Ratings for Chemistry 1A
Based on 1535 ratings for the instructor(s) that have taught this course.
Comment: Assignments NOT helpful. He expected a "chemistry intuition" from his students and didn't really explain and how to develop it. However, his lectures were alright, and he shows enthusiasm as he teaches. Exams were difficult, just as the content. He is a theoretical chemist, which explains alot of Quantum Chemistry in his lectures compared to other Chem 1A classes.
Submitted Oct. 21st, 2016
Comment: Martin was the better choice over Theresa, but still not a good choice. He doesn't normally teach gen chem and that shows. He includes a lot more computational chemistry in the curriculum than the average gen chem professor which makes it a LOT harder. Lecture, which was dull and impossible to follow, attempted (but failed) to explain concepts while the majority of exams were calculation-based. Discussion introduced the calculations but was not really helpful enough. At least Martin is enthusiastic and less monotonous.
Submitted May 2nd, 2016
Comment: Apparently I was in the first class she and her husband taught gen chem, and it was the WORST THING EVER. I can see her being good with higher levels, but she can't explain the basics for sh*t. Lectures are dull, impossible to follow, and way too ambitious for the semester schedule. She has a very soft presence that didn't motivate me to stay engaged at all. I ended up going to her husband's lecture half-way through (they co-taught) but it wasn't much better.There were weekly problem sets that were alright but exams got progressively harder. Discussion was practically useless because it was *ahead* of the already fast-paced lecture. To top it off, one of my friends (who failed her class) showed me his notes when he retook it the following semester, and his new professor covered much less material at a much more reasonable pace. Ugh screw this class. At least the curve was generous.
Submitted May 2nd, 2016
Comment: The lectures are very clear, and the professor is very friendly. Homework is fair, and exams are relatively easy. One minor problem is that he occasionally runs into his computational quantum mechanics, which is very hard to understand, but it is rarely tested.
Submitted Dec. 30th, 2015
Comment: I could've AP out of this class, but decided to take it anyway because I needed a refresher and some additional concepts are covered, that being said, this class was not very difficult for me. I attended lecture and took notes, studied them, and did well on exams. Arnold tells you everything you need to know for the exams, but because it is lecture, you might not understand everything deeply enough for the exams, so make sure you can solve all the homework problems. Occasionally does cool demos. I have not attended office hours, so I don't know how those are, but Chem 1A generally has a lot of study resources available.
Submitted Dec. 18th, 2015
Comment: FULL DISCLOSURE: I received a 5 on the AP Chemistry exam in high school, but that was the year before they made it much harder. I took this class because at the time it was a pre-req that needed to be taken for a letter grade, but I'll try and approach this from a neutral slate. Majda can be a little hard to understand due to his accent according to some others, but I didn't have that much difficulty at all as a native English speaker. His jokes are a little dry and bland, but he's here to teach chemistry, not comedy. His lectures were informative and for the most part everything was clear. The assignments were very tedious and you really have to stay on top of them. While I didn't need much help, I didn't really notice a lot being offered, thus the low helpfulness rating. The exams were easy if you did the homeworks, understood 90% of the lecture materials, and glanced over a previous year's exam to see how you are expected to respond.
Submitted Oct. 20th, 2015
Comment: Let's get one thing straight: Professor Majda sucked, and Professor Arnold rocked. Arnold was a great lecturer, but he was inaccessible for office hours as there were over 600 students in the class. When I went to Majda's lectures because I couldn't wake up for the Monday or Friday 9am lecture, he was so dull and always made dry jokes, like "Oh, the coffee still hasn't kicked in yet, hahaha." It only got worse with Majda as the semester went on. The GSI was helpful in clarifying some general confusing concepts from the theory. But the midterms were brutal. The 2nd midterm was the single grade killer for many students. The only way to combat the midterms was by practicing problems in tandem with the homework. The online homework was ridiculously long at times, and the only way to finish certain problems was to find solutions on Chegg or some other source online in some instances. The final was just a killer, as I had no idea what truly to expect even after going to review sessions, taking practice exams, and paying attention and taking notes in class. Glad I passed the class, and can move on. But if I had wind of how brutal and grade-shattering this class could be, I probably would've APed out of it. Note: Lectures with Majda or Arnold don't do even a decent job of teaching you the material. I never went to office hours, which was a horrible idea. So go and do that first thing!! You've gotta be comfortable totally learning and reading on your own, and forcing yourself to practice problems from the book even if you just don't feel like it. Other than that, it was very eye-opening to what college rigor and difficulty truly is.
Submitted July 5th, 2015
Comment: Prof. Saykally restructured the class when I took it after having screwed over last spring's class. He was always super enthusiastic about teaching and was not dreadful at all. He also posted lecture slides ahead of time so that we could print it out and follow along. Assigned readings which I followed strictly at first but towards the middle to end of semester, I merely skimmed the book and was ok. What I will advise for those taking Chem 1A with Saykally is to study his lectures and the blackboard examples! He also posted previous midterms/exams prior to our actual exams and they were 80% similar to previous ones he posted. So study these too! Overall, he was not as bad as people have said about him in the past.
Submitted June 24th, 2015
Comment: Very enthusiastic professor who was passionate about teaching. He made the class more about mathematics and didn't really lecture much about concepts, which may have given trouble to students in the class with weaker chemistry backgrounds. The exams were straightforward and just like the practice exams, but beware of the C+ curve. Overall a good experience, but really work hard if you know you do not have a solid chemistry background.
Submitted May 19th, 2015