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If you have to take Math 61 with someone, try to get Professor Rubin if possible. His lectures are easy to follow and pretty standard and his humour kept me engaged. He is extremely clear of what he expects and will give multiple reminders of things such as homework being due, exams, and what to bring to exams. His homework ranges in difficulty with some homework set taking 2-3 hours and others taking upwards to 6-7. I frequently went to his office hours and he is more than happy to explain concepts. Also, he is very accommodating and often made up office hours if something ever came up. If you are experiencing difficulty with the homework, I definitely recommend using the Student Math Centre and I went there almost every week if I had questions with the homework. He also uses Piazza (online forum) which made answering questions really easy. Discussion is required for part of the grade and only 5%. I honestly did not find my TA super engaging but having a stellar TA is not a huge factor for his course. The difficulty of his exams and final are very comparable and are on the same difficulty as the homework (if not easier). As a result, averages for the exam are pretty high (80%+) and with 40 point exams, there is very little room for careless mistakes. Rubin gave us extra credit on the final but I wouldn't expect extra credit. In terms of the actual material, there is a lot to unpackage and ranges from sets and functions to counting to graphs and trees. If you have any experience with CS or competition math this will prove to be very useful for this course. Overall, I would highly recommend taking this course and any course with Professor Rubin.
His grade scheme is as follows:
5% Discussion Attendance
20% Midterm 1
20% Midterm 2
(Worst Homework Score Dropped)
5% Discussion Attendance
30% Best Midterm
(Worst Homework Score Dropped)
I think that the quarter that I took it was Professor Rubin’s first quarter teaching, but I would 11/10 recommend him.
Professor Rubin is extremely clear during lectures and his class was appropriately paced. He will stop to explain and answer students’ questions if there are any. He also has a pretty good sense of humor and I feel like he is funny without really trying, as in he will randomly make some remarks that make the class laugh.
Discussions are mandatory for the attendance grade and my TA passed around a sign in sheet. For my discussion section, the TA went over the course content briefly and then gave us a worksheet to do. It’s not mandatory to turn the worksheet in, but just good practice. At the end of the last 20 ish minutes, the TA will go over the worksheet. I’m not sure if that’s how all discussion sections go though.
Usually, any hw or content related questions will be answered by the TAs and they are very helpful and respond pretty quickly. Any logistics related questions the professor will also respond pretty quickly. As for office hours, I have personally never went to any, but whenever office hours are cancelled due to a holiday, the professor will offer make up office hours after break.
There is weekly homework, most of which are textbook problems, with the occasional extra problems from the professor. The homework problems are, in my opinion, much harder than his actual exams. It took me quite a bit of time and thinking and looking at Piazza to finish the problems. However, the amount is not crazy a lot and I think it was pretty reasonable for a math class. As mentioned earlier, the exams aren’t that bad and is actually pretty easy if you know the content and have attempted the problems. There is also more than enough time to complete the problems. If I remember correctly, the midterms each have 4 problems (some with multiple parts) and final has 8 problems. The problems aren’t tricky and are really just testing your understanding. Also, both midterms had an average of around 80 or 84, which probably says a lot about the exam difficulty. The only thing, though, is that the professor doesn’t give out practice problems. He will give a study guide but it’s really just a list of topics that he has covered.
Overall, I highly Professor Rubin’s class. However, although the exams weren’t hard, I would still recommended studying ahead and doing the hw/practice problems. Discrete math covers a variety of topics so it’s important to be familiar with all of them.
I feel like most of what I wanted to say has already been covered by the other reviews, but I’ll add some since I thought Rubin was a great professor.
His lectures were engaging and clear (very funny guy as well), he went at a very reasonable pace (decently quick but also took time to explain details). Participation, questions, etc. were encouraged but not forced.
I also went to his office hours once and got the information I needed. He runs it like a mini classroom setting (when I was there there were around 10 other people), and goes around answering people’s questions, so you might actually learn something you weren’t expecting as well.
The homework was admittedly extremely difficult at times and I was really worried for the first midterm. However the two midterms should be completely fine as long as you knew the content, the questions are fairly basic and nothing compared to the homework.
The final is also by no means unfair, but it was quite a bit harder than the midterms, so don’t be blindsided.
The material is heavy and can be confusing, but Dr. Rubin is surely one of the friendliest professors one can have at UCLA. With the huge class we have, he does everything he could. Just a reminder that we have about 200 students, so be sure to do extra problems in the book (I didn’t do it till it was too late) because everyone will try their very best! Overall he is a wonderful professor, and I am grateful for everything he has done for us.
Professor Rubin's lectures are engaging and he made this course much easier to approach. His midterms and finals are fair with an average score of around 80, and he is really humorous and willing to help his students. His homework workload is heavy but these problems are really similar to the exam, (I got a B+ since I was sick during finals week.) and I believe that he is one of the best Math professors at UCLA.