Winter 2021 - Benjamin Harrop-Griffiths is a great math professor. During lecture, his explanations of theorems and concepts are succinct, followed by five minutes for us to do a practice problem and then watch him go through the problem. Just by going to lecture and doing the very helpful homeworks (some of which do take a while and I recommend starting them as soon as you can), I felt extremely prepared for Ben's VERY fair exams. When he says that the midterms take one hour, he's telling the truth. Exam problems are similar to homework questions, but sometimes involve a little bit more thinking outside the box. Apart from math, Ben is a super funny guy and his English accent makes class super engaging. He's extremely helpful at answering homework/lecture questions on his Slack channel, and you can tell he really cares about making the class effective and accommodating.
Fall 2021 - Ben's lectures are pretty clear but his homework is extremely difficult. Be prepared to spend 10+ hours a week working on a handful of problems and going to many office hours. His exams are tricky but easier than the homework. Requires you to be very familiar with precalc concepts. If you can't recall trig identities and function graphs like the back of your hand, I highly recommend brushing up.
Winter 2021 - Welcome to Math 135! You probably are here because you heard that 135 is one of the "easier" math classes. Let me just say, Benjamin was like "hold my beer", because this is actually one of the hardest classes I took. Benjamin is a very clear lecturer. We have a Slack page for our class where we can ask questions, and Professor always goes out of his way to answer every question because he cares about us. He does use slides to lecture, but he doesn't just read from them. There are lots of examples and proofs that he works out with us. The grading scheme is as follows: 29.5% Homework, 0.5% End of the term evaluation, 20% Midterm 1, 20% Midterm 2, 30% Final Exam >70% guarantees at least a C-, >80% guarantees at least a B- and so on. The first few weeks of 135 was very straightfoward. All the content up to midterm 1 was simple. But once we started learning about existence and uniqueness, this class felt more like an analysis class than a differential equations class. Half of the class, we were learning proofs and half of the time we were doing computational work. His homework is pretty challenging and long, so be sure to start early. Homework is due every Wednesday. Each assignment is about half proofs and half computations. The proof questions were very difficult and the computational problems were long but mostly straightforward. Some of these computational problems are very lengthy and you may have to use lots of pages to solve them! Only about 30% of the homework was graded for correctness, and the rest is graded for completeness. There were 2 midterms for this class. Midterms 1 and 2 were challenging but still had averages in the mid 80s. However the final exam almost made me cry (average was still somehow a 47/60, how??). To put this into context, if you ever played Pokemon, imagine that Midterm 1 is gym leader Whitney, Midterm 2 is Champion Lance, and the Final Exam is Champion Cynthia from Pokemon Platinum. Because that's how hard they were. To conclude this, Benjamin cares a lot about his students. His Bitmojis make me smile. His lectures are engaging and I would definitely take another class with him again! I highly recommend him if you want to challenge yourself. You will learn a lot from his class! Edit: Forgot to mention that I appreciate him giving us 40 hours for the midterms and for curving my 81.8% to a B.
Winter 2022 - Overall, Ben is a great professor, and you can’t go wrong with him. There are a few things I will nitpick and warn future students about, however. The first several weeks of the class are very much like a high school probability/stats course or Econ 41. You learn about counting, then conditional probability and Bayes’ theorem, then discrete random variables and MGF’s until the end of week 4. After week 4, the class becomes markedly harder. You learn about continuous random variables, bivariate distributions, conditional bivariate distributions, continuous bivariate distributions, and inequalities like Chebyshev’s before finishing with the central limit theorem. I thought Ben did a great job of putting all the information about these topics out there. However, I feel like I leave this class with a lack of intuition about probability. I still lack an intuitive understanding of what a random variable is, for example, even though I kept up with the class. It felt like I was playing around with objects I didn’t fully understand, so I’m leaving this class with a little less understanding than I expected. Big warning for future students: the class is very backloaded. The final alone is worth 45% of the grade. The topics that you learn in the latter half of the class are generally harder, in my opinion, meaning that the class will be smooth sailing until the very end, where you realize it was a bad idea to put this class on the back burner for 5 weeks. I imagine Ben grades like this so that students are tested most on the new material they learn (rather than the introductory material they they may have learned in high school). Although I completely understand why he does this, it still makes the class pretty hectic toward the end.