Chemical Dynamics and Reactivity: Introduction to Organic Chemistry

Shuming Chen

Chemical Dynamics and Reactivity: Introduction to Organic Chemistry

Chemistry and Biochemistry department

Shuming Chen

Add Review
from 18 users


Overall 4.8
Easiness of class 2.2
Workload 2.8
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 4.7
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.9


  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Often Funny
  • Tough Tests
  • Would Take Again
  • Is Podcasted
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Gives Extra Credit


Spring 2017

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

1 of 2


Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 21, 2019 Grade Received: A

Shuming is amazing! Organic Chemistry is not easy but she tries her best to make sure every student is successful and well prepared. She gives out A TON of practice problem sets (outside of the homework problem sets), she gives a bunch of practice exams that don’t mirror the exams but they do help you learn the skills that you will need for the actual exam, and she hosts WEEKLY reviews to go over materials that are taught the previous week. Her exams are extremely difficult, but she tells you so and prepares you very well for them. The average for the first exam was a B- and the second was a B, which in her class a B- is 70-75% and a B is 75-80%. I got a 109/120 on the first midterm and 111/120 on the second and i got an email from her writing to congratulate me on my scores. The final is a monster! I got a 131/215, which was above average somehow. She does give out 2% extra credit for your overall grade in the class though, so make sure to do Bacon and evaluations. In her straight scale, and A is 90-95% but I ended up with an 83.something% (extra credit already included) and she curved the class enough for me to get an A. Overall 10/10 would take again.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2018 Submitted June 26, 2018 Grade Received: A

Professor Chen was definitely the best professor that I have had so far. You can tell that she truly cares about teaching and she truly goes above and beyond to help her students-she provides problem sets, practice problem sets, sample exams, weekly review notes, and more. She's super helpful and nice during her office hours and her lectures are engaging (and she puts memes in the slides). I would definitely recommend staying on top of the material since ochem in general requires you to memorize a bunch of reactions and do a lot of practice problems. The averages on the two midterms were about the same, and the final was pretty hard. Still in the end, I think she curved the class a bit. I definitely recommend taking 30A with her if you can.

EDIT: After taking 30B with another professor, I'm even more impressed with Professor Chen. She provided such an amazing foundation for my ochem knowledge and is legions better than any other chemistry professor I've had at UCLA. She truly cares about your learning!! During the class, I didn't think her tests were difficult, but looking at the exams now, I realized I wouldn't be able to have the same level of understanding for 30B. Not even close. But it's definitely worth it to endure a bit more work in 30A to have a good foundation for the rest of the series.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 22, 2019 Grade Received: B+

Shuming consistently goes above and beyond for her students. I haven't had a single teacher or professor from elementary, middle, high school, or college as dedicated as her to teaching students. Her class is extremely tough-don't get me wrong, but she prepares students well for her exams.

The homework is more-or-less free points, and it's very similar to what is on exams. She gives two practice exams which are fairly representative, along with additional problem sets. You can also get up to 2% extra credit, but you'll need it. The exams are really hard, if you haven't noticed.

Most importantly, Dr. Chen herself does weekly review sessions in the evening, which contain even more practice and are highly useful. Her lectures are engaging, and very clear and useful.

However, only buy the modeling kit-you get to use that on exams. Otherwise, the book is practically useless; just pirate it as you won't read much from it.

Looking back after having taken Chem 30B with Merlic, her class really does give students the fundamentals to succeed in future courses. Her tests were definitely hard; I'd say that her synthesis problems were even harder than the ones I had to do in 30B, with over a dozen of steps compared to 5-6 max in 30B.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 20, 2019 Grade Received: B+

Chen is the best professor I've ever had and probably will ever have. She is incredibly dedicated to her job. She hosts review sessions every week and provides countless problem sets and practice worksheets that you MUST do if you want to get a decent grade in this class. This class is equivalent to the workload of 2 stem classes; prepare to dedicate at least 3 hours a day to this class alone. I went from a 97% in the class uncurved to a B+ final grade. The final is HARD. I studied for 2 weeks for that final and got a 56% on it. Overall, chen is a really great professor, but regardless of how much you study for the final, there'll be a ton of shit u dont know on it.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted Jan. 7, 2020 Grade Received: A

