All Ratings and Reviews for Mario Picazo
I read that this class was an easy GE and took it on that basis, but this was not the case at all! The tests are not curved, lectures are dry, and it seemed to be a lot of information thrown at you on difficult subject matter (and for someone who is a humanities major, focusing on the dry subject matter was incredibly challenging). After the first midterm came out, I paid the fees to change my grade to Pass/No Pass because I didn't want this GE to bring my GPA down, since it felt that most people I knew, including me, were projecting at the C-B- range. However, Prof Picazo was passionate and seemed to be a cool guy who was always traveling, which made me like him a little bit. Personally, though, I would not take this class again.
He doesn't focus on policy; instead, the entire 10 weeks is about the science behind climate change. The class is graded from 4 homeworks, 2 exams, and 2 quizzes. He himself isn't very helpful, so you'll usually be going through your TA. The class got more and more boring as the quarter went on. The homeworks weren't usually too hard, but sometimes the TAs would argue with him about the questions- occasionally he added a question that was either too hard, not taught in class, or just literally impossible to answer. He is passionate about the subject and an overall interesting guy. He was very strict about us taking the final exam, even through all of the coronavirus stuff, which did make me like him a little less. It's unnecessary to go to all of the lectures, as he usually goes to fast to understand the material anyways. The best part of the course was my TA, Marco. It was his first time as a TA, but he was incredibly helpful. I think he was more helpful than what Professor Picazo wanted, as Marco would send us detailed tips on how to get through the homework. My friends with other TAs didn't have the same help. Marco would email us in-detail tips on the homeworks, sometimes going through step by step for problems. Before the exams, he would email us what topics would be on it a lot, and which we didn't need to focus on. It's unnecessary to go to his discussion (except for the first one), as he usually just goes over what was said in class, and he sends out the slides he uses afterwards, anyways. If you need to fill a lab credit, this is defenitely the course to do it. It didn't meet a single time, and just included 4 labs. Once again, Marco emailed people in the lab to give them hints. Overall, it was a decent course that covers an important topic.
Simply, this Class is easy, but the Class and the Professor himself are extremely disinteresting. There are 4 Homeworks, 4 Labs if you enroll in the Lab Class, One Midterm and Final, 2 Quizzes, one before the Midterm and one before the Final which is extremely helpful as it helps you prepare for the Exams a week before and therefore relieves pressure in the peak of the Midterm Season or the Finals Week. However, the Labs and Homeworks were difficult, especially the Labs, and you had to take help from your TAs. Grade distribution for some reason was very bad for Winter 2020 I don't know why.
The Professor himself is an experienced Climatologist and was actually a cool guy (he was a Tornado chaser lol). As I said, the Class and the Professor are very disinteresting and therefore you should self-study instead of going to the lecture (you'll save yourself some headaches from sitting in that dim and badly ventilated Franz 1178 and attending a boring Lecture). However, the material in itself is quite informative and will help you understand the current scenario. Overall, this is an easy GE but you'll have to work a bit for that A.
To begin, I should note that this class is first and foremost, essentially, an Earth science class, meaning you will be learning a lot about the atmosphere, wind patterns, the ocean (it is Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences after all), Earth's history, and basic chemistry. I was disappointed because, contrary to the name, policy makes up less than 10% of the actual course material, so if you're hoping to learn, in detail, about stuff like the IPCC or the Paris Agreement, this is not the class for you. Regarding class difficulty, I should mention that I do not come from a STEM background but I found this class to be very easy: contrary to the other reviews here. I've taken several notoriously easy GEs, and I think this one was among the easiest ones. I agree that some homework questions were virtually impossible to answer due to a lack of clarity but other than that, the class was very straightforward for the most part. This class basically had no time commitment during the week, as homework was due every other week and took at most two hours to complete. Studying for the exams took me less than 3 hours the night before to get an A on them, and all I did was study the slides with bold words on them. There is no required textbook, meaning that all you need to do to succeed in this class is to just study the lecture material, and you don't even need to memorize it. Just understand the basic concepts and you'll be good. I'd say a good 40% of the material is information you should already have if you've made it to college and the other 60% just builds onto that material. The professor isn't really helpful and you really do need to rely on your TAs, as going to your TA basically solves the impossible homework questions problem because they grade the papers and they'll just tell you what they want to see. As for the exams, they were really easy. Most of the questions on the midterm solely required you to know definitions well, and that's about it. The final had one super specific question, but the rest was fair game. Prof. Picazo was indeed disappointing because he did force a strict final exam with Respondus down our throats during the whole Coronavirus situation, but apart from that, he was a really interesting professor that knew the material. Take this class if you want an easy, low-commitment GE.
