Hung V Pham
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
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3.7
Overall Rating
Based on 34 User s
Easiness 2.2 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.1 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 3.2 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 3.5 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Uses Slides
  • Is Podcasted
  • Gives Extra Credit
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
  • Tough Tests
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Would Take Again
  • Snazzy Dresser
  • Often Funny
  • Has Group Projects

GRADE DISTRIBUTIONS

49.6%
41.4%
33.1%
24.8%
16.5%
8.3%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

21.0%
17.5%
14.0%
10.5%
7.0%
3.5%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

15.4%
12.8%
10.3%
7.7%
5.1%
2.6%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

13.1%
10.9%
8.7%
6.5%
4.4%
2.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

15.3%
12.7%
10.2%
7.6%
5.1%
2.5%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews (31)

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 24, 2020

Going into the class I knew it was going to be very difficult due to the nature of ochem, and I was not surprised. However, one of the things Porfessor Pham emphasizes is how Ochem builds on itself, and how doing poorly on one test is not the end of the world. The way he teaches the class is really structured so you learn things in a way that they build off each other, so towards the end topics that may have been challenging at the beginning are easier because you've been working on them the whole quarter. A lot of people in the reviews from fall 2020 may say how he was unaccommodating and such, but I think the negative comments are due to a bias against him due to their own struggles. Also, please not I am not writing this from the perspective of a student who got As the whole quarter. I failed the first midterm out of 2, but I was able to improve my scores for the next midterm and the final. The class had 2 midterms and a final (50 points each), weekly BACON tutorials (40 points), Discussion attendance (40 points), and 5 problem sets due every other week (20 points each). However, he offered extra credit for answering poll questions, filling out surveys, and for doing an optional group project at the end of the year which my friends and I had a lot of fun doing. To conclude, don't be afraid to take his class, Pham is super clear and helpful, and it is worth it for the ask me anything he does at the end of the quarter :)

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Jan. 5, 2021

first time writing a bruinwalk review but I'm here for the pham defense squad bc i genuinely enjoyed taking ochem with him, and i feel like ppl who are bitter about him are mainly just bitter abt their grades.

tips for the material:
1. stay on track
look. you cannot slack off for this class. it's ochem, everything builds on each other, and you simply cannot cram it all in a couple days before an exam (unless you're some sort of genius, which, kudos to you, but i personally can't do short-term memory). granted, i took it during the pandemic, and having access to notes helped immensely, but you should still not rely on those during the exam bc looking through lecture slides is a waste of time, esp if you're in a time crunch; if you must, make YOUR OWN cheat sheets/review notes to CONFIRM what you already know during the test instead of looking at the material and learning it DURING the test lol. ik it's still passive learning, bc it's still a form of copying, but one of the biggest reasons i did well in this class is that i reviewed each topic and made my own sheets right after each lecture and didn't push it off before an exam. staying on track is super important.
enrolling in a PLF session also helped me personally bc it forced me to stay on track so that i can properly work with other peers.

2. practice, practice, practice
do as many practice problems as you can. the problem sets he gives are good indications of what to expect for exams, but they're not enough exposure in terms of familiarizing yourself with the material. do discussion worksheets (if Tony's still a TA I find his worksheets the most helpful!), ochem tutor on yt, khan academy, PLF worksheets; whatever it takes, until you're confident enough in the material. don't just look at the solutions—actually attempt them so that you're actively learning. the more practice problems you do, the more holes you will find in your knowledge so that you can correct yourself; it is much better to make a mistake in a practice problem compared to making a mistake on an exam. you'll also start noticing that ochem's not all specific memorization, but rather patterns that you can generalize to apply to each problem; once you figure that out, you will save so much brain space, and won't feel so overwhelmed anymore.

3. have a positive mindset
this isn't super necessary, but through personal experience if you act like you enjoy the material from the start you can eventually convince yourself that you genuinely do, which makes learning it so much easier. ochem, specifically 14d, has a bad reputation for being a premed weeder, but that's just from others' experiences, not yours. don't let its reputation intimidate you. (if you like to personify, it can smell ur fear, so show who's boss, you got this)
you have the potential to succeed, just like anyone else, but it is up to you and how you make of the material. if you're always bitter about this class as you're taking it, you won't feel motivated enough to study.
if you have test anxiety, power pose a couple minutes before the test (essentially just stand up and stretch to make urself appear bigger and boost that confidence; also doing some high kicks/light jogging in place to get ur blood moving helps with getting rid of those anxiety chills, as well as improving blood circulation to your brain to help with memorization). my TA Tony recommended this to us before the first exam, and my test anxiety has never been better (I've done it for every exam since, even ones outside ochem, and i no longer blank out :D ). if you've studied diligently, you know more than you give yourself credit for. you got this, so believe in yourself.

