Grade distributions are collected using data from the UCLA Registrar’s Office.
THE ONLY PROFESSOR YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE A CLASS WITH. TRUST ME.
I'm a math major and I had to work my ass off to salvage a B. Plus, the guy is a dick. On the first midterm, like 50% of the class got an A- or more, so he announced that too many people did well so he was gonna make the second midterm MUCH tougher so that people wouldn't do well.
He is the ONLY professor I have ever met who WANTS the students to fail. Honestly, I have ZERO respect for this man and I would never wish this hell upon anyone.
I would never recommend this class to anyone. Most ridiculous teacher I've ever experienced. For the two midterms, he chose the most complicated questions he could find and it would be nothing like the homework or what we went over in class. Coming from someone who enjoys math and is pretty good at it, this is the worst class I have ever taken. Even if you study every single night, understand every concept, and even see a tutor, there is no reasoning with this teacher. I don't think the material is very difficult, but this particular teacher ruined it. No one finished the final exam within the 3 hour time frame, but few people left within the first five minutes refusing to take the test because it had nothing to do with what we had learned the whole quarter.
Please name me a professor who teaches lower-division courses harsher than Brizolis.
A little bit about myself. I don’t think I’m a bad Math student. I did IB Math HL in high school. I got a 6 (almost a 7) on my IB final exam. Although I'm not an AP student, I self-studied AP Calculus BC and scored a 4. I did some sort of college credit courses before I arrived at this school, I got an A from there but this school didn't admit my incoming credits, and that's why I have to enroll in this class.
I mean, Professor Brizolis is not that bad if you never make any mistake. I attended every single one of his lectures. I think he was pretty clear though he wasted a lot of time on proofs and materials that won’t be tested on the final, and I have to say that his sense of humor made his lectures kind of worth attending.
I did pretty well in the first quiz (and the only quiz in the quarter) and midterm #1. I scored around 95% on both. His quizzes and midterms were fine because he gave us practice exams that are quite similar to the real exam problems before the reals ones. His final was pretty hard compared to his practice problems, but I did alright.
Then, about the nightmare:
I did really bad on my midterm #2. The midterm consisted of 4 problems and added up to 100 in total. I did all of the first three correct and used the wrong method/test for the last one and lost almost all of the marks on that problem. I ended up with a 70 something, while the rest of the class had an average of the high 80s.
I realized I made a really terrible mistake, and I knew that I'm a good student, so I definitely need the A+/A/A- for my final grade. I sent him an email, explaining my situation and I was eager to hear a positive or at least encouraging response from him.
But I was totally wrong. He responded something like this: "Do the best you can and you will earn the grade that you deserve, not the grade that you expect." What a legend! Look how fair he is.
His attitude pissed me off again when I forgot to put my name on one of my hwks. My unhelpful TA sent me to talk to Brizolis directly. I explained everything to him and two days later, he regarded my homework as “late submission” and gave me a terribly low mark for that hwk. His TAs are notoriously strict in unnecessary details. On that same hwk, I remembered I did differentiation dy/dx directly without explicitly writing out the chain rule dy/dx = dy/du * du/dx, and they simply had one mark off my homework (There were 25 hwks and each of them was out of 4).
He allegedly said that he would take improvement into consideration. I’m not sure whether this happened, but in my humble opinion, not really. That’s how I ended up with a B. I’m confident to say that I could have got an A with another professor.
Some people would say "It's your own problem not to do well on every exam." I know and I have to admit that it's my responsibility to miss out on that problem on midterm #2 and screwed up everything. But we all make mistakes and shit happens. I‘m not trying to denigrate Brizolis. I’m just using my own experiences and trying to tell people to avoid him and get better grades with other professors. I’m so regretful that I didn’t discover this website bruinwalk any earlier. Had I read all of the other comments about Brizolis, I would have switched to another professor’s lecture for sure.
Once again, I’m not trying to be a mean guy or anything. As someone who have done Math 31B with Brizolis, I’m not to blame him or anything, I’m just trying to say “It does not worth it.” If you have an option, please do it with somebody else. If you do have Brizolis and you want to have a good mark, you’d better be as accurate as a robot. Don’t ever make a foolish mistake like what I did.
Overall, Professor Brizolis is not that bad, but if you want to earn a good grade (A+, A, A-), I would recommend you find another professor, preferably those who have a good reputation on this website. If you still plan to take Math 31B with Brizolis. Good luck with your choice, and remember, there's no room for making any mistake because he will never curve or give out extra credit.
It was incredibly hard for me to accept the fact that this professor literally doesn't understand the class material that he is teaching. His class is basically watching him make up material on the fly and during office hours students try to TEACH THE MATERIAL TO HIM. His exam questions are riddled with mistakes and he makes up the answers based on his liking. Failing to adhere to his answers would cost all points on a problem. This man is NOT a registered professor at UCLA and he certainly does not have the qualifications to be one. The only thing he know how to do is to SLICE AND DICE your GPA. Avoid at all costs!
I WENT THROUGH HELL FOR THIS GRADE.
