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I took AP Calculus in high school, and I feel like that's the only reason I didn't get a B- or C+. Professor Gong is extremely nice, but as it was her first ever class at UCLA in Fall 2018, she really didn't explain the concepts that clear. The very first lecture I could tell that the class was going to be a struggle for anyone who hasn't had previous calculus knowledge, because she went straight into the core of Math 31A like she expected everyone to know the basics (ex: limits, derivatives, etc.), which a lot of people in that class hadn't learned. She also brushed over the theories and formulas but didn't went over the concepts thoroughly at all. Even though I've already learned a lot of the stuff, I often found myself getting confused at her explanations of some of the concepts. All in all, great person, super nice, wasn't really a good explainer, would not take her class again because I need to really fully understand the concepts to be able to do the problems, but if you're good with just learning the theory and have no trouble understand math, go ahead and take her.
I am really glad I got the chance to take Math 31A with Professor Gong. She's an extremely smart woman and her knowledge is vast. Since Fall 2018 (which is when I took it with her) was her first time teaching any class, many students felt that she didn't explain stuff clearly or that she wasn't good enough. But you gotta go easy on her, after all, it was her first time and lecturing 120 kids for the first time is a pretty intimidating experience.
Her grade distribution was very fair, in my opinion. She assigned weekly homeworks (which weren't graded), and had weekly quizzes in discussions (which usually had questions from the homework). These quizzes were worth 10%. There were two midterms and a final for the class. She gave the option of dropping the lowest quiz score and you could either drop your midterm with the lower score with a higher weightage of the final or have both your midterms counted towards the final grade, with a lower weightage of the final. I don't quite remember the exact numbers of how much each exam was weighted, but she took the grading scheme which yielded a better score for each student out of the two.
Midterms and Finals
Professor Gong's midterms and finals were very well prepared, because it contained a well balance of easy, moderately hard, and difficult questions. For the major part, I found her exams to be on the easier side, but she didn't fail to surprise because sometimes she would throw in a hard question which would really give everyone a hard time. Her midterms were of 40 points and final 100 points, and in addition to that, she also gave an additional question worth 10 points on all the three exams as a chance for those who'd like to attempt a harder question to do so. But a score of 40 and 100, for midterms and finals respectively, was considered 100%, i.e. a perfect score. With that, it was quite possible to score >100% on her exams, which was really helpful because it could help cover up any errors made elsewhere.
She didn't curve the class, and was in fact quite lenient in her grading. Although she gave A+ to just one or two kids in the entire class, everyone with a 92% and above got an A. The maximum possible overall score you could get in her class was somewhere around a 125%, I think.
Homeworks and Quizzes
The homeworks she assigned was from the textbook exercises, and was usually on the easier side. I would say that just doing her homework wouldn't suffice to do well in this class, and additional practice of all the questions from the exercises, including the examples is important. The weekly quizzes sometimes contained questions harder than those on the homework.
Professor Gong also gave two points of extra credit on completing the instructor survey towards the end of the quarter. In all, she was a great instructor, and was also really helpful during office hours. She didn't mind going over a concept or a question multiple times in order for the student to understand it better, which is quite commendable of her. I would definitely recommend taking her class.
I took AP Calculus in high school and got an A+ but I found myself struggling in her class. It was her first time ever teaching so I tried my best to forgive her less-than-average lectures but I just could not understand her teaching. I really don't think teaching is her calling. She went through everything super fast and it seemed like she didn't care if we were confused. Exams were extremely tough. I recommend taking calculus with Conley. I got an A+ in his class.
Lectures: I had 8 AM lectures so half of the class was still waking up but she really tried her best to make the lecture interesting.
Homework: extremely light workload, like 10-15 problems per week. She didn't even collect them. You just had to come to the discussion to take weekly quizzes that are exactly the same homework problems.
Tests: Professor Gong is new but her tests are fair and straightforward. On our midterms and finals, there were 50 points available but she only graded them out of 40 points, which honestly saves my grades so many times.
TA: Matthew Stone is a godsend, you're probably fine without going to lecture. Just reading the textbook and attending the discussion most likely suffice.
Warning: I came into 31A thinking it was just Calc AB and I barely passed the first midterm. Don't underestimate the course, take your homework seriously, read the lessons before and after class, make sure your algebra is solid and you would probably ace it!