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Teaching Style/Lecture: Professor Wu is a brand new teacher and he simply doesn't know how to teach. He's super qualified in the math field and is definitely a smart guy, but he genuinely made this basic calculus class way too hard and confusing. If you haven't taken AP Calculus AB I can see this class being extremely difficult to follow. The material is easy to learn with other online resources like Khan Academy, but the issue is that his midterms and final are solely based on lecture problems and homework problems, so you have to attend lecture or watch lecture (since they're recorded). He made easy topics way too confusing, he moved super fast, and he didn't always finish his own example problems. Oftentimes, he'd tell us to just reference his notes (which can be found on the Canvas site) because he always ran out of time. Also, I'm pretty sure the examples he did were just found in the book, but he didn't even explain them well and he had really particular ways of doing it. If he didn't have his notes to glance at, sometimes he'd even get stuck doing his own problems.
Homework: The homework is super manageable and he pulls his test questions pretty much directly from them or from lectures. But, he never does examples in class quite like the homework, and you never get an answer key for them. He gave us extra practice problems too, but without answer keys, it's hard to check if you're really doing it right. Also at the beginning of the quarter, nobody knew if the homework was graded on completion or correctness (it was correctness).
Tests: We never got notes, flashcards, etc. even when the other Math 31A classes got them. He's also super vague when it comes to what to expect on the midterms and final. The first midterm was graded out of 100 but you could get up to 160 points, so you had 60 to spare. But the second midterm was graded on only 2 out of the 5 problems on the test, without any extra points this time. It was super random and the class average for the second midterm was a high D but he said that getting a C is really good in his class, even though most people got 100 on the first midterm (which makes no sense to me). The final had questions we had already seen on each of the midterms, and it barely tested us on the entire second half of the course (integrals and FTC).
Office Hours/TAs: His office hours were not helpful at all and only made me more confused. They were held in this little room where people sat on the floor, and some people had to stand outside the door simply because there was no room (where you couldn't even see). His class was so confusing and he communicated poorly with the TAs too. I loved my TA though, he was so helpful (until the strike occurred so we stopped getting help) but the TAs never knew what the midterms would look like and they didn't really know what we were learning in class.
Overall: I'm usually super good at math and I've taken this course before, but it was taught in a way that made it more difficult than it should've been. This class itself shouldn't be hard, but I definitely don't feel prepared for 31B. In the end, I don't know how he graded the final or whether this class was curved (because he said it might be). He also never responded to 3 emails I sent him. If I didn't get an A I think I would've been far more frustrated, I'm just glad I passed. I think he knew so many kids were frustrated and kind of handed out As at the end.
I feel like a lot of people are being dramatic in their reviews for this class. Math 31a with Wu wasn't that terrible and considering everything that was going on at the time (TA strike) I think he did the best he could. Sometimes he does overcomplicate certain topics, ( I think he did so with limits) but overall it was a pretty solid class. Also, he curved the first midterm so that if you got a certain number of points he would just give you 100% :)
I do not recommend, TBH I could have gotten a better grade in this class but it honestly was really difficult for me considering the lack of clarity and communication. The professor was really unorganized and instead of simply solving problems he wrote paragraphs of proofs complicating the most straightforward things and on the exams, each question had multiple parts AND he made you state the theorems. The worst factor that affected my grade the most is that for the 2nd midterm and final (bc the TA strike) instead of shortening the tests he made us do all 5 very long questions with many parts and chose two random ones to grade and we didn't know which ones. This class is not thattt bad but it was really hard to adjust to first semester of college. If it comes very easy to you you will be fine but if you didn't take calc in highschool please don't take this class.
The best thing about this class was definitely the recorded lectures. The class was at 9am so getting to class on time was kind of challenging but the professor recorded every single lecture and would upload the day of. The worst thing about this class was the professor's indecisiveness. He would change his mind every week and was unsure of many things. It is understandable since this was his first year but it made the class extra challenging for no reason. Personally, I had not taken Calc AB in high school and I was confused most of the time but Khan Academy was definitely a very useful tool. His office hours were definitely useful in terms of explaining the homework however the room was very very small and the students would have to sit outside the room to be able to at least listen to what the professor is saying. The tests were manageable since he used most of the materials from the homework and the practice problems however he expected us to be able to finish them in 50 minutes even though each problem had over 4 parts. Overall, the professor was definitely unlucky since it was his first time teaching and because of the TA strike but he could have managed the class better. I do not suggest him to someone who has not taken calc AB before.
Math 31A is essentially AP Calculus AB(4), which I took so I will admit my review is different from someone who's first calc class is this class. Firstly though, this class didn't require the purchase of a textbook (pdf provided and I didn't really use), and a calculator was not required to buy as well but I already had Ti-36 Pro in case for homework which was sometimes helpful, which meant that there really wasn't any crazy numbers beyond the skill of college freshmen. As you see from the other reviews, the the TA strike this quarter really messed up the second midterm and the final.
Lectures : It was manageable but challenging at times, and note that the Professor has the habit of intentionally skipping over the algebra (which made it more difficult sometimes for me) and going pretty fairly fast, so keeping up and being able to quickly know what step/tricks he used to simplify is important, but don't worry too much, but the way he does it means you'll either be having a good time or a bad time.
Homework : Basically, you'll be thanking how much time you get for the required homework and how it's worth 25% of your grade, for as along you have someone to review over with, it's easy points; do well on these as these points are very helpful, but don't be cocky, you actually gotta know the general content
Tests : At least for this quarter, the tests are essentially 75-90% the same questions picked from the Homework (mostly not the requires ones) and the few pdf's of "Extra Practice Problems", with a some from the lecture, obviously you actually want to learn the content, but doing the extra problems can make the whole difference. The actual format is 5 questions with many parts, with the final having more parts. Make sure to know the Theorem's as best as you can in terms of the wording and format. The Final had a lot of repeats from previous tests so it helps
Discussions/Office Hours : Depends on your TA as usual, but they're very helpful for asking questions about homework and doing practice problems. Typical stuff and no problems here. I've only been to Office Hours once, but it is indeed a small room, but it's great for getting explanations for certain key problems
TA Strike : Lot's of stuff were up in the air regarding testing, grading, etc as a result, and so the second midterm ended up 2/5 questions where % = 2(Question 1 + Question 2)/100 points, where Q1 + Q2 has a max of 50 points and +10% at the end of it. Finals was originally similar in the 2/5 questions, but eventually everyone's exam including the second midterm was graded normally (he was able to get graders before the strike ended) so things worked out but it was hectic
Overall Thoughts : Manageable, challenging, and quite a bit of chaos and confusion, but the Professor was fair and reasonable when it came to the end of it, but I wouldn't be surprised if this ended up being hard for many.
This guy can make even the most simple concepts seem extraordinarily complicated. He is one of the most confusing professors that I've ever had. If you take his class, I would suggest subscribing to Khan Academy or some other learning platform where they will actually show you how to solve the problems rather than skipping straight to the answer with no further explanation.