Professor

## Alexander Merkurjev

###### AD

**Most Helpful Review**

He was really a great professor, I would recommend him for any math course you can. While his exams are difficult he likes to give A's and grades were based on averages, not absolutes. You will come out of the class with a deeper understanding and love for Mathematics than when you entered.

###### AD

**Most Helpful Review**

As a first-year, I decided to take Math 115AH with Professor Merkurjev. I came out of the class with a C unfortunately, but that was at the expense of thinking the class would teach me how to write proofs and that I can transition well into proof writing. However, it took me about 4 weeks until I got the hang of it according to my homework score. So, I would recommend anyone who is planning to take this class to have a strong foundation in proof writing (as in take the honors version of 32 series and 33 series). Despite the C, I still learn a lot from the class and I improve from knowing nothing to knowing how to write, and writing proofs is an essential skill if you're thinking of going to graduate school that is mathematically intensive. Overall, I enjoyed having him as a professor since he is straightforward with his theorems and proofs. However, he does seem difficult to approach since he tends to leave immediately after class and he does not talk much during office hours unless you are able to start off with an interesting conversation with him. Regardless, he is helpful during office hour and he does reply quickly to emails. Regarding the homework, some are straightforward, some might take time to think about. Still, his homework should somehow prepare you for his exams. For me, I guess it didn't and even I did a bunch of book problems to supplement the homework to help improve my proof writing skills. I guess I'm not very skillful at writing proofs under pressure. Regarding his exams, Professor Merkurjev does not give any partial credit unless your proof is going in the right direction. Otherwise, it's full points or zero points. Furthermore, the midterms are 5 questions each given 50 minutes. So, good luck writing proofs on demand. And also know how to do some of the computational aspects of linear algebra. That surprised my class for the second midterm and as a result, we generally did horrible. So, I would recommend taking honors linear algebra with him, but only for people who has a good foundation in proof writing.

**Most Helpful Review**

Fall 2022 - I took this class as an undergraduate in my sophomore year. It was pretty fast paced but still possible to take as one's first algebra class. The primary difference between this and 110A is that the undergraduate class only covers group theory while Merkurjev spends the second half of the quarter on category theory. Lectures were the best I've had at UCLA in terms of clarity. However, Merkurjev doesn't interact much with students so it's on you to pay attention and take notes. He has a handout that he uploads at the beginning of the quarter and lectures closely follow the handout. The content got a little bit too abstract for me towards the end but take that with a grain of salt as this was only my second ever rigorous/proof-based math class here. HWs took me about 5 hours a week to complete and were graded very leniently. Tests are similar to HWs. They're not incredibly hard but the professor grades them very strictly. If your argument is not perfectly clear, you'll most likely get a 0 in that question. However, since it's a grad class, the curve is pretty lenient. Tests are open notes and open book (you're also allowed to carry laptops/tablets but you can't use the internet) which helps quite a bit if you practice for the tests by solving exercises from textbooks. Discussion sections mostly focused on solving past algebra qualifying exams which I didn't love. Overall, it's a challenging class but worth it if you're willing to put in extra effort.