Jason Kahn

This professor has taught: BCHM461, BCHM463, BCHM464, BCHM661, BCHM662, BCHM673, BCHM698, BCHM889A, BIOE389F, BSCI338F, CHEM134, CHEM271, CHEM272, CHEM277
Information Review
Jason Kahn
CHEM277

Expecting an A
florm
05/22/2022
277 is a tough course. With two labs per week, there was always a lot going on having to work on the analysis and report for one lab while prepping for the next one. There are 8 labs total, though most of them are broken into multiple parts with separate but related experiments. The protocols were generally easy to follow (as long as you read them beforehand), and could always be completed within the 3 hour lab time. Unfortunately, though, Dr. Kahn sometimes wouldn't post the protocols until the day before or the morning of the lab, at least for the M/W section, which was kinda annoying. In lab, we usually worked in groups of 3 and were able to keep the same group the whole semester. Logistically there were some small issues, like the bottleneck from everyone having to get chemicals from the same fume hood, but they'll probably get sorted out in the future. Most of the labs deal with absorbance/fluorescence spectroscopy, so get used to that. The last lab deals with three different titrations, and there's one lab that's a Matlab simulation about Einstein solids and entropy, but other than that it's all spectroscopy. After all the main labs are done, we had to come up with our own, student-directed lab where we basically just expand on the work from a previous lab. We got 4 lab periods to work on it, and yes we did have to present our results to the class, but they weren't that harsh grading it. Dr. Kahn's lectures were alright, he's a pretty funny guy and clearly cares about what he's teaching. Instead of using slides, though, he would go through a very long and wordy pdf which wasn't always easy to glean important information from. The pdfs were useful references when writing lab reports and studying for exams, but required a lot of digging through. And speaking of the lab reports, we didn't get a rubric for them. He gave a rough outline of what he was looking for on the first couple reports, but after that we were pretty much on our own. There were many times I lost points for things I simply didn't know I needed to include, which was frustrating. As for the exams, they were exceptionally challenging. There's one midterm on the first 4 labs, and a non-cumulative final on the last 4 labs (plus the student-directed lab). The kinds of questions he asked made the exams rather difficult to study for; they weren't excessively specific questions about the protocol, but they could be about almost anything related to the analysis and required a strong intuition which I felt I didn't have. He provided some practice exams, but they're mostly just helpful for familiarizing yourself with his writing style. The exam averages were in the 60s and he didn't curve them, but he did curve the overall grades, so even if you do poorly on the final (like I did) you can still get an A.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Anonymous
03/18/2018
I love him so much!!!
Jason Kahn
BCHM461

Expecting an A+
Anonymous
06/29/2016
I loved Dr. Kahn. He truly wanted his students to learn the material, even if it costed him precious lecture time. I think we did not have enough time to go over two units but we mastered everything else. Kahn used different programs such as Pymol and MatLab to go over certain abstracts that were difficult. He clarified many concepts and briefly went over GenChem II material in the beginning of the semester. That set the proper foundation for the entire course and I have to say, he clarified GenChem 2 information so quickly and easily, I do not understand why he has such bad reviews for CHEM271. The way he teaches CHEM271 definitely prepares you for biochem. Anyways, I went off on a tangent. Kahn posts all of his old exams on his website which definitely helps you prepare for his exams. The best way to study for his class is to master his classnotes two nights before the exam and then practice his old exams the night before. I always ended up getting very close to the high on all the exams (including the final). Also, when I took the course, Kahn did not make his final exam cumulative. We were relieved temporarily until we saw the exam. He included A LOT of derivations that he did not go over in class but he gave us the proper foundation in class to find the answer. Honestly, the reason why I respect Kahn so much is because students genuinely have to understand the material to do well. There are some professors that re-use problems and if you memorize it, then you are set for the exam. You are not learning. For Kahn, if you do not fully understand the material, then you will not do well on his exams. He also asked us very trivial questions