Bensky, Tom  

Physics

2.97/4.00

88 evaluations


ASTR 101


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Dec 2013
Dr. Benksy is by far one of the greatest professors I have had here. He genuinely cares about his students success and wants to ensure they get a great grade and can understand the material. He's definitely a fun and wacky (in a good way) individual. If you can take him, I would recommend it!


Sophomore
A
General Ed
Jan 2014
Dr. Bensky is the best professor I've had at poly. Every day I was excited to come to class and learn something new. He is energetic and excited to be there. He taught us things that are very relevant and applicable that I really enjoyed learning. He is extremely helpful in office hours and tries very hard to work with you until you understand the material well. The workload isn't too bad, and as long as you go to class and take good notes you will do fine. Take his class!


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Jan 2014
This was an incredible class, but be warned, not an easy A. Dr. Bensky is a modern day "Bill Nye The Science Guy". He is tall, hilarious, knows his science, and knows how to teach science to a group of non-science majors extremely well. He did a great job not involving any complex math or physics. It's embarrassing how little everyone knows about astronomy. We learned super basic stuff, like why the sky is blue (not reflection of water), how to easily find the North Star, and so many other cool things. He tested completely off of lecture, (don't buy the book) and let students write at least half of all the midterms (3). This was one of the most worthwhile classes I've taken at Cal Poly. Now all this being said, it wasn't an easy A. I worked pretty hard, attended every class, took good notes, and studied a few days before each exam. I scored two Bs and one A on the midterms, a B on the final, and ended up with a B in the class. Take this class to further your education, have fun laughing at how dorky and into science Dr. Bensky is, but don't take it expecting to be handed an A.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Dec 2014
Bensky is the man. The only teacher I will bother writing one of these ratings for because the guy has been one of my best teachers to date. He kept the class moving but I never felt lost. He used all sorts of ways to get his point across and presented the material in a clear manner. He tries to make all of his students into "better campers" and I can say that I would totally take this class again. Midterms not too hard. A couple projects that were a little tough if you didnt understand them but he doesn't grade them very harsh. Take this class!

ASTR 102


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Major)
Nov 2013
Great teacher. Extremely funny and energetic, classic dorky science teacher. I never missed class because it was like watching a space documentary. He always was well prepared and there was not a boring day in this class.

PHYS 121


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2004
I had good ol' Bensky in the studio. I thought it was gonna be terrible, but he does so many demos and keeps you busy so the time goes by fast. He keeps you really entertained too. He is a very energetic and querky guy. I would definitly recommend him whenever possible. His tests are hard, but the class average is usually 65% so he curves and if you show effort and have a relatively good understanding of physics you can easily get a B. He does collect homework, but only about every 2 or 3 classes.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2015
Professor Bensky was an amazing professor for PHYS 121! Going into this class, I had a very neutral attitude towards physics, but I ended up really liking this class and actually looking forward to going everyday. I thought that he presented the material in a really clear, easy to understand, and interesting manner. He always did demos in class that illustrated whatever concept we were learning that week, and this really helped me comprehend the concepts. He also always a had a positive attitude in class and was really excited about physics and about teaching physics. Class participation was always encouraged, and I always felt comfortable asking questions in class. There was barely any homework, only occasionally there were some assignments that he would post online, but they would only take around ten minutes. I personally felt like the tests were fairly easy if you fully understood what was being taught in class. He also provided a practice test before each midterm that was fairly similar in difficulty and style to the actual midterm. The class averages on all the midterms were around an 80%. Overall, I really enjoyed this class and thought Bensky was an amazing professor for an intro physics class. I would definitely recommend.


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Jun 2016
The material taught in class is very easy as well as the homework. However the material on the test is significantly harder than any of the material that is taught. Ex Hw quizzes : 2+2 Test: (2^2)/(4(3)^.5)

PHYS 131


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2003
He's a great teacher. He kept everything very interesting, and he's very enthusiastic about Physics. He's very helpful in office hours. Take this teacher is you can.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2003
Bensky has a ton of energy which makes his class fun to go to. He's not the easiest prof in the world, but he loves physics and it wears off on his students. I looked forward to going to class because prof Bensky was so helpful with homework and he gave good demostrations. I'd take him again.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2003
Dr. Bensky is very energetic. Unfortunately, he uses his energy to show demo after demo in class instead of teaching students how to use the formulas that will be necessary on the homework. If his midterms asked about demos everyone would pass with flying colors, but they don't. Dr. Bensky is a great entertainer, but a substandard physics teacher. He does not teach the material well, and does not adequately show how to apply concepts and formulas to the homework problems. Homework always took at least an hour because Bensky wouldn't teach us how to do it until the day we turned it in! I tried to go to office hours but 3 out of 4 times I went he wasn't in his office at the scheduled time. Be cautious...


Sophomore
C
General Ed
Mar 2003
This guy is more of an entertainer than a teacher (no clue how he got his phD). He uses his time to demonstrate examples(example after example) and make jokes. This class is great if you need a break from your daily schedule and need a laugh. I would not recommend this class unless you plan on learning the material on your own time. All and all he's a good guy, he just needs to focus more on the problems students have as well as working out problems.


Freshman
Credit
Required (Support)
Mar 2003
He talks a lot. You'd never think it would take an hour to describe a lab that takes a hour to finish. Very enthusiastic, you can't shut the guy up. I can't stress enough how inconcise the guy is though, he ust goes on and on and on about what we're supposed to do. It made it really difficult to stay awake during the class. Otherwise he's a decent teacher, but one of the better ones that I've had (doesn't say much for the rest).


