Biochemical Methods I
Chemistry and Biochemistry: 153L - Spring 2010
Pass: 0 ~ No Pass: 0 ~ Satisfactory: 0 ~ Unsatisfactory: 0 ~ Incomplete: 4
You're probably reading this because you HAVE to take this class for your major or for grad/med school. Professor Kim cannot be avoided because he's the only one teaching this class so all you can do is to just suck it up and do everything you can to do well in this class.
To do well in 153L:
1. Don't rely on your friends' old stuff. Try to learn all the material on your own. Go to office hours. Go to all the lectures. Know the manual inside and out.
2. Be prepared for your labs. Know everything you have to do. When you start working with LDH, you don't wanna mess up because your work depends on the results of the previous week.
3. It's okay if you mess up on quizzes. Ace your practical and exams.
selling 153L quizzes, midterms and lab reports
Professor Kim is a good lecturer, but he never gets through his slides on time and always goes over time to cover what he needed to in lecture, often asking us to just learn it ourselves. What you need to do in this class is to know the concepts inside and out, in every possible scenario if one variable was changed. The concepts in this class are not hard, it's just that Kim always likes putting a twist on his questions that makes things very difficult. The quizzes are important but they are not crucial for your grade. Focus most of your attention on the lab practical and the two exams.
I got below average on every single quiz, but I aced the lab practical and both exams ending with a solid A. Go to office hours. I went to at least 75% of them and they often helped A LOT. Go even if you do not have questions because the TAs are there to teach you and it's very valuable time. There are many pre-meds in the class freaking out about their grades but stick to the books and don't be intimidated. This class requires much more independent thinking than other chem labs, but stay on top of the material and you'll be fine. One of the most practical classes I've been in here at UCLA.
One more comment for the commenter posted on 8/13/2013.
Quote from you "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." :
While that statement is true, a "precise answer" is not what he is expecting. Have you even looked at the answer key he posted? Some of them are very convoluted and if you attempt to answer those questions in any different ways without using his "KEYWORDS" you'd be marked as incorrect. My friends, me, and even my TA all found it ridiculous.
I'm not here to argue with you, different teaching/testing styles fit different people, if he's for you then great.
To the commenter below:
It's really funny to see how you're writing a review as if you're writing an essay for your English class. Let's get real here, the fact that the class average is so low is not that the questions are hard, it's because he wants your answer to look EXACTLY the same as his.
I am the commenter below you, it turns out my official final grade is an A even my final exam is just slightly higher than the average, but I still hate his gut.
He simply doesn't want people to get good score at his exams, quizzes and papers. He told the TAs that "no one deserves 24 or higher for their final papers no matter how good it is", I don't understand this logic at all. This is not "challenging" the students, this is discouraging them. You obviously have no idea what an effective teacher is don't you? An effective teacher would not design a test that contains so much what I call "luck factor" and the test would not have a score distribution highly skewed to the lower end with very small standard deviation.
To be fair though, he does explain things quite clearly in lectures.
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!
I got an A for all 153 A,B and C, but not for this class EVEN I doubled the studying time for this class since this is my last quarter. Highly recommended if you want to jeopardize your GPA.
Kim is just ridiculous. The exams and quizzes are poorly written, you answers must be EXACTLY the same as the answer (i.e. contain all HIS "keywords") otherwise you'd lose all the points. That's why the average for the midterm and final are 37% and 36%. And in both exams only 1 out of 148 students got lucky and scored at the low 70s.
I believe he is the only professor in the chem department who'd expect students to give an answer that's verbatim of the answer key. This is NOT how you test people understanding of the material Kim, you incompetent f***.
I literally studied ALL the lecture material, ALL the problems in the problem set he posted and ALL the practice problems in the lab manual MULTIPLE TIMES, and I've NEVER EVER in my 4 years of college got a grade that bad while studying that hard for a single class.
Good luck guys, this class really depends on luck, not how much you prepare for it.....