like "In the MatLab project I gave you, what was this one file called that gives you this graph? [picture of the graph]" Now this Matlab project was very difficult and it took me days to get the correct answer. I had to look through all the files like 30 times each so even though I did not spend time memorizing the name of these files when I was studying for the exam, they were in the back of my head and I was able to get that question right. If a student just copied answers from someone else, then there will be no way that he or she can get that question correct. Anyways, if you get the chance to take Kahn, take him. Well at least take him for biochem!!! He knows his stuff and is very good at explaining it. For CHEM271, he will definitely prepare you for biochemistry. I guarantee it.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Anonymous
09/04/2014
Great professor, and even better class
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Anonymous
01/23/2013
I feel like I was truly blessed to have Kahn as a professor after having so many horrible science professors at umd. I heard a lot of bad comments about him but his class was my absolute favorite and i despise chemistry. He focuses on learning concepts which is difficult for some people to do. If you have a question he can figure out a way to explain it in a way that makes sense to you. He truly cares about his students and the education that he provides them. I thought I was going to get a B or C and ended up with an A just by following his guidelines. Don't be scared of his class. Just go to lectures, do the homework, review old exams, and have a good attitude about it and you'll be really happy that you took his class.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A-
Anonymous
01/09/2013
I was intimidated at first after hearing all the review about Dr.Kahn, but in the end was the most enjoyable chemistry class I have taken. Don't be scared to take it with him just because you've heard bad things. He is helpful, goes slowly, and is very willing to review concepts. He held long reviews before the tests and would answer any question, even those that would appear on the test. Definitely review old exams and ask reccuring questions during the reviews-he will show you exactly how he wants you to answer them and it really helps on the exam. I got a 90 on one of the tests just by reviewing old exams and lecture slides (rarely attending lecture)!
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a C+
Anonymous
12/18/2012
Let me just start off by saying...this class is tough!!! So much unnecessary work for a 2 credit class! The material doesn't need to be difficult but Dr. Kahn finds a way to make this class a living hell. He is very interested in biochemical applications which he mixes in with general chemistry. The material is very boring (thermodynamics, kinetics, electrochemistry, acid-base titrations, etc)but it is definitely helpful for the MCAT or DAT. Course Structure: 2 midterms (100 pts each) 2 quizzes (20 pts each) Online HW (60 pts, unlimited tries) Final Exam (200 pts) I got a 340/500 and ended up with a solid B! The exam averages tend to be in the mid 60s. The overall class average was around a 65 percent. Dr. Kahn is a humorous professor and he is very knowledgeable and even holds exam review sessions. But he makes the class so hard that he eventually pisses you off. Overall, Kahn is cool but the class is tough! Enjoy...
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a B
Anonymous
12/17/2012
Since the +/- system is implemented this semseter, I unfortunately ended up with a B-. That being sad, I am really upset about the new law, but at the same time, I just wanted to say a couple of things about Kahn. He is smart. Enough said. Of course, this guy is a biochemist. Not everyone can even attempt biochemistry as a major. He applys biochemistry concepts into his lectures, which I found quite interesting, but extremely difficult. This class is suppose to be easy, but Kahn makes it so so difficult. I really wanted to drop the class. His quizzes are not easy in addition to his tests. I had to take this man because he was the only one teaching it this semseter. I suggest that you all make the right decision. Since his tests were on theories and concepts, I had a hard time figuring out what he wanted us to know. I recorded his lectures and listened to them religiously. I think that if you want to pull your hair out for a 2 credit chemistry course, that's suppose to be easy, take this man. You will learn, but you will hate yourself for taking it with him. I don't recommend this man to anyone. You might fail actually. But if you are smart and value perfectionism, take him. You will love this man.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a B
Anonymous
08/16/2012
Avoid this man as if he were the plague!