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2003
This class was the most challenging I have taken so far at Poly and unfortunately this was the case not due to the material but the way in which it was presented. Bensky spent about 3/4 of the class time going over useless demos that never once appeared on any of the midterms which were the only tests besides the final that one ever took in the class. Another failing was that he rarely would do any of the challenging homework problems in class - I would much rather spend the entire period going over sample problems rather than demos that had no relevance to the tough midterms we were supposed to be preparing for. Sometimes I wondered why I even went to class when all we were given were the most basic formulas and not given some insight into the manner at which to approach difficult problems. He also would oftentimes give homework out before he had even lectured at all on the material meaning we were not prepared to do the assignments at all. Coupled with the fact that homework was 20% of one's grade and he graded the homework very harshly this was not a pretty picture. The midterms often did not resemble the homework and you wondered where these problems came from and how he could expect you to solve 9 page tests of problems unlike those you had ever seen before in an hour and a half. All in all I would not recommend Bensky unless you would like to waste class time and learn everything by yourself.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Apr 2003
Very entertaining and energetic teacher. I was a little frustrated with the fact that he gave us homework and then taught us about the homework's material the next day when it was due. However, he made a boring class like physics as interesting as possible, so I'd definitely recommend him.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
May 2003
I hate Physics, and he was the first professor that ever made it interesting. Tests are open note, and the curve helps you out alot. I could have never passed this class if I had taken it from most of the other physics professors here. Take him!


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2004
ASS! arrogant worthless SOB. you like MACS, so i hate you.


Senior
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2004
This guy is good! He loves Physics and is very knowlegeable about the subject. As a senior here at calpoly and having been taught by many profs, I say he is one of the best profs here at calpoly. He is very enegetic, knowlegeable, and funny as hell! I don't know what about others, but I think his demo in class is very cool and it reinforces what we learn theoretically. "Learn by Doing" is what calpoly is about. Yes, his tests are long(not hard, very do-able); all the problems are very similar to the HW or even picked out from the HW. If you do all the HW, you should do well in class. I say take him if you want to learn. He is no BS.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2004
Professor Bensky was one of the best teachers I've ever had. His only two flaws are that his tests can be difficult, and he always seems to be rushing in lecture. He is extremely helpful in his office hours, but there's always a line outside the door. Anyway, I would recommend taking him.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2004
He is a great lecturer: interesting, exciting, fast, loud, and absolutely histerical. The bad part is his grading system. He will only give the top 3-4 students A's in the class, which I thought was a little harsh, 6-8 B's, and about 15 C's. Tests and homework were OK (tests were very hard to finish, but it is all curved so who cares). Really a great lecturer though; I would take him over anyone.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2004
This teacher is by far the best I have had at calpoly. although the class is difficult, you learn alot. They say you should have taken physics in high school before taking this class to get a good grade is crap. I didn't know the first thing about physics and I pulled off a B in his class. The only thing i recommend you take before is some kinda calculus which really goes a long way. MAKE USE OF HIS OFFICE HOURS! even tho there are usually long lines, he'll talk to everybody individually until he's sure they understand it. He is not afraid to lower himself to the student's level to help them. bottom line: take this class even if you hate physics because he will make you love it


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Mar 2004
Bensky is definitely an entertaining professor. He's very energetic and tends to kick and slam things to demonstrate physics. I'd highly recommend him. He is a fairly difficult grader though and the tests, although only 4 problems, take the entire period. He will curve the class somewhat, but isn't as generous as he could be.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Jun 2004
Bensky is a pretty good teacher. He really seems to care about the students and will answer ANY question you have. He understands that physics is not the most exciting subject so he always tries to crack jokes which makes the class somewhat more tolerable. The homework was doable, but you really needed to spend a good amount of time on them. The stupid thing is that you turn in just ur answers online for homework credit. The other problem is that his tests are pretty hard. You REALLY have to know the subject to answer the questions. If you do all the homework problems and understand them all then you should be OK. Overall, Bensky is a great teacher, just needs to work on makin tests easier.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Jul 2004
He's amazing. This was a lecture/lab combo class, with mac osx monitors for every two students, so it was kind of weird getting used to the lecture style, but his ability to present the topics made up for that QUICKLY. Gives three midterms, all of high difficulty, so study well for them, they might catch you by surprise, especially if you're the kind of person who can do well on tests with little studying. Final was basically the same as the midterms, but with two more questions. Very highly reccommend taking him if you want to learn the material and actually be entertained during class. I actually looked forward to going (amidst my frequently not attending the class before and after his). Only downside: He only gives 5 or 6 As, based on the bell curve, but LOTS and LOTS of Bs and Cs.


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Aug 2004
This was such a fun class. I was dreading having to take physics, but it was my favorite class of the whole year. He mixed lecture and lab together so he'd talk and then mix it up with demonstrations. Basically we'd listen and play. The tests were kinda hard, but come on, it's physics, and it is college. Take Bensky, he's young, smart, super nice and he makes it fun.


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Feb 2005
Bensky is the man!


