All Ratings and Reviews for Heather Tienson
Just memorize her previous exams, and you can end up with an A
I took this class while most of my friends took Professor Gober's class, which honestly really made me upset at times. I would hear how my friends would get As on his exams and how they were understanding what he was lecturing in class. I will say this though: although Tienson's class is significantly harder, the exams are less weighted because there are clicker, quiz, and homework points so it's not horrible (1 assignment throughout the whole quarter lol). Also if you take a look at the AAMC breakdown of the biochemistry section, you'll see that she did a really good job including everything that they test. As a lecturer however, I think she's okay. She says "um" a lot which started to really annoy me after a few weeks and I felt she could have been clearer about a lot of things. She also got sassy/short with people if they asked a stupid question or if people were being too loud/packing up. Anyway, everything that she does test on is outlined in her (optional) study questions (which are really lengthy but if you do them it's worth it!!!) and she doesn't really blindside you. Also discussion and LA review were actually surprisingly helpful. HER EXAMS ARE HARD!! Our final average was a D+ and in her email she was literally like "great job you guys" ???
Needless to say, her curve is generous af which almost makes up for it lol. I thought the first midterm was the easiest and obviously the final was pretty damn hard.
30 points HW assignment
25 points clicker
100 points for 7 quizzes (3 worth 20 points, 2 worth 10, 2 online worth 10)
100 points MT 1
100 points MT 2
200 points final
(555 points total)
+maybe 10-15 points extra credit
A- was 82% ish and an A was probably 87%
I got an A by doing ~12% above average on each exam, 100% on the quizzes (I missed a few points on one but she gave an extra credit survey at the beginning of the quarter which can cover up to 10 quiz points I believe), 27/30 on the Pymol assignment, 23/25 on clickers (she only drops like 2 clicker scores even though the class is 4 lectures a week???), and I did all extra credit except This Quarter in Biochem bc I was like nah too much effort for 3 points.
TL;DR - Do the study questions on CCLE even though they are long, go to discussion (and maybe LA review if you can), DO EXTRA CREDIT. Alright but sometimes sassy professor, gives hard exams, but generous curve!!
Her curve is seriously generous. I scored 6% above the average on the first midterm, 2% below average on the second midterm, and 10% above average on the final. This was enough to get me an A minus in the class. It's important to get all the other easy points in the class. The extra credit she hands out really does help your grade. Spend a lot of time on Pymol for the Protein Assignment and try to take advantage of every extra credit opportunity. Another review said this earlier and it was that you can do average on the exams and still get an A if you do all the extra credit and it was true in my case. This class was not easy, and if you think it's easy you're doing it wrong. Be prepared to study so much for this class!!! Rewatch lectures, get your hands on past exams, pay attention to the study guides that she uploads. Good luck.
AVERAGE MIDTERM 1: 61/100
AVERAGE MIDTERM 2: 59/100
AVERAGE FINAL: (118/200) (59%)
FINAL SCORE: SOLID A
Her averages are usually pretty low.
There is SOOOO MUCH PARTIAL CREDIT AND EXTRA CREDIT!!
I studied for one day before each test and scored 62, 69, and 64, and got a solid A.
HOWEVER, I DID EVERY EXTRA CREDIT ASSIGNMENT. Some students don't bother with the CCLE extra credit surveys (totaled to 18 points in Winter 18), along with answering her 1-point extra credit survey on her final (I guess you could say this "wastes" about 10 minutes of your exam time, so it's up to you)
YOU NEED TO AVERAGE 64 ON TESTS.
DO EVERY EXTRA CREDIT ASSIGNMENT (TOTAL 18 POINTS, THIS IS HUGE)
GET AT LEAST 30/35 ON PYMOL
GET 25/25 ON CLICKER
AVERAGE 64, OR A HIGH D IF YOU WANNA BE SAFE. YOU WILL SUCCEED.
TRUST ME, THE CURVE IS CRAZY.
DR TIENSON TOLD ME 42.2% OF MY CLASS GOT AT LEAST AN A-
AND SHE SAID IN FALL 17, EXACTLY 38% GOT AT LEAST AN A-
IF YOU WANT YOUR A, AVERAGE 64 BUT MAYBE AIM FOR A HIGH D ON EVERY EXAM.
DO THE EXTRA CREDIT
This class is very doable. I think the most difficult part of this class was just the amount of material we had to cover; otherwise, the material wasn't very difficult to grasp conceptually.
Dr. Tienson is one of the best professors I've had so far. She explains things ridiculously fast in lecture, but she explains concepts very well. Unlike the previous review said, I thought going to lecture regularly and rewatching Bruincast was incredibly helpful. Lots of students complain about the memorization required of this class, but it's honestly not bad at all. They complained because they solely relied on the study questions and tried to memorize all the answers. I think the correct way would be to go to lecture daily, rewatch bruincast, do the study questions, and actually learn and grasp biochemistry. I definitely learned a lot in this class, and enjoyed learning especially the second half of the material.
Make sure you study hard for both midterms and stay on top of the material because the final is hard to study for given the amount of information we learned the whole quarter. I didn't do that great on both midterms, but I studied hard for the final and did well compared to the rest of the class. The final is totally doable if you study well.
My favorite part about Tienson is that she was a very direct and straightforward professor. She doesn't try to trick you on exams, and it's clear what she expects you to know. I highly recommend 153A with Tienson!
