I think it's about time for someone to submit a new review of Latha, because the previous two are both incredibly terrifying (but mostly still accurate), so everyone reads them going into the course and loses all hope.

This class is really not all that bad. As mentioned, Latha is a great lecturer and very helpful during both lectures and office hours (never went, but I've heard this). I found her to be very kind and even a little funny, but in a terrifying way. She loves students who participate, so don't be afraid to ask questions! I think she may have eased up on homework in the last few years because I disagree with the review about homework requiring an industrial stapler. It's true that they're mostly reworded Griffiths problem (especially towards the end of the semester) so you can definitely get a really high homework grade without actually learning the material, although you'll just get your ass handed to you on exams.

The exams are really hard, and basically determine your grade. The semester I took it we had no final exam, just three midterms, which were each "cumulative" (but not really). I know the year before mine, she gave two midterms and a final. The first exam, which covered basically everything from a typical first semester course in quantum, was the most conceptual and scared the shit out of everyone for the rest of the semester, but also motivated people to study even harder for the next two, which were a little easier than the first. After the first midterm she also allowed a one-side cheat sheet. You could also choose to not use a cheat-sheet and get a 5% bonus on the exam. The averages on the three exams were 41%, 53%, and 60%. The highest scores on the three exams were 73%, 93%, and 105%.

I think, after asking around, it's true that she curves the class average to around a C or C+, which is pretty jarring considering almost all other classes in APAM curve to a solid B. I have no idea if it's true that she does a historical curve, i.e. it's possible for no one to get an A in the class if it's a "dumb" year. If so, maybe I was in a "smart" year, because there were a few students who still managed to do very well in the class. Someone in the class told me that she, and two of her friends, all got A's, which isn't even that bad considering there were only 20 students in the class! I think the final curve is something like add 10% to your total grade and that's roughly the letter grade you'll get. So it's definitely not impossible to do well, as the previous reviews might lead you to believe (or maybe she's just gotten nicer over the years), but you just have to work really hard. But you definitely shouldn't go into the class with no hope!

Also the biggest tip I can give future students is that she loves Cohen-Tannoudji, and really only lectures out of Griffiths for roughly the last third of the course. Do yourself a favor and read CT to study for the exams, it's a much better textbook.


3 exams - 30% each, 90% of grade
10 problem sets, lowest one dropped - 10% of grade
No final for us!