Freshman
B
General Ed
Jan 2011
I took a Physics-131 class with Tom Bensky, and the comments below pertain to that class only (I\'m pretty sure that he teaches other subjects as well) LECTURING STYLE: Tom Bensky is an incredible lecturer, probably the best I\'ve had at Cal Poly so far. His class is always energetic, loud, and engaging. He made use of multiple demonstrations throughout the quarter that were relevant, fun, and illustrated concepts very well. He is obviously one of those few professors who obviously put a lot of time into planning lectures. HOMEWORK: Generally fairly light for a physics course. Homework was assigned on a weekly basis and consisted of book problems and programming projects (more on this later). I think that most people will appreciate the fact that the book problems (or the \"busy work\" of the course) are not collected, so you don\'t have to waste time doing practice problems on concepts that you already understand. Most people will also appreciate the fact that Bensky does not make use of the online Mastering Physics program. PROGRAMMING: A great deal of time for this class was spent doing programming assignments. You will be assigned between three to seven \"movies\", or simulations, per week that must be programmed, rendered, and then uploaded to YouTube. The program used is called Povray (MegaPov if you\'re a Mac user), a ray-tracing programming application that uses a relatively basic language (though the learning curve can be steep if you\'ve never programmed before). I thought that the programming was fun and added a cool twist to the class, but there were many long nights of troubleshooting code, which was frustrating. While the programming aspect of the class is generally cool and is good experience to have, spending time trying to get a movie to work correctly is not physics related and could have been reduced. TESTS/QUIZZES: Bensky holds five quizzes throughout the course (every other week) and a final at the end. The quizzes are not comprehensive, so each one only covers the material from the preceding two weeks. Quizzes are one page, front an back, usually with 3-4 problems (adapted from, but not identical to the book problems) with multiple parts per problem. The quizzes are not incredibly difficult, but you do need to invest study time if you want a passing grade (just like any other class). Bensky does give partial credit, but not as much as most professors (a simple algebraic error usually costs you at least half the points on a given problem). The final is comprehensive of the entire course and is very much like the quizzes in terms of question type and difficulty. LABS: Bensky is not at all particular about the format of lab reports, meaning that you do not have to worry about losing points due to details such as table styles or font choice. All lab reports are written and turned in within the lab, so you will never have to spend time typing reports outside of class. The labs themselves were generally straightforward in procedure. Bensky\'s labs made frequent use of the LoggerPro system of taking measurements, which was incredibly buggy and problematic throughout the course and was mutually hated by everyone by the end. Thankfully, Bensky was very accessible and willing to help out with any problem you might have during the lab, which was very much appreciated. OVERALL: Fantastic lectures, relatively light homework loads, and an exciting atmosphere make up for the frustrating hours spent on coding complications. Bensky gets a well-deserved A-minus, and my sincere recommendation to all looking for a great Physics-131 section.


Freshman
A
General Ed
Feb 2012
Short Version: Bensky is fine when it comes to his energy, but he is arrogant and wastes his class's time with a program called Pov-ray. Ask anyone who has taken his 131 class and they will tell you that Pov-ray is a complete waste of time and is not helpful or even interesting. Long Version: Dr. Bensky's enthusiasm and energy is great as this class (131) is not the most interesting for most people. The problem for his class was two-fold, his arrogance and a little program he makes his 131 classes use, Pov-ray. His "big-headedness" is just a general, "I'm right and you are wrong" for a lot of subjects, overall that can be dealt with. The real problem is his fondness of Pov-ray. Basically he wastes his students time making them code through the program to make animations of physics concepts. He is the only professor (that I know of) that makes his students code despite the fact that the students are not computer engineers or softwear engineers (131 is for mechanical and aerospace engineers). Not only that, but the coding used for Pov-ray is not "real" coding and so you will never be able to use it in any future endeavors. His reasoning for Pov-ray is that it's different and helps students "visualize" the physics because it is an animation with time and stuff. The problem with that theory is that while programming the animations, because you have to learn the code for Pov-ray and will undoubtedly have numerous issues with the code, so the animations won't come out properly. Unless you can already "visualize" the problem and know what you are looking for the animation to look like, you won't know that there is a problem. Finally, we spent over half of the class just working on Pov-ray concepts instead of physics concepts, so his class is one of the only classes that doesn't learn how to use calculus with physics and is behind every other class after the final. Pov-ray, it is a waste of time and is incredibly difficult to get to work properly. If you need to take 131, DO NOT TAKE BENSKY.


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Feb 2012
Bensky is absolutely and indisputably the worst PHYS131 teacher you can get. He lectures as if he's on crack and spends a lot of his energy trying to make stupid cynical jokes and asserting his superior physics knowledge over students, eager to point out that you're wrong. Instead of telling you the right answer for a question he poses, he waits for wrong answers to come out until the same nerd that always answers says the right thing. Then he moves on to the next topic without him actually TEACHING you something. HE IS THE ONLY PROF THAT MAKES STUDENTS PROGRAM SIMULATIONS IN 131. I've spent the last 12 hours trying to get my code right for his ambiguous assignments and I'm still not even halfway done. This coding is an absolute waste of time. I have a midterm tomorrow morning and I haven't even started studying yet because I've been doing this stupid programming. It's supposed to give you insight on how physics works but it's only preventing me from actually learning and studying real physics. I've talked to people taking all different teachers and we've all agreed that Bensky worse than all of them.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Apr 2012
Don't do it. Not worth the effort. You spend most of your time programming physics animations. His grading system for tests is retarded. I got 4/10 on a problem that I got right and showed my work for because I didn't "trust Newton's Laws." I also lost points because I put sin45 instead of cos45, even though its the same thing. His doesn't really listen to your questions in lecture. Even though i knew what he was talking about most of the time he doesn't communicate his points well.

