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A lot of the other reviews on Professor Fan's Math 31A class are very negative and I don't understand why. He is a great professor that is willing to help you if you go to him with questions. Although he does have an accent, I didn't find it difficult to understand his lectures at all. He often makes jokes in the class that make him quite endearing. I find that the most of the people who complain about the professor are the ones who either: A) aren't putting in the work to fully understand the subjects that we are going over in class, or B) are idiot jocks who are most likely going to drop Math after this class because they don't have the brain cells to comprehend even the definition of a derivative.
class wasn't too difficult bc i've taken calc before; but i can genuinely say that if i hadn't, this class would've been hell. prof is terrible at explaining & doesn't leave room for any student-teacher interactions. he seems like a super nice guy but just honestly not the best teacher. he posts his lecture notes on ccle (so honestly there's not that much of a point in going) & his TAs are super helpful.
Professor Fan is incredibly knowledgeable about mathematics. He really loves math and it shows when he is teaching. He does have an accent, but I believe he is very clear. I also went to his office hours once, and I had missed almost all the points on a midterm question. I was reluctant to show him my paper because I was kind of embarrassed, but he looked over my shoulder and saw my paper anyway. He didn't have any reaction and actually spent over 15 minutes trying to explain it to me in a very kind and encouraging way. He is kind and cares about his students understanding the concepts.
I took this class without having taken calculus in high school and not even knowing what a derivative was. I was so confused during lecture because he already expects the students to know certain things since almost all the students had taken calculus before. I studied super hard and got a D on my first midterm and I realized I have to try even harder in this class. Almost all of my study time went into this class and I pretty much taught calculus to myself. I got a B on my second midterm and with the curve it turned into an A- and then got a C+ on my final. Luckily the professor uses grade distribution and I ended the class with an A- which I thought was IMPOSSIBLE. Although he’s not the greatest at explaining things because of his accent and his tendency to assume students know things, he’s very nice and cracked jokes. His intention is to give as many A’s as possible which is why he’s so flexible with curves. My raw score in this class would’ve been a C+ but he curved so that as many students as possible could get A’s. He’s a very kind guy and I would probably take this class with him again but I know I’d have to put in all the work. Also, the homework is very reasonable and doesn’t take too long to do, it’s nothing crazy.
This class was awful in terms of exam difficulty. Lectures are quite confusing. His accent is incredibly thick and it can be difficult to decipher what he says. All of his lectures only consist of theories demonstrated with variables - he doesn't explain them much with examples. I did my roommate's midterm (who was in the same math class with a different prof) for practice for my midterm, and mine was EXPONENTIALLY harder. My TA and the SMC were the only reasons I survived. You need to study very hard to get a good grade in this class if you hadn’t taken calc before like me.
It was my first time studying calculus and boi was this class hard. The topics aren't the problem, it's the professor. He is from China, so he has a rough accent that makes it difficult to understand what he says in class.
Lectures would only be demonstrations of rules.
It is clear Professor Fan knows a lot about math, but he can't properly explain it to 1st-year students. If your calculus is not strong, don't take him.
I took AP Calc AB in high school so this course should have been a review yet I struggled like crazy. Fan is a good guy but his lectures are basically just him reading from his notes, which he posted on CCLE anyway. If you were to just study his notes and never go to lecture, you would have been golden. I think his exams were significantly harder than those for other 31A classes during this quarter. He always did a "challenge problem" for the last question on exams and they absolutely destroyed my grade. He says it's only 5 points so it's not a bid deal but there were only 50 points on the exam so those 5 points are 10% of your grade. I think for the second midterm, the max score was 92% because NO ONE actually got full credit on the last problem. Those problems are always conceptual and they ask you to prove some statement usually. This is probably to expose us more to the structure of upper div math, but we're just a bunch of dumb first-years who don't understand anything yet so it was real rough. However, he really came through at the end and hit us with an EXTREMELY generous grading curve and I got a significantly higher final grade than my midterms and final scores. So basically, professor isn't the best lecturer but the class won't ruin your GPA either.
Make sure you have a basic knowledge of Calculus before you take this class because he doesn't really explain things well. You don't really need to attend lecture because he posts his notes on CCLE. Homework is light, and the midterms are pretty fair except for the last "challenge" question. Professor says that the "challenge" question is only worth 5 points, but that's literally 10% of the midterm that I get 0 on. Even the TA's think the question is unfair, but at least the professor curves really nicely. I got a C- on the second midterm and a B on the final and still ended with an A.