Based on 185 Users
First of all, I have to admit that Christou is one of the best professors at UCLA. He is the most approachable professor I have ever seen. He usually holds approximately 20 hours of OH a week, if you have any question anytime, u can find him. His office hours help a lot and he is extremely helpful.
HOWEVER, there is a big but... His lecture is usually at an extremely fast pace that if you miss one lecture, it can be really hard for you to know what he is talking about in the next lecture. He gives tons of handouts and he doesn't use textbook, but these handouts are really helpful.
THE MOST HORRIBLE THING about Christou is his exam. I just finished my second Midterm and I would say it is the MOST, MOST, MOST difficult midterm I have ever seen in my LIFE. I studied really hard for the midterm but I think it would be hard for me to get a score over 30. When I got the midterm during the exam, I found I don't know how to do question 1 part a), then I moved up to part b), then i found I don't know how to do part b), then I moved to part c), and I found I don't know how to do part c), I moved to fking part d) desperately. His tests are ridiculous, those tests are useless tests that make us study really hard to get a freaking low score.
And by the way, his midterm is three-hour..... a little bit shorter than a final...
Honestly, you don't need to prepare for the exam because staying up late at night won't improve your score even a little.
He is still one of the best professors at ucla even though he gives ridiculously hard exams. But I do not recommend to take his class if you want to get an A or if you don't want to spend hours and hours of useless time on preparing for his exams while getting a heartbreaking score.
Uhhh let's just say that Christou definitely cares, haha, but his execution with the course was a bit underwhelming considering some of his better reviews here. Not gonna get into the whole exam thing cause the reviews below already get the point across:
- Needs to take teaching speed from like a 100 to like a 2.
- Should use LaTeX more often because his handwriting is absolutely awful.
- Homework is now due two/three times a week and can be pretty difficult, but it was graded on completion (not sure if that's gonna be the case in future quarters).
- Very difficult to link all of the course content together because you go into so many different topics without much depth, unlike MATH 170A/B
- F*ck regression
So yeah, I can't necessarily recommend Christou unless you're like a genius or something and willing to tolerate bad lectures and materials, but hey the curve is alright
I have no idea why so many people on the website like him. His only pro is that he has a lot office hour and has a lot of handout. However, his lecture is not very clear, I feel that his lecture is kind of jumping among different topics. The exams are insanely hard, average is around 40. The questions are not like the homework. It is a mental torture to take the exam.
Instead of complaining again about the super hard exams that everyone already knows. I would like to talk something else about Dr. Christou. I know that his tests may make your quarter super stressful and all, but if you plan to go to graduate school, you should take at least one class with him. It gives you the taste of graduate school, the "challenging academic life" that you always want to have as stated in your Statement of Purpose. I took 100B and 100C with him. I spent at least 3 hours every weekday to study for his class alone. His tests force you to learn, and sadly, yes, you have to put more priority to his class in order to do "good" on the tests. He helped me so so so so much when I applied to grad schools as he would do to you too if you ask him. That was when I realize how much he cares about students' success. You should not go to his office hour before having already tried your best on the assignments, show him that you made efforts to solve them. Now probably you think that I go to his OH everyday and am his favorite student or something, NO, I barely went to his OH, less than 5 times when I took 100B. If you plan to go to grad school, take a class with him, before you apply, go to his OH to ask for advice, tell him what your plan/concern is.
To those who are applying to grad school in statistics: GPA, major, and whether if you took Math115A/131A/151AB/164 /142 matter the most when you apply.
If you are a stats major at UCLA you MUST take a class with professor Christou. I know he is tough and you probably heard horror stories about his 20/100 average midterms and finals, but he is the best professor out there. I learnt so much in his class that made me more certain about my academic career! He also cares deeply about student learning.
In general he's also a really sweet human being. He said BLM in zoom lecture and im just 😭😭😭 All fun aside here are some of logistics:
Because I took it during Spring 2020, ie the coronavirus time, classes are held online and format has been changed. We had 10 quizzes in total (the last one is optional). In the beginning they are called quizzes because you only have 45 minutes to complete them and no collaboration is allowed, but after the first few tries Prof Christou decided to the quizzes more like homework on the weekend. They are still called quizzes tho.
We had 2 midterms. The first one is a 2hr midterm with avg at 27. The second one is a 48 hr one with avg around 46. Both are open book open notes. The exam itself is tough, but it helps you learn a lot in the end.
Final is made optional, so I decided to opt out, and I think most students would do so too.
In the end I recommend taking classes with Prof. Christou. If you have a strong solid math base (especially in linear algebra) you will probably struggle a lot less. If you are just looking to fulfill a req and not really looking to learn more about stats, take it with someone else to save yourself the troubles.
I didn't learn anything in this class. I'm sure the handful of students that were able to actually learn had a great time with Prof. Christou, but for the vast majority of the people taking this course, it was just unnecessary stress. The fact that I got a 20% on all 3 exams in the class and got a B+ is ridiculous and the only reason I can think that people give Christou a high rating is that he almost never fails anyone in his courses. Useless if you're a normal student who wants to learn something, great if you're a genius who wants to make this class you're life for 10 weeks.