PHYS 132


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2002
Professor Bensky is an awesome physics professor, not just because he makes you really understand what is going on with real-life demos, but he is a teacher that really cares about his students. There are three midterms and a final, you only take three, which is nice since his midterms are all open-note and his final is not only cumulative, but closed note. Don't get me wrong, the midterms can be REALLY hard (you can never imagine what he is going to pull out of thin air, and you are like, you can't be SERIOUS that I am supposed to solve this), but at least you get all your notes, and he curves it. He collects homework every day, this can be somewhat tedious, but it makes you stay on top of what he is doing in class. He has the weirdest curve I've ever seen, with the class average being the B-/C+ cutoff. The only complaint I would have is that he doesn't show you how to use the equations that go along with what you are learning to the extent that I would like, and it makes them difficult to use when he pulls some weird concept out on the test. Overall, a pretty darn good physics professor. I want him for 133 next quarter, but fat chance of that...


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
May 2002
I have taken 131, 132, and 133 from Professor Bensky, and he is by far the best professor I have ever had! Grades are made up 40% exams, 40% homework, 20% lab. His policy is 3 open note, noncumulative midterms and one closed note, cumulative final...but you only need to take three exams! Professor Bensky is a young enthusiastic professor who is always willing to help his students with physics. He has office hours 4 days a week and always checks his email. Homework, it is collected every day and graded on accuracy, however after it has been collected he puts the correct solutions up on his webpage so you can make sure you have the correct solutions for the next open note midterm! He also posts grades up on his website so you can monitor your grade as the quarter progresses. As for his lab, it's a lot of work, the weekly lab write ups need to be typed up at home, you have to "check-in" on his website with a summary of your progress before four days after lab, and there are prelab quizzes before most labs. However this is his first year at Cal Poly, so things might change by next year.


Junior
B
Required (Support)
Jul 2002
Bensky was definetly the best Physics prof I've ever had. He's very energentic and actually cares whether or not the students understand the material which is a very rare trait amongst professors. He assigns small daily assignments which are usually easy, and he goes over the HW in class. The way he conveys all the concepts is simplistic and to the point. He gives an actual physical demonstration so you know why and what you're studying and then presents the theory in a clear, easy to understand manner. And to top it all off, midterms are open-notes. I would definetly recommend Bensky to anybody.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Oct 2002
I accidently got him for physics 131 and knew from the first week that I went to his class that I would try to get him for 132, 133 and any other possible class he taught. He keeps changing his policies between different classes because when I had him for 131 it was his first quarter teaching. did a damn good job. then I some how was able to (by the grace of god) get him again. He had a little different system for grading in terms of different percentages for homeworks, tests, and the final but no matter what were his policies was not what mattered. THIS GUY MADE YOU LIKE PHYSICS. everyday he would come in to class with 3-5 "things" -examples which if you are a visual and hands on type of learner like me, helped so much. He talks really loud and spits all the time because he doesn't have enough time inbetween words to swallow. He goes thru chalk like there is no tomarrow. He broke about 6 sticks of chalk on the average during each lecture. He comes to class with so much spirit and energy. Don't even try to sleep in the back because he will involve you to much with his awsome presence in class. It seems that people only try to get "easy" teachers who give the minimal work instead of finding teachers who are extreemely passionate about their work. this guy is da bawm, de man, the presence of fun in a classroom. I unfortunately didn't get him and instead got ozowa. Bensky can not be touched by any one else. He is simply a younger man who loves teaching and is very knowledgable and good at it. take him


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Nov 2005
Mr. Bensky is one of my favorite teachers! I learned more from him in an hour than I did in lecture the whole week! Hes goofy funny but makes physics fun! I didn't think that was possible! HES AWESOME! If you get a chance TAKE HIM!!!!


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Jan 2006
This guy is really cool. If your brain works a mile a minute (the same rate at which he talks) Then you'll really apreciate the pace at which he runs his lab. He usually spent the first hour reviewing things we studied (although probably missed) in lecture, and the labs only took another 45-60 minutes. No lab reports just some easy comprehension questions on his website. Easy way to boost your lecture grade.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Jan 2007
Holy cow I learned more in Bensky's Lab than in lecture from another prof. Awesome professor who knows his stuff and is good at explaining it to you. He's tough but wants you to succeed. Too bad I only got him for PHYS 132 Lab.

PHYS 133


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Jun 2002
Bensky is a really good physics professor I highly recommend him. He's really enthusiastic and shows the class a lot of demos. He assigns homework everyday and frequently it is on stuff he hasn't taught which can be a pain. The curve at the end of the class can really screw you up so make sure you're at the top of the class (which means doing all your homework).


Junior
C
Required (Major)
Jun 2002
By far the coolest professor ever. His tests are hard, but his lectures are hilarious and really effective. He's hugely high-energy, and he's really receptive in his office hours. It's totally worth it to take a priority just to get into his class.


Freshman
Credit
Required (Support)
Jun 2002
Bensky's a nice guy, really energetic, and really enthused about Physics. I had him for lab, and he expects more work from you than most other lab teachers. We had a online lab check-in, which was nothing but annoying. If you remembered to do it at all you just made something up.


