College Algebra - Analytic Geometry (Precalculus)

Dec 2020

Do not take the class with him. It is quite concerning that someone with such a high degree in math made simple mistakes with FOILing among other easy topics. I thought I would take this class as I have a knowledge gap, but honestly, I would've done so much better in Calculus. One of the midterms was taken live which disregarded the fact that not everyone has the perfect workspace to take an exam. He cares more about the fact that he has the "professor" role as he has his own personal website that contains all the course information instead of putting things on Canvas (aka a portfolio). His personality was welcoming, but his teaching methods were terrible. Also, his handwriting is not the best and he goes quite fast where it is hard to take notes. I got a 100% on every problem set (he drops the lowest two), but the midterms and finals were extremely hard in comparison. Choose another professor or just take Calc!!

Aug 2020

Lindsay is very good at teaching math. She is fair and really wants everyone to succeed in her classes. Students have rearranged their schedules to take her sections when they’ve been in her classes previously. The biggest thing from the class was that when you turned in a quiz or test, Lindsay would give you immediate feedback and suggest any problems you’d want to revise before turning it in finally - like if you need to show more steps to get full credit. That may sound juvenile for a college class, but it’s very effective. There are unannounced quizzes (which are once a week, usually the same day each week). Class attendance is pretty much mandatory because of the quizzes. Homework load is moderate, maybe 3-4 hours a week. She has office hours 2 or 3 times a week and they’re very helpful, especially before the midterms and final. Pre-calculus was one of the best classes I’ve had at Columbia. I have never been as secure in knowing I’ve mastered a subject as I was going out of that class. It’s really a good foundation for Calc 1.

Dec 2017

Darren is an amazing professor! He works very hard to make sure every student understands the math. He is very generous with his time in helping outside of class and doesn't let anyone fall behind unless they are putting in zero effort.

Mar 2017

By FAR the best teacher I have ever had. Consider yourself privileged if you end up with Anton as your professor. He completely changed my view on Mathematics, taking it from a "meh" subject to something I really enjoy. To put it this way, there is a reason why half of the class changed to Math majors after taking him. He is one of the few people that truly takes pride into whether you grasp a concept or not, and he will go through as many examples as it takes for the entire class to understand it. He doesn't waste his time to derive a million formulas like most math teachers, instead he really emphasis on making each concept as simple and obtainable as possible for everyone. He puts in a 10min break halfway through the class so that you can collect your thoughts. This really helps when you go through a lot of concepts and need to re-establish your focus. Make sure you do all the homework problems he gives out and you will be more than fine, and it will give you a really good foundation for higher classes in Math! Sidenote: He knows a lot of Math history as well, so he will describe once in a while for example how ancient civilizations for the first time came up with a method to solve problems that we today consider very stupid. Expect some good laughs in his class!

May 2015

A number of people switched from Minghan's section to the other in the beginning of the semester because the other guy seemed easier. Don't think that turned out to be the case, so definitely stay in his section if you get him. Attendance is really not necessary however, and there were less and less people who went as the semester progressed. Many people just showed up for quizzes. Minghan presented the information pretty clearly though, and there were no communication issues whatsoever. His emails always made me laugh. He was always willing to listen to any concerns the class had, and really did take them into consideration. He continuously adjusted the difficulty of the quizzes and exams and they reflected where he knew the class was at in terms of mastery of the information. Everyone was freaking out before the final and the number of equations that were going to have to be memorized for it (20% on each midterm, 40% on second half of the semester), so he ended up providing a small equations sheet which did help a bit. If you do well on the homework, quizzes, and midterms, you can bomb the final and you'll still be fine. I was.

Sep 2013

Rui is a bro. He once swiped me into a subway when I was late for work. Similarly, he will help you learn stuff when you are confused. Best TA ever. I learned so much from this dude. He really made me love maths and everything about it. I used to like shapes and geometry in general when i was younger, but Rui really let me see the mathematical meaning behind their forms. There's a subtle beauty to them. Now when I sleep, I dream about precalc, specifically, analytic geometry.Also knows his shit really well, like a boss. They want more text so here.

