UC Davis Math 21A -- Calculus I
Fall 2012

Basic information

Instructor: Brian Osserman
Office: Mathematical Sciences Building (MSB) Room 3218
Office Hours: M 3:10-4:00, W 11:00-11:50
Email: (Please send administrative questions to the lead TA)

Lead TA: James Buban
Email: jpbuban@math.ucdavis.edu (please contact with all administrative questions)

E01 (CRN 29127) E02 (CRN 29128) E03 (CRN 29129) E04 (CRN 29130) E05 (CRN 43670)
Lectures MWF 12:10-1:00pm in Haring 2205 (all sections)
R 3:10-4:00pm
Olson 147
R 4:10-5:00pm
Olson 147
R 5:10-6:00pm
Wellman 212
R 6:10-7:00pm
Wellman 212
R 7:10-8:00pm
Olson 223
Laura Luttmer
Katrina Glaeser
Eric Samperton
Eric Samperton
Colin Hagemeyer
Office Hours
T 10:00-10:50
MSB 2204
R 2:10-3:30
MSB 2127
F 2:10-3:00
MSB 2232
R 9:00-9:50
MSB 2232
F 3:10-4:00
MSB 2232


12/8: Practice Exam 3 and its solutions are now posted below.

11/26: As promised, here is a more detailed explanation of how to find absolute extrema when the domain is not a closed interval.

11/11: The practice exam is now posted. There is no class or office hours on Monday, since it is a holiday. Katrina Glaeser will move her usual office hour to T 2-3, and Colin Hagemeyer will move his to T 3-4.

11/9: Review session information for Exam 2 is posted below. A practice exam will be posted on Sunday. In addition, here is a review sheet to help you study for the exam.

10/22: For Exam 1, scores are now visible on SmartSite, and letter grade ranges are posted below.

10/16: The Student Disability Center asks that students interested in serving as paid notetakers for this course please contact Russ Zochowski at rjzochowski@ucdavis.edu. Notetakers are paid a stipend of $25 per unit, but must have a social security number in order to be paid. Students are asked to put notetaker, the course title, number, and instructor's name in the subject lines of their emails. Their information will be passed along to the SDC student in need of notes, and if they are interested they will contact each student accordingly.

10/7: I have posted a note explaining the formal definition of limit.

9/19: Welcome to Math 21A! Please note that discussion sections will not meet on Thursday, September 27, the first day of class.

Suggested reading: Duane Kouba's Doing Well in Calculus.

9/25: See the new section on the Mathematics Placement Requirement.

Textbook and Syllabus:

The syllabus and textbook for the course are standardized for the entire 21 sequence. The textbook is Thomas' Calculus: Early Transcendentals, 12th edition. Note that regardless of what the bookstore may say, this is the only required text. Solutions manuals may be helpful, but are optional. Because MyMathLab will not be a required part of the course, you do not need to buy the "media upgrade".

The course will roughly cover chapters 2-4 of the book. A more detailed syllabus may be found here.


Grades will be weighted as follows: 10% for homework (submitted via WeBWorK), 10% for weekly quizzes, 20% for each in-class exam, and 40% for the final exam. You will be able to view your homework scores on WeBWorK as you go, and your quiz and exam scores will be visible on SmartSite.

Cheating will be taken extremely seriously. The minimum punishment will be an F on the exam or assignment in question, and all cases will be referred to Student Judicial Affairs.

Exam grading will be on a soft curve, meaning that I do not predetermine either what scores correspond to what grades, or what percentage of students get what grades. Rather, after grading each exam I will assign grade ranges using the following general criterion: those who earn an A should demonstrate a strong mastery of nearly all the material; a B should correspond to a good working knowledge of a strong majority of the material; and C should correspond to an ability to solve routine problems in a majority of the topics covered. Under this system, if you all do well, you will all get good grades.

The first exam scores are visible on SmartSite. The mean score was 67%, median 69.5%, and standard deviation 15%.

The second exam scores are visible on SmartSite. The mean score was 81.5%, median 85%, and standard deviation 15%.

The final exam scores are visible on SmartSite. The mean score was 72.8%, median 74.25%, and standard deviation 13%.

The letter grade ranges for the first exam are as follows:
85%-100%: A range
70-85%: B range
50-70%: C range
35-50%: D range
0-35%: F

The letter grade ranges for the second exam are as follows:
88%-100%: A range
76-88%: B range
60-76%: C range
45-60%: D range
0-45%: F

The letter grade ranges for the final exam are as follows (note that the below is in percents, while the exam was scored out of 200):
86%-100%: A range
73-86%: B range
55-73%: C range
40-55%: D range
0-40%: F

Your lowest homework score and your lowest quiz score will both be dropped when calculating your grade.