Chen went above and beyond to give us every resource to succeed in the class. Great professor but I think she left UCLA :/

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 26, 2019 Grade Received: A

Like other reviews, plenty of material to work through, and Chen is very helpful with lecture, review, office hours. The midterms were very doable given you know the core concepts + reactions well and do enough practice to be aware of any tricks/quirks. Just review concepts + reactions, practice, and the class is OK. The finals for O-chem tend to be difficult. I did wish Chen elaborated a bit more on reaction mechanisms and theoretical background.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 25, 2019 Grade Received: A+

As other reviews say, she is absolutely an amazing teacher. To add some facts, your final grade will be way better than what the grading scale says because the exam scores are apparently curved. Personally, I find the weekly reviews not as useful as I expected because she uses half the time for concepts already explained in class, but be sure you do the practice questions on the weekly review worksheet and read her notes.
And she's basically the enantiomer of Han Kuo-yu 韩国瑜, if you know what I mean.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 24, 2019 Grade Received: A+

Professor Chen is a phenomenal professor who gives it her all at teaching her students and so far is the best professor I've had at UCLA. She provides us with so many resources such practice problem sets, practice midterms, and practice finals. A textbook is "required" for the course, but the supplemental resources she provides for her students in conjunction to her weekly reviews is sufficient. However, the only downside is that you need to be consistent on doing these resources. You can buy an organic chemistry model kit, but they are time-consuming if you are going to use it for an exam, and to be honest, they are a scam because they're SO expensive.
Professor Chen says that her exams are difficult, and she is absolutely correct, but they are reasonable because of the resources that she provides on CCLE (with the exception of the final, which was absolute death; Average for midterms 1 and 2 were like a B- and B, respectively, and I think the final's average as an F). However, the curve on the class is generous so there isn't too much concern if you do bad on the final. In all, if you have the opportunity to take organic chemistry with Professor Chen, please do it. It will not be a waste of your time, and it was relatively fun and interesting.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 24, 2019 Grade Received: A

Chen is an ochem legend. Her teaching style is very white board focused, and she teaches the chemistry through a very proof based format. She hardly uses lecture slides, and teaches through a combination of drawing charts/tables and writing down mechanisms, explaining each step. Discussion was optional, and I never went since the worksheet and its solutions were posted online. I used the worksheet as extra test prep. The amount of resources we were given was the thing that separated Chen apart from other professors. Each weekly homework assignment was around 8 pages long and took anywhere from 3-5 hours to complete. But she also gave practice problems each week which was around double the length of the homework. Doing these each week made taking the tests MUCH easier, since she never threw a single curve ball on any of the exams. The first midterm did not cover any ochem, rather, it set up the fundamentals of what a molecule is. The second midterm and the final were both very challenging, and primarily covered alkene/alkyne mechanisms respectively. The average on her midterms were around 70%. The final was incredibly difficult. I got a 68% but she must have curved it generously because I still got an A. We also had +2% extra credit.

Quarter Taken: Spring 2019 Submitted June 21, 2019 Grade Received: A-

Love this professor. Terribly difficult class but she really gave it her all. Extremely engaging lectures - memes and puns included. She explains things very well in my opinion. She gives you tons of material to succeed and holds lots of extra office hours before midterms and the final. If you have 100,000 hours to do all of the material it’s an easy A (seriously she gives so much supplemental material). This class requires dedication for sure. That being said, the average on the two midterms was a C or D I think and the final was an F but she curves. Prioritize learning over grades and be above average and you’ll be fine. Go to the review sessions and discussion!

1 of 2


  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Often Funny
  • Tough Tests
  • Would Take Again
  • Is Podcasted
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Gives Extra Credit

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