Gary A Williams
Department of Physics
AD
2.7
Overall Rating
Based on 48 Users
Easiness 1.8 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 2.7 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 2.4 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 2.8 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Tough Tests

GRADE DISTRIBUTIONS

31.1%
25.9%
20.7%
15.5%
10.4%
5.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

18.9%
15.8%
12.6%
9.5%
6.3%
3.2%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

22.2%
18.5%
14.8%
11.1%
7.4%
3.7%
0.0%
A+
A
A-
B+
B
B-
C+
C
C-
D+
D
D-
F

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

AD

Reviews (35)

1 of 4
1 of 4
Add your review...
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
March 18, 2015

THIS GUY HAS DEADLY EXAMS. AVOID. EVEN IF THE CURVE BALANCES IT OUT, HE MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE SHIT AND RECONSIDER ANY INTEREST YOU HAVE IN PHYSICS

Helpful?

9 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: DR
Dec. 19, 2019

As a freshman who had never taken physics before, this class hit me like a brick (lol). I put in so much time and work to try to catch up and understand what was going on, but I felt crushed by the exams (the average for one of them was in the low 40s and let's just say I got below that). I felt that the problems Prof. Williams went over in class were always too rushed (he would assume we knew how to do in-between steps and just gloss over them, and although I'm sure some people were able to understand, I suspect many weren't able to). I thought that conservation of energy could have been covered more thoroughly, as well as the material towards the end of the quarter (such as gravitational motion and moment of inertia) since they were major topics on the final. Williams was helpful in his office hours, although I was rarely able to stay because of back-to-back classes. I definitely would recommend going if you have the chance. Overall, the lectures were a solid 2.5/5 and the tests were not good, but I think Prof. Williams is nice and isn't one of those professors that takes pride in having a high fail rate or anything like that.

Helpful?

4 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: N/A
Dec. 11, 2019

TLDR: Gary looks like a nice old man but he will brutally assault your grade. In the end everybody gets fucked so the curve ends up ok lol.

Gary Williams looks like the sweetest man on the planet but this class is pretty brutal. That being said I don't think its as bad as everybody else says. Although the midterms are way too hard and the averages/distributions are god awful, the only thing that makes them tough is the time crunch which everybody feels so the curve in the end is pretty nice. As long as you do consistently do the homework assignments you actually do get a pretty good intuition and understanding of the concepts. The final was basically two midterms in the time of three midterms which seriously takes the pressure off and lets you do pretty well. He curves according to a normal distribution with the median placed around a B which I think is pretty fair honestly.

Helpful?

7 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: I
Nov. 20, 2019

WARNING: DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. Even if you think you know Physics very well before. You will 100% regret after taking his first midterm. His lectures are superficial, his homework may seem doable, but don't get fooled!!! He gives DEADLY exams that will destroy your confidence and make you feel like sh*t.

He gives 3 big problems on midterms, each worth 30-40 points, and expect you to write a whole page of formulas and calculations to find one single final answer without giving you any hints. Even if you know the concepts and formulas very well, that is completely USELESS. Because he does not split a big question into smaller parts and lead you to the final answer (like most other reasonable teachers), you will get ZERO points for that question if you fail to think of how to work out the problem in minutes.

Most likely what will happen to you on his exam is that you will get stuck on all problems, getting back and forth for several times, leaving your test paper almost blank because you don't have the slightest idea where to begin on any problem, and find out that time is up. The average of his midterms are around 50s.

I KNOW what I'm talking about. I took high level IB Physics in high school and get a 7 of 7 (A/A+), so I probably know more Physics than most of the ones who take this class, and still feel like I'm useless.

WARNING: DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS.

Helpful?

10 2 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: B
Dec. 26, 2019

I did A Level Physics in high school, which covered most of the topics in this course but was "trigonometry-based," according to the physics department counselor, so I had to take it here which is "calculus-based." I also took it in my second year. I didn't show up to class much after the first midterm (8am 4 days a week, not exactly pleasant), wasn't diligent on watching the BruinCasts, so I had to cram either all the casted lectures or the entire textbook chapter the day before homework is due to manage to learn the right methods to try the homework questions. Contrary to what people have said, I think Gary teaches good methods to answer exam problems, which makes me wonder if that is all "physics" is at this level. Homework and exam problems are hard because they combine different, simpler scenarios in one setting, but I believe if I spent more time and was more patient, I would've understood how to attempt those problems much better. I also acknowledge that I studied the topics in high school before, so it might have been easier for me to pick it up, and I understand many people's struggles. If you have to take this class with Gary, make sure you're happy with the lecture timing, take time to read the textbook online (on the Pearson website whose access you purchase for 33 dollars) as it does walk you through the ideas, and pay specific attention to the example problems in the textbook as they resemble the questions you will have for homework. Good luck. And if you're scared you won't do well, know that you can try your best and there are things out of your control.

