She laughed when we didn't know the answers, but the whole department sucks. She doesn't answer emails either (I believe intentionally). Also, why is there a final that's worth so much when YOU WRITE INCREDIBLY LONG LAB REPORTS FOR THE CLASS? Good luck!
Anna doesn't give you the answers; she makes you work to understand concepts. She really cares about her students & puts in so much time outside of class to ensure you have ample opportunity to practice, ask questions & get it. She will help you do hw in office hrs (I went to all of them and felt so much more prepared) & hold workshops for more difficult subjects. Start the lab reports early. Quizzes can be tricky but there are extra credit questions (if you can finish in time). Great professor!
I will say this: Dr. Rao is a fucking badass. You'll be forced to put in a lot of effort in the lab, and she WILL call you out if you're doing something wrong. She is definitely one of the tougher educators in my life, but not the first, which is why I think I could endure it. For some people, I can truly say she is probably the hardest professor/ teacher they've ever had, which is why orgo lab can be such a nightmare. And I'm not gonna lie, it was definitely stress-inducing for me too. But because I had Dr. Rao in person and online (due to covid), I think we all got to see a softer side in her that many don't get to see. She truly can be understanding and accommodating when people put a lot of effort into the class. So give her a chance and don't get on her bad side. And as a tip, try to set aside time soon after lab to really flesh out the lab reports. Procrastinating just makes it more grueling and stressful. And also, write down the corrections they give you on the reports. I agree that sometimes the professors change their mind on what should or shouldn't be included in the abstract or whatever, so having what they said written down can make things more clear for you and the professors lol.
Looking over the reviews for Dr. Rao's Organic 1 lab, I was absolutely terrified to take her class as I have subpar chemistry skills. Dr. Rao is a fair prof. and she listens to her students. As long as you put in effort you will do fine in the class. She for sure has her favorites, but is overall better than the other instructors who teach this course
This is by far the worst class I have yet to take at Barnard. The last review from 2018 says it all. Rao and the other lab instructions have an attitude problem and a superiority complex that makes this class insufferable. Just about every lab student I have talked to feels that this class is extremely unfair (as outlined in the previous review). I love chemistry and the majority of the chemistry department at Barnard but this class quite honestly made me question transferring. This lab is a HOT MESS and is completely unfair.
Organic Chem Lab was difficult for me. However, if I didn't fully understand something in lecture, Dani and the TAs were helpful at explaining the concepts in their office hours. The quizzes were hard, and I did below average on the majority of them (and the averages were pretty low in general), but there are plenty of ways to gain points elsewhere, such as labs, lab reports, lab technique etc. The content of both lab sections were pretty much the same, as I had some friends who were enrolled in the other instructor's section as well. Dani is a lighthearted person who cares about her students and genuinely encourages them to learn and think for themselves. She also tries to engage the students in her lecture, which is hard considering the class is 100+ people. If you're a person who likes this kind of teaching, I would take lab lecture with Dani. I believe the class was graded on a curve. Even though I did below average on the quizzes (which I studied a lot for), I managed to get an A in the class. I would not worry too much if your quiz grades are really bad. As long as you put in a decent effort in your reports and prepare for your labs, the TAs were pretty lenient with the grading. The one thing I recommend is to go to office hours if you don't understand something. Dani and the TAs were all really approachable and really good at explaining concepts.
