Course Review NTU SPMS - MAS

The jellyfish is back! These are my own views about the courses which I took in NTU, serving as a memory for the future... =D

*The MAS cores and major electives are in this post.
*The electives which I have taken are in the post below.

Y1S1: Aug 2013 - Dec 2013
Y1S2: Jan 2014 - May 2014
Y2S1: Aug 2014 - Dec 2014
Y2S2: Jan 2015 - May 2015
Y2T1: May 2015 - June 2015
Y3S1: Aug 2015 - Dec 2015
Y3S2: Jan 2016 - May 2016
Y3ST: May 2016 - Jul 2016
Y4S1: Aug 2016 - Dec 2016
Y4S2: Jan 2017 - May 2017

Each course broken up into the following parts.
1. Marks and grade of course
2. Course mechanics
3. Easy parts
4. Difficult parts
5. Exams / Final paper
6. Overview / other comments

Cleared AU
Core (Maths): 59
Core (GER): 12
PE (Maths): 27
PE (AHSS): 3
PE (LS): 3
PE (BM): 3
PE (STS): 3
PE (Any): 3
UE: 62

Total cleared: 175 <- GRADUATE LO! =D

======== Core / Maths PE ========

CZ2001 - Algorithms (Y4S1/3AU/A3)
Lecturer: Prof. Tan Ah Hwee / Asst. Prof. Zheng Jie

Midterm (20%) - 38/40
4 Labs (20%) - ?
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A+

4 fortnight compulsory labs with attendance taken, 1 midterm quiz during the tutorial session. 2 hours lecture and 1 hour tutorial weekly. Recorded, no attendance taken for tutorials. The fortnight labs require preparatory group work (report + codes on a particular algorithm implementation), and a small presentation with demonstration during the lab sessions.

For Math majors, this should be a course that is easy enough to learn (This course is even easier than the year 1 math major modules). The mathematics covered in the course is not really a lot and do not need rigorous proofs. For example, the solution of a recurrence solution is just simply writing down the pattern and then output the answer, there is no need to find the characteristic equations and other stuff. So naturally, I found the math part a breeze. :D

The difficult part? I would say understanding the algorithms in detail. So you may know what the algorithm is doing, what is the output and stuff like that. But more importantly, there is a need to know why is it done in that way, could that operation be done more efficiently? What modification can one do to that algorithm? Some thinking is definitely required. Other than that, not much hard stuff in this course.

The midterm quiz is simple enough. If you can understand the algorithm concepts and is able to do the E-learning revision tutorial, then the quiz should be easy enough. :) The finals requires a bit more thinking, since it asks for algorithm implementations which are not so bad if you understand the time complexity of the operations in the taught algorithms. For example, one has to know that the quicksort partition function will make n-1 comparisons, and thus conclude that any modified algorithm taken from this modified partition function will also take linear O(n) time.

It is a good course to learn, especially if you want to learn some ways to improve your computational thinking. The lecturers are very clear, and thus it will be good to attend them. Practising the past year papers is a good way to prepare for the questions in the finals. :D


ES8006 - Environmental Sustainability (Y3S2/3AU)
Lecturer: Assoc Prof. Natalie Goodkin

Test 1 (30%) - 31/50
Test 2 (30%) - ?
Individual essay (10%) - 72/100
Group essay (10%) - 16/20
Online discussion (10%) - ?
Online quizzes (10%)  - ?
Overall Grade: A-

2 MCQ (50 questions each) tests, 2 essays, an online discussion assignment and near-weekly participation quizzes/surveys. No finals. 3 hours of lecture every week, recorded. No attendance taken.

If you have an interest in understanding how do humans interact with the environment, word sustainability issues in both the physical and human aspect, then the course content should somewhat suit you as all the lectures are related to this big issue. Dr. Goodkin seems to love class participation a lot (with the large number of clicker participation, assignments and online activities) though.

I wouldn't say the content is hard. It is more like not many people has interest in the content. If you were to ask SPMS people "Which mod do you think is the most burden", ES8006 can come up as an answer with a high frequency. There is simply too much work, and assignments like essays and online discussion can take up to 2/3 days each if you want to get a high grade. For me, I spent 1 day doing the individual and the group each. Marks slightly below(?) the median, but ok. Still not bad.

There are two tests, one counting as the midterm and the other as the finals. The tests are DIFFICULT. It is not something you can read out of the notes. A lot of content is tested based on what Dr. Goodkin said in the lectures. So even if you watch the recordings but missed out a minute or two, you could be losing out content knowledge for the exams. An example of a (finals) question is: "Why does Dr. Goodkin's father protect the recycling bins with his life?" I swore she mentioned this part in her lectures, but nobody thought its important (for obvious reasons). A lot of people I know answered "because he was scared to be taxed". =P But anyway, listening and understanding the concepts is more important than pure memorizing. I guess I should be getting a B or B- for this module. =/

The AY13/14 cohort is the last SPMS batch to take ES8006 as a GER-core module. So for those who don't have to take this module, think very carefully before taking this course! I heard there are other (much) more interesting ES modules though...

Post-note: Ok... I don't know where is the logic for the grade... But I am guessing the cohort didn't know what they are studying either...


HW0203 - Research Writing in SPMS (Y2S2/3AU)
Lecturer: (I forgot what's the name)
Tutor: Miss Gan Kwa Siew Eng Jenny (From NUS)

Critique (40%) - ?
Report (40%) - ?
Class Participation (20%) - ?
Overall Grade: A

2 assignments in this course, an individual critique by week 8 and a group research report by the end of the semester, no finals. A weekly lecture (1h) and a 2-hour tutorial every week with attendance taken.

Well, this course is generally dry, but teaches the essentials of analysing and writing a good research report, which may be useful for future work. (Eg. FYP) However, it takes a great deal of effort to write the report well and inferring the meaning of the article for the critique assignment. The critique is not easy, as you really have to understand what the author is trying to say, and sort of condemn his arguments (even though his writing is really better than you). The group research report is sort of standard. Choose a scientific question, conduct a survey or experiment, present your findings and make some inferences about it. 3000 words, citation style free choice. It will be great to have a nice group to work with you, otherwise it will be really difficult to tank this on your own. =/

My tutor is from NUS, and is a really good tutor. She teaches the essentials well, gave us tips on better writing (not just for the course), and communicated the requirements clearly. I would say that she made the tutorials more lively, and I enjoyed her classes. :) Oh, the final lecture is a presentation (in front of the LKC LT), and that is when the best few groups of the cohort will present an outline of their research report to the audience. Attendance compulsory, and that is scary. Thankfully my group wasn't chosen. ^^


HW0303 - Mastering Communication (Y1S2/3AU) [P/F]
Lecturer: (I forgot what's the name)
Tutor: Miss Chin Soo Fun

Email (30%) - Grade: B-
Resume (20%) - Grade: B
Oral Presentation (30%) - Grade: B
Class Participation (20%) - ?
Overall Grade: P

3 assignments is all there is to this course, an email-writing, a resume writing, and an oral presentation (relating to communication) at the end of the semester. No finals, weekly lectures (1h) end on week 9 and there are tutorials every week, 2 hours, attendance taken.