Helpful?

3 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: B
Nov. 21, 2019

I would have to second the guy below me. this teacher gives the worst midterms ever. The second one was absolutely terrible and he is so condescending when people come to him to ask questions. He expects so much out of us in such a short amount of time. His lectures are so unengaging and boring. No point in even listening to them because he teaches middle school level ideas of physics in class but expects us to do a Ph.D. level dissertation on his midterms. Though homework and his office hours are helpful, they don't help you at all in the end. Like the guy below, I also know what I'm doing: I took AP Physics 1 and 2 in high school and got a 5 on both, I'm a physics major for Gene Block's sake. This class is, unfortunately, making me want to change my major. Fuck this class and I pray for all of you guys who are going to take it.

Helpful?

8 2 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: B
March 31, 2022

If you can avoid Williams, I would. He is not an engaging lecturer, and while you do learn some things, learning doesn't necessarily feel complete. The biggest problem I have with this class however lies in grading. For this quarter, there was a final, a midterm and five quizzes--the quizzes summed up were equal to the midterm. The quizzes especially were difficult and in my opinion way outside and above what was taught in lecture and the expectations were passed what was taught. Another thing that was an issue was how strict the grading was. Many people would get low scores on quizzes and there would be no rubric for them, just a raw score. And while he does post solutions, you aren't sure why you fully got those points and that many points knocked off. I even requested a regrade because something was there that should have received points but he ended up taking other points off because a derivation wrong--mind you I already didn't get points for the correct answer so I just got points taken mindlessly. Another point is that if you get a derivation or an equation wrong say in part b, if the following parts depend on your answer in part b, you aren't getting a single point in the following parts. This happened to me on the midterm. Overall, after experiencing all of this for an entire quarter, I can easily say that I dread mechanics and this class was so draining and not motivating and by the time finals came around I was more relieved to be done than stressed for the final itself.

Final note: Someone in the class attended his office hours before the final and according to them, he had said "I want to screw you guys over hard on the final." Take that as you will.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: C
March 30, 2022

If you've taken physics before and are very familiar with the concepts, then I would say Gary would be a manageable professor to take. However if you have not taken physics at all, beware. The other reviews are true that this guy gives REALLY REALLY hard exams. I do think I learned a lot about physics this quarter as I truly worked hard, but just felt so crushed by the exams. (lets just say everything was a solid F without the curve) The homework assignments don't even compare to the exams, and although homework and office are helpful to learning physics, you still feel like you didn't prepare enough when you take his quizzes and midterm. He did nothing to make physics interesting and taught solely theoretical and with example problems and didn't actually show us how to have intuition for the huge word problems, like at all. It's so much stress and torture being in this class because you have no idea where you stand and the exams are made so you won't do well. Even if you bomb the midterm and quizzes, just know if you study hard and do decent on the final the curve will save you. You have a lot more time on the final which really helps, compared to the midterms and quizzes. Fuck this class and if you have to do it, just keep going even if you feel like shit about your physics skills for the quarter. DON'T give up!

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: N/A
March 30, 2022

I love physics, but this class gave me a run for my money. He's not a terrible professor, just difficult to learn from. Some tips for future students if you must take Williams:
- You don't learn from him, you learn from the textbook (which you must read before coming to each lecture)
- Take VERY good notes from the textbook, as his in-person lectures are often hard to decode and you don't have the time to sit there and wonder if he wrote "velocity" or "vector" before he moves on
- The Pearson homework assignments are long and poorly worded, but they are only worth 5% (that said they are the only comprehensive practice you get with the content so you should do them)
- Expect that the tests are way harder than the homework/in-person examples/discussion assignments (they are open note/book, but you can't rely on notes to set up the problem)
- Make an equation sheet (treat this like gold because he will often rely on the previous unit's equations for tests and homework)

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: A
March 30, 2022

Despite not being the most charismatic lecture, Prof. Williams is a good professor and researcher. Physics 1A is a very hard course, and you seriously have to do a lot of catch up after class yourself. Don't panic too much about what grade you are going to get! Just do your best and enjoy the process. Don't be scared off too much by rumors either. Overall, it's still a good experience.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: N/A
Grade: N/A
March 18, 2015

THIS GUY HAS DEADLY EXAMS. AVOID. EVEN IF THE CURVE BALANCES IT OUT, HE MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE SHIT AND RECONSIDER ANY INTEREST YOU HAVE IN PHYSICS

Helpful?

