Based on 543 Users
One only takes his class because it is a major requirement. If you come in with a prior foundation of chemistry, with work you can get an A in this class. However, the reason I write such a negative review for him is because he is a terrible professor. His lectures are extremely disorganized, and incredibly hard to follow. He is terrible at communicating. He tells you in his syllabus not to send him emails and to ask questions on the discussion forum. But, here is the thing he doesn't respond to them. Even when you ask him about essential things like the timing of the exam or a confusion with gradescope, he replies so rudely. His syllabus and lectures is unclear and full of typos. He simply doesn't care about you. He is very uppish and highly unprofessional. Serious action needs to be taken against professors like him.
definitely wouldn't recommend him during COVID. his tests were extensive and way too long for the amount of time we had and the jump in material from the midterm to the final was rough. he's way more into the conceptual part of chem and the test questions were so rough. he also decided not to curve us as much as he planned to this quarter so there's that too. the sapling questions were pretty hard too and not always on topic or helpful for the tests. gonna have to spend a lot of time studying to do well in this class
Avoid Scerri at all costs. He doesn't care about you or your education. He lectures at you from disorganized slides and won't effectively answer questions if he doesnt feel it. You just don't learn from him. Oh, you might think, I'll just teach myself then! Well thats fine and dandy until you learn he CURVES DOWN. You literally get punished for teaching yourself. 60% of this class will get a C regardless. If you must take Scerri, try your hardest to get Spencer as a TA. He's the only reason I learned anything.
Scerri is the most confusing, least helpful professor I have ever had at UCLA. He is somehow worse than the entire 7 series which is saying a lot. He curved everyone's grade down incredibly this quarter--I earned a 99% in the class, opted out of the final due to the circumstances, and somehow got an A- in the class. He rarely knows what he's talking about, does not care about students, and is pretty much only teaching for tenure. Instead of grading on a bell curve, he should maybe make his exams more challenging? Students should not be penalized because Scerri makes his exams so easy. AVOID THIS PROFESSOR AT ALL COSTS.
This man in a menace to society. He is by far the worst professor I have had at UCLA and anyone that says otherwise is lying. For starters, his lectures are absolutely unbearable. All he does is read his notes off a word document and that is about it. You can ask him questions, but unless you are one of his little pets then expect to get a rude remark back. He is so unengaging that more than 2/3rd of the class decided not to watch his lectures live and just watch the recording. I personally had to watch them in x2 speed because he talks so slow that I could renovate my whole room before he reaches to any meaningful part of the lecture. Now lets go into the course content ( spoiler alert: it's not any better). Okay first and foremost, he makes all the students buy a subscription to Thinkwell. "But surely he has a good reason to do so" you might say, well you would be wrong. All that anyone does with thinkwell is take the four quizzess he assigns, which is something he could just do on CCLE, but no he would rather lock our grades away behind a paywall. If you genuinely want to learn anything in this class, I recommend you get a PLF because Scerri will not be helpful. Let us move on his despicable tests. He has the midterm and final, but I can tell you that no matter how long you study for them, you will still be unprepared. Oh and even you do somehow manage to understand his tests, well good luck even finishing them. He is so intent with making sure student's don't cheat that each question is subdivided into the whole alphabet. So prepared to take on question 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f,... you get the idea, and no just because its subdivided does not mean it is any easier. And while it may sound good on paper, for those of us that cannot write or process almost instantaneously, we end up having to suffer because we now have to submit our test with multiple sections left unanswered. Do not even bother trying to talk to him about it because you will get no sympathy from him. If you want to know how he interacts with students, I'll give you a little anecdote: on week 10 a girl asked him if the review session he was going to have would be recorded. And what did he do? He (very obviously) rolled his eyes and said yes, and then proceeded to interrogate her on why she would not be able to make it to the live viewing. Mind you this was in front of many other students, and even recorded. When I was watching it, I had to replay it because I was in disbelief that he would dare roll his eyes at a student. He has a huge ego and it was apparent since day 1. As a professor, he is horrible, but as a person, he is despicable. So, do not listen to these positive reviews on bruinwalk because I have a sneaking suspicion some are TAs trying to get students to take his class. IF YOU CAN AVOID THIS PROFESSOR, DO SO AT ALL COSTS. Trust me, it is NOT worth it. If you happen to have the misfortune of having him please enroll in a PLF or watch youtube videos on the topics instead because I assure you that you will learn more that way.
Scerri is an awful professor. Students that due well in this class only do so by learning the material outside of class because his lectures make no sense. His exams are somewhat predictable and he often recycles questions from past tests. For my quarter, he distributed past exams questions with INCORRECT answers, and used them on our test. No credit was given for the incorrect answers he gave us so beware. If you are not self-disciplined, this class is difficult because it is a waste of time to go to class and find other resources to learn from. Good luck to anyone who decides to take it with him.
