Module Reviews: Year 1 Sem 1

AY16/17 Sem 1

CG1001 – GER1000 – GET1034 – CS1010 – CS1231- MA1505

CG1001 Introduction to Computer Engineering

Difficulty: Easy

Grade Obtained: B+
Lecturers: Guest lecturers from CS and EE

As the name of this module suggests, it introduces Computer Engineering, the sub-areas that is has and it’s specialisations to us. This mod is actually easy in the sense that homework is virtually NIL except for the group report and group presentation. Every week, a lecturer from a CEG sub-area will give an introductory lecture about the specialisation that they’re teaching (usually their area of research), its impacts on the world and its challenges (which is usually research level stuff that can be quite cool if you’re into it). Also, do attend the lectures as they’re not web-casted and you might miss out something that you’re truly interested in.

Just to help you guys, here are the 6 specialisations:

  1. System‐on‐a‐Chip Design
  2. Interactive Digital Media
  3. Intelligent Systems
  4. Embedded Computing
  5. Communications & Networking
  6. Large‐Scale Computing

This module is graded this way:

  • MCQ questions after lectures (27%)
  • Group Report (29%)
  • Group Presentation (44%)

So basically, all you have to do is to attend the weekly lectures, answer the MCQ and do the 2 group projects. Just choose the topic that you’re interested in. For me, my group did System‐on‐a‐Chip and for the report and my other group chose Embedded Computing for the presentation.

Bell curve rating: easy to get B+

Helpful resources: none needed

Module Rating: ~It’s just watching lectures~

GER1000 Quantitative Reasoning

Difficulty: Decent
Grade Obtained: B+
Lecturers: Video lectures by different the module coordinator and TAs

This module has a lot of breadth but little depth. GER1000 is a compulsory mod that is preallocated to you either in Sem 1 or Sem 2. This mod aims to teach basic reasoning and how to use data from studies. GER is generally quite a chill module. Just understand the concepts well and do the tutorial questions before going to class.

The module content consists of 6 chapters which can be described as mostly statistics:

  1. Design of studies
  2. Association
  3. Sampling methods
  4. Uncertainty
  5. Networks
  6. Projections

To be honest, many of the video lectures teach common sense. Just watch the ones containing concepts that you don’t already understand and those that teach you important definitions that are tested. That should save you quite a few hours from watching useless content. Oh yes, btw you can 2x the speed of the videos, that saves you time to do your other mods too.

This module is graded this way:

  • IVLE quizzes (5%)
  • Tutorial participation (10%)
  • Midterm test (14 MCQs) (20%)
  • Group project (25%)
  • Final exam (40%)

Bell Curve rating: Easy to get B+ and A- for smarter students

Helpful resources:
Ask friends from different classes for practice papers that their tutors have given.
Module Rating:~It’s common sense + some math~

GET1034 Communication and Critical Thinking for Community Leadership

Difficulty: Decent
Grade Obtained: B+
Lecturer: Dr Lee Kooi Cheng

This is one of the more interesting modules that I took this Sem. GET1034 is only open to hall ppl so too bad for the non-hall peeps. Also, the classes are conducted in your own halls, so you can literally wake up and go next door for your classes.
To put it simply, this mod teaches you the relevance of communication and critical thinking in the context of community leadership (in short, your hall).

The content can be broken down to:

  • Paul-Elder critical thinking framework
  • Constructivist’s theory of communication
  • Functional communication competence
  • Making a successful team presentation

This module is interesting as your friends are your classmates (so it’s quite informal) and lots of time in class is spent in small groups discussing community leadership, critical thinking and just chatting. Also, Dr Lee delivers the content in an engaging way. The workload is generally quite chill as there is not really much homework to do. Just watch the video lectures and you should be fine.

In the second half of the Semester, you’ll have to form a group and write a concept paper to propose an idea that improves the community in your hall. Then you’ll present your idea to your hall’s JCRC and SCRC. It sounds scary at first, it’s actually not that bad since you probably know some of the JCRC peeps.

