Fall 2021 - I wish to write this review in order to help those who will, must, or want to take Corbin's class in the future to know about the whole picture of this class, about Professor Corbin, and about his exams. Just a few words before I start: DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS if you want an easy A ge. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS if you are not that good at physics (no foundation, poor at physics, etc.). DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS if you are not good at math. Otherwise, you will SCREW you gpa. Just a kind reminder. - Grade Distribution: Five biweekly quizzes, each consists of a 30-point, 4-subpart questions. Every quiz is worth 12%, in total quizs worth 60% of your grade. Final Exam is worth 30% of your grade, which consists of five 30-point-quiz-like questions. Homework on Pearson is worth 10% of the final grade. Professor Corbin will replace your lowest quiz by your second lowest. - About Exams: Corbin's exams are absolutely DISASTERS. Those horrible quizzes, in general, have a mean grade around 58% and median around 61% out of 100%. Corbin never give simple questions like multiple choice or short answers. The worst thing is, not a single question has a number in it, which means every question he gives you'll have to deduct expressions with unknown quantities. Do the derivation and integration based on unknown quantities, which its difficulty is normally not suitable for a class like 1A. Final exam is worse, the mean grade is around 48% out of 100% (72 out of 150), median around 50%. If you are not that good at physics, you might find you cannot solve a single subpart of a question. Frankly speaking, Corbin's exams are so tough that your preparation through homework and lectures might be completely useless. For those who have to go with Corbin, I can only suggest you to go over his notes and lectures again and again, fully understand every single question on hws, go to office hours more often to figure out what you dont understand. Let me put in this way: Corbin's exams are designed for those top and genius science students or those with very very good physics foundation/very good at physics. His exams remind me of the day I was practicing for Physics Bowl and International Physics Olympiad Comp, that's how it is, somehow as as difficult as those comptition-kind questions. For those who have options other than Corbin, do it anyway. - About Lectures: Professor Corbin may be one of the best lecturers I've ever met at UCLA. His class is well organized and super clear. Detailed explanations and demonstrations on the questions and contents are very straightfoward, so even if you have no physics basics, you can definitely follow his steps and learn some physics in class (Well, his exam is another story). Besides, his class is also very interesting and intriguing. You wont fell boring during his class, and I can assure you that you can absolutely learn something here. And Professor Corbin is a very nice and professional instructor. - About the Curve: As far as I know, Corbin's curve is QUITE NICE. For those who can score a couple of points higher than the median every time, you have a guaranteed A. Here's our educated guess based on our grades and information: Getting Around 70%-75% out of 100% in the final grade, you have a very high possiblity to get an A (my friend got 78/100 = A in the total final grade), Above 80% is a guaranteed A (I got 80.6/100 = A, and everyone I know above 80 is an A through out the entire academic year). Overall, around 30 to 40 percent of the entire class can get an A, so the A rate is not that low. Do not panic if your score seems to be low on an absolute scale. ALWAYS COMPARE WITH STATISTICS PROVIDED. As long as you score above the mean, you will be fine. If you score above the median, you did pretty well and dont need to worry at all. If you score one standard deviation above the mean, then you are awesome and in the A range. - In general, if you are not that confident with your physics/math, or if you want an easy A ge, or if you want to get a good grade and gpa, AVOID THIS CLASS AT ANY COST. If you are stuck with him and dont have any other options, I would say follow his lectures and notes, spend lots lots of time studying physics, get some practice on the internet, and go to his office hours to ask questions, and I hope that every of you can get the grade you want. Good Luck to the future generations!
Spring 2015 - If you are not a genius at physics, be prepared to get your mind continuously shafted day, after day, after day. You walk out of every lecture dazed and confused, and pondering your place on this Earth after feeling like you have been beaten over the head with a concrete cinder block multiple times. His tests and final are like being burned with a skewer after spending so many hours studying just to see yourself fail. He has a good rep most likely because the top 10% get some sick thrill from being challenged. Even by going to his office hours twice a week and taking notes like a madman every lecture, you still feel like you have no clue what you are doing on his tests. Unless you are a physics major with some sort of deranged need for complex problems, avoid him and avoid suffering.
DON'T TAKE HIS CLASS IF YOU ARE NOT A PHYSICS MAJOR OR HAVE AN ABSOLUTE DEVOTION TO THE STUDY OF PHYSICS. THE GUY IS KNOWLEDGEABLE, BUT HE INTENTIONALLY MAKES HIS TESTS DIFFICULT MAINLY TO BREAK YOUR SPIRIT. I'M NOT SURE WHAT LOW AVERAGES ARE SUPPOSED TO TEACH US. HIS LECTURES ARE ORGANIZED, I JUST LOST RESPECT FOR HIM WHEN HE CLAIMED HIS MEMORY WASN'T AS GOOD BECAUSE OF "THINGS HE SMOKES". HMMMM........MAKES ME WONDER WHAT I SHOULD BE LEARNING FROM HIM.
