Manoussos Grillakis

39 reviews
Average rating: 3.59




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MATH461

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/21/2019
Lectures can be a bit hard to follow, but class is easy. No required attendance or quizzes. 3 exams during semester, lowest of which is dropped. Exams are very easy
MATH461

Expecting an A
Anonymous 04/15/2019
This guy is a terrible prof. I took an intro level linear algebra in high school and enjoyed it greatly but i was unable to get credit for it because it wasn't ap. Then i took math461 expecting to further my knowledge on a topic i already enjoyed. I start the semester going to every lecture but it soon became apparent there was nothing to be learned from this man. I now skip every lecture relying completely on teaching myself. Admittedly the tests aren't hard and the hw is very easy, but don't expect to learn much.
MATH410

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 12/16/2018
Not a great lecturer; talks really quietly into the board as he writes in his (truly impeccable) handwriting. He also is not good at communicating information effectively to the class. Probably the only good thing about his teaching is that he is somewhat helpful in office hours. Even so, he merely tells you the answer. He seems pretty uninterested in actually helping students get a deep understanding of the material. His exams are hard, not completely reflective of homeworks, and he is stingy with partial credit. He also maintained almost no contact with his grader, who sucked - didn't finish grading the last 2 homeworks before the last midterm or the final.
MATH461

Expecting a C
Anonymous 12/15/2018
guys bruh like I literally got a 29% on his exam bruh, the class average was literally 48%, I left like 3 questions blank basically. Good news is the class is curved like Messi curves his freekicks so it'll bring my absolute poop grade to passing. Man is a nice and responsive guy but does not teach in his lectures.
MATH461

Anonymous 12/13/2018
the guy's smart, but his lectures are way too theoretical and boring. i mean yeah linear algebra is pretty conceptually based, but his lectures were so boring and counter intuitive. like the first thing we should learn is how to RREF, but one the first day he basically just did RREF examples without even explaining what the hell was going on. honestly one of the worst lecturers for a MATH240 equivalent, seems much better at teaching real math400s his grading is the nicest part, and there was extra credit as well. but as of now, the averages for the tests were high 60s, and then one below a 50%. he literally put a problem that was from the next chapter on one of his tests, and even with the generous grading the class should still be technically curved, considering that if you got the average on every test you'd have a 60% in the class, which is barely passing by most standards(C-). take this class if you're willing to really learn on your own and get a really good grasp of linear algebra. otherwise,go take 240 and have better professors actually teach you how to do most of the crap.
MATH461

Expecting a C
Anonymous 12/13/2018
Very poor instructor, does not explain what he is doing when teaching a new subject. Tests are very difficult with many true false questions in which you have to prove why it is true or false. He will teach out of order from the text book and will be teaching many sections ahead of what is relevant for an upcoming exam. I highly recommend choosing another instructor.
MATH461

Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/21/2018
Grillakis gets a lot of average reviews because he gives easy tests and a nice curve. However, if you want to actually learn something, and you're not in the top 1-2% of students who pick up material instantly, then expect to do a lot of work yourself. For MATH461, he teaches in the largest lecture hall in the Armory, without a microphone, and speaks at barely above a whisper. For comparison, there's some guy who sits in the fifth row or so who always eats takeout during class and his chewing and burping is louder than Grillakis's lecturing. Furthermore, Grillakis is unclear about what material he teaches simply because it's cool to know and the material he expects us to know for exams. His lectures seem like he's just rambling and he does not indicate clearly when switching between topics. He also does very few practice problems. Although some of the TAs are actually very good, Grillakis does not communicate well with the TAs about what material is being covered in lecture and what might be on the test. We also were not provided with sample or practice exams. It's impossible to know the difficulty, length, and even what concepts will be tested on the exams. Like another review said, the grades are only based on three midterms (lowest gets dropped) and the final. Later in the semester, he informed us there would be MATLAB assignments for extra credit. If you want to learn the material on your own and get a pretty easy A, take Grillakis. Otherwise, avoid Grillakis for MATH461.
MATH461

Anonymous 11/21/2018
Grillakis uses the textbook heavily, so if you read that you should be fine. He is very generous in his grading, offers extra credit assignments, and drops your lowest exam grade. Not a fantastic lecturer, as lectures can be dry and uninteresting. Overall though, he is a decent professor and I would take him again.
MATH461

Expecting a B+
Anonymous 09/11/2018
The worst professor I’ve had at this school, and that’s saying a lot because most professors here have been really bad. He comes to class without a mic in a large lecture hallway in the armory, practically whispers, writes illegibly on the board, and seems to directly take definitions from the book and write them down without a single example. Really bad.
MATH410

Expecting an A-
Anonymous 03/29/2018
Grillakis uses the textbook so everything you need to learn in 410 is in the book. His class is droll but informative and he is very understanding about sickness and family matters.