Scerri just doesn't particularly care. This unfortunately became more and more obvious as the class progressed. At first I was impressed by his obvious intelligent and occasional dry humor, but he is not a good professor. He speeds at a breakneck pace through a vast array of material without giving any context as to how concepts relate to each other or why we should care. Additionally, his lecture slides are spotted with typos and are almost entirely useless to review afterwards, so you need to take expansive notes. On the positive side, the Owl homework is very forgiving, and is a substantial part of your final grade. I learned pretty much nothing through the majority of the class, and had to frantically study outside materials and previous tests to make any measurable progress as tests drew near. While this landed me with very good scores, it was not a particularly comfortable or rewarding way to go through class. Through all of this, Scerri speeds on, unconcerned with the fact that 90% of the students have no real clue what's going on.
Anyway, the long and the short of it is this: avoid Scerri if humanly possible, especially if you are not strong in chemistry coming in. My previous knowledge was the only thing allowing me to do well, and things would have been far more hellish in an already brutal class if I had not had experience going in.
I would really recommend not taking 14A with Scerri if it can at all be avoided. I noticed several more positive reviews from before UCLA switched to online, so perhaps that format of classes was at fault, but I can't say.
Firstly, grading is only based off of: 30% Midterm, 30% Sapling Homework, 40% Final. After that, he curves the entire class to around a B-average. So, whatever grade you get is in comparison to your fellow students.
The first warning sign should've been when he told us not to expect an A.
From there, he decided, due to the online format, he would make our tests open-note. But to compensate, he both greatly increased the difficulty of the questions (which are primarily short-answer) and gave much less time to answer them. This resulted in an average somewhere in the 60s for our midterm, the vast majority of students not even being able to finish their test due to the time constraint. I noticed several reviews saying that his class could be easy due to the predictable exams, but once COVID happened and he altered the exams in this way, that small positive factor was pretty much out the window.
His lectures themselves were so convoluted, more than half of the students in my lecture just stopped coming. He would have the tendency to assume most of us had a much stronger background in chemistry than we did, and would talk way over our heads. For example, never defining what "antibonding" was and just started using the word in his explanations, leading to rapid questions to the TA from students. His "slides" were also incredibly disorganized. Each individual slide was even slightly different dimensions from the other, with maybe four abbreviations for formulas strewn somewhere on the page in the midst of multiple confusing diagrams that often would require corrections in the middle of class due to incorrect information. You could not figure out any of the content from the slides alone, basically, the best they served was as a somewhat-confusing visual aid. Very disorganized and bad at communicating--I would definitely not recommend taking him if you have fairly minimal chem background.
Other than his fairly-poor lectures, there are barely any other resources for studying for exams. In fact, you often don't even know the names of the topics you're learning in order to find YouTube videos to watch. You don't really know what you're supposed to know.
He told us not to email him, but to use the discussion board instead. However, he rarely, if ever, responded to this board. For instance, I went to post a question about the final in Week 10, and noticed no questions from the week before the midterm had even been answered. Hopefully, those students were able to figure it out.
In all, I'd say--if you come from a strong chem background, you could probably do okay in this class. Since, it's more about relying on the past knowledge you have of the subject and doing better than all the others in the class than actually learning new content. If you come in from a less-strong chemistry foundation, expect to be overwhelmed very quickly and to not actually learn any of the content. It really turned into a competition of who remembered the most about the topics we were learning from their high school chem courses.
Stay away, by all means, stay away. This man is NOT accommodating during COVID at all. That just tells a lot of how he acts in class. He's rude and notorious for always being like that, his lectures are unclear and he does not like questions. He is the stereotypical horrible professor you think you might get.
The other reviews mention he uses old test questions, which he does. But this quarter he purposefully made his tests way more difficult because he didn't like that most of his students were getting As. He also grades on a backwards curve, which limits how many people get an A.
Just don't take his class.
Scerri is the worst, most unaccommodating professor at UCLA. I didn't think much of him before entering the class and think even less of him now. His class is severely disorganized ( I mean the man had no sense of respect for the stuff he teaches). He is often very arrogant and downright condescending towards those who ask him questions in his classes.
I came into the class with quite a strong background in Chemistry but the way that he and his staff work, it makes it quite difficult to work with. His tests are not bad but the graders make mistakes and as a result one's score is jeopardized in the class.
He is not a good professor and I would stay away from his class -- he might be easy but his class is more disappointing than any other -- in terms of academics and otherwise.