Tom Gannon

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Easiness 4.6/ 5
Clarity 5.0/ 5
Workload 4.9/ 5
Helpfulness 5.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2023 - Short Version: If you have this professor as an option for this class, please please PLEASE choose him — you will have no regrets. To preface, I’ve taken college calculus before during HS junior year, but I had such a bad teacher that I dropped it 2nd semester and since then pretty much forgot the whole thing. Now the long version: Professor Gannon is the best. He’s super fun with his lectures, extremely understanding of what college freshmen are going through, puts in the effort and time to explain content thoroughly, and goes out of his way to make the class a memorable one. Though it’s only my first quarter at UCLA, I can say with no doubt that he has set an extremely high bar to beat. This was the only class where I truly wanted to attend every lecture because they were so engaging (if you can’t make lecture, he posts recordings of them on Bruin Learn). The class had weekly HW assignments and quizzes (all easy and very reasonable — you can drop 2 of the lowest scores for each). We had 2 midterms — both were also very reasonable and we had a practice exam for the first one where questions from it actually showed up on MT 1. The final in my opinion was more difficult than the 2 midterms but was still very fair and doable (I actually did the best on the final exam in terms of score wise so…). He also gave us a practice exam for the final but the whole class thought it was ridiculously hard (he didn’t write the practice exam, it was written by another professor in 2019), so it wasn’t as helpful as I anticipated because most questions were unrepresentative of what actually came up on the final. From the 2 midterms and final, I can say that Professor Gannon is definitely not the type to try and stump his students; in fact, he even says in class that he won’t put super “hard” questions on the test. In terms of communication, he’s a 10 out of 10. He’s super responsive by email and answers questions posted on Piazza (our Q/A platform) within 24 hours and usually sooner. He was even answering them by the next day over winter break and on Christmas day — that’s the amount of dedication he has for his students. Some other miscellaneous perks that I’m not sure if other professors will give: 1) extra 12 hours to submit HW/quizzes after the deadline in case of tech issues, 2) 2 grading options where one counts both midterms and the other only counts one midterm but the final weighs more — whichever gives you the higher grade is your final grade, 3) 3x5 notecard double-sided for midterms and 8.5x11 paper single-sided for the final, 4) you can request regrades for both of the midterms and the final if you think you were graded incorrectly, 5) Professor Gannon is willing to make it easier to obtain a grade (ie. for the F23 quarter, he lowered each grade boundary by 1% so a 92 was an A and an 89 was an A- etc.), 6) on exams, he is very lenient with unfinished arithmetic and the methods you use to solve problems (except some like L'Hopital's where he will explicitly state in class not to use). TLDR — please take MATH 31A with Professor Gannon, you won’t regret it.
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