Federico Scavia

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Easiness 2.5/ 5
Clarity 2.8/ 5
Workload 3.8/ 5
Helpfulness 3.3/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Fall 2022 - I found that Scavia was neither a good nor bad lecturer. He taught at a breakneck speed, and if I did not come to class without at least skimming the textbook section, I was lost. Oftentimes it felt like he was talking to the whiteboard rather than lecturing the class, and did not always pause to answer questions. He does have a moderately thick Italian accent, but that was rarely an issue for me. - The topics in this class are fundamental for many majors, so it is pertinent that you understand his lectures. Luckily he lectures directly from the textbook, just less clearly. I also spent hours upon hours learning from YouTube University, which was critical to understanding lecture. - Scavia expects you to have not just a decent grasp of the materials needed for this class, but a superb grasp. I came into this class with a pretty poor mathematical background. There were some instances involving trigonometry, integration methods, or factorials that I never learned in high school, but had to quickly learn to keep up with the pace of his class. If you have a good mathematical background (took 31A or AP Calc BC prior) unlike me, however, you should be comfortable with the first half of this class. The second half (Series) builds upon the first, and requires quite a bit of memorization and conceptual understanding. - Speaking of conceptual understanding, Scavia lectures and tests in a very theoretical way. His lectures included proofs of the concepts, involving greek characters/mathematical symbols that he did not explain the meanings of - he assumed we knew what they meant already. My advice for these confusing parts of lecture is to just ignore it as it will not be on the homework or tests. - There were a few occasions where I asked Scavia (over email) to clarify a topic I was unfamiliar with, and he said "Check chapter _ of the textbook" which was not helpful. Similarly, his office hours were frequent, and very similar to his lectures, which is either good or bad depending on how you like his teaching style. There were instances where he would say solving some problems with certain methods "takes just a bit of magic," which was funny, but not very helpful. - Regarding his tests, there were two midterms worth 20% each, a final worth 45% (and homework at 15%). The tests were difficult. Problems were an amalgamation of concepts across several homework sets, so being able to do the homework (which is straight from the textbook) is critical. Tests were both multiple choice and free response. Multiple choice was more conceptual and often had trick questions, and he was very stringent with giving partial credit on the free response questions. - Overall, Scavia is a professor who is efficient and concise, to the detriment of the majority of his students.
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