Based on 63 Users
trash class honestly, they're trying to make it better (and I appreciate that) but seriously for 2 units I spend so much time writing up annoying lab reports and trying to get a god damn laser to shine on a god damn string for 2 hours. fuck I'm still angry about how tedious the labs are.
Anyway, pro-tip: a great TA goes a long way in making this class not a total nightmare. Kiera Fuller was my TA, and she's great, really helpful, describes things that weren't clear in the lab manual, and is overall a wonderful human being. She's also pretty lenient with late submissions (as long as you don't take advantage and submit stuff like super late all the time) and always helpful in office hours.
PHYSICS 4AL has been one of the most frustrating classes I have ever taken. The workload was HUGE even with the help of softwares like MATLAB and LaTeX (did learnt a lot of these tho). The worst thing of all is that my TA held a very strict standard, while the instructions of the report were LOOSE and UNCLEAR. I got a shit tone of points deducted from places I never expected!
Overall, the class tends to punish you for what you miss, instead of encouraging you to improve your work. That is just HIDEOUS.
Run completely by TAs -- never saw the professor. Unreal amount of time for lab reports. Labs themselves are pretty basic, but take longer than they should because the TA is useless. All grading is completely subjective, so most points taken off reports are for font/size/diagram placement not meeting the grader's preference rather than actual report content. BEST ADVICE: find someone who has taken the course and look at their graded lab reports to get a sense of how to format and the types of things you'll get docked for.
This class is awful. I'm required to take it to complete my physics series, and it's hands down the worst class I've ever taken. For it only being a two unit class, I spent at least 10 hours a week doing the lab reports (which are due every week). The grading scheme for this class is insane. It's graded on a strict bell curve, and you're only compared to the 20 or so kids in your lab section. My section was about 80% international students so I was screwed for the entire quarter. I also had an awful TA who had no idea what was going on in the class and could barely speak english so that didn't help either. If you don't procrastinate on doing the reports it won't be as awful, but plan on spending more time for this class than a normal two unit class.
Everything said before me is true; this class absolutely blows. Every engineering major has to suck it up and take this course, which is horrible, but there are some pros. First, there’s no new material, and the labs are really easy, even fun at times. You’ll become a pro at Excel! However, it still sucks. Curving a 20 person class is horrible, and the lab reports take an excruciating amount of time. Points are deducted seemingly at random! However, they’re not random, as they’re almost all for good reason, even if they’re nitpicky, such as not centering an image completely. However, they’re good tips for making really nice lab reports by the time you’re done. I wrote 75 pages for my reports for this class (single spaced), with the last lab coming in at 20 pages, and almost every one coming in at 10+ pages. I hope you like formatting really easy, tedious work in a beautiful manner!
As for my personal experience, this class wasn't THAT bad. I mean, sure the reports sucked, but they're not difficult, they're just time consuming. Plus, I really liked my TA. He was pretty cool, and would basically just tell us what to do in labs whenever we got stuck. He just seemed like a cool dude, and luckily, I was in one of his favorite groups, so he seemed to go a little easier on grading with my group (or my group just tried really hard). Did I really learn something? No, not really, but lab classes are supposed to be applications of material you already learned, so I had no problem with that. Plus, as long as you read the text before hand, the labs are really quick, probably an hour tops (the last labs take the full 3 hours though). So yeah, it sucks considering it's 2 units and you put so much work into it, but like a lot of classes at UCLA, it's very TA dependent. So just hope you get a good TA, that's really it. Is my perspective skewed because I got an A+ in the class? Yes, absolutely. But all of these reviews are skewed accordingly. So take everything with a grain of salt, and listen to all of these really long reviews from people who really want to give a full impression, like me! Thanks!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS!
Go to office hours and become friends with your TA. Grading is subjective, and if your TA likes you, then sometimes they let some of these small things slip by, which is good, because these small points differentiate your grade from your classmates’. Take this class at an absolute horrible time, either really late at night or at an odd quarter. Basically, think of the section that won’t have all of the try hards. Also, only take this class with one of your friends so that you can compare lab reports and have someone to do the horrible labs with, but don’t have too many friends because you want the curve to be in your favor (OR stack the class with your slacker friends lol). It’s also a lot easier to do this class in the summer when you have less commitments, and even though there’s a three day deadline for each lab report, I always finished in one or two days, and there was almost always an extension. TLDR suck up to your TA so they grade you nicely and hope you get a lab full of students who don’t care and will have their points deducted. Best of luck! Sorry you have to go through this! Also, I don’t know if this is right or not, but get a TA with the most sections. That way, you won’t be competing against 20 people, but 40 or 60 people. It’s a lot easier to do well when you have more people to bump you up in percentile. I’m not sure if this affects the overall grading distribution, but try anything that works in your favor!
4AL made my quarter miserable. The labs are usually simple but frustrating, and the lab reports take FOREVER. The labs have been changed from past years so that you start off with a simple homework assignment, and a new element of the lab report is added each week until you write a hellish full lab report in week 10. We also had to write a random research report for the second lab.
You start the quarter by spending ~5-10 hours writing a lab, and ramp it up every week until you spend 20 hours on a 5,000+ word lab report. The lab manual isn't clear about what you're supposed to write either. The grading is completely arbitrary.
Professor Campbell was a good physics teacher. He did his best to explain mechanics, and I believe he did his tests in a fair way (particularly since I did well). He gave out extremely hard tests, where the average might be a 40%. If you knew the material, or had this knack for mechanics, then you could easily get an A. I consistently scored above the average, but not outstanding, and I did well.
I feel like his lectures weren't particularly good, as he tried to explain all of the topics in 10 weeks, but ultimately it comes down to you either learning the material on your own as well as you can or having a knack or physics.
Easily the worst class I've ever taken. Unfortunately this class is required to get through Engineering. I learned a decent amount of excel, but that is the extent of this class' value. The labs take 15-20 hours a week and are incredibly tedious and repetitive.
The fact that the class is curved in your section is also extremely frustrating. You can get all 95's and get a B+ and there is nothing you can do about it.
This class is not worth the thousands of dollars it costs to take, in addition to all the time it will take away from your other more relevant classes.
Campbell's whole vibe with this class is "I'm trying to screw you over any way I can" - The other reviews say it all; each lab is a test of how well you can intuitively guess what Campbell is looking for because his instructions are vague and unclear. And even if you do the best job anyone has ever done on a lab report, he'll find a way to subtract ten points for "imprecise wording." Work really hard to get in the top third and you'll get an A, but expect to lose your mind a little along the way. This class really ought to be changed - in the grading scheme if nothing else