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2004
Second time taking bensky. Really funny, helpful and approachable teacher. You'll have no problem staying awake in lectures and the pacing of the class is perfect. Tests are pretty hard and the avg grade was usually low 60's. He curves the class, so it seems like only 2 or 3 people got an A. Grade is 3 Midterms, online homework, and a final. Take him.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
Jun 2011
BENSKY IS AWESOME. he explains everything clearly and with enthusiasm so you understand and dont get bored. he was VERY helpful in office hours, and is also awesome for lab. He does require that you go to class or you will lose 3% of your grade for each class you miss. You do need to study, but hey, I got an A so its def possible. HIGHLy highly highly reccommend this guy and i would definitely take him again.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Aug 2011
I liked physics up until i took this class, although admittedly i wasn't as into the whole electricity thing as i was into the other physics classes. Bensky obviously loves physics and has great energy, but my issue was that he was big-headed when it came to this class....kinda had the I'm right your wrong attitude without helping you work through the problems you faced. My biggest issue tho was his inability to compromise and see things from the student perspective. Example, he had a rule where for every class you miss you loose 3% of your grade, well I broke my arm that day before class, went to the doctors to get it casted and brought bensky the note...he docked 3% of my grade bringing it down from an A- to a B+. Another example, he marked me wrongly on a test question when i compared it to the answer key he put online and when i went in to talk to him he didn't even bother looking at the question on my test, just looked at my grade and told me to do better next time. If you have a love for electricity then you will probably get along great with him, if not get another professor.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jun 2012
I've had both Bob and Sean Echols for 132, and 141, and Bensky surpassed both of them in my opinion. He explains things very clearly, and tells you almost exactly what's on the test. On two tests he surprised us with a very obscure question from the homework, but to be fair, the problems WERE on the homework so it wasn't anything we hadn't seen before. Make sure you understand your derivations, because there's always one question on that. The daily mini-quizzes (qualitative stuff, free points) and the QOQ (quick online questions) were kind of annoying, but helped you keep things straight.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jun 2012
He is really spastic in lecture and he gives you SOO much work its a little ridiculous. The class is full of nerds who love the material. But he doesnt curve anything and it drives me crazy, he helps A LOT in office hours though. He gives you quizes everyday so come to class, He cares about his students take him if you must


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2012
Bensky has been my favorite professor at cal poly so far. hands down. he's SUPER helpful in office hours and is really good at acknowledging student difficulties. the class is a lot of work, but it helps you stay on top of things. he's super nice and approachable and class is never boring! he has like infinite energy, it's kind of crazy. he actually cares about his students unlike a lot of other professors


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Dec 2012
Dr. Bensky is an all around great guy. He is the Cosmo Kramer of physics.... absolutely hilarious to watch. Regardless of whether you find physics interesting you will enjoy watching him in his lectures. By far the most interesting, entertaining professor I've had at CP.


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Dec 2012
Bensky is a great lecturer, but his grading and requirements for the course seem a little too extravagant for a support course. The grading is a little harsh, and he does not consider regrades unless you fill out a form. This class does take a fair amount of work and the grade you receive might not reflect the amount of work you put in, regardless this class did teach me a lot.


Junior
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2013
I've never written an evaluation mostly because I haven't felt the need to...or ever wanted to but.... The amount of work for a support course seems to be too much. And I definitely dont think the amount of work I put in reflects the grade given. The midterms are tough in the sense they are a time crunch. I tend to go through my work quickly, but methodically and everything is laid out neatly. But the way his exams are written and the way I take them, you literally cannot sit and think on a problem. You just do. Now he doesn take them from the homework and such but the time crunch is too much. I'm not even pressured, its just I have to cut down on the quality of my work for the final answer. My method on one problem was all correct, or looked correct as he stated, but the final answer was wrong... 7/10. Labs appear nice because its a quiz instead of a report form but the quizzes sometimes have one or two vague questions which can bring your grade down. I'm not the best quiz/test taker so I like showing my work with my effort. That being said, he's a very animated lecturer and he explains topics clearly. But the workload, time crunch and lab quizzes really upset me.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2013
The amount of work is ridicioulous. He has trouble explaining material in a way that students would understand. For each of 4 midterms you can have a notecard front and back as a cheat sheet. It barely helps, because I just copied down example problems and tried to do them the same way on the test. 10% of your grade is completely up to him, if he thinks you used the bathroom a lot and your cellphone he'll give you 0/10%. Midterms (there are 4) are worth 35%. The final is 35%. Lab is around 10%, videos are 10%. The videos are he assigns you a homework problem, not from the book, and asks you to make a ten minute video of yourself going through the problem, and post it to youtube


Sophomore
N/A
Required (Support)
Mar 2013
Worst teacher I've had at Poly. Don't take him


Sophomore
D
Required (Support)
Apr 2013
Great guy. My grade refects purely my effort. He explained material very well and was very funny and energetic. Great in office hours. He assigns hw that is not due but he will walk you through it or even check your work if you ask him to. I missed a midterm cause i slept throught it and he allowed me to retake it with no penalty. He is a understanding guy


Sophomore
A
Required (Support)
Nov 2013
Bensky is one of the best teachers at Cal Poly (especially in the Physics Department), but he could be better. His largest weakness is test writing. He is not able to write a test a student could reasonably finish within the time allotted (this is coming from someone who got a 100% on the first exam - I'm not being bitter). He also highly disorganized and a poor grader. He made a grading mistake on my first exam (and numerous hw assignments) and lost my second exam. He also has weekly quizzes (which I assume are to slowly erode your grade). He is not at all transparent about grading, which is another thing he could work on. He is a good teacher in terms of being energetic and passionate, but he is poor at math (yet expects you to be great at it). Because he's bad at math, he has a tendency to oversimplify physics concepts. He'll say things like "X happens because Y pops out of the equation". By the end of this course, I wished I had a more "difficult" teacher that would better at teach mathematical physics (like horst or sean echols) and have lectures that teach to the tests. Bensky treats you like a small child, but expects you to be able to solve many medium to medium+ difficulty problems on the exams. Summary: decent teacher, bad test writer, bad grader