Expecting an A
justforreviews 07/25/2015
I took Grillakis' class when Justin's filled up and Margetis' class could not fit with my schedule. I was a bit weary about his class because he had a good grade distribution but very average ratings, which is a sign of grade curving. When I first sat through Grillakis' lecture, I immediately noticed that he was a peculiar small man with extremely neat handwriting. Grillakis speaks very softly into the mic, half the time I thought it was off the whole time, so make sure to sit close to the front. The beginning of the class is fairly easy, Grillakis breezes through the lectures without confusing many people and the first exam is super easy. However, as the class progresses, the material gets tougher and his explanations get vague. A lot of people stopped showing up to class and instead relied on the books and their TA's, and I did this a few times because his lectures got so boring and I didn't really understand what he was saying.The bright side about attending lecture is that he takes beautiful notes, the bad part is that he goes too fast with several jumps and hardly EVER provides examples. I recall once someone asking him to do a Stokes theorem problem and he straight out refused, we were all pretty shocked since this was one of the harder topics of the class. In terms of grading and his exams, he dropped the lowest out of four exams and dropped the lowest 3 quizzes out of eight. I realized there wasn't much curving, his grading system allowed for A's and B's. His exams have straightforward problems, but can be very physics related (which I didn't like much compared to others). Grillakis also does not wait to start lecture, he arrives to the room at least 10 mins early and once he cleans the board he looks around awkwardly and begins his lecture. This was difficult for people because if you are exactly on time, chances are he already started. Another thing is that he doesn't really follow the chapters of the book, for the last half of the class I was very confused with what chapter we were on but as long as you follow his topics and match them with the ones on the book, you should be okay. In short, his class required a bit of work. I got high B's on the exams and aced all the quizzes, and that allowed me to get an A. It is not impossible to get an A but you might have to work for it by going to office hours and going to discussion. My TA was Nick Thieme and he was great!
MATH340

Expecting an A
Anonymous 03/24/2015
I found Prof. Grillakis to be quite good for MATH340. His handwriting is incredibly neat, and in a small classroom his accent and volume is not an issue (I can't speak for the larger classes like MATH241). He tends to go quite fast through the notes, and sometimes it can be a tad difficult to follow, but he's very clear in office hours if you have any questions. There are 8 HWK assignments but he drops the lowest score, and his grader was pretty fair. They can be pretty long, though. There are two tests and a final, with your lower score counting for only a half test grade. Overall the tests are not bad, and cover what was covered in class. There are even some hints sprinkled in on some questions. He sends out reviews of notes and problems before tests, which are also in his impeccable handwriting (seriously, it's ridiculously neat). Overall he may not be great at lecturing, but I think he deserves five stars for his helpfulness in office hours, fairness of assignments, and the fact that in smaller settings the issues people had below (volume, accent, etc) are not really issues. I would gladly take another course with him.
MATH340

Expecting an A+
Jack4112 03/13/2015
Grillakis is one of the nicest professors I have ever had. He is extremely smart and can answer any complicated questions within matters of seconds. I would definitely recommend taking Grillakis for any math courses.
MATH340

Expecting an A
Anonymous 02/21/2015
One of the best professors in UMD. Extremely nice in officer hours. Has the highest average for almost any courses.
MATH340