I need to start this review by saying her curve is SO GENEROUS. I got exactly average on the first midterm but was still able to pull an A in the class. While her study questions that pretty much everyone says are the most important thing, the best thing you can study for her midterms are her gradescope midterms. The study questions are a great way to know the concepts but a lot of times they are superfluous. The gradescope midterms tell you exactly what you should write for her tests. Also, since she posts her study questions that are really just an amalagamation of her past midterm questions, she obviously wouldn't put a lot of the same questions on the midterm or else her averages would be a lot higher, which is why you should put more emphasis on the gradescope midterms. For the final, since it was on Sunday, I didn't even have time to go over all the study questions not including after midterm two, so I just went through a bunch of past finals and I thought that was the best way to study and was a quicker way to solidify my concepts of stuff before final exam material. Even if you get past finals with a lot wrong answers, I think those were the best source of studying because since her final is much harder than her midterms, you can get familiar with the types of tricks and angles in which she asks different questions for the final. There ARE some patterns in her past finals. Unlike the previous review, her lectures along with her office hours aren't that helpful besides the clicker questions. It's a good idea to understand every single clicker question because they are a good way to understand big/important concepts. I didn't even bother bruincasting. The TAs Agape and Rachel saved my ass with the discussion worksheets along with the LA workshops which you should go every single week. I liked reading the textbook but I guess it wasn't completely necessary except for Michaelis-Menten which I think it's crucial to read that section in the textbook or else it's really difficult to understand that. Also, there's a word limit on some of her exam questions but honestly screw that because a lot of times they don't even take points off even if you go over the word limit, and if they do dock you, they only dock you one point at the most and that's better than just not writing enough. Lastly, I feel like this class was just disorganized because I didn't learn much from lecture, but instead felt like I had entire concepts shoved down my throat when going through her study questions.
My God this class was one of the most dense, time-consuming, life-draining classes I've taken yet. I'll try to break down the class in sections:
Tienson: Had better lecturers, I just couldn't pay attention to her during class but good thing Bruincast exists. I would sometimes relisten to some of the lectures and then it would make so much sense.
Grading: This class has 2 midterms, 1 final, couple quizzes, clickers, and a homework assignment. Pretty much got 100% on clickers, quizzes, and homework assignment. The first midterm was pretty bad as an average but I did well enough for an A. Same with the second midterm. The final was definitely really difficult but I did do above average.
Exams: The midterms are 50 min so you better hurry up. They reflect the questions on the study questions she posts weekly so just study those. The thing is, she's always behind so half the time, you wouldn't know what the hell the study questions were about because we haven't learned them yet. This is where TA office hours and Google really helped as I basically taught myself the material before Tienson got there in order to stay on top of the study questions.
TA: Without them, I definitely would not have gotten an A. Huge shoutouts to TAs Agape and Rachel. Take them if you can! Go to TA OH!
LAs: Didn't really utilize LAs or their workshops other than their review sessions before exams. They were alright but I found the TAs to be significantly better.
Final words: A lot of people kind of overhype this class to be "impossibly difficult". Don't get scared and already come into the class with a defeated mentality. About 20% of the class gets an A so it's not like this class is curved unfairly against students. The nature of biochemistry is just very dense and both mathematical and conceptual meaning there is no way to succeed in this class without buckling down and really grinding through problems and memorizing. Just as a reminder, you pre-meds should be preparing for this as it's going to be this dense and much faster in medical school for 2 years.
This class was by no means easy but was very interesting. I hated this class but at the same time I liked it. It's a very comprehensive class that encompasses basically all your lower division pre-reqs. I saw concepts from Chem 14A, B, C, D, CL, LS2 and LS3. Goodluck future students. Please try hard in this class. Don't pretend to "study" when you're actually just goofing off or passively skimming through study questions and then get salty that you didn't do well. You all have some degree of academic aptitude and discipline if you're a STEM major at UCLA. Use it.
Dr. Tienson does provide a lot of resources in this class for students to do well. Her study questions are very helpful since she's picky with her grading and likes you to answer things exactly the way she would answer them, so you need to familiarize yourself with the way she chooses to phrase things and also the concepts and ideas she likes and seems to repeat a lot and ask clicker questions on and emphasize during lecture because she's most likely going to want you to know those things for the exam. The material is not too difficult it's just very dense and she goes very fast in lecture. I found it very very helpful to relisten to every single lecture of hers, and take additional notes when I relistened to the lectures, it helped tremendously. After doing that I would start with the study questions. Don't fall too behind on those. Her practice exams are also helpful. Discussion sessions are not very helpful but the TA's and LA's themselves are so I would say go to office hours and review sessions as well as the LA weekly workshops. Repetition is really what gets you to succeed in the course, you have to really be familiar with the material. Also do the homework assignment ahead of time and the extra credit as well; don't leave things to the last minute with this class because it's time consuming and heavy enough as it is. That being said, an A is definitely manageable. Her curve is reasonable and generous and she does make it pretty clear what she expects you to know for the exams.
I really enjoyed taking 153A with Dr. Tienson... so much I'm taking 153B with her currently. If I were to give past-me a word of advice regarding Tienson's class, I would definitely stress the importance of the study questions. Those things are beyond important! Make sure you really understand the concept she's trying to ingrain in you because that's what she's going to be looking for in the exam. Make sure you get 100% on the in-class quizzes because those will be the easy points. Go to office hours whenever you can and do NOT underestimate the rigor of this class! The class is hard but not impossible! Good luck!
Tienson is not a bad teacher but at the same time she is not a good one. The class is pretty straight forward but you will need to put a good amount of studying into it on your own. This definitely will not be your favorite class but if you're like me you're taking it because its required. In other news I still have the book for 153A. It's one of those where you have to stick it into a three ring binder. Its still in the plastic and I didn't end up using it because I was using a friend's. If you are interested email me at [email protected] .
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