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He honestly doesn't teach, just reads the slides. My class was his first time ever teaching chem at UCLA so I understand he just needs more practice. As the year went on, he became significantly better at teaching us brand new concepts. However, he was absolutely unwilling to listen to students' feedback. The first midterm was insanely unfair (it contained all the exception problems and nothing that was reasonably taught yet, because he taught us the stuff AFTER the exam). The final was much clearer and I don't have complaints about that. However, we did have weekly quizzes which were only 10 minutes long. The problems contained in these quizzes take a long time (he took 1 hour and 40 minutes to explain two problems), and we had both of these types of problems as well as 8 more to do in just 10 minutes. When we voiced our concern with the time, he said "it is what it is" and that was that.... lol.
I don't think people's complaints about the first midterm are objective. Professor Toumari went over something that took up a lot of the first midterm the class before the exam, which is problematic, but he never said it wasn't going to be on the exam. When people complained about not getting enough practice with the new concepts before the midterm, he opened the homeworks for us to complete weeks earlier in preparation for our second midterm. I felt that he was constantly responding to people's complaints, as it was a lot of people's first time taking a college level Chemistry course and they seemed shocked at the possibility that they might not do well in a hard class. He gave 3% extra credit at the end of the quarter and adjusted the grading scale to help our grades. I think he should be cut slack as it was his first quarter teaching, but it took him too long to realize that his time management is poor and by then we were too far behind schedule. However, I would recommend that people take his class if he is an option for a professor because he has fair tests and is not looking to give students bad grades, like I have heard about some other professors.
I would like to start by saying that I did in fact take AP Chemistry. However, I took it junior year of high school and basically did not remember anything going into Chem 14a. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s necessary to take AP Chemistry to do well in this class, and the class itself was honestly not that bad.
I enjoyed having Professor Toumari as a teacher.
His slides covered absolutely everything you needed to know for the assessments. He also made sure to ask for questions, include videos and physical demonstrations of certain concepts, work through problems step by step with us, etc.
Moreover, Professor Toumari was incredibly responsive to student feedback. He extended deadlines when students complained, took questions off the quizzes when the diagrams weren’t loading for some students, reduced the weight of midterms, moved our final online in response to concerns about the TA strike, etc. You could tell he cared about our success in this class.
Granted, the complaint that Professor Toumari struggled with time management is valid. We were way behind schedule, and we only touched upon the basics of acids and bases in the end. However, I would like to point out too that this was his first time teaching on a quarter system and at UCLA. I’m sure he’ll improve with more experience. (Again, he never tested us on topics we never covered).
And yes, this class isn’t easy. The topics sometimes took a lot of studying to fully understand, and the quizzes/midterms were tough. I also hated having to memorize so much.
However, I felt like the class was at a manageable level of difficulty. The workload itself was light, and when I paid attention and studied hard I was able to do alright on the assessments. All of the extra credit also ended up bringing my grade up by 3%!
Overall, don’t be afraid to take this class with Professor Toumari. I personally would definitely take this class again.
While many people have already stated that the first midterm was difficult and we were not given the materials to study as much, Toumari was still a great professor in my opinion. After the first midterm, he listened to his students and provided extra materials and practice for the midterms and finals. I also felt that the second midterm and final were easier. However, I was definitely still not a huge fan of all the tests being multiple choice. In lecture I thought Toumari was straightforward and explained the material well, and also posted all of the slides for us to review. He also answered his emails very quickly. Overall I think he was a good teacher for first quarter chemistry and I would take this class again.
I had only taken honors chemistry in high school, and this class was really tough for me. The material was brand new to me, so it was really hard to adjust to studying/learning chemistry. However, I think that this class could have been a lot better if I had taken it with another professor. Toumari didn't explain anything in detail or try to make concepts easier for the same of the students understanding. He didn't really seem to know how to teach chemistry to students who were brand new to the subject. I felt that he left a lot of explanations out, and I really depended on Kahn Academy for my understanding of the course.
The textbook readings didn't help at all, so I don't recommend reading the textbook. The worksheets in discussion were also unhelpful and not worth your time. What I found most helpful was Kahn academy, youtube videos, and the achieve homework he assigned. If you can, take it with a different professor. One of the most stressful classes I've ever taken because I never truly felt prepared for the tests.
Another reviewer already went into detail for his class workload, so I'm just going to give some general things that I noticed. Professor Toumari will answer any questions you have, whether that be after class, through email, arranged office hours, and even during class if you raise your hand. Some people in the GroupMe were definitely frustrated with and complained about his style of teaching, but I think that most of the things that he did were fair. Yes, he did not prepare anyone for the first midterm at all, did not post Achieve assignments on time before that first midterm (thus leaving us unprepared/not knowing exactly what we were being tested on). Furthermore, there was the TA strike and it was probably his first time teaching at UCLA (given his inexperience with what to provide our TA). However, he does keep his promises and his office hours are very helpful. Toumari does not curve whatsoever. He once said during class, "I do not know what a curve is." None of us know if he really does not know or if he was just playing dumb for his dry humor, which btw, is quite refined. In any case, if you ever have him as a professor, make use of his helpfulness.
Most people didn't do well on the first midterm because we did a lot of practice free response questions during class and discussion, but did better the second midterm because more practice material was given to the TAs who helped during discussion. Midterms were 19 questions, so two questions wrong would already put you at a B+
He was VERY behind schedule. Makes sense because he's not used to the quarter system. Homework was manageable, just stay on top of it. Doing it helps with overall understanding of course material, and isn't graded that harshly.
