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I have mixed feelings about Professor Symcox. While he is a good enough lecturer, I would not recommend him overall.
Honestly, I am a history major and his class was the most boring class I've taken so far at UCLA. He has a very stereotypical stuffy British voice which tired me at 9am three days a week. His readings were very very dry and it took all my willpower to finish them. While he is occasionally funny, overall he was quite dry and even sitting in the front of the class, he often lost my attention.
My main complaint, however, is in the grading. Midterm is one essay worth 25% of your grade and Final is three essays worth 75% of your grade. On my midterm, he wrote that all of my facts and analysis were correct, but it was to superficial. I got a B- in the class despite knowing every war backward and forward. Admittedly, I did around 50% of the readings, but the readings were honestly barely relevant to the essays. I also think 4 in class essays are hardly a fair way to measure a person's knowledge of a subject, but that is just my opinion.
Finally, on an interesting note, he does give you the option of having the final be worth 100% of your grade, but I would not recommend doing that ever. Also, the tests are open book, but that is just a trap. You will have no time to reference your readings if you want to finish on time. You MUST know the material before the tests and also be able to form very elaborate opinions about the wars. My mistake was only putting down the facts.
Pros: Open Book Tests, 100% final option, Good Enough Lecturer
Cons: Tiresome (especially in the morning), Opinionated grading, entire class graded on 4 (or 3) essays
I showed up to every lecture, took copious notes, did the reading, showed up to his office hours and took his advice on formulating good arguments on the exam. I performed all the duties expected of students. I filled up an entire blue book with a well crafted response that was in line with what he was looking for.
I still did not get even close to the grade I deserved.
He looks down on his students. The grading on the exams is unnecessarily harsh. Feedback is in the form of generic advice, ex: "make an argument and support it in your paper."
Don't take this class if you want to keep your GPA from harm. I noticed that on the midterm exam there was a crossed out grade on everyone’s blue books that was an entire grade higher than the grade we all actually received. I wished I'd dropped this class like all of my friends did.
Review is for 123A.