tips for pham:
I've seen ppl say he's unapproachable and condescending, but honestly the only questions I've witnessed him answer "with attitude" are just syllabus-related (i don't even see the attitude, really, he just has a resting b face sometimes lol). he doesn't like repeating the same logistic things over and over, so if your question is related to the class logistics chances are it's already been stated in the syllabus, you just need to find it. or, it's in the recorded lecture (if class is still online), which is what you should have watched anyway if you couldn't make it to that lecture.
if you're asking an ochem related question, he's not mean about it. in fact, he's super nice abt the material if you need help during office hours. since the class time is short, he might defer you to rewatching the recording instead if the question was asked multiple times during lecture, because it takes class time away so he'll be behind schedule otherwise.
if you ask to change the grading scale or only show concern abt your letter grade rather than the material itself, then will he seem "bitter". he really wants you to make the best of the material, or at least gain something out of his class, even if it's all online. fixating on your letter grade doesn't mean anything in the long run. just try your best on the material, and use your exam score as a reflection of your mastery in the material rather than a definition of your intelligence. i find that that is a true indication of him genuinely wanting students to succeed in this class.

lastly, abt the accommodations: I'm fortunate enough to still be in the same PST zone, but my heart does go out to all OOS students. he can't really change the time frames to accommodate everyone or give 24 hr exams bc then ppl post to chegg, so if your time zone sucks, you should honestly consider taking it a different quarter bc emailing him won't work :/ that's about the only negative I have with this class, although I do understand his concern with chegg, since things are online.

oh, and the grading scale:

Problem sets (x5) 30% - kinda like homework; given two weeks to do and submit on Gradescope
Take-at-home Exams (x3) 45% - basically MT1, MT2 and a final, all equally weighed (I personally also like that the final isn't worth more since i have other finals to worry abt that week too so my grade wont tank if i happened to do horrible on the final)
Discussion (x8) 12% - participation points, just need to show up 8 out of 10 times throughout the quarter for attendance, no need to submit anything
BACON Tutorials (x8) 12% - online "quizzes" where you go through a lesson and then answer four MC questions from that lesson; 10 total but 2 lowest ones are dropped

his grade cutoffs:
A+ (no EC) ≥ 99.0%
99.0% > A ≥ 94.0%
94.0% > A- ≥ 88.0%
88.0% > B+ ≥ 84.0%
84.0% > B ≥ 79.0%
79.0% > B- ≥ 75.0%
75.0% > C+ ≥ 69.0%
69.0% > C ≥ 62.0%
62.0% > C- ≥ 54.0%
54.0% > D+ ≥ 47.0%
47.0% > D ≥ 39.0%
39.0% > D- ≥ 30.0%

he gives a lot of opportunities for ec too (point total in my class was 330 and we could've gotten 18 points from ec alone

overall, i think he's a great prof. he knows his stuff, the workload isn't overwhelming, and his slides are easy to understand. he makes great analogies with the material to make it easier to digest abstract concepts, and is also a funny dude who gives deep talks abt life sometimes lol. i came out of that class with a greater appreciation for learning in general, which lowkey helped with how stressed i was as a student too?? my experiences could be different bc it was all online, but if Pham's offered, i highly recommend taking him for 14D.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A-
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 24, 2020

I took both 14C and 14D with Pham, and honestly he's one of my favorite professors. He's super straightforward with what will be on exams and is an awesome lecturer. He's often funny as well. The biggest tip for this class is to always practice reactions. I didn't have to study too much for 14C, but I had to study a LOT more for 14D because you would have to be familiar with the material.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 23, 2020

Let me start off by saying that I have mad respect for anyone who took ochem in person. This class would have certainly been much more difficult if it weren't for the open note exams. There are so many reagents and reactions that you would have to memorize, and this class would have quickly become overwhelming. However, I was fortunate to take this class during covid. I won't say that online learning made this class easy because the material was still difficult, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Here's how I got an A with no ochem background besides 14C with Castillo, but before I do here's a break down of the points and grading scheme:

Points:
- Problem Sets (x5) = 100 points, 20 each (difficult to get perfect scores)
- Exams (x3) = 150 points, 50 each (very difficult to get perfect scores)
- Discussion Participation = 40 points (didn't have to turn the camera on or talk so should be easy points)
- BACON = 40 points (mini-lectures but should be easy points, just screenshot the notes before you take the post-quiz)
- 330 points total
- 8 points of EC for lecture poll questions
- 8 points of EC for Cryoff Project
- 2 points for surveys throughout the quarter

Grading Scheme:
- A+: 99-100
- A: 94-99
- A-: 88-94
- B+: 84-88
- B: 79-84
- B- 75-79
- C+: 69-75
- C: 62-69
- C-: 54-62
- D+ and below: <62

First off, Pham is a good lecturer who keeps his class very organized which I was extremely thankful for, but he's not as incredible as other reviews say he is. In other words, he is a slightly overhyped professor, but he will still teach you well enough to pass or get in the B range if that's what you're looking for. What propelled me into the A range was Khan Academy. I can't say this enough but Khan Academy was a lifesaver for this course. I felt that their instructors explained the material much more thoroughly and I was able to understand the material waaaay better after watching their videos. If it weren't for Khan Academy, I would have struggled in this class, so my biggest advice to anyone who will take this class in the future is WATCH KHAN ACADEMY. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't go to Pham's lectures, but please use Khan Academy as a learning supplement.

