• Katherine Pan

Review of MA1513: Linear Algebra with Differential Equations

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

Year took: AY19/20 Semester 2

Similar to MA1511 and MA1512, MA1513 is a 2MC module that takes place for half a semester. Lectures are held from week 1 to week 6 and tutorials are from week 2 to 7. Finals took place in week 8. The assessment criteria for MA1513 are as follows:

  1. In-class assignments – 15%

  2. Weekly online quizzes – 15%

  3. Finals – 70%


Cue me staring at MA1511. Thankfully for MA1513, there is not much integration to do. (Source)


Lectures:

Every week, there will be a 2-hour lecture and a 2-hour tutorial for us to attend. The lecturer will upload pre-recorded videos that explain the concepts taught onto Luminus. We are expected to watch the videos before attending lectures, as lectures are supplementary. To me, the lectures give a concise summary of the content taught for that week. They can be really useful for weeks when a lot of content is taught. When the latter half of chapter 2 was taught, I was puzzled as there were many new concepts. Watching the lectures helped to reorganize my thoughts and understand the content better.


Tutorials:

Tutorials started in week 2 and my tutor was great. His enthusiasm was overflowing, but it was unfortunate that my class did not reciprocate. The disappointment was clear on his face every tutorial. I found tutorials to be useful as my tutor passed on tips for solving questions and occasionally taught additional handy concepts. In the second half of the tutorial, an in-class assignment will be given out. I think that the in-class assignment is a great practice to recap what we have learned. The best 5 out of 6 assignments will be taken into the final grade, which makes up 15%.


This was often the case when I was rushing the assignment in class because I cannot wait to leave. (Source)


A problem I had while doing the tutorial questions was that it felt very repetitive. A lot of questions in MA1513 focuses on matrixes that involve Gaussian elimination. To solve for answers, I had to often perform Gaussian elimination and it was tedious due to the long steps taken. I recommend using online calculators like Symbolab to do the Gaussian elimination instead. It will save you time and energy when you are rushing tutorials the day before the tutorial. While it is convenient to use online tools, please ensure that you master gaussian elimination as it will be tested in finals!


(Source)


Weekly Quizzes:

Besides lectures and tutorials, we had to complete a weekly online quiz on Luminus. There is a quiz based on every lecture and there are 5 questions per quiz. Try your best to secure full marks for the quizzes because they are very doable. Furthermore, you can discuss it with your friends so no excuses! There are 6 quizzes in total, and only the best 5 out of 6 scores are taken into the final grade which makes up 15%.


Final:

Finals took place in week 8 and it felt awful because tutorials ended in week 7 and I had only a week to do all my revision. While doing the practice papers, I noticed that there was a pattern of similar questions. I will recommend doing all past year papers, so you have a grasp of what to expect for the examinations. If I am not mistaken, MA1513 has a steep bell curve so be prepared to not be sacrificed to the bell curve.


Conclusion:

All in all, MA1513 was a doable module. Although I struggled with the content covered in some weeks, attending tutorials helped a lot in answering my doubts. Compared to the other modules I took in year 1, I found the MA15XX series to be easier. As I took H2 mathematics in JC, it provided the background knowledge that I needed. However, I do know of friends from polytechnics that find the MA15XX modules to be tough.


Cue me proceeding to double check every question for careless mistakes. (Source)


I sure miss the times when my math questions were this easy. (Source)

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