November 11, 2012

Rakitin, Brian
[PSYC W1610] Statistics for Behavioral Scientists

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

Brain Rakitin is obviously a smart guy to have gotten where he is right now, but in no way can he be associated "passable" or even "competent" as a teacher. He may be very familiar with the material he's teaching, but he has no clue how to convey information. He tends to explain simple, straightforward concepts in the most convoluted way possible, making the material seem difficult at first, but anyone who has taken any sort of stats would know that this class only covers the easy basics. He is also unnecessarily mean as a person, doesn't allow absences, food or lateness in his class, and talks to us as if we were totally incompetent as people to learn the greatness that he is teaching.

This class is tolerable because the material is easy, I've gone to class three times and regretted all of them. He has a weird way of making the exams excruciatingly long; very little people were able to finish the midterm, and there were a lot of short answer questions without proper instructions, so people tended to write everything they knew and he would claim that those weren't the things he was looking for.

I am a junior in neuroscience and premed, and from all the professors I've had at Columbia, I tend to think Brain Rakitin definitely brings down our quality of education. Don't get me wrong, I got an A, but taking this class put a damper on my semester, and I was taking orgo and neurobio at the same time. I urge you not to take this class, take an easier and better stats class for your psych/neuro requirement, just so you won't have to feel having wasted two hours of your life every time you walk out of class.

Workload:

Weekly problem sets - easy, but a lot of writing and not a lot of math.
1 midterm - no idea who wrote it, whomever did it obviously did not know there was a time limit on the midterm
1 final - passable