Secondly, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND PRACTICE EVEN MORE. There is no understatement for this. Getting exposure to a wide variety of problems will make the exams so much easier. The TAs will all have their individual discussion worksheets, so get a hold of as many as you can (my TA was Tony and his worksheets were excellent). Additionally, completing Pham's biweekly problem sets were probably the best way to practice the material. Make sure you completely understand every problem because the problem sets were pretty similar to the format of the exams. I also want to point out that I never used the textbook, so I'm not sure if the suggested homework problems were useful but from what I've heard from others they aren't.

Lastly, GO TO DISCUSSION. The TAs and LAs were so helpful throughout the course of the quarter. Every week, I would use the discussion as a way to check my understanding of the past week's material. If I didn't understand a problem, I would rewatch Pham's lectures, watch Khan Academy videos, and try the problem again until I completely understood it. Since there is A LOT of material in 14D, and it is easy to fall behind, I highly recommend mastering the material on each week's discussion worksheets. Don't get lazy and think that you can study the material later; you're going to need to prepare for the exams far in advance.

Overall, 14D will be a huge time commitment. Here's my break down of the time I spent each week on the class:
- Lectures (2.5 hours)
- Khan Academy (2 hours)
- Discussion (1 hour)
- Discussion worksheet review to master material (1-2 hours)
- Problem Sets (1 hour/2 hours every 2 weeks)
- Bacon (<15 minutes)
- 5 hours of studying for each midterm
- 15 hours of studying for the final

This class will be hard, but it's doable if you put in the effort. Also, Pham doesn't offer many accommodations for his exam times (2 hour time window for midterms, and 3 hour time window for final), so make sure that you are available during the exact exam times. If not, email him at the beginning of the quarter because he seriously wouldn't take accommodations that were asked for even a week or two in advance. On a final note, if you want a better chance at an A, take this class online. I forgot so many reagents/reactions during the exams but thankfully I could just look back at the slides lol.

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Quarter: Winter 2020
Grade: A+
March 20, 2020

I came into this class thinking it was hard and hearing stories about how this is a weeder class and whatever. Imma be honest. It really isn't as hard as people say. The ones who say its extremely difficult are usually the ones that wait to learn everything before the midterm and final. That will not work in this class at all. Im going to share some of the tips I used while taking this class to hopefully help you guys get an A as well.

1. Attend every class. I had this class MWF 8am and it was hard af waking up but trust me it is so much better to get this 50 min class out of the way than to waste time and energy watching the audio podcast and going back and forth between the slides posted. And since its an audio podcast and not a bruincast video there are things that are important that he may write on the board that can help you later when you study.
2. A day before each lecture, the slides for the lecture are posted on ccle. I would always copy down the slides in my notebook before the lecture. It doesn't matter if you don't understand every thing you write since you haven't gone to that lecture yet. The purpose of this is that you will be able to follow along the lecture and actually have time to understand what he is saying. Pham lectures pretty fast and I always notice that when he talks a bunch of heads go down to copy and write down whatever he says. At least for me, it is difficult to write down stuff and understand what is going on while the professor talks fast. Spending 30 min the night before to write down the notes from the slides can help you solidify your understanding of material during class.
3. GO TO DISCUSSION! You can attend any discussion you want pretty much cuz they don't take attendance. I personally went to 2 discussions a week with 2 different TAs cuz it fit my schedule. That may be a bit excessive but definitely go to 1 a week for sure. My favorite TA was Sean. He always knew the material very well, answered every question, and always guided students through confusing topics.
4. For the midterms, start studying in advance. I usually started studying a week in advance. I would go an do practice from all the discussion worksheets and TA worksheets. OCHEM is all about practice. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Another reason why I started early to study is so that I could go to office hours if needed. I would have a separate sheet of paper listing out any questions I had referring to specific problems from the worksheets or concepts from lecture. Let's say the midterm was on a Friday. By starting to study a week before, I was able to get through the worksheets and my notes by Monday of the week of the test. This meant I could attend office hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to ask any questions before the exam. If I started studying on Tuesday of the same week as the test, I would probably finish the reviewing by Thursday, which would give me no time to attend office hours to clarify any questions I had. If you keep up with the material every day then it won't be overwhelming when it comes to the midterms and final. Also don't be afraid to ask the LAs, TAs, or the professor any question. They are there to help you do well so take advantage of them as a resource!
5. Practice in test-like conditions. The hardest part of the two midterms is the time limit. They are both 50 minutes each which means you gotta know your shit. There are usually old practice exams that people from previous years have. Try to get your hands on them and take the them at home within 50 minutes to stimulate real testing conditions.
6. Ochem has some memorization don't get me wrong. But it is a lot easier to do well in this class if you spend time understanding the concepts instead of memorizing each reaction/mechanism as a separate thing. Like you can memorize each example he gives in class, but if he changes one small thing from the example and puts it on the test, you're going to have trouble. Take the time to understand the material conceptually, ask questions to fill any knowledge gaps, and you will be ahead of the curve.

That's pretty much all the tips I have. This is what worked for me. The most important thing I would say is to not come into the class with a negative mindset. As long as you put in the work and tailor your study methods to fit the class you will do great!

