May 12 Update: 3A courses added! P.S. I also updated my About Me page, so have a read if you’re interested. P.S.S. I updated the blog design again.. I didn’t really like the old one because there was not a clear distinction between bold and non-bolded font.
This is a reflective post on my past 2.5 years in SoftEng, the pains, the stresses, and the rejoices.
Reference on my Class of 2015 course sequence is here. If you’re a prospective student, you may be taking a different sequence of courses.
Note – I published this awhile ago but it somehow got saved as a draft.. So it’s back up now.
I worked pretty hard during this school term. Straight out of high school, had a lot of keener in me. No expectations because I had no idea what university would be like, but still wanted to do well.
I entered SoftEng feeling very lowly compared to a handful of my classmates. There are geniuses in my class, seriously. But what can you expect? 145ish 85%+ average students in 1 classroom.
Overall recommendation: it’s 1A. Get used to university, get used to the huge student:prof ratio, utilize TA/prof office hours; but don’t over study and lose out on your first-year social experience.
Math 117, CS 137: Calculus, and CS. Both fairly easily. Use of online resources is recommended for these courses. Not doing well in 117 will lead to problems in future Calc courses. Not doing well in CS will lead to problems in future CS courses. Note that the faculty assumes you have some sort of CS experience coming into the program. If you don’t, then you’ll have a larger learning curve to deal with. If you don’t want to deal with it, go into CS and take CS 115 ( a start from scratch course).
ECE 105: Will be your most difficult course. Pay attention! If you have Firas Mansour, you will be in luck. Great prof, teaches well. But midterm and final are usually killer. He likes to add extensions to past midterm and final problems, it’s not just plug and chug, unfortunately. Mandatory quizzes really test your knowledge and are not too difficult, but are worth a very small fraction of your final mark.
ECE 140: Fairly standard course, it gets difficult towards the end when complex numbers are involved. But it’ll be the highest degree you’ll have to deal with complex numbers (at least for awhile), esp if you’re in softeng. This is a newer course that came out of ‘electrodeath’ (More about this later).
Math 115: Standard Linear Algebra course. Midterm and final look similar to past midterms and finals. It’s pretty abstract, but just pay attention in class. Assignments are usually difficult, but they aren’t worth too much of your final mark.
SE 101: Should be a bird course. It’s a 0.25 credit, meaning you don’t attend much class or labs. You do a group project, pretty simple – programming a robot to maneuver around a maze. Although it’s in a group of 6. Awkward division of tasks ftw. Apparently they have updated this course to entail a different sort of project, so don’t take my work.
I started getting lazy in this term. More 830am classes, but slightly more free time.
Math 119, 135: Not much to say about 119, same comments as 117, really. Hopefully you get Eddie Dupont (great prof). Math 135 is taken by CS and Math students in Fall term. They originally had a really good textbook for the course, but they recently changed it (unfortunately). A few proofs here and there. They generally go easier on students who take this course because it often composes of CS/Math students who failed it in Fall term.
CS 138: Depends on prof teaching style. This course is actually a nice intro for CS 240 and CS 247. Unfortunately, bad TAs and bad profs lead to bad results on midterms and finals. It’s not common to see past midterms posted for this course, although the content and assignments don’t change very much. It can be an interesting course if taught well, and is pretty useful for your future co-op placements. Intro to BSTs, some algorithms, data structures – queues, heaps, etc. And object oriented. All in C++.
Ece 124: This course really depends on the prof. It introduces some useful concepts for ECE 222 and future logic courses, but can be very dry. Powerpoint type of lectures is the norm (study off of them). Textbook is not really needed, but still useful if you want to do reading on your own time. The mandatory labs are truly horrible. Coding in an outdated language (VHDL), doing things barely related to the course, disorganized lab instructors, etc. The optional assignments are pretty useful, make sure you do them even though they’re not for marks, as they are great for applying things you learned in class.
Ece 106: Extension to 105, but it’s all ElectroMag. This used to be part of Electrodeath. It is a pretty intense course, no more high school review as in 105 – mainly new concepts with added calculus. Mandatory quizzes as usual. MT + Final are fairly similar to past ones… although extensions to past midterms still happened to us. The labs are pretty straightforward – easy marks.
Note: Electrodeath was a combination of 106 and 140, for students in 2A to take. It was the course that weeded out a lot of students as it had so much content packed into 1. They solved this by splitting the course (originally Ece 126) into 2 courses.