professor
Ann McDermott

This professor has earned a CULPA silver nugget

Dec 2020

The lectures are fairly clear but Prof. McDermott sometimes goes a bit fast or onto tangents that are more contextual or about her research rather than the material itself (not that it's a bad thing). The TAs and recitation sections are helpful, and there's plenty of resources (help sessions, practice tests) to prepare for the tests. Overall, the amount of extra credit and grading options with a lenient curve make this an easier class, though the optional projects and unchecked homework allow for more depth if you want that.

Feb 2019

I love this woman. She is a mess, but in the most incredible way. Homework is not graded, the curve is generous, and she will spend half of the class talking about her own research on Lead, meaning the amount of content you are actually tested on is very little. I wish I could take more of her classes; she's genuinely brilliant, kind, and understanding of the workload of other classes.

Dec 2018

Professor McDermott reads a lot off the slides and I never felt like she actually taught much. Professor Gonzalez was much better as a lecturer as he added useful information that couldn't be found on the slides. Sometimes, the content was quite confusing and hard to follow with his slides, and maybe sometimes more than we need to know, but overall I enjoyed him more. The course overall was a little boring and unorganized. Communication about deadlines and homework assignments were not clear at all and the TAs were confused too. Ellie was great and often gave hints about what we need to know about weekly quizzes and midterms. There is a weird lead paper that needs to be done, due at the end of the semester. Directions and deadlines weren't clear at all. However, grading is somewhat loose on it. It just seems kind of BS to me. Overall, though, would recommend to take if you want to get chemistry done in one semester instead of two. It's not that hard of a course.

Jan 2018

Ok... to start things off... take everything CULPA says about anyone in the STEM field with a grain of salt. Anyone that has gone to college before knows that (a) every college teaches differently, (b) easy grades usually don’t come out of studying the sciences, and (c) just because you are smart doesn’t mean you are a great teacher. I will say in my experience the best teachers are the ones that have passion and can actually get into contact with outside of class. Some of the things that stuck out to me in this class were: (A) DON’T go to class and EXPECT TO BE TAUGHT EVERYTHING you need to know for tests. (Β) Everything you need to know is a combination of the textbook, powerpoint slides, iClicker questions, practice exams and OWL. (***SPECIAL EMPHASIS on iClicker, PowerPoint Sides and Practice Exams) (C) READING the textbook chapter BEFORE CLASS and DOING some UNGRADED PRACTICE PROBLEMS ahead of time made it significantly easier (D) Lectures ONLY SUPPLEMENT the reading (E) Ask questions in class and/or go to office hours. (F) TAs can be critical to your success (Hint Hint: Ellie is amazing. If you had her before, you will never want another TA) (G) Lectures given near breaks are always the least covered content, so you need to read them well and practice those sections on break Some of the things that stuck out to me about the professor were: (A) Professor McDermott is super passionate about teaching Chemistry and is always excited for class. (B) Professor McDermott is really good at explaining harder concepts when you go to her office hours. (C) Professor McDermott actually takes the time to learn your name, especially if you go to office hours. Tips to success in this class: (A) Do the ungraded homework (B) Use the professor’s office hours to ask questions (C) Make sure you take time to understand how to do the iClicker questions (They are more likely to show up on Mid-Terms) (D) Make sure you know everything on the class slides (They are more likely to show up on Mid-Terms) (E) Take advantage of your TA’s office hours (The combination of professor and TA office hours should answer most questions) (F) Take good notes early on from the textbook to save you time when you are preparing for Mid-Terms (G) Take your Recitation section later on in the week so you have time to study for Weekly Quizzes and go to office hours. (H) Go over the weekly recitation quizzes before the exams (I) Take the time to go thru the Practice Exams. They are usually similar to the actual exams (J) Practice doing questions quickly. Time was always an issue for me on quizzes and exams.

