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 202
Hours/Week 9.0 (65 responses)
Instructors Andrei Negut (Lecturer), Songonuga, Omomayowa A. (UA), Gadish, Nir (Rec Inst.), Harper, Brin C. (Rec Inst.), Kriz, Daniel, (Rec Inst.), Silkin, Veronika (Rec Inst.), Vasudevan, Sahana (Rec Inst.)
# of Responses to Course 18 Underground Questions 23/65

Realistic Prerequisites

  • Mathematical maturity: Maturity at the level of 18.01/18.02 was expected.
  • Good to be familiar with matrix multiplication and mathematical reasoning.
    • Some calculus knowledge is helpful towards the end of the course.

Subject Matter

  • Very applied, foundational, useful.
    • One student felt that they “got a great introduction to the basics of linear algebra.”
    • Many students voiced that they learnt a lot of fundamental linear algebra.
  • Many students learnt a lot about applications, computational tricks and factorizations from the course.

Course Staff

  • Approachable, very open to questions.
  • Both the professor and the TAs were caring and helpful.
  • Student thoughts:
    • “… professor is quick to address questions but has high expectations …“
    • “… genuinely care(d) about the learning of the students …“
  • Some students felt strongly that the professor was sometimes hard to approach and leniency was hard to come by.
    • There were concerns that it was hard to voice concerns.


  • Many students found the lectures useful to attend, very helpful for learning the material and consistently clear.
    • A student notes that “really explained things clearly and took care not to make large conceptual jumps.”
  • Lectures were quiite engaging and always had good examples; the professor addressed all student questions.

Problem Sets

  • Problem sets varied from ‘just right’ to ‘challenging, but generally doable’.
  • Some problems tended to require a fair bit of numerical calculation but also accompanied conceptual questions.
  • A student notes: “The problem sets definitely helped me understand concepts.” Many other students have similar feelings.
  • Some student feelings:
    • “I liked the problem sets as they encouraged collaboration and required creativity.”
    • “The lectures prepared me for the psets and I was able to complete the majority of my psets alone.”


  • Many students found timing to be an issue. Almost everyone reported it was hard to complete the exams in the given time.
    • One student notes that “Lots of questions with minimal time to answer everything…“
    • Another student aptly says “You. Will. Run. Out. Of. Time. So. Do. Fast. Math.”
  • The problems were conceptual, 55mins and similar to what was taught in class..
  • Solving psets and knowing critical facts from lecture was helpful.
    • Many students notes that doing the practice problems was very important for the exam.
    • Practicing was essential for doing well on the exams.
  • Many students found the exams stressful and discouraging, primarily due to a mismatch of difficulty level with time allotted.
  • The exams were kept open-book due to the nature of the semester.


  • The course notes were very well-written: extensive, thorough and complete.
    • Posted right after every lecture.
    • Most students didnt need more than the course notes.
    • One student describes them as “(the lecture notes were) fantastic … (thorough + well-written), no textbook necessary”
  • Supplementary textbook: “Introduction to Linear Algebra” 5th Edition, Gilbert Strang


  • Grade cutoffs were not publicized, and the policy wasn’t very transparent.
  • The courses had a possibly harsh late policy that some students didnt like.
  • Students generally felt that grading was fair and consistent.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “start the psets early!”
  2. “first month will probably be very easy for most students. Afterwards, it felt like there were a lot of facorizations and definitions thrown at you than can be hard to keep track of. May want to have system in place to organize all of it.”
  3. “While the course might seem chill sometimes, it is very important to not underestimate it as the exams can have problems that are very time consuming and decently challenging. Study course notes carefully and make sure you understand what’s going on. … be prepared to do some pretty tedious problems with very long computations on psets. If this bothers you too much, it might be better to take a more theoretical version of the course like 18.700. “