Michael Willis
Department of Mathematics
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4.6
Overall Rating
Based on 27 Users
Easiness 3.6 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.6 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 3.5 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 4.5 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Needs Textbook
  • Engaging Lectures
  • Useful Textbooks
  • Often Funny
  • Would Take Again
  • Tolerates Tardiness
  • Is Podcasted

GRADE DISTRIBUTIONS

51.4%
42.9%
34.3%
25.7%
17.1%
8.6%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Reviews (21)

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 26, 2020

In high school, the highest level of math I ever took was Algebra 2. I took the Math Diagnostic Exam and was placed in Math 31A, otherwise known as Differential Calculus. Willis was a great professor, to say the least. As a first-year, I knew my first quarter was going to be extremely difficult as I had to get accustomed to new study methods and deadlines. Exams are difficult at first, but once you learn the mathematical concept well enough, you'll be fine. Homework was decent/challenging at times. At times I wouldn't read the textbook on Sapling which will lead me to confusion during the exams. With that said, my grade in this class was fair and I would recommend this class with professor Willis.
PS: To get an A in this class, you need to devote at least some time to read over the textbook if this is your first time taking Calculus.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A-
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 25, 2020

I personally never believed I'd take any math class past Algebra 2 in high school, so to say that I managed to take a calculus class and actually enjoy it a bit is saying a lot. Willis is a very caring professor who's attentive to student needs and extended deadlines for multiple assignments when realizing that students were having difficulty with some of the questions. I emailed him once about an error that I made in an assignment and he emailed me back in TWO MINUTES, I was shocked. The mistake that I had made could've landed me with a 0 on the assignment, but Willis was understanding and the issue went away entirely.
Overall, Willis's explanations are pretty clear and he always referenced the textbook and told us where to find more practice problems in case we felt that we needed to see more examples. The way Willis taught the material correlated very strongly with the textbook, and as a result the weekly homework usually made sense. (He typically screen-shares notes from his iPad)
Before the final, Willis held a review session and encouraged students to ask questions, making it obvious that he has our best interest in mind. Even though I personally didn't go to the review session, I'm glad that he gave students the opportunity to drop on by if they needed to. Willis and his TAs also grade assignments more quickly than the average professor, we received our official grades less than a week after taking finals.
Willis also has a tendency for hilarious dry humor and at least in my lecture a lot of students began to have fun with comparing his drawings of rotations to household items. Despite my personal difficulties with math in general, Willis made the class endurable and I really wish that he was teaching Calculus 31B for next semester as well. Definitely recommend Willis for anyone's first time encountering Calculus.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 22, 2020

Prof. Willis is a fantastic lecturer; he's really responsive during lectures and actually pays attention to the questions asked in the chat (he'll actually answer all of them and make sure you understand by demonstrating with examples). His pacing during lectures is pretty much perfect, and the concepts were explained super clearly. He's also pretty funny and will interact with the students in the chat. Workload for this class is decent, there's a few written homework problems paired with online Sapling homework due every week. If there were any homework problems students were stuck on, Prof. Willis and the TAs would be super helpful during their office hours. The midterms and final were open-note, 24-hour window assignment-like exams submitted through Gradescope. The lectures were recorded, and attendance wasn't required for either the lectures or discussions. (Michael Johnson was also a pretty awesome TA; he was super helpful.)

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 22, 2020

Willis was an amazing professor this quarter. Taught concepts that seemed tough like they were cake, consistently responded to questions in the chat, and went through examples for every difficult idea. Office hours were spent going through homework problems and he held a review session for finals. He also gave practice mid-terms and a practice final all of which were pretty similar to the real thing, so if you're good with those, you'll probably do well for the real thing. We had to shell out 90 ish dollars for the homework website Sapling which came with a digital copy of the textbook which was annoying but the homework problems are really helpful and so is the textbook. Regardless, I absolutely recommend him for any class.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 28, 2020

Willis is an amazing prof. If you have the chance to take a class with him, do it. Homework is 30% of your grade and it is very easy to get all the points here. Half of it is Sapling problems (infinite tries to get 100%) and the other half is written problems. If you have any issues with the written problems, he will go over them in office hours which was super helpful. His lectures were engaging and he made them fun. He was also very good about watching the chat to answer questions as he went. Discussion sections are entirely optional, but I found it helpful to attend. Two midterms, each of which are 20% of your grade (covering the first and second third of the material). The final is 30% of your grade and cumulative. He provided an old exam for all of them for us to use as a study guide. Overall, his class was fun and he made it very easy to succeed!