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 01/09/2015
Grillakis is a wonderful professor. His lectures can be a little bit dry, but he knows the material front and back. We actually finished the material in mid-November, and spent the rest of the time going over applications to physics (his math area). His office hours are among the bast I've seen. He'll help you with anything, explain anything, with hardly a second's hesitation. He posts a good deal of notes and practice problems through ELMS. The homework is relatively tough, however he drops the lowest score of the 8. Tests are uncurved, however he counts the lower score for half (60 pts versus 120, etc). The grading system is fair - he apparently gets good TA's. Mine at least was a really nice guy who graded very fairly. In short, if you are the student who wants to take 340, he's the professor you want. 340 is theoretical, and so is he. It can be tough at times, because he doesn't always explain practically, but if theory is not too daunting, his class is amazing.
MATH241

Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/23/2013
Poor lecturer. Barely a curve. nice guy. hard exams no more cheat sheets given. find another professor
MATH241

Expecting a B+
parade 12/22/2013
Very poor lecturer, I still go to lectures but I feel like there was no point going in the first place. I absorb very little information from his lectures. His notes are very unclear as well. I ended up going to D. Margetis's lectures instead, however Grillakis's test are EXTREMELY fair, he sends out a review before each test, and if you understand the review you should be able to get a good grade on test. He is lenient and easily awards you back points if you feel like you were graded harshly.
MATH241

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 12/21/2013
He seemed very nice, but as mentioned before his lecturing was not great. He did focus on theory, but often gave examples. I still found them helpful and he did try to help his students succeed. My TA was great and reexplained certain topics. His exams were for the most part relatively simple and fair. He curved the grades at the end.
MATH241

Expecting an A
cheesecake 12/15/2013
Very nice teacher, but a pretty poor lecturer. I learned very little and ended up going to Margetis's lectures because I didn't have class during Margetis lectures. Grillakis is a very cool dude and will give points back on your tests if you think TAs gave too little partial credit.
MATH241

Expecting a B
Anonymous 05/16/2013
Terrible, terrible, terrible lecturer. Not worth going to lecture if you have him. If you can't teach yourself the material or if you do not have good friends that can teach you, you are sunk. He is a really cool guy, and is pretty approachable, but he cannot teach..period. Now, his handwriting is neat, so his drawings are always clear, but even with that you can't follow him at all. He will say "Is it clear what I did here" a good thousand times a semester, even though it is evident a handful of people have any idea what he did. Do yourself a huge favor and waitlist Justin, even if 40 people are ahead of you.
MATH241

Anonymous 05/10/2013
DO NOT TAKE GRILLAKIS!!! He is a very nice person who wants to help you out, but he is probably one of the worst lecturers that you will come across at this University. He focusses way too much on the theoretical side and the stuff that is not important. He also focuses on teaching the concepts rather than doing examples. He will also make you fall asleep with his monotone voice. On a positive note, Tests are very fair and pretty easy. He is also VERY generous with regrades. In fact, this semester, he only gave out 550 points tests (4-100 point midterms, lowest counts for 50% and a 200 point final) and matlabs. This kind of sucks because there are no HW or quizzes to buffer your grade. The thing with Calc III is that it is pretty much easy to teach yourself all of the material. I guarentee you, IT IS NOT WORTH COMING TO CLASS IF YOU HAVE GRILLAKIS!!! It will just be a waste of your time. Try to get a good TA, or be prepared to teach yourself the material.
MATH340

Anonymous 04/21/2013
Make sure to pay attention. It'll be hard because his accent is kind of rough, and he speaks relatively quietly. However, he has incredibly neat handwriting and very nice diagrams. However, since this is multi-var calculus, it can be just gibberish if you copy down with no context. His graders were kind of harsh so make sure not to make careless mistakes. His tests were very fair, and he drops the lowest one too! Make sure to do the homework and not procrastinate. The weekly homework assignments can become huge, but they'll help with tests. I regret not trying hard enough on the homework since it would have helped me prevent harsh deductions from my test grades from simple mistakes.
MATH241

Expecting a B
grumble 03/07/2013
Grillakis is a professor who really knows his stuff and thinks that you should be just the same. He'll often charge through problems in a satisfactory manner BUT ONLY IF YOU CAN KEEP UP. He doesn't always explain his steps and goes through his explanations very methodically but that's not a bad thing for everyone. Keep in mind that he's also kinda boring. Personally, I almost never understand a thing he says in lectures and I usually just wait until the discussion section the next day to learn. I had Maxx Cho as a TA and you really had to be an idiot not to understand the material he teaches. Overall, the class itself isn't too difficult. There's a lot less material than there was for MATH141. No HW, no quizzes, 4 (or 5) Matlab assignments, and a couple exams.
MATH340

