledge of the material. The only way I learned in this class was looking up on Wikipedia all the important words from the slides. Studying for her tests was so painful because you can't tell what goes under which topic on her slides. It's not impossible to get a good grade, but you have to study the slides and do all the study guides she gives. The one thing that really helped was there are more possible points on the exam than it is graded out of.

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March 26, 2010

One of my favorite professors at UCLA. Extremely knowledgeable and concerned about student learning.
I would def recommend her for LS3 (I don't think you should take her for LS1, considering how the subject is just not that useful for life science majors and she stresses too much minor details).

Pires is different from other profs because she stresses critical thinking instead of pure memorization. She expects you to understand the details, but what she really wants is for you to be able to take what you've learned and actually apply it in a lab setting. I think this class is very helpful for students who are research assistants in labs, it really teaches you to think critically.

Her tests are hard, but extremely fair. Pretty much all of the problems on the midterms/final (MC and short answers) have shown up in one way or another on her practice questions/handouts/study guides. It's really important that you do these seriously, and compare answers with a friend. She also holds review sessions once a week before class starts. And she is always available for OH, pretty much. For us she held office hours on the Sunday before finals week in her office when she was sick. That's how dedicated she is. Go to her with questions and she will answer them all for you. Most of the time she will even answer study guide questions, which is extremely helpful.

Her grading is more than fair, if you put in the effort. Participation (she uses clickers) and lab grades are pretty much half of your grade. And she puts in extra points on all the midterms. She doesn't curve usually unless it's absolutely necessary. TAs vary greatly. Mine felt sorry for us and pretty much gave full points on labs.

In terms of studying the book isn't helpful at all. She gets her materials from another book anyway. Her lecture slides and study guides are the most helpful. I would recommend listening to the podcasts again since she talks extremely fast.

Again, this class was hard work, but I enjoyed it a lot. If you are a serious life sciences student and is truly interested in molecular biology, definitely take Prof Pires :)

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Easiness 1.4 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 2.0 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 1.6 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 2.8 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

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