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I agree with both comments below. This class is difficult, but you need to learn neuroanatomy if you want to be a neuroscientist or neurosurgeon. But they way this professor teaches is terrible.. I just found him really mean and not helpful at all when answering question. His lecturing was also difficult to follow. The other professor, Dr. Prins was much better at lecturing neuroanatomy. So it's not like I'm complaining about the difficulty, cause I'm not. And it's possible to teach this class well, like Dr. Prins did. But Dr Simmons is just not good at teaching this.. So just have that in mind, better consult the TAs. All the TAs were really good and they know the material really well. If I had to do it all over again, I'd go to more TA office hours and Dr Prins. But don't waste extra time with Simmons.
I took NeuroSci 102 with Doctor Simmons, and to be completely frank with all the previous evaluators, I think that he did a very good job of teaching it.
YES, neuroscience is a DIFFICULT class... but isn't that we are here for, to challenge ourselves? Did I struggle with the material, YES-- there were days that I walked out of class and did not understand a WORD that was said. But when I went back, listened to the lecture again, took copious notes and dissected the material, then it became pretty simple.
You all claim that you want to be neuroscience and neurosurgeons.. I PROMISE that it will only get more difficult from here. If it is anything you take from this class-- it should be the fact that being a doctor or a scientist WILL take those 6 hours plus a day to even begin to understand the outline of the material, let alone studying it sufficiently.
The flaw in this class may not be the method in which the professors teach; rather, the means in which the students learn. Look, I am not saying that I spent the 6 hours a day studying-- I didn't. I most probably spent 1-2 hours studying for this class... Did I do half well on the first exam? NO! But after taking it, I learned HOW to study and what would make me successful, applied my methods, and ended up getting an A. Now, I am not here to boast... I am here to tell you guys that there is great amount of hope in doing well in this class and actually ENJOYING it.
Here are some tips on how to do well, and you will see that the problem factor in the course is NOT the professors' methods of teaching, rather the students' study mechanisms.
1) if you aren't passionate about the brain and do not care to learn every detail of it-- THEN GET OUT... What are you doing here? No offense, but you shouldn't be majoring in Neuroscience just because it is a 'cool' major and you think it will appeal to medical schools more. There are people taking this course who actually care to save lives by holding a scalpel to patents' brains or spending 12 hours a day on a bench top doing electrophysiology (or however you spell it)experiments. If you are not one of those people, then get out.
2) Learn to study actively-- not passively. This was my main concern regarding test 1. I would THINK that I am studying, while in reality, I would look at the slide, believe that I understood the concepts, and move to the next slide contently. NO!!! Do not do this! You have to come up with a method to TEST your understanding and synthesis of the material. For example, that may mean: cut out every single image in the lecture, pasting it on a side of a notecard, writing numbers to each important structure on the anatomical section, and writing a key on the other side. In this way, you are ACTIVELY testing yourself...
3)Study out LOUD!-- this goes hand in hand with the previous tip, but I thought it was important enough to write in its own. I personally, am an auditory learner and will ONLY understand the material if I sit another individual down and teach it to them. IT WILL HELP-- I promise. You cannot claim to truly understand something until you are able to teach it to someone.
4) DO NOT OCCUPY YOURSELF WITH EC ACTIVITIES: this is something that you are told in the beginning of the class by Dr. Prins... SHE WAS BEING TRUTHFUL WHEN SAYING THIS. This does NOT mean that you cannot have a social life. I hung out with my friends for about 4 hours a day (which is way longer than the usual, I believe) and was involved in LONG hours of lab work during the week-- BUT, i put off my volunteering for a quarter, took it easy on my hobbies like playing tennis on a weekly basis... And so forth. You should stay healthy,obviously, and go to the gym etc etc, and obviously attend UCLA games (if that is your thing)... but do not WASTE your time. I am sure this is something that I did not even have to write to make clear-- but it something that people forget too readily.
ANYWAY, the last thing-- and the most important thing-- is: GET SLEEP. it is NOT a myth that your brain works SO much better when you have 7-8 hours of sleep. Before this quarter, I would sleep maybe 3 hours a night (if I was lucky). Because my brain needed to process so much more information this quarter, I found myself sleeping more-- and remembering the information more efficiently. AGAIN, I am sure I do not have to tell any of you that-- you are neuro majors who love and know that they brain needs time and care.
This class is totally DOABLE-- and I have confidence that if you apply yourself, it will be awesome. You should ENJOY what you are learning. Is this class as difficult as a medical school class (and more specifically, the most challenging med school class, it happens to be)? YES. But again, we are neuro majors... Why would be settle for anything less?