Linear algebra part 1 Fall 2019

e-study-guide page

Please register for this course on blackboard [link]. This will be used for entering test grades and for announcements, so if you do not register we will not be able to record your test grades.

Weekly tests

Please note that there are weekly tests in the Werkcolleges, which will count towards your final grade.

Teacher: David Holmes.


For the course "Linear algebra" (Lineaire Algebra) there are lectures ("Hoorcolleges") and exercise classes ("Werkcolleges"). In each werkcollege the last 20 minutes will be a test on the material from the course up to that point. This will count towards your final grade.

See timetable here.

Lectures are in Gorlaeus 03. The rooms of the werkcolleges are NOT the same every week; see link above for details (scroll to the end of the page).

Required Literature

We will follow closely parts of the book "Linear algebra and its applications" by David Lay. Every student will need a copy of the book; for example, weekly exercises will be set from the book, and the tests and exam will contain similar questions.


Weekly tests

As noted above, there will be a short test held every week during the Werkcollege.


There is one exam for the course, after the end of the course (on 21 January). The exam will last 3 hours. It will cover material from the whole course, including that already covered in the weekly tests.

Calculating the final grade

There will be 6 tests in total. Each test will count towards your grade if and only if it increases your grade compared to your exam grade. This means that it makes sense to attempt every test, and if a test goes badly it will not decrease your final grade.

The exact formula is as follows. Write E for your grade (0-10) on the final exam, and T1, ..., T6 for your test grades (0-10). Let Ti' = max(Ti, E). Then your final grade is

1 + 0.9*(0.75*E + 0.25*(T1' + ... + T6')/6)

This is different from the formula last year, with practical consequenes including:

- even if you get a 10 on the first 4 tests, it's still worth trying the last two;

- if you do badly on one test, this will not negatively affect your grade.

Homework and classes

Each week, some problems from the book will be suggested. These will not be graded, and will not count towards the final grade. However, you are extremely strongly recommended to attempt all the problems - the problems in the short tests and the final exam will be similar, and past experience suggests that ability to do the homework problems is a very strong predictor of success in the course. The problems will be discussed during the classes, and you will have the opportunity to obtain help on problems you found difficult.

Office hours

Office hours of the lecturer are by appointment (send an email) in room 233 in Snellius. But it's probably simpler just to talk to me after the lecture, or during the break. Or to ask your questions during the werkcollege.

Content and detailed timetable

The first column is the date of the monday of the week (note the lectures are on Tuesdays and the exercise classes are on Fridays). The second column refers to chapters of the course book "Linear algebra and its applications" [Lay]. The final column contains the reccomended exercises from [loc.cit]; `H1.1:4,8' means exercises 4 and 8 from the end of chapter 1.1 of the book. Because many students have different versions of the book, this year I have copied the exercises into a pdf file (with link below) so that everyone is doing the same exercises, regardless of which edition they have.
Week begins Lecture Homework
30/10/2019 1.1, 1.2 (first half) Homework questions Homework solutions (outline only). Test on Friday as usual.
4/11/2019 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6 Homework questions Homework solutions (outline only)
11/11/2019 1.7, 1.8, beginning of 1.9 (not `Existence and uniqueness questions') Homework questions Homework solutions (outline only)
18/11/2019 1.9, 2.1 Homework questionsHomework solutions (outline only)
25/11/2019 2.2, 3.1, 3.2 Homework questionsHomework solutions (outline only)
2/12/2019 3.2, 3.3 but NOT a formula for A inverse Homework questions. Homework solutions (outline only) Attempt the exam from last year (here and here) ready for the werkcollege next week. Many practise papers (some with solutions) are here
If you missed the lecture on Spanning trees and Laplacians, see notes here
--> At present this timetable is only approximate, and will be updated during the semester.


Course websites for previous years.

David Holmes <>