*Also pham offers a ton of extra credit(10 pts for tophat which are like clicker questions, 6 pts for the surveys throughout the year, and 10 points for the CRYOFF project at the end of the quarter)

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Jan. 5, 2021

Pham is a great professor and explains the content in a way that's easy to understand. His slides are organized and super useful! He's also pretty funny and you won't get bored during lecture. He does go a bit fast times, but this allowed us to have extra time at the end of the quarter to go more slowly instead of cramming a bunch of material in. Exams were reasonable with time being the most difficult part, so I'd recommend having a good grasp on the material and not constantly referring to your notes. To study, I'd recommend doing as many TA worksheets as you can since they're all available to you and cover the content well (some are harder than tested material). Your grade also consists of problem sets (one due every 2 weeks), BACON (online tutorials relating chem to pop culture, mostly free points), and extra credit points he offers through in-class poll questions. Pham can be kinda blunt and almost condescending at times when you ask questions, but his actions show that he cares about students and will help you if you show a desire and interest in learning and not just getting a grade. That said, he's not super accommodating with online learning and I think most people all had to take the exams at a set time. Overall, I'd definitely recommend taking Pham because he really teaches you the material well and is also a good lecturer!

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 30, 2020

OVERALL: This class was definitely tougher than Chem 14C, so it's important to stay on top of the content covered. Professor Pham's exams were challenging but fair, I would recommend keeping a list of all the reactions he goes over separate from the lecture notes so you can easily refer to them as you solve problem sets and study. I did this, and an LA uploaded her own list of reactions (shout-out to Hedi!), which was super helpful for exams.

PARTICIPATION POINTS/EXTRA CREDIT: To be honest, I was a little intimidated by Professor Pham so I didn't really attend office hours (I was afraid I would ask a stupid question), but he was a pretty fun and engaging lecturer. Each of his exams had a unique "extra credit" opportunity on them (I would recommend checking the box if there's ever any question about it), and he also provides extra credit in the form of a Chem 14D themed group project. Since I took the class online, each poll question answered also counted as extra credit for a maximum of 8 points. (There was no required attendance). The class also has online modules called "BACON" (easy points, just screenshot all of the slides to answer the questions) that are due each week.

PROBLEM SETS: The problem sets are good preparation for exams, so definitely make sure to solve them on your own instead of relying on outside help. I would recommend checking the answers over with a trusted friend after both of you have completed the problem set because some of it is graded on correctness.

EXAM TIPS: Synthesis problems are what most students have trouble with, so in preparation for midterms/final, do as much of them as you can! There are a lot of great synthesis problems online and they also help you further hone in on the reactions that are being tested. For exams, I would also recommend doing the TA worksheets of the TAs that are most popular in the class/have the best review.

DISCUSSIONS: Discussions are mandatory for participation points, although you don't have to submit your discussion worksheet. If you see Tony Moreno as a potential TA, definitely try switching into his section! I wasn't in his discussion, but attended some of his discussions because he has good slides and great worksheets.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 28, 2020

This class was...interesting. Pham is an amazing lecturer, likely one of the best that I've had in my time here at UCLA. However, with that being said, he is incredibly condescendign and expects you to just know stuff without studying. I recommend that you don't ask any questions in a lecture setting, as he can humiliate you for asking it. However, apart from that everything in this class is fair. The problem sets are hard, but I recommend working on them with some friends in the class, and definitely going to office hours if you need help. The midterms and final are very reflective of these problem sets, and also require some higher order thinking.

My advice for this class is to practice practice practice. This class is unique in the sense that the TAs tend to design their own worksheets. DO AS MANY OF THESE AS YOU CAN during Week 1, and based on which TA has the best worksheet, switch into their section. For instance, there was a TA in the quarter that I took it named Tony Moreno, and he was the absolute best. I wish I switched into his discussion :-). Anyways, from then, try to do the discussion worksheets every week, and use them as a study resource for the exams. Problem sets are due on the even weeks, and released on odd weeks. Before each problem set was due, I would meet with my study group and we would compare answers and talk through the problems. 10/10 recommend this approach. Also, the class goes pretty slow the first few weeks, in that you learn like 4 reactions for the first midterm. However, this number increases a crazy amount for the other exams. To keep up with the material, I recommend making a "cheat sheet" with the gist of each reaction, and making sure you understand when to use which mechanism. I definitely think this is one of the hardest classes I've taken at UCLA, but with the proper time management and practice, you can definitely do well!

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A+
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 19, 2020

Chem 14D is a difficult class but Professor Hung does a great job explaining every reaction thoroughly. His exams are difficult but as long as you pay attention to lecture and understand every concept, you should do well. Also, every TA creates their own discussion worksheet so you have lots of practice problems available for exams. The professor also gives out some extra credit on exams and in an extra credit project. Overall, this class is hard but it's definitely worth taking it with this professor.

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Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: A+
Dec. 19, 2019

Dr. Pham's tests are hard, but you are more likely to succeed if you stay relatively up to date with the material. Just don't fall behind! This class is pretty quick, but the reactions get pretty similar. Understand the patterns to make your studying easier! Dr. Pham is awesome, and his TAs are also great. He makes himself available to students, and he is very funny. He has quite the backstory, too. Attend his office hours to unlock the secret backstory DLC and to get life advice. Lastly, the time you get for discussion doesn't really matter. He said he would institute mandatory attendance at enrolled discussions if students crowded up specific sessions, but that never happened. I can confidently say that thanks to Dr. Pham, organic chemistry has been my favorite subject in college thus far. 14C and 14D were truly a blast. Take Dr. Pham!

