‘18.02: 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 193
Hours/Week 10.4 (62 responses)
Instructors Daniel Alvarez-Gavela
Overall Rating 4.3/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • The content of 18.01 was a necessary prerequisite.
  • Prior knowledge of vectors and matrices was helpful.

Subject Matter

  • The material was both theoretical and applied, and with theory explained, but also lots of examples.
  • Students found the material very foundational.

Course Staff

  • All students felt that all of the course staff were very helpful and friendly.
  • Some felt that the lecturer was too abstract at times, but this was not a very common sentiment.


  • Most found the lectures somewhat helpful, but said that the lecture notes were far more useful.
  • Many found the lectures very theory heavy and abstract.

Problem Sets

  • Most found problem sets to be a good mix between challenging and fun.
  • Problem sets were only assigned once every 2 weeks.


  • Most found exams to be somewhat stressful and challenging.
  • Many found time pressure to be a significant factor.


  • Most students found the lecture notes to be very helpful, and said they were the most helpful resource in the class.
  • There was no textbook used.
  • Students mentioned that the OpenCourseWare recordings were useful as well.


  • Students felt that grading was mostly fair, although the final grade was heavily influenced by exams.
  • Cutoffs were lowered as the semester went on to account for the difficulty of exams.

Advice to Future Students

  1. ”Open Courseware and other universities’ websites are your best friends.”
  2. “Relax. Like I said, they lower the grade requirements as needed. Also, go to office hours and pay attention during lectures/recitations. All the usual stuff. Study up on matrices and vectors before this class, because they don’t go over those very well.”
  3. ”Stay on top of the work. You will probably fall behind.”
  4. ”If you do not understand the material from a lecture, go to the Lecture Notes and try to teach yourself or try to find an outside resource such as Khan Academy to teach you because they will help you understand some concepts much easier and better than some of the lectures.”