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Anonymous
05/14/2012
Some things to know about Kahn: 1. He is incredibly smart. He is also incredibly nice if you are a sincere student. 2. He doesn't teach material superficially. He expects you to understand the material deeply. If you are going to get points on his test, answer the questions thoroughly. The numerical problems on his tests are easy. It's the concepts that make or break you grade. 3. Kahn actually goes pretty slow, so there's no way you should be lagging behind. 4. GO TO EVERY CLASS! and review his powerpoints... because only and exactly what he says in class will be on the test. If you understand what he's saying in class, you don't even need to study much for the final. It is easy to get an A if you know specifically the ideas he has talked about in class, which may not always be captured by the powerpoints. 5. Review old exams. He has been known to pull a couple of questions off them. 6. DO NOT miss the online homework. They are the easiest points in the world. Overall, an excellent teacher with a few idiosyncracies, but his class was very, very rewarding... People who usually give him low ratings typically either don't go to class, or don't pay attention because if you are doing those two things, there's no way you will get anything lower than a B.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Anonymous
05/12/2012
Do yourself a favor and take someone else!!!! The dropout rate for my class was so high... i wish i would have dropped
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a B
Anonymous
05/07/2012
Kahn is a funny dude. Like everyone else said, he teaches a lot of biochem. Its kind of annoying, but it isnt too bad. The tests arent bad. Theres 2 of them and theyre impossible to understand whats going on. He gives A LOT of partial credit on them. He's funny and tells random stories, which keeps you engaged. He doesnt use the book like at all. Just beat the averages on the exams.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a D
Anonymous
03/19/2012
TERRIBLE PROFESSOR. monotonous lectures, unfriendly attitude, unhelpful office hours, hard tests, barely any other grades beside the tests. If you do poorly on one test getting an A is pretty much impossible. Wants all his test averages to be low. literally said "If people are getting 80's or 90's on my tests I'm doing something wrong." He doesn't care if you learn anything, only about the bottom line of his grade distribution. Take anyone else you can.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a B
Anonymous
12/22/2011
Dr. Kahn is a nice guy and very chill. Although I think that he is too smart and what comes naturally to him might not be so for his students. As a result, his exams are very difficult and rely heavily on a conceptual understanding of the material. Workload for the class is not bad at all. Online homework is very easy and the quizzes are not too bad either. Large curve, but dependent on how well your classmates perform. So naturally, try to beat the average on every exam. Good luck!
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Anonymous
05/15/2011
He's definitely not the best professor. He tends to rant a lot, goes off on tangents about hypothetical situations, and covers a lot of material that's nowhere to be found in his Powerpoints. That being said, I learned a lot of practical knowledge/application from his class. His lectures are almost solely theory-based. He does very few "examples" or calculations in the class -- these are all assigned for homework. But, his exams test the practical application of the theories that he's been ranting about in class. So, it's to your benefit to go to class, listen, take notes, and really understand the theories. If you're looking to learn how this type of chemistry relates to biology, the body, and life in general, then I highly recommend Dr. Kahn. His class is also very useful when it comes time to take biochemistry, as most of his exam problems are biochemical applications of chemistry concepts. But, if you just want the A and don't care much about the material, another professor might be a better idea because an A is definitely not easy to come by for his class.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
aralchen
04/23/2011
Kahn is the man. Yes, he's hard and he won't take your crap about how you don't like his class. But he actually *teaches.* This was hands down one of the most rewarding classes I took at UMD. Don't pass him up because he's an undeniably kickass prof.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Anonymous
01/12/2011
Nice guy, but teaches very differently than most professors. Like others have said, he emphasizes theory and tends to go off on some pretty gnarly tangents that no one understands. You will probably be frustrated with his exams, probably frustrated with him sometimes too, but he grades on a monster curve so just be above the class average. My exam grades were roughly D, B+, D and I still pulled off an A since I was above the average. To do well in this class, I recommend looking at his old exams to understand what he tends to test on. Don't just give the old exams/answers a cursory run through--really look at what concepts he tends to cover and make sure you understand everything completely. Unfortunately, you'll have to study his slides as well. They're pretty long, but there are always test questions from the slides that don't appear anywhere on his old exams. If you go to class, you should be able to narrow down the exact concepts you need to focus on. He often skips through a bunch of the slides and doesn't expect you to know them. So going to lecture does help...just try to print out the slides and cross out whatever he glosses over. Cuts down on your studying immensely. Other assignments: 2 quizzes, online homework. Both very easy with some decent effort--should be free points so don't screw those up.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Phoenix_ourumd