If I could give this professor a negative rating I would. I never studied for a class to no avail. For the first midterm, I couldn't believe how many intense questions he asked for the 50 minute time constraint. It just didn't make sense to me. Additionally, the final was a HUGE KILLER. He had never taught us 85% of the information on it. I just couldn't believe it. He told us that if we showed improvement throughout the course, he would give us a grade boost. However, how are we supposed to improve when you give us a final with information you never taught us? If this guy is your only choice, wait another quarter because you will SUFFER unnecessarily. IF YOU CAN, TAKE ANOTHER PROFESSOR. It's unfortunate that I have to repeat calculus 2 because I know the information, so taking it again is going to be a huge waste of time. My poor grade is not a reflection of my knowledge, but of his poor teaching skills. Additionally, what made it worse was that he REFUSED to curve. All of the calculus professors I've heard of curved, but he just refused, so there's nothing to save you. His lectures were spent on proofs so you're left to learn all the material on your own. If you take this professor, I honestly wish you the best of luck.
What might be good about his 31B class: Professor Brizolis is helpful and cares about his students. He holds office hours on every lecture day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for most of the weeks. Although I didn't visit him in office hours, I heard from my classmate that his office hours are effective and are worth going to. He constantly communicate with us through e-mail especially during exam weeks and generally respond to my e-mails pretty quickly. He did mention the style of exam questions as he explaines some examples during lectures, and his practice mid-terms are valuable resources for studying both mid-terms as the real ones are very similar in format to these samples. By mastering the practice mid-terms and knowing what's basically going on in this course, one (with a fairly solid high school calc background) can probably secure a very decent grade before the final as long as no fatal mistakes occur. Although I don't know whether or not & to what extent he really considers improvement, Professor Brizolis do claim that we shall not be discouraged by a single bad grade and if you improve a lot in later exams, he will give you a decent grade that you deserve. For me, I think the best way to learn math is by solving problems, so I found his homework after every lecture useful. I got Tim Smits as my TA and he is very effective in his discussion sessions and very resourceful for exam-preparations. He covers questions or topics that does not go in depth in lectures in a very efficient manner, and he provides tons of practice questions and is always there to help during exam weeks.
What might not be good about his 31B class: Although Professor Brizolis claims that he takes improvement into account, he is generally a very strict evaluator. There is no curve (I guess unless the whole class perform extremely poorly), no extra credit, no weighting options (some other maths courses can replace a bad mid-term with a increasing weight on the final, but Brizolis made the weighted percentage for every exam unchangable) and thus very limited space for mistakes throughout the quarter. Getting an A or above means both lots of hard work, and perfect performance during exams. I personally think one or two really tiny mistakes lowered my A to A- . For the hw assignment after every lecture, although it could be useful, it is not a light burden since they are collected in the next lecture and are graded strictly (as you might feel necessary to make sure hw grades are as high as possible). The mid-terms are doable and simlilar to the samples, but the final is harder and very strained in time. Professor Brizolis goes throughly into proof for every lecture, but the process simply takes unnecessarily long time because he goes into too many details which also increased the chance for him to make mistakes. I don't mind taking 5 to 10 minutes every lecture to learn about proof, but spending more than half of the time on such stuff that is never tested is not reasonable for me. Although he managed to cover almost everything in syllabus, some of the topics are just rushed through and are taught very roughly, including certain topics that are tested heavily on the final. I really think Professor Brizolis could find another way of teaching proof that enables him to teach more exam related stuff during lectures.
Theorems. Theorems. Theorems. The man is obsessed with theorems. At one point he said in class, "I could skip this theorem but I feel like I wouldn't be giving you your money's worth." That said, you will never need to know how to derive a theorem on one of his quizzes or tests. It felt at times that the difficulty of the homework was not proportional to the test; people often walked away with an A+ in the homework and C or lower on their midterm and final grade.
Personally, I liked this professor. He was a funny guy, and the few times I went to his (very busy) office hours he solved the homework problems for you - walked you through them step by step. Excellent! However, the tests he designed were so much more difficult than any other part of the class that I cannot say it was good overall. I put hours of work into 31B and got a D on the final and a B- in the class. This was after getting a B+ on the first midterm, A on the second, and A on the homework. I feel like the amount of effort I put into the class was not shown in my final grade, and that was certainly frustrating and disappointing. That said, I understand that it is a weeder class, and so the material is meant to be hard. It will be challenging no matter which professor you have.
My TA was Joe Breen. Take it with him if you can. The man is a godsend.
This class was ridiculous. Professor Brizolis is a smart dude, don’t get me wrong, but his lectures were incredibly fast and hard to follow. He also had a lot of trouble understanding/answering students questions during lecture - whether it was because he was a little hard of hearing, or because he couldn’t comprehend our little pea brains, I couldn’t tell you. Most of the his lectures were proof-based anyways because he claimed that he “wouldn’t be doing his job” if he didn’t explain the proofs in excruciating detail.
Homework is assigned every lecture and must be turned in every lecture, but honestly since it was only worth 5% of your grade you can say it’s just for practice sake. Doing the homework is very helpful, though, and I recommend doing it. He does not curve either, and according to him we were one of the smartest classes he’s ever had (which everybody laughed at because we thought he was joking but it turns out he wasn’t). I never took Calc BC in high school, so learning the material for the first time in his class was extremely difficult, but I ended up with pretty decent scores on the midterms and finals: 90% on Midterm 1, 80% on Midterm 2, 92% on final.
I was blessed with Joe Breen as my TA, which is probably the only reason I got the grade I did. Trust me, this man is a godsend and I owe him everything.
TLDR; this class is not impossible. Even with the right TA, though, you definitely have to study hard and pray that one mistake won’t mess up your entire grade.
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