Professor

Paul Balmer

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Overall Rating 3.4
Easiness 1.6 / 5
Clarity 3.5 / 5
Workload 2.8 / 5
Helpfulness 3.5 / 5
Most Helpful Review
Spring 2019 - While the class is definitely doable if you have the time and the will to really learn the material, Professor Balmer is definitely not a professor I would recommend for Math 115A. His lectures were meh (definitely not the most engaging things in the universe and his delivery of the material was definitely awkward at points), and the homework was really time consuming if you actually do it (it's only marked for completion, and you don't have to do all of it). Exams in the class were pretty awful as many of the reviews below suggest. To put things into perspective, the first midterm had an average of 50%, the second midterm had an average of 30%, and the final had an average of 47%. The class culture is pretty depressing as a result of these scores and Balmer's poor read on student understanding really shows in this respect. If you get stuck with Balmer, here's some advice: (1) He's not joking when he tells you to read the book. The book is 10x better at explaining the concepts than he is and if you read the assigned material beforehand, lecture will become somewhat useful for you. (2) Do not waste your time studying with mechanical proofs because Balmer makes you complete more elaborate tasks on the exams. For example, you are much more likely to provide an example of some obscure linear transformation rather than verifying a linear transformation is indeed a linear transformation. (3) Don't be hard on yourself after exams. No one really does well. Take a shot of vodka and let life go on. (Top score on one of the midterms was a 60%) While I definitely survived this class with a higher grade than I would've ever dreamed of, I don't think I'll be putting myself through another Balmer class ever again to keep my sanity haha...
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