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I wish to write this review in order to help future generation students, either you are math/stats/science majors that require this class as an upper mandatory course or you need to take this class for some reason. Through talking about the big picture about professor Huang, her grading scheme, grading standard, lectures, homework, etc., this review may help you decide whether you should take or continue on this class or not.
About Grading Scheme: 25% Homework + 25% Quizzes + 20% Midterm + 30% Final. OR 25% Homework + 25% Quizzes + 50% Final, Professor will eventually choose the higher one among these two that calculate towards your final grade, which means it is possible to miss the midterm and increase the proportation of weigh of you final. There is also 1% bonus point on your final grade if you do the evaluation at the end of the quarter. For the quiz and homework parts, professor will drop 2 lowest homework scores from the 7 homework scores, and drop 2 lowest quizzes grades from the 7 quiz grades. Initially the A cutoff is 93, but professor Huang said the grades may be curved according to the absolute perfomance of the entire class, so no need to worry about the 93cutoff.
About Midterm: There is only one in-class 50-minute-long midterm that takes up 20% of your final grade. The time of the midterm is quite late in the quarter (roughly week7) and will cover the topics mentioned on the studyguide. Professor Huang always give us a studyguide for exams, including midterm and finals, which are extremely helpful. Make sure that you understand every single question on the studyguide. Midterm is overall fair, consist of 4 , where the difficulty of midterm questions are very similar to the homework questions, relatively easy in general.
About Final: The final is absolutely a disaster, and is the only challenge throughout the entire quarter. Those final exam questions are far harder than the homework sets, and are not similar to the studyguide questions at all. Those unbearbly difficult questions make the average of the final drop to 58.8%, where the midterm average is about 76%. If you do not study very very hard for the final, spend enough time practicing studyguide questions, you might get screwed on the final. I'm a math-major student and still spend 60 hours in the previous week before the final to practice, and I still think the final is VERY DIFFICULT. Both midterm and final questions are not the same questions you did in homework or in discussion, while I heard some other professors use exactly the same hw questions on exams. So if you are not that confident with your performance in this extremely challenging final, try other professors' sessions instead.
About Quizzes: There are in total 7 quizzes throughout the quarter, starting from week 3 to week 10 (midterm week no quiz). The lowest 2 quizzes will be dropped. These weekly quizzes are very easy, which are 10-minutes-long conducted during discussion sessions every Thursday, consist 1 proof questions. All these question come directly from the homeworks, and are exactly the same questions. If you do the homework, then this should be just easy pz for you.
About Homeworks: There are in total 7 homework sets in total. The lowest 2 homework grades will be dropped. Each homework set consist of 2 sections: The first section is the graded question section, this is the one that will be graded, which consist of 3 questions from the text book. The second section is suggested question section (not graded, no need to write down), which is made up of lots of suggested homework questions from the text book assigned by the professor, which are helpful for exams. Doing the suggested part before exams can really help you do better. Overall, the weekly graded section of the homework should take you less than an hour.
About Lectures: All the lectures this quarter are podcasted and posted on Bruinlearn website. Professor Huang also posted notes for every lecture on the website as well, which are very helpful. During the lecture time, all professor did was writing the notes, so it is possible for you not go to the lecture at all (I went to the lecture only once this quarter) by just reading the notes/read textbooks/watch recordings. You can choose from either one of these approaches. Perosnally I think Professor Huang has a very thick accent, so it might be more efficient to read through the textbook and notes by yourself instead of going to the lecture (Textbook is far more comprehensive and self-explanatory).
