John Zaller
Department of Political Science
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4.1
Overall Rating
Based on 28 User s
Easiness 2.6 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.0 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 2.5 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 4.1 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Uses Slides
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Tough Tests
  • Participation Matters
  • Issues PTEs

GRADE DISTRIBUTIONS

33.0%
27.5%
22.0%
16.5%
11.0%
5.5%
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.

22.2%
18.5%
14.8%
11.1%
7.4%
3.7%
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.

47.2%
39.4%
31.5%
23.6%
15.7%
7.9%
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 (18)

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Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A-
June 28, 2016

I really like stats and data analysis, but Professor Zaller was hands down not only the worst professor I have ever had, but one of the worst people as well. He is an outright rude and sour old man. The class is very detail oriented and requires great attention, if you want to do well. The class is tolerable, but he is not. I tried to meet with the department about his remarks and behavior to other students in the class, and discovered that everyone in his own department feels the same, but alas he is tenured and not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A
May 11, 2016

The professor was often dry but the class is totally manageable if you put in 30mins to an 1hr every week of outside studying.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 29, 2012

I find this class and professor because of its two-sided nature. Basically one half of the class, data analysis, is effective, with assignments that are well thought-out and generously graded, while the other half, statistics, is unorganized, with little option to seek useful help.

Professor:
-Pros: Professor Zaller certainly knows what he's talking about. His lectures are full of examples and stories, which were entertaining . I never attended his office hours, but he offered many and scheduled more before large assignments and exams.
-Cons: Ask questions at your own risk. Zaller often enjoyed making scathing remarks towards students. His overall view of the student body seems to be that no one wants to learn what he's teaching in this class. This means he tries to make it "as painless as possible" by cancelling 1/2 the lectures and skimming over the more technical portions of the class, which he has students learn through an online course.

TAs:
-Pros: I believe the TAs in this class worked extremely hard and went out of there way to be available. They took time to grade Data Essays with a great deal of constructive criticism.
-Cons: I don't blame the TAs, but I think their roll was a bit unorganized. In the Data analysis portion of the course, they were great, but the statistics portion often boiled down to "Review the quizzes, and take the exam slowly."

Assignments:
There are 5 Data Essays that steadily grow in length and weight. The first one is only 25 points, while the last was 275. I found these assignments AMAZING. Through them, the course leads you by the hand through the aspects of data analysis and the last assignment allows you to take what you learned and create your own study. They were straightforward, generously graded, and frankly very interesting.

Quizzes:
There are 9-10 weekly quizzes that are due online. The Professor was very understanding when a large group of the class missed a quiz: he extended deadlines. The quizzes themselves are based on the statistics portion of the course, which is less emphasized in the course, and the questions are often tricky because of their wording. I took many very slowly only to get 70% or less.

Midterm and Final:
Much like the quizzes, they are based on the statistics portion of the course, and the questions are tricky, but not impossible. They are very short, 20-25 questions, so a few stupid mistakes can kill your exam grade. It's a bit of a worry, because they are 12.5% and 25% of your course grade respectively. Exam reviews are mostly useless, because the professor and TAs firmly believe in order to get an A all you need is "good test taking skills". The helpfulness they show toward the assignments means they put little effort towards this portion of the course. That being said, you can do just ok on the midterm and exam, and the assignments are graded in a way you can still get an A in the class.

One last note, this course is EXTREMELY back-weighted, meaning the last weeks of the the course contain 75% of the points. This means that it is a relatively light workload for most of the term, then the pace picks up quite a bit at the end. That being said, there's no reading, and I found all assignments doable with time to spare.

