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Preface: this is a review for math 31B with Professor Greene not 32A
Imagine: you are a first-year bio major having just taken AP Calculus BC and you need to start your major prerequisites, one of which is the math series.
"Oh, calc 31b should be easy," you think. "I mean, I just finished calc bc so it should be a nice way to ease into a college courseload..." Ten weeks later your skin is oily, you haven't slept in a week, and all of your hair has turned grey as the final exam approaches and you are even MORE confused about calculus now than you were before you took the class.
Let me get something straight, this class is not taught by Professor Greene, it is taught by Sal Khan and the archived videos of your high school calc bc teacher. Professor Greene's lectures are so convoluted and his notes are so messy that you will have a better chance of translating hieroglyphs than you will in trying to understand his thought process. The TA's in this class genuinely try to make the course material understandable, but when faced with mass confusion as every single student has multiple questions to answer in only a 50 minute period, it is impossible to make up for Professor Greene's incapability as a teacher.
Generally, the workload is manageable on non Gradescope homework days. But on the weeks that Professor Greene assigns written homework, your time is better spent writing your will and picking out a cute coffin than it is trying to understand his extremely vague questions or deciphering his chicken scratch. The written homework for this class is so mentally taxing that each assignment has a high chance of landing you in the ICU by question 3.
There is no doubt that professor Greene knows the material; the issue is that he is utterly incapable of conveying it to undergrad students in such a way that is comprehensible. Other students in the line for Rende have confused me for an upperclassman because the insomnia caused by this class has led to eyebags that rival the soulless look of a 4th year with thousands of dollars in student loans, an unpaid internship with a misogynist boss, and 4 research papers to write. For the sake of your mental, physical, emotional, and academic health, please please please do not take this class.
I actually took math 31b with Greene but I need to literally post this asap so everyone knows NOT TO TAKE GREENE FOR ANY CLASS. I literally taught the entire class to myself because his lectures were useless. I swear I spent every second of the day studying for this class and still struggled because his tests were so difficult. I got a 5 on ab calc and an A in math 31a so I'm not awful at math but this class was the death of me. Our average for our second midterm was 55. Steer clear.
I actually had Greene for Math 31B but it was not listed as an available choice so I am reviewing him under this class. I had taken Calculus AB and BC in high school and did very well in both of their classes. All of the material that we went over in Math 31B was material that I was already very familiar with, yet the tests that Greene gave were equivalent to the difficulty of upper division math courses and were close to impossible. His lectures are next to useless, the practice midterm problems, while similar to the difficulty of his midterm problems, offer no help at all for the midterm. Also, he decided that no practice problems for the final was better than giving us an idea of what would be on the final. This is only my first quarter at UCLA and I can already say this will be the worst professor I will have here. At least I hope so, because otherwise I think I might end myself. Don't ever take this professor for any class he teaches.
the TA haiyu is mad, he is applying to us the grading standards of grad students, every time I check my hw score I can hardly breathe. I donno why he is doing this to us, he looks like a nice guy and lectures well, but tbh I never wanna meet him again as a TA
Professor Greene was probably the single worst math professor I have ever had in my entire life. However, a lot of reviews unfairly characterize him as some sort of eldritch monstrosity. Greene is obviously very intelligent, and he does obviously care about his students. His office hours for example were very generous, there were three available every week-lasting until every single question asked by every single student was answered. Most math professors- even the nice ones-don't dedicate this much time to genuinely trying to teach the material. The issue is he's a terrible teacher and all this time was useless.
The tests were terrible. They were almost entirely unrelated to the homework, however, if you go to all the lectures you are technically exposed to all the material.
In summary, Professor Greene is probably one of the nicest people I've ever met. But do NOT take his class. Don't even consider it. Wait the extra quarter.
Greene is a beast. The homework and class are thoroughly challenging, but very rewarding. Each of the midterms so far has felt like a learning experience rather than an exam. His homework extensions are clutch. The same cannot be said, however, for the TA. While I cannot personally claim to have had any negative experiences with him, I witnessed and saw proof of other students having run-ins with the TA that were, to put it plainly, very unpleasant. Perhaps he, like us, has something to learn from Greene in terms of kindness and approachability being repaid with hard work.
