Calculus for Life Sciences Students

Daniel Murfet

Calculus for Life Sciences Students

Mathematics department

Daniel Murfet

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from 16 users


Overall 2.7
Easiness of class 2.3
Workload 2.5
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 2.5
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 3.3


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Fall 2012

Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.

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Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 16, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

Thank god i took calculus in high school. If you have NO background of calculus whatsoever, this class is going to be EXTREMELY difficult for you. Professor Murfet is ridiculously smart, but he's terrible at teaching. Most of the lectures were just him going off with his own proofs or made up problems, and it was really hard to follow the whole time. The way he explains things makes it harder than it really is; you're better off reading the book and doing practice problems most of the time. I struggled the entire year, getting mediocre grades on midterms, but I crammed for the final and locked myself in my room with my book and that's why I got an A in the class. If you REALLY put in everything you have it's doable, but merely going to lecture, listening to him, and doing the homework will get you a C.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted June 24, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

Took him in the fall. Definitely do not recommend! GPA ruiner. The most obscure questions on the test. Most of the questions are just like whattt????
He's a nice guy...but that really does not matter.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted May 23, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

FALL 2011
He is horrible, if you have a choice do not take him. he struggles trying to explain his lectures, he is not a very goof teacher. He made us learn about his made up models that were not even in the book which he valued with the most points in our midterms. he made us go the lecture before his final and at the end he said "don't worry this is not on the final" and that how i lost 1 hour just listening to his worthless proofs. He is a nice guy but his way of teaching sucks DO NOT TAKE HIM.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Jan. 9, 2012 Grade Received: N/A

Murfet is a nice guy but not a very good teacher. Everything he teaches literally comes right out of the textbook, so he's very mechanical. However, whenever I went to his office hours, he was always very helpful, approachable, and taught like a normal teacher, so it was frustrating he wasn't like that in lecture. My TA was alright, he always seemed intimidated by the students. Towards the end he would refuse to answer our specific questions and chose questions "similar" to ours instead, so that was annoying. If I hadn't taken calculus in high school I definitely would have struggled in this class. Murfet used 8 blackboard panels to take the derivative of x^3 (I didn't know that was possible). He basically just overcomplicates everything and makes the exams more difficult than they need to be. His exams are the type where they seem difficult when it's in front of you and afterwards you think, Oh, that's how you do that problem...

I ended up with a B but probably could have gotten an A if I went to more of his office hours at the beginning of the quarter.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 22, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

Professor Murfet is a nice guy, but a horrible teacher. I took calculus in high school and still struggled in this course. The way he teaches in ineffective because he spends too much time explaining concepts, instead of actually helping us understand them. He is very neat and puts time in to the class, but if I could register again, I would not pick him as a professor. His midterms are about 27 points each, which gave me the idea that he almost wanted us to fail. His tests are much more difficult than his practice exams, and some of the questions seem almost impossible to answer. His exams are tricky, so you must study hard in order to recieve a good score. Take advantage of whatever tutoring you can find, and memorize the concepts from his lectures. Do the book problems for extra practice. Some of the things he teaches though, are not in the book or online anywhere because they are "made up." But on a positive note, his accect is very nice, and you can get a giggle out of the lectures if you pay attention. You can get a good grade in the class.

Good luck

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 19, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

Honestly, I think I only did well in this course because I took AP Calculus AB in high school (and got a 4 on the AP test). Murfet makes lectures too complicated and doesn't give enough examples to help you do the homework problems. The difficulty of the two midterms and final also didn't reflect what we learned through lecture and through the homework problems. I really don't know how he expects us to know how to solve those difficult problems on tests after he barely goes through the concept in lecture.

A word of advice: Go to office hours if you need help because he is actually quite friendly and willing to help.

Good luck.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 18, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

Professor Murfet is a nice guy whether it be making jokes during lecture, or by working with you during office hours.

But he is not a very good teacher.

