Lyle Isaacs

This professor has taught: CHEM237, CHEM241, CHEM247, CHEM441, CHEM460, CHEM611, CHEM640, CHEM641, CHEM889C, CHEM889D
Information Review
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting an A-
blue_footed_booby
05/15/2021
Ditto that one anonymous guy who gave an IN-DEPTH review of Dr. Isaacs on 5/14/21. Definitely take good notes and do problems from the book, he sometimes pull straight from there (at least when we were online).
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/14/2021
TEACHING: He's a decent/good professor. He teaches straight from the book, and has similar exam questions to the practice problems. He has structure to his lectures. He usually introduces a topic, goes over general concepts, then reactions with mechanisms and a bunch of examples - a simple lecture format. His handwriting and drawings are good. He gives clicker questions at the end of every lecture, so attend and be prepared. PERSONALITY: He's very passionate about chemistry, and this shows when he speaks with excitement in lecture, which can be refreshing. He's very receptive of questions, and always takes time to answer after class and during office hours. He makes a lot of jokes. Whether or not you find them funny, they lighten the mood and make you feel a bit less miserable. He loves hemiacetals and daydreaming about being a nucleophile. Nice guy in general. EXAMS: Some problems are straight from the book (but it's not worth trying to memorize). The format is usually as follows: 3-5 nomenclature, 3-5 concepts, 1-2 spectroscopy (must remember NMR and IR from orgo 1), 2-4 synthesis, 2-3 mechanisms, and 10+ reaction boxes (fill-in-the-blank with reactant or product formed), and maybe some other questions. Be prepared for this format. He makes an announcement on the exam format as well, so if this ever changes then don't worry - he'll update you. STRATEGY: I did very well on his exams. My strategy may not work for everyone, but what worked for me was just taking notes during lecture - every example problem, every detail in a mechanism, all concepts. Organize your notes well. A week before exam time, I reviewed my notes hardcore. I took the time to understand, and not just memorize (although memory is very important). I didn't take practice exams, read the book, or go to GSS, but I do recommend this if you're not a great note taker. Book (for missed lectures) + practice exams will help the most.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Anonymous
05/19/2019
Great professor. Also, Delaney is a great TA!
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM460

Expecting an A
Anonymous
12/20/2018
I really enjoyed his course on organic spectroscopy. Spectroscopy was one of my weakest skills from organic and I came in without a background in physical chem or instrumentation, but he made it understandable. I think he did a amazing job explaining difficult material. He make jokes in class too. The discussion problem set presentations were intimidating, but gave us practice for presenting in the real world. The weekly homework was challenging, but he encouraged us to work with peers. The class also had guest lecturers for the NMR portion. In addition, he learned everyone's names and enjoyed answering questions. Overall, he's an engaging and passionate professor!
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting an A
Anonymous
11/20/2018
Very boring lectures but his exams are very predictable and fair. Doing lots of practice is the only way to do well. I would suggest him for orgo because it is easy to do well if you can recognize the patterns in his exams. Typical professor type that just lectures the whole entire time.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting an A
Anonymous
01/13/2015
How to get an A in Orgo II: do the practice exams. All of them. Do them. Especially for the final. I destroyed the final and it locked me in for an A (I was borderline B+/A-). GSS isn’t really helpful for orgo II, because Isaacs teaches DIRECTLY out of the book. His problems are almost all exactly the same from the book. Accidently YOLO’d too hard the night before and missed class the next morning? No worries, just read the book. (But don’t skip class a lot, you’ll get behind and screw yourself over) If you have questions go to his problem sessions, he’s really nice and receptive during them. This entire class is weighted on exams, so don’t slack on those. No homework, no extra credit. There are clicker questions, which help a tiny bit. But you have to do well on the exams, that’s the key!! Orgo II is just mechanisms and practice, so focus on that. Isaacs is a little dry as a professor, but better than Doyle, and not as good as M.S. but he tries to make jokes sometimes, and he’s excited about chemistry, which helps. (I've heard he's not the best for orgo I so avoid him for that course)
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM237

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
01/08/2015
Dr. Isaacs was not a good Orgo I professor. He even told the class that he hasn't taught the course in over ~10 years (at least he warned us...). Reading the textbook is basically required for his class. If you did not read the chapters before hand, you will probably find his lectures to be very confusing. After the second midterm, literally only half the class came to lecture because we all thought that the textbook was a better way to learn. However, the reason why I gave him 2 stars and not 1 is because when we got to spectroscopy and other Orgo II units, he became a better professor... as in like, he was able to clarify concepts more clearly. Unfortunately, spectroscopy was like... the last 2 weeks of the semester, so we basically had a "decent" professor for only 2 weeks. Like the comments below, Isaacs is pretty boring and he does not have set office hours, which makes his class even harder. It is also basically required for students to read the textbook and do chapter problems in order to do well in his class. Anyways, if he is teaching orgo II, I think you will be safe taking him. But if he is teacing orgo I, I'd recommend enrolling in a different professor's section. Oh yeah, another thing that kind of pissed me off was that Isaacs changed the curve on us. After taking our final, he told us that he had to give us a smaller curve because he said "too many people would have gotten A's" with his original curve.
Lyle Isaacs