Overall, I LOVED the data analysis portion of this course, and have decided to continue on with it. I thought the TAs worked their asses off and the professor was understanding, if unapproachable. That being said, I had a background in statistics so the less organized portion of this course wasn't as much of an issue for me.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 24, 2012

Very confusing in the beginning, but a total doable class. The data essays are graded critically, but they aren't that difficult. The mid term and final exam have many trick questions on them so you must be careful. Zaller is very unapproachable and rude to other students in class. The TA's make this class understandable

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Nov. 28, 2012

I'm not even finished with this class and I can already say with absolute confidence that it will ruin my GPA. I feel like the entire point of this class is for students to teach themselves the material and to apply it to things we know nothing about. I took this class as a poll sci major and honestly, it has really turned me off to the major altogether. Zaller strongly discourages students to ask him questions and frequently calls students out in class for "asking stupid questions". Most students end up at TA's office hours completely lost. This should definitely be an upper division class based on the amount of work required. Zaller also fell behind in his lesson plans during my class and packed the last couple weeks full of the most highly weighted papers in addition to having to study for both parts of his final. Before taking this class, I wish I would have known just how many students were unhappy in it. Zaller is a funny guy and tries to make this dry subject a bit more fun in lecture, but I think he needs to be more clear tying lectures in with section material.

Helpful?

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Feb. 21, 2012

i guess i'll start by saying that had i known how rigorous this class was, i would have opted to take a stats class instead of ps6. BUT it wasn't too bad if you paid attention and got your work done. OFFICE HOURS ARE A MUST FOR AN A IN THIS CLASS. and when he says don't work with others, DO NOT WORK WITH OTHERS. this is coming from a person that did not listen to that rule well enough. still, i ended the class with an A, and the more i think about it, the more i liked it. it was actually kind of fun to figure out how various fields related to each other. but this class was not easy at all! if you are not too bad at math, go with stats. the writing in this class is pretty intensive. even the multiple choice midterm and final was pretty challenging and required at least some review of the material. overall, a lot of work: weekly quizzes, 5 data essays (each requiring more work over the course of the quarter), one midterm (he gives the option of a retake for those that got lower than a C, i think) and one final. final and midterm were about 20 questions, multiple choice.

as far as zaller goes, he knows his stuff. he is REALLY good about getting back to you and answering your questions. the class is podcasted and he tries his best to make the information interesting. he really does the best he can to make sure the students understand his material well. and he's pretty understanding too!

if you're willing to do the work, i HIGHLY recommend this class. if not, know what you're getting yourself into before enrolling, or just steer clear. i got an A in this class, but i can honestly say that i typically don't put much effort into my classes and this class forced me to change my ways.

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Feb. 8, 2012

Zaller is incredible! I can't stand math and he actually made this class interesting for me. He did spend a little too much time on easier topics, and that got boring at times, but he has a great sense of humor and that definitely kept me awake.

I actually disagree with everyone else who says the class was too much work. Yes there were weekly quizzes but I never had to study for them; I just paid attention in class and then I usually finished each quiz in about 5 minutes. There are 5 essays, which sounds like a lot, but you can use data essay 3 as a template for essays 4 and 5, and this makes them a lot easier. And on top of that... no reading!!!! Another big time saver.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Jan. 4, 2012

A lot of work for a lower division course. He had weekly quizzes that were based on his boring lectures. The class is webcasted in case you fall asleep during the actual lecture. Five data essays, each are graded increasingly harder and are worth a lot more than the previous ones. Fourth one was worth as much as the midterm and fifth one was worth more than the final. Showing up to sections is pretty much mandatory, otherwise you won't know how to make the graphs for the essays. If you don't understand the data essay prompts, show up to TA lab consultations and keep asking for help. I ended up with an A-.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Nov. 16, 2011

Very dull class -_- Pretty straight-foward though. Personally, if I could do it over I would have just taken Stats haha. Don't recommend!

Helpful?