Overall, the grading scheme is very friendly (easy full mark on HWs and Quizzess) which the proportion of exams are not that high. You wont feel that stressed as workload is evenly distributed throughout the entire quarter. Homeworks and Quizzes are very easy, while Midterm is also very fair and straightfoward. The only challenge is the final, which needs great devotion and time spending on preparing for it. Generally speaking, Huang's Math115A is fair and I would recommend to take hers for future generations~
After reviewing all the comments on her 33A, I'm so shocked, I admit sometime she go through the concepts fast but that's not the excuse for not doing well in the class, and saying she is not a good professor, I mean you can always go to her office hour to ask questions if you don't understand the material, I went to her office hour almost every week, because 115A is a really hard class for me, I usually have some homework questions that I can't solve it myself, and she always really really helps! So I don't understand why the students from 33A have such bad impression on her, in my opinion, she is a great professor who cares students. The weekly quiz is homework problem, so if you do the homework, you are able to do the quiz, and her exams are fair, she gives us review before the exam, so if you don't receive a good grade, blame yourself. Finally, quoting from a previous review :"For those who attacks her Chinese accent, I have two words for you: 垃圾"
Grading: The higher of the two schemes
Scheme 1 - 25% Homework, 25% Quizzes, 20% Midterm, 30% Final, 1% extra credit (course eval)
Scheme 2 - 25% Homework, 25% Quizzes, 50% Final, 1% extra credit (course eval)
Overall, my experience in this class was mixed. Math 115A is inherently a difficult experience for many people due to it being the main transition to upper div math courses, and I think the way Professor Huang teaches the class has both some strong parts and some weak parts. She seems like a nice professor with well-meaning intentions overall, though there are a couple parts of the class that were not great, and some that were decent.
In terms of lectures, I think she was okay. Not the best, but also not the worst. She explains all the material she needs to, but sometimes it's not super clear or she doesn't do a lot of examples to really solidify the concepts for you. She tries to answer all the questions she gets, sometimes her answers help, and sometimes they are equally confusing. In addition, I feel like she doesn't really talk about how to write proofs even though this class is an introduction proofs, she sort of just does them. In this regard your TA might be more helpful, as mine (June Bahr) was. I have heard Professor Huang was more helpful during office hours, but I had a time conflict and was never able to go so I have only heard about how her office hours are and how she answered questions second-hand. If you're able to attend, I'd suggest it.
In terms of homework, the assignments feel relatively low stress in my opinion. She posts a sheet listing a lot of suggested problems, but you'll turn in only 3 questions to be graded so you can focus your energy on getting the right answers on those first before doing practice problems. The graded problems varied in difficulty but with some discussion with classmates, I was able to do pretty well on the homework. Definitely do as many of the suggested problems as you can because they'll be good practice for when you're tested later. Quizzes were usually one question taken during 10 minutes in discussion, and they would often mirror problems from the homework, or in one case the question was exactly the same. Therefore, understanding the homework thoroughly before the Thursday discussion section was key to success. Overall I felt homework and quizzes were fair and not graded too harshly. The lowest 2 scores of each are also dropped which is nice and provides some flexibility. The structure of the class having homework and quizzes make up 50% of the grade and also the reasonable difficulty of each helped reduce my stress somewhat in regards to this class.
Exams were a mixed bag. The midterm was reasonably doable, but I personally screwed up a simple concept by accident which was part of my downfall in terms of the grade I received. In addition, I think the grading may have been slightly harsher compared to quizzes because an answer to a proof that looked similar to one I provided on a quiz received slightly less credit. That said, I think the midterm was relatively fair. On the other hand, the final was absurdly difficult and the types of questions asked were vastly different from any of the homework and quiz questions. I walked out of the exam feeling more confused about the material than when I walked in. Even the more computational questions were difficult. I think to be prepared for the final, you would really need to go above and beyond in learning the material, reading up on the topics discussed further and really refining your proof-writing abilities. I didn't get an amazing grade on it, but I ultimately passed the class so I can't complain.
Would I recommend this class? Assuming you need to take it for your major, it depends. I do think there are probably better professors out there, but the grading in Professor Huang's made it doable overall and she's certainly better than a lot of the other professors who teach this class. If this class fits best in your schedule and/or the other professors are not great then sure, take this class. If another excellent professor is teaching this class during the same quarter, they might be a safer option. Do I regret having her though? No I don't, I think her class was overall fair, except the final.
I think Prof. Huang is a really nice person who genuinely tries her best to help students. I never went to office hours and I wish I had but I heard that people who did got a lot out of it. She's also good at clarifying things if you ask her questions during/after lecture. Her lecture style is kind of boring (she just writes notes on her iPad and you copy them down) and I found it difficult to apply what we learned in lecture to homework problems. Problem sets are very easy and short (3 problems per week) and weekly quizzes were usually one of the homework problems, which was a blessing. That being said, I think you should be doing way more than the assigned homework in order to understand the concepts, and she provides a list of suggested practice problems that are in the textbook. My TA was June Bahr and I recommend her! She seemed very passionate about the subject and was great at clarifying concepts that we learned in lecture and explaining homework problems. I really struggled in this class because I didn't really try to do extra problems or study outside of class until it was too late and ended up doing really poorly on both exams as a result, but Prof. Huang curves very generously so I was able to get a B- instead of the C/D/F I thought I would get. If you're a math major there's no avoiding this class, but if this isn't required for you I have no idea why you would take it unless you're really passionate about the subject.
