MATH 115A

Linear Algebra

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Michael Andrews Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Tyler Arant Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Matthias Aschenbrenner Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Paul Balmer See Full Profile

Overall 3.3 Easiness 1.5 Workload 2.7 Clarity 3.3 Helpfulness 3.5

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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...

Spring Quarter 2019
Michael Bateman Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Omer Ben Neria See Full Profile

Overall 4.2 Easiness 2.2 Workload 2.5 Clarity 4.5 Helpfulness 4.8

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If you're looking for a good, straightforward professor for 115A, you can't go wrong with Omer! While his lectures may not be the most engaging, he explains things clearly and concisely. He assumes you have never taken a proof-based math class before, which was helpful for someone like me who has never taken a proof-based math class. He assigns weekly HWs, and weekly quizzes, two midterms, and a final. The tests surprised me because they were a lot more computational, while the homework was almost all proofs. If you go to his office hours, he's a nice guy and will take his time to make sure you understand the material. Overall, would highly recommend taking this as your first upper-div math class with Omer!

Grading: I bombed the first midterm, but learned how to study better for the second midterm and final. I was scared because I heard this class was very difficult, but I ended up doing better in this class than in 33A. If proofs don't come naturally for you, this class will require a lot of effort to complete the HWs and study for the tests.

Spring Quarter 2017
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Don Blasius Full Profile > N/A Overall N/A Easiness N/A Workload N/A Clarity N/A Helpfulness
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Tova Brown See Full Profile

Overall 3.4 Easiness 3.4 Workload 3.6 Clarity 2.6 Helpfulness 4.2

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Professor Brown is a lovely and nice teacher. She concerns about her student so much that she managed to answer every questions in the class. But that is a problem because a rather tangential question in class may cause her whole lecture without talking anything about the material. So save your question after class for the sake of others. Her lecture is a little bit disorganized but the exams are easy and the generous curve will give you a decent grade.

March 29, 2015
Jesse Burke See Full Profile

Overall 2.3 Easiness 2.6 Workload 2.9 Clarity 2.7 Helpfulness 3.3

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I took this class with him in Spring of 2013. He's a great guy and is really intelligent, but I did not like his class at all. The class material was already very difficult, especially for first timers in proofs, and this professor just rushed through the material day after day. I don't think I learnt anything from him. To be fair, I heard he was new to UCLA then, and I pretty much gave up on this class by Week 4, so it was a pretty horrible experience. Still, I never felt so lost and discouraged by a class before. I really wish I took this class with a more experienced professor.

Dec. 11, 2013
James Cameron See Full Profile

Overall 1.6 Easiness 1.6 Workload 1.4 Clarity 1.6 Helpfulness 1.7

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I am writing for a friend who doesn't have a bwalk account here. From his experience in 115, this professor can hardly teach and my friend selfstudied almost everything. I took math 61 with him, and it was just as terrible, if not even worse.

NEVER TAKE A CLASS WITH JAMES CAMERON. IT IS A WASTE OF YOUR TIME AND MONEY.

Winter Quarter 2019
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