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Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Oct. 14, 2011

Take ps6 with professor Zaller.
I ended up with getting B because of the
very harsh grading of the last paper,
but, by far, he is the best poli sci prof at ucla. i have taken 10 ps classes so far, but prof zaller was the only one who wowed me. he always tries to improve his teaching- yes, he is dry, but just listen to him. this guy is brilliant and very student-caring. If you are someone who values learning rather than getting A by taking easy easy classes, take him. You will not regret.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A-
June 28, 2016

I really like stats and data analysis, but Professor Zaller was hands down not only the worst professor I have ever had, but one of the worst people as well. He is an outright rude and sour old man. The class is very detail oriented and requires great attention, if you want to do well. The class is tolerable, but he is not. I tried to meet with the department about his remarks and behavior to other students in the class, and discovered that everyone in his own department feels the same, but alas he is tenured and not going anywhere anytime soon.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2016
Grade: A
May 11, 2016

The professor was often dry but the class is totally manageable if you put in 30mins to an 1hr every week of outside studying.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 29, 2012

I find this class and professor because of its two-sided nature. Basically one half of the class, data analysis, is effective, with assignments that are well thought-out and generously graded, while the other half, statistics, is unorganized, with little option to seek useful help.

Professor:
-Pros: Professor Zaller certainly knows what he's talking about. His lectures are full of examples and stories, which were entertaining . I never attended his office hours, but he offered many and scheduled more before large assignments and exams.
-Cons: Ask questions at your own risk. Zaller often enjoyed making scathing remarks towards students. His overall view of the student body seems to be that no one wants to learn what he's teaching in this class. This means he tries to make it "as painless as possible" by cancelling 1/2 the lectures and skimming over the more technical portions of the class, which he has students learn through an online course.

TAs:
-Pros: I believe the TAs in this class worked extremely hard and went out of there way to be available. They took time to grade Data Essays with a great deal of constructive criticism.
-Cons: I don't blame the TAs, but I think their roll was a bit unorganized. In the Data analysis portion of the course, they were great, but the statistics portion often boiled down to "Review the quizzes, and take the exam slowly."

Assignments:
There are 5 Data Essays that steadily grow in length and weight. The first one is only 25 points, while the last was 275. I found these assignments AMAZING. Through them, the course leads you by the hand through the aspects of data analysis and the last assignment allows you to take what you learned and create your own study. They were straightforward, generously graded, and frankly very interesting.

Quizzes:
There are 9-10 weekly quizzes that are due online. The Professor was very understanding when a large group of the class missed a quiz: he extended deadlines. The quizzes themselves are based on the statistics portion of the course, which is less emphasized in the course, and the questions are often tricky because of their wording. I took many very slowly only to get 70% or less.

Midterm and Final:
Much like the quizzes, they are based on the statistics portion of the course, and the questions are tricky, but not impossible. They are very short, 20-25 questions, so a few stupid mistakes can kill your exam grade. It's a bit of a worry, because they are 12.5% and 25% of your course grade respectively. Exam reviews are mostly useless, because the professor and TAs firmly believe in order to get an A all you need is "good test taking skills". The helpfulness they show toward the assignments means they put little effort towards this portion of the course. That being said, you can do just ok on the midterm and exam, and the assignments are graded in a way you can still get an A in the class.

One last note, this course is EXTREMELY back-weighted, meaning the last weeks of the the course contain 75% of the points. This means that it is a relatively light workload for most of the term, then the pace picks up quite a bit at the end. That being said, there's no reading, and I found all assignments doable with time to spare.

Overall, I LOVED the data analysis portion of this course, and have decided to continue on with it. I thought the TAs worked their asses off and the professor was understanding, if unapproachable. That being said, I had a background in statistics so the less organized portion of this course wasn't as much of an issue for me.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Dec. 24, 2012

Very confusing in the beginning, but a total doable class. The data essays are graded critically, but they aren't that difficult. The mid term and final exam have many trick questions on them so you must be careful. Zaller is very unapproachable and rude to other students in class. The TA's make this class understandable

