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Wong was not a bad professor in terms of his ability to teach the material and explain concepts clearly, but god his tests were BS. The questions were way more difficult than anything he provided as examples to study with. There was a whole question on the final focussed on a subject we touched on for maybe 5 minutes in class. Even though I would go into the tests feeling confident and prepared, I would come out of them feeling defeated and confident in none of my answers. However, all that being said, he did award an INSANE amount of partial credit. There were questions that I got wrong but still got 4/5 partial credit points on. On the first midterm, I only actually got 1 or 2 fully correct answers, but still somehow got a 91. Weird class.
I'm not joking when I say I was screaming crying throwing up before, during, and after each of my exams. He makes them unnecessarily hard, he doesn't teach half the shit he tests us on and expects us to know everything about this class beforehand. The first midterm was so brutal not a single person I knew did well, the mean for both midterms was a C+ I believe and the final avg is probably gonna be worse because it was so fucking hard??? Like I studied so much and I was so fucking lost during the test I just wanted to cry. Also, we had this thing called a 'challenge problem set' and it was the stupidest shit ever, he'd give us a set of questions that we'd had to solve and write in the form of a freaking textbook. We had to explain each and everything we were doing and WRITE math and it was literally so annoying. The grading for these challenge problem sets was so inconsistent, one of my friends literally copied my solution (paraphrased ofc) but she got a 100 and I got a 90?? I despise this class so much. My TA was crappy too, one of my quiz grades (worth 100 points) had to be changed but he never responded to my emails and I lost a huge chunk of points. The professor also gave us practice tests which were so so so so so much easier than the actual exams and he told us our exams would be similar to that but they were really not lol. I don't understand what joy it gives him to make papers so fucking hard that it absolutely destroys the students. Do not take the class w Wong and save yourself from the fucking C on the transcript.
TLDR; RICHARD WONG IS THE BEST MATH PROFESSOR (I've taken so far). He is fair and you will probably get a good grade as long as long as you do well on the challenge problem set.
Math 32A (or 32B) is apparently the hardest lower division math course offered at UCLA? It did not feel this way with Wong. He was a great professor who genuinely cared for his students' learning and made a big deal about it too. I will explain later!
I'll start out with his lectures. They were kinda boring? I mean, what do you expect with a math lecture? It was appropriately engaging, I'll say that. BUT, they were VERY VERY organized. There were headers that specifically stated what the section was about, large callout boxes that specified whether the information was a definition, theorem, or an example. He also had very useful pictures and drew often during class which is really, really important for this course since it is typically the first time students apply math in more than two dimensions. The slides are posted on BruinLearn before the lecture so you can read over it/download it beforehand. And then at the end, he also posts the annotated version afterwards. He has a bunch of examples in the slides which was very helpful since the concepts were often abstract. And during the examples, he would allot time for students to work together in groups for like 2-3 minutes. I personally did not really want to work with people around me, but some people found it very useful. I personally went to about 10 lectures in total because I just watched the online recorded lecture later. If he continues to record it on Zoom and not just BruinCast, then you can probably do the same as me. It was honestly better since I was able to pause and slow down, etc. etc.
In terms of homework, there was no homework. He just assigned a couple of textbook problems with every lecture. You don't ever have to turn them in, but I HIGHLYYYY suggest you do it. This is the only way you will learn because the examples he provides in class are very simple and don't really go in depth.
The only (mildly) annoying part about this class was the discussion sections. He requires that you attend your discussion section (you can't just attend any other one). In the discussion section, you form a group that you stick with for the rest of the year and basically you have a weekly "quiz" that you all work together on/open notes. It was just a group worksheet and you until the day after to do it. It was a good review and definitely forced me to practice. Not a bad part of the class in general, but I personally don't like going to discussions lol.
Another part of the class was the challenge problem set, which I think is unique to this class. Essentially, instead of getting a group quiz, you will get a challenge problem set for that week. There are two challenge problem sets. I think this quarter we got it on the same week as the midterm. You have one week to write up the whole thing, but it is basically just a math paper(?). It's a two-ish page length word problem with multiple parts and you have to answer it in a way that would look like a textbook page. So you have to be specific, define your methods, etc. etc. It's sort of tedious because you have to be explicit in all your steps and he also suggests that you type it in LaTeX. The math problem is not bad at all (not even challenging), but the typing part was hard, I guess. You have a whole week to do it. I thought this was bad at first, but it saved my grade in the end, I will explain later.
In terms of the exams, they were kinda difficult, but fair. As long as you study and actually master the concepts, then you should be fine. You definitely cannot bs your way to an A in the exams because they require conceptual knowledge. There were some freebies in the exams, but the majority are sort of trick questions. On the bright side, they provide a LOT of partial credit so as long as you show that you understand the concept, you'll definitely get some points even if your final answer is wrong.
I got a D+ on the first midterm, a B on the second midterm, and then a B- on the final, but I still ended with an A. This is because of the challenge problem set. The second grading scheme weighted my two challenge problem sets (both 100s) heavier than the best of two midterm scores. This saved me from otherwise getting a B or B+. This is why the challenge problem set is sooo helpful. Also, I calculated my grade and it totaled out to an A-, but he assigns this end of the year reflection in the end and I think as long as you put effort in writing it out and explaining, he will curve your grades personally. I said I deserved an A on it and, yeah, he gave it to me lmao.
Also he is very accommodating with exams. There is always an alternate time/date for the exams. I had a final on the same day as the final for this class and I asked him LATE if I could take it another day and he said yes, no questions asked.
