Based on 6 Users
Doing well in this class boils down to how you study. Even though there is A LOT of material to memorize, it's completely manageable if you space out studying and practice recall. I cannot emphasize anything more than practicing recall! This course is extremely fair and the exams pull directly from lecture and the notes. They even give you a lot of blanks to practice on, so there really shouldn't be an excuse for missing things on those figures. I guarantee that if you study by re-labelling and studying the figures and by drawing things out, then you will do well in the course. And the professors are pretty good and caring, but they don't care about any BS or slacking off, so that's why some people may think they're bad or hardasses.
- Screenshot all figures (even the little ones in the corner and especially the ones that have labels in red) and fill out all the labels. Then re-do them. Every picture and structure that appears on the test was somewhere in the lecture notes.
- DRAW WHATEVER YOU CAN. Draw the pathways, make tables, use colors, draw brain structures and then label it, etc. This is an ANATOMY course, so most of the material needs to be visually learned. Your brain will remember the drawings and figures easily this way and recall on the test will be clear.
- Do not waste time trying to write down or type everything the professors say. Most of what they say is WRITTEN ON THE SLIDES, but the point is to listen and see what's important and where the structures are located. I encourage printing out the slides and writing on them, or typing directly onto the slides or using your ipad to write notes directly onto the slides.
If you made it all the way to the end of my post, then good for you! I really really really loved this course because the material was incredible. Studying for this class didn't seem tough for me, because I truly loved the material and cared about actually learning it. If you are a neuroscience major or pre-med, then you really should try hard for this class because in med school, you'll have to learn neuroanatomy anyway and this is directly relevant for your career. And if you don't enjoy the material or care, then why are you in this class or major anyway?
THIS IS BY FARRR THE HARDEST CLASS AT UCLA!!!!! PERIOD!!! Professor Prins seems intimidating and expecting you to be prepare what your getting into. Literally mentions on the first day of class, "This might be the hardest class as a neuroscience major or minor and if this seems to much for you please drop the class." AND Yes she was right, luckily I managed to stay and WOW I developed depression over this class, but I managed to get an A-. After the quarter was fully over and received my final grade, I could you not went clubbing and stayed up all night!!!
Class structure: There is a lot, and I mean, A LOT of information you'll have to memorize one way or another. THE ONLY WAY TO PASS THIS CLASS IS "STUDY CONSISTENTLY." If you spend two hours after each lecture going through all the slides and quizzing yourself, you'll save a ton of time down the road when you have to study for exams. The final is DIFFICULT if you tend to slack off from the material learned throughout the quarter (FINAL IS CUMULATIVE), which is only possible if you don't put yourself in a position where you have to cram for the midterms in the first place.
THIS CLASS IS JUST DIFFICULT AND IT YOU HAVE PUT THIS CLASS YOUR FIRST PRIORITY OR YOU WILL FALL BEHIND! However your still able to pass the class with a high grade just STUDY everyday!!!
No one said that neuroanatomy was going to be easy. And this is a class where I learned to actually listen to the professor's advice on not cramming, studying consistently, and setting study goals, and not over committing yourself to get more time for the class. The amount of material covered is actually almost absurd, and the lectures often felt way too fast to understand conceptually; it was difficult not to end up spending two entire days before exams trying to remember everything despite consistent studying. It's brutal some of the weeks, but that's just the nature of the material I suppose.
The lab section of this course is alright, especially if you get an interesting TA, the quizzes in lab for this professor are somewhat easy but not something to screw around with either, they require studying too.
The exams are fair, but they may have you call up some details that you might have heard or read one time but didn't think to remember, but they are fair.
Professor Prins, most importantly, is a good instructor. I can tell that if she weren't in the position of teaching a course that is completely memorization based, she would really be much more helpful. She was certainly helpful in this course, but it really just came down to memorizing... a lot of material .
This was definitely the hardest class I have taken at UCLA. Coming from a student who generally has to work pretty hard to earn a B+ or A- I found the amount of material that was expected of us to memorize to be completely absurd. The professor do not give any hints as to what is important for the exam (for example the final had to TWO questions about different terms for the meningeal layers which were not emphasized in the slides at all) and maybe 1 question about a heavily emphasized topic. I studied consistently every week and still struggled. Some people who are really good at memorization found this class to be not so bad but I was not one of those people. Dr Prins is not lying on the first day when she says this is the hardest class on campus. This was by far my most melt down-y quarter taking this class and 101A together as a neuro major. Barely scraped by passing the class despite hours and hours of work put in - do not recommend unless you have to. If you have to take this be prepared to start studying on day 1, make flash cards and print out all the blanks. Also, ALL of the images in the slides are fair game with the labels, so even a pic shown once with several labels can be on the test (and will be on the test) so make sure you know every cross section of the brain, thalamus, hypothalamus, spinal cord, all of the nuclei and where they start and end and their functions. Good luck.
