Hey all I was just wondering if anybody had taken OChem (or any similarly difficult science classes) during the summer and could share their experiences with it. If I take 140A and B, I would have Dr. O'Connor both sessions if anybody knows anything about his teaching/testing styles and would like to share.
I haven't taken ochem in summer sessions, but I did have O'Connor for ochem140A this term's fall quarter and I really liked how understanding he was of his students. He is a very happy-go-lucky sort of guy and I feel he really wants his students to understand the concepts. He always has some sort of story to tell the students which are fun and interesting to listen to! From what I remember, his class consisted of just one midterm and one final, but i'm not sure if it's the same for summer session. He definitely made the class bearable and worth starting my day at 9:30am that quarter!
O'Connor's a pretty cool guy. He has tons of interesting stories and is dedicated to making sure you learn what's important. That being said, his teaching style is a bit erratic. He doesn't seem to really prepare for his classes, so they're not particularly organized. On the bright side, he's an Organic Chemist, so he knows what he's talking about.
He has one midterm and one final. If you do better on the final he'll discount the midterm.
Overall, I'd say just know that he knows his stuff and his class is worthwhile. However, that depends on if your learning style is compatible with his teaching style.
Does anyone know if he limits the amount of A's given out in his class like some of my friend's Organic Chemistry teachers at other schools? One of my friend's professors makes it a policy to only hand out like 11 A's per semester (quarter in this case).
He (and every other prof in the dept) won't explicitly say that they'll hand out X number of As, Bs, Cs. What they do instead is adjust the cutoffs for those grades. A typical arrangement is that the mean's a B-, one SD up is an A-, one SD down is a C-, and so forth. *Sometimes* a professor can be very generous, like when my pchem professor rewarded us for surviving the nastiness by eliminating minuses, so there were just A+/A/B+/B/C+ etc.
Just a word of advice: nagging a professor or TA about the grading system is a surefire way to land yourself on a mental blacklist you definitely don't want to be on. The strategy for good grades has never changed: just do better than everyone else.
I've seen folks snooze through lecture, do the minimum for homework, and whiz through exams with stellar grades. I've also heard from students who claimed to be studying 20 hrs/week, did each problem thrice, and still bomb exams by demonstrating a complete lack of understanding. It took me a long time before ochem finally "clicked" and I could solve problems with ease and actually enjoy learning it. (Before that, it totally sucked.)
Do your best. You shouldn't ask anything, nor expect, more from yourself.