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O-chem is not easy specially when you take it with Mascal. I had him for chem 30A and 30B. I got A\355s in both of them. I never went to his office hours and I never showed up for discussions (as someone earlier said \361 \354not smart\356). I must agree with most people in here. His classes are very time consuming and difficult. He is very mean and bitter. It seems like he enjoys torturing his students. He always has this smile on his face during the tests like he wants to tell you indirectly that it\355s the \354pay back time\356! He assumes that you MASTER everything in chemistry prior to his class. He doesn\355t go over the basics and when you ask a basic question in the class he gives you a funny look and makes you feel like you are so stupid! A friend of mine went to his office hours and he told her that she needs to drop the class and take general chem again! He is just mean.
He makes the tests so that only the best students in the class can finish them. His lectures are boring but very important because the tests are straight from the notes. You MUST pay attention to the lecture, although it is very hard to do so. If you want to get a good grade in his class you should do all the problems that he assigns and recommends on the syllabus. You should do the practice midterms and review sheets. Just doing all these stuff and understanding them is gonna take at least 50% of your quarter! I disagree with people who say he is impossible. I know someone who had two B\355s before the final and ended up with an A in the class. His classes are all about how much time you are willing to put to work. If you are expecting easy A classes he is the wrong professor and you are in the wrong school!
I agree with most people here. Prof.Mascal's classes are very very time consuming. I never went to his office hours and skipped through half of discussions sections(not smart!) I got A's in both 30A and 30B but I did a lot of work. If you want good gardes you must do all the homework assignemts, you must do the midterm and final review sheets, you have to do the old midterms. Basically you have to master everything. He assumes that you remember everything you learned previously in chemistry.
Oh, one more thing, if you ever go to his office hours for your sake please know what you are talking about. It doesn't take much for him to embarrass you! One of my friends went to his office hours once and Macal told him that he needs to go back and take General Chem one more time!
Anyways..He is HARD but you will learn a lot.
Mascal is a good teacher overall, but very difficult. He goes over everything you need to know in lecture, but that's the problem: you need to know EVERYTHING. It is very difficult to predict what types of questions he will give on exams, so you basically have to have a thorough understanding of all the material. If you are willing to really work, and want to learn OChem well, take Mascal. He is very passionate about the subject, but also very condescending towards his students.
It is helpful to know before selecting any professor that they all have "good and bad" traits. But Dr. Mascal should be avoided. Even though he has taught at UCLA for a few years now, he is not listening to the feedback students are giving him. He continues to hold an elitist attitude and speaks to his students with condescension, very little compassion, and appears like "he'd rather be doing something else!"
I conducted a very simple survey of the females in the class and the consensus was, for whatever reason, that he really doesn't like them and doesn't seem to listen very well. When asked to clarify a subject, he appears anxious, frustrated, and annoyed (even when it is clear that you studied, and just don't get it).
If you have no choice but to take him due to scheduling conflicts, etc., be aware that he is very knowledgable and could be a great source of information. Likewise, he is very passionate about chemistry and what you need to know, stressing what he thinks is important. The downside is that he may stress a topic in lecture that won't be on a midterm -- and not stress an important point that WILL be on the midterm.
The second caveat is that midterm questions are worded in elusive and vague terms. For example, he doesn't just say, "draw me X and show why it reacts that way." Rather, he will use words like "support this statement using arguments" which can be interpreted in many ways but means something very specific to him.
He will give you a ton of material to cover. My advice is to MASTER everything. Don't just read it and do the problems. To get a decent grade, you must master everything. This class is a HUGE time commitment, so be prepared.