Since this mod is a pass/fail mod for SPMS students, generally this tutorial is a very relaxed class, and most of the guys I know just aim to pass, so it is super not necessary to put in your best in this course. (E.g. is me) The class has quite a lot of discussions and group work, so it's essential to find a good group to chat, talk about life and also participate in group activities. The topics taught in both lectures and tutorials are somewhat relevant, but that's only if they talk about career strategies, the rest of the topics are a bit useless though. =/

The difficult part comes for the oral presentation, which is quite standard for any kind of presentation... It would be better to prepare early, since the presentations usually clash with end-of-sem quizzes, tests, homework, etc. Presentations by group, which each person having about 5 minutes to talk, in tutorial classroom. Topics must be related to communication though.

No exams. After the oral presentation, you can safely say that you have finished the course. It's an awesome feeling. :D


PS8001 - Defence Science (Y2S2/3AU) [P/F]
Lecturer: (Many, not relevant)

Finals (100%)
Overall Grade: P

A 3-hour lecture weekly, a finals paper consisting of 100 MCQs. Pass/Fail basis. That's it! :)

Defence Science is mainly about the application of different areas of Science in the Defence aspect of Singapore. Such areas will include Chem, Physics, Math, Earth Sciences and Biology. So naturally, many of the guest speakers are from DSO (Defence Science Organisation), and they will talk about some topics, which the content will be tested in the finals. The feeling is like during assemblies in schools, you will have to properly listen to the speakers, and whatever they say will be in the exams. Scary eh? =P The P/F basis makes it more relaxed, and some topics are rather interesting! Examples include effectiveness of soldiers in training, cryptology, etc. :)

The difficult part is where you don't understand the topic content and you can't survive the long boring lectures. Some topics have over a hundred slides, and surely you won't want to memorise every single bit of them. So it will be good to categorise and study wisely. For example, it will be better to understand RSA and crypto, while chemical agents will have to be memorised unless you really understand their functionalities. Topics like MOMO (mathematical optimization of military operations) will require you to attend / listen to the lecture, as the slides are practically useless.

The exam is alright. I managed to really know how to answer 50+ questions, while the other 40+ questions will be left to fate. Almost half the cohort left once the 1-hour mark is reached. It can be that simple if you know how to do, or just guessing all the way. :)

It will be good to have friends with you in this course. I sort of learn/revised the topics with my friends during the revision period by this method.

1. Get about 6 - 8 people. Spare a full day (Eg 10am to 10pm) to discuss this module.
2. Before that discussion day, assign topics among the group. People with easier topics can help out with another topics. Everybody will listen to the recordings of their topics, and highlight whatever the guest speaker / themselves deem to be important.
3. During that discussion day, get a tutorial room / someone's house and present the 'main parts' of the topic. Everybody will take down / highlight the main parts on their own copies of their notes.
4. Before the exam (I think 24 hours is sufficient), review the main parts. If possible, ask seniors if they remember the questions in the exams, and perhaps see if you know how to do them. :D

So yeah, good luck to those taking this course in future! If this can be taken as UE, then try your luck! You may end up earning AU from a lesser-stress module!


MH1100 - Calculus I (Y1S1/4AU)
Lecturer: Assoc. Prof Andrew Kricker
Tutor: Jun Jie

Class participation (10%): 10/10
Quiz (10%): 10/10
Midterm (20%): 13/20
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A-

There are 4 parts that contribute to the final grade. The quiz is a lecture quiz (4 tutorial-like questions). Midterm exam, final exam, and a class participation. Everybody in my tutorial group got 10/10 for class participation, since everybody sort of presented their tutorial answers twice within the semester. Not everybody is graded like this though, some other classes are graded based on in-tutorial quizzes / homework assignments. It's up to the tutor to choose how the 10% is given, so can consider my case to be lucky bah.
A 2h lecture, a 1h lecture and a 1h tutorial per week, tutorial attendance taken.

Calculus I content seems to be easy, and looks like something JC students have a great advantage (functions, graphs transformations) over poly students with no maths background. Most of the concepts can be easy to understand, like the limit laws, MVT, Extreme Values Theorem, integration by parts, etc. If you can understand the concepts, then you can sort of do the tutorial questions. :)

"If you can understand and do all the precise definition of limits questions correctly, then you are straightaway on the right side of the bell curve." This is a VERY TRUE statement, esp. in the finals. Unfortunately, it's also the most difficult concept in the whole course (taught in week 4), to the extent that I have done any difficult questions correctly all the way up to Finals. The tutorial questions didn't help either, too little questions to practise on. =/

If you can't do the tutorial questions, then you are definitely screwed in the exams. Sadly, this is true, and what is more unfortunate is that the inverse of this statement is false! A lot of the exam questions (midterm and finals) require some understanding of the difficult proofs and the ability to break down a weird looking question into a simple one, and then using the theorems to apply to the question. It sounds like what you should do for every science question, but once you take Calculus I, you will see that this isn't easy... I sort of screwed up my Midterms and 25 marks of my Finals are going to be sort of screwed too...

Not recommended to people who want to take this as UE unless you really love Pure maths... Knowing simple differentiation and integration isn't going to get far in this course. However if your understanding of the Precise definition of a limit is atas, then yea, can try... o.0 Calculators are not exactly needed, unless you are really cui at graphs. =P


MH1101 - Calculus II (Y1S2/4AU)
Lecturer: Asst.Prof Ng Keng Meng
Tutor: Dr. Zhang Hui

Quiz 1 (5%): 10/10
Quiz 2 (5%): 10/10
Homework(10%): 49/50
Midterm(20%): 100/100
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A+

2 simple in-tutorial quizzes, 1 midterm, and 5 fortnight homework assignments. No tutorial/lecture attendance. The quizzes are really easy, as they test the most basic content, so that is a big giveaway. Midterm is 45mins, not very difficult too. A 2h lecture, a 1h lecture, and a 1h tutorial weekly.