12/22/2010
I personally thought that he was a good professor. Yes, he adds biochemistry to his exams but it only helps you to apply the concepts learned in class to real situations. Yes, there's a lot of text on his ppt slides in lecture, but you're not obligated to copy it all down. Just pay attention to the concepts/equations in bold. 2 Exams (100 pts each), 1 Final Exam (150 pts). 60 points for Smartwork (unlimited tries). 2 quizzes in discussion (20 points each, really easy). Substantial curve (350 points is an A). I personally used the textbook throughout the course but it depends on your learning style.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a B+
Anastasia Samsonova
12/18/2010
He is a really good professor, in my opinion. He warns in the beginning of the semester that because he's a biochemist, the application that he's going to talk about are going to pertain to biology. His lectures are very interesting, because from time to time he goes on a rant about geopolitics and hydrogen economy, etc. and to me, it's very interesting. He's very helpful in his office hours and treats students with respect. He'll clarify himself in lecture if you ask him to and go over material twice for you to get it. Basically, if you ask good questions, you're on his good side. He has a pretty good curve, quizzes are straightforward if you study beforehand. For tests look at previous semesters, they'll help a bunch.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Biology Major
05/27/2010
Dr. Kahn is not the most engaging professor at the university. He is very pretentious, and speaks highly of himself and the professors he had as an graduate and undergraduate. In addition, he likes to dump plethora of information at you that is seemingly inconsequential, but really is what most of his quizzes and tests cover. For example, he spent a total of 20 minutes explaining the Blotzzmann distribution but had a 28 point problem about it on the test. The average on the quiz was a 6/15 because he failed to go over things in class which he put on the quiz, or deemed important. He teaches Gen Chem II as a prep class for biochem. And so you do not learn what is given in the textbook. He goes off on tangents. Alot of his problems are about DNA hybridization. He tests on theory. He speaks to the us as if we follow everything he says. He goes by fast, and assumes that we know the material. The only advantage to him is that he curves alot. When I took it this year, a 70% was an 'A.' But he only curves b/c the averages on the tests were very low. The average on the second exam was 50% flat. The tests averages were low, in part, because his questions are verbose and confusing. For example, we had a huge essay type question on the first exam which was all fill-in-the-blank. And you had to use the information from the essay to answer the next part. So if you did not get the first part, you were screwed for the second part. In conclusion, I would like to summarize his class by using a quote he told us about one of the lectures that he gave us: "it wasn't all it could have been," in short a huge disappointment.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/21/2010
I wouldn't say Kahn has any flaws in his teaching ability. He's a nice guy and he goes over the powerpoints in class and posts everything online. He emphasizes theory, which shows on his exams, but you still have to be able to do the calculations. It seems like a typical Chem 271 class covers acid-base chemistry in depth, electrochemistry, and kinetics. He wants you to know the theory, be able to do basic problems, and then he tells you about applications in Biology. That is the biochemistry part that everyone is complaining about. If you're taking biochemistry later, its probably a good thing to get some intro to it. While he definitely does focus a lot on biochemistry, it's not like his tests aren't fair. They assess what he taught. But, if you think you would do better in a class without any biochemistry, then don't take him. His grade breakdown is purely based on curve, based on the following ratios: 25:30:30:15 A:B:C:D/F 2 exams, 2 quizzes, unlimited tries for online hw (free points)
Jason Kahn

Anonymous
05/19/2010
Extremely boring. Does not even teach general chemistry. It's all biochem which would even be interesting if he wasn't teaching it. and you can read all the slides you want, you are still not going to do well on the test. just understanding what he is asking for will take a lot of your time on the exam. Basically if you have a chance to take another professor, DO IT.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting a B
umterp111
05/16/2010
