Course: MAT202
Instructor: Remy van Dobben de Bruyn
S 2019

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

Standard linear algebra course including topics such as matrices, linear transformations, linear independence, bases and coordinates, determinants, orthogonal projection, least squares, eigenvectors, etc.

Learning From Classroom Instruction

Class lectures are where you learn the majority of the material for this course. Although, like most math courses, it’s nearly impossible to take notes and digest the information that’s being thrown at you at the same time. It’s also hard to keep up with what’s going on without skimming the reading ahead of time which I recommend doing otherwise you’ll quickly become totally lost in the class and will be playing catch-up the entire semester. One thing you can do is just try to watch and understand what’s going on during class then take pictures and write down notes afterwards which may help you learn during class and not get lost. Otherwise, most learning can be done out of the book. And by going over a ton of example problems (and discussing these in office hours if you need help understanding the concepts).

Learning For and From Assignments

It's really hard to do the homework in this class without having done the reading and understanding what’s going on, especially when you start getting true/false questions on the psets. Try your best to do the readings and understand what’s going on in the example problems in class and in the textbook. These are your best chance for figuring out the homework. Work on psets in groups since most problems you either get or don’t get how to do, so if one of your friends is able to figure it out, they can then explain it to you and vice versa. Exams are hit or miss, some will be relatively easy and others will be relatively hard. Doing a lot of practice problems until you start to get the answers without having to look at the answer key is the only way to study for this course. Even if you feel totally lost at first, just keep trying to do practice problems until things start to click.

External Resources

Office hours for this course are not the most helpful as most preceptors will be reluctant to give any hints for solving homework problems. Only necessary to go if there are some concept you really don’t get and need explanation. Otherwise, your friends are the best resource for getting homework done and studying for exams.

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

Difficult take on linear algebra as expected for a Princeton course. If you have taken linear in high school, this course will undoubtedly deepen your understanding and address topics you most likely would’ve skipped or only skimmed over in high school. Expect to not understand a lot without putting significant time and effort into understanding the fundamental mathematical concepts in the course and doing a lot of practice problems. Would not recommend unless you have to take for BSE or want to invest your time in improving your fundamental math abilities (some techniques like matrix algebra are quite useful in other engineering courses).
Linear Algebra

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