If you really love integration and still remember the techniques clearly from JC, then a quarter of this course is a giveaway and there is literally no need to study this part in the course. Well, that's what I did anyway. Also, having a good feeling of numbers can be an advantage too. This course does not require a lot of definitions, and one has to just understand when to apply the formulas. Not many proving. :)

Limits are very important in this course, and if you are not good with limits, then it's going to be a very rough journey in Calculus II, since limits are important in almost every part of the course (Riemann sum, arc length, sequences, series). So revise Calculus I if necessary. Also, a good understanding of numbers and common functions are extremely important, (For example, one has to know that the curve y = arctan(x) approaches pi/2 when x approaches infinity) otherwise it will be very difficult to do even one question of the series test, which stands for quite a significant proportion in the course.

The midterm and finals are quite rushed papers. The final exam has 7 questions, and has an unusually high occurence of trigo questions in almost every part. But overall, if you somewhat understand the theorems, then it should not be difficult to do the paper as not many proofs are required, and it's really just applying the formulas and stuff. Some of the questions come from the Stewart textbook, so it's advisable to try them. (The simpson rule and the arithmetic/geometric mean)

The bell curve for the CA component (40%) is very steep, since half of the CA is homework and simple quizzes, so finals is the one that determines where you stand. My cohort skipped quite a lot of content like Maclaurin,Power,Taylor Series. Recommended as UE? Only if you love integration and strange series. :)

Off-track remark: I really don't like this module, and actually scored A+ for it. Now that's a miracle! I don't think this will occur again though...


MH1200 - Linear Algebra I (Y1S1/4AU)
Lecturer: Prof. Mihai Putinar
Tutor: Mr.Rafael

Quizzes (12%): 5/9
Midterm (18%): 95/100
Finals (70%)
Overall Grade: A-

There were supposed to be 4 quizzes, but somehow the cohort only had 3, so each 10 min quiz is 4% of the final grade. A quiz on the basic understanding of the topics. Easy, but can be tricky too. The midterm is in the LT, 4 questions within 2 hours, with many people leaving before 1h15mins. A 2h lecture, a 1h lecture, and a 1h tutorial, no attendance marked.

If you have a good understanding of vectors and simultaneous equations in JC, then getting through the first 7 weeks of Sem 1 is super super easy! How hard can it be to compute simple matrices and solve simultaneous equations of 2/3 variables? :) Not sure if this is a true story, but I heard someone say that he has not been attending any lectures / tutorials before recess week and still scored almost full marks for the midterm...

However, once recess week has ended, and you see the topic 'Linearly independent sets and Bases', the difficulty level of the course straightaway shoots up to the sky! From this point onwards, knowing any JC maths is not of any advantage over poly students. Bases, dimensions, ranks, linear transformations. Just a brief intro of these topics to be covered in Linear Algebra II has led about half the cohort into great confusion. It is important to FULLY understand the concepts before proceeding to a more difficult one, otherwise it is absolutely useless to look into a more difficult topic. =/

Even though the 2nd half of the content doesn't sound nice, the midterms and finals turned out much easier than expected. (lolwut) The finals consisted of only 1/5 question related to topics after the recess week. It's easy, but one must be very careful in answering the questions. I have a friend who seemed confident of her answers, and well seemed like sort of screwed up in every question... Our paper is the 1st year to 'change syllabus', so it's much easier than the past few papers.

Even though the concept can be difficult, unfortunately this is a course which most people would skip the lectures. The notes given are from an online textbook, but since it does not really explain fully the proofs / theorems behind the topic, not many people used the recommended text, and instead sourced for alternatives. I borrowed a library book from WRL for revision and understanding (starting from Bases) during the exam period... Heng the exam turned out better than expected, here's hoping the finals would pull up my quiz marks! :D

Recommended as UE? Not really. =/


MH1201 - Linear Algebra II (Y1S2/4AU)
Lecturer/Tutor: Dr.Le Ha Khoi

Attendance (5%) - 5/5
Midterm (25%) - 25/25
Finals (70%)
Overall Grade: A

A 2h lecture, a 1h lecture weekly, with a 1h tutorial (0.5% per tutorial, going for 10 will give full marks). 1 midterm and 1 finals.

Linear Algebra II requires a good knowledge of basis and dimension before moving on to other parts of the course. Unlike Linear Algebra I where the main focus is on solving linear equations, Linear Algebra II is more on understanding transformations and knowing the different definitions and properties. My cohort is considered lucky, as our syllabus is limited to real vector spaces, thus there is no mentioning about complex and rational numerical operators. However, if one has good understanding of the topic in real spaces, then there will be somewhat partial understanding when dealing with other fields. :)

The course is generally difficult and abstract, and it takes a lot of time to understand the content of the course. Definitions are very important, and so is working with the given examples. It is super not advisable to skip any content in front and move on to the next topic, it doesn't help at all. So, if you don't understand anything in front, go understand first before moving on.

The midterm and finals are rushed papers. The midterm is rather easy though, definitions alone can give as easily about 65% of the marks. The finals is also much simpler than the previous year papers, since there is the absence of orthogonal complements, rational and complex operators. The difficult questions do not contain a lot of marks, an knowing just chapter 1 and 2 is enough for a person to score 50% of the finals paper. Studying  and understanding really helps.

Despite the midterms being simple, the average score is 14/25. Maybe that's the nature of this course. Anyway my lecturer is excellent! Dr Le.Ha Khoi? If the lecturer is him, don't skip his lectures, he explains things very clearly! It's not difficult to see that the cohort has improved because of his teaching. :) Not recommended as UE to any non-maths student, the abstract is too concept and has a lot of content.


MH1300 - Foundation Of Mathematics (Y1S1/4AU)
Lecturer/Tutor: Asst.Prof Chan Song Heng

Class Participation (5%) - 5/5
Test 1 (15%) - 26/31
Test 2 (15%) - 29.5/31
Finals (65%)
Overall Grade: A-

2 lecture tests (45mins each), 1 final paper and 5% class participation. Quite a standard grading. A 1h lecture, a 2h lecture and 1h tutorial weekly. Tutorial attendance taken.

The starting few weeks of the course are very manageable, a bit of truth tables, an intro to relations, some predicates. An introduction to every new topic is also ok, so it's sort of easy to know the basics of functions, relations, complex numbers. The tutorial questions on all these non-proof questions are very manageable.

Don't be fooled by the name, this course is NOT Easy! Once chapter 4 (proof-writing) starts, the difficulty level would increase significantly if there is weak understanding of the concepts being taught. Well-Ordering-Principle, Equivalence Relations and combined predicates are supposedly the hardest topics in the whole syllabus... It took a very very long time for me to understand the WOP. Nightmares. =/

The final paper consisted of mostly proving questions (80% of it?), but the topics are rather standard. Study some of everything, practice proof-writing, and doing the paper should be fine. The 2 lecture tests are the rushed ones, there is simply no time to write / think slowly, otherwise it is easy to run of time and leaving 1 full question blank.

