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Garg is definitely the best professor I've had, both because of how well he teaches and how fair his tests are. Unlike other O-chem professors, he lays out exactly what rules to follow and leaves almost no ambiguity (in terms of different trends conflicting, etc.)
His class is VERY challenging, however, though it is very possible to get a good grade if you put in the effort.
Tips for getting extra credit problems right on midterms and finals: Write down every date he mentions, every Nobel Prize winner. Copy down all organic compounds he draws like indigo, LSD, ambien etc. and everything he says about them.
Look back at these dates/molecules right before the test, he doesn't mention very many of them so it won't take long.
O MY HOT DAMN I need to put in my two cents for this man!!!!!!
First of all, there is NOTHING in the existence of this planet that i hate more than chemistry. It is the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. NOTHING let me repeat NOTHING compares to my hatred, that burns with the white hot intensity of a thousand sun, for chemistry. HOWEVER, Garg made chem actually sort of itty-bitty teeny-weeny, almost enjoyable.....almost. My love for Garg almost trumps my hatred of chemistry....almost. He not only cares about students PERSONALLY learning the material, he is funny, kind, and just a wonderful human being. His extra credit is freaken bombdiggity, and everything he does is FAIR. My run of chem grades goes c-, c-, c+, D, B-. so you see how my hate for chem shows though my grades, but honestly if i tried a little harder i could have easily gotten at least an A-, i just took Garg for granted and didn't study hard enough. The material is still difficult, don't get me wrong, its just GARG being such a WONDERFUL MAN, makes it all sugar coated with love and care :] i FREAKEN love him!!! Oh, and Stephen as a TA is also FREAKEN AWESOME and ADORABLE TO BOOT. Seriously...he's so cute i just want to kick him! and he's an AMAZING TA!!!! uggg I want to marry them both :[ If Garg is enough to make my write an evaluation and Stephen is enough to make me go to an 8 AM discussion in FREAKING BOTONY, then you just know that these guys are worth waiting for!!!!!
Garg only teaches one lecture with about 380 or so students. I know some people who couldn’t get into the class, so beware. If you get into the class, congratulations!
Garg made us all feel like superheros. He gave me a cape and key chain that is currently hanging on my wall. This is coming from someone who didn’t do stellar in 14A. But everyone walked out of that class with something- whether 14D trinkets, an otterpop, greater appreciation for o-chem, life lessons, or restored faith in life science professors. If you just google Garg you’ll see how accomplished he is. Somebody please get this man another award please!
What worked for me:
-Garg’s notes were fully sufficient, write down everything including clicker questions. Vollhardt was confusing and out of the scope of the course.
- Go through your notes after lecture, memorize mechanisms and reaction conditions. I just recopied mechanisms on scrap paper however many times it took me to memorize it. Make study guides, notecards, whatever works for you.
- All necessary study materials are posted online. I did each problem set and old midterms and finals at least a few times spaced out throughout the quarter. Once the first time using notes if necessary, again without notes, again before the midterm, again before the final. Sounds excessive but it works. Every problem is useful unlike Hardinger’s Thinkbook.
-Retrosynthesis takes practice. Everything else you just have to “memorize.” But Garg teaches basic concepts and by the time the final rolls around, they’ll come naturally.
-I didn’t do the ringtone because only 5 groups get points, but definitely do the music video. Write down random Nobel Prize winners, dates, and structures that he puts on the board. Study if you have extra time for possible extra points on exams.
-Office hours are helpful, Garg’s or any TA’s. Go if you can, even if you think you understand all of the problem set already. Someone will ask a question and you’ll realize you didn’t fully understand it.
-Work hard, have fun, you’re in good hands.
-Only regret: not taking his Honors section concurrently!
Neil Garg is the best professor I have had at UCLA, if not ever. He is the perfect teacher. There is nothing bad I could say about him, even if I tried. This was the first class that I actually looked forward to and was excited to go to. Taking south campus classes, I am sure you're all familiar with how difficult it is to stay awake in class, especially after lunch. Not even a yawn once.
Rather than using powerpoint slides, he goes through every mechanism and rule of O-Chem on the chalkboard. He writes everything down step-by-step. He answers any and all questions in class and takes his time - not rushing through and assuming everyone understands everything. He ensures everything is clear, and even if it's not, he makes himself SO available outside of class you wouldn't believe that on top of that, he also has a successful lab and family that he devotes just as much to. He is truly an amazing man.
Not only is he an awesome professor but he makes the class fun. On the last day he brought otter pops for everyone. Like seriously! What south campus (or any) professor does that for a class of 300 students? He really encourages students to WANT to do well. He's the nicest and sweetest guy, and after having a few conversations with him he becomes one of your homies. Although I didn't do as well as I hoped in the class, I feel like it's completely doable. Rather than make the exams tricky, he really tests your knowledge and is very straightforward. If you go through his AMAZING notes, and do all the practice problems you will be fine. It's easy to make dumb mistakes on the exams because you really gain your confidence going through some of the problems, so watch out. I lost a lot of points like that.