im not sure how anyone could write these positive posts on kahn (especially the ones recommending to take him) maybe he has changed since you have had him. i consider myself a decent student and will probably end up with a B in 271 but believe me that B was earned. kahn is not a good teacher his lectures are boring and monotonous. his tests are extremely difficult and the averages are very low. he does not do any sample calculations in class or his power points and then expects you to figure them out by yourself. he is in the biochem department which you can tell by the way he tested us. he consistently talked about biochem topics and even tested us on a few. i had friends who were taking the other section of 271 with the other teacher (minegery or something like that) and not was that class easier but they didnt even cover some of the material that we were tested on. he even likes to talk about how his quizzes are straight forward and to the point and yet the average on our second quiz was a 6/15. i would recommend taking a different teacher and i know a lot of people who were in my class that would feel the same way.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

hippoterp
05/06/2010
Firstly, he sucks at lecturing. His slides are pointless in that they have SO MUCH information on them and you can't understand what is going on. When he does math on the board he skips steps and it's really hard to follow. Also, he has these random excel spreadsheets that he expects you to understand. More importantly, if you're inclined in general chemistry you will do well on his exams. If you are not inclined toward general chemistry you will only score around or below average no matter how much you study. Literally-- no matter how much you study. I also didn't have the best TA, but if you can have a good TA, you may find that you do better.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Anonymous
05/06/2010
When I first signed up for this course, I expected to learn about general chemistry...instead, I found myself in a situation where I was trying to figure out the basic concepts for p-chem and biochem without having the foundation of general chemistry II. If Dr. Kahn was able to convey the concepts in a clear and effective manner, I'm sure I would have still enjoyed the class. Unfortunately he merely read from his powerpoints (which were full of text and very confusing). He expected us to do derivations on exams when he did not even teach them in class. He also expected us to perform calculations that he never went over in class (He never goes over calculations in class). Overall, his teaching style was not at all effective...the worst chemistry teacher I have ever had. Although I currently have an A in this class, I will finish this semester feeling unsatisfied because I did not learn what I needed to from this course.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
Anonymous
06/20/2009
If you read his powerpoints and really understand the material, you'll get an A, easily. He basically just lectures straight from his powerpoints, so going to lecture isn't neccessary. And I don't reccomend using the book too much, if you waste your time taking notes from that, and use the powerpoints as a seccondary studying resource, you'll probably do poorly on the exams. His class involved a lot of biochem, so using the gen chem 2 book isn't really helpful. The work load is really light, and involves 2 quizzes and 2 problem sets.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Anonymous
06/05/2009
If you have the chance to take a professor other than Kahn for CHEM271, DO IT!!! I do not recommend that anyone take Kahn for Chem271. Kahn is a very smart guy but he does not know how to teach this course very well. It is very biochemically inclined. Although he curves and tells you an expected curve in the beginning of the class, he does not stick to that curve. Please do yourself a favor and do not believe the grade distribution shown for kahn on this site. It's not true. He gives two exams, one final (its extremely challenging), two quizzes, two problem sets. Discussions are kind of helpful especially for the problem sets and confusing material presented in lecture. He posts the lecture slides on blackboard but i recommend going to lecture (even if it is boring) just so you know what he focuses on for exams and quizzes. By the way, he is in love in Nash's book on elements of statistical thermodynamics (he mentions it constantly in class along with TANSTAAFL). So if you like that book too, then this class might just suit you.
Jason Kahn
CHEM271

Expecting an A
azn12icefarme12
05/19/2009
So I heard CHEM271 was completely calculation based... this class was the complete opposite with Kahn. There were calculations, such as titrations and calculating E, but a lot of it was theoretical AND there was a HUGE links to biochem. He had mentioned that he'd "throw in a biochem flavor" into the course but it was absurd. Workload is extremely light. 2 problem sets (which the TA practically tells you the answer if you go to discussion), 2 midterms, 2 quizzes, and 1 final. The only suggestion I have for studying is to read his powerpoints a lot and understand the theory behind it. If you want straight up calculations, take the other professor. I heard she (Migner-- I don't know how to spell her name) was easy.