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A-
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 22, 2020

best math teacher hands down. ive always struggled in math (flunked calc in hs) but wilis explains concepts/problems clearly.

HW was reasonable. It was around 20-30 online Sapling questions and 3-6 written problems from the textbook. He also drops the lowest score for online HW and written HW. If youre stuck on a problem, he’ll do the problem during OH.

To do well, you should probably try to fully understand the practice tests. Willis’ tests are fair, I would say a little harder than the practice tests. I had 24 hrs to do it + open note so it was doable.

For someone who is good at math, this class should be easy. If you’re not so good at math, like me, try to understand the HW questions fully and go over the concepts he gives in lecture tbh.

Willis says he curves up if the class averages are a little low. Honestly, don’t put all hope on the curve tho. I got a C- , B+, and A- on Midterm 1, 2 and the final if that helps.

Willis’ only flaw is that he doesn’t like pizza.

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 3, 2021

Professor Willis is quite nice and actually pretty good at explaining math. I had to spend a lot of time reading through the textbook to understand concepts, but fortunately the tests were open note which was amazing. The pace of the class was slightly fast, but it was manageable. My TA Kate was very helpful, so definitely go to office hours if you need help. Overall this class is quite doable and I definitely learned a lot.

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0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: N/A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
March 29, 2021

BEST MATH PROFESSOR!

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Quarter: Winter 2021
Grade: B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
March 28, 2021

willis was a great professor but his tests were pretty hard especially his final. definitely recommend if you've never taken calc before because he explains the concepts really well, but you're really going to have to understand them to do well on the tests. he does prepare you for them so as long as you show up to class and pay attention you should be fine

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Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Feb. 23, 2021

Willis is the GOAT and it seems that good math professors are lacking at UCLA. If you have the option to get him, take him there's a 99% chance he's better than whoever else you're considering.

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0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: B
Dec. 26, 2020

In high school, the highest level of math I ever took was Algebra 2. I took the Math Diagnostic Exam and was placed in Math 31A, otherwise known as Differential Calculus. Willis was a great professor, to say the least. As a first-year, I knew my first quarter was going to be extremely difficult as I had to get accustomed to new study methods and deadlines. Exams are difficult at first, but once you learn the mathematical concept well enough, you'll be fine. Homework was decent/challenging at times. At times I wouldn't read the textbook on Sapling which will lead me to confusion during the exams. With that said, my grade in this class was fair and I would recommend this class with professor Willis.
PS: To get an A in this class, you need to devote at least some time to read over the textbook if this is your first time taking Calculus.

Helpful?

2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A-
Dec. 25, 2020

I personally never believed I'd take any math class past Algebra 2 in high school, so to say that I managed to take a calculus class and actually enjoy it a bit is saying a lot. Willis is a very caring professor who's attentive to student needs and extended deadlines for multiple assignments when realizing that students were having difficulty with some of the questions. I emailed him once about an error that I made in an assignment and he emailed me back in TWO MINUTES, I was shocked. The mistake that I had made could've landed me with a 0 on the assignment, but Willis was understanding and the issue went away entirely.
Overall, Willis's explanations are pretty clear and he always referenced the textbook and told us where to find more practice problems in case we felt that we needed to see more examples. The way Willis taught the material correlated very strongly with the textbook, and as a result the weekly homework usually made sense. (He typically screen-shares notes from his iPad)
Before the final, Willis held a review session and encouraged students to ask questions, making it obvious that he has our best interest in mind. Even though I personally didn't go to the review session, I'm glad that he gave students the opportunity to drop on by if they needed to. Willis and his TAs also grade assignments more quickly than the average professor, we received our official grades less than a week after taking finals.
Willis also has a tendency for hilarious dry humor and at least in my lecture a lot of students began to have fun with comparing his drawings of rotations to household items. Despite my personal difficulties with math in general, Willis made the class endurable and I really wish that he was teaching Calculus 31B for next semester as well. Definitely recommend Willis for anyone's first time encountering Calculus.

Helpful?