I expect an A in Anna's lab, so there's my conflict of interest in writing this review. A week into the semester when everyone was trying to get into a section they want, I was registered in Anna's class on a Friday and waitlisted in Dani's. Oh my, the effort that went into the begging and whoring that I did to get into Dani's monday lab was unparalleled. I was attedning both Anna's and Dani's lab lectures for two weeks, just so I can try and squeeze myself into Dani's bc lets be honest a lot of people are still saying that Dani > Anna. WELL, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! LET ME DISPROVE THAT TO YOU. I'VE NEVER HAD A BLESSING MORE DISGUISED THAN BEING STUCK IN AG'S LAB LECTURE. She gives us so much practice for pre-lab. Like a lot. if you're about to take Orgo Lab I, brace yourself cause the first prelab is ridiculous, like yikes. It was I think 6 questions but 1 and 2 had a-j. lol Anna, why. but when the quiz came? Damn, I slayed that. It felt so good, and everyone i know in Dani's class were like, damn I couldn't.... blehbleble... Then came the times when she'd make jokes in office hours or buy us pizza and baked ziti and talk about her ham sandwich and her swweet, sweet smell. Anna!! She's so helpful during office hours, so even though Dani's prelabs are graded by completion, ours kinda are too... just go to OH. 2 extra hours a week, maybe less... just make sure you come on-time, cause she uses it like lecture and the first 2 hours are like you trying to get answers.... which are cool and better if youve done/tried the prelab... do that and do the problems again and you'll be ready for her quizzes. They're a lot easier than I expected. It's also better than Dani's cause you don't have lab'lecture every week bc u have your lecture and lab on the same week. Dani has it alternating (i.e. one week lab, the other is quiz so you always have ORGO LAB-related classes) My TA was Lindsey.... not much to say, but she's cool and composed. What I love most about her was that she's so open to letting us do our own thing. She'd let us start an experiment if she knows we already did the demo, and not afraid to just let us make mistakes, which I think in turn, makes me more confident in the lab. Anyway, back to Anna.... She also taught me NMR and IR. I went into out IR/NMR bootcamp with no idea about anything. like literally nothing. After 5h, voila. I can read a spectrum as quickly as I read Shakespeare. yay. tl;dr... Anna is perfect for those people who are ready to try hard. Don't be like me and don't think that you're "STUCK" in AG's lab, bc you ain't. It might just be the best thing that happens to your Chem career @CU
This is the first year in which Orgo lab has become a full year sequence. Thus, the course was at a much more reasonable pace than that described by previous reviewers! It may explain the difference between their experience of Anna and mine. Anna is a good lecturer, clear on expectations, and amiable with her students. While she may come across as brusque if you try to ask questions on Piazza that were already answered in lecture or in a handout, she is actually doing this to help you learn. I found myself learning concepts INCREDIBLY well in this course, and it was very enjoyable. Of course the TAs play a huge part in this as well. Go to TA office hours! I think the new pacing of the course really helps Anna shine, it was probably hard to assign so much in one semester and still seem like a good teacher! I would recommend Anna for organic chem lab.
Quite frankly I'm not really sure why the previous reviewers from this year were so disappointed with Anna. If you just stop and put yourself in her shoes for a second you will probably realize that running three 5 hour lab sessions full of gpa-gunning students who are forced to take the course is probably pretty difficult and stressful already. Letting you switch lab dates is a logistical nightmare. She tells you this at the beginning of the semester. This is just my 2 cents but just because she's the gatekeeper to one of the most obnoxious premed reqs at Columbia, it doesn't mean that she is required to cater to your schedule. As a student, it's kind of your responsibility to work with the prof. But then again I'm not taking the MCATs concurrently, so I can't understand the pressure. Contrary to their experience, I found Anna to be very available and very approachable. She is able to keep the mood light in a pretty stressful class, and is actually a great teacher because she cares whether your are enjoying the course or not. If things taught in lecture were unclear, Anna would always take the time to explain in great detail during office hours. She also occasionally takes the time to ask how she could make the course more bearable. She's also pretty nice during lab time and will answer any questions you have about lab procedure. Generally , the course work is pretty unpleasant, but that is not by fault of the teacher. The 4 infamous lab writeups are basically full on papers every week for a month. I am a humanities major and I have never had to produce as much physical writing in any of my other classes. (~6 full pages of writing and mechanisms in chemdraw each). The quizzes are also somewhat frustrating (each out of 20, with a 'final quiz' out of 30). The average on each of the quizzes hovered around 10 for my section. I think I might just be dumber than average but the general feeling is that there is no real way to adequately prepare for these quizzes because the material is sometimes completely beyond the scope of what was taught. For example, there was a question about the blood brain barrier on a quiz that was supposed to be about separation organic extraction techniques. That being said, everyone is pretty much in the same boat so as long as you have the material down you should pretty much expect to consistently place above average. Every single lab writeup came with a handout with a lot of questions that Anna and the TAs want answered about the lab. Unfortunately, there was also clearly some kind of weird secret rubric to the lab assignments where you get random points taken off for not including certain things that were not explicitly asked for. (For example, points were taken off on one paper for not including drawn resonance structures for one of the intermediates, even though it was not explicitly asked for, and could have been explained in words). The lab writeups were also graded in a bizarre way where on one hand you are 'expected to write for a chemistry savvy audience' but then you get randomly docked marks if certain mechanisms are not drawn in such a way that explicates proton or methyl shifts which are completely trivial to any average organic chemistry student). What was sort of annoying was that you would also sometimes lose points for the same mistake twice (eg. -1 for including something you shouldn't have included in the abstract, and then another -1 for including that same thing in a different section because you "should not introduce new material in this section") Also, do not expect to try to get points back on quizzes or lab writeups for any reason after they have been graded. Anna is pretty loyal to her TA's grading and will basically just flat out refuse to do regrades. That being said, do not be frustrated if your grades during the semester look awful. This course is not about getting a raw score above a cutoff. It is about placing higher than other people in your section on a curve. All I did during the semester was place about 2-5 points above the average in all the assignments and I ended up with an A.
