Calculus for Life Sciences Students

Michael Allen Hall

Calculus for Life Sciences Students

Mathematics department

Michael Allen Hall

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from 9 users


Overall 3.7
Easiness of class 3.5
Workload 3.3
Not Clear
Clarity of professor 3.7
Not Helpful
Helpfulness of professor 4.3


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Spring 2014

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

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Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted June 14, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

I took Hall's lectures for both Math 3A and 3B (yes I chose him deliberately for 3B after I take him for 3A even I have to wait for a quarter, and I think that explains a lot). He is a really nice person--in my opinion that is a lot more important than he is an easy professor.

Yes, I agree that his exams and homework may be overwhelming for some, but his exams are really well-designed to differentiate those students who master the material and those who don't. That means if you work hard, you definitely will get rewarded on the exams. If you go to the lectures, take notes and review those notes before exams, you can't do too bad. I rather have a professor who has exams like this than have an "easy" professor--I've had some classes in which I pretty much got the same grades as those who didn't work as hard as I did, and I think that's very unfair. I've also had some classes in which no matter how hard I worked, I still got a low grade--and I guarantee that Professor Hall's class is not like that at all.

For the homework, they are also very carefully chosen--you may have to go over the notes to do them, but after I finish my homework I usually feel that I understand the material better. The homework is 20% out of the whole grades, some people say it helps them to get a better grade.

It is a shame that he's not teaching math 3C next quarter.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted June 11, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

I'm not sure why Hall has such high ratings on here. He is an okay teacher in my opinion.

I was heavily warned not to take his class by friends who had taken him Fall quarter, but I had no other option. He wasn't as terrible as they had told me, but I definitely understood their woes, especially for those who had never taken Calculus before and were attempting to learn from him.

Hall seems to explain some concepts that are unnecessary for Life Sciences students. I think that he sometimes forgets that we don't necessarily need to know every single proof and definition of the most obscure formulas. He often will explain things in class, and then when I went to do the homework, I found that his class notes did not help at all, but that I could find a SIMPLE formula in the book that made the homework not seem so hard. I have no idea why he didn't just go over the formulas in lecture instead of trying to do all this super weird math that I could barely follow. However, I went to my TAs office hours every week and got help on the homework, and ended up getting 100% on every homework I turned in (which really helped my grade in the class.)

I did pretty well on both of the midterms, but I attribute this to a) already haven taken Calculus in high school, therefore having background knowledge of what we were learning in class, and b) going to office hours EVERY week. The first midterm I got an 80% uncurved, and the class average was a 48%. Second midterm I got an 84%, and the class average was a 69%. The first midterm was way too long for the amount of time we had (just the 50 minutes in class) and almost no one finished; thus, the low average. The second midterm was MUCH better.
The final was more difficult than I was expecting, and I think I did so-so on it. However, everyone else seemed to be struggling just as much, and I know that with the curve + my first two midterm grades, I'll probably still end up with an A in his class.

Hall's teaching style was relatively straightforward (besides all the random math that didn't seem relevant.) He has REALLY nice handwriting and all of his notes are easy to follow and organized on the board, which helps if you come in late and miss the beginning. He does stammer a lot, but it is kind of adorable. He's very quirky and dorky, yet he's interesting to listen to and his lectures aren't too boring.

Despite the likelihood of getting an A in his class, I still had to work to make sure that I would get it, and if given the option to take another professor, I would have. If you've never taken Calculus before, I STRONGLY discourage you from taking him. I think it would be exceptionally difficult to learn from him, as he would often explain relatively simple calculus concepts (like integration) in a way that I would have thought would be confusing had I not already taken Calc in high school. However, if you have taken Calc before, you can definitely get by in this class.

To sum it up, Hall isn't impossible, but I would suggest looking into other professors who are available. You can definitely pull an A in his class, but it won't be as easy as it will be with other math professors. I had Gilles for 3A and I LOVED him!!! So see what other options you have, but don't be too discouraged if you end up with Hall. Just be prepared to put in the extra work.

Quarter Taken: N/A Submitted June 10, 2014 Grade Received: N/A

What can I say about this professor? Yeah sure, I will agree with the comments on this page, he has a nice personality and good intentions, however that is only part of the experience of having him as your professor. If you have the option to take another professor with higher reviews, definitely take the other one.

Hall is a nice guy, but what it comes down to is leaning the material. Yes, Life Science majors do not have to take many math courses, however,this professor does not explain the material all that well. More often that not, he wont get really into the concepts, he will just give you these long equations and formulas to do a particular math problem. I did not understand conceptually why I was doing certain things, I just knew I had to do them because they were a part of this formula. Fortunately, I had someone explain to me what all these concepts meant in regards to one another and it made the math so much easier! Hall likes to be tricky on both his midterms and the curve ends up being low. His study guides are not that relevant to the exams and his homeworks are time consuming and tedious. He does not do a good job of explaining the material and he does not prepare you for exams. He gives study guides, but they are usually really close to the exam date and can be pretty irrelevant, but that's if you get a practice guide. He just happen not to send a review for the final. If you take this Professor, feel prepare to be thrown in with the wolves... and hope you can find a tutor to fix his lack of instruction.

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