He's a sarcastic jerk and does not care about his students. Do yourself a favor and take Stockwell's class instead.
I learned that competence in the subject matter does not always correlate with a professor's effectiveness as a teacher. Some biochem was also learned. The average interpretation of Danny Ho's effectiveness as a Professor would most likely be unfavorable for Danny Ho. He reads directly off the slides and fails to adequately convey higher concept information to the students in a way that can be understood. He also comes off as rude to the students. Occasionally the manner in which he answers student's questions in office hours and in class does not create an environment that promotes intellectual curiosity or enthusiasm. He would also routinely talk about his day job, which one might expect to stem from his reluctance to teaching this course. Giving the difficulty of the subject matter you would expect Danny Ho to be more available to his students, but he only schedules a 50 minute "office hour" once a week. There are many other science professors who teach equally difficult subjects that are more available to their students. The effectiveness of the TAs is also hampered by the limited information they receive from Danny Ho. This course was ultimately very dissatisfying, which is very disheartening due to the importance of biochemistry for premed students. This class was not organized very well. Answers on exams and quizzes were consistently coded wrong on courseworks with no explanation as to why. This can mislead a student to think they did better or worse than they actually did. Additionally the problem sets were almost always regraded , so it would seem not even the TAs knew what they were doing. The reason to squeeze such difficult subject matter into a 2 and a half hour course that meets once a week is also a questionable decision. Even the most adept students would find it difficult sustain focus and effectively process information for 2 and a half hours. He says that it is because of scheduling conflict with post-bac students, but this explanation is suspect. There are many post-bac students who are able to attend late night classes that meet twice a week that are within the normal class length. It may stem from Danny Ho's desire to focus more on his day job, which he frequently talks about during lectures. While this may be good for Danny Ho it is clearly not good for the students. Mainly because he was routinely very late in sending out pertinent emails and frequently uploaded documents and problem sets containing errors. This creates an environment of misinformation and confusing that hinders effective learning. Not even the TAs were able to clarify certain course related questions. Brent Stockwell teaches a Biochemistry course during the fall semesters that most students will thankfully find to be satisfactory.
If you want to preserve your GPA, steer clear of Danny's biochem class. I'm pretty sure I spent >25 hours a week studying for this class and squeezed out all of my brain-juice and came out with a B. Danny himself is an ok lecturer -- I'm sure he would have been much more engaging in person but since last semester was online, lecture boiled down to Danny reading off the slides and showing off his fabulous fingernails on zoom (this I am not complaining about). His exam questions were really difficult. First of all, he told us during OH that he TA'd for Mowsh Bio and vowed to write his questions after her guidance. OKAY :0. Furthermore, Danny won't tell you this himself, but he never reuses exam questions from previous years. Congrats! You just wasted your weekend doing practice exam problems that won't ever appear on Danny's exams. He lets his TAs write one long-answer question each on every midterm, so there's really no consistency to the difficulty or the content of his exam questions. If I could travel back in time I would say this to my past self: - Don't take the class! It's true that Danny might be a better lecturer than Jonelle White, and that his class might prepare you better for the MCAT. But is it really worth it getting a lower grade? I can retake the MCAT again and study longer on the biochem sections of the test, but my grade in Danny's class is permanently stamped onto my transcript. I would rather take biochem at Barnard (which is supposedly more poorly taught with a less-engaging lecturer), read the textbook like I was going to anyways, and get a better grade/curve on the exams. - REALLY TRY YOUR BEST ON THE QUIZZES. Some of them are hard as shit, but you need to do well on them in order to do well in the class. For context, I bombed most of my quizzes in the first half thinking they weren't worth much and that I should spend more time on problem sets and exams. The final aside, I scored an A- and an A for my midterms, got the extra credit for the group presentation, and still finished the class with a B because I took the quizzes lightly (that... and I also performed poorly on the final).
You HAVE to take this course if you’re premed, especially because the MCAT is biochem focused now. I would say this class adequately prepared me for MCAT biochem. It was the first class that I felt like I was studying actual medicine, especially because the clinical lectures were very fascinating.. Professor Nam as he likes to be called is a really friendly and eccentric guy. You can tell he cares about teaching and his students. He learns everybody’s name throughout the semester. He even shed a tear on our last day and I don’t know many other professors who care that much. The class is very dense in terms of material, but cmon we’re all premed and should be accustomed to it by now. If you treat this class like other science classes, you’ll do fine. It does take a lot of work, and even though it is a 3 credit course, the class only meets for 2.5 hrs per week. This makes offfice hours mandatory. Don’t worry about needing to know too much orgo for this class. You won’t be asked to synthesize molecules, but you should review nomenclature and orgo 2 mechanisms involving aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, and condensation reactions because there is always 1 mechanism problem on the exams. I went into this class having memorized the major 20 amino acids (names, structures, 1 & 3 letter codes) and I would highly recommend that you do too. Also brush up on titrations, Henderson-Hasselbach, and pKas from gen chem. Quizzes start off easy and then get hard. Same with exams. Exams usually have MC and true/false questions that weren’t discussed in class, so they feel somewhat unfair. Short and long answers are usually easier because you get partial credit. The biggest thing to keep in mind on exams is TIME MANAGEMENT. Nobody finishes the exams early because he designs the exams to be difficult. So make sure to answer short/long answers first so that you can go back and guess on MC and T/F if necessary. The material gets dramatically more difficult about halfway through the semester. I highly recommend checking out Ninja Nerd biochem metabolism videos as well as Moof University on YouTube once you finish the first exam. Starting from glycolysis, the material picks up speed rapidly so you have to stay on top of it all. Lastly, get perfect scores on the easy stuff like HW (he practically gives answers in office hours) and the group project. Don’t be afraid to talk to him, he’s a really fantastic guy!
