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I took his Astro 3 class. He is one of the nicest professors out there. Lectures are posted up online and midterms + the final are all based off the homework questions. Memorize his midterm reviews and go to his final review session!! He gives out all the answers there. He really cares about his students and wants everyone to do well. The labs are kind of hard. The material for this class is easy to understand but getting an A still requires work. You should definitely take this class!
Astro 4 Spring 2009
McLean is one of the nicest (and easiest) professors out there. Because the lecture notes are posted online, you don't need to go to class (though he is a great lecturer). There is homework every week, which is several multiple choice questions done completely online. Both midterms and the final were all multiple choice and based off the lecture notes posted and also repeated from the homework. I went to class three times - the first day and once for each midterm and got an A+ with minimal effort. Take him if you can!
Firstly, let me just say it has been my favorite class.
Straight scale, but he curves around the class performance on the first midterm if it helps the class [ we had a mean of 89 on the first midterm, and 86 on the second midterm so he brought the mean on the second up to 89].
98+ is A+
93-98 is A
90-93 is A-, and so on.
Final (35%, ridiculously easy, mean was 90%)
Midterm 2 (20%, very easy)
Midterm 1 (20% also very easy)
Labs (15%, don't get Robin; My average outside of labs was 98% in the class [without EC]; lab average 90%, always ended up below median on labs and was top 10 in everything else all the time. All the other TAs are much more chill. However, if you can't get out of her lab, just trudge through it.. only worth 15%)
Homework (10% online quizzes, you might miss a point here and there, but should be an easy 95% in it. Check with a friend if you're paranoid )
0.5% EC random attendance day [ ours was on the day after midterm 1 ]
1.5% EC -- Telescope viewing
1.5% EC -- Griffith Observatory
Always very engaging; I regret not going more often [ all the lecture notes are online ] . He's a funny, intelligent, and coherent professor. Moreover, he is perhaps the nicest professor in UCLA, and is always willing to help his students. Astronomy lends itself to interest, and he expands on that greatly. Also, his scottish accent is pretty awesome.
That's about it. Take this class with Mclean. Nuff said.
Honestly, the best professor I have had in my 2 years here at UCLA. I took him for Astro 3 and then Astro 4 because he was so good. Not only are his lectures engaging... he really tries to make learning astronomy as interesting as possible (as if astronomy wasn't interesting enough already). His tests are not too bad as long as you prep a little before hand. His lecture notes basically sum up everything that will be on the tests so definitely study those. Take a class with McLean, I am sure you wont regret it! I just wish he taught more classes!