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MATH 42 is possibly the only “discrete mathematics” class in SJSU, and if you aren’t majoring in some kind of engineering, it’s unlikely you’re going to know what discrete math is at all, much less take the class.

Here’s the course description from the university website:

Sets, logic, methods of proof including mathematical induction, functions, relations, elementary combinatorics, probability, Boolean algebras.

Prerequisite: MATH 19 with a grade of “C” or better, or eligibility for MATH 30 or 30P or 30PL. Math Remediation Completed or a post baccalaureate.”

So basically, logic. Sets. Proofs. Induction. Pretty scary-sounding terms, huh?

Keep in mind, different SJSU professors teach the class differently, so this post is for those kids who are enrolled in Dr. Wasin So’s MATH 42 class and want to get through the semester with a good grade.

So without further ado, here’s some tips on how to pass Dr. So’s MATH 42 class.

1. Do the homework.

You do not want to ignore the homework. It seems super tempting to do so because Dr. So doesn’t post HW on Canvas, and also because he doesn’t collect homework either.

The thing about the homework is, even though Dr. So doesn’t collect it, he puts questions that are almost exactly like the homework questions on the quizzes, and you know what he grades? The quizzes.

Also, the quizzes only have 3-4 questions, so even if you get one answer wrong, you’ll get a bad score, and if you keep doing badly on quizzes because you didn’t do the homework, the low scores add up and your grade gets worse and…well, you get the idea.

Not to mention that doing the homework is obviously good practice of the concepts Dr. So teaches in class.

Fun fact – if you have a homework notebook and you’ve finished all the homework by the time the final rolls around, and your grade is borderline, if you give your HW notebook to Dr. So on the day of the final, it could influence if he rounds up your grade or not. Just saying.

To sum up, DO THE FREAKING HOMEWORK. There are 8-9 quizzes, and while obviously tests and the final have a bigger impact on your final grade, having good quiz scores definitely doesn’t hurt. Also, good practice.

2. Go to Dr. So’s office hours if you need help.

If you’re struggling with the latest lesson or you’re just confused about the material in general, go to Dr. So’s office hours. He’s more than happy to help, and he can give you other resources to help you learn the material if you need them or if his explanation isn’t sufficient. Even if you don’t understand the first lesson – “propositional logic” – Dr. So will explain it to you and won’t make you feel stupid for it either.

3. IMPORTANT – Look at Dr. So’s website.

Wanna know why he doesn’t post any homework or grades to Canvas? He doesn’t need to. It’s all on his website (except for the grades part, you have to ask him for that in person).

The website is http://www.math.sjsu.edu/~so/.

Dr. So posts the class syllabus, calendar, and homework on his website after the semester has begun. You wanna know when the next quiz or test is? It’s on his website. You wanna know the homework for that day? It’s on the website.

Look at the website. Bookmark it if you have to. There’s nothing more annoying than failing a class because all the resources were somewhere you didn’t know about.

4. Study the sample problems.

Dr. So puts up sample problems on his website, and an answer key for those problems is on there too. When studying for tests or the final (or even if you just need practice on discrete math in general), work the sample problems. They cover all the chapters in the class and are good prep for the final.

It’s obviously best to know the material in any course in order to pass, but here are just some specific tips so that you don’t fail Dr. So’s class because of careless mistakes.



Saima Yunus

Hi! I'm a computer engineering student at SJSU. I enjoy writing, good television, and Peet's vanilla lattes.

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