Great class! I took it with with lab as a GE. Keep in mind that it is 90% science and 10% policy; I took this class because I was originally interested in learning about the policy side of climate change, but that's not the case. (What do you expect, it's a science GE haha?) I would not say it is necessarily an easy A considering that only 6% of people got that. You really have to keep up on assignments because if you miss one then you're kind of screwed. Keep in mind that our class was a little different with the whole coronavirus thing so the final was also easier since it was no longer cumulative and contained less questions. The grading scale is 20% homework, 35% midterm, 35% final and 10% quizzes. It's nice that the quizzes are relatively low stakes, but the thing is that there is a quiz right before the midterm and one right before the final. That was super nice because that really forces you to go over material and get a head start on studying for the midterm and final. There are people who ace the midterm and final so they aren't terribly hard as in they are not entirely impossible to take. I would say that the questions are very specific. Professor Picazo is a super great lecturer and he makes it very engaging even if it's not your primary area of interest. I also like that there is no textbook which is nice financially but if you are interested, he always puts more links to articles relating our everyday lives to our class. At the beginning of lecture, he talks about current events with "images of the day" and how they connect to things we have talked about or will discuss soon. I like that it feels like we are learning relavent information! I only talked to Professor Picazo once myself, but he was very approachable and helpful. (He also has 93.8k followers on Twitter @picazomario)
So I had a love-hate relationship with my TA Marco haha. Like if you asked him questions in section he would say "that's not important" or like "I already explained that." Honestly, section was not super helpful at all and I skipped as much as I could. I really only went to pick up my quizzes, homework and labs. Sure I found him a little bit rude BUT he was also quite a G. He would send us emails about tips on homework and labs and would literally hold your hand through problems. So in a weird way, Marco was unhelpful and at the same time extraordinarily helpful. I suppose it cancels out like PEMDAS or sumn. He also sends out some hilarious, unprofessional emails but we're all in college so who cares if you send 1am emails. (You up?)
The work load was super reasonable. If you take just the class, you have homework assignments due every other Friday. If you take the lab, you have labs due every other week too. So one easy assignment per week is really chill. I would recommend taking the lab because it makes you master the material more, you don't meet during an extra time and that one is an easy A.
TLDR; take this class, you won't regret it :)
Do not take Mario Picazo's class. I am a non-science major and took this as a GE. It was a complete waste of my time. I skipped half the lectures and even the ones I went to I did not pay attention - because he is very bad at teaching. I would just look at the slides before quizzes and exams. His exams were unnecessarily hard and covered applications of concepts he'd barely discussed in class or in the slides. As a result, I spent a disproportionate amount of time studying for them.
If you must take this class, I would highly recommend Elizabeth Agredano as a TA. She made the course material bearable for me and went out of her way to help students with homework/lab assignments - which were also unreasonably time-consuming. She also made the best review slides and practice questions before the quizzes, midterm, and final.
I took this class as a GE and honestly Professor Picazo is a really nice person and helpful to those who reach out. I didn't do as great in this class, but it wasn't because of this course being too difficult, I just didn't manage my time how I should've. His class isn't too difficult, there are two quizzes, one before and one before the final and all the tests are multiple choice and pretty straight forward. He posts his slides shortly after lectures. Discussion sections weren't really mandatory, but they were helpful, my TA would go over what the professor had taught in the previous lecture and post her slides.
This class really interested me. Professor Picazo genuinely cares about the students understanding the material and will make time after class, during office hours or appointments, and emails to answer questions. I would take a class with him again. He is a very good speaker.
Although we did not cover much of policy, he made sure to give us extra information towards the end of the quarter through slides on CCLE.
Make sure you study the material throughout the quarter, as I definitely feel that would have helped me get an A, not a B, in the class. Make sure to read the test questions carefully! Your grade in the class is based off of:
- 2 quizzes before each test
- midterm and final
- 4 homework assignments
The grade distribution shown on bruinwalk is simply not true. According to the new distribution, only 6% of the class gets A. If you are looking for a GE to destroy your GPA, here it is.
First thing first, there are four graded homework assignment each worth 5% of your grade. The instructions are very blur. My TA grades homework harshly, and returns the all grades of homework and labs on Week 10. You have absolutely no chance to review homework. Second, it is very hard to concentrate during his lecture. Sometimes he mentioned important stuffs that are not even on the slide. Third, our final is online due to coronavirus outbreak. When all other professors give open-note tests, or simply cancel tests. We are taking a stressful exam on a lockdown browser.
However, Professor Picazo is a good teacher in a small classroom setting. He explains concepts in detailed during office hour. The concept of this class itself is not that hard, but it is hard to gain tiny points from assignments.
So please look at my grade. Can anyone else tell me if this kind of grade, D+, ever appeared in your life? This is so amazing. I think two other students and I have got the unique grade that the rest UCLA student body had never and will never receive! I mean I am a senior majoring in math and I took this class purely for an easy GE. He just made the class even harder and more complex than math graduate courses. He doesn't care about our grades at all. Just some facts to tell:
below C+ : 31.5%
You are very welcomed to his AOS 1!
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