May 2013

Prof. Wang was a great instructor for this rather introductory mathematics class. He approached the subject at the appropriate level and presented the material in a very organized manner. Language difficulties, perhaps, made him difficult to follow and his decision to closely track the textbook (even in the examples given) during lecture made some us to "miss" a lot of sessions. If you read the book and did the practice problems, as well as the homework problem sets, there was no need to attend lecture. Going to class, however, helped you keep the material fresh on your mind before quizzes. A fair grader, he provided a small curve when giving out the final grades. The TA did an excellent job with the homework assignments, which were almost his exclusive domain (pun intended), but I did not take the opportunity to visit him during office hours. I got a B and, quite literally, I slacked during the entire semester, missing classes, missing two quizzes and bombing other two, and not studying well enough for exams. A 100 on a midterm was not an uncommon occurrence, in my opinion. Overall, Zhuhai gets an A-.

Apr 2013

I registered for her Precalc section (Fall '11) and it was brutal. She is a nice person and very helpful if you go to see her (she used to do individual tutoring), but the homework problems were just ridiculous. I remember she gave us a problem from the applications section of the chapter on Fundamentals (kind of basic stuff) and, after several tries, she could not even come up with a solution, even after consulting the solutions manual. I mean, maybe it was a problem with the book itself, which is not the best at explaining concepts and operations, but... I was so discouraged by my first homework grades that eventually I stopped going to class and did not even take the midterm. I was definitely not able to understand her at class. It was like she was teaching a graduate math course to a bunch of college freshmen. Although she reached out and tried to help me out, it was too late. That speaks to her interest for her students and all that character stuff, but academically... uff!

May 2012

Andrew was a wonderful instructor. He was a very effective, knowledgeable, and caring instructor who was eager to teach and help his students improve. When students had questions during the lecture, he always made sure to answer questions as thoroughly as he could. Even when the answers to some questions were clear to him and other students, he never showed signs of frustration or annoyance when a particular student struggled with a concept and was happy to answer questions. He constantly showed signs of trying to improve and adjust his teaching style so that his students could have good experiences in the classroom. I got a strong impression that he really cared about teaching. Andrew was always very reasonable and understanding. Although I've often felt distanced from my other professors, Andrew was a very approachable and likable instructor. I liked him because I felt like he could relate with us and knew what worked and what didn't, and what students like and don't like. He was a great communicator both inside and outside of the classroom: he clearly conveyed his teachings and was skilled at explaining both simple and complex mathematical concepts. Outside the classroom, he utilized e-mails and provided detailed updates and administrative announcements that I found to be very helpful. I enjoyed this class very much and would rank Andrew in the same tier as my other experienced professors. There is no doubt in my mind that Andrew will someday become a fantastic professor that students will love (he is currently a PhD student). The reviewer below didn't do so well in the class, I presume.

May 2012

Ladies and Gents. Mr. Fanoe is a nice person. He is friendly and kind though socially awkward, as many other mathematicians. With that being said, he has a lot of work on honing his teaching skills, considering he intends to be a professor. His writing on the board is impressively small, and he is as disorganized as any brilliant mathematician. Sadly, he is usually not aware of the fact that most of the class isn't really keeping up with him. Honestly, studying with him was frustrating because he takes things for granted, things that precalculus students usually do not know. His class is badly structured, he skips fundamental stages, which makes it hard to understand his work and every now and then he will cram a lesson's worth of material in the last five minutes of class and another four minutes of your break. HOWEVER, if you are ok in math, you can do extremely well.

Nov 2011

This course and this teacher were both fine. I almost never know whats going on during math lectures and this course was no different but that has nothing to do with Harold. If that sounds like you, this is a good professor. The material is graspable as long as you put in the effort (i.e. tutoring sessions and solid time in the math help room). He is a very generous and understand grader which is HUGE. I highly recommend.