Ima start off by saying DO NOT take a class with this professor lmao. I actually had Professor Greene for MATH 31B not 31A. His lectures are pretty much useless because his handwriting is impossible to read and his explanations are incomprehensible. Greene goes off on tangents about math and confuses himself in the process of confusing everyone else in lecture. I don't doubt Prof Greene's math skills, in fact he's incredibly well-versed in it, but he is beyond the scope of teaching a lower-division math class. I failed the final and ended with an 80% overall, but my grade got curved to an A. Do yourself a favor and don't enroll in any of his classes.
Lectures: as stated before, they are next to useless. Going to class actually confused me (and everyone else) even MORE, so I just stopped going after the first week. Learn the material by reading the textbook and watching Khan Academy, Professor Leonard, and/or The OChem Tutor. That's literally the only way I got an A. Keep yourself paced by seeing what topic Greene is going over in lecture that day. **Sometimes** there are some math concepts that Professor Greene emphasizes and will be seen a lot in homework/tests, but just keep an eye out on his lecture notes for those.
Homework: There was Achieve homework and "written homework" written by Professor Greene himself. Achieve was straightforward--the written homeworks were the most confusing assignments I've ever received and the TAs were the only ones who could decipher them for us. Be homies with your TA because I swear I couldn't have survived the written homeworks without mine.
Tests: Greene gave sample problems before each midterm and they focused heavily on theoretical ideas/conceptual ideas/proofs. However, both midterms and the final were definitely more computational than he made them out to be. I've seen past bruinwalk reviews that say you have to memorize proofs to survive, but after the first midterm I realized I didn't need to do that, so YMMV. Also, the average grade for both midterm 2 and the final was an F. Just pray that the curve saves your ass at the end of the course.
Professor Greene in general: he's not helpful at all. If you ask him a question about how he got somewhere with a problem he'd probably get very annoyed at you and imply that you're stupid, which is what would happen very often in lecture.
TLDR; God help you if you're stuck in Prof Greene's class
This class is AWESOME! I really love the HW questions he gave us. All the questions can be connected with each other and push us to think and comprehend the theory better!
His class is also easy to follow! Before taking the class, I've seen many people said that 131A is hard. Now it's my fortune to have Greene to teach us - everything is perfectly clear and he really made this class interesting!
However, as others have noted, the TA Haiyu H is my only concern for this class. I have no idea how he graded our homework but it seems like he is a human compiler that can catch every single piece of trivial bug
Professor Greene was a very unique professor, to say the least. I came in having never taken Calculus before, and suffice to say, it was very challenging. He's not the traditional teacher where he explains concepts and gives examples, he dives straight into proofs, and like what everyone else said, he does expect you to know alot of basic Calculus. Most of my class was composed of students who had already taken Calculus before, so it was probably a cinch for them. He doesn't teach in the same order as his colleagues does, some of the stuff he taught I learned again in 31B. His class is broken down into 10% quizzes, which is one problem taken straight from the last week's homework, 20% each for the two midterms and a 50% final.
The homework, and therefore the quizzes, were fairly easy. They were challenging problems, most of them proofs, but he gives you the solutions beforehand, so if worse comes to worse you can always memorize the solutions.
First midterm was alright, again it was mostly proofs, and he gives you sample midterm problems. Only problem is that the sample problems were composed of ~30 problems/proofs, and he picked some of the hardest ones. The average was a 74%. Second midterm was a bit harder, again he gave sample problems but this time he switched up the numbers a bit. Average was a 68%. The final was composed of 10 problems, plus an extra credit problem. Each problem was multiple parts and contained a proof of some sort. This time he gave us a list of topics to study, and some of those were on the final word for word. The average was a 57% if I remember correctly.
Overall, his lectures were pretty boring, he tries to do the proofs in class but sometimes he goes on tangents trying to explain them. I recommend getting a calculus book of some sort (probably the one used by the school) and just watching the MIT lectures. You'll probably get more out of it.
Conclusion: If you've taken Calculus before, this class should be a piece of cake. Even if you haven't, as long as you have decent memorization skills, you should scrape at least a B. However, if you're trying to learn the material (for people who haven't taken Calculus), I recommend taking another professor.