Junior
C
Required (Support)
Jan 2014
If you have to take PHYS 133, take it with this guy. He's funny, knows his stuff, and presents it better than any other physics teacher. The class is hard, but you'll have to put effort into whichever 133 class you take. The quarter I took it, we had class two hours a day, three days a week (hour of lecture and an hour of lab). That is a really nice system; I wish they did that for every physics class.


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Jun 2015
Bensky lectures very fast and does not write very clearly. Often times I would look back at my notes and wonder what he even meant. I've taken electricity and magnetism before and I now understand even less than I did. It was hard to connect what he was teaching with what was going on in the book. The more I look back at my past midterms, the more grading mistakes I see. Also he was very condescending. I thought this may have been towards me because I was having trouble in the class but I saw him do this to other students too when they asked why they got points off for the correct answer on a midterm. Expect him to lecture like he is teaching school children. This class caused me so much stress if I could go back and drop it I would have. His quizable website was unreliable. If you do take the class, be sure to screenshot your submissions because he won't believe you if the website does not work properly. Overall I would not recommend taking physics 133 with Bensky.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Mar 2016
I'll start by saying that I took E&M in high school with a terrible teacher and understood next to nothing. Being in Tom's class this quarter has improved my understanding of electricity and magnetism immensely. Each lecture he would dedicate most of the time to detailed talks about the subject with example problems that were very similar to the exams. (Also, the exams were incredibly fair). He would also gave us real world applications to every topic (he built his own electric car, how fucking sick is that?) I would look forward to coming to this class to experience his unparalleled excitement for physics every day. He's very approachable and has a very loud, deep voice that can be heard from anywhere in Baker...nothing to do with his ability to teach but cool nonetheless.


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2016
Dr. Bensky is definitely one of the more energetic professors I have had at Cal Poly. He's really passionate about the subject and the labs. The way he assigns homework is a bit unusual: he'll assign a list of homework problems, but assign each person in the class one problem. You have to do a detailed explanation of the problem, then post in anonymously online for the rest of your class to vote on whether your explanation is good. Other than that, there's nothing that unusual about his curriculum: 3 midterms, quizzes fairly regularly, interesting labs (moreso when you get to circuits/magnetism). We had Bensky as a substitute in for Dr. Moelter when he was hospitalized at the beginning of the quarter (thankfully he's doing alright, Dr. Matt's a great professor/person), and Dr. Bensky seemed to do well with preparing for the class with what little time he had to put together his schedule. He's a good lecturer (though maybe a bit too fast and sloppy with his handwriting), good in office hours, and has good study material for his tests.

SOC 139


Junior
A
Elective
Nov 2016
This is the first C I have recieved in my entire life. I hope that says something to all of you out there watching their GPA. Do not take him--this class was a nightmare!

PHYS 141


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Aug 2005
this guy was so cheery i just wanted to slap him. his aproach to physics was flat out weird, and the online homework took a bit to get used to.


Freshman
N/A
Required (Support)
Feb 2008
a big fucking tool. on our first midterm 22 people failed. no curve. fuckin dick head


Freshman
F
Required (Support)
Apr 2008
If a professor is graded on personality, I would give him an A-. But this means nothing if you go to class almost every single time and dont learn a If a professor is graded on personality, I would give him an A-. But this means nothing if you go to class almost every single time and donít learn a single thing. I am taking another PHYS 141 professor currently and he is so much better. Bensky likes to break the class into weird little groups and basically does examples the entire class. This was good until about week 5/6 where you need some formal explanation. He talks too fast and writes too sloppily for anyone to take notes, which creates a really interesting class that goes by quick and isnít boring, but he just fails to present material in any organized fashion. The homework will be really easy if you do A TON of chapter 1-4 problems, or wait until he makes each problem worth 1 point instead of fractions. If you wait until the end of the quarter he will dock you points that you would have earned if you had done them in too short a period of time. The homework is submitted in a totally peer reviewed system. The midterms usually have a really easy problem and 2 really hard ones. He grades on a weird random system where he assigns what he thinks you earned on each problem and scribbles lines all over your page and there seems to be no correlation to any steps in the problem or anything else. Donít take Bensky unless you want to become his BFF which many people will or if you like to be taught the materials. Lots of ppl love bensky, but if you look under his fake personality he is just kind of lazy and rushes through everything he does.


Sophomore
F
Required (Support)
Aug 2008
Bensky is a great guy with a huge misunderstanding about how people learn. His peer reviewed homework system was wracked with bad study incentives. Getting a problem wrong proved -2 points, making each problem a necessary risk. It effectively discouraged reading the book by taking ALL of your time, which was necessary because most of the class was spent doing group activities. Lecture is time for him to teach, not to turn us around to teach each other what we don't know. I suppose he's trying to take the 'scary' aspect out of physics, but he ends up glossing over it and testing you on it anyway. Again, I like Bensky as a person, but he doesn't seem to have a handle on what actually helps students during study time.