Jun 2011

I took Professor Sultan for Pre-calc. He was really good, and he really tried his hardest to help everyone out. He was so nerdy at times it was adorable! Although it didn't give me a renewed interest in Math, I think he was super fair. He gives lots and lots of partial credit. As long as you can show that you KNOW how to solve it, you will get 90% of the credit. But you definitely need to study! He will go over what types of problems will be on the exam and then the rest is up to you. Most of the HW is on webwork, which can be a blessing and a curse. If you just dont get it, and you dont seek out an answer then you wont end up getting credit. But you find out immediately if you got the answer correct, so you can go to sleep at night knowing whether or not you got 100% on the homework or not. Overall very FAIR and nice!

Nov 2010

Professor Lu, what can I say. During the first part of the semester, it was a bit of a challenge understanding her teaching style and accent. For the students who have stuck it out, however, they will probably tell you that she is an amazing teacher who knows what she's talking about. While she has a tendency to rush through the lessons she will gladly explain the underlying concept if a student is struggling. All her examples are worked out on the board and can also be found in the textbook. She also tells her students jokes, which are silly, but a nice break from 2.5 hours of straight math. Her quizzes and tests can be tricky, but if one studies and does the homework, they shouldn't be a problem. Overall, I would recommend Professor Lu for those who have to take a mathematics course.

Nov 2010

Joelle's class is pretty good. She's a very nice person and is obviously very good at math. I've found at Columbia that sometimes the smarter the instructor, the more difficult it is for them to explain things to you in layman's terms. Let's just say she's very smart and sometimes doesn't remember that some people in the class haven't taken math in years. She definitely adds points for class participation and there was some extra credit at the end of the semester. Joelle really wanted us to succeed and valued improvement throughout the semester, which was cool. She even came in to review with us on a Sunday before an exam because class was cancelled one day. Although it sucked to go on Sunday, the fact that she was willing to do it, was extremely appreciated by the class, especially since many of us worked full time and didn't have very flexible schedules. Bottom line? If you take this class, show up, pay attention, do the optional homework assignments and be sure to drop by the help center or get a tutor before the exams: it will pay off in dividends.

Jun 2010

I really like this teacher. He took the extra time to make sure you understood what you were learning. He was also pretty flexible with office hours. He seemed initially a bit unsteady, but gained confidence and mometum as the course progressed. He has a funny sense of humor too. The homework was kind of annoying as everything was done online, but all in all, it wasnt too terrible; Zach was really good about grading and being fair. The midterms and the finals were fair as well. If you put in the work and pay attention, you'll do great!

Apr 2009

I liked this teacher. She is very very reasonable. I recommend her. There is no surprises if you study. everything that she asks for is in the book so if you miss class(or all the classes) you can still do very well if you just read the book. That's it! She teaches you on effective methods how to solve equations and other stuff. I find that to be more effective than memorizing. She is very good as working around office hours that would work for everyone. She does responds to e-mails quickly. Sometimes she cancels classes d/t holidays. She holds extra hours for midterm and final reviews. As far as her personality goes she is pleasant. She tries to remember your name but she is not gonna sit down and explain everything to you till she is blue in a face if you still don;t understand. It's like: "Hey, I don;t ask too much from you guys, do what you have to do, it is easy{and it is really is}, and don;t bother me." That works for me, just as I said, if there is no surprises...and there weren't any. Thank you Dvora.

Mar 2009

Dvora is really not a good instructor. Her lessons are unclear and she virtually goes out of her way to make you feel stupid for asking questions. She picks favorites, usually students who are doing well in the class, and will point out students who are not doing well in front of others. Try your best to avoid this teacher.

Jan 2009

She is the best math teacher I have ever had. If you can take a class she is teaching, do it!! Clear, practical, fair, enthusiastic -- excellent skills in explaining what doesn't make sense, and knowing what needs to make sense so that the rest will be easier.

Dec 2008

Donovan Mcferon is the most spacey guy ever. That's okay, though. He's has his material down cold and will be able to answer any question. If you're extremely bad at math I wouldn't recommend him because he's not very good at dumbing things down. If you are pretty good at teaching yourself, though, and need someone brilliant to reinforce what you learn and answer your questions, he's the man.