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 01/01/2013
While I found Grillakis's lectures to be a bit boring, I was always impressed with how well he know his stuff. The moment anyone asked a question, even a difficult one, he always knew where they were going and could answer it satisfactorily. In general, his tests were pretty fair. Most had only two or three questions, with several parts each. Each part of a question built up to some sort of conclusion ("What can you draw from this?", something like that), which made the questions a bit easier. As long as you could figure out a few of the parts, you could often fill in the blanks for the rest. His general policy for the course was to drop one of our five tests. However, after accidentally putting content from Chapter 6 on our Chapter 5 test, he quickly agreed to drop that one as well (and actually seemed to feel bad). Grillakis seems like the type of professor that actually wants all of his students to succeed, and is very willing to do his best to make sure that happens.
MATH411

Expecting a B
Anonymous 09/23/2012
Grillakis is a well-dressed man who knows this class in and out. Lectures are spent proving theorems, often differently from how the book does it, which can be helpful. Grades are the average of your homework grade (lowest of 7 dropped), your midterm average (lowest of 3 dropped), and your final exam score. Homework is often either plug-n-chug application or intense proof that you may need to go to office hours for help on. However, there is at least a week and a half between due dates, so you always have enough time to complete the assignments. Exams are basically a practical application of the material you learn. He does not put dense proofs on exams, but rather he tests your basic and superficial understanding of the techniques you learn in class. Exams can be tricky, but they are very doable and very much test your understanding of the material. Just as was said in the review below, this class is essentially a multi-dimensional extension of 410. Some of the concepts are very arcane and difficult to grasp (example, proving Stokes Theorum and boundary proofs with Jordan Contents), but Grillakis is great at explaining these concepts.
MATH140

Expecting an A
Anonymous 04/30/2012
He's an OK professor overall. My semester was the first that he taught 140. His lectures definitely aren't a thrill, but they are worth attending. Based on my friends who took other professors for this course, Grillakis is definitely one of the fairer ones in terms of the makeup of exams and the scheduling of WebAssigns. He's also a very nice and understanding guy. PS: I found the reviews given by other professors before exams to be very helpful for studying.
MATH462

Expecting an A+
zhangsta 09/04/2011
He has the neatest handwriting in the world and his lectures are very organized. He explains concepts fairly clearly. Homeworks typically took a long time to finish, and quizzes were usually relatively simple compared to the homework. However, his final was much harder than anything we had done for homework or quizzes so you really have to know your stuff for the final.
MATH241

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/20/2011
This professor has some of the neatest chalkboard handwriting I have ever seen. This really help when taking notes and drawing 3D diagrams. He is a good professor even if he does talk in monotone most of the time. He is very kind and is very approachable if you have a concern about your exams. He allows one page of notes on the exams (except the final). The matlab assignments are incredibly easy as it is mostly just copying and pasting what they give you. However some symbols don't copy over correctly and might throw an error if you don't catch them. Overall he is a very fair professor and would recommend him. He not the best professor I have seen but he is a pretty good one.
MATH241

Expecting a C
SirSlacksALot 05/10/2011
Lectures honestly put me to sleep. He wasn't engaging in the material, which made it cumbersome. However, he makes up for this with his grading policy. He drops your lowest of the four exams, and we had eight quizzes and he dropped the lowest three. Homework is graded on completion. A flaw in his style is that he allows one page of notes for every exam, but not on the final. So if you train yourself to rely on the notes, your setting yourself up to fail. Average Professor, student-oriented grading system.
MATH241

Expecting an A
Kevin Garcia 04/25/2011
Compared to most of the math professors at UMD (excluding Justin, of course), he's great. He's clear, concise, and relays the information in the book well. He doesn't just recite the text verbatim. He has very good handwriting, making the 3-d concepts easier to understand. Has a slight accent, but doesn't get in the way. He does tend to be a bit monotone and he likes to start every lecture with, "Let me remind you..." For the exams (excluding the final), he allows you one page of notes for reference. If you have a good TA, there's no way you'll less than ace every exam. He's extremely friendly and very laid-back when it comes to grading and his approach to teaching. I chose him as my faculty adviser this semester, and he helped me greatly. If Justin is unavailable, take 241 with Grillakis.
MATH241

