All Ratings and Reviews for Allen Gehret
Honestly, best online notes available I've had yet for a math course. You can take these notes and understand the material in a rather short amount of time because of how well-written they are. Homeworks are difficult, but going into tests after them makes the tests feel easy by comparison. He also has a VERY generous grading scheme for individual tests. Overall, this class was a good experience and very welcomed given my experience with past math professors.
The homework is ungodly difficult sometimes but the exams are MUCH easier. He also writes and posts his own lecture notes, which is really convenient and lays out all you need to know for the exams. Not a bad class by any stretch
Allen is the BEST math professor I've had at UCLA. His lectures are super straight forward once you get used to the material, and those combined with the homework is everything you need to do well on his tests. His homework is super helpful but can be a bit tricky doing the problems for the first time. People did super well on his tests this quarter (he also gave us a very extended amount of time) with the average being in the high A range. That being said, I feel like even during a regular quarter his tests would be super reasonable and test you exactly on what he has taught you. Allen is so dedicated and offers a bunch of office hours, and will go so far as to schedule an extra OH on the weekend if he gets a lot of questions. He also responds to your questions super quickly via email or piazza. I would 100% retake this class with him, it has been my favorite math class. Also shout out to Jeremy Brightbill, the best TA with the most life-saving review sessions who will hold office hours until every person has asked every single one of their questions, even if it means logging out of zoom at 11pm.
He is a considerate and nice professor who consistently went out of his way to help students. He's super understanding; he would push back homework due dates during busy weeks and hosted a lot of extra online office hours during the COVID19 craziness. His lectures are clear. His homeworks are pretty proof-heavy and difficult to complete unless you go to office hours, but his exams are reasonable and easy if you study the homework solutions and his lecture notes.
I took this class online due to COVID-19. I technically had Hluschanka as my professor for this class, but since Allen and Hluschanka worked together to make the homework, exams, and quizzes the same for both classes and the fact that Hluschanka posted Allen's lectures on his ccle page, I watched Allen's lectures instead. I watched all of the lectures on at least 1.5x speed and I was still able to take notes and fully understand what he was teaching (he talks and writes pretty slowly). He goes through all the material thoroughly and is easy to follow. The exams, quizzes, and homeworks were all very similar to one another, and absolutely everything on them was covered in lecture. The material in this class is very easy if you have a good grasp of calculus. I'd say 33B, for me at least, was the easiest of the 31-33 series. I took this class concurrently with 33A, and I found that they worked very well together, at least with the order than Allen taught in. In fact, in weeks 1 and 9, I was practically doing the same thing in both classes.
I love this professor. Allen is one of the best professors I've had at UCLA, especially in the math department. I'm taking his 33B class in the spring because I love how much he cares about his students.
He writes his own problem sets as homework, as well as his own lecture notes (always shared with you on CCLE!). You do not need the textbook at all, although he does tell you what parts would act as a nice supplement.
His homeworks are pretty hard and graded on accuracy, but you are able to collaborate with others (and submit your own homework) so it's not *that* bad. Although honestly yes the homeworks are hard and time-consuming. I probably spent about 8 hours on each homework (due weekly). The last 3 homeworks he let us submit with up to 2 other collaborators on Gradescope so we didn't have to write so much individually. Homework was around 30% of the grade so it was important to do well on them, but he dropped the lowest score. I think I overall got an average of around 92% on the homework (or around there).
His midterms are honestly pretty fair and involved a fair amount of memorization of theorems. He would ask you to recite them for 5/10 to 15 points on any given problem. Then the second part of the question would ask you to do a proof involving them. There were also some computation-based stuff later in the course, but they were worth like 10/60 points on the midterm. Proofs were more important. He also tended to do between 16-20/60 points of the midterms as T/F questions, with 0 points for a wrong answer, 1 point for a blank answer, and 2 points for a correct answer. So around 8-10 T/F questions on each exam. These are tricky and often mess up for edge cases (such as, when x = 0 or x = some very specific value) so it's often worth it to leave a lot of them blank.
The final was online because it's winter 2020 and so the proofs were harder and there was no theorem reciting. The T/F was easier though because it was an open-Google test so there was a lot of ways to check whether they were true or not. The rest of the exam was all proofs and a few computations.
Overall I liked Allen's teaching style because he is very clear on everything and you essentially can just copy his notes word for word as he writes them on the board and gain a good understanding of the course. I didn't pay that much attention most of the time but I still felt like I understood things fairly well. Also if you miss lecture, his own lecture notes are available like a week in advance and he tells you what each lecture goes over so it's easy to catch back up. He is very nice and answers questions as best he can, and he says "um" a lot because he has kinda nervous energy but I don't think it's to the point that it's annoying. It gets a lot better when he's actually going over math stuff and not like answering questions or going over like announcements about the course, as well.
I'd encourage anyone to take his class regardless of whatever course he is teaching because he is just a really good professor. Even if you don't like his teaching style you can just read his notes instead, which are very clear and I used them as a reference a lot for homework/studying. I'm so glad he was available for two of my 7 math courses I have to take.
Like everyone else has said. The homeworks are impossible. You need help in office hours. He writes his own questions so you can't google the answers either. However, Gehret offers every week a study session where he and sometimes a TA will come in and help anybody who needs it with the homework. His exams are much more reasonable the homework assignments where the proofs are actually doable if you understand the stuff covered from lecture. Gehret was pretty decent at teaching the course, but it is definitely challenging if it is your first proof class. Although, I ended up liking it a lot. Then, there is Ben Spitz. literally the best TA ever. He truly cares about his students. Often times he would stay for an extra hour during his office hours because students still had questions. He was unbelievable at explaining material to students. In addition, he held review sessions where he created his own review packets and baked desserts for us! If you can take a class where Ben is TAing, you really need to take advantage of this gem!
Maybe I'm just happy I got a B, but Professor Gehret is an excellent professor. You could tell that he cares about his students and makes sure that the material be made as clear as possible. He uses his own lecture notes, which act as basically the textbook. These notes are pretty comprehensive and are basically all you need to know, but that does by no means that lectures aren't helpful. He is a pretty good teacher in general, and explains the "why," to get us to see the bigger picture.
Homeworks are fairly difficult (around 8 questions that he writes himself), and we had 2 homeworks per week because it was a summer session class. A lot of people dropped because of this I think. It was also 25% of the grade too, so there was a lot of pressure. He acknowledged the difficulty of this though, and hopefully change this in the future. Although he'll probably give one a week during the school year anyways. But tests are very very fair. Half of the test is recalling definitions. He started doing true and false, and boy are they tricky. I should have just left it blank
In conclusion, you know 131A is a hard class anyways. But Professor Gehret makes your hard work worth it by teaching in a way that helps you understand concepts and learn how to study proofs.
This is Allen's last regular quarter at UCLA. Good luck on his future academic career.
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