Jun 2008

Xander Faber is the best teacher I've ever had. Undoubtedly. He is completely committed to ensuring that his students understand what they're doing and why they're doing it. He makes time for his students and never made me feel stupid for asking questions. The course in itself is challenging, but no one could do a better job teaching this material. So clear and concise. His examples he uses in class are so accessible and easy to grasp. Extraordinary talent for teaching.

Sep 2007

I took this course in order to better prepare myself for calc1, but in my opinion this professor teaches extremely slow and has a really heavy accent. At her pace we only covered one section in one class.

Aug 2007

This was a 6wk summer course, so fast and condensed: Xander's lectures were very quick and confusing and did not help with my learning/comprehension of the material. He assigned a lot of confusing homework (twice as much as the other class according to him) and his quizes and tests tended to be challenging. I ended the semester feeling very frustrated with the course. Xander is a nice guy and enjoys teaching, but he has awhile before he'll learn to teach effectively and at his students level.

Aug 2007

Overall, Donovan is a very good professor. He genuinely wants his students to do well and is very open to questions or comments. He does move extremely fast in teaching the material, but this may be the nature of a summer course and he doesn't mind if you ask him to slow down. (He also tends to make some mistakes, I think). His grading is fair and he teaches straight from the book so if you miss anything or need further explanation you can just read the chapter. The homework assignments can be tricky and the TA grades them fairly strictly but he is always willing to stay after class and help with any questions. I had a lot of problems with Pre-Calc in Undergrad and I feel like his course really helped explain alot.

Aug 2006

Donovan did a good job at presenting the material in the book in a clear and easy to follow lecture format. Be prepared to pay attention for the full class time because he goes through the material QUICKLY and covers just about everything in the book (I took the summer class so it may be a bit slower during fall or spring). His lectures follow the book very closely and he uses many of the same examples from the text (which is very useful in my opinion). Tests were fair, a lot of formulas to memorize but if you can do the homework you should be okay. Also, he is a fair grader and wants people to learn and do well.

Dec 2005

Matthew Hughes is a phd student who has taught several different math classes. I had the honor of taking precalc. with him. Mr. Hughes is an excellent teacher who presented the material clearly, fairly, and in a fun way. He challenged students who wanted to take math to a "higher level" yet he was able to break the concepts up to the basics for people who needed a little more help and understanding. He is always available to help you and holds office hours each week as well. His assignments were fair and his exams were also fair. Anyway the point is, I highly recommend Prof. Hughes to anyone and everyone.

May 2005

While Irina clearly has a comprehensive knowledge of the material (as presumably all instructors do) something is clearly lost in the translation. I am not referring to the fluent yet heavily accented English that she speaks. Rather, I am referring to the fact that she does a below average job of teaching the concepts. There is a difference between nurturing a learning environment for your class and flying through problems at break neck speed on your own with little or no explanation. Clearly this distinction is lost on Ms. Goia. She manages to make the simple difficult and the difficult nearly impossible as even during her office hours she is resistent to helping you understand the material. I was forced to teach myself everything in the course from the text book. This made her lengthy homework assignments even more challenging. Additionally, her tests were uncommonly difficult. Some people are born teachers. Others are meant to sit in an office and thorize about esoteric math concepts. Ms. Goia clearly falls in the latter category. Avoid this class.

May 2005

I would not recomend Irina's class to anyone lacking a strong math background. If you have had a great teacher in the past and have a secure understanding of the basic concepts covered in the course you will be fine, but if not, you will likely leave her class frustrated and confused. Her exams were very long and from what other PHD students that have taught the class before told me, harder than normal. Looking back, I should have dropped the course (over 50% of the class did). Avoid this section if you can.

