I took Physics6A with Fitzgerald. He is a good lecturer I admit. But his exams are extremely hard. And they are not at all predictable. Some times you see like one question in the exam that's the same or similar as his sample exams. But his exams are soooooo challenging. And his homework and sample exams don't prepare you well for them. The average for the final exam was like 56%. And his curves don't do you any favor either. Apparently he inflated the curve for people who got below a C- after he realized he failed too many people probably. But this is a very difficult professor. Don't take him if you don't want to have a hard time and a poor grade, unless of course you are a natural in physics.
Physics 6A This was my first time taking Physics ever in my life, and I found it to be extremely interesting, but challenging. Professor Fitzgerald is a decent lecturer, but he literally used all of Professor Shaked's materials. I think that it may have been his first quarter teaching Physics, because almost none of his materail/powerpoints/practice exams were his creation. He even used the EXACT same midterms that Shaked uses, and there was a huge controversy in class because some students had already seen the midterm from previous quarters and were therefore prepared for what was on the exam. To fix this, Professor Fitzgerald threw out the group portion of the second midterm so that it somehow scaled everyone's grades so that some people didn't have the advantage. There really isn't a curve in this class. He offers extra credit opportunity, but it ONLY affects the participation portion of the class, which is a very small percentage. Also, you can't get higher than 100% for participation, so there comes a point where you can't earn any more extra credit even if you keep doing all the extra assignments he gives out, which SUCKS for those that are trying to boost their grade any way possible. Go to office hours. It really does help. I went to as many OH of my TA's as I could (I had Chris Schnaible btw, he was a good TA!) and I also went to Fitzgerald's OH. He has people sign in so he can keep a record of who actually comes, and he does do a really good job of remembering people's names. He knew me by name which really helped at the end of the quarter when I was teetering on the edge of a C+/B-. So he is a good teacher to go to if you want to make an impression and actually be remembered. There seemed to be a larger than average portion of students who downright failed this class. Many ended up with a D+ because they thought that there would be some type of curve at the very end of the quarter, but it never came. There were quite a few angry students who had to retake 6A this summer because Fitzgerald didn't pass them. So be prepared to work hard and put in the extra time that's needed, especially if you've never taken Physics before. It's definitely true that Physics at UCLA is much more difficult than the abroad programs, because there is so much to learn in such a short amount of time, and the professors really expect the students to understand the processes taking place. Physics requires time and exposure, so PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. I even hired a private tutor to help me a couple of weeks before the final exam. If Fitzgerald continues to teach this course, I really hope that he starts to create more of his own materials and incorporates more of a curve into this class! Otherwise it will continue to be very challenging.