Recommended as UE? Not really, unless you really love understanding the basic of maths! The lecturer is good though, so if the instructor is still Prof Chan SH, attend his lectures, and view the recordings, they help in improving understanding.


MH1301 - Discrete Mathematics (Y1S2/3AU)
Lecturer: Asst.Prof Chen Xin
Tutor: Jun Jie

Homework (10%) - 10/10
Midterm (20%) - 20/20
Finals (70%)
Overall Grade: A+

Tutorials are to submitted weekly (for the first 10). No tutorial attendance, and a 2hr lecture per week. 1 midterm in the middle.

Maybe it's because I like this course, but I find most of the content of the lecture notes very simple and easy to understand. The course is divided into counting and graphs. Counting includes P&C, recurrence, and they are quite standard. Graphs, what is needed is just the theorems and definitions, and they are really easy to memorise. So, if one understands the theorems, doing the tutorials is really a breeze. :D Before submitting the tutorial homework, the questions will be discussed and thus corrections can be make. Thus, the 10% is more like an encouragement for students to do work.

However, I have 1 friend who really hates discrete to the core. What she says is that, knowing the theorems and definitions are insufficient in doing questions, since the problems require a knowledge of "when to apply / how to apply". That quite true, but I believe with extra practice, it should be ok. Augmenting paths and non-linear homogenous recurrence can give a slight headache, but they are fine after sufficient understanding and practice. :)

Compared to the past few years, the final paper for my cohort is much more difficult! (Not really a bad thing) That's life, but the finals has shown that as long as you study the content with some understanding, and can show a few good proofs, it's highly likely to get a lot of marks. I gave up doing 2v of the question, no time. =/

Those who have taken MH8300 should seriously take this course! It's super similar for the graphs section! The last 2 lectures were dedicated to learning some applications of graph theory. Very interesting. :) Since this is a rather fun course, it's definitely recommended as a UE for humanities / MAEC students.


MH1401 - Algorithms & Computing I (Y1S1/2AU)
Lecturer: Asst.Prof Thomas / Dr.Ivica
Tutor: Many, but not very relevant.

2 Graded Lab Assignments (10%) - 10/10
Midterm (15%) - 8.75/10
Lecture test (15%) - 7.5/10
Project (10%) - 9.75/10
Finals (50%)
Overall Grade: A

The 1st computing course in NTU would involve the use of MATLAB, something that is supposedly much easier than C++. A 1h lecture, and a 2h computer lab session weekly. Every week, a lab assignment would be given and 2 random assignments (5% each) would be graded. so it's sort of important to complete all assignments unless you wish to gamble the chances of which assignments would be graded. The 2 tests are both written papers with no calculators allowed. Oh, and a group project nearing to the end of the semester.

If you have computing background in poly, then MATLAB should be a breeze. The inverse is also true, so to most students (including myself), it's a big struggle to understand the basic programming codes and concepts. The part when I started to understand is the if-else statements, and that's nearing to recess week. Practice is essential. It's ok to miss the lectures and lab sessions, but it's a MUST to practise the concepts and understanding what the codes actually mean! [Not just memorising the keywords, but actually knowing what they really mean].

As mentioned above, no calculators are allowed. The 1st test is more of writing scripts and functions, with MATLAB available as a tool to check whether the codes are correct or not. The 2nd test is a heng-suay test, machiam no knowledge of computing is needed to do the paper. The finals format is more of the 1st test, except it's a pure written paper with no electronic devices. Yeah, that's the difficult part! If you are already not familiar with the codes, then it's naturally difficult to write a proper programming script and hoping that it has little errors... A lot of people couldn't do the last question (Sausage) of the Finals.

Oh ya, the project. My year got the project of writing a proper Connect-4 game program. Since it is within the range of if-else / loops, therefore it is quite easy to write the small functions. The sole disadvantage for me is that my projects are really a bunch of fucking slackers (girls). "I don't know thus I am really sorry" is seriously a bad way to not contribute to a project. Hope you have good members lor, another heng suay situation. The average group mark is 8.1/10.

Practice is the key thing to this course! However, it's only 2AU... A bit waste of time to really concentrate on this course uh. =/


MH1402 - Algorithms & Computing II (Y1S2/2AU)
Lecturer: Asst.Prof Wu Hong Jun
Tutor: Many, but not very relevant

3 graded labs (30%) - 30/30
Finals (70%)
Overall Grade: A+

A 2h lab session (compulsory, attendance taken) and a 1h lecture weekly. No midterms. There is a lab assignment to do every week, and 3 random ones will be graded at 10% each. The lab assignments that are graded may not be the same for everybody.

If you have a good computing foundation, then C++ should be easier to understand. The syntax of C++ are quite different from MATLAB, and personally I feel MATLAB is really easier. Again, practice is essential. At the start, C++ is going to be very difficult, since there is a big transition from one programming language to the other, but the content is more or less the same as the content taught in MATLAB. The lab assignments are not really easy though! It's take a lot of understanding and knowing how the code works in order to write a proper program.

The exam is open-book. Knowing how to do all the lab questions (by yourself) is actually sufficient practice to do the exam. Since it's open book, so syntax is not really a problem, and all you need is to plan how to write a program properly. 2 hours is just nice, so it's not advisable to refer too much to the books or paper while doing the exam.

The course is only 2AU. "If you find programming difficult, you can treat it as a 4AU or even 8AU course." I think the professor said this. =P


MH2100 - Calculus III (Y2S1/4AU)
Lecturer: Dr.Anders
Tutor: Ronald

Online Quizzes (10%): 640/640
Midterm (20%): 90/100
Finals (70%)
Overall Grade: B+

A 2-hour lecture, a 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial weekly. There is a midterm after recess week, and some online quizzes to be completed before the start of recess week/end of the teaching weeks. the online quizzes allow unlimited attempts, so you can try them for like a million times, until you get full marks. :)

Since I don't really like calculus, well I find the course work rather difficult to cope. You will have to really understand the concepts taught, and they are very very non-intuitive. Before integrals, I would say the difficulty is moderately difficult. There are many more things which are extended from 1-variable calculus, and a weak foundation in Calculus 1 will affect the learning of Calculus 3 significantly. =/

That's for the easy part, and integrals onwards can prove to be a super big headache to a lot of people. You have double, triple, integrals, along with methods of integrations such as using cylindrical/spherical/polar coordinates, and if that's not enough, those are just small parts compared to learning line integrals and surface integrals. I struggled all the way from line integrals, even until the day of the Finals. Probably having a physics background would be an advantage...

