Based on 62 Users
Taken during COVID, so I attended only a few lectures and never went to discussion. I think if you have a passion for math, you'll absolutely love the topics in this class like I did, and you'll have no issue with the fact that his exams take (much) longer than they're designed for. I spent an entire day on the final, but it was in a subject I enjoy so I was fine with it. The book is great, and that's why I didn't find the need to attend lectures/discussion, everything is covered pretty well (and if something popped up on an exam that was foreign, then you just check the recordings for a similar problem). Two midterms and a final, with a grading scheme that drops a midterm but makes the final worth more, even with both schemes though it does seem pretty tough to get a raw A.
There's probably better professors for your GPA, but if you find the idea of an exam that is genuinely difficult (unique problems every time) and super satisfying to solve, this is your guy. I do think that having to take these exams in person would have been pretty stressful, since it took a lot of thought to even approach many of the problems, but maybe he designed them around that idea this year.
Prof. Cameron was decent. Math 131A is known to be one of the toughest math classes, so much of my difficulty was with the topics rather than him as a professor. He is kind, fair in his exams, and really does try his best to be helpful in his lectures, although I always felt a bit confused. He definitely knows his stuff, just has a hard time conveying that knowledge in a way that students can understand. Reading the textbook was helpful to supplement his lectures. I think taking the class online is what saved my grade, so I can’t say what he's like in person.
Would I recommend him for 131A? No. However, it won’t be the end of the world. Be prepared to put in the work on your end.
Assignments consisted of doable but challenging weekly HW, 2 midterms, and a final exam; as most math class are.
This is my first time writing a Bruinwalk review, because I was appalled to see how low Professor Cameron's rating was. Of the five math upper divs I have taken so far, I most enjoyed Professor Cameron's class. Unlike many math professors, he did a really great job developing intuition during lecture, and I felt like I got a decent intuitive feel for how to prove things, not just a formal understanding of definitions. He used a format where he posted recordings to watch prior to the lecture and then built upon them during class, which was a bit annoying because it required more work, but was overall a net positive for the learning experience. I really liked Professor Cameron and I certainly would take a class with him again.
Do not take his class in any circumstance unless you are a big fan of math and have too much free time to waste. His homework takes forever and you cannot find any clue to it on the internet or from the textbook. The questions are often stuff from upper -division classes. His lectures are full of definition and theorem with few examples. The result is that i can understand nothing but those dull definitions after the lectures. Every time i work on the hw, i want to die.
He was great. He explained straight from the book, so be sure to read the book before class. Go to his office hours and ask questions. His tests were extremely fair, they had a good mixture of proofs and computation. Don't be afraid, he will end up curving even though he says he won't. Make sure to do all the homework problems. He gives quizzes every discussion too, so be ready for that. I thought his final was substantially harder than his midterms, although some other students though otherwise. Make sure to do the inner product homework, a good chunk of those questions showed up on our final. Overall great class, would take again.
Dr. Cameron's quite nice and very approachable but is kind of shit at explaining concepts. He doesn't give full definitions of terms in lecture, which is annoying because he teaches math and definitions are pretty important. His examples sometimes helped me better understand what he was trying to say and sometimes they didn't. He also assigns a shitton of homework problems. :(
Okay so here's how to do at least reasonably well in this class:
1. Do every single homework problem, because his exams are based heavily off homework problems (20/50 points on his first midterm came from homework).
2. Do the practice exams, because he likes to recycle questions from old exams (he might modify the question, though, so really make sure you understand how to do the problem).
3. Go to discussion and ask questions (also go to OH).
4. Really understand what's going on conceptually--the textbook's not the greatest, though, so definitely seek out other resources (ie youtube).
He is the worst professor ever. Terribly disorganized and confusing lectures, totally chaotic and disastrous exams. Every time he fails to explain stuff clearly, he would just say hah this is interesting, this is cool blablabla.
Exams borrow heavily from homework problems, like 80% just copy and paste. Complete waste of time.
