Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
I really liked this class and I found it to be really interesting. There are two papers (4-5 pages) and they were straight forward and she gives you exactly what she wants to be on there. She even gives you the exact outline she wants it in. The tests are a midterm and a final. They were fairly easy if you pay attention and take notes in class because most of the material comes from the lectures. You will be fine as long as you study the night before or even 2 nights before. Make sure to memorize some important dates and have a good grasp on the timeline. There were a lot of readings, I did not do them and I was fine because she goes over the main ideas in class. I really liked my TA, he made the discussions worth going to and he really knew his stuff! So if you have an opportunity to, pick Jaimie Vela as your TA. Also there is an opportunity for extra credit which can boost your overall grade 5% so do that ASAP because that really helps.
monica is by far an amazing professor, she is both engaging and passionate about what she does and that shows in her lectures, that being said, you don't have to go to them, they're bruincasted, furthermore, DONT BUY THE TEXTBOOK, its not necessary. do the extra credit, it's very easy and honestly at least a bit interesting, the essays are straightforward and she attempts to make them interesting topics and whatnot and to some extent they are. she gives you a template and such and if you get it checked by the TA's you're practically guaranteed an A on those. anyways its a great GE and an easy one. strongly recommend
Don’t listen to any of the terrible reviews below. Monica is a great professor. Archaeology is not an interesting topic for me personally, but Monica tries her best to make it digestible. The readings are okay (if you choose to do them, not necessary). Although I will admit that the grading among TAs is variable for the papers, doing the 5% extra credit is enough of a HUGE boost to outweigh any of the damage a bad TA does. If you don’t know which GE you want to take, take this one!
I would personally HIGHLY recommend this class. I ended up with an A after not doing the extra credit (which is literally a 5% final grade boost if you do it early enough) and sleeping through a discussion section, which was a 1.5% hit to my grade. In general, I would definitely recommend taking this course if you need a GE (or are forced to for your major). The tests/papers were relatively easy for me, and you have a huge cushion for your grade in the discussion participation and extra credit.
Some key pieces of information:
-The grading distribution consists of 15% discussion participation+attendance, 20% the midterm, 20% paper 1, 20% paper 2, and 25% the final. There's also the extra credit. If you're a poor test-taker, you can make up for it with your papers and vice versa. The extra credit is also insanely valuable but involves traveling to a museum a decent drive from campus, which is why I didn't do it.
-Lectures are broadcasted. You don't have to go to a single lecture if you don't want to (although I would recommend it a week or so after your papers, so you can pick yours up). They were at times boring, but the professor tried her best to make it interesting. They were very clear, and the information was conveyed well. I was never really confused by her lectures.
-The "textbook" (it was really just a short book) can be found online for free. I did not do a single reading and was fine. There are some questions pertaining to the readings on the test, but most of the time, the questions were over articles (which were covered in lecture anyway). I'd say do the readings if they aren't articles, but otherwise don't waste your time (since the material will be covered the next day in lecture). I think there was a total of 1-2 questions on both the midterm and final where I thought to myself "if I read, I would know this."
-Both the midterm and the final were only multiple choice (A through E). The midterm was 50 questions, and the final was 75 questions. I got a 94% on the midterm and an 88% on the final with minimal studying. Watch the lectures while taking notes on them, and you should be fine. It was somewhat date-intensive (particularly for empires/civilizations and their key developments), but it was mostly conceptual with some minor memorization.
-The papers were graded by your TA, which means that you may get graded harder depending on who you get. I had Espinoza for my TA, and he seemed to grade very reasonably. That being said, I found the papers very doable (I got an 86% on the first one and a 100% on the second one). Make sure you're very detailed with a lot of specific facts from the articles, and use in-text citations when you do! The prompt itself is kinda weird (there's an overall comparison of two articles, and then you have to answer 3 questions), but make sure it flows nicely. A decent chunk of your grade is your intro/conclusion and overall writing style.
As I said before, if you need a GE, I would highly recommend this class. It was easy for me and very low-stress, which meant I could focus on the classes for my major. If you do decently on the tests/papers, show up to discussion, and do the extra credit, you'll definitely get a very good grade.
Overall, this class was pretty good. Monica tries to lighten up the lectures on a pretty boring topic with the occasional joke and the lectures are bruincasted for when you really don't want to go to class. Also, you never have to do the assigned reading to get all necessary information which is great. The TA grading was pretty uneven for the two papers, so try to get Jaime Vela if possible. The midterm and final are both multiple choice and VERY easy. She also offers up to 5% extra credit, so I actually ended with over 100% in the class. Overall this was a fine class, not a super interesting topic but we love Monica and it's an easy GE.
hard to imagine how I could attend every lecture, participate in every discussion, and study very thoroughly for the final and end up with a such a bad grade.
don't expect the professor to answer your emails.
do expect this to be another GE that should be easy but is graded ridiculously by TAs who seem to have a problem with every single person in your discussion section.
don't expect that your hard work will pay off in this class. if you're already enrolled in this class, well, good luck Charlie.
If u think it is a easy GE, do not take it. If u dont have interest in anthropology or archaeology, do not take it bc it will be a disaster. The stuff was so boring and made me fall asleep. i went to lectures most of the time but i did not learn anything more than my friend who seldom went attend class. The essays were graded harshly and although TA promised to help review the first draft, he got impatient and said that was all i can help by throwing me two sentences which were not constructive suggestions. Plus i got points distracted for both papers for the APA format. I swear that i checked the format online and even asked people in the writing center and did that following instructions carefully. I really wonder what is the TA's problem.
As a fourth year anthro major, I thought taking this class would be a breeze. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
There was 2 papers, a midterm, and final.
The grades I received did not reflect on my investment and work I put in for this class.
The TA’s graded their sections and the essays were graded very subjectively and who you had as a TA affected your overall performance. ( I had Eden)
This is the first class at UCLA where I had received lower than a B on a paper so I was very shocked to see my performance on the papers.
For the exams, they were way too specific and some questions did not reflect on the class. I had a hard as well on the exams.
Overall, do not recommend to take this class unless it is required.
Welp. I only have one quarter left... If I don’t pass, that’s another story.
I hope professors and TA’s take these evaluations in consideration.
The essays in this class are graded very subjectively by the TA's and Monica didn't care much when this concern was brought up by multiple classmates. It is helpful to bring your rough draft to your TA and get feedback. Make sure to memorize important dates for the midterm and the final. Some midterm questions are reused on the final, so review them. Most if the material comes from lectures, with a little bit from the weekly readings. Overall, not the easiest GE if your TA is a harsh grader.
Took this class fall 2019 as an incoming freshman and it was super manageable. Prof. Smith was nice and you could tell she genuinely cared about the topic and her students. Honestly lecture could be a bit dull at times, especially towards the end of the quarter, but it wasn't too bad. My favorite part of the class was probably the reading; she teaches alongside Lieberman's book, The Story of the Human Body, which is genuinely fascinating and very well written. My TA, Ulises Espinoza, was sub par (showed up to discussion late, didn't respond to emails, was kind of argumentative towards students), but discussion wasn't a big deal and I still enjoyed the class. Essay prompts were confusing and somewhat unrelated to class topics which was frustrating, but if you're an ok writer you'll get by. Midterm and Final are definitely a grade booster, just make sure to make a timeline and memorize dates even if Prof. Smith says you don't have to. Overall, if you're at all interested in anthro and archaeology this class is relatively interesting and a good GPA boost.
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