Freshman
C
Required (Major)
Aug 2008
This guy is crazy! Its like he took too many cafine pills before class. He is a great guy though and presents the material pretty clearly. He's really weird but he wants to help. Tests are moderatly difficult and the homework online is easy to cheat on, but I dont suggest it, some kids in my class cheated and he caught them and gave them an F. Good teacher to take but its a lot of work.


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Jan 2009
kick ass curve. midterms are hard but you know exactly what will be on them. you make physics movies with this program which takes awhile to get used to but he helps you out a ton. these projects are 50% of the grade and so you can bomb the midterms like i did and do well on the movies and get a good grade. most other teachers are heavy on the testing so take Bensky. Midterms are only worth 20% of the grade total and there are like 5. Bensky is on something b/c he is one hyper guy.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Jan 2009
I would not recommend taking bensky unless you have to. the class is boring, and he is a very difficult grader. steer clear if you can


Freshman
C
Required (Support)
Feb 2009
Great teacher, funny guy. Class was hard though.


Sophomore
B
Required (Major)
Apr 2009
I really liked Professor Bensky's class! He makes it easy to do well in his class. He was very helpful and personable during his office hours as well. Although his teaching method was unconventional, he gave us programing homework. It was physics based and you had to know your kinematic equations to do the homework and he would usually give us part of the code so it wasn't too hard. I got a A's on almost all of my programs and I have never taken any computer science classes so it was all new to me. It did get frustrating when you couldn't figure out what was wrong with the code, but he was very helpful at office hours. His tests were all pretty easy. I got C's on most of them, he gave about 5 or so. I liked taking more test rather then 2 cause if you bomb one your grade isn't toast. His final was pretty easy. So I would definitely take him again!


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Dec 2009
I had Bensky at 8 A.M. four days a week, but had no problem staying awake because he is loud and expressive in his lectures. He gives interesting examples in class at least once a week - which always involve student participation - and he has a great sense of humor. However, the tough part of this class was the projects. Every week you must create a series of animations using physics equations and very basic computer programming. He gives you the code in class and explains how to do all of them, but you end up spending a lot of time on the movies because it\'s so easy to make mistakes in your code. These movies were very frustrating at times, but if you pay attention in class take notes then it\'s really straightforward. However, if you absolutely hate using computers then you should probably avoid this class if you don\'t have 12+ hours a week to dedicate solely to Physics. My biggest gripe about the class is that you don\'t do enough book problems in this class, which means when you get into Physics 132 and 133 you\'ll be behind in that area. Other than those two things it\'s a really fun class that you\'ll learn a lot in.


Sophomore
C
Required (Major)
Jan 2010
This guy comes off as being nice at first but he\'s a prick underneath. He definitely plays favorites and if you insult his fragile ego he\'ll start to deduct points from your work for every petty reason he can find.


Freshman
A
Required (Support)
Jan 2010
To be honest, Bensky is a really good physics professor who knows the material. The only problem was that he gave video assignments every week which would take hours to complete with a report. (The videos did not help me with physics whatsoever). Having taken the AP physics B exam and passed, the class itself was relatively easy with no textbook reading. He does his grading primarily on the videos so you could fail(50%) the chapter tests while getting A\'s on the video reports and still get an A or B in the course. An overall 85% or above is an A in the class.


Sophomore
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2010
Professor Bensky\'s class was enjoyable and helped me learn physics even though I had never taken a physics course before. I took the class the quarter before and had the teacher from hell, needless to say I failed that one in burning flames. So when I took Bensky\'s class I was still terrified of physics but the way he presents the material is much more clear and it is easier to follow his lectures. He shows you how to do all the homework problems and takes very similar problems for the midterm questions so you know what they will look like. The most time intensive part of this course is the povray videos you make each week. They can get pretty complicated towards the end of the quarter but just go to his office hours often and he will not let you fall behind. The videos are 50% of your grade so you can do good on them and still get low scores on just about all the midterms and still get a B. Overall good class to learn basic physics.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2010
Oh what to say what to say. Dr. Bensky is by far the best physics teacher I ever had. First thing I passed my AP physics test and didn\'t learn a single thing from my high school teacher and then I come into Dr. Bensky\'s class and I learned so much. The midterms are ok. The videos are fantastic and inspired me to make my own designs, next one to design is a person or maybe another animal. Very funny teacher and you learn a lot. Very helpful as well. Overall an A++ professor. Take the class if you want to have fun and learn at the same time.


Freshman
B
Required (Support)
Mar 2010
While I did fine in the class, I didn\'t necessarily enjoy taking it. The projects that he had us do every weekend were INSANE, however, they did gve my grade a solid boost. And I needed that boost too, as it\'s next to impossible to get even a B on his tests. Every single problem in the textbook has a different \"trick\" to it, which is incedibly annoying, and you have to analyze every problem in the textbook the way he does them if you want to even pass the class. I felt like he didn\'t help me enough for studying for the tests. To be fair, the lectures were fun, if confusing, and somewhat interactive.


Freshman
A
Required (Major)
May 2010
Bensky is a G. He is extremely entertaining in class, never a dull moment. He has a midterm every 2 weeks which usually consist of 4-5 questions. You know exactly what is going to be on the test because the day before he give the class a practice problem of the toughest question on the test. His projects can be time consuming but are worth a lot of easy points. Besides that there is no homework. He responds to emails abruptly and throughly. IF YOU CAN, TAKE HIM! Plus an 85% is an A.