Expecting an A+
Anonymous 12/23/2010
Great class, great professor, easy A. He drops the lowest 2 of the 12 quizzes, and the lowest 1 test of the 4 chapter tests. He also curves this class, which makes it very easy to get an A. His TA's aren't helpful at all, however, the homework is mainly graded on completion and if you have a nice TA this should be a guaranteed 100 points. The first three tests are easy, but the last test is very hard, so if you need this grade you may want to study for the last test. The final is okay, but luckily I needed around a 60% to get an A in the class, so no worries.


Expecting a B
Anonymous 12/18/2010
Professor Grillakis is a really nice guy but for my calculus 1 class he wasn't very effective. I had trouble understanding what he was telling us because, as a calc one student, I had very limited knowledge of calculus. He's obviously brilliant but his teaching style wasn't ideal for students who were just learning fundamentals of calculus. His exams and quizzes were unpredictable but he did drop one of three exam and two of twelve quizzes. He taught us much differently than other 140 classes so when it came to the uniform 140 final, our entire class was lost.
MATH241

Expecting an A
mreese 12/15/2010
Grillakis is a very nice guy, but not a particularly engaging or effective teacher. I went to every lecture hoping that for once, I wouldn't have to pull out my textbook and start taking notes on my own. Unfortunately, he never failed to nearly put me to sleep, and I would sit in class reading about whatever topic he was making unnecessarily complicated. Everything I learned was from my TA or from the book. Other than that, the quizzes and tests were very fair, as was his grading policy.
MATH411

Expecting an A
Anonymous 05/27/2010
He seemed like he knew what he was doing, the tests and homeworks were pretty standard, but he was really boring. He talks kind of softly into the board, and pretty much writes everything he says down (which is also all in the book). There was nothing particularly terrible about his class, but it was hard to pay attention for the whole 50 minutes, especially when the proofs were complicated.
MATH411

Expecting a B
Anonymous 04/29/2010
Grillakis is an effective professor (not great, but definitely a competent teacher). He will answer your questions directly when asked, and his proofs are generally easy to follow, though there are exceptions (not that this is his fault, as some of material is simply a bit complex to get in one go during lecture). His tests were well written - they were definitely short enough to be completed in an hour, but the questions were thorough in covering the content being tested. Also, the questions ranged in difficulty, so the exams weren't devilishly hard or too easy (though the exams certainly *seemed* easy when I was taking them, because I wasn't paying enough attention to some of the subtleties of some questions). Also, importantly, Grillakis was very responsive to student concerns about the shifting homework schedule after the week of snow, and the work load was never impossibly heavy. MATH411 isn't too bad, basically an extension of 410 into multiple dimensions. You can pretty much expect to do as well in 411 as you did in 410.
MATH241

Anonymous 12/01/2009
There is no way this guy is a 5 star professor. He is an average math professor, not the best, not the worst, just average. I learned little to nothing in the lectures I stayed awake in...I learned most of the material on my own. There is a quiz every week in discussion which usually isn't too bad. The exams have been mostly fair...just do the suggested homework problems on the syllabus.
MATH241

Expecting an A
Anonymous 11/02/2009
suggested hw only. easy quizes. drops lowest test. tests are fair but might be long. look for simplification tricks. classes are all proofs with abstract examples. some number examples would help a lot but that's done in recitation so you really can't ask for anything more from him. he's a good prof with a well run class.
MATH141

Expecting an A
gundamwing4132 05/01/2008
Exams and hw were fair. Slightly heavy accent but very helpful teaching sytle.
MATH411

Expecting an A
almostdone 12/05/2007
I went into this class a little worried because of its reputation as one of the hardest at UMD. But Dr. Grillakis made this class both fun and simple. There is homework every week and 3 tests. The homework can be challenging sometimes but Dr. Grillakis is very helpful and alot of students go to him weekly for help. He also was very clear for what we had to know for tests. Overall if you found 410 easy, 411 with Grillakis is just a little bit harder but it is definitely not hard to get an A.