Here goes the most honest, objective, and thorough review you will probably see.

LECTURES

1. Draws a graph.

2. Starts with an example.

3. Does not finish solving the sample problem.

4. Gives out a formula.

5. Proves the formula and its derivatives.

6. Never tests us on proofs so he always wastes 10-15 minutes of lecture time that could otherwise be used to give more examples.

MIDTERMS

1. Gives out a practice midterm.

2. Concepts that will be on the actual midterm are the same as the ones from the practice midterm; however, the actual midterms will require you to algebraically solve astoundingly petty* numbers.

3. No matter how well you understand the concept, if you make a mistake in/have a hard time solving the petty numbers then you're doomed.

*by "petty" I don't mean petty as in (sqrt of 2)^5, but as in (sqrt of 21.7927)^(-1/3))/(7.9283)^(1/4).

There is even a question on the second midterm in which he expects us to know by heart that the value of pi/4 is 0.7584 (yes, up to 4 digits after the decimal point). It was never even mentioned in lectures and discussions that we have to know it. Now, THAT's petty.

There will be 4 (a & b) questions on the midterms, so a total of 8 questions. In each question, you have to calculate numbers like these on top of the theorems you have to apply and the final result won't be pretty.

Perhaps if the time limit was more than 50 minutes then his tests would be doable, but still unnecessarily difficult.

Brizolis himself is a nice guy and I have nothing against him personally. However, the way that his lectures are executed and tests are designed is almost as if he is deliberately setting up students to fail his class.

Many students were recommended by Brizolis himself to drop the class after the first midterm (week 3), and more ended up failing the course.

HOMEWORK

-around 5 to 10 even-numbered questions from the textbook

-assigned at the end of every lecture

-submitted at the beginning of the next lecture (so you have 2 days to do it)

-a total of 3 homework each week

-graded homework will be handed back in 2 weeks during the discussion section

CONCLUSION

1. Take this class if you are excellent at Mathematics (excellent = probably scored at least 5 on IB Math HL).

2. Otherwise, I recommend that you take this course with a different lecturer OR take a different Mathematics course entirely.

3. If you have no other option but to take Math 31A with Brizolis, I suggest that you: (a) frequent the Student Math Center, (b) go to his/TA's office hours even for the slightest hint of confusion, (c) hire a tutor.

4. Textbook PDF is available online for free.