Freshman
B
Required (Major)
Nov 2010
Mr. Bensky is amazing. He is a great lecturer, and makes sure to speak and act in a way that keeps you interested (or at the very least, awake). He has exams often and makes it very clear what material will be on it. I have never done so well on exams and understood the material so well! He has videos that you have to do yourself, which were very different and I never quite got the hang of. But if you keep up with them then they will serve as a buffer for your grade. I had some family medical problems during this class and when I talked to him he was very gracious in giving me some extra time to take an exam. I would recommend him to everyone!


Sophomore
C
Required (Support)
Mar 2011
I hate physics, but Dr. B is the best! He is so funny and is a GREAT teacher. He couldn't present the material more clearly. He is so enthusiastic about physics and super helpful in his office hours!


Freshman
F
Required (Support)
Jun 2014
I had never taken physics before and this class was terrible. I had a 3.6 gpa until this course and I have always been a good student. We spent over half the class working on his phys GL assignments and never spent enough time with actual physics problems which he tested us on. Phys GL is a great visual learning tool but having kids program and code is a complete waste of time in an entry level course. Physics is hard enough and when you throw coding on top it becomes too much. Bensky is also afraid of confrontation. Of students would use there phone in class or leave 2 minutes early he would say nothing. But that night, he would send you an email about your "behavior" and remove participation points from your grade. I lost mine for leaving 2 minutes early. No joke.


Freshman
D
Required (Support)
Jun 2014
Bensky is a fantastic lecturer, when he actually taught physics concepts and not coding. The class everyday was basically half-learning physics and half-attempting to understand the terrible grade-murdering program that is PhysGL. The first half was great. Bensky is probably the most energetic physics professor alive. He's basically a deep-voiced Bill Nye. Unfortunately, he believes that coding in physics is the way of the future and the best way to get students to visualize physics. In theory, it's great. In practice, it was terrible. We were spending all quarter trying to comprehend how to code a box moving along grass or whatever project was assigned. Even computer engineers and scientists were baffled by the coding because it's nothing like any of the languages we use. The tests were hard but he graded fairly... fair. Frankly, I'm surprised I passed. All in all, Bensky should just get a TV show or something and entertain the world with physics.

PHYS 256


Sophomore
A
Required (Major)
May 2013
For all of you losers that think Bensky is a bad teacher obviously must be confusing him for Hoellwarth or something. Bensky is the best professor that I have had out of all of my professors. He is smart, hilarious, and passionate about his class. He will try his best to help you understand concepts.

PHYS 315


Junior
B
Elective
Jul 2006
AWESOME professor. definitly recommend, especially the laser class which i took. really, really nice guy too and very helpful in both class and office hours. TAKE HIM!!


Senior
A
Elective
Aug 2006
Spent the entire class trying to figure out what kind of illegal uppers this guy takes. The lack of attention I paid to the actual material netted me a solid C- going into the final. Somehow I got out of there with an A-. Must have been one hell of a curve. Lasers are shiny. They make pretty red light.

PHYS 323


Junior
B
Required (Major)
Dec 2002
Benksy was an okay professor. I hardly took any notes for his class. He was always showing us derivations (that he inevitably messed up). I don't think he was the best pick of professors for Optics. He has a lot of enthusiasm...you won't fall asleep.


Senior
B
Required (Major)
Feb 2003
Although he can be difficult to understand during lecture at times, his enthusiasm outweighs the drawbacks. His tests are fair, although is grading system is a bit vague. He likes to curve tests, but he places the average at C+/B- border, so it ends up favoring the students. I had him for PHYS 132 and PHYS 323, so i feel that i know him fairly well and can accuratly say that i feel he is a good teacher and if you need additional help other than the book and the lecture, he is more than happy to clairfy things in his office hours. Do not take him if you want a boring professor who will just work out examples on the board, he LOVES demos and uses them often to enrich his lecture.

ASTR 324


Senior
B
General Ed
Mar 2011
Awesome class, he is always exciting in class which is nice. This class is kind of his "fun" class and he enjoys teaching it. Great class, 85% is an A to. One of the projects was to build a clock which was different and interesting to do. One of the few professors who seem to care about their job.


Junior
B
General Ed
Mar 2011
Loved this class! It consisted of weekly reading quizzes and homework, two midterms, a 'build a clock' project, and a cumulative final. Lots of work, but worth it to hear this guy lecture. Bensky is incredibly loud, crazy and energetic; it takes awhile to get used to his teaching style, but I honestly loved going to class four days a week, and oftentimes nearly fell off my chair laughing. If I ever got confused, I simply went to his office hours and he was totally chill! So easy to talk to... What a character! :)


Junior
B
General Ed
Mar 2011
The class had a lot of homework but BENSKY IS THE BEST! This guy is so funny and he really enjoys this subject. We had 2 midterms and a comprehensive final. We also had a clock prject at the end of the quarter which was different but never the less it was fun. If you are up for a crazy teacher with a wacky passion--take this class.

PHYS 324


Sophomore
N/A
General Ed
Nov 2008
bensky is the man. ask anyone who's taken his class(es). don't take him early in the morning though, he talks really fast and it may be hard to catch everything


Sophomore
B
General Ed
Jun 2014
Grading policies were fair. Easy quizzes. Exams based on reading (so do the reading to get a good score. Rely on lectures only for an average score). The final project can be difficult, so when it comes to the end, make sure you get the hard stuff done early so you're not scrambling at the last minute to get it to work!