This post is meant to be a reflection about the classes I took at UCLA this quarter, and a little bit about what’s happening next quarter. I took CS 33, Math 61, and Physics 1C this quarter. If you read the previous post Winter 2021 Reflection and Spring 2021 Predictions, the format will look very similar.
CS 33: Intro to Computer Organization
I felt like I knew nothing throughout the entire quarter but still managed to get a really good grade. There was so much obscure stuff that I skimmed over once while watching the lectures, but overall the exams were fine (I studied A LOT). The content for the first few weeks were focused on Assembly (x86-64), which is probably one of the easier topics in this class. I attended every live lecture (until around week 6, where my sleep schedule became a lot worse). I also felt less confident on the final than the midterm because there were much more topics (basic bits stuff and assembly vs. the entire course), but practice tests helped me understand the concepts a lot. The labs were all really fun and pretty low-stress; knowing my grade on the labs right when I complete it instead of waiting a month after submitting was very very good for my stress levels and confidence for the class. The only thing I would do differently is spend less time worrying and studying for the final, since it ended up being pretty reasonable.
Math 61: Intro to Discrete Structures
Half of this class was about probability/counting that I’ve seen before from random math competitions, and the other half was about proofs and cool math structures (like trees and graphs). The exams were pretty easy, but I didn’t get above average because most people would just spend 3x the time I did. Either way, the grading and partial credit was very generous so everything was great. The homework was challenging but covered the important topics, which was very useful. I managed to do well just by reading and reviewing the lecture notes, and also doing the homework. The final was a lot more tedious (spend around 2 more hours than I usually did on midterms) but still very reasonable.
Physics 1C: Electrodynamics, Optics, Relativity
This was probably my favorite class to attend because all the lectures were interesting and engaging. There were demos every other lecture or something, and all of them were amazing. Even some of the lecture slides reminded me of “the sun is a deadly laser” from Bill Wurtz. The only thing I have against this class is that the exams were “easy,” which I don’t like because I rely on curves for physics exams to carry my grade. I can BS my way to get a 50% on a hard test which gets curved to a 95%, but if there’s no curve and I make a stupid mistake, then my grade instantly drops 20%. Lack of skill aside, I knew a bit of the content covered (refraction, optics, relativity) but struggled more on magnetism. Like for Physics 1B, I wrote study guides for each exam, and they’re on my website, link coming soon(tm). The discussion sections had mostly harder problems, but it was a good opportunity to learn new concepts with other people. The final exam was at 8 AM (which I actually woke up for, 4 AM - 2 PM sleep schedule let’s go) but it honestly wasn’t too bad difficulty-wise.
My classes aren’t finalized yet, but here’s what I’m probably gonna take:
STATS 100A (if I don’t get into M51A)
ECE 3 (maybe?)