December 25, 2011

Taylor, Kathleen
[PSYC W1001] Science of Psychology

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

Don't know why Taylor doesn't have a nugget yet -- she is a fantastic lecturer. Her lectures are interesting and straightforward, and she has funny demonstrations and videos that really illustrate her points (she sometimes asks about the demonstrations or you can reference them on exams too, and they're pretty easy to remember).

Her exams are really straightforward -- three 'midterms', one final, you can drop your lowest grade so if you do well on the midterms you don't have to take the final. The midterms are some fill in the blank (no word bank), matching, and then usually three sets of two essays each, and you choose one to do (for a total of three essays). The final is all multiple choice, cumulative. GO TO CLASS! The exams are based entirely off the lectures, you do not need to open the book at all (except for 'supplementary' 'enriching' info), and if you study from your notes you'll be fine. I studied the few days before each exam and got As.

Taylor knows a lot about the subject and she's upfront about things she doesn't know. There are Q&A sessions held by the TAs before each exam, they are helpful even if you don't have questions prepared because others do, but you don't have to go to them by any means (I went to some but not others and it seemed OK either way). The TAs have office hours and so does she, but I've never been to them. They were very helpful over email about questions, though.

This class is a great intro psych class. A lot of interesting things are covered like decision-making and emotions, and after you get a better sense of what psych fields specifically you're interested. I'm not a psych major, I was just curious about it and fulfilling a science requirement, I feel like I've learned a lot about psych although I'm not sure I'll take more classes in the field. I'm really glad I took the class though, for someone not interested in pursuing it at all and unsure at the beginning of the semester whether I wanted to stay in it, I would say it's one of my favorite classes of the semester.

Workload:

Pretty low coursework, nothing to do all semester except do experiments (3 hours worth, 5% of grade)
one 3-4 page assignment due late November (5% of grade)
three exams (30% each, one in early October, one in mid/late November, one on the last day of class, to give a time reference)