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COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Dec. 24, 2020

Going into the class I knew it was going to be very difficult due to the nature of ochem, and I was not surprised. However, one of the things Porfessor Pham emphasizes is how Ochem builds on itself, and how doing poorly on one test is not the end of the world. The way he teaches the class is really structured so you learn things in a way that they build off each other, so towards the end topics that may have been challenging at the beginning are easier because you've been working on them the whole quarter. A lot of people in the reviews from fall 2020 may say how he was unaccommodating and such, but I think the negative comments are due to a bias against him due to their own struggles. Also, please not I am not writing this from the perspective of a student who got As the whole quarter. I failed the first midterm out of 2, but I was able to improve my scores for the next midterm and the final. The class had 2 midterms and a final (50 points each), weekly BACON tutorials (40 points), Discussion attendance (40 points), and 5 problem sets due every other week (20 points each). However, he offered extra credit for answering poll questions, filling out surveys, and for doing an optional group project at the end of the year which my friends and I had a lot of fun doing. To conclude, don't be afraid to take his class, Pham is super clear and helpful, and it is worth it for the ask me anything he does at the end of the quarter :)

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COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Jan. 5, 2021

first time writing a bruinwalk review but I'm here for the pham defense squad bc i genuinely enjoyed taking ochem with him, and i feel like ppl who are bitter about him are mainly just bitter abt their grades.

tips for the material:
1. stay on track
look. you cannot slack off for this class. it's ochem, everything builds on each other, and you simply cannot cram it all in a couple days before an exam (unless you're some sort of genius, which, kudos to you, but i personally can't do short-term memory). granted, i took it during the pandemic, and having access to notes helped immensely, but you should still not rely on those during the exam bc looking through lecture slides is a waste of time, esp if you're in a time crunch; if you must, make YOUR OWN cheat sheets/review notes to CONFIRM what you already know during the test instead of looking at the material and learning it DURING the test lol. ik it's still passive learning, bc it's still a form of copying, but one of the biggest reasons i did well in this class is that i reviewed each topic and made my own sheets right after each lecture and didn't push it off before an exam. staying on track is super important.
enrolling in a PLF session also helped me personally bc it forced me to stay on track so that i can properly work with other peers.

2. practice, practice, practice
do as many practice problems as you can. the problem sets he gives are good indications of what to expect for exams, but they're not enough exposure in terms of familiarizing yourself with the material. do discussion worksheets (if Tony's still a TA I find his worksheets the most helpful!), ochem tutor on yt, khan academy, PLF worksheets; whatever it takes, until you're confident enough in the material. don't just look at the solutions—actually attempt them so that you're actively learning. the more practice problems you do, the more holes you will find in your knowledge so that you can correct yourself; it is much better to make a mistake in a practice problem compared to making a mistake on an exam. you'll also start noticing that ochem's not all specific memorization, but rather patterns that you can generalize to apply to each problem; once you figure that out, you will save so much brain space, and won't feel so overwhelmed anymore.

3. have a positive mindset
this isn't super necessary, but through personal experience if you act like you enjoy the material from the start you can eventually convince yourself that you genuinely do, which makes learning it so much easier. ochem, specifically 14d, has a bad reputation for being a premed weeder, but that's just from others' experiences, not yours. don't let its reputation intimidate you. (if you like to personify, it can smell ur fear, so show who's boss, you got this)
you have the potential to succeed, just like anyone else, but it is up to you and how you make of the material. if you're always bitter about this class as you're taking it, you won't feel motivated enough to study.
if you have test anxiety, power pose a couple minutes before the test (essentially just stand up and stretch to make urself appear bigger and boost that confidence; also doing some high kicks/light jogging in place to get ur blood moving helps with getting rid of those anxiety chills, as well as improving blood circulation to your brain to help with memorization). my TA Tony recommended this to us before the first exam, and my test anxiety has never been better (I've done it for every exam since, even ones outside ochem, and i no longer blank out :D ). if you've studied diligently, you know more than you give yourself credit for. you got this, so believe in yourself.

tips for pham:
I've seen ppl say he's unapproachable and condescending, but honestly the only questions I've witnessed him answer "with attitude" are just syllabus-related (i don't even see the attitude, really, he just has a resting b face sometimes lol). he doesn't like repeating the same logistic things over and over, so if your question is related to the class logistics chances are it's already been stated in the syllabus, you just need to find it. or, it's in the recorded lecture (if class is still online), which is what you should have watched anyway if you couldn't make it to that lecture.
if you're asking an ochem related question, he's not mean about it. in fact, he's super nice abt the material if you need help during office hours. since the class time is short, he might defer you to rewatching the recording instead if the question was asked multiple times during lecture, because it takes class time away so he'll be behind schedule otherwise.
if you ask to change the grading scale or only show concern abt your letter grade rather than the material itself, then will he seem "bitter". he really wants you to make the best of the material, or at least gain something out of his class, even if it's all online. fixating on your letter grade doesn't mean anything in the long run. just try your best on the material, and use your exam score as a reflection of your mastery in the material rather than a definition of your intelligence. i find that that is a true indication of him genuinely wanting students to succeed in this class.

