Michael Willis
Department of Mathematics
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4.4
Overall Rating
Based on 15 Users
Easiness 2.7 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.3 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 3.1 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 4.3 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

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

GRADE DISTRIBUTIONS

There are no grade distributions available for this professor yet.

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Reviews (11)

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Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: A-
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 22, 2021

Willis is an okay professor, but the exam material is quite difficult. His lectures were semi-engaging but were often confusing due to the lack of concrete examples. His teaching was very conceptual-heavy (which is helpful for the exams), but this style didn't really help explain how to solve certain problems. Homework and class content were very straightforward, but the exams were often way more difficult.

Can't really complain much more; 32A is bound to be difficult anyways. Willis isn't terrible, and he definitely knows what he's talking about. Not sure if I would take a class from him again though.

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Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: B+
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 19, 2021

This professor was very kind and helpful. He taught well and helped students understand difficult concepts really well. The only problem is that in order to do well in this class, you must do good on all exams. The 2 midterms and final make up majority of your grade, so if you do bad on one exam, it's hard to bring your grade back up. It's a very hard class in general, and the exams are not easy at all. They are more conceptual, and the grading is quite difficult as well.

However, if you do need to take this course, take it with Willis. He will definitely help you to the best of his ability.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Summer 2020
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Sept. 21, 2020

Total baller, taught concepts that seemed complicated in the book with real clarity, and was always willing to answer questions. Ran lecture online well, still felt that I was learning over zoom clearly

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 29, 2021

This class is insanely hard, but this comes from a biochemistry major. I found that this was the one class where I felt like the class time needed to be longer. As someone who learns a lot from examples in math, this class has very little of that. Instead, Professor Willis focused on the conceptual information to get through the material as fast as possible. Honestly, I would recommend watching Professor Leonard's YT videos to be successful unless you're a math god. Also, the entire math department has got it out with math tests being insanely tough. They give you a 24 hour period to take the midterm/final, and you can take as long as you want in that 24 hour time slot. However, this open book take home test gives the professors a free pass to go insanely hard on tests. I personally took around 6-8 hours on the final, when the "supposed" time was 4. Overall, a tough class for everyone that requires hard work and deep conceptual/analytical understanding.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 24, 2021

Willis is a fantastic professor. 100% take him if you can. I don't have a great math background but after having taken Math 31AL and Math 31B (and getting A and A-, respectively), 32A is actually my favorite math class I've ever taken. Willis explains things extremely clearly and his lecture notes are just fantastic.
Like other reviewers have said, the exams can be a bit challenging, but I found that a key to doing well on them was doing the homework. I think part of the reason he made them challenging was because it was online (covid), and a lot of the questions seemed strange and complicated at first, but they were just concept-based, and if you referred to the notes and the lectures there's actually a very clear answer.
Willis is very clear and friendly, and genuinely cares about general student understanding. If you are confused or have questions, just ask in the chat or go to office hours. I would 100% recommend taking 32a w/ willis.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 18, 2021

I always say that if you need to take a math class, take it with Willis. He is a great professor and the class is overall pretty manageable. He doesn't often go over examples though, since there isn't enough time. Therefore, this class takes a lot of studying on your own in order to do well.

Grade Breakdown:
Homework - 20% (super easy if you use Slader, some were very time consuming. After a certain point, it seems like the TAs do not grade it anymore and give participation points.)
Midterm 1 - 25%
Midterm 2 - 25% (Fair, but one question made the majority of the class lose around 8 points)
Final - 30% (Very difficult, felt like a hate crime, and took 16 hours.)

His exams get very conceptual and there is quite a bit of true false, so make sure to study the more theoretical practice problems towards the end of each section. Also, a lot of the confusing exam questions are pulled straight from the textbook exercises.