9 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: DR
Dec. 19, 2019

As a freshman who had never taken physics before, this class hit me like a brick (lol). I put in so much time and work to try to catch up and understand what was going on, but I felt crushed by the exams (the average for one of them was in the low 40s and let's just say I got below that). I felt that the problems Prof. Williams went over in class were always too rushed (he would assume we knew how to do in-between steps and just gloss over them, and although I'm sure some people were able to understand, I suspect many weren't able to). I thought that conservation of energy could have been covered more thoroughly, as well as the material towards the end of the quarter (such as gravitational motion and moment of inertia) since they were major topics on the final. Williams was helpful in his office hours, although I was rarely able to stay because of back-to-back classes. I definitely would recommend going if you have the chance. Overall, the lectures were a solid 2.5/5 and the tests were not good, but I think Prof. Williams is nice and isn't one of those professors that takes pride in having a high fail rate or anything like that.

Helpful?

4 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: N/A
Dec. 11, 2019

TLDR: Gary looks like a nice old man but he will brutally assault your grade. In the end everybody gets fucked so the curve ends up ok lol.

Gary Williams looks like the sweetest man on the planet but this class is pretty brutal. That being said I don't think its as bad as everybody else says. Although the midterms are way too hard and the averages/distributions are god awful, the only thing that makes them tough is the time crunch which everybody feels so the curve in the end is pretty nice. As long as you do consistently do the homework assignments you actually do get a pretty good intuition and understanding of the concepts. The final was basically two midterms in the time of three midterms which seriously takes the pressure off and lets you do pretty well. He curves according to a normal distribution with the median placed around a B which I think is pretty fair honestly.

Helpful?

7 1 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: I
Nov. 20, 2019

WARNING: DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS. Even if you think you know Physics very well before. You will 100% regret after taking his first midterm. His lectures are superficial, his homework may seem doable, but don't get fooled!!! He gives DEADLY exams that will destroy your confidence and make you feel like sh*t.

He gives 3 big problems on midterms, each worth 30-40 points, and expect you to write a whole page of formulas and calculations to find one single final answer without giving you any hints. Even if you know the concepts and formulas very well, that is completely USELESS. Because he does not split a big question into smaller parts and lead you to the final answer (like most other reasonable teachers), you will get ZERO points for that question if you fail to think of how to work out the problem in minutes.

Most likely what will happen to you on his exam is that you will get stuck on all problems, getting back and forth for several times, leaving your test paper almost blank because you don't have the slightest idea where to begin on any problem, and find out that time is up. The average of his midterms are around 50s.

I KNOW what I'm talking about. I took high level IB Physics in high school and get a 7 of 7 (A/A+), so I probably know more Physics than most of the ones who take this class, and still feel like I'm useless.

WARNING: DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS.

Helpful?

10 2 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: B
Dec. 26, 2019

I did A Level Physics in high school, which covered most of the topics in this course but was "trigonometry-based," according to the physics department counselor, so I had to take it here which is "calculus-based." I also took it in my second year. I didn't show up to class much after the first midterm (8am 4 days a week, not exactly pleasant), wasn't diligent on watching the BruinCasts, so I had to cram either all the casted lectures or the entire textbook chapter the day before homework is due to manage to learn the right methods to try the homework questions. Contrary to what people have said, I think Gary teaches good methods to answer exam problems, which makes me wonder if that is all "physics" is at this level. Homework and exam problems are hard because they combine different, simpler scenarios in one setting, but I believe if I spent more time and was more patient, I would've understood how to attempt those problems much better. I also acknowledge that I studied the topics in high school before, so it might have been easier for me to pick it up, and I understand many people's struggles. If you have to take this class with Gary, make sure you're happy with the lecture timing, take time to read the textbook online (on the Pearson website whose access you purchase for 33 dollars) as it does walk you through the ideas, and pay specific attention to the example problems in the textbook as they resemble the questions you will have for homework. Good luck. And if you're scared you won't do well, know that you can try your best and there are things out of your control.

Helpful?

3 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Fall 2019
Grade: B
Nov. 21, 2019

I would have to second the guy below me. this teacher gives the worst midterms ever. The second one was absolutely terrible and he is so condescending when people come to him to ask questions. He expects so much out of us in such a short amount of time. His lectures are so unengaging and boring. No point in even listening to them because he teaches middle school level ideas of physics in class but expects us to do a Ph.D. level dissertation on his midterms. Though homework and his office hours are helpful, they don't help you at all in the end. Like the guy below, I also know what I'm doing: I took AP Physics 1 and 2 in high school and got a 5 on both, I'm a physics major for Gene Block's sake. This class is, unfortunately, making me want to change my major. Fuck this class and I pray for all of you guys who are going to take it.