Everyone knows that Organic Chemistry Lab is a lot of work. That isn't the fault of the teacher, its just the nature of the class. In saying that, having a good teacher makes the world of a difference and Rosa was without a doubt a VERY good teacher. Rosa is amazing. So understanding, very helpful and she made this class much more enjoyable then it could have been. Yes this course is very difficult, a lot of work and time consuming, but it you go to office hours you make your life so much easier!! Rosa will really make sure you understand the experiment and help you with whatever you need. I'm not sure what the negative reviews are about because every time I went to ask Rosa a question no matter how simple of a question it was, she never once looked at me like I was "the most stupid human being she has ever come across." She does speak very fast in lecture, but again thats not entirely her fault- there is a ton of material to cover in a short amount of time. Rosa doesn't determine the amount of work that is due or what she has to cover- its a departmental standard that she does her absolute best to follow. Like I said, biggest advice for this class is to go to office hours. There are a lot of opportunities to miss little points here and there that you could have fixed if you go to office hours and having your TA/Rosa check over your mechanisms or if you go ask about the pre-lab. Rosa would even sometimes give more specific examples of the types of questions that would be on the quizzes if she saw that you made an effort by coming to office hours. Rosa is not pretentious and does not have an attitude. Yes she is VERY smart but she is always willing to go over even the smallest and easiest details of the experiment if you ask. Most of all, Rosa is a nice person and is actually awesome. A few of us would even go to office hours towards the end of the year just to hang out with Rosa because she was so cool. I can actually say that I am sad that the class is over just because I won't get to learn from her anymore. She is genuinely excited by and interested in organic chemistry which was always really cool to see. A friend and I once went to her office hour to get help with our problem set for Snyder's class and Rosa even willingly helped us with that! Proof that Rosa isn't the awful person that other reviews make her out to be.
I completely disagree with the previous review. I'm currently taking Orgo Lab with Rosa, and I can attest to the fact that she actually IS an approachable and understanding person. Her pre-labs are difficult, but she's more than willing to explain solutions during her office hours. In fact, she's willing to help you with anything if you go to office hours, whether it's lab reports, pre-labs, quiz questions, etc. Yes, the quizzes are hard also, but they're totally manageable if you take the time to study for them. After a while, you'll get the hang of how Rosa prefers to test people on their understanding of an experiment, and your scores will go up (assuming, of course, that you are of at least average intelligence). With regards to her lecture style, I found it no more fast-paced than either Snyder or Lambert. Honestly, much of what she explains is a review of what you would have already learned in the Orgo lecture classes, so there's very little new material other than the nuances of a particular reaction you're conducting that week. I've never seen Rosa be anything but kind to a student. She's by no means an asshole. The previous reviewer probably is just bitter over having done poorly in the class because it is challenging and demanding, as it should be. Overall, take Orgo Lab with Rosa. It's a lot of work, but she's super helpful and genuinely wants her students to do well. She makes it difficult so that students come to office hours and ask questions. Honestly, I'd just go to office hours to shoot the shit with her because she's actually super chill.