Multivariable calculus is hard. This will never be an easy class, but Willis definitely is a safe bet if you need to take it for your major.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: B
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 18, 2021

Hard HW and tests. Very, very helpful and understanding prof. Classes are clear and he will tell the class what all the things are about. Will totally do other classes with him if I can.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
June 18, 2021

I really enjoyed taking this class with Dr. Willis. I had to switch to 32A a little late in the quarter and I was worried about getting a spot since I was behind some people on the waitlist. Dr. Willis cared about my situation and assured me I would be enrolled off the waitlist. His tests does have some proof questions but these proofs are based closely on topics discussed in the textbook and class. I highly recommend taking this class with Dr. Willis.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Spring 2021
Grade: N/A
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
May 12, 2021

This guy literally does not care about multivariable calculus. He's the most useless professor I have ever had. When I went to office hours, and I would ask him a more theoretical question (such as what is the geometric significance of a parametric curve), he would basically throw his hands up and say, classic Willis style:
"I don't know!"
"I guess it's just a thing that mathematicians do. It's the way math was made many years ago. I mean, I don't know. Just accept that this is true, I don't know."

Like, how did this guy get a job here? I don't know.

In all, he's not very helpful, but his tests aren't incredibly hard (though they're not easy). He frequently calls the things he teaches us "terrible", and unexciting. Multivariable calculus is infinitely useful and interesting, but this guy sucks the joy out of the subject and clearly hates what he's teaching.

Helpful?

0 4 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2020
Grade: NR
COVID-19 This review was submitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your experience may vary.
Dec. 8, 2020

TAKEN DURING COVID
Willis is really good at what he does. Thorough, intelligent, and engaging with the class. The workload was alright, a few times it seemed a bit much but that was probably because of zoom tbh, I have no motivation so that probably contributes to not wanting to do the work. Aside from that Willis was pretty nice and helpful, office hours he was really chill. The discussion section seemed like a waste but that could be just me. People said his tests are hard, not really to be honest. The practice midterms were practically the same as the actual midterms, so as long as you can solve those you can pass. Good first professor and class.

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: Spring 2021
Grade: A-
June 22, 2021

Willis is an okay professor, but the exam material is quite difficult. His lectures were semi-engaging but were often confusing due to the lack of concrete examples. His teaching was very conceptual-heavy (which is helpful for the exams), but this style didn't really help explain how to solve certain problems. Homework and class content were very straightforward, but the exams were often way more difficult.

Can't really complain much more; 32A is bound to be difficult anyways. Willis isn't terrible, and he definitely knows what he's talking about. Not sure if I would take a class from him again though.

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: Spring 2021
Grade: B+
June 19, 2021

This professor was very kind and helpful. He taught well and helped students understand difficult concepts really well. The only problem is that in order to do well in this class, you must do good on all exams. The 2 midterms and final make up majority of your grade, so if you do bad on one exam, it's hard to bring your grade back up. It's a very hard class in general, and the exams are not easy at all. They are more conceptual, and the grading is quite difficult as well.

However, if you do need to take this course, take it with Willis. He will definitely help you to the best of his ability.

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: Summer 2020
Grade: A
Sept. 21, 2020

Total baller, taught concepts that seemed complicated in the book with real clarity, and was always willing to answer questions. Ran lecture online well, still felt that I was learning over zoom clearly

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: Spring 2021
Grade: A
June 29, 2021

This class is insanely hard, but this comes from a biochemistry major. I found that this was the one class where I felt like the class time needed to be longer. As someone who learns a lot from examples in math, this class has very little of that. Instead, Professor Willis focused on the conceptual information to get through the material as fast as possible. Honestly, I would recommend watching Professor Leonard's YT videos to be successful unless you're a math god. Also, the entire math department has got it out with math tests being insanely tough. They give you a 24 hour period to take the midterm/final, and you can take as long as you want in that 24 hour time slot. However, this open book take home test gives the professors a free pass to go insanely hard on tests. I personally took around 6-8 hours on the final, when the "supposed" time was 4. Overall, a tough class for everyone that requires hard work and deep conceptual/analytical understanding.