1) The class itself, the concepts and the labs, are actually pretty easy. People say there's a lot of busy work...this class was not that much work...I don't know what those other people were spending so much time on.
2) Professor Kim is dedicated lecturer and you can tell he actually enjoys teaching. Personally, I feel as if he is one of the best professors I've ever had.
3) The labs are actually pretty cool. For your LDH isolation project, you actually obtain a SINGLE enzyme from a slab of meat!! That's pretty freaking cool if you ask me.
4) The curve is extremely generous.
5) If you can get an A, it looks great on your apps.
1) The tests are designed so that you cannot get perfect scores. (this is the origin of most of the complaints against Kim, but remember, the curve is VERY generous!)
2) Kim is a very, very picky grader.
3) Not all TAs are nice or helpful.
4) You may get stuck with terrible lab partners.
Overall, you're not doomed, so relax. It'll all be okay.
Dr. Kim is unorganized. The information he wants you to know is scattered throughout lecture slides and two course readers. The instructions between the course readers often conflict. He did not post due dates in a timely manner which made it hard to plan for the end of the quarter. Furthermore, if you consistently have midterm and paper averages that are very low, you are obviously not teaching your class very well. His test questions are vague and unclear. The quizzes were usually predictable if you knew how to analyze your data and do the math. The midterms were pretty long, given that you only get 50 minutes to complete them. Overall, I would NEVER recommend Dr. Kim as a professor. He's funny and nice but that's where the good ends! This class takes up more time than any other class you are taking, and is much more stressful. His lectures jump around from topic to topic -- basically whatever comes into his mind, he talks about it. He also consistently went over his 50 minute allotted lecture time by trying to cram too much information into the last five minutes. Some weeks he also expected you to know information for a quiz that he had not even covered yet.
The material is not hard. Dr. Kim is the one who makes this class difficult.
It is unfortunate that Dr. Kim is the only professor for this class. The only lab skill taught is how to use a pipet, which seems pretty self explanatory to me. I've had Dr. Kim for other classes, and I thought his teaching style was pretty good. But for this class, the material is boring and monotonous, the labs are miserable, and the amount of busy work is literally unbelievable. The class isn't impossible, but it is painfully uninteresting and repetitive.
He was an okay professor but he is super unorganized! He gives you a reading list that is super confusing that makes you jump back from course reader to lab manuel to course reader. Its so annoying. His exams are pretty hard and if you don't have the exact wording he is looking for you won't get the points. His averages are super low.
Similarly to some of the other reviewers, this class was by far the worst experience I have ever had. Dr. Kim was not a bad professor and the exams were pretty fair. His lectures were straightforward and were easy to follow. The quizzes and midterms were similar to the practice and EB problems. The two midterms exams were detail oriented. The free response questions were usually similar to those on the sample exams posted on VOH. Do the EB problems and the sample exams if you want to do well. If you want to do well on the quizzes, you should write the protocol beforehand because some of the protocol items usually make it on the quizzes. For the lab practical, make sure you write down the equations to calculate protein concentrations from protein and enzyme assays. Do not forget to write your name on everything because people lost pts for every page they printed out with no names. Additionally, people tend not to wipe their pipette tips with the kim wipe after extracting solution, which can lead to erroneous dilution. So do yourself a favor and take the extra 2 second to wipe the pipette to prevent the possible frustration from erroneous dilution. However, your overall experience in this class will essentially depend on your TA. My previous TA, Kai Lei, was extremely anal and his grading was not systematic at all, which is ironic considering the fact that accuracy and being systematic are emphasized. For example, he would take 1 pt off from a group's lab report for missing a minute detail from a figure legend, but would only take 0.5 pt off from another group and they did not even write the legend. Sometimes I wonder where UCLA get these asinine, egocentric, and pretentious TA. I did above average on ALL of the quizzes, exams, and lab practical and I do not think I got the grade I deserved because of my TA. They essentially determine your final grade, so choose an easy TA. Good luck choosing the correct section because your grade depends on it. Kai can go to hell.