I'm surprised no one has written a review about Rosa's teaching style. Let me start off by saying AVOID AT ALL COSTS. During the first few weeks of Organic Chemistry Lab, she seemed (emphasis on SEEMED) like an approachable and understanding person. Many people showed up to her office hours during these first few weeks, and then it all went downhill after that. During class, Rosa's lecturing was so fast paced that you couldn't even finish writing down the reaction mechanism before she moved on to another reaction. I wasn't the only person who felt this way, everyone else in my section agreed. Her quizzes were completely (and insanely) difficult, if not impossible, - to the point that quiz averages usually ranged from 8 - 12 out of 20 every week. We did notice that she slowed down a bit during the middle of the semester - but even that was too fast-paced for most of the people in our section. What was even more disturbing is that Rosa would list some reactions on the board that were NOT explained at all, and tell you that they will show up on the following quiz. This is especially true for the last 4-5 weeks of the class. WHAT IN THE WORLD? Why should we be tested on a reaction that was not even taught? And the questions on the quizzes are not easy at all - you had to learn the reactions yourself and you were tested on them as if you had learned them VERY thoroughly. TA office hours, in my opinion, was 100 times more helpful than going to Rosa. Warning: Rosa is a very difficult person to talk to. If you ask her a question, she will look at you as if you are the most stupid human being she has ever come across. (And a lot of people agree with me on this one). Excuse me, but its not my fault you are incomprehensible to about 80 - 90 % of the class during lecture! One time, another student in my section asked about something that was on the board, and rosa's response was " OH MY GOD...". That was completely rude- you are supposed to be an educator, not an asshole. In all, please avoid Rosa's class. If you can take one of Ana's sections, please do! It will be just as difficult - but without the pretentiousness and attitude that Rosa often seems to display!
This wasn't stressed enough in the reviews: do not take this class simultaneously with Orgo I. I's more than just a matter of being disadvantaged. If you take this class beforehand, you will feel really frustrated by the depth of organic chemistry knowledge that is being demanded from you. Don't think you can take this class without at least a semester of Orgo (no matter what the Chemistry department claims); it's definitely "doable", if you're willing to risk your performance in the other classes you're in. The reason for this is the quizzes - the prelabs and reports you can get help on, but the quizzes are by far the most challenging I've encountered in the Chemistry department. Unlike the superficial, lightweight general chemistry lab quizzes, these are long and really demand thorough knowledge of organic chemistry. Steel yourself. But it's not all bad! The only reason I (and many others) survived this course is because the people teaching leading it were extremely nice. Always make sure to visit Rosa (very nice, in my experience) and your TA, they are incredibly helpful resources. The three TAs I've noted above were particularly helpful: Steven is a great TA in the lab and in office hours, Umed is always willing to go over concepts with you, and Cathy was extremely nice and good at explaining concepts. Count yourself lucky if you ever come across any of them, for any class!' Overall: I'll say it again: don't take this class before completing at least 1 semester of Organic Chemistry! The department doesn't require it (not happy with them), but the course does presume you know how to draw mechanisms and other general concepts (there are lectures, but they're meant to be rather simple). If you have to take it, pray for generous, helpful TAs and a low curve. The grade distribution is very generous, so try to make your work pay off.
For someone who has taken a year of orgo... this class isn't that hard. If you've been through second semester orgo and the mechanisms are still kind of fresh in your head, the quizzes, albeit tricky, should not be that bad. And it's usually your quiz performance that matters the most since people generally score similarly (and do pretty well) on the lab reports. For Anna's quizzes, you will be expected to know a lot of second semester material cold (and the topics that appear on quizzes aren't always covered in orgo lab lectures; you're expected to teach yourself if you haven't learned it already). This, not surprisingly, puts people with a year of orgo under their belt at an advantage. Regardless of whether you have taken a year of orgo or not, the workload lives up to its hype. These lab reports are exhausting. A previous reviewer said at least 15 hours per lab report? The key word is "AT LEAST." There is an enormous amount of analysis that needs to be done in each lab report, and one of these reports (I'm talking about full-length 2,500-3,000 word scientific papers with graphics and figures and tables that you need to create) can easily take up an entire weekend. This is a class that tests your stamina, in addition to your organic chemistry knowledge; you definitely do not want to rush on these papers; the grade you get on the lab reports generally correlates with the amount of time and effort you put in. At one point during the semester, you will need to juggle three of these papers at once, and I can tell you that it was nuts. I've found the writing intensity of this class to almost rival that of UWriting or CC. There is a TON of lab report writing. These reports really wear you out. Despite these brutal papers, orgo lab is not as bad as what a lot of people say. Anna is a wonderful instructor and her enthusiasm is great. It's pretty cool to get to see all the arrow pushing manifest in the laboratory, and although there are moments when the lab reports drive me crazy, I've enjoyed my orgo lab experience.
