All Ratings and Reviews for Chris Surro
Chris is a solid lecturer and he's super accommodating. He does multiple time frames for you to do the midterms and finals which was *chef's kiss*. Last time I had to do a 3-hour Econ final at 4am because my prof told me it was the Econ dept policy to only have one time slot for exams. He's super responsive on Campuswire, holds a ton of review sessions and OHs. There's also a lot of easy extra credit in the class which bump your grade up by probably 5%.
Most importantly, he explains things extremely well. He sometimes takes a different approach to the textbook and his approach is always clearer. He points out common mistakes in his lectures and makes sure we wouldn't repeat them. There are also practice problems for every chapter which I thought was comparable to the problems on the exam.
The data report was a bit of work but pretty easy. He gave out the grading rubric so it was very clear what was expected of us. He also rounds your grade up so that's very nice.
prof clearly cares a lot about the wellbeing and understanding of students, i think the use of campuswire in particular was an excellent tool for engagement. couldn't attend TA sessions because of time differences so i have no idea how helpful they are. i will say that it is so unfortunate that the exams, while open notes, are much harder than the problem set questions that were assigned. that made exams unpredictable and confusing for me and others!
the exams were so much more difficult in comparison to the problem sets. he speaks clearly, but his actual teaching can differ in quality. i think it mainly depends on preparedness. this class was super stressful because the exams were unpredictable, and there wasn't a straightforward connection to the problems done in lecture/homework. he is nice and genuinely tries to help students, but this class was just so frustrating.
Disclaimer: I took this class in a summer session in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a few words, Chris does not make it easy for you to succeed in this class. He makes you work for it. I initially started the summer session with a job and two classes, but I decided to drop one class since I couldn't balance all of those commitments at once. The content was a lot to swallow all at once during the five-week summer quarter, but I'm sure it's pretty manageable during a regular quarter.
Although many students commented that the exams this quarter were extremely hard, I have to disagree. I found them pretty manageable given all of the study materials he gave us, to be honest, even though they were all high-difficulty application problems (during non-COVID quarters, there is a mix of definition and application problems). I have no doubt that the exams would be no problem during a regular quarter with the simple definition-recollection problems. Nonetheless, you can't just sit back and review the slides/read the book and hope to do well on the exams. You need to build the proper graphical intuition and problem-solving skills before going into each exam. Some hard work and intention is required for this class.
Grading scheme: [100(discussion board grade)+175(midterm grade)+175(data report grade)+350(final grade)+100(optional quiz grades] / (800 if you completed no quizzes or 900 if you completed every quiz)
Surro's lectures are worth attending if you want an overview, but I didn't find attending them necessary since he posts the notes on ccle. The workload wasn't too bad but he has a tendency to water-down the lecture material, as the problem set questions are much easier than the ones you will encounter on the midterm and final exams. With that said, it's definitely important to understand the concepts at a deep level. The final consisted of 10 short and 3 long frqs (no multiple choice), and his exams are extremely long and tedious, favoring students with better computation skills. As a heads up, the class is curved based on the econ department policy, so you will be competing to earn a good grade.
Midterm and final are insane. And TAs are useless because they assume you know all the materials. You'd better to read the books and pay attention to classes otherwise exams will destroy your GPA.
I was expecting this class to be much harder than it was, HOWEVER you really need to put in the work to do well. Professor Surro is pretty clear in his lectures, however they aren't super engaging and the examples that he does in lecture are much easier than what you will be tested on. The problem sets and quizzes are optional, but DO THEM because they are only graded on participation and they actually help your grade a lot. Also, he never mentions this in class, but be active on campuswire because you get points for that too. Respond to people's questions and ask questions on there if you have any because you get points for that. This class was pretty difficult, but you can do well if you really understand the concepts and are able to apply them to more difficult questions.
Hands down best professor I've had in the econ department, his lectures are very clear and his tests are fair. The class is hard but if you put in the work you can get the grade you want. His homework also serves as extra credit so it not only helps you better understand the coursework but it gives extra credit points. Would take any other class with Chris again.
To be honest, this class was brutal. It's not one of those classes where are you have to do is watch lectures and you'll get an A. It's one of those where you have to do a lot of self-study and going to office hours a lot. He did post-practice exams, questions, and quizzes that all help with fully understanding the material that'll help you with the test. The quizzes are extra credit so that'll also give a boost to your grade. My advice for this class would be to fully understand the material, not just memorize equations and graphs, that'll help in the long run.
PS: Textbooks help for a deeper understanding but you don't need it for the class, lecture notes should be enough
My FAVORITE class ever!!! If you can, please choose Chris at all cost. He is the best! I really love his teaching philosophy, that it is more important for student to understand the class materials than simply getting an easy A. Sometimes it is really tempting to choose some 'easy classes' but I feel like I did not learning anything at the end of the day. For this class, yes it is not that easy, but I did feel I learn a LOT and fall into deeper love with Economics.
A few tips for this class(I hope they are useful):
1. Do all the problem sets and quizzes, even if they are not required. The quizzes are super easy, but the problem sets may be a bit more challenging, and more on the intuition side of the problem. But since the midterm and final have a bunch of questions that requires us to understand those intuition, it would be better just to do all the problem sets.
2. Go to office hours!! Chris is super helpful and approachable, and he can explain everything in a logical manner.
In short, I really really really recommend taking Econ 11 with Chris!!! You will learn more than you expected. : )
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