BIOL UA 21
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BIOL UA 21 Molecular and Cell Biology

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    A Few Big Assignments

    Background Knowledge Expected

    Go to Office Hours

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    • Profile picture
    Mar 30, 2017
    | Would highly recommend.

    This class was tough.

    Course Overview:

    BIOL UA 21 is a challenging course, but it is one that instills extreme academic growth, and if you ultimately do well, then by the end of it you feel like you have really achieved something substantial. Professor Siegal is a very modern professor, meaning that he incorporates technology into his teaching style. He records all lectures and synchronizes the audio with slides to be uploaded online. If you're someone who learns through repetitive listening and visuals, like I am, then this is extremely helpful. He also hosts live video study sessions prior to exams, where students can submit questions via web chat. Equally important, his assigned projects aim to highlight the real world applications of knowledge regarding molecular and cellular processes - such as the role of certain genetic mutations in disease.

    Course highlights:

    The highlights of this course were the projects that students were required to present in recitation regarding the importance of a specific strip of sequences we were assigned. Essentially, we were each given a slip of paper with a certain sequence in one strand of DNA, and we learned how to look up that sequence in a gene bank to discover what it codes for. Then we made a presentation about the genetic sequence, the protein-coding or non-coding function that the sequence performs, and why it's important to us. Additionally, I learned to think very critically about research articles regarding molecular and cellular biology and about devising my own experiments to test an idea, which is very important if you plan to go into a scientific field like I am.

    Hours per week:

    12+ hours

    Advice for students:

    Study early for exams! Also, try to understand the concepts rather than just memorize them (with the exception of the "Master Topics" Professor Siegal assigns, which should be memorized down to the last detail). This strategy helped me in the long run. Also, don't be shy to utilize help from the professor and TA's; they realize that the course is challenging, and they really care about helping the students. I would actually recommend to bypass the required reading, as the writing in the textbook for this course is dense. It is much better to dedicate that time to re-listening the lectures and thinking of questions to ask during recitation!

    • Fall 2014
    • Mark Siegal
    • Yes
    • Background Knowledge Expected Participation Counts Great Discussions
    • Profile picture
    Dec 28, 2016
    | Would recommend.

    This class was tough.

    Course Overview:

    This class was probably the hardest class I've ever taken in college so far. The average grade on the first exam was a C+. However, this class is really dependent on how much work you put in. I was terrible at POB and made a C+ first semester and a C second semester. I worked really hard in MCB and even though MCB is probably 20 times harder, I pulled off a B. I suggest not taking this in conjunction with Orgo. Definitely watch all the videos he posts, going to lecture is pretty useless. A lot of the class has to do with modern techniques for sequencing and research. The first two exams are fair game if you study but the final is incredibly difficult.

    Course highlights:

    The best part about the class is that the lectures are recorded. You really go into depth on transcription initiation and he expects you to know a lot so definitely take good notes. I learned a lot about biology and how you can apply biology to medicine. This is a great gateway class in case you wanted to get into research because every molecular biology research method is pretty much at least mentioned in this class if not covered in depth.

    Hours per week:

    6-8 hours

    Advice for students:

    Keep up with the study question because using them as study material before the exam is NOT a good idea. Definitely do them as you go along. Take notes on the lectures as you watch them. I wrote down every word they said and when it came time for the exams I studied by taking more condensed notes of my notes on the lectures. Rewatching the lectures for exams are pointless as they take up way too much time and the content can be extremely dry.

    • Fall 2016
    • Mark Siegal
    • Yes
    • Go to Office Hours A Few Big Assignments Requires Presentations

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