CHEM 121
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  • Average Rating

    4.3/5
    Overall Rating Breakdown
    • 3 Advice
    • 5
      33%
    • 4
      33%
    • 3
      33%
    • 2
      0%
    • 1
      0%
  • Course Difficulty

    • Easy 0%

    • Medium 33%

    • Hard 67%

  • Top Course Tags

    Always Do the Reading

    Great Discussions

    Many Small Assignments

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    • Profile picture
    Oct 10, 2016
    | Would recommend.

    This class was tough.

    Course Overview:

    Dr. Tran is an excellent instructor. She engages students extremely effectively by always asking questions and letting students think for themselves rather than spoon-feeding them. Personally, I never had a good chemistry class in high school and I've learned more in the first few weeks of this course than I ever did over two semesters in high school. The class is definitely tough, as it's a bit of a weed out course for pre-meds. However, if you work hard there is definitely valuable knowledge that can be taken away.

    Course highlights:

    There have been multiple occasions where we started off the session with some sort of experiment or visual. These are then used to leave open questions that are answered in the lecture, which I personally find effective as a visual learner. For example, as an intro to the discussion of light and the electromagnetic spectrum, our lab professor electrocuted pickles to show us how different substances will give off different colors of light at the same amounts of energy. More than that, however, is that I learned how to study more effectively. The class has really challenged my ability to critically think for myself and think like a scientist. The methodology is great despite the difficulty of the course.

    Hours per week:

    6-8 hours

    Advice for students:

    Always read the textbook and the CDS texts. Study in groups and attend TA sessions if needed. But don't overwork yourself, study for 1-2 hours and take a break.

    • Fall 2016
    • lesatran
    • Yes
    • Great Intro to the Subject Always Do the Reading Many Small Assignments
    • Profile picture
    May 11, 2016
    | No strong feelings either way.

    Not too easy. Not too difficult.

    Course Overview:

    It's a pre-req for most courses, I loved the professor, but honestly the class is so hard if you're not able to contribute most of your time towards it.

    Course highlights:

    I loved the professor, she was great at teaching!

    Hours per week:

    9-11 hours

    Advice for students:

    Go to TA Sessions! Also do HW with others! Finally do practice tests, they are your friend.

    • Fall 2016
    • lesatran
    • Yes
    • Always Do the Reading Many Small Assignments Great Discussions
    • Profile picture
    Dec 03, 2015
    | Would highly recommend.

    This class was tough.

    Course Overview:

    I used to hate chemistry in high school. AP Chemistry did not make any sense to me. However, after taking just one semester of general chemistry at Rice, I feel like I can teach AP Chemistry! CHEM 121 was much harder than AP, but I learned so much about the subject, and I now find it fascinating. There is a reason for everything - every bond, every model, every elemental property, every reaction. This class is worth every minute.

    Course highlights:

    In AP Chemistry, everything was just a "rule-of-thumb." You just had to know that this was how it worked. However, in CHEM 121, everything makes much more sense because it explains how we derive every concept and why it works that way. We work out of two textbooks: a normal college chemistry textbook and a book written by Rice's very own Professor John Hutchinson. The latter is very interesting to read and helps a lot with exams and class lectures. Dr. Lesa Tran is the cherry on top. She's absolutely brilliant, having graduated from high school in three year and from college (at Rice!) in three years. She's extremely clear in her lecture an very helpful. Furthermore, the chemistry TA's work really hard to also make sure that we understand the material. I am able to text or email my TA (a junior at Rice) anytime I have a question. He sends out summary emails after almost every lecture recapping the material. Everything about this class is wonderfully set-up and executed.

    Hours per week:

    6-8 hours

    Advice for students:

    Be prepared to work! It is a truly difficult class. The class average on all of the midterms is usually a D. However, there is plenty of extra credit offfered to bring up your grade. If you already have a thorough understanding of inorganic chemistry, you don't have to take this class.

    • Spring 2014
    • Weber,CrystalE.
    • Yes
    • Participation Counts Meetings Outside of Class Great Discussions

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