Professor

Nicholas Rombes

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Easiness 2.5 / 5
Clarity 4.5 / 5
Workload 3.2 / 5
Helpfulness 4.7 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Spring 2021 - Taking 1B with Rombes was all right. Although to be fair, this class is excellent in every aspect except for one - the exams. Rombes is a good-looking young man who is very passionate about physics and the student's comprehension of the material. Ask for help and you will ALWAYS receive it in this class. He gives out pretty solid lectures, and I think that the lectures are interactive enough so that you could ask any questions you have on the spot without fear. Regarding the workload of the class, there are two types of homework that you have to turn in: Mastering Physics homework on the Pearson website (the textbook website) and his handwritten PSets (problem sets) each week. The M.P. (Mastering physics) problems were supposed to be easier than the PSets, but throughout the quarter, it is often the MP problems that gave me the most trouble (and my tendency of starting these problems last minute). The MP problems are graded on accuracy, but you get a limitless number of attempts. On the other hand, it is evident that prof. Rombes puts in a lot of effort writing the PSets each week. They are exploratory questions that are often fun to solve. If you can't figure out the solution, no worries, just show that you tried your best. The PSets are graded on completion. Discussion sessions often have a worksheet that you have to turn in a day after or so. But the TA should go over the answers in class. At least, my TA did that. Jonah Hyman was my TA and he was literally the best TA that you can get (actually idk I didn't have the other TA). He is knowledgeable, has good communication skills, and is just so good overall. Also, the worksheets are graded on completion as well. The only thing that makes this class sometimes a stressful experience is its exams. The first midterm whatever, it's handwritten by Rombes (again, he really cares about teaching). It wasn't short, but he gave us 24 hours for all exams. Although I am not sure will that be the case once in-person instruction resumes. The second midterm was the bane of humanity. It was 11 pages. All of them are free-response. Many took more than 10 hours to complete this exam and there were a few questions on it that either required extensive thinking or just was too difficult. Professor did acknowledge the length issue of the exam though. The final was 14 pages, but it was not that bad after an 11-page midterm. HOWEVER, don't be discouraged b/c of the length of the exam or their difficulty. They are often a spinoff of the PSets. Plus, they are VERY generous on partial credits. Do make sure to get the extra credit from your campuswire standing, and also fill out the course eval. That being said, he did say (in his 1C course) that he is going to change the way that exams are written and the difficulty of the MP problem sets. So mayhaps this class is going to be more enjoyable than it was for me. Oh, also he showed us his cats so that's very pog.
Easiness 3.0 / 5
Clarity 4.6 / 5
Workload 3.1 / 5
Helpfulness 4.6 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Summer 2020 - Review I wrote on Reddit. Initial feelings before midterm: Rombes is not bad so far! He writes a few problems for the HW sets and the others are out of Young and Freedman’s University Physics 15th Edition. He is good at explaining things and he doesn’t assume his students know everything that he is teaching. One thing to note, he often assigns two or three dot problems out of the textbook which are extremely hard, harder than the questions he writes usually for his HW. Feelings after final: We just had our final on Friday which was not that bad! Both midterm and Final were 24 hours and they were fairly reasonable. Rombes does not curve the class, its based on a straight scale so that is something to keep in mind, but given that the average for midterm was 85% which was a B, i feel like the scale worked pretty well. Keep in mind that this was for the Summer Session so im not sure if it will be the same for the Fall since it was much more hurried (6-week course), but his class seemed pretty reasonable! How to prepare for the class: I think you should review the Electricity and Circuits part of 1B, as that is the focus for the first ~25% of the class (Electricity will be replaced with Magnetism in 1C, and instead of DC circuits you learn about AC circuits in 1C). For the rest of the class, you should read ahead in the textbook (Young and Freedmen 15th edition, chapters 27 - 39 is basically the full span of the class). Overall feelings: He was a great professor and for his first time teaching, compared to the previous physics professors I had at UCLA, I really liked him and his teaching style. His exams were not too difficult and had a decent average unlike other professors, which was probably due to the lack of a curve, but its honestly a confidence booster when you don't get a 20/100.
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