Professor Wong is a very clear professor and pretty good at explaining the course material. He uploads slides beforehand and then uploads annotated versions after lecture, which is great if you miss a couple. HW isn't mandatory. Discussion quizzes were first submitted individually (graded on completion) and then worked on and submitted in groups (graded on correctness). We had these assignments called challenge problem sets which were supposed to show our "mathematical writing" abilities. Essentially, you work through a set of problems and do a write-up resembling a textbook entry. Take A LOT of care with these since, although solving the problems might not take that long, the actual write up and formatting takes forever. There's 2 problem sets in total and we were allowed to submit an optional revision of the first one which would replace our grade if the quality improved significantly.
I went to office hours a couple times and they were sort of helpful. Wong doesn't upload exam solutions so you had to ask him to solve an exam problem if you wanted to see what you did wrong. However, there were usually 15+ people there when I showed up and several people would ask for specific homework problems to be worked through, which is why it may take a while to get your question answered.
I agree with the other comments saying that Wong's tests were much more difficult than any examples we did in class. We were allowed to use 3x5 inch notecards as "cheatsheets" for midterms and a one-sided handwritten (on tablet and printed out was ok too) page for the final. The biggest problem with exams was that there would usually be at least 1 or 2 questions that were completely unfamiliar or much more convoluted than what we saw in class or during practice exams. I got by mainly on trying to apply my high school knowledge (intl, my school did a lot on vectors, planes, etc) to the harder questions and hoping for the best. Thankfully there's a lot of partial credit available.
tldr: Although Professor Wong is pretty nice and good at explaining concepts in class, the exams are much harder than any of the practice materials. The averages were somewhere in the mid-70s, so be prepared to be totally blindsided by your first midterm.
(TLDR: Wong is a pretty fair teacher who is extremely willing to help you, his lectures are thorough and everything he mentions is likely relevant to exams–so you better take some amazing notes. His exams are hard at first glance, but I suggest dumbing them down and just doing what you know/recognize. This class is frankly pretty good overall, but it is definitely more suitable for people who learn from examples.)
I may be biased, but from my experience, Wong is an amazing professor. While I actually stopped going to in-person lectures, I can safely say that my lack of attendance did not mean I was doomed (granted, I did watch the recordings and take incredibly detailed notes, so feel free to ignore this if you don't learn/study this way).
Wong's lectures are clear and succinct, and I suggest writing down a lot of what he says in class because even things he mentions off-hand might be on the exams. You do not really need a textbook, as Wong provides most of the materials you will need yourself.
Wong is also quite lenient with assignments, you won't actually need to submit homework at all–and from my experience, you can even skip them completely, but they are great practice. He does have group quizzes in the discussions, so if you don't like group work you have been warned. Personally, I found them extremely helpful–mainly because my group was awesome. He also has 2 challenge problem sets, and I suggest you follow the instructions for those to a tee (which I did not–unfortunately). Wong, however, is kind enough to give a resubmission for the first set.
As for exams, I did pretty well on the midterms, but I do understand the confusion over them. Wong does tend to extend the subject matter to something we did not cover in class, but I suggest not overthinking it and taking everything step by step and just doing what you know–half the time you'll get the right answer and not even know it. There will also be cases where you might even get points for even trying, so frankly, write whatever you can. The final, I can say, is significantly more difficult and I suggest going to office hours to help revise for it. The practice exams are also extremely helpful and I sincerely recommend doing those.
Great teacher! Tests were basically review of what we learned in class and consistent with study guides, wong was very nice and accommodating. I would definitely take this class with him!
Having taken all the lower div maths, I have to say, this guy is by far the worst. His ability to explain material is terrible. And he made us do these 'challenge problem sets,' which literally just involved us getting the answers from the TAs. Not to mention the grading done by the TAs were terrible as well. They graded based on how visually appealing your assignment looked while the content didn't matter. Don't take this class if you want to learn from the professor. Fuck this guy and his saggy tits.
If you are good at understanding math concepts, you will probably like this class. The grading system is very nice. However, if you know you struggle to understand math, spare yourself. I cried before and after every exam, and during every challenge problem set. I think I popped a blood vessel in my eye from crying so much before my final. Every time I went to office hours I left more confused than I arrived. I would think I maybe understood something, and then I'd get to the test and the content would be leagues harder than anything I had done in class or to prepare for the test. If you are good at math, the grading scheme of this class is good because you don't have any weekly homework, only an assignment in discussion, 2 challenge problem sets, 2 midterms, and a final. If you understand the content, you don't have to spend too much time outside of class studying. If you don't understand, prepare for this class to take over every waking moment of your life. You'll go to sleep confused about challenge problems and be haunted by dreams of floating vectors and a 50% midterm score.
Wong is a great professor. He uses a slide deck which is super helpful in my opinion because you can go back and look at his annotated slides to see how he explains each concept. The midterms were pretty challenging and honestly can really very. I did really well on the first (97.5) and then tanked the second (75), but your grade is so spread out on group quizzes your guaranteed to get 100% on, problem sets that aren't that hard and just require thoughtful explanations, and he even has multiple grading schemes to help get you the best grade. Compared to other 32A professors, Wong is a godsend, and I would totally take him again.
The content of this class is very difficult, but professor Wong is your best bet at doing well. He goes at a great pace and explains everything throughoutly. The homework is optional - but I highly recommend doing it and not making the same mistake as me.