-Toumari is a good professor and listens to student feedback. You can tell that he cares about his students.
-For homework, we use Achieve. It marks you down very little if you get a problem wrong. I liked our homework assignments because you get marked down just enough that it provides you with the incentive to try your best, but not so much that it impacts your overall class grade.
-All exams/quizzes are multiple choice
-The class is disorganized. To go into a bit more detail, we weren't able to get through all of the planned material. Homework assignments for each topic were also assigned a week after we learned that topic, but this problem improved throughout the quarter.
-Study resources could be vastly improved upon. We only got a study guide for the final, but having study guides for the midterm as well would have been very helpful. We got no study resources for our first midterm and our TAs helped us review for the second midterm. So, if you decide to take Toumari, try to ask for more study resources if this same problem still occurs.
-Weekly quizzes can have a strong impact on your grade. The quizzes would be more manageable if the time limit was longer, which would make things less stressful for students that tend to work slower or like to work out all the problems. Once, getting 1-2 problems wrong on one of the quizzes brought my overall grade down by over 3%, which can sometimes be enough to change your letter grade depending on where you're at. However, the quizzes are good study resources for exams, especially the final.
I'll go into more detail about the pros/cons above and how things went during Toumari's first quarter and my experience in his class...
Many students say that this class is only manageable for people with a chemistry background. In my case, that’s completely wrong. I took Honors Chemistry my sophomore year and AP Chemistry just last year and got an A in both classes, but this quarter was different. The material in this class is pretty similar to AP Chemistry, and I understood most of the material, which is why I’m both surprised and disappointed that I did worse in this class than I initially expected.
To start off with, the first midterm didn't go well for most of the class and the average was a D, but there was no curve to help compensate for the way that it brought down many people's grades. I personally studied quite a bit for the midterm and went through every single practice problem on the lecture slides, but I still did poorly because the midterm wasn't too cumulative and mostly focused on what we had learned in the most recent lectures. I had watched videos and reviewed problems on the topics covered in recent lectures, but I didn't have a complete understanding of it because for some reason, the homework for it hadn't been assigned yet. In the beginning, homework assignments were being assigned a week after we learned them, which created a problem because we would have no extra practice for what we learned until a week later, but by that time I'd forget what we learned and have to reteach it to myself. Thankfully, Toumari starting publishing the homework assignments at appropriate times later on in the quarter, and hopefully he'll continue to do so in the future. If not, then make sure to ask him because the homework can be a good study/review tool for exams.
Furthermore, we hadn't been given any study guide or resources for the first midterm. The problems I studied from the slides were mostly calculations-based, but the midterm was mostly conceptual. I believe that if we had better study resources for the first midterm and that if the homework had been assigned at better times from early on, many of us would have done better, especially since it was difficult to bounce back from the first midterm. We did receive extra credit chances for a maximum of 1.5% extra credit added to your total grade, but this did little to compensate for the damage that the first midterm did.
The second half of the quarter was much better. I can tell that he cares about his students because he listened to our feedback and responded by giving more extra credit and resources to help us. I think that if Toumari continues to give study guides for exams and has TAs help us review then future students will probably have better experiences than we did. However, I still think that the organization of the class can still be greatly improved upon, especially when it comes to getting through the course material in a timely manner, since we weren't able to get through all of the planned lessons this quarter.
The material itself isn’t difficult, especially if you’ve seen it before. Make sure you have a good understanding of the concepts. The lectures are high-paced which is okay, but he sometimes goes through examples before u get a chance to properly write them down. I think that it would be helpful if he gave students more opportunities to do practice problems in class as he goes through the material. Toumari's office hours are by appointment, but he is very helpful. TAs also have office hours as well, and I suggest that you come prepared with what questions you want to ask since there might be other students there too which can leave you with little time to get the help you need sometimes.
Toumari is still a new prof, so we should cut him some slack. He improved throughout the fall quarter by providing more resources and some extra credit opportunities, but they were not enough to compensate for the way that the midterm ruined so many student’s grades. I think that there is still a lot to be improved upon in this class. Therefore, the issue isn’t with the material or with the professor himself, but rather with disorganization and lack of resources.
Overall, I wouldn't take this class again, but I think that Toumari will probably improve when he teaches later on so keep that in mind if you decide to take this class with him. Good luck!
A lot of people complained about this class, but I liked it well enough. I had only taken Honors Chem back in high school, and I found the course to be doable if you paid attention to his lectures, go to discussion, and go over the examples and homework. That being said, I do think you should have a decent chem background to do well.
Lectures -- not mandatory and are Bruincasted.
Exams (2 midterms + 1 final) -- all multiple-choice; doable if you paid attention and practiced beforehand
Homework -- graded based on accuracy, but it subtracted only 5% for each wrong answer for each question (i.e.: If there were 20 questions in an assignment and one of the your attempts for a question was wrong, you lost only (0.05)(1/20) = 0.25% of the total assignment), so it was very easy to get at least a 98% on each assignment.
Prof Toumari was kinda disorganized in the beginning (which is understandable because it's his first time in the quarter system), although he got better with feedback and was very accommodating and approachable. He ended up boosting our grades with extra credit, extending deadlines, and changed the grading scheme halfway through. His dry sense of humor was also very funny.
I didn't really read the textbook, although I did watch a few youtube videos and asked my TA questions for clarification.