**** PIC 10A Winter 2012 ***** Homework took FOREVER. Didn't get half of them done. Midterms were a breeze when you reviewed the non-graded exercises. Final was dead awful. So hard, so complicated. Everyone was asking a million questions during the final but it was really just complex and personally I don't know how I could have studied for it much better. Get all your homework done as soon as you can because you will be doing it down to the very last minute. Dr. Cheng himself is so approachable and helpful but lectures were pretty slow at times. If you have a bad TA, go to the other one. I got a B in the class and was disappointed even though I did badly on homework.
I also have recently taken PIC10A (Winter 2012) with Dr. Cheng, and I should say that he is one of excellent professors out there at UCLA. His personality and lecture style are less exciting than Dr. Jay Phelan and Dr. Craig Merlic's lectures (look them up, they are godly!) but I would say his lecture style is comparable to Dr. Corbin's. His homeworks are really tough. It's tough to the point where you spend few entire days trying to finish each homework! I'm not joking! The first few homeworks were breeze, but after when we covered vectors each homework he's given us totally took me forever! His last homework was such a relief because it took me a far less time than the previous ones. He also posts exercises to help you understand the material better, and it was definitely helpful for homework but I really wished he posted solutions to them online because it would made things far easier. Anyway going to his office hours helped me a lot understanding what I need to do for homework (and tests). His way of helping me understand the materials is like Dr. Craig Merlic's way (look up Merlic. He will blow your mind). His midterms were pretty easy if you did homework and exercises. But.... his final..... it was really challenging compared to his midterms. I pulled nearly perfect scores for both midterms but I doubt I did well on final as I did on midterms (well I didnt sleep on that day so I'd blame myself).. It was doable but the difficulty of the final exam was comparable to homeworks he's assigned in class. so guys.. do your homework and exercises. And seriously I don't want to say this again but go to his office hours! He is super approachable and awesome, and he earned his Ph.D from Harvard so you know he's genius. And yeah, he posts all the lectures online but I don't find them helpful as much unless you go to each corresponding lecture or office hour for help. P.S. For those of who took PIC10A with Dr. Cheng and are math majors/minors, he's teaching Math131A for Spring 2012! Don't miss your chance!
**IGNORE THE ABOVE, I TOOK PIC 10A** Bing was awesome -- really enjoyed having him as a professor. He teaches upper division math classes as well as intro programming ones, so he really knows what he's doing. He's a clear lecturer, and helpful, welcoming, and approachable both in class and in office hours (go to office hours and he'll come to YOU to ask if you have questions!). He sometimes talked a little too fast but would always stop and ask for questions, so it was forgivable. Programming is not an easy subject to learn for the first time -- or to teach well -- and I really applaud Prof. Cheng for exceeding my expectations. I had no programming experience at all going in -- hadn't ever seen code in my life -- I feel like I really did learn a lot in this class. That said, some of the homeworks were TOUGH -- definitely had to go to office hours for lots of help with a few of them -- but they did help me understand the material. I wish I'd known before going into this class just how big of a time commitment it was going to be. The workload was sporadic; I didn't really do any work outside of class for the first few weeks, and starting weeks 4-5 I'd spend at least 15 hrs/week. I guess that's more of the nature of the course, but just be ready for it. Lots of people drop this class because they aren't prepared for the time commitment and difficulty if you haven't programmed before. That's not to say it's impossible, because it's definitely not -- but you should know and be ready for a LOT of work regardless of your professor. Programming, like learning any other foreign language, takes time to learn. You won't be able to slack off all quarter and get everything right in the end. But, when your programs work, even if some of them do useless crap like rearrange the letter in names, they're pretty cool. One of the good things about Bing is that some of the homeworks, though probably more difficult and time-consuming than those from other professors, are definitely worth saving for future classes and programming (especially when you write a class that handles arbitrarily large integers). Exams were fair and pretty standard. Could be a little tricky, but he'd never throw the complete "wtf is this?!" questions at us, which was nice. Posts all his detailed lecture notes and lots of good exercises online -- very helpful. He posts a lot more stuff than you'll probably have time to work through, but they're all good; the more you do, the better you'll get. All in all, I definitely had my fair share of struggling and cursing out this class -- but all of my frustration was against debugging my programs, not Bing. He's a solid professor and I'd take him again any day. BOTTOM LINE: For PIC 10A, Bing's class might be a tad more difficult than other profs, but if you haven't programmed before, you won't be getting off easy in this class no matter what, so might as well take Cheng to make sure it's worth your time.