Orgo Lab was more painful than physics lab, which is saying something. The amount of work required by this course is unfair and unmerited for a 3 hour course. There is a 4 week stint during the semester in which you have to be thinking about 3 labs at once, and the combination of reading/pre-labs/lab reports/ quizzes is enough to make your head spin. Let me highlight some of my major gripes: 1 The Lab Reports: These lab reports are no joke. I easily put in 15 hours of work for each report. You have to use chem-draw for the mechanism of each experiment (which is self-taught, by the way, so leave plenty of time to try to figure out what the heck you're doing), and then you need to condense what could be 20 pages of information into a maximum of 10 pages. Anna gives "guidelines" for what should be included in each report, but this is more of a laundry list of items in no particular order. The icing on the cake is that she purposefully (according to my TA, whose office hours I went to religiously) left things off of the laundry list so that some students could go "above and beyond" (which is absurd, why would I waste precious space in my lab report talking about something that may or may not count for something??) 2. The TAs It seemed to be a theme across sections that the TAs were awful. They are grad students that for some reason are not Orgo I or II TAs (I wonder why.....) and it seems like their sole purpose is to make the Orgo Lab experience miserable. Mine was condescending, unprepared (as in did not read the lab manual before coming to class) and threatened to bleed us of points at every turn. He had no patience, and was very rude. 3. Anna's quizzes Before each lab starts, Anna does a very basic lecture- Sn1 and Sn2 reactions, and why the solvent must be polar aprotic for Sn2 reactions. For Diel's Alder, she'll talk about how a 6 memebered ring is formed and exo v. endo products. Simple stuff. However, on the quizzes she'll then ask "how can you do a Diels Alder without forming necessary components of the Diels Alder ring product?" Were you not just saying 10 minutes before that the necessary components of the Diels Alder reaction were, well, necessary?? This review is not coming from a kid who did poorly- I got an A in the class. However, this lab experience was the most unpleasant experience I have had at Columbia. When you take this course, try to take it with a friend and do it on a day in which you can have free time after, because you will leave each day frustrated and wanting to give up forever. For me, this course out of all the pre-med courses was the weed out course, and the catharsis I felt from finishing was more than I felt when finishing Mowsh's bio class.
Without being insulting to the other professor(s) who teach this lab course as well, Anna is an amazing professor, the best Orgo Lab instructor and definitely the one you should take (even if you hear that she's a hard ass or whatnot, grading is based upon your TAs (who are in sections with all orgo lab instructors) and quizzes are the same with slight variations across different instructors so the grade distribution is normalized across all sections - Anna gives off the impression that she's the harder teacher but since you get the same grade evaluation across all sections, might as well take the best professor). Anna delivers quick, concise lectures for an hour before the lab begins and she actually teaches the stuff better than Orgo I and I instructors did (I had Turro and Lambert (Lambert was amazing)). One problem with her lectures, however, is that she lectures right after you turn in your pre-lab (counts for a grade) and what's on the pre-lab is what she lectures about, so you have to spend about an hour usually figuring out how to do the pre-lab and then Anna goes over it the day it's due, and some of the pre-labs are quite hard or confusing (the first pre-lab required googling information as it wasn't in our textbooks and one of the pre-labs revisited Gen Chem and requried you to do ICE charts although it seemed so anachronistic that you wouldn't know to do ICE charts in an Orgo class). Anna is always willing to help and she actually stays in the lab the majority of the time to help students rather than leaving it to the TAs. She also has a great sense of humor (she had some entertaining conflicts with this cheeky student in my class) and is very friendly. She's VERY available during office hours and before class and actually wants students to do well. She's also very quick at getting emails back to you. The grade for Orgo (across all instructors) is curved to a B+, 88% I believe. It's easy to get a B+ if you put in the work (same as everyone else), but it's actually hard to get an A- as everyone's grades are about the same. Don't judge me, but one time (the TA's leave the quizzes for pick up at the front of the room) I rifled through everyone's quizzes to get a look at how my score stacked up and basically the range of quiz grades was 15-17/20 with one person getting a 9 (ouch!). So, obviously to get an A- you need to consistently be the one who gets 17/20 which is pretty damn difficult. A string of 16s and your set for a B+. Orgo Lab sucks. But at least Anna is a great professor.
