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Chen's class was not really difficult if you understood what was going on.
**********LS 4 Review************
Her class is really doable and honestly not that hard.
I think she is a very nice woman and she ALWAYS took the time to go over concept that people didn't undersand. Sometimes she took up half the class time trying to explain a concept that people didn't understand until most of them got it. In my book, that makes her a pretty good professor.
Her midterms are relatively easy, just remember the examples that she goes over in lecture -- those should be the ones that you go to when studying. I did some of the questions in the book for the first midterm and almost none for the second midterm and I still did fine. Why? Because although I didn't go to class, I always watched the lectures online and made sure I understood her lecture notes (which I think are pretty good).
I have to say though, her final was crazy.
It was like that stupid meme where in class they'll ask you easy questions like 1 + 1 but on your exam they'll ask you to calculate the mass of the sun.
Literally, that's what happened.
Somehow I did pretty well on that final. Considering that I didn't know what the hell I was doing for most of it, it makes me wonder what the heck the rest of the class was doing.
She's really not a bad choice of a professor for LS 4.
Chen received an exceptionally bad rap from a lot of students for a time being during the course, mainly because they failed the second midterm. Honestly, it was just a modification of the practice midterm and if you went to office hours to figure out the practice midterm solutions (because certainly the practice test itself was hard), then the second midterm actually wouldn't be such a problem. In fact, that's what made the difference for me. So just do the practice tests.
Her TAs were definitely defensive. They weren't too concerned about student learning ... and just seemed to hold their heads high above a class they'd rather not teach. And when they did teach, it was seemed really self-aggrandizing. I don't have anything positive to say about her teaching style either, but if you're looking for a so-so LS4 class and not a terribly hard to achieve A in an otherwise notoriously difficult course (I've heard that lots of people drop this one), just take her. I haven't heard anything amazing about other professors so I guess it just doesn't get better than this.
The class is actually LS 4, but I wasn't given an option on the drop down menu.
Chen is a horrible professor. She lectures poorly and gives very hard tests. For our second midterm, the average was 58 and she said that her test was completely fair because she just took homework questions and changed the names and numbers in them. She went further to accuse the class of not doing their homework because the test was very easy. Now I understand that there is probably a large proportion of the class who does not do all their homework, but when there are students who attend multiple office hours and complete all their homework with no trouble and they say that the test is hard, I feel like the professor should just admit she made a hard test, rather than accusing the entire class of not doing their homework. There is nothing wrong with a hard exam. Furthermore, she posts deceivingly easy practice exams, and the solution key has a bunch of mistakes, so I wouldn't rely on them too much. I have also tried to contact her by email with a simple question and she keeps responding with "what question are you referring to in specific?" "i don't want you to simply memorize answers". This is quite funny because no where in the email did I ask for help with a specific question or ask for the answer. I asked her what method she wished for us to use to calculate degrees of freedom because I have heard many different ways to do so for a hardy weinberg question. I didn't even ask what the df should equal to, I simply asked what equation to use to calculate it, and she seems to just be avoiding the question. In lecture it seems to go this way a lot too. She gives very roundabout responses that, in the end, answer nothing. perhaps she knows her stuff, perhaps she doesnt, but either way she certainly doesn't convey information to us very well.
I am taking her for LS4 right now and honestly, it's my favorite LS class so far. Her lectures are a bit frustrating for me because she spends a lot of time going over and repeating things for people. She truly is considerate and even takes out lecture time to answer your questions. But because of that, I often fell asleep in class. If you are someone who loves participation, even in a big lecture, you'll enjoy the class because Dr. Chen really welcomes all questions. The only other thing worth noting about her lectures is that sometimes, she jumps over slides and other times, she'll spend forever on one slide.
So far, her exams have been rather fair. Our average for the second midterm was rather low so I'm not sure how the curve would turn out. However, the exams were well written. The first midterm was very straight forward and covered what she promised. The second one had many more tricks to it. Her weekly quizzes really help you stay on top of things. The only downside is that these depend on your TA so try to get a good TA (you can switch in the beginning of the quarter). We get to drop one quiz out of 8 and so far, I've gotten full credit on all but one quiz without completely "keeping up" with the work so they're beneficial for your grade and learning!
I'd also recommend going to covel tutoring if you have time. Simply listening to someone else explaining the material again can help you. My covel tutor had a bit of a different approach and I liked her methods of solving Mendelian problems much better. So use your resources (book problems, interactive genetics, etc.) and this class should really be an engaging class.
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