My batch midterm is super easy! The scores are rather skewed, it is either you score well (like 80+), or you totally fail the paper (<40). As long as you attempted the 1st 4 quizzes with reasonable effort, scoring in the midterm isn't difficult since there were 1/2 questions from the quiz. The finals, well I would say the first 3 questions were rather easy, as long as you studied the various methods in the notes. The last question about work/fields is difficult! I spent 1.5 hours on that, and in the end I just guessed my way through... Don't think I will score any marks for 4b/4c... T.T

I find that the tutorials are very difficult, so if an average person (me la) wants to understand some concepts, perhaps trying out the Stewart textbook questions first would be a better choice. I think that helped me somewhat in understanding. If you want a course that gives you a headache / additional stress in life / you love multi-variable calculus so much, take this course! Otherwise, don't even think about it! Here's hoping I would score at least a B+... (prays hard)

Post-note: Heng I got a B+! ^^


MH2200 - Groups and Symmetries (Y2S1/3AU)
Lecturer: Dr.Lim Kay Jin
Tutor: Mr Rafael

Class participation (5%): ?
Midterm (25%): 24.5/25
Bonus quiz (+5%): 8.5/10
Finals (70%)
Overall Grade: A

A 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial weekly. No attendance, but there is class participation. Apparently participating once is enough to get you most/all of the 5 marks, depending on who your tutor is.

Unless you are in the minority who really love abstract algebra/geometry, if not there is no easy part in the whole course! That's a very sad thing. :( However, having a solid foundation on writing good proofs and knowing equivalence classes from FOM will be beneficial in answering questions from this course.

There is not much overwhelming content on this course, but there is a need to seriously understand the definitions and the concepts being taught. The groups are abstract, the isometries are abstract, and there is nothing very intuitive, other then identifying symmetries in a shape, which you do not need to study maths to do it. [Eg. Name some symmetries of a square] It will be good to do the tutorials constantly, as not knowing the previous tutorial will lead to a big snowball of confusing concepts in the following weeks.

The midterm, by right its supposedly easy since half of the paper is from the notes, where understanding is required. However, the average mark is only 10/25, so you can see that even though it's directly taken from notes, it doesn't mean everyone can do it. The finals is a rather hard paper, and it's very rushed for me! 5 minutes delay, and I won't be able to complete the paper. There are a lot of proofs, and tests on isomorphisms. Not easy to do all these correctly within 2 hours. A lot of people came out complaining that the paper is damn hard, so yeah... Let's just hope the bell curve mean will be lower than 40% again. =P

If you observe the grading policy, you may realise that the total percentage adds up to >100%. Well's that because our lecturer thinks that 10/25 is a jialat mark, and thus he gave a bonus quiz of 5% to pull the average score up. That worked, but the finals difficulty outweighs the benefit. One word to describe this, OVERKILL! O_O


MH2401 - Algorithms & Computing III (Y2S1/2AU)
Lab Head: Ms.Tan Ming Ming

Lab Assignment 1 (10%): A+
Lab Assignment 2 (10%): A+
Individual Project (30%): A+
Group Project (50%): ?
Overall Grade: A-

A 3 hour lab session weekly. 2 individual assignments, an individual project and a group project to be completed. After the group project, there is an oral presentation based on the project, and that contributes to 40% of the group project mark (which is equivalent to 20% of the overall mark). No attendance taken. No midterm, no finals.

Well, having a good base of MATLAB coding would definitely be an advantage, as you can straightaway do the assignments without referring much to past coding notes. The course somewhat places emphasis on organisation of assignment report, instead of just purely looking at the functionality of the code. Before recess week, most of the time is spent on completing the 2 assignments (roughly take about 4 hours to complete). Right after recess week, the time is spent completely on completing the individual project and the group project.

The projects are not very difficult to code, but understanding the question can be a challenge. So a strategy is to just ask around your friends or the TA, and that should be cool. There is a choice of projects for everybody, which is great for people with different strengths. (That means no calculus stuff for me). Don't really find this course difficult, as compared to the core courses. :)

The oral presentation... Well, basically it's just a 5 minutes presentation (assessed individually) about a part of the project, and it's easy! The difficult part (probably the worst part in the whole course) is the Q&A, which supposedly contributes to the understanding component of the oral presentation. The prof asks anything, basis behind the algorithms, how the code relates to the algorithms, efficiency and vectorising of codes, etc. I don't think my group did well for the Q&A, they were either incorrect or incomplete answers. I gave an incomplete answer after much hints... -_-!!!

The grading for the assignments and individual project is based on 4 criteria with letter grades. Well, even though the overall grade may be A+, there exists people who just ask the TA all the way with many questions, and they got more criteria with A+ as compared to mine. Sometimes, it's just not worth to do the assignment yourself, so be active and ask the TA for help. :)

Oh yeah, I got an awesome group this year! This makes it up for the suffering I went through during the connect 4 project. What goes around comes around, wahaha~~~ :D


MH2500 - Probability & Introduction to Statistics (Y2S1/4AU)
Lecturer/Tutor: Assoc Prof. Thommy Perlinger

Quiz 1 (7%): 7/7
Quiz 2 (8%): 8/8
Midterm (25%): 20.5/25
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A-

A 2 hour lecture, a 1 hour lecture and a tutorial weekly. 2 quizzes, and a midterm. The midterm is before recess week, which is quite different compared to most midterms from other modules. By right there are supposed to be 3 quizzes, but since one of them clashes with NTU Union Day, thus the number is down to 2, but that also makes the weightage of each quiz higher.

This course has a lot of content! Having a good knowledge of stats in JC will be beneficial, but won't get you too far based on those JC content. =/

One must really understand the concepts taught and try out using examples, otherwise staring blankly at the proofs and theorems won't help much. It will be essential to have a good knowledge of double integrals too! Otherwise, it will be disastrous when it comes to doing the joint pdf/expectation questions, when more than one variable is to be considered. Again, calculus is a necessity.

I find the quizzes/midterms/finals manageable. There is no need to rush for any of the tests, as the questions are just concepts. No tricky parts, just standard questions. If you have studied for the tests properly, as in really understand the details of the notes, and can do the tutorial questions, then the tests are going to be a breeze. Conversely, if you didn't study for that topic, you won't be able to do that question, as it is extremely hard to smoke through as the questions seriously require understanding of the terminologies used. I find it beneficial to study for the exam, it helps. :)

The recordings are clear, but the real-time lectures are not. It is good to review the recordings after the lectures. The tutorial questions are beneficial too! At least it's not terrible/unreasonable as Calculus III tutorials. You learn something after the weekly tutorial sessions. :) Not recommended as a UE, unless you really like stats, and have a decent multivariate calculus and stats background.

