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I really enjoyed this class because I have always been interested in ancient history (ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Greeks, Roman etc.) and we covered all this and some other civilizations such as the Vedic civilization, the Persian and Neo-Assyrian Empire, Qin, Zouh and Han dynasty among others. The professor went over the political and economic structure of the civilization we were studying as well as their religious beliefs, their culture and what they are renown for. I really enjoyed the class.
The grading is as follows:
20% Discussion section
30% Paper (6 pages)
100% of the grading is done by the TA. They grade your paper, midterm, discussion section and final so really, the professor literally just lectures.
This class involves weekly reading assignments which can be hard at times because they can be hymns that were part of a particular culture and for us without the art of deciphering such things, it can be difficult to understand. However, the 2nd 1/2 of the class is much more, straight up reading just what people during that time thought (Plato, Thucydides among others) so not complicated but can get somewhat dull. The reading workload at times can be a lot but there are also some weeks where is very little.
My TA was very helpful during office hours and will tell you what he wants to see on the tests and paper if you ask him. As far as his grading the best I can think of is Fair (Given it's Ucla). The midterm was graded harshly and low grades were given but the main reason for that is that the professor didn't give us a study guide from which to study so we didn't know what to study in specific. The paper topics weren't hard but can be somewhat time consuming. The final was really easy in the sense that Taback did give a study guide which essentially had the actual final in it. Both tests have 2 parts. Part 1 is short constructive response and part 2 is an Essay. The Study guide for the final had 13 SC response questions, 7 of which would appear in the final and 4 have to be answered in the final. It also included 3 essays, 2 of which would appear on the final and had to choose one of those to write on.
To succeed on the midterm I would say study your notes heavily and memorize as much as you can and when you do the essay in the midterm make sure to refer back to the texts read AND to compare what she is asking you to compare.
To succeed on the paper, definitely use the primary sources that she is asking you to compare and contrast and go to you TA to see what he is looking for. For the Final, really just study the study guide. DO 10 questions and know every part of them well and outline 2 essays. It will be time consuming but definitely worth it (I got a C on the Midterm but got a B+ in the class which was only possible with a 95%+ on the final). For discussion just make sure you participate and actually contribute to what is being discussed.
Overall, I think Taback is a great lecturer and I loved her class. If you are looking a for a GE that isn't too time consuming then this is a good class but I wouldn't necessarily call it an easy A since, depending on your TA, the grading could be harsh or it would be light but The class won't take too much time throughout the quarter, just the reading which if you skim like I did, should only take you about 1 day out of the week (maybe 2-3hrs, depending on how fast you read and how much you actually read). So overall, great course if all the Easy Ge's are taken.