All Ratings and Reviews for Joshua Samani
Do not be mislead by the grade distribution from Fall 2017 or the reviews below that say this class is easy. While Samani is a nice guy and does provide many resources for us, this class was still extremely hard, and I do not recommend taking it. I am not sure if Samani changed the way he grades, but I find it hard to believe that as many people got A's in Winter 2019 as they did in Fall 2017. The class is not curved AT ALL, but there is extra credit. The class is out of 100 points, and if you do all the extra credit, it will bump your grade by a little over 5 points. The grade you get after extra credit is factored in is the grade you get. There is no scaling, rounding, or curving. Samani does give engaging lectures, but his exams are killer. When I say killer, I mean it. The things he teaches in lecture are not sufficient enough for us to do well on the exams. The tests are ridiculously hard, and you end up not learning anything. This class has a TON of homework. Nearly every week, you have Mastering Physics, Practice Exam Packets, Discussion Worksheets (Discussion is mandatory btw), Pre-lab, and Post-lab. These are only the required assignments, and do not include the extra credit assignments that are given every week. The Exam Packets are super hard, and he expects you to kinda figure out things on your own. Luckily, these are only graded on completion, but even then, it is hard to come up with a reasonable solution for the problems. Samani does offer midterm redos, which I did appreciate, but even then it is a struggle to do super well in the class. Take Physics 5A with a different Professor.
TAKE PHYSICS 5A WITH SAMANI! I guarantee you that this will be the one of the best classes you will take, and that Samani will probably be one of the best professors you will ever have.
Samani is very straightforward, gives plenty of examples, and explains topics very thoroughly. As someone who did not take Physics (let alone AP Physics) in high school, Samani did an excellent job at creating an environment in which I can succeed.
The exams are pretty tough, but its because they are meant to gauge whether or not you are LEARNING the material, not MEMORIZING it. The midterms and the final will depict scenarios that are not addressed in lecture, but will build off of the topics and concepts addressed during lecture.
Discussion sections are actually quite helpful, and the worksheets drive you to think of different physical scenarios. (Shoutout to Teresa for being such a great TA)
The labs also do a good job at reinforcing lecture, including how to appropriately use equations to solve for unknown quantities.
Overall, a great (but difficult) class with an awesome professor. 10/10 would recommend. Yuh.
He made this class hard again
I. Love. Samani. I was terrified of 5A content because the first time I took this class with Bondarenko, I got a C-. Samani alleviated all of my anxieties within the first week. I went to his office hours starting week 1 because I figured that since I'm retaking, I have to absolutely CRUSH this subject. He walks in and upon opening his office, he asks me what my name is. Two days later at his next office hour, he remembers me and says hello. He's the first professor I've ever had that I feel like truly cares about his students, and he's willing to go the extra mile for those students who want to do well. I highly recommend going to his office hours! Sometimes, he takes scenarios students give him, tweaks it slightly, and it ends up on the next exam. He has incredibly engaging lectures and demonstrations to help solidify the concepts. I got a 92% on the first midterm, and a 90% on the final! He has a participation component via Clicker questions, but you get two personal days. This class isn't by any means, but he gives us enough resources to do well if we put in the time.
By far one of the better profs for 5A. The class was very straightforward, although a ton of busy work. Getting an A is very easy to get in this class, easier than some of the other profs, as long as you stay on top of things.
I'm conflicted about this class with Samani. I really enjoy physics so I did not put much effort into the class and still did fine, but I'm not sure I really enjoy the way everything is set up. I liked the group tests for the review purpose, but I absolutely hated that I scored higher on my individual portions and my group basically just relied on me to do the test, thus everyone gets a grade bump except for the people that did really well. Mastering physics was not helpful for homework, honestly just chegg the answers and save yourself the time. I think Samani does a really good job at making the concepts accessible to everyone, but I really miss the mathematical sense and rigor to physics the way he teaches lacks. I feel like I didn't really learn much new or gain some great understanding from the way he teaches, but just relied on my background. In regards to his tests, I do not think they were killer hard: they were fair but we are all used to being babied in other LS classes. They require you to know what is going on and don't leave a ton of room for complete guesswork, but reward you immensely for the process and place little value on getting the actual answer so so long as you vaguely know what to do you will get a large amount of partial credit. I think he provides a lot of opportunities for practice and extra problems. Overall I think he is easy and more than fair, but he takes a lot of the joy and fun out of it by removing the portions that make physics really logical. (we legit never even saw vector brackets like pls samani bring back some of the math)
Here’s the thing about 5A with Samani: He’s a genius, a super nice guy, an engaging lecturer, and he really cares about student learning. He challenges his students to obtain a deep conceptual understanding of Physics, he requires you to memorize equations, and he doesn’t let you use a calculator, making exams inherently more stressful.
If you’re like me, and you have absolutely NO prior Physics (or calculus) experience, this class will be incredibly tough. Trying to memorize equations on top of working hard to even understand the content (and the basic mathematical principles behind it, lol) was really difficult. Samani’s tests are really, really challenging— to the point where I developed insane test anxiety and would panic heavily for his exams. I know people generally do fine in this class, but I really wanted to let those without a strong Physics background know what they’re getting into.
All that being said: it’s worth it. While struggling in this class, I literally completely changed the way I approach learning. I changed my study habits entirely, moving towards heavy practice testing and keeping an error catalog (as Samani suggested). The skills that class, and Samani’s teaching, have imparted have been immeasurable. I’m saying this as someone who got a C+ in the class and I have absolutely nothing to gain from writing this, so take it seriously lmao the man is a legend
I can't deny the exams were pretty rough even with the ample practice he gave us (and graded...) Really consider how much you value the learning experience over the grade before you take Samani as getting a solid A can be hard even with the extra credit opportunities.
That being said, he is still a great professor and lecturer, probably one of the best ones you'll ever run into. You can tell he genuinely cares about teaching you how to learn and reason through problems, something you'll still need to do out of physics. That's enough for me to recommend him, but again it depends on how much you're willing to stake your grade.
This class was SO hard. It is one of the hardest classes I have ever taken and it will probably be very challenging. That being said, Josh does everything in his power for you to succeed. There is enough extra credit to raise you grade 5% and there are midterm redos. Office hours are also really helpful.
I think my only advice for this class is even if you completely bomb the 2 midterms, talk to Josh and see where you are at in the class before dropping because the class is kinda curved in a way
Before taking this class, I was so scared of physics. I took AP Physics in high school but I did not learn anything from it and ended up not taking the AP test. I put off physics for a while when I got to UCLA, and ended up taking it spring quarter of my sophomore year. Samani is BY FAR my favorite professor of all time, and will probably remain my favorite professor. I learned a lot every lecture, and he was very clear with his teaching. I HIGHLY recommend taking Samani for 5a, and actually any class he may teach.
He is very approachable and super helpful at office hours. Class attendance is mandatory (there are clickers). The tests aren't easy, but they also aren't hard if you study. I got a 98% on the first midterm, 94% on the second, and an 86% on the final and ended up with an A+ in the class. Discussion sections are very helpful and VERY similar to the test questions/concepts, so I recommend going to all of them (you can miss one). Also, make sure to stay on top of the online homework (Mastering Physics). I usually waited until the last minute to complete them, but I would recommend doing a few problems each day rather than all of them the night before.
Anyways, Samani is an amazing professor, he young and funny, and a great teacher. If you have the option to take his class, just do it. You won't regret it.
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