Look, her English may not be the best, but after reading the 33A reviews, it seems to me that they just seemed to dismiss her help immediately. Professor Huang is an extremely helpful person in office hours, and our TAs are also great resources. I was at times frustrated, but she certainly did put an effort in improving her lecturing. For the reviews of her on 33A: If you ridicule her for her thicker Chinese accent, chances are you are just trying to find excuses as to why you cannot grasp simple concepts in linear algebra. Grow up and have some empathy. In my Math 115A class, if we asked questions relevant to the material, it'd often clear up her explanations, as well as our own understanding of concepts. Don't dismiss Professor Huang just yet, as she has become a much clearer lecturer and is a very, very, very fair professor.
I can understand why some peers are angry in math 33A. As a second year I can tell you that math 33a can be cumbersome at times. Still, I believe Dr. Huang did her best in math 115a. One thing I find a lot of people miss is attending office hours. She actually shows you how to write proofs and helps you remember potential mistakes. Finals is very fair, but if you want an A go beyond the homework from week 1 and do pretty much all problems there and you should be good. Don’t be like me doing these problems in the last two weeks because it is exhausting.
I don't know why people in her 33A class kept complaining since 33A is all about computations, which is much easier than 115A. It’s true that she is not a good lecturer since it is the first year for her. She does not explain all the concepts and proves very well in class. Sometimes her homework requires us to do something that is not taught in class.
Everyone is complaining here, but I will say you can never expect your teacher to teach you and make you understand everything in class. You have to put your effort into it, try to figure out the things you do not understand instead of complaining that your teacher didn’t tell you. If you did not get good grades simply because you did not work hard enough, then stop complaining.
Finally, someone also attacks her Chinese accent. For those people, I have two words for you: 垃圾。
The lectures were kind of boring and the explanations were unclear, but her office hours were helpful and exams and homework are very fair and helpful. Therefore although you might not enjoy the class I still recommend it.
This class was well organized but pretty poorly taught. The grading scheme is as follows:
Homework: 25% (best 5 of 7 homework assignments)
Quizzes: 25% (best 5 of 7 quizzes)
Participation: 1% extra credit by completing the course evals
The homework assignments were only 3 questions graded for correctness, which were usually short proofs or computational problems. There were additional suggested problems that weren't graded. Each of the quizzes were 1 question from the previous week's homework, and were usually pretty easy. The midterm was of average difficulty and was a mix of proof and computational problems similar to the homework problems. The final was similar in format to the midterm, but felt a lot longer and more difficult than the midterm. I also didn't study a lot for the final and bombed it which is why I ended with the grade I did.
However, despite this class being well structured and having a lighter workload, Professor Huang is a pretty poor lecturer. Lectures were hard to follow and consisted of her quickly writing down definitions, theorems, and proofs almost verbatim from the textbook, often not looking up from her tablet to see if students had questions. She almost never gave any motivation for why these definitions and theorems are important or how they relate, and rarely gave examples that would make understanding concepts clearer. During week 8 (or 9 idk) she abruptly announced that we wouldn't be having live lectures that week, and canceled her regularly scheduled office hours and uploaded prerecorded lectures instead. She ended up rescheduling her office hours to later in the day, but would send out an announcement about that literally right before. This was incredibly frustrating because there was an entire week near the end of the quarter where we were learning new content and weren't able to ask questions unless you could make it to her haphazardly scheduled office hours.
Overall, the content of this class should be really important, but I don't feel like I learned that much. To her credit, Professor Huang made review guides for the midterm and final that closely mirrored what we should expect on them. If your goal is to get a good grade, expect to do a lot of self studying and grinding on the problem sets to get a feel of the types of problems you'll encounter on the exams. But if you're concerned about understanding the content well, I would recommend taking 115A with another professor.