Nam has a good sense of humor and is easily one of the good upper classes in Biology. The class is what you would expect in a standard biochemistry class. The class was difficult for those who are aiming for an A, but very easy to get a solid B. Class Structure Every week you have a problem set that is worth 20 pts roughly. He gives you the answers to these indirectly in his office hours on monday. Doing well on the problem sets is a major grade booster because it adds up to 1 exam (120 pts). The exams are 120 points each and you have two of them. They are a combination of MC, short answers, and long answers. MC are tricky and sometimes aren't straightforward. The short answers are just memorization. The long answers (make up more than 1/2 the exam) present the context of what you learned in lectures in a new way. This often throws off many people, speaking of experience, so our study group posed critical questions and we tried to answer them. Like: how many H+ would pump into the innermem space by 1 NADH+H+ when the malate-asparte shuttle failed? Plus you are allowed to bring a card filled with the pathways so you don't necessarily have to memorize them. There is always a chimera problem where he shows an enzyme site and you have to decipher the puzzle by recognizing amino acids, and redrawing the substrate. Then some form of a mechanism problem. Don't worry if you have never seen the mechanism because it isn't expected but know a general pattern. When we studied in our group, we looked at for example how oxaloacetate becomes PEP. We asked was a there a theme in the mechanisms - for instance phosphorylation by ATP (commonly tested), dehydration to form an alkene, etc. The final exam was somewhat easier (meaning less curve). The previous reviewer on testing diseases on the final is true - you are resposible for 13 diseases - biochemical basis and treatment - but honestly not hard and most just cram it into the card anyway. Research Project We took this lightly and did really poorly. He grades really harsh. We lost points for content and formating because our font size fell below 12. Really that's about it. Our group had people on the brink of an A/A- and it was just upsetting. So follow the directions closely and please use appropriate FONT and SIZE! Quizzes Every class you have this 10 point quiz and is really annoying. Sometimes they are nit-picky specific and sometimes its like a walk-in-the-park. But you get to drop 2. Do well on the 1st few weeks they only get harder. Trivia Bonus! Just as you would expect! This was an awesome end to the biochemistry really showed how far we came from our 1st day. The class does take a lot of work. I struggled in the class but ended with an A just by having near perfect HW/quiz/and good exam 2 score. I did average on the exam 1 and the final and was fine - with a poor research project (B-). Be ware he does not curve the class but curves the exams. So there is a curve sort-of. You see if the class average is 67% then instead of making the exam worth 120 pts (80.4/120) he makes it worth 100 points (80.4/100) to make the average 80%. nam doesn't realize that in doing so the exam now contributes less to your overall score (he needs to rescale the score to 120). The class is total points so again do well on the HW, it adds up to an exam, same goes for the quizzes (roughly 1 exam).
DON'T TAKE THIS CLASS IF YOU'RE PREMED Used this class to help study for the biochemistry on the MCAT, turns out Nam does not teach half of the material on the MCAT for biochem. Does not curve the class at al,l so there are no favors in the GPA department. Scored 5-10% higher than average on all of the exams, did well on problem sets and quizzes, and ended up with a B+. Studied for days (like the previous reviewer) and did not score higher because the tests and quizzes had absurdly specific content. Nam included a "clinical series" about the biochemical basis of certain diseases and drugs, which was a nice recognition of the amount of premeds in the class; however, this was a the expense of actually teaching us biochemistry. Do not recommend.
This is the best class I have ever taken during my undergraduate time and I'm about to begin my final semester. Nam (what he prefers to be called) is absolutely amazing! He is a PhD student himself but puts so much effort into teaching and making sure he is available for questions outside of class. A 3 hour class might sound long but it goes by so quickly because Nam is so enthusiastic about teaching and he makes sure to give a couple of breaks in between hours. He holds 2 hours of office hours every week, usually on Monday nights (which is the day before class). GO TO THOSE! He will literally go through all the problems on the problem set, which is pretty difficult to do on your own, so you can easily get good grades on those. The class wasn't curved because the distribution was spread evenly and exam averages were about 70-80. Only the final was curved (20 points added to 220) because it was ridiculously hard and he realized that himself after. Biochemistry is a difficult class but if you put in the work, an A is within reach. Exams were hard but I got by with studying for them about 3-5 days ahead, tops, and I ended up with an A- in the class.