UC Davis Math 21A -- Calculus I
Fall 2013

Basic information

Instructor: Brian Osserman
Office: Mathematical Sciences Building (MSB) Room 3218
Office Hours: M 11-12, Th 2-3
Email: (Please send administrative questions to the lead TA)

Lead TA: Naizhen Zhang
Office Hours: F 1-2, MSB 2137
Email: nzhzhang@math.ucdavis.edu (please contact with all administrative questions)

C01 (CRN 39227) C02 (CRN 39228) C03 (CRN 39229) C04 (CRN 39230) C05 (CRN 53720) C06 (CRN 54116)
Lectures MWF 10:00-10:50am in Kleiber 3 (all sections)
T 4:10-5:00pm
Kerr 293
T 6:10-7:00pm
Chem 176
T 8:10-9:00pm
Chem 166
T 7:10-8:00pm
Chem 166
T 5:10-6:00pm
Chem 176
T 6:10-7:00pm
Bainer 1130
Ozan Sonmez
William Cuello
Edward Tavernetti
Edward Tavernetti
Zi Peng
Naizhen Zhang


12/5: Finals week office hours will be Monday 2-3 and Wednesday 3-4.

11/25: I have posted a note on finding absolute extrema when a function is continuous on a non-closed interval.

11/7: I have posted a review sheet for Exam 2 to help you study.

11/5: Lecture and office hour on Monday, November 11 are cancelled due to Veterans Day. However, I will hold special office hours 2-4 PM on Tuesday, November 12.

10/11: I have posted a note on limit laws for infinite limits, covering rules not discussed in the book.

10/4: I have posted a note explaining the formal definition of limit, and how to use it.

9/19: Welcome to Math 21A!

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

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 (be careful to buy the "Early Transcendentals" version!). 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 weekly quizzes, 25% for each in-class exam, and 40% for the final exam. Your quiz and exam scores will be visible throughout the quarter 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 63.5%, median 65%, and standard deviation 16%.

The second exam scores are visible on SmartSite. The mean score was 80.5%, median 83%, and standard deviation 14%.

The final exam scores are visible on SmartSite. The mean score was 71%, median 75%, and standard deviation 13.5%.

The letter grade ranges for the first exam are as follows:
82%-100%: A range
67-82%: B range
50-67%: 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
50-60%: D range
0-50%: 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
57-73%: C range
45-57%: D range
0-45%: F Your lowest quiz score will be dropped when calculating your grade.

Homework and Quizzes:

Homework problems from the textbook will be assigned after every lecture, posted on SmartSite. These problems will not be collected and graded, but there will be short quizzes in each discussion based on the homework problems from the previous week's lecture. You will have a chance to ask questions on the material prior to the quiz. These quizzes will be graded with no partial credit, so be sure to check your answers.


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 18, 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 23.

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 13, and will cover sections 3.2-3.9 of the book.

Practice Exam 2
Solutions to Practice Exam 2

The final exam is scheduled for Thursday, December 12, 3:30-5:30pm. and will be held in Peter Rock Hall. It will cover material for the entire course (i.e., all of Chapters 2 and 3 and all but 4.8 of Chapter 4), 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. 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. The two testing windows for Fall 2013 are 9/10-9/19 and 9/26-10/1.

Tutoring and other resources:

Success isn't just a matter of how much you study, it also depends on how effectively you use the resources available to you. These resources are 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 quizzes and exams!

Office hours: Both the instructor and lead TA hold office hours, and these are a great way to get help with anything from understanding concepts to working problems.

Calculus Room: The Calculus Room, located in MSB 1118, is open M-F, 1-7PM, staffed with TAs to help Math 21 students.

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

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


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

Subject (optional) :