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*Course: LIfe Science 2.* Spring 2012. Bok/Esdin.
I really enjoyed having Prof. Esdin! He seems like a good guy and he lays out the material very nicely in lectures. In my first year at UCLA, he would definitely rank in my top 3 favorite professors. I would definitely recommend trying to get into his class. I wish I had gone to his office hours and, according to my roommate, he is very helpful if you come prepared with good questions.
I had both Bok and Esdin for LS2, so the first midterm was all of the intro/basic bio that I was really familiar with that Bok taught, but then the second midterm was four chapters of material that Esdin taught. I would say that both tests were fair, but I did a lot better on Bok's test, even though I found his lectures to be boring. The final was not cumulative. If you take Esdin, he writes the questions so that you truly have to understand the material AND can apply it to a situation that you haven't necessarily thought of before. For example, we were asked on the final something like: what are the effects of hyperventilation on the body? After studying the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, we were supposed to connect the dot and apply the various concepts to the question.
You should give yourself plenty of time to study for LS2, regardless of which professor you get. I took Biology Honors and AP in high school, which helped a lot, and made it more like a review in the beginning, but the is still a TON of information to be absorbed in 10 weeks. Do not let yourself fall behind, especially if you haven't taken advanced biology in high school.
The take home message for doing well in LS 2 is:
---learn the material based on the lectures. (Esdin will only test what he lectures on- its a good idea to print and bring his lecture notes to class)
---Use the lecture schedule as a tentative study schedule, so you don't end up cramming right before the exams.
---*RECORD* Esdin's lectures!!! (this is very, very important. He does NOT podcast, at least during my quarter, so bring a lap top/ recording device. The lectures go FAST, so take notes in lecture, then re-listen and take notes in a different color at home... I did this before the final, and I generally only got down half of what he said during the actual class. The exam questions are detail oriented, so definitely listen to his lectures again)
---Try to go to discussion prepared. (I think you probably will get more out of it if it feels like a review...and that way you can ask your TA questions. I really liked my TA, Brian Mullen. I was in his third discussion of the day, so he always had coffee by the time we got there, but he does a great job condensing the material)
--- Figure out a study method that works for you, and do it. (This may seem obvious, but if you don't do so well on the first midterm or whatever, do something differently for the next exam)
--- Try to find a good study group... Even though asking question to the prof and TA is great, if you find a couple fellow classmates to digest and review the material, it will help a lot. I know I liked studying the material first on my own, and then talking through everything gave me a good grasp on the details.