All Ratings and Reviews for Heather Tienson
Dr. Tienson changed up how she runs this course. When I took it, it was graded as such:
-4 "quizzes," worst is dropped
-group protein brochure project
Let's start with the "quizzes." These are not quizzes. They are cumulative midterms that she calls quizzes, because they are half as long as the (from what I've read) god awful midterms she used to give in previous quarters. Did I mention they're cumulative? That means that not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 times...5 fucking times during the quarter, you have to study everything you've ever learned in this class. It sucks.
The final exam was actually less difficult than the quizzes, IMO. I remember in 153A the final was a big shock to some people. Not so in 153C. The graded exams are terrible all quarter long.
The clicker policy is a bit nicer than in 153A. Participation and accuracy both count; you get 1 point for answering and 2 points for answering correctly. You need to get like 70% of the points up for grabs, so you can miss a couple days of class no problem. This is nice. However, the class was podcasts, not videocasted, it's better to just go to lecture.
The protein brochure project was fine, but I would have preferred not to have any portion of my grade depend on other people. My group solely communicated via google docs and fb messenger. You don't really have to worry about this until week 3, and there are checkpoint assignments throughout the quarter, so the project is never a huge burden.
A few tips: find a way to distill the core idea of each lecture onto one page, and study those pages multiple times a week. If you can make a diagram of something, it'll probably be on the exam. You need to know how all the pathways are regulated. Seriously, regulation, regulation, regulation. She will test you relentlessly on regulation.
All in all, it's a tough class, but I learned a lot of information that I value.
Do not take Tienson she is not a bad lecturer in class but her tests are terrible and so picky that someone who only knows the study problems word for word will succeed. Her quiz and exam limits test how well you are good under pressure rather than how well you know the material.
Selling 59 total past Midterm I, Midterm II, and Final exams for 30 dollars. The exams start from Spring 2012 and end at Winter 2016. Some exams have multiple forms. I got an A in this class just by doing all of these exams and Tienson's study questions. Tienson tends to have patterns in the types of questions she asks quarter to quarter. Contact me at [email protected] if interested.
I need to start off by saying that the curve is EXTREMELY GENEROUS. I was thrilled when I got my A- in this class because I knew full well that I did not put in enough time studying the whole quarter due to work, family, other classes etc. That being said, I really disliked this class in general. Professor Tienson's lectures are okay, not terrible but not particularly engaging either. Tests were pretty similar to study questions but, like other reviewers said, questions are incredibly vague so you have to memorize the answers to the study questions in order to produce the specific answer she is looking for on the test. Discussion sections were useless, and I quit going after week 4 or so. The TA hands out a worksheet (which is taken from the study questions, so you can just look at the answer key on your own instead of going to section), and everybody works on it on their own. Everyone ends up individually asking the TA pretty much the same questions which is totally inefficient; if the section was more structured with the TA actually presenting material to the whole class, more content could be covered and people could actually learn something. Grading was slow in this class. Tests would take about a week and a half to grade, and we didn't get our grades for the homework assignment we turned in between week 2 and 3 until 2 days before the final.
The first midterm was a disaster and ended up being much longer and more difficult than she expected, so she dropped the overall point threshold for each final grade by 15 points which was very much appreciated. So she really does care that you do well and is not out to get you. The second midterm was much better, but the final was more difficult. So basically, the curve will work in your favor and you will likely pull a decent grade out of the class even if you aren't totally on top of everything, like I did. But as far as the class is concerned, it just wasn't great.
This class was definitely an interesting experience. Personally I think that the way I handled it was poor, so this review is also going to be a reflection of what I could have done to avoid the stress/panic that hit me two days before the final exam.
The first midterm was relatively easy and similar to the practice exam she posted, with an average of 80. I studied a decent amount and got a 93. The second midterm was a bit harder, with an average of 66. I half-ass studied because I was having a really bad week and sort of just winged it, and got an 82. This is what screwed me over before the final. I let my guard down and started half-assing everything after the second midterm (also because the material was dense and boring as hell).
So don't do that. Even if you do well on the midterms, just know that the final is much, much harder. I ended up getting a 144/200 and an A in the class, but it was too clutch for me to feel comfortable with myself. Make sure you stay on top of the material no matter how boring or dense it is.
Tienson posts really helpful study questions that give you a good idea of what her test questions will be like. They are repetitive, but helpful. When doing the study questions, pay attention to the little details that she mentions over and over--most likely, if you don't mention them on the exam, she will dock off points since she grades using a (somewhat) strict rubric.
As a teacher, Tienson was okay to me, personally. I complained a lot about her going too quickly in class, but honestly that's what BruinCast was for. During week 10 I rewatched one lecture and realized that I should have been rewatching most of them throughout the year. Watching BruinCast REALLY helps because it really helps you synthesize the material and pick up little details that you may have missed during class. As a person, I don't really know how she is but she seems nice. I didn't have many chances to interact with her.