Dec 2017

This is one of the easiest classes I've taken at Columbia! Professor McDermott often goes indepth during the lecture on topics that are not tested on except on the final. The curriculum only covers a few basic chapters of chemistry and is thus significantly easier than AP Chemistry in high school. McDermott gives practice exams before each midterm, which are great practice and are almost identical to the real test. Quizzes are identical to homework problems with just a change in numbers, so it's extremely easy to score well in the class. The class is broken down into 6 sets of 170 points, with the worst set being dropped (totaling to 850 points). Each midterm is 170 points, and the weekly quizzes in recitation combine into 170 points. Your worst quiz of all your quizzes is also dropped! The final counts as 2 sets, and if that is your worst, then it only counts as 1 set for you instead. I ended up with a 99.8% in the class and I'm a comp sci major, only took honors chemistry in high school, and put much less effort into this class compared to multivariable calc or comp sci. Do keep in mind that you will be learning a lot of this material on your own and doing practice on your own, as you don't need to pay attention in class. She has these OWL clicker points, you just have to show up and click a button it doesn't matter if you're right or wrong

Dec 2017

Oh, Ann McDermott. Let me start off from what I got in this class, a high B. I had an A- before the final exam. I'm a premed and had other science requirements to fulfill. If you are taking other science-heavy courses with this, it is not easy to get an A. First off, she makes you hate the word "lead." Lead this lead that -- nowhere in the textbook did we learn about "lead concentration determination in soil of nyc." If this topic sounds fascinating to you, go ahead and click to enroll. If not, please don't, because : 1. you won't understand what she is talking about 2. you'll find yourself digging through soil and you really have no idea why (except for the sake of participation points that worths 15% of your grade) 3. these seemingly irrelevant topics come up on your exams and tear your soul apart She is very research-focused, like comments below, and inserts random questions on exams that you've never seen hw assignments or practice exams. At the end of the day, you hate yourself for not being an overly passionate science scholar -- because if you were, you probably asked lots of questions in lectures (that you have no idea what she's saying since she gets distracted easily + you get distracted) and did all the hw problems *and* was so interested in her projects and other textbook-irrelevant chemistry. We didn't take this course because we were so interested in your project, professor. Lastly, she makes it sound like she's doing so much for you by making the participation a free giveaway point in the beginning of the semester. Well, surprise - even if you have a 100% attendance on recitation, you won't get that full 15% of your grade. So, if you are taking this course, please please go to recitations and talk. If you talk and TA thinks you talk a lot - and by a lot, I mean "ok stop talking I get how amused you are" a lot - you will get the 15% free. Each exam had different number of questions. You never know how many there are - they are different from practice exam. The practice exams helped a lot in preparing, though.

Dec 2017

Literally the worst professor/teacher I've ever had in my entire academic career. Reads directly from her slides, and barely teaches otherwise. And half of the time her slides have mistakes that students have to point out. DO NOT TAKE HER CLASS.

Mar 2011

I honestly didn't really learn much from her. She lectured from a powerpoint every class, and though I could feel her enthusiasm and passion for the topics, I just couldn't engage myself. I found it hard to follow her because sometimes she would go off on a tangent, or talk about something really complicated and I would find myself even more lost than before. There are iClicker questions in class that are designed to reinforce the material and participation in graded. However, I don't think I really benefited from them at all.

Jan 2011

Especially towards the second half of the semester, McDermott sometimes rushed through lectures and rambled about proteins and biological chemistry (while doing a cursory job discussing various other topics that we would need to know for her final). Her tangents about real-world applications of the course material would have been more interesting for her audience had her discussions been more in-depth. Nonetheless, it's evident McDermott's quite dedicated to her students as she frequently asks us for critiques and suggestions on how to make her lectures more effective (with extra credit given as an incentive). In addition, as a renowned researcher and National Academy of Science member, McDermott is extremely passionate about her subject and her brilliance in chemistry allows her to be an effective professor and excellent lecturer at times. It is recommended that you go to lectures (especially during the second half of the semester) if you want an A in her class. She covers a number of topics such as IR spectroscopy and NMR to a much greater depth than the textbook does. Since her own research happens to focus on spectroscopy and NMR, her passion for the subject matter made these lectures quite engaging. She can be very helpful during office hours and offers many, many opportunities for extra credit (you can get up to 10 points). If you get McDermott's section, keep it! Despite the shortcomings of the class, you end up learning a lot of chemistry. If you do the textbook readings/problems and carefully study the material in McDermott's slides that she posts on Courseworks (it doesn't always overlap with the textbook material, but is an excellent predictor of what she will put on tests), an A is very doable in this class.

