Dr. Phillips is the absolutely one of the best professors I have ever had. I could not recommend her class more. While orgo seemed very intimidating at first, I expressed my concerns to Dr. Phillips and she truly went out of her way to help me learn. Would definitely recommend going to her office hours and taking advantage of workshop. I studied for her class by knowing the workshop problems inside out and ended doing up very well. Her lectures are also essential and extremely helpful as she explains concepts perfectly. I did not even have to study for the organic chemistry section of the MCAT because I was so prepared after her class. She is the best!!!
Dr. Phillips is EASILY the best professor I have ever had. She actually makes you learn. Her students do not need to study for thenelganic chemistey portion of the MCAT because she’s taught us so well. TAKE PHILLIPS!!!
Honestly people, it gets really old listening to a few overly intense pre med students whine because they can't get the perfect A that up to this point they have always achieved by spooning their textbooks every night and mindlessly absorbing the material word for word. Orgo is by nature a difficult class. People new to it are obviously caught off guard, and apparently quick to lash out and find any excuse for their sub-excellent performance rather than openly admit they struggle to understand novel concepts. Yes, Cornish isn't that great. She could definitely teach way more, tone down the annoying life lesson talk, and stop alternatively treating her students like newborns one day and Phds the next. But is she evil and out to get every student that walks into her class? No. Let's keep in mind that the people most prone to complain about a teacher's lack of approachability are the over-the-top, first-row-sitting, compulsive hand-raisers, who understandably annoy the teachers as much as they annoy every other person in the room. Like many other Professors, Cornish no doubt has a lot on her plate. That being said, she does exude a slight aura of haughtiness and resistance to communicate by email. But when push comes to shove, she is in her office exactly when she says she will be. My advice is this: be prepared to work hard. Maybe Cornish isn't for you if you are incapable of independently pursuing information. But I in fact do find that I have a solid grasp on organic principles after her class. Let go of the expectation of a 100 in this class - that notion is more hypothetical than Kallipolis. You want to go down a chemistry path, be prepared to do the necessary work to get yourself there.
Where do I begin. Well one thing for sure....DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. ever. Don't make scheduling an excuse. Do everything in your power to take Organic Chemistry with another professor. First of all, this class is NOT CURVED. You might think, ok, so what. But listen. There is a predetermined grading point cut-off that is pretty generous, but nothing that gets graded (exams, problem sets, or quizzes) are graded on a curve. So you're on your own. With no curve, you would assume that exams and problem sets are fair. Nope. Not at all. Asides from being tough material, barely any partial credit is given problems (that are between 5-20 points each). My friend went over her exam with Sames and he said that she grasped the concepts, but since her answer was wrong, no credit. Boom there goes 20 pts. And another 20 here. Missed a hydrogen on predict-the-product-question? Minus 5pts...out of 5. What is probably worse is the fact that the TAs grade differently. You and your friend may have similar answers, but would get completely different grades. This is 1) organic chemistry, which is full of mechanisms full of steps, not one quick short answers and 2) the grading system is completely unfair. The class averages for all three exams have been low/middle B-s,and Sames has a great tendency to put the highest and lowest scores on the board, and while the highest score is not surprising, the lowest of 3/145 is first of all, very unfortunate, and Sames makes it even worse by frowny face next to it. WELL, we would be doing better if you taught us better!! As for Sames's teaching style.... he comes into the lecture hall with a wine glass full of water, talks about how much we will be covering that day, and proceed to cover about 0.01% of it. There's not lecture notes, so you are forced to go to every class, but at the same time, it's not worth it. I would sit in class, relatively close to the board (the class size is small by the way, the wise ones chose other sections), and the whole class, my face is like a squished pug's face because of how small his handwriting is, and how incomprehensible it is. At the same time, it seems that Sames is teaching the blackboard and not us, the students, and talks in such a low monotone voice, so you would get a gold medal if you understand what he says or writes. He also likes to turn into a bio teacher every other lecture and take up a good chunk of class-time talking about biological mechanisms etc.... If you want to actually learn from the class, the TA's aren't too great either. The ones my semester were either too sassy to really answer your questions, or actually doesn't know how to answer your questions. Now the final. Be prepared to be tested on about 50% of the material that was never covered in class. I will never forget the lengthy email Professor Sames sent out describing the 6 or so chapters were were responsible for the final exam, even though we never covered them because of his terrible teaching plans and methods. Don't even bother to approach Professor Sames, or the TAs about anything regarding grades, the final, the class, your sanity, anything. They will think that their methods are fair, and then go one to say that it is our fault for not putting enough effort to do well in the class. So like I said, avoid Professor Sames by all means. The fact that he has tenure does not give him the right to not care about his students, and really create a class like this. But yea, avoid his section. Even the post-bacs are complaining...and when the post-bacs complain, you know there is something very wrong.
Put very simply, Professor Rojas is an incredible Professor! Although I hate organic chemistry, and I have really struggled through this class, Professor Rojas has helped an immense amount. He not only explains everything in class very throughly (with color-coding, and super clear writing), but he is very open to questions and regularly answers related questions in the middle of lecture. In addition, he just had a way of making the lecture (dare I say it, entertaining). He would recite poetry to send us off to the weekend, he showed a video of translation of mRNA with Star Wars music in the background, and he often gave us "fun facts" (albeit orgo related) to bring up in intelligent conversation. I highly recommend this class for anyone who loves the material, or who need to take orgo for a requirement. Especially if you're debating between Columbia and Barnard. Take orgo with Rojas... One of his most endearing quotes is: "unicorn+dragon=rhino" If you want to know why, enroll in orgo with Rojas!
Take this class if you have to take orgo. Tristan is a no bullshit kind of guy on this material, he delivers straightforward lectures, and the exams a twisted a bit so not everyone will get A+s. I didn't even spend that much time on the material, the key is to understand every concept he stresses and know how to apply them. He is super smart, and he's not looking to prove himself by making orgo a nightmare for tired premeds. This has actually been my favorite class at columbia so far! <3
One thing to look out for with this guy is that he goes on massive tangents so it can get a little confusing what he'll ask for on exams. Basically, any reactions not mentioned in the book is far game (actually he probably will ask about them) but any complicated molecule/reaction will probably not be asked. take good notes in class- these will be very helpful, but his exams are also quite straightforward so anything that seems like a pretty big tangent, probably is, and therefore you will not be tested on it. Study his PS and practice problems A LOT the book problems are not at all what the exam questions are like. use the book for major rules but use class notes for detail. He also always puts extra credit problems on the exams which are usually easier than actual exam problems so take advantage of those!
Professor Merrer is one of the best professors and the most organized lecturers I have had in my college life. Taking the class with her desensatised my chem-phobia. I hated G-Chem. But, Orgo makes a lot of sense. I got a pretty good grade in both Orgo I and II. I did all the problem sets, attended every possible office hour and review session, did half of assigned textbook problems, did tons of other problems online and of course, all practiced exams. Without doing these, don't expect to score high on her exams. Her exams are challenging, but I am ok with them all the way. If you think you are hardworking, take orgo with her....you will learn a lot and get an A.
I would definitely reccoment Prof. Merrer to everyone. She is so laid back, has a great sense of humor, and actually makes organic chemistry enjoyable. Office hours are great- she is not intimidating and provides such a comfortable atmosphere. She really enjoys what she does and is always out to help her students without making them feel stupid.