• Katherine Pan

Review of MA1512: Differential Equations for Engineering

Year taken: AY19/20 Semester 1

MA1512 starts right after recess week and online reviews say that this is a horrible module. This is true because the lecture notes and web lecture videos explain the mathematical concepts poorly.

This is the first two pages of the lecture notes for chapter 1. It is an amazing example of horrendous lecture notes.

Every week, there is a 2 hours lecture slot and a 2-hour tutorial slot. An online quiz will take place in week 11 which makes up 20% of your final grade while finals make up 80%.

Weekly lectures provide a recap of the topic taught for that week and students are to watch the web lectures on Luminus before attending. Similar to MA1511, students have to prepare before attending the lecture. Yet, horrible explanations make the web lectures difficult to understand. The lecture notes are structured terribly as well as there are no clear signs of what formulas to use. To improve your understanding, you may consider watching Khan Academy instead. Khan Academy has videos that cover Laplace transform and second-order linear equations. The weekly lecture will summarize the topic for the week and extra practice questions. The lecture is done by the same lecturer who does the web lecture videos, so most students do not find it useful. I do not think that it is helpful as well, so I just skip lectures.

I <3 you Khan academy.

Tutorials are useful in bridging the gaps students may have after watching the lecture videos. My tutor gave out notes for each chapter to summarize the key formulas and concepts. While attendance for tutorials is not compulsory, I highly recommend not missing any tutorials as you can clarify whatever doubts you may have with your tutor.

Regarding the online quiz in Week 11, there were five questions for students to answer. The questions range from being manageable to extremely difficult. Students are given a week to finish the quiz and tutors are not available for students to consult. As it was an online quiz, I was able to discuss with my friends about the solutions. Hence, it really helped a lot in ensuring that I chose the right answers and secured 20% of my grade.

MA1512 final was scheduled on 2nd December and I found the paper to be of reasonable difficulty. I was lucky to have ample time to prepare as I only had one final exam.

"One final exam?? I have FREAKING FIVE FINALS." - Literally everyone's response. (Image sourced from https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/787356-confused-black-girl)

Hence, I had the whole of reading week and the first week of examinations to prepare for this one paper. You must do all past year papers and reviews all tutorials. For my year, the paper included questions that were not straightforward, and students had to deduce which is the correct concept to apply. Thus, students have to possess a good understanding of the concepts in the module to get minimally a B+.

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