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Please excuse any grammatical errors in this post. I put this little rant together in a rush after becoming quite disturbed by the previous summer 2013 post below. It is obvious that the person who posted below (8/10/13) has some serious anger issues and is most likely really really closed minded. Although, I myself at times felt the exact same way, it was not until I took an objective approach on my answers that I realized the true essence of Dr. Kim's teaching or art form. There are about three major things people hate about Dr. Kim's class before even stepping foot in lab. With this in mind, I will try to explain these "MISCONCEPTIONS" most students have when beginning his class in hopes of shinning some light on these topics.
The most common word on the street is , "I am going to wait until my last quarter of college to take 153L." What is all the hype about? However, after just finishing this class over the summer I can relate. I myself transferred from a community college and after finishing 153L I have to admit the communist prison approach in community college actually paid off. The reason I think people postpone this class is because you have to do annoying things that reminded of community very much of community college. For instance a protocol, lab report, quiz, and exam was always due the next day. Non-transfer UCLA kids hate this kind of thing. In the prison back at community college no one would have read your answers yet alone be even smart enough to interpret it. You might be lucky if you received a pretty dated stamp on your protocol or lab report you spent countless hours working on only in hopes that your Professor (TA's do not exist) would read, which never usually happened. 153l is survival of the fitness. Every little answer you scribble on a test/quiz, type in a lab report, and calculate on excel will be put under a large microscope. So do not hate the player hate the game. If you were to use UCLA in describing “fair,” 153L would be in the heading.
So where does the hard aspect rumor fit in? First, let me make it clear this class is not hard! Dr. Kim and the TA's literally provide every calculation and concept in a timely matter before you need to use it. This is not a "closed sourced" information class, everything is free knowledge and Dr. Kim does not keep any tricks for himself and neither do the TA's. The only few answers the TA's are not aloud to give are the grading rubric to the lab reports. But if you really wanted to know what answers the TA's are looking for in the lab report you can go to office hours. Who would of thought of such a strange thing?
Lastly and most importantly, people do badly in this class because they "cheat" or as Dr. Kim calls it, "stealing another persons hard work, thoughts, and ideas of organization." Lets just say there was a good amount of kids so far that have not received a grade yet this summer. Dr. Kim practically centers his whole class on people trying to regurgitate last quarter’s exams, quizzes, and lab reports in order to avoid other people having and advantage over others. I am not sure what kind of research or obligations Dr. Kim has but his major job is teaching and boy does he do a good job at it. For example, the 153A professor and Dr. Kim both focus on teaching but the difference between him is that he literally never recycles an old answers. Just when you thought the question could only be presented in one way he finds another way and never fails to disappoint. He challenges even the smartest student in the room while at the same time awarding points to even the simplest effort of reasonable thought processing if relevant to the answer at hand. His class is in a perpetual state of entropy and if your wasting your time studying last quarter’s exams he will find a way to throw you off in order to prove you really do not know your biochem. I mean the guy practically went to law school in his spare time while doing his PhD; if you don’t believe me then google it. He is one of those overachiever types but has been humbled over the years while teaching young students, which has only made him a better person he is today.
All in all, you cannot regurgitate answers on his exams from listing to the podcast over and over like you did in 153A. With this approach, you leave your exam feeling great, however, only to be disappointed. Later you soon realize that all that wonderful scientific diarrhea you expressed earned only a single point on a 16 point question. Actually, I had to learn the hard way in this class that it is not what you say but how you say it and not how much you write but how clear you can present it. The major takeaway is that Dr. Kim will ask a new question every quarter with a new answer in mind. You see it or you do not see it. The pencil will do on of two things: exploded with a verbal jargon of diarrhea or you will quickly jot down a simple, clear, and precise answer consisting of one or two sentences. Dr. Kim is constantly pushing you to new limits so if you have a problem then UCLA is not for you. Go Bruins!
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154 was one of the best chem classes I've taken at UCLA (wayyyyyyyy better than the o-chem labs for sure).
Dr. Kim was very nice and helpful. He was always around when students had questions. I think people should give him A LOT more credit for what he's done for the students and the efforts he's put into teaching this class. The course material ITSELF was hard, but Dr. Kim made it very enjoyable. The exams were not that hard either--they just require some thinking, which should NOT be a problem if you go to the lectures and the exam reviews.
I admit that, before taking the class, I didn't think this class would be any fun to take with Dr. Kim from the rumors I heard (and also the reason why I chose to take 153L in summer)----however, after the class, one thing was proven: you should never believe rumors (and it's not fair to judge someone just based on one bad quarter).
Dr. Kim was a great and funny lecturer, and I'm really really glad that I had a chance to take a class with him during my years @ UCLA. :)
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