Dec 2010

Most of the kids in the class are either SEAS or pre-med students fulfilling their requirements. The grade is based on 6 sections-- 3 midterms, a final (which counts for 2 sections), and the weekly quizzes. The lowest of the 6, based on z-scores, is dropped. My one biggest complaint is that McDermott seems to dwell on some subjects much more than others, while she tests us mostly on the material form the book. Class participation isn't necessary, although she does use those annoying i-clickers to see participation levels (which only count for extra credit anyways). The TAs are all really helpful, though you should be fine without their help.

Dec 2010

Prof. McDermott tries to make the class as interesting as possible, and always takes feedback on how to improve lectures. However, there seems to be an inherent disconnect between her and the students. The lectures are pretty useless, but I was forced to make the effort of going to class to get the dumb i-clicker bonuses (which amounted to 5 points at the end of the semester out of 500, arguably not worth the effort of going to class every single day). If you don't know the grading system, it is a combination of weekly recitation quizzes (1/6), 3 midterms (3/6), and the final (2/6), where your lowest equivalent is dropped. The exams were multiple choice which may seem like a breeze, but really it is not if you consider that a few careless mistakes will put you pretty close to the average grade. Also, don't blow off the quizzes. That may seem like the easiest 1/6 to drop, but the quizzes are always predictable whereas some questions on the exams are tricky and/or test you on knowledge of an exception to the rules. Conclusion: don't take this class too lightly, as I did, or you will end up with a sub-par grade. It is pretty straightforward but still requires work.

Apr 2006

John is BRILLIANT!!! He is very helpful and supportive. Ann is really nice, however she isn't that knowledgeable of the material and couldn't answer many of the questions asked in her review sessions if they weren't from the material that she was assigned to review. (ie if she was leading a review session about chapter 10, and someone asked a question about a concept in 9, she usually could not answer it). So I suggest you go to John's review sessions and just pick up Ann's review session handouts. ;)

Jan 2005

A really good class to take if you have had some background in chemsitry and can learn from the book on your own. The lectures are not very helpful and most people don't bother going to class after the first few ( I went to almost all and it really did not vastly improve my understanding...but a one or two things that come up on exams are only heard in class...and the TAs base the quizes on the lecture material). The class is wonderful because the exams are relatively easy and you are able to drop one exam equivalent at the end of the term. Most of the exam questions come from homework and practice exams that she posts on courseworks. The prof is really nice, speaks clearly, and often stops to take questions. She relies on e-mail to commuicate with her students, as so few attend class. I would definately recommend the class.

Jan 2005

Professor McDermott is a very nice person. I think she really loves chemistry and loves sharing it with her students. Her lectures are all on powerpoint and so some people think that they do not need to go to all the lectures. Her class was somewhat boring but i never thought it was hard. Overall I liked her class, i herd she was the better choice of the 3 professors for the first semester

Jan 2005

If your going to take Chem 1403, take it with McDermott. It is obvious she cares and she is very approachable. There is no reason to go to class, however as she doesn't teach you what you need to know. Yes, her lectures are related to the topics, but your time will be better spent digesting the text. Trust me, I went to every lecture because I was afraid I would miss something if I didn't. Her lectures were useless. Learn the textbook, learn how to do the homework problems, learn how to do the problems from the practice exams she posts and you can get an A. I did, and I had a useless TA for recitation. But don't waste your time in class!

