Professor

Michael Willis

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Easiness 4.1 / 5
Clarity 5.0 / 5
Workload 3.6 / 5
Helpfulness 4.9 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2018 - Man. I'm writing this some time after the class and the C still hurts today. Willis is bar-none the best lecturer for math at UCLA. He explains things organically--it's like having a good friend of yours teach you a subject. He's very chill, but puts effort into his teaching. He chooses his words carefully to avoid the least confusion possible. He uses casual speech, writes clearly, etc. This sounds mean, but he's the only professor I've had for math that is a native English speaker... moreover, he's not some old dude that puts professionalism first. Willis cares about one thing: teach in a way that makes sense. And it works. You'll notice that the shittier professors try to seem very formal, cold, by-the-book, etc. The best ones throw caution to the wind and just *teach.* Willis is the latter--attend lectures and focus more on listening and watching than taking notes. If you NEED to take notes, I honestly say use the book for that. I truly felt like I had learned differential equations fairly well in the class... so why a C? Simple answer is, I missed one problem on one midterm. The biggest criticism I have is that the tests are too easy! So easy, in fact, that missing a single problem on a test will literally get you a C in the class. I scored a bit above average on the final and exactly average on the 1st midterm. The 2nd midterm, however, had 4 problems. I did OK on the other 3 (again, did average), but one problem I made a stupid assumption... which got me a 0/10 where everyone else got 10/10 on that problem. I made a "duh" mistake, kinda misread the problem statement. On a test where the average is >90%, that immediately earned me a C on the test. Throw in a couple of -1 or -2 points on the other problems... that one problem got me a D on that test. So the easy tests are a double-edged sword... would you rather your final be 3 multiple choice questions or a holistic, long-form exam composed for 4 or 5 long questions? Miss one MC problem and you get a D. In the end, it was my own fault which is why I still recommend Willis. Just look out for his easy tests and know that the averages will be very high.
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