Anonymous
05/03/2014
Lectures are extremely boring. He's often away and doesn't have set office hours. The only point of going to them is to know what to expect on the exams. The exams are manageable if you do the homework problems because he takes some problems directly and models many questions off of others. Only take Isaacs if you know you're diligent and will actually read the chapters before he goes over them and do the homework problems twice.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Anonymous
05/08/2012
Even a little preparation before class (skimming chapter) can go a long way. What makes exams difficult are: the difficulty of the material, if you have seen and attempted the questions before and if you know what topics will be tested on the most. Professor Issacs helps students by signaling what names of molecules will be tested and what mechanics are likely to show up on the exams. He also takes problems from assigned problems in the book and synthesis problems from the book and from examples in lecture. Professor rarely goes on tangents but when he does, they contain helpful advice. My biggest criticism of the 'course' book(Organic Chemistry by Loudon) is that in the solutions manual, molecules are not drawn using the skeletal formula. The book has very long chapters so it helps to have a book that will cover the material in only a few pages (Try Schaums Easy Outline of Organic Chemistry). For shorter and more coherent explanation of the topics, (Try Organic Chemistry as a Second Language II - Second Semester Topics). PDF versions of these can be found using google :)
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting an A
Anonymous
08/22/2011
He teaches directly out of the textbook. His examples in class are just the examples from the book, occasionaly with a n example he made up. To do well, you just need to do all the practice problems in the book a few weeks ahead of the exam, then do them again a few days before. His lectures are pretty boring but you should still go to them. The TA was awful also.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
05/26/2011
Dr. Isaacs is the classic textbook teacher. He literally puts problems from the notes and textbook into his exams. Lectures were alright, and the TA was also mediocre. In order to do well in this class, simply do all the book problems in the syllabus then do them again before exams. You pretty much teach yourself and gain a greater sense of independence in this class.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting a B+
Anonymous
06/03/2010
I absolutely loved Dr. Isaacs! In a big lecture hall it's really hard for professors to see individual students, but if you go to him and show that you're putting effort into the class, he will appreciate it and help you. His tests are challenging, but fair. Ask questions, make sure you understand the material. If you put enough effort and time into the course, you will prevail :)
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM247

Expecting an A
sillyputty184
04/19/2010
moderately animated. go to lecture, go to disc, read, do problems. I know a guy that works in his lab, pretty neat stuff in practice, not so much in theory. has a naming section, conceptual, box problems, synthesis. Study old exams. I had a great TA which helped a lot. I love orgo because it seems to click for me, the concept questions were hard though. I never seemed to give him what he wanted. that's the only place i really lost points.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting a B+
yii520
04/18/2010
he is a GREAT teacher, he really knows his stuff. In organic chemistry it is all about reactions and mechanisms, so it is better if you do the work hands on. Isaac teaches the whole class by writing on the board which really helps me to stay focused, it feels like he is taking the notes with us. His exams are really tricky, but here are the keys to pass his class: 1. remember the names and structures of some really bazaar compounds, trust me he's gonna ask a few 2. Do almost all of the suggested problems. it even helps if you just look at the questions and the answers from the solution manual since most of questions 3. attend lecture and discussion. especially discussion... because it's really important although i felt like skipping a few times 4. spread the work out over period of several days, it is best if you stay on task but hey who gets on task all the time? if you wanna cram i suggest you start cramming 3 days before the exam because they usually cover a lot of materials, that way you won't be stressed out. i attend lectures and discussions, take notes and actually look over them later. did most of the suggested problems and i got an A, SOLID A
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM242

Anonymous
12/09/2008
He is kind of boring in lecture. The exams are not too bad if you know what you are doing. He is away a lot so do not expect his help outside of class.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting an A
UMDmonkey
09/02/2008
Dr. Isaacs is a very good teacher. He knows what he is talking about and explains things clearly. I really like the way he talks, it is obvious that he tries to make it easy for people to understand a hard subject. You need to work very hard to get an A in this class, but it is definitely possible, because a lot of people do bad simply because they do not show up to class and/or they despair b/c they've heard stories about orgo. This is a very good teacher, and a good class, but you will have to practice problems every night. I recommend Isaacs over any other Orgo 2 professor, because even though his exams are hard, he prepares you well for MCATs, med school, or whatever else you need orgo for. The averages on our exams were right about 50% each time, maybe a little below that. His signature problem type is a "box problem," where he will give you one of the three following pieces of information and you have to fill in the rest: reactants, products, reagants. Other problems on exams are mechanisms (easy), synthesis (more complicated, but fun), ad nomenclature. He always puts at least on mechanism/ synthesis from the book problems on the exam. That is a really easy way to gain/lose 20 points out of 200, which is 10% of your grade. The key is showing up to class, starring problems that he hints at, and doing ALL of the recommended problems before his weekly help session. Ask him your questions at the help session, and you will do fine. And DON'T leave anything for the last minute: learn things as he is teaching them, never take a break.
Lyle Isaacs
CHEM241

Expecting a B
cjsph88
12/03/2007
Dr. Issacs is a decent, but very simple professor. His lectues are boring because he doesnt use powerpoints, clicker questions, etc. I feel like the class would have been much harder had it not been for my TA (Bryan) However, with the help of a good TA you can expect a B, or if you work extremly hard an A in the class. Otherwise Dr. Issacs isnt very clear on what you can expect to appear on the exam. Class grades are based on a bell curve, so as long as you do better than the average you have a B.