This module is graded this way:

  • Individual (60%)
    • Critique on case study – 10% (done in class)
    • 2 Critical reflection assignments – 30% (15% each)
    • Online quizzes – 10%
    • Participation and discussion – 10%
  • Group Project (40%)
    • Concept Paper – 25%
    • Presentation (based on concept paper) – 15%

Bell curve rating: its only hall people, so mostly B+

Helpful resources: none needed. Pm me if you want a link to the lectures

Module Rating:~Chill and talk cock with friends~

CS1010 Programming Methodology

Difficulty: Difficult
Grade Obtained: C+
Lecturer: Prof Khoo Siau Cheng (Different lecturers for different classes)

CS1010 is the introductory programming module for most people in SoC. It teaches the basics of computer programming in C.

Here are the topics taught:

  1. Overview of C programming
  2. Selection statements (if-else statements)
  3. Repetition statements (Looping)
  4. Pointers, using pointers in functions
  5. Arrays, 2D Arrays
  6. Structures
  7. Characters and Strings
  8. File Processing
  9. Recursion
  10. Searching and sorting

This module is graded this way:

  • Continual assessment (60%)
    • Take-home Labs (10%)
    • Tutorial attendance (5%)
    • Practical exam 1 (10%)
    • Practical exam 2 (20%)
    • Midterms (15%)
  • Finals (40%)

As a CEG student, programming is going to be your bread and butter in the future, there’s no escaping that. So the skills taught in this module are quite important, especially debugging skills (which I’m still trying to learn). CS1010 is a practical mod, so there’s a huge emphasis on the PEs so try as much as possible to practice on the 6 to 7 small exercises per week on CodeCrunch (I know it’s a lot but it will be useful).

The assessment is quite spread out, 10% here 10 % there, but the big ones are the midterms, PE 2 and finals. The key in to do well in this mod is consistency, don’t lag behind, and NEVER leave doubts unclarified, or you’ll die in debugging hell and do badly for exams (this is from personal experience). I was lagging behind in ‘char and strings’ and went for my PE 2 which tested ‘char and strings’. That’s 20% right there, gone. IVLE gave me my predicted grade ‘C to B-‘ even before my finals. That feeling really sucked.

As one of the TA’s said: “If you decide to cram, you’re going to flunk like crazy”

Bell curve rating: No bell curve, it’s both good and bad

Helpful resources:
There’s a CS1010 course website with exam announcements and resources.
Check out youtube if you need a different explanation.
Don’t expect all your seniors to be able to be able to help you CS1010 since it actually feels harder than CS1020.
Module Rating:~Quite hard if you’re not consistent with your effort~

CS1231 Discrete Structures

Difficulty: Very Difficult
Grade Obtained: C+
Lecturer: Prof Aaron and Prof Terrence

CS1231 can be best summarised as “It may not be intuitive but it is correct and always try to prove yourself wrong”. CS1231 is a logic heavy mod with lots of axiomatic math and its not for everyone. Rote learning DOES NOT WORK here. Mathematically inclined students tend to find this module more enjoyable and do-able.

Here are the topics taught:

  • Proof techniques (learn this well, will be used in every chapter)
  • Logic
  • Induction
  • Number Theory (and lots of it)
  • Sequences
  • Sets
  • Relations
  • Functions
  • Counting and Probability
  • Graph and Trees
  • Cardinality (not tested)

Most people will say that this is the hardest mod in Sem 1 because of the difficult content and the incredibly fast pace of lectures. Get ready to be mind-blown and bombarded by new definitions when Prof Aaron and prof Terrence lays down the knowledge every lecture.

In discrete maths, the content and concepts each lecture are built on top of the previously taught content. So it’s extremely important not to miss any lectures or tutorials or leave any doubts unresolved. Or you’ll find yourself either completely lost or having crippling conceptual errors. And the catch-up game is extremely difficult to play for CS1231. So pay attention and learn the first few chapters well, the rest of the mod are built on top of them.

For the JC students, do try to re-familiarise yourself with mathematical induction from J2 Math as it’s a big part of this mod.

This Sem’s Lecturers are Prof Aaron and Prof Terrence. Prof Terrence is engaging and uses appropriate analogies to explain difficult concepts to us. He even came gave a lecture on Cardinality (infinities) dressed as Buzz Lightyear. On the other hand, Prof Aaron is very patient in explaining difficult concepts and proofs but tends to talk quite fast.