Post-Note: Prof. Thommy's report stated that the finals is 60% instead of 55%.*


MH3100 - Real Analysis I (Y2S2/4AU)
Lecturer: Asst Prof. Chan Song Heng
Tutor: Ronald

Class Participation (5%): ?
Test 1 (17.5%): 33.5/36
Test 2 (17.5%): 31.5/36
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A

A 2 hour-lecture, a 1 hour-lecture and a 1-hour tutorial weekly. 2 lecture tests (45 mins each), and a 5% class participation. Attendance is taken (even though it does not count to any marks), but there are 3 homeworks to be submitted and 2 questions to be presented.

What is easy about this course? NOTHING. What is fun about this course? NOTHING, probably except Ronald's jokes during tutorials. That's the only real analysis time which I find more bearable. I feel that basic topology on the real line is easier than the other parts. The course starts out difficult, becomes easier in the middle of the semester, and then goes up to be difficult again towards the end. Topology should be the minimum point in the difficulty curve.

What is difficult about this course? Everything! The lectures are difficult to understand, the tutorials are quite difficult to do. You must be really open to abstract concepts, be very comfortable with epsilon-delta proofs, sequences in order to sort of survive the course. Otherwise, this whole module is going to be a very big headache. I find the difficult parts to be the countable/uncountable sets chapter (that's like week 2/3) and continuity (week 10?). Didn't understand the proofs, even after the finals.

The tests are difficult, and very limited time is given. Can you imagine writing many definitions and thinking of proofs for 2 difficult questions in just 45 minutes? Be very sure about the definitions, and the methods to tackle those proofs in order to save time for Question 1 of the tests. Q2 and Q3 are just luck, I got lucky for Test 1, and sort of stumbled for Test 2. Luckily both turned out fine. :) The finals is terrible, I don't really know how to do any of the 7 questions. I am screwed. I felt that knowing how to do the tutorial questions is rather irrelevant for helping to revise for the finals.

Think I'm gonna fail the finals, but hopefully I can still get B or B+ from the CA. This is a useless course. Avoid it if you can. However, if you are a MATH  (except BA) or MAEC student, then too bad, life is not always good. =/ Unlike FOM, Prof Chan lost his feel when teaching this course. I don't blame him, this is a difficult course to teach and not many people turned up for the lectures. Who the hell will feel motivated to teach with such a turnout rate?

*Post results remarks: Wow! A miracle has happened! Is the average mark for the finals like 20 marks or something? =P*


MH3101 - Complex Analysis (Y3S1/4AU)
Lecturer: Dr. Le Ha Khoi

Midterm (40%): 39/40
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A-

Two 2-hr lectures weekly, with a 1-hour tutorial at the 1st period of the week. Lectures are recorded. For my batch, the tutorial is also recorded, which I think is good for revision. :) Only 1 midterm and 1 finals. Dr. Le intends to split the CA into two tests for future batches, not sure how true is that.

Easy part, ok I think there is none. The definitions are difficult, the theorems are difficult, and some concepts are just really abstract. The good thing is that the tutorials are still rather reasonable. If you can catch and understand the important part in the notes, then the tutorials are somewhat ok, and you actually can learn something from them. That's good ^_^

Difficult part, everything. I think some proofs are just terrible, for example the rectangle proof, the singularities proof, the open mapping proof, etc. Be really open-minded in complex analysis, as not everything can be visualised as beautifully as in real cases.

The midterm is extremely reasonable (1h30mins for 7 questions), but be careful of tricky parts (even though they are not actually tricky), I think knowing how to do the tutorial seem to be very beneficial in preparing for the midterm, so it is important to work on that. :) The finals is hard, more difficult the previous 2 years (I think)? A large portion is on sequences (I don't even remember seeing them in the notes), but the rest are quite standard like the tutorial questions. I am quite screwed for the paper, and here's hoping I won't fail the finals. (Even if I fail, not too badly >.<)

Having a basic understand of real analysis will be good. Having a good understanding of calculus 3 will be good too, especially at the start of the course, where you have to get partial derivatives, derivative of complex functions which are somewhat like calculus 3. Line integral concepts are brought forward too, especially in the topic of integrals (in general). Good luck to all the pure and applied people taking this mod. Personally I feel that the lectures and tutorials are helpful, so don't skip them if you can :)

*Post note: Woah still got A-! ^_^


MH3110 - Ordinary Differential Equations (Y2S2/4AU)
Lecturer: Dr. Fedor Duzhin

Soft assessment (24%): 240/240
Hard assessment (24%): 24/24
Finals (52%)
Overall Grade: A

A 2-hour lecture (recorded) and a 2-hour clicker/quiz session (not recorded) weekly. Both of these sessions are in the LT, attendance not compulsory. The hard assessment consists of 5 20-min quizzes, and only the best 3 will be counted. The soft assessment consists of a large variety of activities, including homework, assignments, clicker sessions, engaging in discussion boards, etc. Every small activity earns you points, and getting 240 points will be sufficient to get full marks for the soft assessment. :)

More about the soft assessment, the total possible points for homework, clickers and out-of-syllabus assignments are 240,180 and 175 respectively. Without even contributing to anything on the discussion board, you can get 595 points in total. So 240 is actually quite easy to achieve, if you work hard in the semester. :)

My exact points are:
86.5 (Clickers) + 148 (homework) + 60 (Assignments) + 19 (discussion board) = 313.5.

Clickers: I went for 7 of the clicker sessions. 3 points for a correct answer.
Homework: This is done in groups of 5. My group did 10 of these. 2 points for each correct answer.
Assignments: I submitted the first 5 assignments. The assignment deadlines are very relaxed, you have a lot of time to do them! They are out-of-syllabus, and cater to all those who are really interested in this topic. Well, I tried some, and didn't do the rest that are supposed to be due after the recess week. =P

I will say the easy parts are about solving 1st order ODE at the beginning and understanding the phase portraits that are near the end of the course. They are rather standard, and you can do almost any question of these kinds once you understand the idea behind them. Having good understanding of direction field and general equations (such as exponential, trigo) are useful in studying plots and direction fields, which appear almost everywhere in this course.