May 2005

Debbie is absolutely fantastic. Not only is it blatantly obvious that she is EXTREMELY intellingent, she is a fantastic teacher and a sweet, understanding person. I've always had somewhat of a math phobia but when it is explained in an appropriate manner anyone can comprehend it. And this is exactly what Debbie does. She describes everything very thoroughly and breaks it down into pieces that anyone can digest. I feel confident that I now possess all of the tools necessary to be successful in Calculus. I wouldn't say that the class is EASY--she has high expectations but she backs them up with beautiful teaching. All in all a very pleasant experience (even though it IS math!!!) Here is a rare example of a brand new teacher who is flexible and perceptive enough to tailor a course to the needs and abilities of her students. Only one thing I don't like about the situation--she doesn't teach Calculus (yet)!!!! Thanks Debbie

Apr 2005

If you are wondering what class to take to prepare you well for Calculus, Debbie Grier is the best instructor to take. She is thorough and is on your side. She is not out to trick or play games or prove how much she knows compare to her students. She is fair and patient. If you don't understand she will explain again from another approach. She not only teaches the concepts but explains the background so you really understand what you are doing. She offers 2 hours a week for office hours. I recommend going. Do all your homework, study hard to make sure you know all the formulas and you are bound to get an A. I haven't taken math in 14 years and I'm getting an A. I never thought that would have been possible. She also offers extra credit once in awhile to help out with test and homework scores.

Nov 2004

I took this class during my first semester at Columbia, with the understanding that it was a "basic" math class, and one that would help me if I should want to pursue a math-related major. Whatever this course was designed to be it was hardly basic, and incredibly difficult. One graduating student told me this was the hardest class he had taken throughout his four years at Columbia. This coming from someone who had taken calculus. To be fair, Jeff, as he goes by, seems to think the class is very reasonable. In fact the midterm averages (there are two) were both well below the failing point. The tests seem to be specifically designed to trip you up, and studying turns out to be futile. Jeff used equations combining difficult terms that we had never worked with in such a format, and the entire class came away from each test very upset. In fact, Jeff himself said he was morally dejected after grading the first test. But apparently that didn't help him prepare for the next, which was basically a collection of trick questions designed for a math whiz, not for students taking a basic math class and expected to complete these trick questions in little over an hour. Keep away.

Apr 2004

Eric Simring in THE GREATEST grad-student to ever teach Mathematics at Columbia. Not only does he know his math, he can also relate it to a multitude of different subjects--including the humanities. Okay, so he sometimes makes me say "LETS DO SOME MATH ALREADY" because he tends to digress deeply into an unpredictable but very interesting abyss! But he always gets the job done. Somehow, someway, he gets the job done. Not only that, he has office hours, you can catch him at the Barnard Help Room, you can schedule to meet with him privately (believe me, he's good for it), and he offers 2,3, and even 4 outside-of-class reviews per semester. He gives out handouts, he teaches you what's behind the math instead of merely showing you how to do something without fully understanding and thus setting you up for failure, and he has totally revolutionized the way of presenting the material by focusing on proofs and concepts instead of on problems. To anyone who is studying at Columbia: whether you like math or not, whether you need to take it or not, take a class with Eric Simring! You will learn more math than you have ever learned, you will laugh all semester at his bizarre humor (he once climbed the chalked board to demonstrate his mountain climbing abilities), you will make a great friend and you will witness someone who genuinely is burned on mathematics!

Feb 2004

Eric Simring is exceptional. Eric wants to give an A+ grade to everyone of his students; however, you must work for it. This is where his outstanding teaching skills enter. He is kind, patient and takes the time to pay attention and challenge his students. More importantly, Eric is ALWAYS willing to help and assist. You can talk to him at any given time and have an amalgamation of the minds. Eric is intelligent and a total badass, in my opinion. I loved his class! His lectures are pleasurable and arduous, simultaneously. The homeworks and exams are extremely long and challenging. However, he factors the homework effort and assigns plenty of extra credit work into your final grade, which is an advantage. I would highly recommend the class to all who are interested in pursuing the wonderful world of mathematics. It is very difficult to receive a grade lower than a B-. Eric is the ideal math mentor.

Jan 2004

Radu Laza is not a Professor yet, but I recommend him. He is an excellent professor! He explains all the material in a clear manner and is dispensible at your convenience if you need any extra help! I hate math but this professor made the class bearable! Take his class! If you do the homework and show a little effort you will pass w/ at least a B.