Extra Credit: it's ACTUALLY achievable. Yeah, you don't need to dig though 1000 pages of textbook pages looking for a chemical mistakes for a measly half-point. You do things that are actually educational and worth your time that also help you for the class, like the music videos. There's also random dates and chemical molecules he throws out every once in a while he might put on the exam. He rewards you for your participation and your effort, so if you go to discussion and take an active role throughout the quarter you will be glad.
On top of all that, he really promotes in class participation. He gives so much to his students and really makes you want to shine your best light.
He truly makes the class enjoyable. The only class I am sad to have end, and the entire class agrees. Sitting in discussion on the last day, everyone talked about how much we will miss Garg. Have you ever seen that in any of your classes?
Garg, we love you. Thanks for an amazing quarter <3
Dr. Garg is by far my favorite professor here at UCLA. I had the honor and privilege of getting to know him both as a professor as well as a person, and am truly impressed by how friendly, kind, and down to Earth he is. If you were to review his web site, it would take only a glance at his accomplishments to know that he is a big shot researcher, but the humble manner in which he speaks with students would not give you the slightest clue. As a teacher, he is perfect in all aspects. Though he expects you to learn a great number of reactions, you know what is expected of you for his tests. He would rather test you on straightforward concepts that he taught in class to gauge your knowledge of the material rather than trick you with traps as many other professors do. If you know all of the reactions it is difficult to believe you won't do well, but with that said, this is not necessarily an easy task to do because of the sheer number of reactions he will give you. Most importantly, you should know that Dr. Garg truly makes every effort to make his class entertaining and to acknowledge those who work hard and do well in class. Dr. Garg is famously known both around UCLA's science department and by schools around the country for his extra credit music video project, in which he provides students the opportunity to create a music video about chemistry to express their creative side. This project unexpectedly gained vast recognition, and was featured both on the UCLA Newsroom as well as various well-known science websites and forums. I took his Chem 14D class, his Chem 241F class, and tutored for his Chem 14D class, and after all of these experiences, I can say it has truly been an honor to meet a man of his caliber. Take Dr. Garg as a teacher if you get the chance, and if you are given the opportunity to know him on a personal level you should not hesitate, because it isn't every day that you meet a man like him.
DR. GARG IS SERIOUSLY THE BEST PROFESSOR I HAVE EVER HAD!
The chemistry series was a little difficult for me and I was starting to get discouraged by chemistry, until I had professor Garg. He is by far the most amazing professor out there. He is truly concerned about his students learning and genuinely wants us to learn, and him to help in any way possible. This man will change your view of not only chemistry, but professors. I have had horrible professors here at UCLA and Garg gave me hope that there are still some professors out there who want you to learn and love to teach. I loved Dr. Garg's class, and I was actually pretty bummed out the last day that it was over!
I don't think I will ever have another professor who is as amazing as Dr. Garg. I agree with all of the evaluations that have been already posted. He has a very kind heart in the sense that he is extremely understanding and will open up TWO three hour review sessions for his final exam and also additional office hours just for you if you want to talk to him and can't make his current ones. He has this awesome extra credit music video project too! If you show the slightest interest in getting to know him at office hours, he will remember your name after the first time meeting you and refer to you by it every time he calls on you or talks to you. I don't know why this was such a surprising thing to me but none of my chemistry or ls professors ever even asked me for my name-- I was just another student that they would shake off after 10 weeks.
Seriously, if you get the chance to take a class with Dr. Garg, you should. I hated chemistry with a passion before this class and now I really enjoy ochem and am a little sad that I won't be taking any more chem classes at UCLA.
I could literally write a book about how amazing this guy is. Take his class :)
Professor Garg is the best professor I have ever had throughout my whole academic career. He sincerely cares about student well-being and learning, and on top of that, actually makes chemistry interesting/fun. I've never had a class where I was actually excited about going to. Unlike many other chemistry classes, this class isn't about just reading the book and regurgitating material about class, but actually relating chemistry to real life (he actually draws structures for many common drugs we use, like ambien and ibuprofen). One thing that I was very amazed at was when I went to one of his office hours for a midterm review, and although his office hour was supposed to end at a certain time, students still had questions, and he very kindly answered all of them, and kept asking if anyone else had any other questions (he actually ended up going about 2 hours over his scheduled office hours, and even then he asked if students still had questions). Other than this incident, there are just many other ways he demonstrates his care for his students, like how he memorizes students names, even though he has 200+ in his lecture. There's just an endless amount of good things to say about Professor Garg, and I can't possibly list them all. All I have to say is, if you have to take Chem14D, most definitely take it with him (not the other guy), cus you won't regret it!
Why would you disrespect Professor Garg like that? The definition of a good teacher is definitely relative to the individual but Garg is one of the best professors I have come across in my career as a student. He is truly passionate about what he teaches but tries so hard to level out with his students. I will admit his material was easier than Hardinger's exams but if you miss points they can add up really quick (i.e. miss one reagent in the retrosynth problem and that's 6 points...the difference between A+ and A...forget to label a carbocation? that's 93..an A-) You either know the material or you don't. He is not "easy" but if you study hard he is. He gives you EC to make up for it. If you don't like the way his class is structured...resign your A+ and GTFO... taking Garg for granted smh...