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Nov. 28, 2012

I'm not even finished with this class and I can already say with absolute confidence that it will ruin my GPA. I feel like the entire point of this class is for students to teach themselves the material and to apply it to things we know nothing about. I took this class as a poll sci major and honestly, it has really turned me off to the major altogether. Zaller strongly discourages students to ask him questions and frequently calls students out in class for "asking stupid questions". Most students end up at TA's office hours completely lost. This should definitely be an upper division class based on the amount of work required. Zaller also fell behind in his lesson plans during my class and packed the last couple weeks full of the most highly weighted papers in addition to having to study for both parts of his final. Before taking this class, I wish I would have known just how many students were unhappy in it. Zaller is a funny guy and tries to make this dry subject a bit more fun in lecture, but I think he needs to be more clear tying lectures in with section material.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Feb. 21, 2012

i guess i'll start by saying that had i known how rigorous this class was, i would have opted to take a stats class instead of ps6. BUT it wasn't too bad if you paid attention and got your work done. OFFICE HOURS ARE A MUST FOR AN A IN THIS CLASS. and when he says don't work with others, DO NOT WORK WITH OTHERS. this is coming from a person that did not listen to that rule well enough. still, i ended the class with an A, and the more i think about it, the more i liked it. it was actually kind of fun to figure out how various fields related to each other. but this class was not easy at all! if you are not too bad at math, go with stats. the writing in this class is pretty intensive. even the multiple choice midterm and final was pretty challenging and required at least some review of the material. overall, a lot of work: weekly quizzes, 5 data essays (each requiring more work over the course of the quarter), one midterm (he gives the option of a retake for those that got lower than a C, i think) and one final. final and midterm were about 20 questions, multiple choice.

as far as zaller goes, he knows his stuff. he is REALLY good about getting back to you and answering your questions. the class is podcasted and he tries his best to make the information interesting. he really does the best he can to make sure the students understand his material well. and he's pretty understanding too!

if you're willing to do the work, i HIGHLY recommend this class. if not, know what you're getting yourself into before enrolling, or just steer clear. i got an A in this class, but i can honestly say that i typically don't put much effort into my classes and this class forced me to change my ways.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Feb. 8, 2012

Zaller is incredible! I can't stand math and he actually made this class interesting for me. He did spend a little too much time on easier topics, and that got boring at times, but he has a great sense of humor and that definitely kept me awake.

I actually disagree with everyone else who says the class was too much work. Yes there were weekly quizzes but I never had to study for them; I just paid attention in class and then I usually finished each quiz in about 5 minutes. There are 5 essays, which sounds like a lot, but you can use data essay 3 as a template for essays 4 and 5, and this makes them a lot easier. And on top of that... no reading!!!! Another big time saver.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Jan. 4, 2012

A lot of work for a lower division course. He had weekly quizzes that were based on his boring lectures. The class is webcasted in case you fall asleep during the actual lecture. Five data essays, each are graded increasingly harder and are worth a lot more than the previous ones. Fourth one was worth as much as the midterm and fifth one was worth more than the final. Showing up to sections is pretty much mandatory, otherwise you won't know how to make the graphs for the essays. If you don't understand the data essay prompts, show up to TA lab consultations and keep asking for help. I ended up with an A-.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Nov. 16, 2011

Very dull class -_- Pretty straight-foward though. Personally, if I could do it over I would have just taken Stats haha. Don't recommend!

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
Oct. 14, 2011

Take ps6 with professor Zaller.
I ended up with getting B because of the
very harsh grading of the last paper,
but, by far, he is the best poli sci prof at ucla. i have taken 10 ps classes so far, but prof zaller was the only one who wowed me. he always tries to improve his teaching- yes, he is dry, but just listen to him. this guy is brilliant and very student-caring. If you are someone who values learning rather than getting A by taking easy easy classes, take him. You will not regret.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
1 of 2
4.1
Overall Rating
Based on 28 Users
Easiness 2.6 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.0 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 2.5 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 4.1 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Uses Slides
    (1)
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
    (1)
  • Tough Tests
    (1)
  • Participation Matters
    (1)
  • Issues PTEs
    (1)
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