Biochemistry: Introduction to Structure, Enzymes, and Metabolism
Fall 2019 - All the current reviews of the professor are accurate. I took her class because I heard a lot of good things about her, but her tests (especially the final) were harder then they needed to be. The tests were very picky on grading and weren’t fairly graded based on knowledge of the subject, but based memorizing specific key words to write in specific sections. Example: if you didn’t right the word entropy (even though you explained the concept correctly) you still would get the question wrong. I felt as if her lectures were also unclear of what was tested. Also not sure if this was only me but she’s not the most friendly in person.
Pro: very organized in lectures and lecture notes. She always try to make the class and biochemistry interesting. You don't have to open the textbook at all since the exams are based on her lectures only. Contra: Her exams are hard, partly because biochemistry is a hard subject. Tips: Study every week, do all the problems, study well for the quizzes, and always give yourself time to review the past exams.
Fall 2023 - Professor Catherine Clarke's course was really engaging, and I found myself enjoying the lectures quite often. She covered the metabolism portion of the CHEM153A, and I felt like I was really learning a lot. She held regular office hours (which were expanded before MT3 and the final), and they were really helpful in solidifying my understanding of the material. That being said, CHEM153A is a really hard class. This is the part where the memorization really starts to get to you, as you need to memorize all of the enzymes and products for the central metabolic pathways, as well as what molecules end up regulating the enzymes at key points. Another thing that made the tests harder was that it was never really clear what you needed to write in order to get full credit- often, I'd think that I only needed to write one or two things out of three or four, but I'd end up losing points for not writing down everything. Overall, though- it was a great class. I'd highly recommend taking CHEM153A with Prof. Catherine Clarke if you get the opportunity to.
Fall 2023 - Professor S. G. Clarke taught the first half of the course, which covered all of the protein stuff (think amino acids, peptide bonds, peptide conformations, protein folding and structure, protein kinetics and catalysis) as well as the section on carbohydrates. His lectures were really interesting, although I will say that the tests could get a little weird in what they tested- sometimes, we'd get tested on things that were kind of implied to be not as important, while not getting tested on what were seemingly the most important parts of the material. You won't need to buy any textbooks or software for his class- just using the slides is often good enough. Do keep in mind though that there is no cushion when it comes to your grade- it's all based on your midterm and final scores.
This is the only chem class that I have truly enjoyed. Clubb is straight forward. He teaches you only the things you need to know - the important things. Everything that he has taught me has come up on the MCATs. I am not sure how the other teacher (Bates) teaches her Chem class. Take Clubb, you will probably learn a lot better and understand the topics instead of having a chem teacher cram your brain with too much useless information. Also, you will get a better grade in Clubb if you just go to the lectures and pay attention. (he tells you what will be on the test basically and also, you can ask him "Is this going to be on the test" - great isnt it?)
Spring 2023 - Not a fan of this professor. Granted, this is a difficult course but, in my opinion, she's not really supportive of her students. Lectures were frankly poor, consisting of her hurriedly reading off the slides frequently ending class ~20 minutes early. Discussion sections were mandatory and involved completing worksheets that were way too long and way too difficult to complete in the allotted time. These discussion work sheets also had content not yet covered in class, as the time of discussion sections vary throughout the week. My TA would often complain that the professor was uncommunicative and vague regarding the type of content and questions that was going to be on exams and quizzes. Grading was extremely slow, although the curves were extremely generous for the exams. The exams themselves were extremely difficult and the practice material she provided was extremely difficult and mostly unhelpful as it wasn't really reflective of the exam. By the end of the quarter, only ~25 people were attending lectures (out of 250+ enrolled students). I and other people I knew taught ourselves through online lectures (shout out Andrey K on youtube!) as the lectures and textbook were to jargony to be helpful. I never went to office hours (which might have been a mistake) but her lecturing style and the way she answered questions during class didn't have me super confident in asking her for help. My TA was dope though. The only reason I did well in this course was through sleepless nights, youtube lectures, insane exam curves, and frankly, divine intervention. It's possible to get a good grade in this course, but its pretty hard. PROS: +recorded lectures +good curves CONS: -poor lecturer -insanely tests and quizzes -poor study guides, practice problems, and worksheets -poor communication about expectations for quizzes and exams -discussion sections largely unhelpful (can be mitigated by a good TA)