lastly, abt the accommodations: I'm fortunate enough to still be in the same PST zone, but my heart does go out to all OOS students. he can't really change the time frames to accommodate everyone or give 24 hr exams bc then ppl post to chegg, so if your time zone sucks, you should honestly consider taking it a different quarter bc emailing him won't work :/ that's about the only negative I have with this class, although I do understand his concern with chegg, since things are online.

oh, and the grading scale:

Problem sets (x5) 30% - kinda like homework; given two weeks to do and submit on Gradescope
Take-at-home Exams (x3) 45% - basically MT1, MT2 and a final, all equally weighed (I personally also like that the final isn't worth more since i have other finals to worry abt that week too so my grade wont tank if i happened to do horrible on the final)
Discussion (x8) 12% - participation points, just need to show up 8 out of 10 times throughout the quarter for attendance, no need to submit anything
BACON Tutorials (x8) 12% - online "quizzes" where you go through a lesson and then answer four MC questions from that lesson; 10 total but 2 lowest ones are dropped

his grade cutoffs:
A+ (no EC) ≥ 99.0%
99.0% > A ≥ 94.0%
94.0% > A- ≥ 88.0%
88.0% > B+ ≥ 84.0%
84.0% > B ≥ 79.0%
79.0% > B- ≥ 75.0%
75.0% > C+ ≥ 69.0%
69.0% > C ≥ 62.0%
62.0% > C- ≥ 54.0%
54.0% > D+ ≥ 47.0%
47.0% > D ≥ 39.0%
39.0% > D- ≥ 30.0%

he gives a lot of opportunities for ec too (point total in my class was 330 and we could've gotten 18 points from ec alone

overall, i think he's a great prof. he knows his stuff, the workload isn't overwhelming, and his slides are easy to understand. he makes great analogies with the material to make it easier to digest abstract concepts, and is also a funny dude who gives deep talks abt life sometimes lol. i came out of that class with a greater appreciation for learning in general, which lowkey helped with how stressed i was as a student too?? my experiences could be different bc it was all online, but if Pham's offered, i highly recommend taking him for 14D.

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COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A-
Dec. 24, 2020

I took both 14C and 14D with Pham, and honestly he's one of my favorite professors. He's super straightforward with what will be on exams and is an awesome lecturer. He's often funny as well. The biggest tip for this class is to always practice reactions. I didn't have to study too much for 14C, but I had to study a LOT more for 14D because you would have to be familiar with the material.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Dec. 23, 2020

Let me start off by saying that I have mad respect for anyone who took ochem in person. This class would have certainly been much more difficult if it weren't for the open note exams. There are so many reagents and reactions that you would have to memorize, and this class would have quickly become overwhelming. However, I was fortunate to take this class during covid. I won't say that online learning made this class easy because the material was still difficult, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Here's how I got an A with no ochem background besides 14C with Castillo, but before I do here's a break down of the points and grading scheme:

Points:
- Problem Sets (x5) = 100 points, 20 each (difficult to get perfect scores)
- Exams (x3) = 150 points, 50 each (very difficult to get perfect scores)
- Discussion Participation = 40 points (didn't have to turn the camera on or talk so should be easy points)
- BACON = 40 points (mini-lectures but should be easy points, just screenshot the notes before you take the post-quiz)
- 330 points total
- 8 points of EC for lecture poll questions
- 8 points of EC for Cryoff Project
- 2 points for surveys throughout the quarter

Grading Scheme:
- A+: 99-100
- A: 94-99
- A-: 88-94
- B+: 84-88
- B: 79-84
- B- 75-79
- C+: 69-75
- C: 62-69
- C-: 54-62
- D+ and below: <62

First off, Pham is a good lecturer who keeps his class very organized which I was extremely thankful for, but he's not as incredible as other reviews say he is. In other words, he is a slightly overhyped professor, but he will still teach you well enough to pass or get in the B range if that's what you're looking for. What propelled me into the A range was Khan Academy. I can't say this enough but Khan Academy was a lifesaver for this course. I felt that their instructors explained the material much more thoroughly and I was able to understand the material waaaay better after watching their videos. If it weren't for Khan Academy, I would have struggled in this class, so my biggest advice to anyone who will take this class in the future is WATCH KHAN ACADEMY. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't go to Pham's lectures, but please use Khan Academy as a learning supplement.

Secondly, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, AND PRACTICE EVEN MORE. There is no understatement for this. Getting exposure to a wide variety of problems will make the exams so much easier. The TAs will all have their individual discussion worksheets, so get a hold of as many as you can (my TA was Tony and his worksheets were excellent). Additionally, completing Pham's biweekly problem sets were probably the best way to practice the material. Make sure you completely understand every problem because the problem sets were pretty similar to the format of the exams. I also want to point out that I never used the textbook, so I'm not sure if the suggested homework problems were useful but from what I've heard from others they aren't.

Lastly, GO TO DISCUSSION. The TAs and LAs were so helpful throughout the course of the quarter. Every week, I would use the discussion as a way to check my understanding of the past week's material. If I didn't understand a problem, I would rewatch Pham's lectures, watch Khan Academy videos, and try the problem again until I completely understood it. Since there is A LOT of material in 14D, and it is easy to fall behind, I highly recommend mastering the material on each week's discussion worksheets. Don't get lazy and think that you can study the material later; you're going to need to prepare for the exams far in advance.

