‘18.600: Probability and Random Variables’

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 141
Hours/Week 9.6 (44 responses)
Instructors Elchanan Mossel
Overall Rating 4.7/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • The content of 18.02 was a necessary prerequisite. Other than that, some basic knowledge of combinatorics and linear algebra was helpful.

Subject Matter

  • The subject was theoretical with some applied problems, and overall the material was foundational and could definitely apply to real world applications.

Course Staff

  • Very caring and approachable. TAs were wonderful and were more than willing to put in time to help students gain a deeper understanding of the subject in office hours.


  • When it came to the usefulness of lectures, student’s opinions were a mixed bag. Some found the lectures the most useful part of the class, while others found it the least.
  • Working with others and utilizing the textbook helped clarify the lectures.

Problem Sets

  • Challenging and helpful for studying.
  • Lectures and recitations helped prepare for the psets.
  • Collaboration on psets with people was helpful.
  • Many students requested pset solutions be posted, though this did not happen.


  • The exams were fairly straightforward compared to psets, though the time limit could make it stressful. Utilizing recitation and lecture notes was helpful for preparing.
  • Overall, the exams were reasonable.


  • Many referred to the textbook to clarify their understanding, as well as the OpenCourseWare version of the course which is made available online.
  • However, some felt that the lecture slides were lacking in explanation/preparation.


  • Students felt that grading was fair but that too much weight was put on the exams.
  • Grading cutoffs were not made transparent.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Go to lecture, definitely utilize the textbook when working thr ough the psets, and go to recitation if you get stuck.”
  2. “Go to office hours, they’re really helpful!”