• Katherine Pan

Review of MA1511: Engineering Calculus

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Year took: AY19/20 Semester 1

MA1511 is part of the MA15XX module series and it is a seven-week module. The module is mandatory for incoming engineering freshmen. MA1511 focuses on the basic concepts in one variable and several variable calculus with applications in engineering. The main topics include partial differentiation, multiple integrals, vector calculus, and one-variable calculus. As I took the module pre-COVID, some parts of my experience may be different. The assessment criteria are as follows:

1. Tutorial attendance – 10%

2. Tutorial assignments – 25%

3. Final – 65%

Lectures:

Every week, there is a 2 hours lecture slot. In lectures, Prof Ng will summarize the topic for the week and explain problem examples. Before attending lectures, we are expected to prepare for class by watching pre-recorded videos on Luminus. I strongly recommend watching the videos before attending the lecture. I have attended lectures without watching the videos when I was a blur freshman. I was easily lost within the first ten minutes of stepping in. The physical lecture will not be webcast, so do attend lectures not to miss out on useful information.

The pre-recorded videos are fondly named as “Math Educational Video”. There are about 6 videos to watch every week and the videos are around 10 to 15 minutes long. I found the videos easy to understand because Prof Ng’s explanation was concise and succinct.

Tutorials & Assignments:

Tutorials started in week 2 and it was a weekly 2 hours session. Do attend every tutorial session because attendance makes up 10% of the final grade. The first hour is spent on explaining tutorial questions and clarifying doubts.

Oof it is 10% for MA1511 but there is still a lot of marks. (Source)


My tutor was Prof Ng and he provided clear explanations for the answers. The second hour of the tutorial was for us to complete an in-class assignment. The assignment is based on the topic taught for the week and it serves as a good revision of the concepts learned. If you have watched the lecture videos and did your tutorial, the assignment is doable. We could discuss the assignment amongst ourselves or ask Prof Ng for help. Hence, I strongly recommend getting full marks for all in-class assignments.


Examples of questions from the in-class assignment.


Finals:

Finals took place on week 8 and I was juggling the workload from my other modules. To prepare for finals, I read through all lecture notes, redid difficult tutorial questions, and completed two past year papers. I quickly scanned through the remaining past year papers. I would suggest doing so if you do not have the time to finish them. The examiner may test the same concept again and it would help immensely if you had a rough idea of the solution.


It really is STONKS when you see an exam question that you are familiar with. (Source)


The exam was on a Saturday and there were 5/6 questions with two parts each. I found the paper to be doable, but I have friends that feel otherwise. Other module reviews that I have read online also think that finals tend to be a killer. I had taken H2 Mathematics in Junior College, and I think MA1511 builds on what I have learned. Having a strong foundation in integration and differentiation can help to make MA1511 easier.

Conclusion:

All in all, I found the difficulty of MA1511 to be alright. The lectures and tutorials were well taught, and the notes provided were adequate. Having H2 Mathematics background does help a lot in understanding the concepts taught. Familiarize yourself with the basics of integration and differentiation. This will save you time during finals as you do not have to constantly refer to your cheat sheet.



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