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Yes, this class is a fair amount of work; however, the knowledge that you gain from this class is remarkable. I am also taking MCDB 104BL and I have learned so much about research from Dr. Lee. If you want something out of your degree, take this class.
Dr. lee is great but this class was a whole lot of work. Challenging quizzes every lecture on material we hadn't covered, lab reports that took hours to complete and were due at midnight the same day we had lab, and a ridiculous time commitment. You absolutely WILL be in lab for longer than the lab period you signed up for. Be prepared for this. So if you signed up for lab on tuesday and thursday from 1-5, you or your group members will most likely be coming into lab a bit earlier at 12 on those days AND also at any time from 1-5 on mondays and wed (when the lab is open for the other section) to redo experiments so try to keep those times open in your schedule as best as possible. Even if you're skilled, it's no guarantee that experiments won't fail or mistakes won't happen. There's really no way around not having to redo experiments since the course is project-based and doesn't consist of discrete, unrelated experiments. In order to proceed to the next step in the project you have to make an experiment work.
Keep in mind you work in groups and even though you might not be responsible for a failed experiment, the whole group suffers. It's frustrating, but part of the key to having a smooth quarter is being able to work well with your group mates even when things go wrong.
The first week of class you get right into it performing phylogenetic analysis which scares a few people away since you're kind of thrown right into it without a clear idea of what you're doing.
There are 2 papers and 1 group presentation. The first paper is the phylogenetic analysis paper which is around an 8 page paper and is meant to prepare you for the second paper. The second paper is in lieu of a final and averages around 40 pages including figures which is to say it is a beast of a paper and depending on time management has the ability to really impact your other finals. These papers aren't hard per se, just tedious due to the amount of detail.
The class will be frustrating but just stick it out. As the quarter goes on, you adjust to the amount of work involved, become more efficient at performing experiments, and hopefully develop a sense of trust for your group mates.There's the UAs. TAs, and Dr. Lee all there to help.
I took MCDB 104AL with her. The lab was on tuesdays and thursdays but we spent EVERY SINGLE DAY in the lab often from morning to 6-7pm. This class required so much work that I couldn't spend enough time on my other classes. I got all A's in my weekly lab reports, papers and quizzes and I was 100% sure I was gonna get an A. I was shocked when I saw I got a B on myucla. I just couldn't believe it! She had taken points off from lecture participation, lab conduct and final research to get me from a definite A+ to B+. It was not fair and I just had to write this review cuz I'm really upset. Btw I had attended all the lectures and answered most of the questions she asked in class. 😒😡
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