Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
Well. How should I begin? As an IR concentration student, having taken quite a lot of international relations classes already, I thought this class would be another fascinating and exciting class, especially as it involves one of the most exciting periods for IR: Cold War. Well, I guess I was wrong. Of all the classes I have taken so far, this is the only class that I decided to leave a comment for. After being deceived by a post on Reddit as well as a previous review from the earlier quarter, I thought this class would be great and interesting. But, I was wrong. Like many others who took the class in Winter of 2020, I am frustrated by the disorganized structure of the class, forcing us to commit our time and efforts to accommodate with him. As we all know, winter of 2020 was a difficult time for many of us due the unfortunate public health crisis. Well, instead of alleviating the stress for his students, he made sure that both the final and the final papers are being graded tougher, as he claims that "we had more time". Okay, that is fine, but I do not understand why he made us to purchase all these pricey materials, when very little of the materials were incorporated on the exams. In addition, I have no idea how most of us got such a low final grade. For me, my midterm score was 96%, and I scored full score for all quizzes. I also completed the extra credit quiz. Yet, after both the final exam where I scored a 90% and the final paper where I scored 88%, I end up receiving a B+ for the overall class grade. This is absurd, because while other professors have made the class fairly accommodating, he made the class harder by curving under a b.s. scale. If you guys still want to take this class, fine. But do not come back and complain about it as many of the Winter 2020 students have already provided warnings regarding the class. If I had known that earlier, I would not have given up my 3.8ish GPA for this class, especially during my last quarter. This is absurd and insane. Screw this class.
I haven't gotten an A- in a single political science class at UCLA (I'm a last quarter senior) and I got an A- in Berenji's class if that tells you something. The class concepts are cool but the amount of historical content he requires you to know for the midterm and final is absurd. It's more history than political science. His lectures are super disorganized with no clear historical chronological timeline.
Side note: he was the only professor during the Coronavirus crisis out of my four professors that did not cancel their final. Despite the political science department and academic senate encouraging professors to cancel their finals, Berenji did not.
Very disorganized/boring lecturer, and was late for EVERY SINGLE lecture. Midterm and Final were very difficult, and he grades very hard too. Avoid this class.
I initially had super high hopes for this class. The Cold War and the post-Cold War period are suppose to be two of the most interesting periods of history, yet Professor Berenji somehow managed to make it so unexciting. He is extremely disorganized and his lectures do not have any structure whatsoever which makes the class extra hard because it covers so much history. Studying for the exams were so tedious, the study guide he provided was completely useless and the amount of information we had to cram was so insane. The textbooks and reading materials costed so much and I barely even used it. I was totally deceived from that one review someone else from the previous quarter because this class is not great at all and he's the worst teacher I've ever had.
Honestly, one of the least accommodating professors I have ever had. At first he seemed to care about his students, but in comparison with other professors, is very tough and inflexible. As for the content of the class, he jumped around and sometimes was hard to follow. The information wasn't hard in itself but he often went off on tangents and in the end, I killed myself trying to memorize all the information when it wasn't even relevant for the tests. Wouldn't take again nor would I recommend to anyone.
I normally don't write reviews but I felt like I should so that people will be warned that professor Berenji is absolutely the worst lecturer and professor ever. Not only does he show up late to every single class, but his lectures are so dry that you actually cannot keep your eyes open for a minute longer. So because he comes in 15 minutes late, he has to rush through the entire lecture leaving students with almost zero material to write down because it just becomes impossible follow along. He needs to get his shit together because not only did I learn nothing but I realized my interest in international relations decreased so much, to the point I changed my concentration to something else. Berenji is not accommodating whatsoever. The end of winter 2020 was the beginning of the coronavirus... other professor's made the final optional but he just did not want to make it suitable for any student at all. He said he would curve the midterm but honestly it was like 2 points which was a freaking joke for all the students who did bad on the test, so it actually made no difference at all. This class along with Berenji is an absolute joke. I took this class because I read the reviews and everybody seemed to love him, so I thought the overall class would be decent but it was not at all. Oh and the textbooks were so expensive and almost absolutely useless. Don't get me wrong, he is a nice person but that does not matter when he is a harsh grader. Him being kind doesn't determine my grade therefore, I don't really care how nice he is especially since he gives pointless lectures. He is by all means a terrible teacher because he cannot teach the required course. If you want to take a history class, take this because this felt more like a history class than a political science one. And if you want to ruin your GPA, take this class because you definitely will. Otherwise, STAY AWAY!!!
I don't usually leave reviews on bruinwalk but I feel really strongly about this class that I had to. This is hands down the absolute worst class I have ever taken at UCLA. Berenji has completely ruined international relations for me. His lectures are so DRY and boring. Trust me, I've had my fair share of monotone professors but none of them can make a lecture has dull as Berenji. I went to every class and he was late every single time. It's like he has no respect for our time (like with the amount I'm paying for college the least he can do is to show up on time for class). ALSO, the workload in this class is uncalled for. If he actually does his job and explains stuff concisely, he wouldn't have to make like twenty e-lectures outside of lecture. It feels like I'm taking an online class plus an in-person class AND IT WASN'T EVEN ZOOM SEASON YET. Just when I thought this class couldn't get any worse, he curved the midterm in a way that was super unfair. Basically, we had a choice of two essay questions and because people that did q1 had a lower average score he curved only the q1 up, which kind of punishes people who did q2. Moreover, I spent like a gazillion dollars on textbooks (one of which there is only a buy option and not a rent option), and the pages we get assigned definitely do not justify the amount of money we have to spend. Overall, Berenji is just awful at teaching and my interest in this subject went DOWN after this class. Please don't waste your time, energy and money on PS 138B.
Someone left a review for Berenji that I believe was not a true reflection of how he actually is as a lecturer. Although he is a pretty tough grader, Berenji is very informative and kind. He is enthusiastic about the course material and is willing to help his students out, just as long as they put in the effort and reach out to him to explain their circumstances. If you listen to his lectures and take good notes, his lessons are very helpful when studying for the exams. I actually found his reading quizzes to be helpful too when I took his exams and wrote my essay, because typing down notes for the reading quizzes helped me answer the study guide and prompts. TBH the required textbooks and CR were pretty pricey or weren't all that helpful to the overall course, but they provided some interesting background info on the Cold War. And, again, he is very accommodating if you just reach out to him and explain your situation. He's human too and understands that students have a lot on their plates, other than finals. ALSO, to the person who bashed Berenji down below, pleeaaaaase.... Don't even front like you got an A, you posted on 3/28/20 and he didn't even put in our grades yet
Shame on this guy! What an inconvenience not making the final exam/essay optional even when the coronavirus was (and still is) fucking everything up for everyone. As an international student, I was forced to flee back to my home country and Berenji, for some unknown reason, did not make the final optional. He added greatly to my stress which was really annoying. As well as this, he was always always 10/15 mins late to class which meant the lectures were rushed and unfinished. These lectures were also painfully boring so sometimes I was thankful he was late. He would then try and catch up every week by posting 'short' e-lectures that turned out to be about an hour-long each; some weeks there was more than one. Thank god for 2x speed. The 4 quizzes were completely pointless and added nothing to the class. The required textbooks were expensive and also pointless. The course-reader was also, unsurprisingly, pointless. I don't understand why he didn't just reduce the costs for reading, reduce the amount of pointless information he gave out, and understand that for some students an online exam and essay should be optional while they are trying to be with their families. Berenji might be a nice guy but this is the worst class I've taken at UCLA.
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