Review Comment

[PHYS V1301] Honors General Physics I

August 09, 2006

Shaevitz, Michael Silver_nugget
[PHYS V1301] Honors General Physics I and [PHYS V1302] Honors General Physics II

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

I received an A+ first semester and an A second semester and here's my secret: I studied for all the quizzes and I did all the homework. You have a quiz every week, and since there are so many quizzes most people trivialize them. However, the quizzes are 35% of your entire grade so doing well in the quizzes is key to getting a good grade. Also, the homework is very important. If you can do most of the homework problems, then you will definitely do well on the test (Also, the quiz is usually almost identical to a homework problem). First semester is fairly basic and covers most of what high school physics courses cover in addition to a few new topics. The exams first semester are also simple: the midterm and the final are nearly identical to the practice tests. Second semester is definetely tougher. First semester my 98% in the class translated into an A, but second semester I did much worse (92% in the quizzes, 86 % on the midterm, and 75% on the final) and got an A. The key to succeeding second semester is, again, doing your homework. If you are doing badly on the quizzes (which I was initially) I suggest you go to the weekly recitation sections (these are optional but help you do the homework). When test time comes I strongly suggest looking at the practice test.

Workload:

Weekly quizzes worth 35%, one midterm worth 25%, and a final worth 40% of your grade. Yes, the quizzes are worth more than the midterm so be sure to try and ace each and every quiz.

June 08, 2005

Shaevitz, Michael Silver_nugget
[PHYS V1301] Honors General Physics I and [PHYS V1302] Honors General Physics II

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

No, no, no, no, no. Do NOT do this to yourself, no matter how easy someone tells you the honors class is. As time went on, it became more and more apparent that this course's description is completely false. It is not for students who want to have some calculus in their physics; the class is catered toward students who have a strong physics background from high school. I'd go so far as to say that this class assumes that you already know mostly everything and is merely an opportunity for kids who took AP Physics to demonstrate that they haven't forgotten anything. The rest of us just sit back and suffer.

The worst part is that you don't really understand that you are suffering until the end of the semester. The quizzes are deceiving in their simplicity, the midterm is ok...but then comes the final. With 8 questions worth 200 points, even getting every question mostly right results in a mediocre grade. This class allows those who already know physics to freshen up and dominate, while everyone else writhes in agony.

And just wait until the second semester, where all of a sudden nothing makes sense, and nothing is adequately explained. It's pretty sad when you can't even do the tests with the answer key in front of you because you lack the knowledge of some basic concept.
Unless you have done physics before, this is what your experience will be---best case scenario: You spend at least 3 hours a week trying to do the homework from the AWFUL textbook (if they keep the same textbook next year it is just proof that no one pays attention to the course evaluations, because EVERYBODY complained), spend an hour in recitation doing the problems you can't do, memorize all the answers, do ok on the quiz every week, do alright on the midterm, and then bomb the final.
The best day of class that we had was the day where a substitute taught us. He received ten minutes notice before lecturing and I learned more physics in that hour than at any other point throughout the year. Shaevitz is a nice guy...but my praise ends there...you just won't learn anything.

I am honestly convinced that I know no more physics now than I did in September. Take 1200...at least you may get something out of it.

Workload:

What you make of it. You can work really hard and do badly, or if you know physics already, not go to class and do fine. Weekly quizzes based on problem sets that you never learned how to do, one midterm, one final. One bad grade and you're finished.

January 12, 2005

Shaevitz, Michael Silver_nugget
[PHYS V1301] Honors General Physics I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

He's very self amused. Gives neat notes, easy to follow instructions, is very good about answering all questions honestly, even if it's 'i don't know.'

Workload:

weekly quizzes, suggested problem sets, no surprises

January 07, 2005

Shaevitz, Michael Silver_nugget
[PHYS V1301] Honors General Physics I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

This class was very surprising for me. I am not a physics major, I'm premed, and I thought I was going to be a biochem major. Then, I changed my major and thought, well, I'll take this class to have an edge. I'm not so sure that was a good decision now. He has fair, sometimes easy quizzes, the lectures are boring most times, entertaining sometimes. He's a sweetheart. His midterm wasnt impossible, he gives practice exams. But the final....I just dont know what happened! I did terribly. Maybe I should have studied harder, but there were questions that I just didnt know what to do, and I dont think there was enough partial credit. My final grade wasnt what I expected, but given the final, it couldve been a lot worse. So maybe there was a curve, but I'm not so sure. Even so, I didnt learn anything. As far my recommendation, just take regular general physics if you're premed and you dont need 1301 for your major. There's more people in the class, so there's a higher chance to get a better grade. Or take honors physics, if you want. But you better go to each and every one of the optional recitation classes to get the answers for the homeworks, because the book doesnt have solutions.

Workload:

Relatively easy quizzes, worth 35% of grade (pick best 9 out of 11), midterm 25%, final 40% (there's a practice exam for it too, but there were some questions on the exam that were totally different)

November 17, 2004

Shaevitz, Michael Silver_nugget
[PHYS V1301] Honors General Physics I

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Shaevitz makes me enjoy going to physics lecture despite my consistently plummeting quiz grades! He has a voice like Kermit the Frog, he makes cute excited sounds when he does demonstrations (every class), and he's pleased to have student input during the lecture. He writes neatly, explains clearly, is very straightforward about everything, and every once in a while he tries to explain relativity and dark matter (even though this is a class full of pre-meds). Hurray!

Workload:

if you didn't take AP physics or something, the problem sets and quizzes will get increasingly difficult, so don't be fooled by the very, very easy first few weeks. but it's all manageable if you set aside enough time to go through the chapters and problems every week (i don't-- i have other important things to do.) anybody could learn this stuff with a (very) little calculus background and a bit of effort, though.

December 31, 1999

Conrad, Janet Silver_nugget
[PHYS V1301] Honors General Physics I and [PHYS V1302] Honors General Physics II

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

A lot of premed students steer clear of this course because they're worried about the "with calculus". This has the pleasant effect of making this a smallish lecture, but even with a larger class Prof. Conrad would be worth the inconvenience of the extra math. The workload is heavy: two chapters a week to read, and ten to fifteen problems, but homework is not collected. Instead, a weekly quiz closely modelled on the Homework problems is given. Prof. Conrad sees her mission as the enlightenment of the general population as to the beauty and relevance of physics, and she carries out her mission with a good deal of dedication and charm. She is always willing to interrupt the lecture for a question (an unusual characteristic in large lecture courses), and I know of people who practically camped out in her office to go over the homework problems with her. She is also highly acessible via email, and generally returns answers to questions within a twelve hour period. Add to this a sense of humor and a social conscience about the real-world uses of physics and you have a truly exceptional teacher. How many classes are there where the TA administering the final says: "Professor Conrad asked me to make sure that everyone has a final, a scantron, and a doughnut" when you come in. (You also get doughnuts for the midterm, an advantage in a morning class.).

Directory Data

Dept/Subj Directory Course Professor Year Semester Time Section
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS V1301: Honors General Physics I Michael Shaevitz 2004 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 1
PHYS / PHYS PHYS PHYS V1301: Honors General Physics I Charles Hailey 2003 Fall MW / 11:00-12:15 PM 1