He is so disorganized and his grammar is horrible. There are grammar/spelling errors everywhere in the course reader and on exams. In my class, he didn't make enough copies of the final exam which had lots of errors in it. It was just complete chaos. The labs are not too bad, but the class is extremely time consuming. You do work for it all the time. Also, at first I would try to take notes, but I gave up by the third week cuz he jumps from topic to topic and talks very fast. The only good thing about the class, is that he has a huge curve. The class is not impossible, but it is very frustrating.
Dr. Kim is an absolutely amazing professor. Honestly, if you're a science major and have been subjected to rigorous tests from notoriously difficult departments (neuroscience, phy sci), there is no reason why this class stands to be any harder. It's an extremely fair class and if anything people who I thought were going to do horrendously and come out with a bad grade still got at least an A-. The curve is generous. That being said, if you're worried about your grade coming into the course, don't. Take the class for what it is and instead of spending 10 weeks griping about how much work it seems, learn it and learn it well. It's worth it. Dr. Kim is extremely invested in making this class useful to your career as a professional - you might as well make the most of it. And while you're at it, get to know him. He's an extremely friendly professor and honestly doesn't deserve half the poor remarks people here make of him. I would honestly say he's one of UCLA's best professors... Other professors could learn a thing or two from him.
Make sure you get a good TA that grades easy.
week zero claim: critical thinking based course
week 1 to week 10: memorization based stuff
final week: returned ALL memorization back to him!!!
I honestly really enjoyed Biochem153L. I think that it was one of the most challenging, time consuming, but rewarding class that I have ever taken.
Professor Kim's class definitely required a LOT of work and a LOT of time. His lectures were VERY helpful, and my advice is that if you are taking his class, you take advantage of his podcasts and RELISTEN to the lectures.
He focuses a lot on concepts, so make sure you have that down. His exams make sure that you understand the concepts well enough so that, in his exam questions, he'll ask a question about an experimental procedure, except he changed some factor, you must be able to know what that will do.
My advice is to take it during the summer as THE only class that you are taking, so that you can focus completely on it. That's what I did, and I'm extremely glad that I did. Or, if you're taking it during the school year, take only easy classes along with it. It will require a lot of time and effort and reviewing concepts over and over again.
The professor is actually very organized and his class is extremely structured. BUT you WILL feel left behind and confused/lost if you don't keep up. If you want to enjoy this class and do very well (not just make a B), you must work for it.
I honestly think that Dr. Kim was THE BEST CHEMISTRY LAB professor in my entire ucla career. I don't know why people are complaining so much but I really think that I learned so much about critical thinking process of biochemistry and that Dr. Kim put soooo much effort to make this class more entertaining. He Genuinely cares about student learning because he spent so many hours to talk to individual student regarding lab practicals and final exam in addition to his office hours. He is really a nice person and the curve in the class is really generous. If you guys are complaining about him, take Bacher for chem 30CL and you would think your time spent with Dr Kim was heaven!!
Without a doubt, Dr. Kim is the worst professor I have ever had at UCLA. Yes, he is a nice guy with many jokes in class, but we are not paying money to see him talk about himself (which he does a lot of and even has an extra credit quiz that consists of mostly trivia about himself). He usually wastes the first 10-15 minutes of lecture and then proceeds through his VERY disorganized course reader. And it seems like he does not know how to check grammar or simply likes to abuse the English language, because all of his slides, quizzes, and tests have grammar errors. There are quizzes almost every week, but he lectures on the material that is on the quiz AFTER the quiz itself because he is always behind in lecture. Yes, he does make tell some funny stories and jokes in class, but again, we are not here for a comedy show. The tests are difficult, not by virtue of the material, but because he does not seem to be able to write coherently. The material in the class does not necessarily have to be hard; in fact, the material is not that difficult at all. However, because of his incompetence and lack of organization, the class is made harder than is necessary. If you can take the class with someone else, do so.