Dec 2004

Professor McDermott truely cares about her students. She's relatively organized in that courseworks is used and usually up to date. Exam grading did take a LONG time, considering they were multiple choice. Her lectures don't always focus on what you'll be tested on, but if you go and pay attention, you'll have a leg up for the final where she draws from lectures for her questions. The other midterms are virtually (at least 95%) directly from the sample exams/old exams that she publishes. It's possible to do no reading, not go to class, but know the sample questions inside and out and get virtually perfect scores on the exams. 10 bonus points are available during the term. Most are easy to earn and you'd be stupid if you didn't take advantage of them. Text book is reasonable and while her lectures help clarrify the text book, towards the last third of the term the lectures seem to come directly from the text. All in all, I would highly recommend this prof. I'd make the extra effort to go to class and get to know her. It will help you, I promise. She understands this is a first semester collegiate course for many in the class and does everything she can to help those who put a viewable effort in. She offeres homework sessions for those who want extra help or just want to work thru problems with others. She goes beyond what other profs who teach this course do to help. But, be warned...... If you don't want to learn the material, it's fairly easy to slide by without learning it. That will only be detrimental if you move on to Chem II and/or Orgo, so do the work and learn it.

May 2004

Ann McDermott is an able, caring teacher who tries hard to impart knowledge and makes time for students. A terrific dinner for students was held as well as a museum lunch (she attended both). The trick to doing well in her class is (a) knowing that 80% of the exam questions come from the text HW and doing problems over and over, (b) make sure you're in a TA section where you can kick butt (switch if you must), (c) BONUS POINTS. You've got to go to class because bonus point assignments are given out (some involve spending time outside of class on NMR - make the time!). They add up.

Apr 2004

Take this class if you want to have a class which you wont attend after the first one. Seriously, after going to one or two, you will realize that there is no logical reason to attend thic class. First of all, it is extremely boring, not only the professor, but also the stuff she teaches. Secondly, she goes from slides and posts all the slides to courseworks, so youll know what you are missing before the exams. And laslty, she posts practice exams, which are identical to the actual exams, only the numbers in the questions are changed (if there is no number to be changed in that question, youll see the exact question.) By the way all exams including the final are multiple choice (Man this class is really a joke). So if you want an easy A without even going to class and without spending time on the material, take this one. If you want to learn chemistry, you should go somewhere else.

Jan 2004

Does all lessons with projector. Basically high school chemistry all over again. Easy if you remember it, more difficult if you don't. Professor McDermott is very interested in chemistry, though, so she teaches with a lot of enthusiasm. Encourages questions. First few lessons are history of chem. Later gets into how chem relates to today's world. Gives some extra credit, which includes filling out a course evaluation online and writing questions for her to use on the exams. If she uses them, you get credit. Homework is optional, but exams are easier if you do it. There's A LOT of homework.

Jan 2004

I spent most of the class wondering why I physically could not stay awake. McDermott seems to honestly try to put together an interesting lecture; she speaks clearly, attempts to incorporate applicable facts, addresses questions quickly, and seems to offer sufficient outside help (although I never took advantage of this). However, all of her lectures tend to blend together into one long slideshow of meaningless pictures and equations with no real information or explanation. The class also jumps around from chapter to chapter which makes just reading the book difficult as well. The 20 question m/c exams are pretty straightforward and come from the practice tests. One standard deviation was usually the equivalence of 1-3 questions, so your final grade really depends on how many of the practice tests you read through and how good you are with m/c.

Jan 2004

Ann is a great professor! As you can tell I loved this class and I didn't even get a grade I like. If you don't have a good background in chemistry (no AP course or it was all over your head) this class is for you. Ann keeps the work at a moderate pace and tries to make sure everyone understands the material before moving on. This means if you already have a good grasp of chem and really want to get a strong science major approach with the concepts -take TURRO. A few students complained for harder material and many students were able to pass the exams without attending class. Ann posts her lectures on-line and does follow the text material (no surprises). (Shows you how nice she is.) Ann truly cares about the students understanding the material; is always available and approachable; keeps good TAs; and is straightforward with the work. This felt like a chem class for non-science majors. A great thing for those who don't have a strong science background. Her grading is very fair and even lienient.

Dec 2003

Ann is a very good chemistry professor. Her lectures are well-organized, she makes sure that the students understand the material, and she means it when she says that 80% of the test material will be from homework. She consistently advertises her office hours and help sessions as well. If you see her name next to a chemistry section you wish to take, sign up because it will be a good experience