Fall 2019 - Bring a lot of lubricant and prepare your posterior to be intellectually violated. You might as well throw away your self-esteem because unless you're one of three people who sit in the front row, you're going to fail every single exam. And that's okay, as long as you don't fail harder than your seat partner.
CORBIN ROCKS! He's really nice, wants you to learn, gives VERY clear and straightforward lectures. Nice guy, funny and cool, and absolutely crazy with physics... If grades are your main concern and your not up for pouring your life into this class, you should probably opt for anyone else. If you want to leave the class actually having learned more than you thought possible even though it will require 24/7 devotion, he's the man to take. People can tell you the tests are hard, even wicked, even INSANELY DIFFICULT, but these are all understatements, i promise. You'll fail, honestly, the top score is even likely to be a failing one. First midterm, a 25.7% mean. Dont let this scare you away. Just think about it like this: Any single person in Corbin's class could walk into an exam given by another professor and get the top score, no contest. Overall, take him if you are a good student, he's really cool and you wont regret it.
I took 1B with Brent in the summer. His lectures were very organized and he explained the concepts very clearly. I liked how he wrote everything on the chalkboard instead of just bringing in slides to show on the projector like so many other science professors. Brent had office hours every single day for 2 hours, although I didn't go to a single one (had another class). There were no midterms but we had weekly quizzes. His exams were very tough and you really had to study a lot for them. Going into the final I thought that I was going to get a C or worse because I had done poorly on the quizzes. The final was difficult, but there were no curveballs. If you do well on the final he is more likely to give you a good grade even if you didn't do so well in the rest of the quarter. Overall the class was very challenging but I came out with a solid foundation in physics. You may think you're doing poorly in the class but his curves are HUGE!!!
I have mixed opinions about Corbin. His lectures are entertaining (especially the physics puns) but he has a bit of an inflated ego. His tests are crazy... if you're scoring 60% you're doing "well". At first, this kinda hurts your sense of progress. You could study all night and still score in the 50-60% range: it's discouraging. After the first test, I learned really quickly how to take his midterms successfully. Don't start at the beginning of the test; flip through all of the problems. Don't attempt to start the difficult problems until later. Pick a problem you KNOW you can do well, then move onto other ones, because the time limit (50 minutes) is the biggest issue, and you want to rack up all the points you can get. Write something down for every part of every question, because even when I pulled answers out of my ass that made no sense, the TA would give me 1-2 points out of 5. Partial credit is the key! I basically didn't study more than 1 hour for each midterm, and 2 hours for the final, but I got an A because I understood the concepts and I could explain myself through sentences on the exams, even when I couldn't recall the correct equations. Attend lecture! and when I attended office hours once, I realized that the OH regulars probably got a TON of hints about exam problems. This class is intimidating, but doable. Sean is an amazing TA, so attend his review sessions and discussions when you can. (Also, I never even did one problem from the book, but they probably help you become more familiar with the equations.)
Yes, Brent was tough and his midterms often impossible to finish in the alotted time, but that just means PARTIAL CREDIT. I got away with so much partial credit on problems I didn't have a freaking clue how to do. Just write down shit on the tests and you're bound to get some credit. NEVER leave a question blank, always write what you know, equations or what you think you might do if you had the given time/prerequisite answers. In general, as hard as people say his tests are, they are do-able. The final especially is on the caliber of the midterms, but you have an extra hour for two midterms worth of material. So it is totally do-able. Also, if you are willing to do the homework, many homework problems do share similarities to his test problems, even though he states they are nothing like them. If you fully understand the homework you should do fine. All I have to say is ride the curve. Also, his workshops are a real plus, since he gives you really good problems that are taken from his own midterms and you get an exact feel for it. Overall he was a great guy and he was enthusiastic and I loved his sometimes morbid humor. Either way he was out there enough to get a good laugh out of the class. Great professor and incredibly knowledgable. If you're here to learn (which you should be) you should take him. It's not all as bad as some people make it out to be.
If you don't love physics, do not take a class with Brent. He is a superb teacher and a very reasonable guy, but he expects his students to be fully committed to his class. His weekly homework assignments usually consisted of about 15 of the hardest problems. His exams are notoriously difficult, and the material isn't so easy to begin with. Put simply, his class is tough, and you will definitely have trouble if you aren't serious about it from the beginning. With that said, there are a few things that you should know if you do decide to sign up for a class with Brent. First of all, do not let his first week scare tactics get to you. He doesn't exaggerate about the difficulty of his class, but he does intentionally gloat about it at the beginning of the quarter to weed out students who aren't sure they want to be there. Secondly, partial credit is the KEY to surviving his exams. On all three of our exams, no one came even close to 100%. This is mostly because his tests (especially the midterms) are too long to complete in one hour. Finish one or two problems that you're confident you understand, and then use the remaining time to get down whatever you can for the other problems. The graders award credit for just about anything, even memorized forumlas. Finally, take advantage of Brent's daily office hours. He is happy to go over homework or even discuss potential exam questions. He is a really nice guy and he enjoys helping his students.