Fall 2019 - Class breakdown: Homework: 15% (weekly, graded on completion) Final Project: 25% Midterm 1: 15% (average: mid 70s based on distribution?) Midterm 2: 15% (average: low-mid 80s) Final: 30% (out of 100 points, with possibility of 5 points added from extra credit video AND a bonus problem worth 5 points) A: 93-100% A-: 88-93% B+: 83-88% B: 78-83% B-: 73-78% C+: 68-73% C: 63-68% C-: >55-63% I came into Chem 156 a little reluctant, despite being one of the rare biochem students who likes physical chemistry. I've never coded before, yet Dr. Rodriguez wanted us to complete a final project that required coding. And the first few weeks material can take time to wrap your head around, as it's statistical mechanics/thermodynamics and is a different way of thinking - you look at ensembles and distributions, not simply individual events and averages. Although Dr. Rodriguez is very articulate, it was still hard to keep up and the lectures aren't podcasted. However, he was more than willing to compensate with extra office hours and slowing down the pace / reviewing the material if needed. I remember feeling quite lost at first with all the terminology and the complex examples but realizing later on that in the end - this is still modeled more like a physical chemistry class. Some of the examples are there to enrich your understanding and go beyond the scope of the exams. They're great examples - fascinating, but not all of them are worth losing sleep over and it becomes clearer over time what you must focus on to get the fundamentals down. Start there and build your way up to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed! The discussion / homework questions are also wonderful practice and mimic what is presented on the exams. Exams are a bit long and wording can sometimes be difficult to interpret, but the questions are very very fair and it is clear that Dr. Rodriguez wants us to succeed, which is encouraging. What makes him such a respectable professor is his desire for his students to succeed and willingness to accommodate - within reason. I believe it was this passion and genuine willingness to help that made the final project more bearable, as he was so earnest in providing ideas and suggestions when we would get stuck. He also gave extra credit for making a 3-minute video related to our final project, in addition to giving a pretty simple bonus problem on the final to help boost our grades. All in all, a great class. I learned an extraordinary amount of material and there were so many applications to biochemistry/biophysics. I appreciate the knowledge I gained and am immensely grateful I had the chance to take this class with Jose.