Professor profile for Bruce Palka

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Student reviews of Bruce Palka

Review from a student who took M 408D
1. Course workload / Homework The workload for this course is high, but not impossible. Two homework assignments are due each week on Tuesday and Thursday. While the problems are hard, they're never too hard that you can't understand them after having gone to the discussion session. The usual time that it took me to do a homework assignment was about 2-3 hours, but I'm not very good at math, so it might take you much less time. If you really have a hard time getting the problems, go to Palka's office hour and he'll explain it to you. With each lecture, Palka usually gives a reading assignment from the book. Be warned, he never teaches straight from the book, so reading the book as a substitute for actually going to class is a bad idea. Although you can probably get by without doing the reading (which on average took me an hour or two to understand), taking the time to do it will really help you understand the lecture better. 2. Lectures Palka's lectures are very good. I never had a problem keeping up with the lectures. He'll usually present the concepts for that lecture for the first part of class, and then do a few examples to help you do the homework (although the examples he does in class will almost always be a lot easier than the homework problems). Taking notes during the lectures is easy. He writes everything out on the board. 3. Tests / Grades The tests are always 6 questions. I found that going over the notes and redoing the homework problems was a very effective way to study for the tests. He does give partial credit, and he doesn't count off if you make a simple "careless" mistakes. The grading system is simple. There are 26 homework assignments. For each one, you either get 1 or 0 points. The maximum pts you can get from the homeworks is 24, meaning that you can get by without doing 2 homework assignments and still get the max pts possible. Each test is worth 24 points. The max pts you can get for the semester is 120, and you need at least 100 to make an A. At least 85 for a B. There is no official final. Instead of taking a final, you can retake up to two tests to try to get more points. This means that if you get 100 points with the homeworks and tests the first time around, you'll already have an A and you'll be exempt from a final. (You don't have to take the final if you don't make an A either. It's your choice whether you want to try to improve your grade or not.) 5. Overall This is a great course, and you'll learn tons, but it does take some work to make an A. Don't be discouraged from taking this class because you didn't take the Calculus BC test in high school. I only took the AB, and I got an A. Also, don't think you have to be a math wiz to get an A. I'm not an engineering or math major and I suck at math. It takes work, sure, but it's nothing that can't be done if you don't try. The only complaint I have is that Palka seems to get easily frustrated when he explains something and you don't get it the first time. My advice for this class is that you must get help if you don't get something. Do the homework with friends and ask questions. Go to the TA's office hour. Go to Palka's office hour.
Review from a student who took 408D
Don't be misled by his grade breakdowns. Palka teaches you as if you already have an extensive knowledge on the subject. most of the kids who got an A in my class had nothing else to do but study on a friday night. take another professor.
Review from a student who took 408D
Don't be misled by his grade breakdowns. Palka teaches you as if you already have an extensive knowledge on the subject. most of the kids who got an A in my class had nothing else to do but study on a friday night. take another professor.
Review from a student who took M 408D
Palka was a great prof. He's a friggin mathematical genius. THe material he covered in this class was pretty in depth but if you just go to class everyday go over his notes a bunch and work through all his examples and homework problems that he writes himself you have to get at least a B with his grade curve. I would recommend taking him if you really want to know Cal 2, it's definately not an easy class but not at all impossible and you really learn your stuff.
Review from a student who took M408D
Palka was a great professor. He gives excellent notes, and his tests were difficult, but fair. You will work hard in his class, but it was well worth it. He gives you excellent opportunities to do well grade-wise in his class. He is the best math professor I have had at UT.
Review from a student who took M 427k
Palka was a great prof. he really knows his stuff and never messes up in the notes or lectures. You learn a whole lot in this class but it is definately hard and takes a lot of time. I totally recommend him if you really want to learn this stuff but go for someone else if you just need the credit
Review from a student who took M408D
Palka was an interesting little man. If you are a calculus wiz, you'll love his class. It's definitely not easy. I made a 5 on the calculus BC AP, but it did nothing to make this class easy. I took the honors challenge because I thought I had it covered, but it was the last math class I will ever take at UT. 8-9 MWF was not a good time for his class either. Like the other review mentioned, don't be misled by the grade breakdown. I worked HARD for my A. It's 4 exams, and you get the chance to retake up to 2 of those exams (different problems but same chapters) as the "final". Lots of homework, HARD homework problems. Palka is definitely VERY intelligent, and so as a side effect, his lectures can sometimes seem way out there. Worth the effort, learned a lot, do NOT take it if you aren't an engineer/math major.
Review from a student who took M 408D
Do not take this course. Especially if you did not take the Calculus BC exam--most of the other students will have, and you'll be at a big disadvantage not being already familiar with some of the topics. The lectures are both fast-paced and uninteresting. There are 4 tests, each of which has six questions. While other sections of this class might emphasize getting through the material and doing problems relevant to it, Palka's class has a rather different emphasis. It's assumed that you can pick up how to do the "basic" problems rather easily--the emphasis is on Palka's far-out problems which are quite difficult, and often you cannot find examples relevant to them in the textbook. If this is your first semester of college, *don't* put yourself through this kind of torture.

Grades given in courses taught by Bruce Palka

When teaching M 408D

grade: a b c d f drops
percentage: 51% 28% 12% 3% 5% 2%

  All professors who have taught M 408D

When teaching M 427K

grade: a b c d f drops
percentage: 33% 20% 19% 7% 12% 9%

  All professors who have taught M 427K

When teaching M 340L

grade: a b c d f drops
percentage: 15% 10% 22% 12% 3% 37%

  All professors who have taught M 340L