I will be honest, near the end of the quarter I was quite burnt out and managed to stay afloat pretty much only because of the TA (Smith).
There were ten homework assignments, three quizzes, two midterms, and a final this quarter. The quizzes were worth 5% of our grade each, and we were given a generous amount of time for all of them. Personally, I didn't appreciate the workload, especially near the end of the quarter when I needed to start cramming for finals (one of the quizzes was on week 10), though the homework assignments definitely help with the exams and quizzes. The midterms were difficult, at least in my opinion. The first midterm had an average of about 36.6%, with a cutoff for an A- at 40%. The second had an average of around 31.5% with a cutoff for an A- at 36%. As of this review, we have yet to take the final, but I'd imagine it to follow roughly the same distribution.
Professor Christou is definitely a very competent lecturer, though I think some might find him to be too quick. Do be sure to make use of his many handouts and daily office hours; if you do so and ask questions, you will probably do fine. Though he may seem a little rude or impatient during his office hours, you will probably get an answer to any question you ask him, and he is in general very helpful.
That being said, this course was quite stressful so I wouldn't take it again, though if I ever feel motivated I may take another course with him in the future, since I think I learned a lot from him.
While he is difficult, I would recommend anyone reading this to take at least one of his courses.
I took this class online in Spring 2020, and Christou is honestly the GOAT. He adjusted the syllabus to account for the online format (got rid of the 20+ homeworks he normally assigns and replaced them with weekly quizzes) and did lectures multiple times a day for people in different timezones. His office hour schedule is legendary; more than two hours a day pretty much 6 days a week if not 7.
This class is not church, you can't get away with going once a week and falling asleep. Tests are ridiculously hard but Christou doesn't treat tests like punitive assessments meant to punish people. Before every test he reiterates that the objective of the tests are to learn new material and apply concepts in different ways rather than just rehash the quizzes/homeworks and he's completely right–I learn a lot and enjoy being challenged by the tests. Pro tip: pay attention in class and take notes, he's a clear lecturer and not everything you need to know is on the handouts. Smith (the TA) was also really good and amde concepts much simpler to understand.
Some parts of the class were in R, but he goes over the code in lectures and if you're taking this you're probably a stats major so seriously–learn R. Those were the easiest assignments all quarter and in my opinion, also the most practical.
Fundamentally, this is a professor who went out of his way to conduct multiple lectures a day, record review videos outlining concepts once a week (in addition to lectures), conduct office hours nearly every day, and made sure to start each class with a preamble about the state of the world–coronavirus, the BLM movement–and reminding us to look after our mental health. He made the final optional and recorded a thank you video at the end of the quarter of himself giving a really inspiring speech in front of the math-sci building. One of the best, most caring professors I've ever had the privilege of taking. Tests are hard and the workload is high, but it's so, so worth it.
Prof. Christou really cares about his students and he is happy to answer questions. Yes what he teaches is more difficult than normal STATS 10 classes and his tests are freakingly hard, but his curve will save you. He is the only professor I have seen who has office hour every day. Definitely love him!
Christou is definitely not a bad professor/lecturer, but I think he's slightly overrated. His lectures go REALLY fast, so sometimes you have to look at the lecture notes that are posted after class, which can be annoying. Homework was medium difficulty, and the overall workload was manageable.
The thing you need to remember about Christou's exams is that their difficulty is balanced by a FAT curve. The class is medium difficulty, but people think it's really hard just because they get bad scores on the exams. While you definitely have to put in effort to get an A, it's very achievable. Probably my favorite aspect of the course is that Christou views exams as learning opportunities rather than opportunities to punish negligent students. He makes the exams really hard and doesn't tell people the letter grade cutoffs until the very end of the course so that people focus on learning the material rather than achieving X% on their overall grade. If you regularly put in effort, you're pretty much guaranteed to pass the class, even though it might not seem like it.
You can tell that Christou cares a lot about student learning just by looking at how frequently he holds office hours. However, he can often be rude or impatient when students ask really basic questions. To some degree I don't blame him because people sometimes ask things that they could easily find the answer to themselves, but a lot of the time his frustration is unwarranted.
Overall, the main thing I found lacking about the course was that there was too much emphasis on derivation/matrix manipulation and not enough emphasis on the ramifications/interpretation of the results that Christou showed in class. For example, one of the bedrock principles of linear models is that we pick the linear combination of random variables that minimizes the mean squared error. While Christou touched on this briefly, he didn't really go over why this is so important, and mainly just focused on deriving all the least squares formulas. You could easily get an A in the class without knowing how this concept relates to actual statistical modelling, and why it's such a crucial concept to understand. I'm probably being a bit unfair here because I feel like this is an inherent weakness of the lecture format, but it's a flaw nonetheless.