Grading Assesment:

  • Tutorial attendance 5%
  • 2 Take home Assignments 10% each
  • Midterms 25% (Midterms shouldn’t be too hard if you studied and practised the
  • content well. )
  • Finals 50% (Finals felt more like Math Olympiad, that’s all I could say)

Tutorials are important as attendance counts towards the grade 10% (this is important as it is damn hard to get marks anywhere else). Never miss tutorials as they’re there for you to clarify core concepts and get more practice as this is one mod that requires practice to at least to be able to do some questions. Tutorial questions are usually on the moderately hard side and require quite a bit of thinking. If you really cannot do the questions, use google, SERIOUS, just google it. It helps to be prepared for tutorials rather than go in lost AF. At times, the solution might seem alien and unintuitive but once you think it through and practice a few times it should be easier to grasp and think of.

There are also two assignments (problem sets) which had to be submitted. Those take up 20% of your final grade so do everything you can to secure those marks. Discuss with friends, ask tutors and even consult professors!! You’re gonna need all the marks you can get.

Midterms and finals are OPEN BOOK so you can literally bring all your tutorials, textbooks and assignments to the exam venue short of your laptop and phone. The main idea is: even if you bring everything with you, it’s not gonna help if you don’t already understand the content.

Bell curve rating: hard to fail, but also hard to anything higher than a B
Also, do take note that CS1231 is taught by the CS department in Sem 1 and Math department in Sem 2 and the different departments focus on different aspects of discrete maths.

Helpful resources:
Epp, S.S., Discrete Mathematics with Applications, 4th ed
CS1231 course website by Prof Aaron
Google (this is one of the most valuable resources as it has answers to many of the tutorial questions. Still, at least try the questions before googling the answer)
Another awesome CS1231 Reference Cheatsheet
Module Rating:~GLFH. But still, try your best~

MA1505 Mathematics I

Difficulty: Decent
Grade Obtained: B
Lecturer: Prof Yap Wen Ying, Prof Chew Tuan Seng, Prof Leung Pui Fai

MA1505 is a compulsory introductory course in advanced calculus for Engineering students, so just know that your bell curve is made up of all your Engin friends. Those coming in from poly will probably take it in Sem 2, so the bell curve is a slightly different from Sem 1.

This is what’s covered:

  1. Functions and Limits (mostly revision of JC H2 Math)
  2. Differentiation (mostly revision of JC H2 Math + some new stuff)
  3. Integration (mostly revision of JC H2 Math + some new stuff)
  4. Sequence and SeriesThree Dimensional Space
  5. Fourier Series
  6. Functions of Several Variables
  7. Multiple Integrals
  8. Line Integrals
  9. Surface Integrals

The module is graded this way:

  • Midterms 20% (easy)
  • Finals 80% (finals are meant to kill, just do as many questions as you can)

As you can see, this mod is about 20-30% revision of JC stuff, so if you’re good at JC math then you’ll be fine. For this mod, I recommend watching the webcasts of the different lecturers and choose the teaching style that suits you best. I personally prefer Prof Yap’s teaching style as he explains the concepts clearly. Prof Chew has many examples in his lectures for you to practice but it can be hard to follow since he sometimes skips steps in the workings. I didn’t watch Prof Leung’s webcasts because, well, there’re only so many hours in a day.

Tutorial questions are always in the same format. The first questions in the tutorials are usually to test concepts, the middle ones are exam question difficulty and the last few questions are usually challenges. I suggest doing the tutorials consistently. For the exams, midterms is a 10 question MCQ format, this one is quite easy as it’s mostly like a revision of JC math.

Finals, on the other hand, are meant to kill, and the 80% means that it is the main thing determining your grade. Understand the concepts well and practice a lot for ACCURACY and SPEED using past year papers (I lost many marks because I didn’t have time to do many questions). Don’t forget to make your cheat sheet (you can usually google for your seniors’ cheat sheet and choose the one that you like the most).

Bell curve rating: easy to get B, B+, hard to get higher than that (your grades are more volatile because of the 80% killer finals)

Helpful resources:
Module Rating:~Some JC revision and some new stuff~

SAP: 4.0 (After SU), 3.33 (Before SU)

CAP: 4.0 (After SU), 3.33 (Before SU)


2 thoughts on “Module Reviews: Year 1 Sem 1

  1. Hello Jiachao 🙂 Zech here 😛 Finally found your blog is online and thought i would drop in just to say hi and also maybe get your blog going!


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