Many people say this is one of the toughest classes on campus, and I agree. I've never felt like I could pour so much time into studying for one class and still only be scratching the surface. That being said, it's not impossible. Actually, succeeding is pretty simple: just learn everything. (Easy! lol) Use all those study skills you've been taught, set aside a couple hours after each lecture to go through the material again and again until you've got it down, and you'll do fine.
Attending every 8 AM lecture was rough, but very important in my opinion, as they aren't podcasted and they "prohibit" recording the lectures on your phone. I know some people would skip because the professors usually didn't deviate from the slides much, but I though that hearing everything in person first was helpful. At the same time, it's really easy to feel overwhelmed in lecture. We'd frequently cover 70+ slides in an hour. It feels like drinking water from a fire hose sometimes, but especially if you're thinking about med school, it's a good wake up call.
The professors (Drs. Prins and LeBelle) were tough and not super personable in lectures and labs, but they're nice if you talk to them one-on-one. I imagine they'd be fun if they were teaching a class that was more than rote memorization, but I didn't find them to be particularly inspirational for this class. And don't expect them to spoon-feed you material. You're gonna have to work really hard if you want to succeed.
A couple tips: 1) As the other reviews have said, everything on every slide is fair game. The brain cross-sections they use in the slides are the same ones they use on the exams, so if you study the fuck out of those images, you'll be in really good shape for identifying weird stuff (like random cranial nerve nuclei in the brainstem, or different basal ganglia/thalamic structures in different coronal sections). 2) many slides have a ton of info on random structures, but were only covered for half a minute in lecture. That doesn't mean they aren't gonna be on the test. While they rarely give hints, sometimes the professors will change the font/color/underline/make things bold in order to highlight what they consider important. 3) I often found my eyes glazing over as I stared at slides for hours. Re-listening to audio recordings of the lectures helped me stay on track and focus on what the professors emphasized, and let me pause on slides I didn't completely understand before moving on. The professors make a big deal out of not letting people record them, so don't ask for permission, but just be lowkey. 4) DRAW STUFF OUT! It's really helpful to get a whiteboard/coloring pencils and map out structures and pathways. This class is very visually oriented, so if you can draw things, you can better understand their spatial arrangement. 5) STUDY CONSISTENTLY. If you spend two hours after each lecture going through all the slides and quizzing yourself, you'll save a ton of time down the road when you have to study for exams. The final is a lot more manageable if you don't have to re-teach yourself stuff from the midterms, which is only possible if you don't put yourself in a position where you have to cram for the midterms in the first place. Seriously, set aside several hours throughout each week to absorb all the material. You'll thank me later.
Overall, I think this class is a reflection of the work you put into it. It's not that material itself is impossible (it's not; you really don't need to understand how much works on a mechanistic level), it's just that there's a massive amount of material to learn. If you're diligent and patient, you can get through this class just fine. But paired with Neuro 101A, this class can be a lot. The two classes occasionally overlap, but usually not when it's convenient (ex. the basal ganglia and cerebellum were taught and tested in 101a entirely before they were discussed in 102, which was annoying since it would've been a good opportunity to have both classes reinforce each other). This fall was definitely my hardest quarter at UCLA. If you're feeling overwhelmed by 102, know that you can take it over the summer, or in the fall of your senior year. While it's difficult in the moment, it's a really important foundation to have if you're interested in pursuing neuroscience further. You'll be able to read scientific papers and actually understand what they're talking about, which is no small feat.
Moral of the story: This isn't impossible! It's just a ton of work, but if you really wanna learn it, you can do it. Good luck!
The class is tough. There is a lot, and I mean, A LOT of information you'll have to memorize one way or another. I easily had over 1300 flashcards for the final, and I know of others with numbers into 2000s. And that's ultimately what it boils down to: Do you have the time to memorize everything that's underlined/colored/highlighted/drawn on every slide?
If the answer's yes, good for you. If not, well...good luck.
There is extra credit though, up to additional 8% if you attend everything and whatnot. Also, the lab quizzes and the lab practicum is pretty easy, and those are worth, like, a 1/3rd of the grade.