ACADEMIC FAQ

general

How familiar should incoming students be with the information they learned in their high school biology courses before starting LS course series?

Students do not necessarily need extensive prior knowledge of course material. There is never information that professors and teaching assistants expect students to already be experts in. However, students should have a basic foundational understanding of the subject. Programs like the Freshman Summer Program (FSL) and Academic Advancement Program (AAP) are aimed at incoming students (freshman and transfer) that would benefit from support and guidance.

What kind of tutoring or academic advising is available for LS core courses?

There are many resources available to UCLA students.  Many of these are not exclusive to  those  enrolled in LS courses. One of the most accessible is AAP’s Peer Learning Advisor (PLF) sessions, a program that matches students with peer tutors. For incoming freshman, PEERS and LS Core Peer Learning are great programs for easing the transition from high school to college. These programs are all free of charge and can be easily applied to.

LS7 series

What is the structure of the LS 7 series like, and what is it intended to prepare students for?​

The LS curriculum implements a 'flipped' classroom approach from what is normally expected in a standard learning environment. In a flipped classroom, students learn the information of their own with a supplemental instructor who guides and answers questions in the learning process. For the LS 7 series, this is in the form of Launchpad assignments and discussions with a TA. This system allows students to come to lecture already prepared with an understanding of the lesson material. In classes with hundreds of students, introduction to the material beforehand in small groups is meant to help students bridge gaps in understanding and allows students to apply what they have learned to classroom scenarios, such as in clicker questions.

How can students approach the learn-outside, discuss-inside structure of the 7 series to better encourage success?

In order to keep up in class, assignments and pre-class readings posted on Launchpad should be completed well before lectures (not a few hours before). Launchpad readings and quizzes are meant for students to actively engage in the text and information while preparing themselves for what will be presented during lecture. By introducing material before class the 7 series curriculum hopes to strengthen comprehension and use instruction time for explanation and discussion.

How much of the information in pre-class reading assignments from Launchpad should be memorized verbatim before discussion with the teaching assistants and/or the professor?​​

Nothing truly has to be recited or remembered word-for-word from the text. Readings are (necessary) supplements to the lectures and should not be the only learning material that students focus on. Remember to read through and understand the lecture slides along with the clicker questions in order to fully grasp the course material; many professors take quiz questions straight from their clicker/slides.

Why are TA and professor explanations for the same Launchpad questions sometimes different? 

Sometimes, it seems like there is a disconnect between the information that the TA and the professor give. When/if this happens, reword your question and ask again.  If you still get two different answers, listen to what your professor says (they write the exams) and explain to them that your TA taught the concept differently. Your instructors want to make your education accessible, so go to office hours if you are confused!

Why is most of the information from Launchpad assignments almost never discussed in lecture?

Lectures are intended to be a time for going more in-depth into subject material. By going beyond the foundation that your pre-class material provides, lectures test your knowledge of biological principals. Lectures rely on your understanding gained from Launchpad to make connections and apply what you already know towards a higher level concept. As a review, clicker questions will often cover the Launchpad concepts.

Why don't midterm and final exams have a lot of Launchpad-based questions?

The midterms and final exams won't be structured exactly like the practice exam questions in the pre-class assignments. They're meant to test your understanding of the information on a higher level. Instead of memorizing facts and one scenario, you'll learn how to understand a concept and apply it to a range of situations. Exams are meant to measure your understanding beyond what was outlined in class, introducing representations that they you may not have heard explicitly explained in lecture.

Ideally, how much time should I spend preparing for LS 7 series exams and discussions?

Every student studies differently, so there isn't a universal amount of time everyone should study for. You should review the material as you complete your Launchpad practice exam questions. As long as you can understand the information and actively engage as it's presented, you should be well prepared. If you don't completely grasp the material, the best thing you can do is attend TA and professor office hours. Your instructors know exactly how to help you prepare for exams; they wrote them! You can also utilize the UCLA test bank. our (growing) test bank, or talk to students who have already taken the exam. Don't memorize facts, work to understand concepts.

more questions?