Update Here is an answer key for the FINAL I also invite you to learn more about "The Prisoner of Benda", the Futurama episode involving permutations of minds and bodies. Here's a little video to get you started.

Update Here is an answer key for your second exam.

Update Here's a previous "Exam 2". Use it as you think best.

Update Here is an answer key for your first exam.

Update By popular request, I make available the first test from another semester. I guess your exam on Friday will be vaguely similar to this but I reserve the right to make up very different questions !

      Instructor: Dave Rusin ( 
      Office hrs: M,W,F 2pm-3pm; T 11am-2pm; and by appointment, in RLM 9.140 
      Class meets MWF 1:00pm - 2:00pm  in RLM 7.124

      Text: "A first course in Abstract Algebra", Joseph J Rotman

      Unique ID: 55815

Course webpage:

It is unlikely that I will use Blackboard for this course (unless and until someone shows me how it can be useful!)


Elementary properties of the integers, groups, rings, and fields are studied.

That's the official course description. In truth, the goal of the course is not so much to have you lear what groups, rings, and fields are but rather, to develop your understanding of mathematical abstraction, your skill at understanding and creating proofs, and your algebraic intuition. We want you to think like a mathematician thinks.


Prerequisite and degree relevance: Either consent of Mathematics Advisor, or two of M341, 328K, 325K (Philosophy 313K may be substituted for M325K), with a grade of at least C. This course is designed to provide additional exposure to abstract rigorous mathematics on an introductory level. Students who demonstrate superior performance in M311 or M341 should take M373K RATHER THAN 343K Those students whose performance in M311 or M341 is average should take M343K before taking M373K Credit for M343K can NOT be earned after a student has received credit for M373K with a grade of at least C.


Homeworks: Homeworks will be assigned on a roughly weekly schedule. Collectively they will count for one-third of the semester grade. Please note that this is not a computational course: there will not usually be "an answer to circle"; your answer to each question will typically be a couple of paragraphs that explain why something is true. So make sure your homework is neat and orderly and is written in complete sentences where appropriate.

Exams: There will be 2 mid-term exams. Together they will be worth one-third of your semester grade. The final exam will be cumulative, and also worth one-third of your semester grade.

Class participation: You will not be graded on this. So it's not important, right? WRONG! Wrong, wrong, wrong!. I would like to spend some of the time every class day having students present their answers to the problems I have assigned. Trust me, if you have absolutely nothing to say during class, you're just not getting it, and you should see me pronto. It is very easy to lull yourself into believing that everything makes sense in this subject by never forcing yourself to articulate a question, to try to present a solution, or to propose an example.

Grades: Among the students in this class we will probably see every possible grade from A to F at the end of the semester. Which do you want to earn? Please write down my office location and office hours and plan to see me during the semester. I have indicated above how I will average your homework and exam scores into a single semester average. There is no fixed scheme for converting that into a letter grade, except for the rule that one student can have a higher letter grade than another only if his or her semester average is higher. Students whose semester average is 90% / 80% / 70% / 60% can count on getting at least an A/B/C/D respectively, but for a course at this level the cutoffs are usually somewhat more generous.

Students with disabilities: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY.

Drop dates: Feb 2 is the last day to drop a class for a possible refund. March 28 is the last day an undergraduate student may, with the dean's approval, withdraw from the University or drop a class except for urgent and substantiated, nonacademic reasons. March 28 is also the last day a student may change registration in a class to or from the pass/fail or credit/no credit basis. For more information about deadlines for adding and dropping the course under different circumstances, please consult the Registrar's web page,

Tentative Schedule

My tentative plan: