18.01: Calculus

Table of contents

  1. Course Info
  2. Realistic Prerequisites
  3. Subject Matter
  4. Course Staff
  5. Lectures
  6. Problem Sets
  7. Exams
  8. Resources
  9. Grading
  10. Advice to Future Students

Course Info

Class Size 263
Hours/Week 9.2 (117 responses)
Instructors Larry Guth
Overall Rating 5.9/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • High school material is necessary (including trigonometry, geometry, and algebra).
  • Students found some previous knowledge of calculus (as in, derivatives and integrals) useful. But this is not a necessary prerequisite for the course.

Subject Matter

  • The material is foundational.
  • Students found the material very useful and applicable to other STEM subjects.
  • Many found the course to be example driven, which helped to see connections with other fields like Physics and Chemistry.

Course Staff

  • The course staff were described as friendly, approachable, and helpful.
  • Professor Guth was said to have explained things very clearly, and cares about student’s learning. We went so far as to attend recitations to make sure the learning was going smoothly.
  • The staff were flexible when personal issues came up.
  • Staff office hours were considered helpful to many.


  • Lectures were well-paced and essential.
  • The lectures are also interactive and Professor Guth encouraged discussion amongst the audience.
  • The examples shown were helpful.
  • Many found the transition towards large classrooms with several hundred people daunting.

Problem Sets

  • Psets were a mid-level difficulty. Most students felt they were challenging but lecture and recitation prepared students well.
  • Many students received help from office hours, working with peers, and TSR^2.


  • Most students felt the exams were reasonable and lectures, office hours, and psets gave students adequate preparation.
  • The class gave out practice tests that were particularly useful for studying.


  • The Perusall Calculus textbook is available online.
  • Weekly readings were required with questions.
  • Class slides and recitation notes were also made available.


  • Students felt that grading was fair and transparent.
  • Some students felt the grading was a bit harsh for psets and exams.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Go to lecture or watch the recordings (but going is so much better), and do your work. Collaborate with others, and the class should be fine. Don’t struggle alone!”
  2. “Focus on the class from early on. While its pace isn’t too fast, you could easily find yourself falling behind. Also, many of the topics are connected throughout the semester, from beginning to end. Something to keep in mind.”
  3. “Go to office hours the very instant you find yourself excessively confused. It is more helpful to learn the best practices as fast as you can as opposed to wasting time going in circles with your thinking.”
  4. “Unless you feel like you absolutely mastered Calculus in high school and could teach a class on it, I would take 18.01 instead of 18.01A.”
  5. “Use your resources!!!! they give you specific study materials for a reason!!! And make sure to go to the special office hours before tests because they will tell you what topics to focus on.”