There were maybe two or three lectures throughout the entire quarter that I was able to understand and follow thoroughly. First of all, Professor Murfet's teaching methods and ego combine to form a very confusing lesson; it's almost as if he needs to convince his students that he is intelligent. These "math notes" consist of 75% overly-wordy explanations and 25% bare-bones calculations. I would have read over the posted lecture notes online multiple times in order to interpret the very gist of information thrown upon us so quickly during lecture. At a certain point, I had even taken the lectures less seriously, in that there was no point in attempting to discover from beneath all of the superfluous, unnecessary information the true meaning of the lesson. I found myself looking, nay, excavating through the lecture notes for hours on end in dire attempts to grasp the near-impossible concept that is understanding. It probably didn't help that my TA didn't speak English and took points off of my homework for correct answers to tell me to talk to the professor to fix his own mistakes either, though. Multiple greek variables for the same number or idea, ridiculously lengthy steps in order to explain what should be given information, calculation models that offer more harm than good. Don't get me wrong, Murfet is smart--but why overcomplicate things when they don't need to be overcomplicated? Concepts that took the entire fifty minute lecture could have been explained in a ten minute example--the majority of which honestly didn't help on his exams.

The exams. At times I wondered if I was in the wrong exam room. At times I hoped Murfet would stop the exam midway and tell us that he was kidding, to later hand us the "real" test--the test containing information we had practiced, or even covered, to be completely frank. My scores on the two midterms and final were very mediocre, as in I've-never-scored-this-consistently-low-on-tests-in-my-life mediocre. Problems that I, nor fellow students have seen before riddled each exam--the ridiculous problems seemingly taunting me as I looked at the page in utter astonishment--almost like a sick joke. The only exam I had actually finished was the first midterm; both the hour-long second midterm and three-hour-long final ended as 90% of students scrambled to finish. Fair? I heavily doubt it, but in order to somehow "undo" these three mathematical suicide missions, Murfet imposes a somewhat generous curve at the end of the day. I scored a C average on the tests, but finished the course with a B+. My only B+. A B+ that pulls my overall GPA down, like dead weight, like a savage, greedily tugging away at my chances of success.

Murfet is a nice person, but why attempt to trick the students he tries "so hard" to teach?

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Dec. 6, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

Murfet was a pretty decent teacher.

What makes him good:

1. His australian accent is awesome. It just makes him that much more easy to listen to. Although I will warn that his voice is also deep and so the total effect might lull you to sleep.

2. His lectures are pretty clear. He explains it properly and thoroughly. He also points his notes online for you to review. They have pretty good explanations so it's easy to read and follow.

3. His homework problems will help you learn the concept better. I did not think they were particularly long assignments. 1 assignment usually took me about 30 minutes-1 hour. It does get a little tedious at times though, and sometimes the extra problems might be a little unnecessary, but it's good practice.

What makes him bad:

1. His tests/midterms are all low in points, and it's always a awkward total of points. For example, one of his tests was out of 28 points. That means, you can only miss 2 points and still get an A (technically, and of course this is without the curve). I would much rather have the test be worth two points more so that I could miss 3 points instead of 2. 28 is just annoying....8 more points to miss than a 20 point test, but you're still only allowed to miss 2 points like a 20 point test.

2. Some of his word problems are worded weirdly. His midterms are pretty straightforward, but when you get to the word problem they are (A) harder than the ones that you practiced in previous lectures, homework, and practice exams, (B) difficult to understand what he wants you to do/solve at first glance of the problem.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted Sept. 11, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

Murfet smells! D:< He’s funny and good-natured, so lecture isn’t usually a bore. But half the class didn’t know what he was talking about every day while he’s teaching. He gets everything straight out of the textbook, confusing symbols, explanations, and all. Therefore, his teaching of the concepts was very mechanical and I only memorized formulas for his class. Sometimes he graphs when asked for clarification, which helps, but lots of times he just said the same thing.

Math homework always takes me freakishly long, so I don’t have much comment on that. However, it makes it so much harder not knowing what I was even DOING. It my first time learning calculus and he sometimes threw around terms like we were supposed to already know them.

I absolutely hated the 2 midterms and final because for every test, the questions on the first half were alright, but then the last half would be a series of questions that I had never seen in class. It was either that or we spent one day covering it and the class was left brain-dead and confused (stupid propagated error question, I am talking about you). Midterm means hit the 70%s and 60%s while the final’s mean was 55%, so you tell me what’s wrong here!!!

It was a flappin’ miracle that I didn’t automatically fail this class, but I struggled in Math 3B due to the rickety foundation I learned in 3A.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted July 30, 2011 Grade Received: N/A

Loved his Australian accent to death but failed his final, dislike his test format.

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