Physics for Life Sciences Majors: Mechanics and Energy

Joshua Samani

Physics for Life Sciences Majors: Mechanics and Energy

Physics department

Joshua Samani

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from 30 users

Ratings

Bad
Overall 3.8
Good
Hard
Easiness of class 2.5
Easy
Heavy
Workload 2.5
Light
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.2
Clear
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.2
Helpful
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Tags

  • Is Podcasted
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Tough Tests
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Has Group Projects
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Would Take Again

Grades

Fall 2018
19.3%
16.1%
12.9%
9.7%
6.4%
3.2%
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.

Fall 2017
35.9%
29.9%
23.9%
17.9%
12.0%
6.0%
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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1 of 3

Reviews

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 26, 2018 Grade Received: A-

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.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted Jan. 7, 2019 Grade Received: A+

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.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted Aug. 7, 2019 Grade Received: B+

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.

Quarter Taken: Fall 2018 Submitted Aug. 3, 2019 Grade Received: C+

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

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 30, 2019 Grade Received: A+

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.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 23, 2019 Grade Received: A

Loved this class. Samani is an excellent professor and I wish he taught the rest of my physics courses. He will answer all questions to the best of his ability and will never make you feel dumb for asking a question. He really values his students' learning. His class is bruincast but has clickers. Lecture notes are extremely useful and he uses examples in his class that are always useful when I study for his exams. I studied hard and did decently on all the exams. His practice tests are very good to use as study material before exams. If you took physics in high school, you should have a pretty solid foundation (even if you failed the AP like I did haha). Overall, this professor is amazing and the class is set up so that it is very engaging.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 19, 2019 Grade Received: A

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.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 17, 2019 Grade Received: A

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.

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted May 23, 2019 Grade Received: A+

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!

Quarter Taken: Winter 2019 Submitted April 16, 2019 Grade Received: B+

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.

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Tags

  • Is Podcasted
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Tough Tests
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Uses Slides
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Often Funny
  • Participation Matters
  • Has Group Projects
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Would Take Again
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