Overall, 14D will be a huge time commitment. Here's my break down of the time I spent each week on the class:
- Lectures (2.5 hours)
- Khan Academy (2 hours)
- Discussion (1 hour)
- Discussion worksheet review to master material (1-2 hours)
- Problem Sets (1 hour/2 hours every 2 weeks)
- Bacon (<15 minutes)
- 5 hours of studying for each midterm
- 15 hours of studying for the final

This class will be hard, but it's doable if you put in the effort. Also, Pham doesn't offer many accommodations for his exam times (2 hour time window for midterms, and 3 hour time window for final), so make sure that you are available during the exact exam times. If not, email him at the beginning of the quarter because he seriously wouldn't take accommodations that were asked for even a week or two in advance. On a final note, if you want a better chance at an A, take this class online. I forgot so many reagents/reactions during the exams but thankfully I could just look back at the slides lol.

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Quarter: Winter 2020
Grade: A+
March 20, 2020

I came into this class thinking it was hard and hearing stories about how this is a weeder class and whatever. Imma be honest. It really isn't as hard as people say. The ones who say its extremely difficult are usually the ones that wait to learn everything before the midterm and final. That will not work in this class at all. Im going to share some of the tips I used while taking this class to hopefully help you guys get an A as well.

1. Attend every class. I had this class MWF 8am and it was hard af waking up but trust me it is so much better to get this 50 min class out of the way than to waste time and energy watching the audio podcast and going back and forth between the slides posted. And since its an audio podcast and not a bruincast video there are things that are important that he may write on the board that can help you later when you study.
2. A day before each lecture, the slides for the lecture are posted on ccle. I would always copy down the slides in my notebook before the lecture. It doesn't matter if you don't understand every thing you write since you haven't gone to that lecture yet. The purpose of this is that you will be able to follow along the lecture and actually have time to understand what he is saying. Pham lectures pretty fast and I always notice that when he talks a bunch of heads go down to copy and write down whatever he says. At least for me, it is difficult to write down stuff and understand what is going on while the professor talks fast. Spending 30 min the night before to write down the notes from the slides can help you solidify your understanding of material during class.
3. GO TO DISCUSSION! You can attend any discussion you want pretty much cuz they don't take attendance. I personally went to 2 discussions a week with 2 different TAs cuz it fit my schedule. That may be a bit excessive but definitely go to 1 a week for sure. My favorite TA was Sean. He always knew the material very well, answered every question, and always guided students through confusing topics.
4. For the midterms, start studying in advance. I usually started studying a week in advance. I would go an do practice from all the discussion worksheets and TA worksheets. OCHEM is all about practice. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Another reason why I started early to study is so that I could go to office hours if needed. I would have a separate sheet of paper listing out any questions I had referring to specific problems from the worksheets or concepts from lecture. Let's say the midterm was on a Friday. By starting to study a week before, I was able to get through the worksheets and my notes by Monday of the week of the test. This meant I could attend office hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to ask any questions before the exam. If I started studying on Tuesday of the same week as the test, I would probably finish the reviewing by Thursday, which would give me no time to attend office hours to clarify any questions I had. If you keep up with the material every day then it won't be overwhelming when it comes to the midterms and final. Also don't be afraid to ask the LAs, TAs, or the professor any question. They are there to help you do well so take advantage of them as a resource!
5. Practice in test-like conditions. The hardest part of the two midterms is the time limit. They are both 50 minutes each which means you gotta know your shit. There are usually old practice exams that people from previous years have. Try to get your hands on them and take the them at home within 50 minutes to stimulate real testing conditions.
6. Ochem has some memorization don't get me wrong. But it is a lot easier to do well in this class if you spend time understanding the concepts instead of memorizing each reaction/mechanism as a separate thing. Like you can memorize each example he gives in class, but if he changes one small thing from the example and puts it on the test, you're going to have trouble. Take the time to understand the material conceptually, ask questions to fill any knowledge gaps, and you will be ahead of the curve.

That's pretty much all the tips I have. This is what worked for me. The most important thing I would say is to not come into the class with a negative mindset. As long as you put in the work and tailor your study methods to fit the class you will do great!

*Also pham offers a ton of extra credit(10 pts for tophat which are like clicker questions, 6 pts for the surveys throughout the year, and 10 points for the CRYOFF project at the end of the quarter)

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COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Jan. 5, 2021

Pham is a great professor and explains the content in a way that's easy to understand. His slides are organized and super useful! He's also pretty funny and you won't get bored during lecture. He does go a bit fast times, but this allowed us to have extra time at the end of the quarter to go more slowly instead of cramming a bunch of material in. Exams were reasonable with time being the most difficult part, so I'd recommend having a good grasp on the material and not constantly referring to your notes. To study, I'd recommend doing as many TA worksheets as you can since they're all available to you and cover the content well (some are harder than tested material). Your grade also consists of problem sets (one due every 2 weeks), BACON (online tutorials relating chem to pop culture, mostly free points), and extra credit points he offers through in-class poll questions. Pham can be kinda blunt and almost condescending at times when you ask questions, but his actions show that he cares about students and will help you if you show a desire and interest in learning and not just getting a grade. That said, he's not super accommodating with online learning and I think most people all had to take the exams at a set time. Overall, I'd definitely recommend taking Pham because he really teaches you the material well and is also a good lecturer!