I think that the physics applications and understanding the 'Existence and Uniqueness' Theorem will be the most difficult parts. Although the physics applications are interesting, they give a headache when it comes to homework, and twice as serious for people with no physics background. This is rather evident in the oscillations of the spring-mass system, an application of the 2nd order linear ODE. Laplace transform was apparently tested for the past few years, but skipped for my cohort (yay). Same goes for setting up the physics systems, but understanding the plots are still necessary. The 'Existence and Uniqueness' part is difficult when it comes to explaining the plots, understanding the linkage between the Wronskian and solutions, etc. This is a must study item for the ODE course. The clickers are difficult too, maybe that's the reason why I only went for 7 of them. =P

The quizzes are generally easy (although a bit rush). They are open-book quizzes, and just test basic understanding in that short period. I got 100 for the first 3 quizzes, and so skipped the last 2. ^^ The finals is an easy paper. As long as you tried the clickers and do the last few tutorials, you can easily pass (or even do well) for the finals. Oh, it is a restricted open-book exam. 1 piece of double-sided A4 size cheat sheet is allowed. Not bad huh. :)

It's Dr Fedor's 1st time teaching ODE (he didn't touch ODE for 18 years!?), and I will say it's a great effort. The lectures aren't very clear, but hey, this encourages critical thinking. It will be good to have more friends taking this course with you, as discussions are encouraged at every part of the course except for the quizzes and finals. You can also get chocolates for spotting errors! How cool is that! :D


MH3512 - Stochastic Processes (Y3S1/4AU/A3)
Lecturer: Assoc Prof. Nicloas Privault

Assignment 1 (10%): 96/100
Assignment 2 (10%): 100/100
Midterm (20%): 85/100
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A

A 3-hour lecture, and another 1-hour lecture weekly. A tutorial will be conducted at the last hour of the 3-hour period, all 4 hours are recorded, no attendance. 2 assignments, 1 closed-book midterm and 1 final exam.

The course difficulty can be described as an inverted normal curve shape. The course starts out hard at the start and at the end, while it gets really easy in the middle. =) So this means that weeks 5 to 9 content (Markov chains, chapters 4 to 7) will be more relaxing, and easier to understand. If you like graph theory, then this part should be easier to understand. I have learnt something about Markov chains in MH9200, but stochastic seems to teach the easier parts of Markov chains. Ah, a good thing about this course is that although the proofs in the notes are relatively complicated, the difficult ones are not tested! However, explaining questions are still present, such as "why can expected times be added", that kind of stuff.

The difficult part, well basically things before week 5 and Chapter 9. Even if you are from Stats, there will be a high chance where you find the course demoralizing at the first 4 weeks. The probability introduction (Chapter 1) and Random Walk (Chapter 3) are terrible chapters, and honestly I don't even know how to do the tutorial questions in those chapters even up till after the finals. For the Gambling Process (Chapter 2), that is slightly better, but can prove to be deadly to people who don't put in an effort to understand the equations and notes. Memorizing stuff doesn't help in this course, even the boxed theorems and results. So don't give up at the start! Chapter 9 (Weeks 10 to 12) is very difficult too, even though it is still related to Markov chains. Again, understanding is necessary. =/

Learning of the content is unfortunately not the hardest parts. I think the hardest parts are the assignments. They really require you to understand more than the content in the notes, you have to apply what you have learnt in the course, and what you have learnt in Calculus/Linear Algebra too! Finding a group of friends to do the assignments can be good. The midterm is quite difficult, and I think trying all the tutorials can only get you about half the marks. The rest are concepts and explanations. The finals is about the same level of difficulty. A lot of people complained that it was hard though...

That sounds like a description that advises against people to take this course. However, I must say this is one of the mods I enjoyed very much in my 5 semesters! (Even though I am not from stats) :) I actually spent the least time studying as compared to other math mods. Prof. Nicloas is a very nice prof! He is in his office most of the time, so it is quite easy to find him to clear your concepts. For the applied people, well probably it isn't a course to take if you want to avoid probability and stats courses. For the stats people, unlike you wanna take time series and multivariate as your S1, if not I don't think you got a choice ya? =P


MH3700 - Numerical Analysis I (Y3S2/3AU)
Lecturer/Lab Head: Assoc. Prof. Viet Ha Hoang

Quiz 1 (5%): 100/100
Quiz 2 (5%): 100/100
Midterm (30%): 99/100
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A

A 2-hour lecture weekly, recorded, and another weekly 2-hour lab/tutorial too. 2 15-minutes quizzes during the lab sessions, 1 midterm during the lecture, and a final exam. Lecture recorded.

Well, those like calculus should generally like this mod too, since it is easier than calculus 3, and I felt a bit more fun than the series of Calculus courses. Not too much content, although some memorising is needed if there is no understanding of the notes. =P I find the content near the recess week (Interpolation) the most fun. Not because it is fun to differentiate and bound stuff, but because it is simply so mundane and sometimes quite common sense. =)

I feel the difficult part is towards the end, the integral approximations (ironically the ones I liked most in Calculus 2), the rate of convergences and the Legendre quadrature rules. Didn't understand anything about them. But it is an important topic, so oh well. =/

The midterm is easy, majority computational questions and some simple proofs (such as how the bisection interval length is derived). Basic understanding of the concepts can let you score full marks easily. The finals is not exactly easy. More proofs are tested, and they require deeper understanding of the proofs in the lecture notes. I think I lost >30 marks from the last 2 questions, seriously don't know how to do them. The computations were alright, so I guess there should be no problem getting a B+.  =)

Due to a timetable clash, I didn't attend any tutorials and labs except for the 2 quizzes. The tutorials seem decent, the prof. writes and explains the solutions on the whiteboard, so I guess it should be good to attend the sessions. As for the labs, well I have no idea how important are they, but a part question will be on writing a code for implementing a numerical formula in the notes. MATLAB is the chosen language, but it is up to the person to choose their favourite language, provided it works well of course. Content is more important than programming syntax.


MH3701 - Basic Optimization (Y2S2/4AU)
Lecturer: Assoc. Prof Chua Chek Beng

Labs (3%): 3/3
Online Quizzes (12%): 12/12
Midterm (25%): 22/25
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A

2 x 2-hour lecture weekly, including going through a tutorial. Both sessions recorded. 1 midterm, 1 finals. 4 labs, once every 3 weeks, no attendance. 3 online quizzes with unlimited attempts and reasonable deadlines.

Well, this course distinguishes the questions into two types, basic questions and concept questions. The basic questions are basically tutorial 1-star questions, and are very manageable even if you just memorise the steps without much understanding. The notes do give a summary of the steps to do these questions, just follow them, and you can clear those easily. The starting of the course and the graphs part are easy for me! All you need is knowledge of handling equations, some interest in discrete math, and getting through these 2 sections will be ok!

