Michael Chwe

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Class Most Helpful Review
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CLASSES

POL SCI 30
Politics and Strategy See Full Profile

Overall 3.8 Easiness 2.5 Workload 2.8 Clarity 4.0 Helpfulness 4.3

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I agree with the person below me. Chwe's ratings are low, but that's mostly attributed to the material because it can get difficult if you don't go to class or don't pay attention. Weekly homework isn't too bad if you know how to get help and aren't afraid to get help. I struggled a lot with it in the beginning and even though a good number of my answers weren't correct, the T.A. still gave me the full point (0, 0.5, and 1 are the possible points) for every single homework I turned in. It sure helps your grade in the end, if you need a little boost. Chwe is very open to helping people and welcomes any question even in class. He's not bothered by having to go through the problem again and slower, which isn't the case for many professors. He makes jokes sometimes that I found funny and made lecture a little less tiresome. The midterm and final are structured to be difficult, but he literally has so many past midterms and finals posted dating back all the way to the early 2000's or mid 2000's, I forget. If you practice these, you should be well prepared. There's also a curve, depending on how the rest of the class did but honestly it can only benefit you. You have to be really, really lost and not giving any effort to get a bad grade because the grade distribution is really generous. The final was supposed to be 3 hours, but because 95% of the class wasn't finished, he gave us another hour and stayed. What other professor would even consider staying an extra hour to give students more time?? Anyways, Chwe is great in my opinion, the class is without a doubt challenging, but it helps that he's a good professor. Good luck! Go to class and start studying at least a week in advance for the midterm and final!

(Fall Quarter 2016)
POL SCI 88A
Lower Division Seminar: Political Theory See Full Profile

Overall 2.8 Easiness 1.4 Workload 1.6 Clarity 2.6 Helpfulness 2.0

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POL SCI 89
Honors Seminars Full Profile > 2.2 Overall 1.2 Easiness 1.8 Workload 2.8 Clarity 2.5 Helpfulness
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POL SCI 89
Honors Seminars See Full Profile

Overall 2.2 Easiness 1.2 Workload 1.8 Clarity 2.8 Helpfulness 2.5

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POL SCI 171A
Applied Formal Models: Collective Action and Social Movements See Full Profile

Overall 2.8 Easiness 1.5 Workload 2.0 Clarity 2.5 Helpfulness 2.5

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POL SCI 172
Strategy and Conflict See Full Profile

Overall 3.5 Easiness 2.0 Workload 2.2 Clarity 3.5 Helpfulness 3.7

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A very intelligent, kind, and fantastic professor, but don't forget that the 172 course is not for the faint of heart PS kids looking for that easy A grade. As a student who has excelled in other game theory application courses (I'm not talking about 30), I can say that Chwe's course includes some rather challenging concepts.

PS 172 is essentially an introduction to more interesting and fundamental concepts of game theory (in comparison, PS 30 is very very very introductory course that is taught through simple examples requiring no more than simple algebra and a little intuition). He teaches concepts that apply to game theory beyond simple political examples, making it more like a game theory course taught in an economics department (like econ 106g).

Grading is based on weekly homework assignments, a few quizzes that are scheduled ahead, and a final. Like his other classes, the actual grade distribution is based on a ranking of overall performance. I thought he did a great job increasing the difficulty incrementally. I know a lot of his PS 30 students tell others to stay away from him for this, but Prof Chwe really tests how much command you develop over the taught concepts. Homework problems are slightly harder than similar examples presented in lecture to teach concepts. The quizzes were a mixed balance of questions similar to those of the homework and maybe 1-2 variant questions that add a twist to scenario similar to homework question. The same is true for the questions on the final exam in comparison to those of the quizzes.

The point I am trying to make with explaining this is that the difficulty of the course is similar to the challenges students face in any math or econ course at UCLA. If you have this exposure, you know that while homework questions are good practice, there will still be some questions on the final that require you to apply concepts that you should have mastered in a new way. Your performance should reflect your knowledge of general concepts, not how well you can recall "boiler plate" solution steps while just swapping integers to the same problems you had in homework. As someone who has taken plenty of poli sci classes where it is way more important to know "how to do well" than actual study contents, I can understand why this may turn students away from the class.

To wrap this up, consider taking this class if you are prepared to challenge yourself and enjoy a struggle. While this review may sound intimidating to some, I cannot stress enough how receptive Prof Chwe is to helping students. There were plenty of people in my course (Winter 2011) who consistently struggled and asked questions. He welcomes questions and has no problem going back and rehashing examples slower than the first time he present them. Furthermore, the class is rather small, creating a much friendlier environment for students to ask questions and discuss solution concepts.

(Sept. 5, 2012)
POL SCI 179
Special Topics in Methods and Models See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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POL SCI 204A
Game Theory in Politics I Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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POL SCI 204A
Game Theory in Politics I See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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POL SCI 269
Seminar: Political Behavior Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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POL SCI 269
Seminar: Political Behavior See Full Profile

Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness N/A

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