2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Dec. 22, 2020

Prof. Willis is a fantastic lecturer; he's really responsive during lectures and actually pays attention to the questions asked in the chat (he'll actually answer all of them and make sure you understand by demonstrating with examples). His pacing during lectures is pretty much perfect, and the concepts were explained super clearly. He's also pretty funny and will interact with the students in the chat. Workload for this class is decent, there's a few written homework problems paired with online Sapling homework due every week. If there were any homework problems students were stuck on, Prof. Willis and the TAs would be super helpful during their office hours. The midterms and final were open-note, 24-hour window assignment-like exams submitted through Gradescope. The lectures were recorded, and attendance wasn't required for either the lectures or discussions. (Michael Johnson was also a pretty awesome TA; he was super helpful.)

Helpful?

2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Dec. 22, 2020

Willis was an amazing professor this quarter. Taught concepts that seemed tough like they were cake, consistently responded to questions in the chat, and went through examples for every difficult idea. Office hours were spent going through homework problems and he held a review session for finals. He also gave practice mid-terms and a practice final all of which were pretty similar to the real thing, so if you're good with those, you'll probably do well for the real thing. We had to shell out 90 ish dollars for the homework website Sapling which came with a digital copy of the textbook which was annoying but the homework problems are really helpful and so is the textbook. Regardless, I absolutely recommend him for any class.

Helpful?

2 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Dec. 28, 2020

Willis is an amazing prof. If you have the chance to take a class with him, do it. Homework is 30% of your grade and it is very easy to get all the points here. Half of it is Sapling problems (infinite tries to get 100%) and the other half is written problems. If you have any issues with the written problems, he will go over them in office hours which was super helpful. His lectures were engaging and he made them fun. He was also very good about watching the chat to answer questions as he went. Discussion sections are entirely optional, but I found it helpful to attend. Two midterms, each of which are 20% of your grade (covering the first and second third of the material). The final is 30% of your grade and cumulative. He provided an old exam for all of them for us to use as a study guide. Overall, his class was fun and he made it very easy to succeed!

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A-
Dec. 22, 2020

best math teacher hands down. ive always struggled in math (flunked calc in hs) but wilis explains concepts/problems clearly.

HW was reasonable. It was around 20-30 online Sapling questions and 3-6 written problems from the textbook. He also drops the lowest score for online HW and written HW. If youre stuck on a problem, he’ll do the problem during OH.

To do well, you should probably try to fully understand the practice tests. Willis’ tests are fair, I would say a little harder than the practice tests. I had 24 hrs to do it + open note so it was doable.

For someone who is good at math, this class should be easy. If you’re not so good at math, like me, try to understand the HW questions fully and go over the concepts he gives in lecture tbh.

Willis says he curves up if the class averages are a little low. Honestly, don’t put all hope on the curve tho. I got a C- , B+, and A- on Midterm 1, 2 and the final if that helps.

Willis’ only flaw is that he doesn’t like pizza.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
June 3, 2021

Professor Willis is quite nice and actually pretty good at explaining math. I had to spend a lot of time reading through the textbook to understand concepts, but fortunately the tests were open note which was amazing. The pace of the class was slightly fast, but it was manageable. My TA Kate was very helpful, so definitely go to office hours if you need help. Overall this class is quite doable and I definitely learned a lot.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: N/A
March 29, 2021

BEST MATH PROFESSOR!

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Winter 2021
Grade: B
March 28, 2021

willis was a great professor but his tests were pretty hard especially his final. definitely recommend if you've never taken calc before because he explains the concepts really well, but you're really going to have to understand them to do well on the tests. he does prepare you for them so as long as you show up to class and pay attention you should be fine

Helpful?

0 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: A
Feb. 23, 2021

Willis is the GOAT and it seems that good math professors are lacking at UCLA. If you have the option to get him, take him there's a 99% chance he's better than whoever else you're considering.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
1 of 3
4.6
Overall Rating
Based on 27 Users
Easiness 3.6 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.6 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 3.5 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 4.5 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Needs Textbook
    (17)
  • Engaging Lectures
    (16)
  • Useful Textbooks
    (18)
  • Often Funny
    (13)
  • Would Take Again
    (16)
  • Tolerates Tardiness
    (9)
  • Is Podcasted
    (11)
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