Based on 24 Users
Short Version: If you have this professor as an option for this class, please please PLEASE choose him — you will have no regrets.
To preface, I’ve taken college calculus before during HS junior year, but I had such a bad teacher that I dropped it 2nd semester and since then pretty much forgot the whole thing.
Now the long version: Professor Gannon is the best. He’s super fun with his lectures, extremely understanding of what college freshmen are going through, puts in the effort and time to explain content thoroughly, and goes out of his way to make the class a memorable one. Though it’s only my first quarter at UCLA, I can say with no doubt that he has set an extremely high bar to beat. This was the only class where I truly wanted to attend every lecture because they were so engaging (if you can’t make lecture, he posts recordings of them on Bruin Learn).
The class had weekly HW assignments and quizzes (all easy and very reasonable — you can drop 2 of the lowest scores for each). We had 2 midterms — both were also very reasonable and we had a practice exam for the first one where questions from it actually showed up on MT 1. The final in my opinion was more difficult than the 2 midterms but was still very fair and doable (I actually did the best on the final exam in terms of score wise so…). He also gave us a practice exam for the final but the whole class thought it was ridiculously hard (he didn’t write the practice exam, it was written by another professor in 2019), so it wasn’t as helpful as I anticipated because most questions were unrepresentative of what actually came up on the final. From the 2 midterms and final, I can say that Professor Gannon is definitely not the type to try and stump his students; in fact, he even says in class that he won’t put super “hard” questions on the test.
In terms of communication, he’s a 10 out of 10. He’s super responsive by email and answers questions posted on Piazza (our Q/A platform) within 24 hours and usually sooner. He was even answering them by the next day over winter break and on Christmas day — that’s the amount of dedication he has for his students.
Some other miscellaneous perks that I’m not sure if other professors will give: 1) extra 12 hours to submit HW/quizzes after the deadline in case of tech issues, 2) 2 grading options where one counts both midterms and the other only counts one midterm but the final weighs more — whichever gives you the higher grade is your final grade, 3) 3x5 notecard double-sided for midterms and 8.5x11 paper single-sided for the final, 4) you can request regrades for both of the midterms and the final if you think you were graded incorrectly, 5) Professor Gannon is willing to make it easier to obtain a grade (ie. for the F23 quarter, he lowered each grade boundary by 1% so a 92 was an A and an 89 was an A- etc.), 6) on exams, he is very lenient with unfinished arithmetic and the methods you use to solve problems (except some like L'Hopital's where he will explicitly state in class not to use).
TLDR — please take MATH 31A with Professor Gannon, you won’t regret it.
Hands down the best professor at UCLA. Weekly quizzes super helpful in understanding the content of this course. Midterms and final were an accurate representation of the homework we were assigned. 31A with Gannon is 100% worth it.
not sure why his name is gannoth on here but tom GANNON is a goat he is really engaging, funny, records lecture, and is super understanding. Manageable homework. it was my first math course at ucla and i loved it
Highly recommend Tom Gannon if you're taking calculus, especially if math isn't your favorite subject. The lectures are recorded, homeworks are relatively short, quizzes are online, and midterms/tests are fairly easy (with a cheat sheet allowed). Outside of attending or watching lecture, you won't spend more than 1-2 hours on this class. Gannon is a great explanatory teacher who makes the concepts easy to understand, and a semi-funny lecturer as well. The TAs are useless, but Gannon is very active on Piazza/OH and answers almost all questions himself.
I loved this class and Professor Gannon! He was always so engaging during lectures, animated, and explained concepts in such a thorough manner that was easy to comprehend. Attendance for both lectures and discussions are not mandatory. I would suggest going to discussions if you ever run into problems on your homework or if concepts lectured were confusing as my TA was very helpful in reviewing weekly concepts and going over practice problems. However, lectures are recorded so I wouldn't say you really need to attend if you already know how to do the assigned homework for the week. There are weekly quizzes. I believe your two lowest quiz and homework grade will be dropped, so don't worry too much if you miss a couple of points or get a question wrong on the quizzes. Overall, as long as you understand the homework assigned you should be fine. Both midterms were fairly easily, I got a 100 on the first midterm and a 92 on the second. While the final was a bit challenging it was definitely doable, and fair as challenging questions were graded with the same weight as easier questions so it balanced out!
A truly awesome professor! As a freshman entering college, he was very welcoming and cognizant of the fact that a lot of us were nervous about college exams or grading schemes.
He does everything he can to make the class easier to understand and to make himself accessible to students. His lectures are engaging and funny, and he encourages collaboration.
He did give us practice tests for the first midterm and final because 'incoming freshmen are probably super anxious about their FIRST college midterm/final'. He didn't give one for the second midterm but there were a lot of practice problems available. His exams are very fair. I did have background taking AP Calc AB in my junior year of high school, but given the time gap and the difference between high school and college, Gannon does a fantastic job explaining hard calc concepts in simpler and more entertaining ways. He'll often start with an involved example and derive the theorem or trick he's teaching for that class in the beginning, which drawed me in; if you want a quick class where you just get the formula or whatever, you can watch the recordings for those. I do highly recommend going to lecture, though, because his are fun.
I'll say that if you're a high school student who took calc already and know most of the concepts especially in the beginning of the quarter, don't be the person to ask "can I use [concept] that we haven't covered yet but that I learned in high school?" He got a bit flustered after 4 or 5 people asked something along those lines in one of the initial weeks, and I get it; he's trying to teach to people who haven't seen calc, and someone asking questions like that comes off as a bit of a smartass. Just don't bother, there are plenty of ways to demonstrate to him that you have a calculus background.
I doubt I'll ever have an instructor as well rounded as Tommy G. He explains the material clearly and his tests are very reasonable. Some reviews on here complain about a very difficult final...I don't think it was harder. It was just later in the year so the material naturally got a little difficult. That being said, from an instruction POV, this was the perfect math class.
Now onto the experience
He's funny. He's talented. He's handsome.
Tommy G does his best to make everyone feel welcome in the class. Never have I intentionally attended so many consecutive classes throughout the quarter. He gave out candy, took pictures with us, cracked jokes, and gave very entertaining lectures. He's admittedly a bit geeky, but he's a perfect professor. When I took him, he was teaching 33a (linear algebra) and 31A (calc ab). I decided ah, since I need linear algebra..i'm going to kill to get him. Low and behold, it turns out he's not even teaching 33a in 2023-2024. I have never been so disappointed by anything.
If you can't tell, pretty much the entire class loves him. You're making a big mistake if you don't sign up for this class. Wish I could retake this, love you tommy
He is one of the best professors in Math. His lectures are straightforward, engaging, and enjoyable. He is an enthusiastic teacher and keeps you hooked for the entirety of the class. His office hours are great, and he helps you develop intuition to avoid confusion. He is very lenient and allows exploration of various ways of approaching the problem. Also, he is okay with unfinished arithmetic as long as we know how to solve the question. I definitely would take his class again. 10/10 recommend.
As someone who took AP Calc AB, this class was mostly review but the professor does go over it as if you have no prior experience of calculus. The hardest part of this class might have been the final, since the midterms felt easier compared to the final.
His class was made up of quizzes in discussion sections every two weeks which were solid practice for the midterm. There was also weekly homework turned in through gradescope. There are also two grading schemes, one where both midterms count and the other where only one midterm counts.