All Ratings and Reviews for Chris Surro
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.
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
Other reviews have said it already, this class was not easy but Surro was a great prof in making himself available. Getting an A in this class is hard and not something I was able to do, but i still feel like I learned a lot and I'm looking forward to Econ 11. If you want an easy A for your GPA, don't take this class. If you want to learn a lot, take this class. Depending on what you want to do after your time at UCLA, I may recommend not taking him and taking an easier professor instead. If you're a math/econ major, being good at math wont really help you in this course and its way more conceptual, so keep that in mind!
Note this is a COVID-19 review
Grading: Higher scoring midterm worth 200 points, lower scoring midterm worth 100 points, final worth 400 points, data report worth 200 points, discussion forum worth 100 points. Total of 1000 points, and if you complete the short quizzes after each lesson, those points become "extra credit" by adding points to both the numerator and denominator of your score (e.g. if you initially got 800/1000 and got 100 points from the quizzes, your score would become 900/1100). The quizzes were pretty easy extra points, all multiple choice. He also rounded grades that were within 0.5% of the next grade.
Chris is a good teacher, but not an easy one. The exams are not plug-and-chug or simple filling in the definition of vocab type questions, you really need to understand how to apply the concepts to a given situation. Even being online with open book exams, the book, notes, and internet are only marginally helpful, you must understand the fundamental concepts. He gives provides questions after each lecture to demonstrate how to apply the concepts and before exams he releases versions from previous years to practice. Use these to your advantage! Practice them a lot and make sure you really understand when certain variables will move and why. All exams are multiple choice.
Participation in the discussion forum was easy, just research a recent news article related to macroeconomics, post a summary and analysis with your thoughts, and comment on at least 2 other people's posts. The data report was also relatively easy, but a bit time-consuming. You're basically taking some raw data of macroeconomic variables for the US and another country, making graphs of them (using something such as Excel, Google Sheets, or R), and observing any noticeable trends you see. If you don't already know how to use a program to make graphs from raw data, he provides a tutorial on Excel. Just put a decent amount of effort into making the graphs look nice, write a decent amount of observations and you're good to go.
With covid, lectures on the material were pre-recorded and the live sessions were dedicated to first going over the end of lecture questions, then answering student questions - it was basically flipped classroom. This format felt good to me though, not like flipped classroom in other classes like the LS 7 series - it provided flexibility and made it easy to seek help on anything you were confused about. It may not be for everyone though, but as long as you’re keeping up you’ll get by fine, and it likely won’t last after Covid. We also had a campuswire that made it easy to ask questions even if you couldn't make the live session.
Overall, Chris' lectures were pretty clear, he was very helpful in answering students' questions, and the grading was fair. A solid choice of class to take. Just don’t automatically expect an A just because it’s an introductory course, you’ll need to work for it.
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.
Professor Surro is a really caring and knowledgeable professor. His exams are extremely doable as long as you go to the lectures, but theTA sections are not helpful unless you don't get the materials he went over in class. Overall, I would highly recommend taking this class with him.
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. : )
THIS WAS THE BEST ECONOMICS CLASS I HAVE TAKEN! The structure of the class was conducive to learning, for a few reasons:
-Short quizzes (credit for completion) after every lecture let you stay on track with material. You know what concepts you should have gotten from the lecture and if you didn't understand quiz questions it was easy to just go back and review the lecture slides. This is unlike other econ classes where you are unsure of what you need to know and to what depth you need to understand material until practice problems are released (or even worse for some classes just midterms).
-The Solow Excel project was a great way to learn excel. Felt very relevant to future job demands. Also a great way to review class concepts. Felt like my time was well spent while working on this project.
-It is very clear what is expected of you on exams. Surro explicitly says that 80% of test material will be similar to questions we have seen (quizzes, problem sets, practice midterms) and 20% will be new questions where we must apply the knowledge.
-Surro is a good lecturer. He explains concepts well. Powerpoints well organized.
-There is material to work with. When studying for the final, I could review the quizzes, problem sets, practice midterm, solow excel project, and practice final. A lot of problems to work with along with organized lectures = easy studying.
I was never stressed taking this class, but not because the material was easy, because Surro was a great teacher with a well-organized class. Would 100% recommend anyone to take this class.
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