Helpful?

8 2 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: B
March 31, 2022

If you can avoid Williams, I would. He is not an engaging lecturer, and while you do learn some things, learning doesn't necessarily feel complete. The biggest problem I have with this class however lies in grading. For this quarter, there was a final, a midterm and five quizzes--the quizzes summed up were equal to the midterm. The quizzes especially were difficult and in my opinion way outside and above what was taught in lecture and the expectations were passed what was taught. Another thing that was an issue was how strict the grading was. Many people would get low scores on quizzes and there would be no rubric for them, just a raw score. And while he does post solutions, you aren't sure why you fully got those points and that many points knocked off. I even requested a regrade because something was there that should have received points but he ended up taking other points off because a derivation wrong--mind you I already didn't get points for the correct answer so I just got points taken mindlessly. Another point is that if you get a derivation or an equation wrong say in part b, if the following parts depend on your answer in part b, you aren't getting a single point in the following parts. This happened to me on the midterm. Overall, after experiencing all of this for an entire quarter, I can easily say that I dread mechanics and this class was so draining and not motivating and by the time finals came around I was more relieved to be done than stressed for the final itself.

Final note: Someone in the class attended his office hours before the final and according to them, he had said "I want to screw you guys over hard on the final." Take that as you will.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: C
March 30, 2022

If you've taken physics before and are very familiar with the concepts, then I would say Gary would be a manageable professor to take. However if you have not taken physics at all, beware. The other reviews are true that this guy gives REALLY REALLY hard exams. I do think I learned a lot about physics this quarter as I truly worked hard, but just felt so crushed by the exams. (lets just say everything was a solid F without the curve) The homework assignments don't even compare to the exams, and although homework and office are helpful to learning physics, you still feel like you didn't prepare enough when you take his quizzes and midterm. He did nothing to make physics interesting and taught solely theoretical and with example problems and didn't actually show us how to have intuition for the huge word problems, like at all. It's so much stress and torture being in this class because you have no idea where you stand and the exams are made so you won't do well. Even if you bomb the midterm and quizzes, just know if you study hard and do decent on the final the curve will save you. You have a lot more time on the final which really helps, compared to the midterms and quizzes. Fuck this class and if you have to do it, just keep going even if you feel like shit about your physics skills for the quarter. DON'T give up!

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: N/A
March 30, 2022

I love physics, but this class gave me a run for my money. He's not a terrible professor, just difficult to learn from. Some tips for future students if you must take Williams:
- You don't learn from him, you learn from the textbook (which you must read before coming to each lecture)
- Take VERY good notes from the textbook, as his in-person lectures are often hard to decode and you don't have the time to sit there and wonder if he wrote "velocity" or "vector" before he moves on
- The Pearson homework assignments are long and poorly worded, but they are only worth 5% (that said they are the only comprehensive practice you get with the content so you should do them)
- Expect that the tests are way harder than the homework/in-person examples/discussion assignments (they are open note/book, but you can't rely on notes to set up the problem)
- Make an equation sheet (treat this like gold because he will often rely on the previous unit's equations for tests and homework)

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
Quarter: Winter 2022
Grade: A
March 30, 2022

Despite not being the most charismatic lecture, Prof. Williams is a good professor and researcher. Physics 1A is a very hard course, and you seriously have to do a lot of catch up after class yourself. Don't panic too much about what grade you are going to get! Just do your best and enjoy the process. Don't be scared off too much by rumors either. Overall, it's still a good experience.

Helpful?

1 0 Please log in to provide feedback.
1 of 4
2.7
Overall Rating
Based on 48 Users
Easiness 1.8 / 5 How easy the class is, 1 being extremely difficult and 5 being easy peasy.
Clarity 2.7 / 5 How clear the professor is, 1 being extremely unclear and 5 being very clear.
Workload 2.4 / 5 How light the workload is, 1 being extremely heavy and 5 being extremely light.
Helpfulness 2.8 / 5 How helpful the professor is, 1 being not helpful at all and 5 being extremely helpful.

TOP TAGS

  • Tough Tests
    (21)
ADS

Adblock Detected

Bruinwalk is an entirely Daily Bruin-run service brought to you for free. We hate annoying ads just as much as you do, but they help keep our lights on. We promise to keep our ads as relevant for you as possible, so please consider disabling your ad-blocking software while using this site.

Thank you for supporting us!