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COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Dec. 30, 2020

OVERALL: This class was definitely tougher than Chem 14C, so it's important to stay on top of the content covered. Professor Pham's exams were challenging but fair, I would recommend keeping a list of all the reactions he goes over separate from the lecture notes so you can easily refer to them as you solve problem sets and study. I did this, and an LA uploaded her own list of reactions (shout-out to Hedi!), which was super helpful for exams.

PARTICIPATION POINTS/EXTRA CREDIT: To be honest, I was a little intimidated by Professor Pham so I didn't really attend office hours (I was afraid I would ask a stupid question), but he was a pretty fun and engaging lecturer. Each of his exams had a unique "extra credit" opportunity on them (I would recommend checking the box if there's ever any question about it), and he also provides extra credit in the form of a Chem 14D themed group project. Since I took the class online, each poll question answered also counted as extra credit for a maximum of 8 points. (There was no required attendance). The class also has online modules called "BACON" (easy points, just screenshot all of the slides to answer the questions) that are due each week.

PROBLEM SETS: The problem sets are good preparation for exams, so definitely make sure to solve them on your own instead of relying on outside help. I would recommend checking the answers over with a trusted friend after both of you have completed the problem set because some of it is graded on correctness.

EXAM TIPS: Synthesis problems are what most students have trouble with, so in preparation for midterms/final, do as much of them as you can! There are a lot of great synthesis problems online and they also help you further hone in on the reactions that are being tested. For exams, I would also recommend doing the TA worksheets of the TAs that are most popular in the class/have the best review.

DISCUSSIONS: Discussions are mandatory for participation points, although you don't have to submit your discussion worksheet. If you see Tony Moreno as a potential TA, definitely try switching into his section! I wasn't in his discussion, but attended some of his discussions because he has good slides and great worksheets.

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COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Dec. 28, 2020

This class was...interesting. Pham is an amazing lecturer, likely one of the best that I've had in my time here at UCLA. However, with that being said, he is incredibly condescendign and expects you to just know stuff without studying. I recommend that you don't ask any questions in a lecture setting, as he can humiliate you for asking it. However, apart from that everything in this class is fair. The problem sets are hard, but I recommend working on them with some friends in the class, and definitely going to office hours if you need help. The midterms and final are very reflective of these problem sets, and also require some higher order thinking.

My advice for this class is to practice practice practice. This class is unique in the sense that the TAs tend to design their own worksheets. DO AS MANY OF THESE AS YOU CAN during Week 1, and based on which TA has the best worksheet, switch into their section. For instance, there was a TA in the quarter that I took it named Tony Moreno, and he was the absolute best. I wish I switched into his discussion :-). Anyways, from then, try to do the discussion worksheets every week, and use them as a study resource for the exams. Problem sets are due on the even weeks, and released on odd weeks. Before each problem set was due, I would meet with my study group and we would compare answers and talk through the problems. 10/10 recommend this approach. Also, the class goes pretty slow the first few weeks, in that you learn like 4 reactions for the first midterm. However, this number increases a crazy amount for the other exams. To keep up with the material, I recommend making a "cheat sheet" with the gist of each reaction, and making sure you understand when to use which mechanism. I definitely think this is one of the hardest classes I've taken at UCLA, but with the proper time management and practice, you can definitely do well!

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COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A+
Dec. 19, 2020

Chem 14D is a difficult class but Professor Hung does a great job explaining every reaction thoroughly. His exams are difficult but as long as you pay attention to lecture and understand every concept, you should do well. Also, every TA creates their own discussion worksheet so you have lots of practice problems available for exams. The professor also gives out some extra credit on exams and in an extra credit project. Overall, this class is hard but it's definitely worth taking it with this professor.

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Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: A+
Dec. 19, 2019

Dr. Pham's tests are hard, but you are more likely to succeed if you stay relatively up to date with the material. Just don't fall behind! This class is pretty quick, but the reactions get pretty similar. Understand the patterns to make your studying easier! Dr. Pham is awesome, and his TAs are also great. He makes himself available to students, and he is very funny. He has quite the backstory, too. Attend his office hours to unlock the secret backstory DLC and to get life advice. Lastly, the time you get for discussion doesn't really matter. He said he would institute mandatory attendance at enrolled discussions if students crowded up specific sessions, but that never happened. I can confidently say that thanks to Dr. Pham, organic chemistry has been my favorite subject in college thus far. 14C and 14D were truly a blast. Take Dr. Pham!

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1 of 4
3.7
Overall Rating
Based on 34 Users
Easiness 2.2 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.1 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 3.2 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 3.5 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Uses Slides
    (23)
  • Is Podcasted
    (19)
  • Gives Extra Credit
    (22)
  • Tolerates Tardiness
    (14)
  • Appropriately Priced Materials
    (15)
  • Tough Tests
    (19)
  • Engaging Lectures
    (14)
  • Would Take Again
    (17)
  • Snazzy Dresser
    (13)
  • Often Funny
    (14)
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