Quizzes, homework, and clickers are easy points so try not to miss any. Do all the extra credit because it adds up (it saved my ass). You will need all the points you can get because it'll act as buffer for when you take the final. To be honest though, with all the easy/extra points she gives and her extremely generous curve, an A is completely manageable, especially if you try your best in the class.
Overall, I didn't like this class very much, but it's because I didn't enjoy the material--there were a few concepts I found really interesting, but for the most part it was meh. Personally this class was more or less chill throughout the quarter, but stressful as hell every time an exam was around the corner. But that's because I slacked. So if you don't slack and earnestly work for an A, you should be fine. Tienson seems like the type who wants to help her students succeed, I don't think she's out to get anyone.
1) many opportunities for extra credit
2) provides study questions that will help you understand material
3) does a decent job of explaining material
1) tests are more about how she taught than what you learned
2) heavy reliance on study questions is necessary
3) discussions are a waste of time
Tips to Get an A:
1) do the study questions SLOWLY and without looking at the answer key; ALWAYS understand your mistakes
2) flashcards are necessary for all the structures; pathways can be memorized if you review every other day
3) read ahead by skimming; look at headings and pictures before coming to class
4) take sparse notes during lecture; review and update notes by rewatching/listening to podcasts
5) stay half a week ahead with her study questions no matter what; it will pile up so you have to stay ahead
I will start off by saying that Dr. T is one of the best professors I have ever had at UCLA! Pls do not be scared of this class, it is very possible to do extremely well. i will admit that 153A was challenging af, but Dr. T made it enjoyable in the process. some tips for success:
1) get all points possible for perusall (reading assignments) and those 5 in class quizzes (honestly, it's just memorization so there's no excuse not to get full points)
2) midterm 1 average was around an 80, midterm 2 was around 66 (be sure to do above average, def possible if you really practice all her STUDY QUESTIONS and practice midterms
3) do the STUDY QUESTIONS (she uses concepts from the SQ for her midterm questions)
4) utilize all the Learning Assistant resources (go to the problem solving session and weekly concept reviews)
5) watch the BRUINCAST bcuz Dr. T can kinda go rather fast in lecture (most of the answers from the study questions are practically said in lecture)
6) STAY ON TOP OF THE CLASS (i know this kinda obvs but the more u study from the start, the more it will pay off trust me i started studying for the first midterm week 1 by staying on top of the study questions and going to the LA problem solving sessions... i ended up getting an 88 on midterm 1)
7) Beware of the final exam.....it is definitely the hardest part of this class, spring 2017 final was def a lot diff from her midterm style just try ur best on it (i got a 136/200 and still ended up with an A in the class)
Enjoy the class and Dr. T she's amazing and her curve is very generous (like seriously generous) Good luck with class...you are in good hands with Dr. T
This class isn't too bad so don't be intimidated to take it. Personally, I was really worried I wouldn't do very well, but I ended up with B+. The hardest part is the amount of information we are required to learn. There are four quizzes which are actually helpful in that they force you to learn things that are vital to the tests like amino acid names and structures. She does offer extra credit, clicker points, and reading points, I recommend trying your hardest to get 100% in those areas since it will end up being a big grade booster, but don't spend too much time on the readings since they don't help very much with preparing for tests/quizzes. Overall, it is an okay class that is required for some majors to graduate so just study hard and do the work and you should be fine.
Nothing could have prepared me for the final for this class. The average was a 62%. It's all fun and games up until the final.
The first half of the class is very manageable and easily understandable without putting in too much effort. After the first midterm, the material does tend to get more complex and detailed, so make sure you persistently put in the work and effort needed to obtain your desired grade. Tienson has an amazing curve for Biochem153A, making a 84 and above an A grade for the class. She teaches you everything you need to know for her exams and prepares you relatively well for the tests. Some of the questions on her exams are not directly from her notes, but this is because she wants her students to apply what they have learned in lecture to the test questions. She recently incorporated Perusall to her teaching system, but it was not very helpful to my overall understanding of biochemistry; just make sure you skim the readings and post a few comments to get max points (it is really not that hard to do this!). The protein assignment does get a little tedious, but work on it with a few classmates, and it won't be as bad as you thought it would be!
Tienson does offer a few extra credit points here and there, and although they may not seem like much (sometimes they are worth 1 point), make sure you do them because they DO add up and may help your grade!
Overall, Tienson really cares for her students and has a very admirable passion for biochem! All the knowledge she retains and regurgitates never fails to amaze me in class haha. Yes, I had to put in a lot of work and time into this class to yield good results, but it is definitely not impossible. Biochem153A was NOT the hardest class I have taken at UCLA; it was actually pretty fun and enjoyable compared to my experience with the lower division chem classes.
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