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I went to the first few weeks of lectures and learned absolutely nothing. I was confused the entire time and thought it was my fault for not understanding anything, but then I attended Alex (AJ) Moreno's lectures and everything instantly made sense.
But on the plus side, Fan's tests are ridiculously easy and straightforward, and he tells you the exact types of questions he will ask. He also said a 90% is an A, and around 85% an A-. So if you can self-learn/attend another professor's lectures, take this class for the easy A.
Class attendance is not mandatory which is fantastic. Fan's first lecture did not leave a good impression, he basically just followed the textbook and sometimes gave confusing examples. I ditched all of the lectures after the first 2. I like this series which you can watch for free on youtube. ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-03-differential-equations-spring-2010/video-lectures/lecture-1-the-geometrical-view-of-y-f-x-y/
The textbook can be downloaded for free online, don't buy it. The textbook is also hot garbage imo and I often ended up more confused after reading it than when I started. The TAs are a godsend in this class especially Snyder who was able to condense all of the material into his own lectures in a way more understandable way.
The upside is that the tests are very straightforward and often easy or at least easier than the homework. So the class isn't too bad.
Good professor so far in the class
This class was very enjoyable. Dr. Fan's lectures were amazing, and everything made sense. Homework was doable, and exams were fair.
Fan has been an amazing professor for 33B. The homeworks are reasonable, as well as the midterms which he prepares you well for. I barely studied for the first midterm and got an A on it. So as long as you pay attention in lecture then you'll understand the concepts and pass the class easily thanks to his clear explanations of the topics
The textbook is very useful for this class and it helps to read about it before Professor Fan lectures about it. The material itself is not that hard and sometimes the professors lectures are a hit or miss...it's either pretty easy to understand or I have no clue what's happening. That being said his tests are pretty straight forward. He gives us a breakdown of exactly what type of question/how many questions there will be. I think he made the final a bit more challenging though since it was 24hr take home due to COVID-19 but the midterms were pretty easy. The homeworks are sometimes arduous but they are reasonable length/difficulty. If it is hard for you to learn from the textbook I might suggest a different professor, but if you can learn from the textbook and supplement it by lectures I highly recommend taking it with this Professor Fan. He's also really nice and I'm sure going to Office Hours will help but I never felt the need to go.
Professor Fan is a nice guy who gives decent lectures. I never found his lectures interesting, but I think they were still okay. I just read the book and took the exams and did well. His exams are super easy. He will cover confusing theoretical proofs in class, but none of that shows up on the exam. The exams are basically like homework problems off the textbook. If you do the homework, and clarify all of your questions with the TA, you should be good to go for the two midterms. As for the final, we had to switch to an online-platform because of COVID-19, so Professor Fan gave a 24-hour exam. I don't think the exam was that terribly difficult, but it was ridiculously long. He gave problems that were computational nightmares just to make the exam hard. Also, he gave this insane trig-sub integral, which was completely unnecessary, as this is not a class that tests on integration. However, if you use your 24-hour wisely, the exam wasn't this bad. I think my TA was excellent for this class. If Sam Yih is ever an option for Fan, take him. He's clear and approachable and will answer all of your questions. Overall, decent experience in class but great experience with TA and discussion section. Good luck.
Math 33B with Fan is the most manageable math class I've taken at UCLA (32A with Hill being a close second). For one thing, Fan really doesn't cover a whole lot of material. Compared to classes like 32B and 33A that keep building and building throughout the quarter, 33B consists of:
-first order linear ODEs (undetermined coefficient and variation of parameter methods)
-exact ODEs (test for exactness, find integrating factor, solve if homogeneous, etc.)
-existence and uniqueness theorem and autonomous equations
-second order linear ODEs (find general solution if homogeneous or if forcing term exists)
-2x2 systems and phase plane portraits
-higher order systems, exponential of a matrix, and truncation
2x2 systems and above roughly take up the second half of the class, and rely heavily on linear algebra. However, if you understand the mechanics of finding eigenvectors and can learn what to do for real, complex, and repeated eigenvalue cases, then this isn't that bad.
Secondly, Fan is an incredibly generous grader and assigns short homework sets. Both midterms had very high averages (90 and 93) and the final was a little harder, but still very fair considering it was take-home. 90% or above is an A. On the second midterm, I screwed up and got a B, and Fan gave me a point back just for asking why I got something wrong. I imagine that the vast majority of the class this quarter ended up with an A.
Finally, Fan has a good selection of TAs. Nick Boschert is a legend. Switch into his discussion if you can. Clear lectures, good examples, and very helpful.
Fan's only downside is that he is a pretty unclear lecturer and makes mistakes from time to time. Also, you might have to endure Bunche 2209A. But just sit 2/3 of the way to the back and you'll be fine.
The lectures were confusing and made very little sense. He focused a ton on proofs and theory that never came up on exams (as the exams were purely computational). The material itself is relatively easy, but it could have been explained in a much better way. However, the textbook does a great job at explaining so you can get by just teaching yourself. Also, discussion sections are a must- that's when the TAs go over a bunch of practice problems and explain the material in a much more clear way. Dr. Fan definitely made up for his teaching though with how easy his tests were. He gives you every type of problem that will be on the test, and releases past midterms and finals as practice. They're very straightforward, so if you can do the homework, you can do the tests no problem. Also, Dr. Fan tries his best to be helpful during office hours. He definitely cares and makes an effort for his students if you reach out to him.
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