All Ratings and Reviews for Joshua Samani
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.
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.
Physics 5A with Samani was fantastic. Students who had taken him previous quarters said it was a very stressful class because of all of the "extra credit" work they had to do since his test were so hard, but he has changed most of that now. His exams are very fair and there is less feeling of needing to do extra work.
Samani is a brilliant lecturer. He is very calculated in what he says, so he is always extremely clear. My only negative thing I could say would be that he occasionally can lecture at too slow of a pace for sake of clarity when it is not helpful/needed, but other students might disagree with me on that.
Regardless of if you have taken physics in high school, you will do well in this course - you do not need the textbook even.
Samani 5A Grade Breakdown (kind of):
2 Midterms, each worth 20% -- the first midterm was very easy, most everyone got well in the A range. Thus, the second midterm was definately more difficult. Had I studied, it would have been not too bad.
Final = 30%: Final was very fair. Nothing crazy. Study all the practice exams he gives out.
Other 30%: Mastering physics, Lab, Discussion, iClickers. These are gimme points. If you do them, you get 100% practically.
HE MADE THIS CLASS SO MUCH EASIER! I was terrified going into Samani's class last quarter considering the more recent reviews, but compared to the midterms my friends had in his past classes, the exams are much more straightforward. I took this class with several other of my prereqs, studied the day of (midterms are scheduled later in the day), with a subpar physics background and did just fine.
Ok so I don't know if this is still the case, but when I took the class Winter 2019, the tests were really hard and he gave extra credit, but I heard that might have changed.
Overall, I actually really enjoyed Samani's class. I was really intimidated by Physics as a subject before (I had taken it as a freshman in high school and did not do amazingly then and then had been intimidated since). He is a really good lecturer and a nice person. I used to go to office hours when I could and he would go through examples and answer any questions students had.
I'm going to break down the class as best I can:
Lecture: He lectures basically the whole time and pauses for times for students to do clickers and discuss their thoughts, but writes down important things to remember like definitions and equations. He has slides but he mainly uses them for clickers (participation). The content of lectures tend to be conceptual and he does examples.
Discussion: Required, you are assigned a team of two other people in your discussion and you work with them in some discussions and can do extra credit practice exams with them. You also work with them on the two midterms for the team portion, which is the same as the individual portion and if you do better on the team portion he counts it, if you don't, he will replace it with your individual section score so it can only help you.
Exams: Difficult and conceptual, but fair. To prepare for the exams I would do practice and I was consistent about doing all of the practice exam problems from the homework every week. You do have to memorize equations, but there aren't that many for the whole course and he writes them down in lecture on the board.
Homework: A lot of homework. MasteringPhysics online were the only ones you actually needed to get correct. The discussion worksheet usually was whatever you didn't finish in class and was graded on completion and effort. The individual practice exams were also basically just old practice exam problems that were hard but were graded on completion and effort. I found it worth it to try as best I could on the individual practice exams so that I knew what to expect for the actual exams (very similar in type of problems). Doing it all is a huge time commitment though, I will say.
Office Hours: Helpful if you have questions on concepts, will go through problems with you like if you're stuck on a MasteringPhysics he'll go through the concepts with you.
Lab: Physics 5AL is basically entirely separate from 5A so honestly you just show up and do the labs and do some easy pre-labs and my group would always finish the post-lab during lab section.
I know people who hated his class / physics but they also never went to lecture or office hours and I think that because I went to office hours and his lecture style works really well for me and I took notes by hand it just helped me a lot. I know this class is really intimidating, but I genuinely learned a lot and think that his grading scheme was really fair because it's so easy to get high scores on all sections aside from his test that he doesn't even need to curve.
I hope this was helpful!
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.
This is the professor to take 5A with. I had not taken physics before and I was really scared as to whether I would succeed. The main thing to do is to do the pre-lecture readings and that will help you succeed in the class.
I loved the class and thought Samani was an excellent professor.
Lab is a joke- just attend it and put in decent effort and you'll get through it
Honestly, everyone hyped samani to be amazing. I think he is an amazing lecturer. But this quarter people got wrecked so hard. Everyone I talked to was really upset and angry. We spend one whole lecture for one small formula. Test practices are not close to what comes out on the test. There is a ton of homework. You will be spending hours. Exam was so hard that the TA's got different answers for it.
I didn't get a good grade on this class but I have no regrets taking Samani. Other physics lecturer pale in comparison to his lectures and I wish he taught other Physics 5 series. This is a class where you genuinely LEARN instead of being spoon fed concepts in their most concise form. I actually enjoyed tremendously the questions he wrote because it really makes you revisit the fundamentals of the concepts and understand how to apply them. I took physics in high school and hated it because of how dry it was. Samani really cares about your growth and learning and I really appreciate that even though I am annoyed by the difficulty of his exam questions.
Oh and did I mention how amazing he is at answering your questions? Seriously, always go to him with your questions. He figures out exactly the source of your conceptual confusion and also understands well common misconceptions. This class has been a blast.
This class was hard AF so hard I had to retake it. Samani is a very conceptual professor and does not understand that there are people who have never taken Physics before. His exams are unlike anything Ive seen and the class averages are always very low like 40% so he curves upward. I honestly do not know how 70% of the class got A's . If you have never taken physics before your better off going with another professor who uses formula sheets and calculators cus this class aint it chief.
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