A lot of people seemed to have problems with this professor, but I personally thought he was pretty decent. He was very helpful and kind in regards to accommodating for COVID and BLM, as he dropped more three quiz grades as opposed to the two that were originally in the syllabus. He also dropped one homework assignment. A couple of the homework assignments were quite difficult and time-consuming and graded on correctness. However, I found the tests to be very fair and manageable, especially since we had 24 hours for each midterm and 72 hours for the final. He did seem to regurgitate his notes from the textbook, but I didn't have any major problems with his teaching style. Overall, I would take this class with him again.
Math 61 with Cameron was an extremely difficult class, albeit a very interesting one. The material in this class was super interesting and applicable (especially if you are a CS major), however Cameron's emphasis on the more theoretical nature of the class got a bit tiresome. The overall workload of the class was extremely low with only a few homework problems due per week. These homework problems did not prepare you for the tests, however. In discussion sections, Cameron would provide worksheets that contained very difficult questions, often more similar to the tests, that we would work on in groups. Unfortunately, the answers to these worksheets would never be posted online afterwards, which was unfortunate since they would have been a good study tool.
The exams in this class, however, were on another level compared to a lot of other 61 classes. Cameron prefers to take very theoretical problems that require a lot of creativity and put them on the tests. This often requires you to construct fairly elaborate proofs within a crunched 50 minute period. This resulted in the averages being very low for the midterms (around 50%).
The final in this class was unique since it was a take-home final due to the coronavirus shutdown. We had 24 hours for the final and it was open book, open notes, and open internet. While this sounds like an amazing deal, it was still close to impossible. While Cameron said that the test would be no longer or harder than it would have been in class, this was absolutely false. I was able to do the practice midterms in a reasonable amount of time and they felt similar to the midterms in difficulty. Our final, however, was extremely difficult despite having access to all the information we wanted. I ended up having to spend 9 hours taking the final because it seemed as if the test was specifically designed to not have any similar solutions online, which inherently meant the material was much harder. For reference, the average score on the final was 70% despite everyone having 24 hours and open everything.
While the exams in this class were awful and I wish some of the class had been more application-focussed instead of theoretical, Cameron was still a very good professor overall who made the subject interesting.
Let's start with facts. Test scores:
First Exam: Median was 25/50. The top 20% was 38 or better, and the bottom 20% was 15 or so.
Second Exam: Median was about 59%.
Final: Median of 62.5/90, so about 70%. Keep in mind that due to Covid-19, we were given an online exam so 24 hours and open notes, open book.
Homework: 10 %, Reading Quizzes: 5 %, Exam One: 25 %, Exam Two: 25 %, Final Exam: 35 %
Homework: 10 %, Reading Quizzes: 5 %, Highest Exam score: 35 %, Final Exam: 50 %
The homework is very light, 3-4 problems a week. There is 1 reading quiz per week which is online, open note, open book, no time limit and on the sections assigned for reading. In my opinion, these are meant to boost your grade because of the difficulty of the exams.
Professor Cameron gives his first midterm very early into the quarter, so much so that when you get your grade back you still have the option of dropping the class. I found his exams to be very difficult, however he does take problems from lectures and worksheets and puts them on the exams. MAKE SURE YOU CAN DO THE WORKSHEET PROBLEMS. They suck, but it is the best way to be prepared (not sure why people said he doesn't, I can literally name problems from all 3 exams that he has used before :p ). I made the mistake of not reviewing the worksheets and didn't realize until it was too late.
Professor Cameron is pretty chill. He does crack jokes in lecture, although due to the topic early on it can be boring. He answers questions well, I find that his handwriting isn't the best, so sit close to the board if you can.
If I had to guess, my final average was slightly below a 70, high 60s. Professor Cameron lowers the cutoffs for each grade based on performance at the end of the quarter, so I guess that qualified me for a B. I wouldn't retake this class again, but I think thats more due to the material than professor, not sure.
TLDR: exams suck, MAKE SURE YOU REVIEW THE WORKSHEETS, and do well on the homeworks and reading quizzes, the class is doable if you put the work in.