Based on 50 Users
Although I have taken some great classes at UCLA, I have to say that Econ 102 with Professor Geerolf has been the most interesting and informative class I've taken at UCLA hands down. The first few weeks of class are admittedly difficult and confusing as he provides a mathematical and theoretical foundation for the rest of the class, but as the class progresses, it becomes clear that there is a method to his madness and the more interesting arguments he makes later on in the class can only be understood through the theories he teaches at the beginning. Professor Geerolf's class reshaped how I viewed economics and provided me with a markedly stronger perspective on current events (particularly related to the economy). For those willing to put in some effort to learn something interesting and of value, I cannot recommend this class strongly enough.
I loved Professor Geerolf. I was very concerned at the beginning because he had such bad reviews here, but should not have been. There are not that many professors who would slow down the pace and subsequently take more pressure upon himself to complete the course, but Professor Geerolf happily did that for us students whenever we didn't understand something. He curved the class so I did not care that his exams were challenging. Take the class with Professor Geerolf if you can!
So right off the bat, Geerolf himself cares a lot about his students and his passion for macro can be seen through this teaching. He caters his exams and teaching-style based on student feedback and genuinely wants his students to do well. Textbook is not required, attendance is not mandatory.
Grading is standard for upper-div Econ courses, HW 10%, 2 midterms and a heavily weighted final (can drop your lower midterm grade and have a more important final).
That being said, this is NOT an easy class. There is a lot, and I mean a lot of material. There's a lot of math in this class and it's often very intimidating and confusing. In addition, there will be some readings/movies to understand the economic intuition behind the concepts. The content itself is very interesting once you do understand it though.
My study tips for this professor:
- Geerolf's enthusiasm may cause him to go on rants that are not that important in determining your grade. Go through his past exams and study the 'bread and butter' concepts instead of focusing on the relatively unimportant details, which there are a lot of.
- In terms of study-order: Math --> Intuition --> Math --> Readings
Try not to be intimidated by the math! At first, it might look like the most disgusting thing you've seen but having a basic understanding of the mathematical concepts will allow you to understand some of the intuition. The intuition basically explains the math in words and helps you to fully understand the math. There's no harm in reviewing your calculus as well.
Geerolf also assigns readings which are mainly MC questions on his test. Just getting the main ideas should be adequate.
- I didn't go to class but GO TO CLASS!
Falling behind is a surefire recipe for getting vibe checked.
Also, I guarantee that you will be lost for almost every lecture where he teaches new material but understanding the previous lectures will make you less lost. All the material builds off each other.
- Make 'big-picture' connections
You're gonna learn a bunch of seemingly disparate stuff but the moment you realize that the disgusting equation with 27 variables is basically describing one thing is something beautiful. This applies to any course but making these big connections will help simplify your life.
Taking a class with Geerolf is a different type of experience. While the class is not as math intensive as previous years, a strong math background is essential to succeed. If you are interested in economics as a career, Geerolf might be the guy for you. He provides a mathematical approach to the class at first, then the next 40% is all conceptual in how scenarios and examples. I did appreciate the readings he offered and videos, very informative. This class is not for the light hearted. Be prepared for the first 6 weeks to be pulling your hair out over homework and lecture questions.
Y'all did professor Geerolf dirty with these poor reviews! I was hesitant to take the class with him based on previous reviews. However, his class was quite pleasant and very fair.
He redesigned his class to be much less math-based and less theoretical as well, especially in the 2nd half (post-midterm) material. I found myself learning a lot more about relevant economics (ie Trump's impact on deficits and how he proved the Phillips curve wrong), and learning how much of the theory we've been learning in high school or underclassman years are wrong. Instead of testing us on these wrong theories, he designs his tests based on what actually happens in reality according to the data! I learned more about real-world economics in 1 quarter than I did in my previous 2 years at UCLA, thanks to Geerolf. When people ask me to explain certain things about the economy, I'm now able to do so with confidence.
Homework is not too difficult and basically free points since its completion-based. The first midterm was tough, but open-notes and multiple choice made it easier. There was more theory/math on this midterm, which is why it was harder. The final was much less theory-based and I found that studying for it was much easier than I anticipated. For example, he basically axed the entire Monetary Policy unit because Fiscal Policy is much more effective in changing aggregate demand. DO THE READINGS. At least 25% of the final is based directly on the readings, which certainly helped me (since I spent more time on the readings than I did trying to understand the economic theory). Make sure to focus only on what he says in lecture (I would recommend rewatching ALL lectures before an exam), since he won't test you on anything in his notes if he does not explicitly cover it in class or in the readings. Again, he says this multiple times, proving how FAIR this class is. I got a C+ on the midterm but an A on the final and overall. Nice guy, fair class. Would take again.
I thoroughly enjoyed this class. While it was definitely challenging in the first few weeks (lots of math proofs, which will rely on prior Econ knowledge, I worked my butt off for the midterm), there is a method to his madness. Towards the end of the quarter, you'll be amazed at how everything fits together and paints a picture of modern economics. Keep in mind — Professor Geerolf does not teach traditional Economics — instead he teaches what is unorthodox and is applicable to today's society. He also assigns a ton of readings, but they're surprisingly intriguing and informative because they're all articles on current events. If you are only trying to get a decent grade, I wouldn't recommend taking it with this professor. His goal is to have you learn, and I definitely gained value in that this quarter! And professor Geerolf is super sweet, he even contacted all of us after the course had ended to comment on how our Econ 102 knowledge could be applied to Biden's new tax laws. Overall, I would recommend this professor!
I loved taking this with Professor Geerolf. Don't get me wrong, the material was definitely challenging and he isn't the best professor at explaining complex topics. However, he did adapt the class by including less math and making the class less equation intensive. He's super knowledgeable about macroeconomics and I found myself attending his office hours just to hear about his opinions on the current economic state of the world. Homework is graded on completion and he only assigned a few problems for each problem set. The midterm average was 70% but overall everyone did much better on the final. The second half of the class is based on articles and videos which I thought were actually really interesting with a lot of real world application. Don't be afraid to take this class based on a few poor reviews, Professor Geerolf is a really nice and funny professor and I miss being his class already.
I took this class after being discouraged by the other Bruinwalk reviews but having no other Econ 102 option. I honestly think that Geerolf means well and wants his students to do well. He held a review session before the midterm that was well-intentioned, he was diligent about answering questions on the CCLE discussion forum before exams, and he uploaded his own solutions to all the practice problems after students expressed confusion over the TA's solutions. Going to lecture was pretty unnecessary because he uploads all the slides and reads directly off of them, but it can be an overwhelming amount of material to cram for if you don't keep up with the class. Try to find a good TA whose section/office hours you can attend if you have questions. I think the midterm was fair, but the final was kind of a curveball and that's why I ended up with a B.