Based on 6 Users
Silkworth is currently my favorite professor in the biochemistry department. Between 153A and 153C, I would say that I enjoyed 153B the most. However, there is SOOOOO much material that's taught in this course. It literally takes the central dogma (DNA --> RNA ---> Proteins) and tells you EVERYTHING about it.
The trick to doing well in this course is very simple: Answer all the "what you should know" questions slides in the powerpoint. Do that, and ur pretty much golden for the exams. you don't need to attend any office hours (I didn't even once) or redo the clicker questions. And the best way to answer those "what you should know" questions is to record each lecture on your phone. After class, re-listen to the lectures, and use the recordings to answer the "what you should know" questions. I knew from previous students that this course was going to be hard, so I prepared myself. Going to tutorial also helps as well, cause silkworth dumbs the concepts down in tutorial. Make sure not to lose points over dumb things, like not attending discussion, or not taking the CCLE quizzes seriously (the answers to the CCLE quizzes are from lecture btw), or not doing the clickers.
Don't think you can study all the material for this class 2 days before the exam. It ain't happening. Study the slides a bit each day (literally no more than 1 hour), and you will be fine. The average for both midterms was around 75%; for the exams, you will definitely need the whole time length, so be ready in that regard. I'm pretty sure this class is curved to having the average be a B/B+, so don't worry too much about it. Good luck to you all
This is my first Bruinwalk review, and the reason I'm writing it is because I feel like more people should know about Prof Silkworth. This class was super interesting and hard as hell! but Prof Silkworth is so into biochem that it's hard not to catch his enthusiasm. Don't freak out if you bomb your first midterm. Even though he doesn't technically curve the class, he does scale your grades and offers a good amount of extra credit if the class collectively does poorly on a test. I studied my ass off, but was honestly floored when I got my final grade. A couple things:
GO to office hours!! I know everyone says that, but seriously, go to his office hours. Lecture can be rushed due to the sheer amount of info, but office hours let you actually take time to go over difficult topics.
Worry less about the problem sets and more about what he says to focus on in class. I started recording his lectures in case I missed something and it really helped, because he constantly drops hints about what to study. Focus on those problems in the sets.
Do get the textbook. An older version is fine, but it just really helps to get that extra clarification on mechanisms and additional diagrams. I'm pretty visual and the textbook has lots of that.
Finally, don't get too caught up with your grade. Just study hard and participate, and I think he recognizes that. You may be pleasantly surprised. Good luck!
I've never left a review before on Bruinwalk, but came on here just to leave one for him. He's an incredible professor and if any of you are ever lucky to get the opportunity to take a class with him, please do it. He's incredibly intelligent, engaging, and humorous. He always walks into class every day with so much enthusiasm. It was so sweet to see him walk into class every day and greet us so happily. Sometimes, the class was recovering from a break or midterm week and weren't so cheerful in response, but he'd still keep his same energy. I would recommend going to his OHs. My plan was to attend as many as I could, but my schedule was hectic in the quarter and I really couldn't go at all. The topics I reviewed with him 1 on 1 in his office were the questions I got nearly all the points on on the midterms (~15 points each). Give him time to explain things, ask him questions in class. Ask him to repeat things. All of this will be so helpful in getting a good grade in this class and I know he's more than happy to repeat himself. He really loves this stuff and is gonna make you like the subject too if you give him a chance. It's really nice to run across a professor that makes a "scary" class feel so welcoming.
Class is usually 5 days a week during the regular quarter, 2 are tutorial. I recommend going to all of the tutorial sessions because they really do help. He lectures off of slides and posts all of the slides online. I recommend audio-recording the lectures to listen to them afterwards, he often makes note of the things that are most important for the exams. He LOVES regulation, so really understand why pathways happen and when/why they'd slow down/stop. Understanding pathways like that will help you be successful in his class. He does run through the slides rather fast, but I just think it's because his brain works so fast lol. TAKE HIS CLASS! and participate! His exams are challenging, but, as weird as it sounds, they're almost fun. If you feel the exams are TOO difficult, it's okay because the avg gets curved to a ~ B. Talk to your classmates and share resources because as long as you guys are on the same page, I think you'll do fine.
Silkworth is a decent lecturer; he basically teaches off of powerpoint slides and does not expect students to know something way beyond the scope of the course. He definitely cares a lot about student learning, and is willing to answer questions multiple times if students are confused. His tutorial sections are run as group office hours, in that he basically opens up the class to ask him any questions they have. Parts of this can be useful, but honestly, I found that half of the time I did not really pay attention because either (1) I was behind in studying and couldn't understand the topics discussed or (2) the topics discussed were beyond the scope of the course.
The exams are pretty fair, but beware that the two midterms can be time crunches as there were about 6 questions to finish in 50 mins. The final was definitely harder, but still reasonable, and he pushed us to apply concepts in new and original questions. Before each exam, he will give a list of exam review topics to study - focus on these as opposed to trying to do problem sets/memorizing everything/etc.
In terms of material, I honestly did not enjoy it too much because I enjoy chem more than bio, but this class is great for those who love the central dogma, as you go in great depths learning about DNA and RNA.
Also, Silkworth states in the syllabus that he grades according to an adjusted straight scale (i.e. A- is set at 88-92%); I'm pretty sure he ended up curving though, so don't worry too much about your grade.
In summary, Silkworth's a decent lecturer, but sometimes you'll have to ask him a few times to repeat things because it might not have been explained clearly at first.