Anna was a pretty good lecturer. But those full-length lab reports were soul-sucking dementors. Quizzes were sometimes hard and asked questions that were not covered in Anna's lectures. 4 hour lab session + 10 hours working on lab reports + 3 hours writing up the next lab report's procedure and studying for the quiz is worse than two-timing a high-maintenance significant other with another high-maintenance girlfriend/boyfriend on the side. I'm guessing if you're taking this class there is no way around it, but your experience all depends on your TA, and how much you're willing to work your ass off. My TA happened to be a person with a sweet exterior and a heart of cold-blooded-GPA-slashing-evil. His/her grading was tougher than the Chicago Bulls' defense: every little slip-up and mistake is spotted and punished with severity. I can't say I've enjoyed this course, but I can say that at times I've definitely hated this course. The labs definitely made me study hard and learn the experimental techniques very well, and I could see that I've learned at the end of it, but this knowledge should not have come at the cost of making me hate the material because of how much time this class took up and how much frustration it caused. I didn't hate orgo before. In fact, I liked it after having a marvelous orgo instructor. But now I do, just a little bit.
Anna's so incredibly sweet! As the previous review said, she sounds intimidating when she's lecturing, but one on one, she's the most approachable person ever. If she's around the computer lab when you're using ChemDraw there, she doesn't mind if you ask her to look over your mechanism (of course, it's your TA who actually grades the mechanisms, but having Anna's input doesn't hurt). Her quizzes were frustrating at first because they seemed impossible to study for (especially the procedural questions). But they did get better as the term wore on, since her later quizzes were more conceptual and focused more on actual orgo mechanisms/concepts. The lab reports weren't bad at all. Just make sure you answer all the questions, most of which are based on an understanding of the mechanism. Also pay careful attention to the formatting - my TA was a stickler about what kinds of information should show up in the introduction and what should be left in other sections of the report. I took the lab with orgo II, and I highly recommend taking this route. I think part of the reason why the lab reports became relatively painless (and even easy) by the end was because I didn't have to spend time teaching myself the mechanisms and the concepts behind them - it was all review at that point. I've heard people say that the curve is better/more lenient and the expectations lower in the fall, but, assuming this to be true, I'm not sure that's worth all the frustration and headache of teaching yourself the material (especially if you're an undergrad with so many other commitments). And to be honest, there's something quite amazing about taking all those concepts you learned from the textbook and lecture notes and seeing how they work out in actual laboratory situations.
Ana was an awesome Orgo Lab instructor! At first she comes off as kind of a hard-ass because she delivers each lab's 30 mins - 1 hour mini-lecture very forcefully, but she was a complete sweetheart when it came to asking for advice on the lab in progress or for help on lab reports. One time she even went around the lab asking people to try the new organic moisturizing cream she had recently synthesized. I took the lab concurrent with the first semester of orgo, which I found to be very nice. Yes, some of the things taught in lab were not yet covered in lecture, but generally Ana did not expect that we knew them in the same depth as we had to in the lecture (I had Doubleday). Thus, learning the material in lab laid a nice groundwork for learning it again in lecture, and vice versa when it was covered in lecture first. Grading was a little bit convoluted, but Ana and the TA's take everything into consideration when assigning your final grade, including the effort you put into the course.
