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NUS Module Review [AY1011 Semester 1]

on December 30, 2010

I figured I should jolt down what happened to all the modules that I am taking, starting with the most recent semester; this would make it easier for me to recall the difficulty of the module when my juniors are asking me about them :)

This review is written based on the Semester 1 variants of the modules, and thus might not apply to the Semester 2 variants of the same module.

CS2102 – Introduction to Database Systems
4MC/Examinable / 10% Project

Ahh.. Query languages. Overall I would say the module is not too hard, it’s mostly common sense and whether you can get logic right. Even some questions have a standard way of answering.
The topics on Functional Dependencies and Normalization are also not too hard to grasp.

Lecture – Stephane Bressan‘s accent might catch you unprepared but overall it’s quite alright.
Tutorial – ┬áThe query languages tutorial are funny in the sense that you learn a new language, and use it to answer the same set of questions. Each language is slightly different but the logic behind is similar.
Project – The project should weigh more than 10% for the amount work you have to do on it – basically, you need to create an online database that can input and query information. Apparently the tutors want to look out for more animated stuff, such as AJAX updating of web pages, and complex SQL queries. I was lucky I had imba teammates to help me in this portion.

Look out for MCQs in midterms/finals. They are the killer portions – check out past year papers from the library.

My grade: A
My rating: Medium

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CS2103 – Software Engineering
4MC / Examinable / 35% Project

This module is very concept-dependent; however I feel that they are easy to grasp. The final exam is also very similar to the tutorial questions – even the tutorial questions/practice questions are the past year questions. Also the project component is rather heavy, find good teammates to do it.

Lecture – Lecturer is very nice, but accent is rather hard to hear. Luckily the lecture notes are pretty detailed – I did not get the textbook even though the examination was openbook :D
Tutorial – My tutor was really nice, he gave us a lot of answers. Tutorial should not be too hard, make sure you get the correct answers (from the tutor) to not miss out important details.
Project – Very important portion, I had godlike teammates yet again, so I did pretty well. Make sure the workload is split pretty equally as they do give different members different grades based on their contributions (should one of your teammates decide to report, haha).

The exam is manageable, I would say.

My grade: A+ (yay!)
My rating: Medium

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CS2106 – Introduction to Operating Systems
4MC / Examinable / 25% Lab

The module that I thought I would score very well due to my interest and confidence, but nope. :( This module is very very very content-heavy, with a LOT of information you must digest. The prof speaks like a lullaby, so be prepared to read the textbook (I read the pdf variant, sore eyes ><) The cheatsheet is gonna get spammed with a whole lot of information.

Lecture – As I’ve said, LULLABY. Read the textbook. The fact that each slide on the lecture notes consists of 1 word (I’m not kidding) doesn’t help at all – and he covers things at a different order than the textbook. Might want to watch the webcast.
Tutorial – My tutor was the lecturer, so naturally it was rather sleep-inducing; but he’s very knowledgeable and you can ask him for any clarifications/doubts. Need to pay attention to tutorial as the nifty details are important
Lab – There is almost no way you can get the absolute correct answers – unless your friend is a computer science expert, he will not get the perfect answers. Sometimes the lab assistant might be nice and give you the answers :D

The examination was a killer for me, I wasn’t sure of most of my answers. Plus, the lecturer is teaching this module for the first time for my year.

My grade: A-
My rating: Hard

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IS2101 – Business and Technical Communications
4MC / Non-examinable / Group projects, presentations

This module is rather interesting in the sense that it is slack, there are not many things to do, the lectures are totally pon-able, but the 3-hour tutorial can be dreadful at times. Take note of the group assignments – as they carry a heavy weightage, screwing up any of them can lead to a drop in your grade.

Lecture – Just pon – not much use. Unless you really want to score like, A+, which I don’t think you need anyway.
Tutorial – Participation is 5% so I guess you shouldn’t skip it, plus most of the presentations are done in tutorial. Getting a good impression of yourself on the tutor is the key.
Presentations – The group presentation weighs 30%, so ample preparation time is needed; a lot on how you speak and reach out.

This module depends heavily on your public speaking; if you can’t speak well it’s hard to score.

My grade: A-
My rating: Medium-Hard

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MA2108 – Mathematical Analysis
4MC / Examinable

Limits, sequences, convergence. If you’ve taken MA1102R (Calculus) and did not like the epsilon-delta definition of a limit, you will not like this module, because this module explores that in-depth. Concept is fairly understandable, but answering the questions are a pain; most of the time I had to copy the answers from the tutor during tutorial as I couldn’t do any of the questions. It was by pure luck that I grasped the answering technique a few days before the exam.

Lecture – No webcast, thus definitely recommended that you go. The lecturer is rather nice, and he explains concepts pretty well, but concept =/= answering questions. Do go for them though.
Tutorial – Recommended to go too, if you give 150% attention to the tutor, you can catch some concepts and be able to answer some questions in subsequent tutorials.

The examination differentiates the good from the bad through the hard questions in Section B; the questions in Section A are similar to the tutorial, and you should be able to answer almost all of them if you prepared well. Section B spells death though.

My grade: A-
My rating: Very Hard

Yup so that’s it! Hope my readers find this useful. I’ll probably post my review of earlier semesters next time, but my memory of them is fading -_-


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