The letter grade ranges for the homework are as follows:
90%-100%: A range
80-90%: B range
65-80%: C range
55-65%: D range
0-55%: F

The letter grade ranges for the quizzes are as follows:
75%-100%: A range
60-75%: B range
40-60%: C range
25-40%: D range
0-25%: F

Homework and Quizzes:

Homework will be assigned after every lecture, to be completed on the free online homework system WeBWorK. With the exception of the first assignment, homework will be due every Friday. To avoid having too much lag time between lectures and homework, each homework will cover the material from the previous three lectures (so that for example the homework due 10/12 will cover the lectures on 10/5, 10/8, and 10/10). We will also list additional optional recommended exercises from the textbook, which you are encouraged to do if you feel you need more practice. They will be listed in the WeBWorK set info for each problem set, starting with HW2.

There will also be short weekly quizzes in your Thursday discussion section, covering the material from the homework due the following day (you will have a chance to ask questions on the material prior to the quiz). These quizzes will be very short and will be graded with no partial credit, so be sure to check your answers.

To get started with WeBWorK, go to the WeBWorK web page, log in with your UC Davis MailID (note that this is not necessarily the same as your login name), and use your student ID number as your initial password. After you log in, you should change your password using the "Password/Email" link on the left. You can then view homework assignments by going to "Homework Sets", also on the left.

Important: You are responsible for checking the assignments on the WeBWorK page after each lecture. The first assignment is due Monday, October 1, and is an extra credit assignment (up to 1% bonus for your total course grade) on precalculus material which is designed to familiarize you with the system and help us debug it if necessary.

Also important: You have limited attempts on problems, and typos will be counted as failed attempts, so be sure to use the "Preview" button before each time you submit an answer. You can "Email instructor" if you run into problems with the interface.


There will be two in-class exams and a final exam. These will be closed-book exams, with no calculators or notes allowed. You will write your answers directly on the exam, so do not need to bring blue books. However, be sure to bring your ID card to the exams.

Makeup exams will not be offered. If you have an unavoidable conflict with an exam date, or an emergency of some sort, you must let us know as early as possible in order to make appropriate arrangements.

The first exam will be given on Friday, October 19, and will cover limits and the derivative at a point: more precisely, all of chapter 2 of the book, as well as section 3.1. It will be graded prior to the drop deadline, which is October 24.

Practice Exam 1
Solutions to Practice Exam 1 (note that although sketches are not included in the solutions, they are required where stated).

The second exam will be given on Wednesday, November 14, and will cover sections 3.2-3.10 of the book. There will be a special review session for the second exam on Tuesday, November 13, from 1:10-2:00 PM in 198 Young.

Practice Exam 2
Solutions to Practice Exam 2

The final exam is scheduled for Monday, December 10, 8:00-10:00am, and will be held in Peter Rock Hall. It will cover material for the entire course, but with an emphasis on material from the last third of the course.
Practice Exam 3 (Note: this is a one-hour practice exam, only covering the material since the second exam)
Solutions to Practice Exam 3


Calculators are optional for this class, and are not allowed on any quizzes or exams.

Students with disabilities:

Any student with a documented disability (e.g. physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the Student Disability Center (SDC). Faculty are authorized to provide only the accommodations requested by the SDC. If you have any questions, please contact the SDC at (530)752-3184 or sdc@ucdavis.edu.

Mathematics Placement Requirement:

The placement requirement for Math 21A is set by the department, and is enforced automatically by the computer system. Accordingly, you will be administratively dropped from this course if you have not met the Mathematics Placement Requirement, which for this course is to obtain a total score of 35 or more together with a Trigonometry sub-score of 3 or more on the placement exam. If you have not met this requirement, there is nothing I can do to prevent you from being dropped. However, the second placement exam window is 9/27-10/2, so you still have a chance to meet the requirement.

See here for further details.

Tutoring and other resources:

You are strongly encouraged to take full advantage of faculty and TA office hours. In addition to these, there are various other resources available, listed below. However, you should also be sure to get plenty of practice solving problems on your own, since this is what you will have to do on exams!

SASC: The SASC has math drop-in hours at which you can receive tutoring for Math 21A.

Math Cafe: The Math Cafe is an informal math group which meets every Wednesday from 4 to 6pm. Although the focus is on female students, everyone is welcome to attend.

Each other: You are very much encouraged to study together. This is an easy way to make your study habits more effective. There is a chat feature enabled on SmartSite to facilitate this.


If you have any feedback on the course, regarding lecture, discussion section, WeBWorK, or any other topic, you can provide it anonymously with the below form.

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