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: Spring 2021
Grade: A
June 24, 2021

Willis is a fantastic professor. 100% take him if you can. I don't have a great math background but after having taken Math 31AL and Math 31B (and getting A and A-, respectively), 32A is actually my favorite math class I've ever taken. Willis explains things extremely clearly and his lecture notes are just fantastic.
Like other reviewers have said, the exams can be a bit challenging, but I found that a key to doing well on them was doing the homework. I think part of the reason he made them challenging was because it was online (covid), and a lot of the questions seemed strange and complicated at first, but they were just concept-based, and if you referred to the notes and the lectures there's actually a very clear answer.
Willis is very clear and friendly, and genuinely cares about general student understanding. If you are confused or have questions, just ask in the chat or go to office hours. I would 100% recommend taking 32a w/ willis.

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: Spring 2021
Grade: A
June 18, 2021

I always say that if you need to take a math class, take it with Willis. He is a great professor and the class is overall pretty manageable. He doesn't often go over examples though, since there isn't enough time. Therefore, this class takes a lot of studying on your own in order to do well.

Grade Breakdown:
Homework - 20% (super easy if you use Slader, some were very time consuming. After a certain point, it seems like the TAs do not grade it anymore and give participation points.)
Midterm 1 - 25%
Midterm 2 - 25% (Fair, but one question made the majority of the class lose around 8 points)
Final - 30% (Very difficult, felt like a hate crime, and took 16 hours.)

His exams get very conceptual and there is quite a bit of true false, so make sure to study the more theoretical practice problems towards the end of each section. Also, a lot of the confusing exam questions are pulled straight from the textbook exercises.

Multivariable calculus is hard. This will never be an easy class, but Willis definitely is a safe bet if you need to take it for your major.

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: Spring 2021
Grade: B
June 18, 2021

Hard HW and tests. Very, very helpful and understanding prof. Classes are clear and he will tell the class what all the things are about. Will totally do other classes with him if I can.

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: Spring 2021
Grade: A
June 18, 2021

I really enjoyed taking this class with Dr. Willis. I had to switch to 32A a little late in the quarter and I was worried about getting a spot since I was behind some people on the waitlist. Dr. Willis cared about my situation and assured me I would be enrolled off the waitlist. His tests does have some proof questions but these proofs are based closely on topics discussed in the textbook and class. I highly recommend taking this class with Dr. Willis.

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: Spring 2021
Grade: N/A
May 12, 2021

This guy literally does not care about multivariable calculus. He's the most useless professor I have ever had. When I went to office hours, and I would ask him a more theoretical question (such as what is the geometric significance of a parametric curve), he would basically throw his hands up and say, classic Willis style:
"I don't know!"
"I guess it's just a thing that mathematicians do. It's the way math was made many years ago. I mean, I don't know. Just accept that this is true, I don't know."

Like, how did this guy get a job here? I don't know.

In all, he's not very helpful, but his tests aren't incredibly hard (though they're not easy). He frequently calls the things he teaches us "terrible", and unexciting. Multivariable calculus is infinitely useful and interesting, but this guy sucks the joy out of the subject and clearly hates what he's teaching.

Helpful?

0 4 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: NR
Dec. 8, 2020

TAKEN DURING COVID
Willis is really good at what he does. Thorough, intelligent, and engaging with the class. The workload was alright, a few times it seemed a bit much but that was probably because of zoom tbh, I have no motivation so that probably contributes to not wanting to do the work. Aside from that Willis was pretty nice and helpful, office hours he was really chill. The discussion section seemed like a waste but that could be just me. People said his tests are hard, not really to be honest. The practice midterms were practically the same as the actual midterms, so as long as you can solve those you can pass. Good first professor and class.

Helpful?

0 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
1 of 2
4.4
Overall Rating
Based on 15 Users
Easiness 2.7 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 4.3 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 3.1 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 4.3 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Tolerates Tardiness
    (5)
  • Needs Textbook
    (10)
  • Useful Textbooks
    (8)
  • Is Podcasted
    (6)
  • Often Funny
    (6)
  • Would Take Again
    (9)
  • Engaging Lectures
    (6)
  • Tough Tests
    (6)
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