course
General Chemistry 1401

Dec 2013

Professor Parkin is pretty much universally agreed upon as being the best General Chemistry teacher. He is also pretty much universally agreed upon as being a bad teacher. The order in which material is presented makes little sense. For example, Lewis dot structures and Periodic Trends are discussed without mentioning the word “orbital”, though knowledge of orbital structure is necessary to understand the topics. Parkin frequently uses vocabulary that he doesn’t explain. In addition, he wants everyone to have a very deep understanding of chemistry. As a result he moves quite quickly (especially after midterm 3) and instead of having a deep understanding, most students just memorize a bunch of facts. He is not very good at understanding student questions. If you have a question go to your TA. The OWL homework is ridiculously tedious and rarely reflects what you actually need to know for the class. His Practice Exams are very good predictions of how you will do on the actual exams, and his exams are fair. He likes to test random exceptions to rules on his tests so make sure to study exceptions on his slides carefully. I would suggest studying well and performing well on the first 3 midterms so that your final counts for less, since Parkin rushes through the last 2 chapters in the last 2 classes. If you spend some time during your Thanksgiving travel to read the textbook chapter on transition metals, you will be much less stressed when the final comes around. The clicker questions are a very good gauge of how you are doing in the class. If you get one wrong, make sure you understand why. I would like to note that my unfavorable review for Parkin is not a result of my grade. I got an A+, but I attribute that mostly to my high school chemistry preparation. This class covers plenty of material not covered on AP Chemistry so don’t get cocky. Parkin is the best choice for chemistry but still a bad one. DO YOUR BEST TO GET PATRICK AS A TA. He is amazing, and will hopefully continue to teach after his PhD. Patrick attended every lecture and thus knew what Parkin didn’t explain properly and knew how to teach those concepts in a straight forward manner to us. He also created extra practice problem packets for us which were helpful if you needed the practice.

Dec 2013

So... Marco Pagnotta may be a very intelligent professor but as a teacher he just isn't cut out for the job. He basically reads over his powerpoints and doesn't really "teach." I also took chemistry lab this semester and I can say that the lab was a million times better than general chemistry regardless of the demanding workload. Pagnotta doesn't really assign homework except for the optional OWL problems that may help on the quiz depending on your TA. As the other review mentioned, the average for the tests and quizzes is usually a 60%. If you are a chemistry major or interested in actually learning chemistry I would recommend that you choose another professor. However, If you are stuck with Pagnotta, just know that his practice exams don't reflect the difficulty of his real exams. Lastly, I would recommend not falling behind (since many people just choose not to go to class) and doing the practice problems from the book.

Dec 2011

Please do not take this class, the lectures are absolutely pointless and he seems to not care at all about teaching gen chem. Get out of the class when you can. Do not think because you took AP chem or something to that extent this is an easy A, not at all. Everything, especially his tests, are highly conceptual and even though the tests are multiple choice, its paragraph multiple choice where you legit have to read it three times just to figure out what it's saying. The only perk in this class is that the average tends to be low, so beat the curve, do the practice exams and read the textbook, and read the textbook again.

Dec 2011

His class starts off super easy, and you think that this will be your one high-school-like course. FALSE. Come midterm #3, you realize that you're absolutely screwed, there's no way of catching up, and he keeps giving you 20 page lecture after lecture. My advice: keep up with the workload, make sure that you ace the first three midterms, and all of the quizzes so that the final doesn't matter at all, as he drops 1 quiz and 1 equivalent.

Jan 2010

I love professor Freisner and completely disagree with these negative reviews. He is 110% fair and approachable. He is always willing to help during office hours and the course is very interesting. It is not an easy class, but if you work hard there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't do well. I would definitely recommend this class, professor Freisner is the cutest! Although it is tough material, any Gen Chem class will be just as demanding so you're better off doing it with Freisner. Freisner gives reviews before every exam and is pretty vocal about what he finds to be important (and will usually test on the things he points out).

Jan 2010

I wasn't going to write a review until I saw the other very negative reviews on Professor Friesner. The class was very challenging in that you had to completely teach yourself the material from the textbook. The lectures themselves were really boring and simply consisted of watching him read the material on his slides back to us for an hour and a half. I wouldn't blame this so much on Friesner as on the class in general, as it seemed that people in other classes seemed to be having just as hard a time with their professors. Needless to say, the lectures are pretty useless. I didn't go to lectures very much at all after the first midterm and I ended up doing very well. If you are able to teach yourself (which shouldn't be hard because most of the material is very straightforward) then the class should be no problem at all. Friesner himself is very helpful if you go to office hours and he always has a review day the lecture before the test during which he essentially tells you everything that you need to study. If you study the review slides, do the homework (and actually attempt to understand it) and read the textbook then you'll do fine. I would definitely also recommend getting the solutions manual that comes with the textbook because when test time comes you're probably going to have to do a lot of practice problems to understand things, and if you have the solutions manual it saves you the time you would have had to spent going to TA office hours to get the answers. Overall, I would definitely recommend taking Friesner's class, it's very fair and he's very willing to help students understand the material. But keep in mind that no matter what GenChem class you take, you're going to have to work hard to get a good grade.

Nov 2009

Horrible teacher. He reads slides that he got from the company that wrote the textbook with a monotone voice with most of the lights out in the lecture room. Basically, you end up falling asleep. Some of the TAs are okay. I had a good one but didn't learn enough from him to do well. Studying on your own for this course is very helpful (the book is quite good) and if you do you should get a great grade. Take Valentini, he is easier. Nobody attends Friesner's class and those who do just browse the internet during class. Friesner is not only an incompetent teacher he also seems to dislike teaching.

Jan 2008

Out of all the choices for Gen. Chem. (Brydges, Turro, and Parkin), Parkin is definitely the best. Still, that's not saying much. He teaches in the most roundabout way and makes everything much, much, MUCH more difficult than it ought to be. In the beginning of the year everyone did well because we knew the simple way to do things, but later we started learning RANDOM STUFF that nobody knew how to do and it was ridiculous. Parkin did not explain well at ALL. Still, though, he is better than Brydges and Turro. And he does magic tricks, which is cool.