All in all, it is not a bad class and it gets a bad rap. Most people's only prior experience in a chemistry laboratory is the first year General Chem Lab. After that semester, many people have this strange thought that all that is important in chemistry is significant digits and error. Have no fear pre-meds! This class does not require any significant digits or error calculation (though you might just find yourself paying attention to sigfigs out of habit). The first few labs are not very time or labour intensive. For the first month of the course, I usually left by around 4PM if not earlier (the class started officially at 1, but we'd rarely start until 1:15 at the earliest). Most weeks the class begins with a lecture, followed by a quiz and then you get to do the lab work. The quizzes are from hell after the first 3. The first 3 had an average of 18/20 or so, and the rest averaged around 60%. The good news is that the quizzes are scaled according to your own TA. The first 4-5 labs were done individually in order to learn technique, but they were not difficult, and few people had problems. Just as you get used to working by yourself, you get thrown a curveball - partners. Around the same time, the labs start to get more complicated, and require many things to be done at once. Dividing up the work will get you done much faster. Don't have one partner just watching the other - it wastes valuable time. The latter half of the course (with the exception of the final lab) has very long and complicated labs. The earliest I left during most of October and all of November was 5:00, and sometimes I used up the whole time. That being said, there is a lot of down time once the reaction starts - some needed to sit for over an hour. Labs usually do not feel rushed, and you have time to hang out and chill with your class and TAs. The only exception is for 2-3 of some of the later labs which are water sensitive. These you need to work quickly once you dry your glassware, or you will get messed up results. (Watch out for burning your hands) Taking this course second semester, if you can get in, would be an advantage. I was stuck teaching myself most material for pre-labs and lab reports, as the majority comes from second semester lecture material. If you haven't taken both semesters of Orgo lecture, pay close attention to the pre-lab lectures, otherwise there is no way you will do well on quizzes. That said, if you take it first semester, most people will be in your situation, which will help the curve. Also, first semester, the classes tend to be smaller, and there is less competition to get into the class. My class had 20 people in it (my TA section only had 10), and one class only had 4! Bottom line: take it first semester if you're confident with the material, or you feel like you can teach yourself. If you want to take it second semester, you'd better hope you have a good registration appointment, or the post-bacs will beat you to the class. An alternative: get a senior to register for the class, and drop it when you have your registration appointment.
If you ask the chemistry department when to take this course, they will tell you that in their experience, it makes no difference whether you take it with first or second semester of orgo. The grades might be statistically similar with both groups of students, as they claim, but the major difference is that while one group must spend hours reading ahead/frantically googling to learn the material, the other group has very little excess work. For those like me (especially those with a bad orgo professor who are basically totally lost until they teach themselves before midterm), the class could be frustrating. Concepts that the others knew were hastily taught in 15 minutes and tested on right after. My performance on the quizzes, thus, was dreadful. Luckily the class is curved nicely enough that I still ended up doing relatively well. It wasn't too much the fault of the Instructors, they couldn't really afford to take more time to teach the material and it probably served as a fine review for those taking it concurrent with second semester orgo. The lab itself was much better than gen chem lab (as is almost everything) and in my section at least, relatively low stress. Lots of standing around talking waiting for things to distill. We usually got out by 4ish and often the TAs let us do a shortened procedure from what's in the lab text. No practical or written examinations, just weekly quizzes for which the class-wide average is usually near a 50 (class is curved, so don't freak out when you see bad quiz grade.) The lab reports are worth a lot more points than the quizzes anyway. The lab reports take a long time, especially if you need to teach yourself the theory, but they aren't horribly bad. Plus, you only have to do 4 or 5 (can't remember)- the earlier labs are report-free.
Professor Rao has favorites, just as the other lab teachers do. If you aren't one of her favorites, then you're just going to get lower grades than everyone else. I used to do my lab write ups ina group and we'd all have more or less the same answers, yet I always ended up with lower grades...explain that to me. Basically, as hard as you try, if you're not one of her favorites, you're not going to get a good grade. Her lab videos take way too long and you have to get past understanding her accent to actually understand them. Lab lectures were kinda helpful but not the best either.
Justin is a man of many talents. He knows his Organic Chemistry almost as well as he speaks Japanese. He is very stylish, charming, and has wisps of curls like a baby angel. His chilled out attitude and lack of desire to ever take points off makes for a pleasant experience in the class. He is always around in his office if you need help and always willing to answer questions. I highly suggest you take the night lab with him, as this is when he is at his most relaxed state. be sure to snatch him up this coming fall, as less is expected of the students who take the class in the fall since they havent had any orgo yet.
Joanna's ecentric outfits and upbeat personality made orgo lab a painless and fun experience. He knowledge of the material was extremely useful and helpful in offering guidance through the labs throughout the semester. It is an unfortunate shame that she wasn't my TA in gen chem lab. She also has a great name.
Anthony Shaw is a great TA. He is a graduate student at Columbia and really knows his chemistry. Orgo Lab is much better than GChem lab (only 3 lab writes). Anthony gives very detailed lectures prior to the experiment, which are extremely helpful not only to doing the lab itself, but also to doing the prelab quizzes. I highly recommend taking the class with him. He is available and more than happy to help with orgo problems outside of lab and he is also very helpful with the lab reports.
He doesnt know much about chemistry. He does ok in lab, but he tastes a lot of the chemicals. He makes rude comments and ib my opinion doesnt grade fairly between genders. I found him to be rather ridiculous and hard to understand.