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Professor Bruinsma is so incredibly awesome, it's just amazing. He is one of the most caring professors at UCLA, and believe me, there aren't many.
During lectures, he will often stop to ask the class whether or not we are all completely comprehending the concepts, and he WILL prod unless everyone really understands. When he does this, you should never be afraid to speak up because he happily goes back over the material to clarify what was confusing. Needless to say, he is very engaging and charismatic as a lecturer. He does not use, nor does he need, a microphone because his voice is both loud and clear. He is quite humorous and will undoubtedly keep your attention. The demonstrations he performs in class are so amusing and fun, and really help to put the physics he explains on the chalkboard into a more real perspective.
The textbook he requires, and wrote himself (!), is amazing and is very clear in explaining the concepts. The book goes well hand in hand with his lectures, so I would recommend first reading the chapter, doing the examples and problems that you understand, and then going into the lecture. He goes over the problems sometimes, and also more conceptual ideas, too, which help with the thought process. Although he sometimes receives criticism that his textbook does not include enough examples, I think that he does plenty in class to make up for it.
I've been to one office hours, and it's interesting because he sits with the group and he encourages you to do the problem on the board which you have trouble with first up to the point where you get stuck, and then he will help you through it. He's very nice outside of class, and quite approachable.
IF you do your work, and study throughout the course, the exams are perfectly fair to do. I've heard complaints from people, mostly those who don't do their work, that the exams are too difficult, but that's really not true. Others, who said they weren't physics people, also say that they're hard, but I would recommend going to office hours, where he's more than willing to help.
I came into this class, dreading it because I was NOT good at all at physics in high school. If anyone ever mentioned physics to me, I'd make an ugly face and try to change the subject. But after this class, it's really renewed my interest in physics and I've come to enjoy it. I owe this fact in whole to Professor Bruinsma because he is honestly one of the best professors at UCLA who will actually encourage you, whole-heartedly, to learn and think.
Bruinsma was a nice guy who taught Physics well. He's not the best teacher I've had and he's definitely not the worst.
The thing I really enjoyed about his class was his ability to entertain students with his quirks and "multimedia" presentations.
His grading policy isn't too bad, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem--I got an A and I think most others got an A or a high B. I would reccomend him, but I should also tell students that he can sometimes be a bit confusing. And also--he wrote the book that you'll be using--and sometimes, that's a bad thing.
Bruinsma has been my favorite professor at UCLA. He is so excited about physics and he truly cares that his students learn the material. His foreign quirks and sense of humor keep lectures interesting, or at least as interesting as physics is going to get. He also has a lot of class participation in his lectures and immediately restructured his topics after students complained that his lectures didn't seem to pertain to the homework.
His tests are very fair and are similar to homework problems. He doesn't check if we use graphing calculators (which came in handy on one of the midterms), lets you use an equation sheet, and curves the grades. Take this professor.
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