While 1-star basic questions are easy, 2-star concept questions are not! Those require real understanding of the process/algorithm behind the computations in the 1-star question, and the questions just look scary. Imagine linear algebra asking very abstract concept questions. The last section of the course (Intro to Non-Linear programming) can be quite disastrous too, especially the proofs for the Lagrangian and the KKT conditions. The most difficult part which I find is around week 6, where the part of dual LP is covered. The 1-star questions are easy to do, but I am never able to understand the messy proofs and ideas behind the complementary slackness and basis stuff. -.-

The online quizzes have unlimited attempts, and the difficulty is the same as 1-star tutorial questions. They can be tedious, but if you concentrate and spend some time on it, then it will be ok. I used only 1 attempt for 2 of the quizzes. There are also practice questions, which are the same as online quizzes, except that they are not graded, and do not have a deadline. So it will be good to try those before attempting the real quiz. :) The midterm consists of 80% basic questions, and 20% concept questions. Try the sample midterm if it is provided, that is a good practice. The midterm is manageable, if you know how to do the tutorials. The finals consists of 60% basic questions, 24% concept questions, and 16% difficult question (the prof declared that it is difficult). So yeah, I think I will get 60% of the marks. The 2-star and 3-star questions told me to give up on them, as I have totally no clue on how to do those.

Overall, this module is something you have to study, as smoking through is rather difficult as you will not even know how to start. For the basic questions, I can say that you will know how to do those if and only if you studied. For the concept, oh well. I think Farkas' Lemma is somewhat important. As for the labs, 1 lab will contribute to 1% of the total grade, and only 3 of them are needed to be completed to earn the full lab marks. The deadline is tight (1 day?), so it is advisable to go for the labs instead of trying to do them at home. The questions are not easy even if you have a strong programming background.

Recommended as a Major PE for Stats people? Yes! You may not get an extremely good grade, but if you are satisfied with a B+ like me, then yeah, take this mod to clear your list S2! :)

*Post results remarks: I think nobody knows how to do Q6 and Q7 of the paper. I actually got an A without having any clue on how to do them. Awesome!*


MH4311 - Cryptography (Y3S1/4AU/A2)
Tutor: Asst. Prof Wu Hong Jun

Assignment 1 (5%): 100/100
Assignment 2 (5%): 91/100
Midterm (20%): 79/100
Attendance (5%): 5/5
Tutorial presentation (5%): 4.7/5
Finals (60%)
Overall Grade: A-

Two 2-hr tutorial sessions, comprising of approximately 3 hours of lectures and an hour of tutorial per week. By right, the tutorials are supposed to be fixed, but it can be any of the two days! Non recorded (duh), attendance taken. By default, a person will be given full marks, but if a person starts to skip from the 4th time onwards (AWOL, MC, urgent matters, family matters, funerals, etc), 3 marks will be deducted for each skipped lesson. The example given was "if a student skips class for 8 times, then he will get 5 - (8 - 3) x 3 = -10 marks for attendance." There is 1 midterm, 2 short assignments and tutorial participation. The assignments are more of discovering applications in a computer, just as using AES encryptions and exploring TLS, I think they are like labs, except you do them at home. Quite interesting!

The easy part should be at the starting, where some of the stuff will be quite familiar from the MH8300 course. It is important to understand the main concepts and ideas. A good thing is that there is no need to read something super in depth, all is needed is a brief understanding about the functions and properties of various algorithms, functions, ciphers, implementations, etc. This course mainly teaches about analysing cipher designs, evaluation and suggest on improvements.

The hard part comes at the Hash function and the public key cryptosystems. Ok, I just don't like hash functions. It screwed me for tutorial presentation, the midterms, and then the finals. I must have been enemies with hash functions in my previous life. PKC can be hard too, as a lot of time will be needed to understand the various algorithms, how they work, etc. There seems to be quite a lot of number theory, and hints of group and symmetry (subgroups) involved. The pre-requisites are not too bad, just the understanding of algorithms is hard.

The midterm is alright, basic questions just as polynomials of AES, classical ciphers, drawing the various diagrams for the mode of operations, etc. The harder ones could be thinking of attacks on a design, but even those have been mentioned in the notes. The finals, well it's more of breadth rather than depth. Practising past year papers can be quite useful, as the papers seem to be in the same format, with question categories and about the same kind of questions.

Oh yeah, the tutorial participation grading system is quite unique. Every tutorial, the C++ program will randomly generate a person to present his tutorial solutions. So be prepared to get called up every time! If you didn't get called, 5 marks. If you get called once, it is 4 marks + your score out of 1. Twice called 3 marks + 2 questions scores. Thrice or more, 2 marks + 3 questions scores. Once there were two tutorials where everybody just said "I don't know", that was the time when a flood of zeros were given. =P

Recommended as a Major PE? Yes! It is a very interesting mod! At least you learn something useful and fun from it. =)


MH4900 - Final Year Project (Y4S1-Y4S2/8AU/A5)
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof Wu Hong Jun
Topic: Analysis of software security flaws and its countermeasures

Progress Report / Presentation (35%): ?
Final Presentation (25%): ?
Final Thesis (40%): ?
Overall: A+

A 2-semester project. All submissions to be done in the second semester. One midterm progress report and presentation to be submitted in week 1, both items submitted to the prof. One thesis to be submitted in week 12 / 15, and a presentation on week 14. Both of these items are to be submitted / presented to the prof and a person of the FYP committee.

As with all research projects, FYP is definitely not easy, and takes up a lot of time. For a MATH FYP, the first semester will be dedicated to literature review and understanding concepts / algorithms. The second semester will be more of reading up further concepts, an implementation of a past idea, testing out modified ideas, etc. These work will be done by week 8. From weeks 9 to 11, report writing will take place. Weeks 12 and 13 are used to design the slides for the final presentation. Holidays are meant for a proper break, however it is optional for a student to continue their FYP work during this period.

The final thesis is a formal report, which means all the formatting, references, abstract, appendices must be in order. Your own prof will mark the content, while the FYP committee will grade based on the presentation style, clarity, etc. That suspiciously sounds like how a HSS prof will mark, hmm. By week 15, a softcopy of the thesis has to be submitted online, while a hardcopy (prefably with colour) has to be submitted to the SPMS general office.

It is quite similar for the presentation, where the FYP committee prof will mark based on the confidence, clarity, and soundness of your presentation. There is also Q and A, where either the prof / FYP committee prof will ask questions after / during the presentation. The questions are not easy, as some are literally testing your concepts of the content you presented. So if you only know your content ridigly, then you will be quite screwed if a modification-based question is being given to you. Most FYP students will exceed 25 minutes for the presentation, but still, try not to exceed the time by too much.

About the attire. There is actually no specific dress code, which in other word means that there is actually no need to wear formal attire. You may even wear T-shirt, jeans and covered shoes to the presentation. That being said, at least a smart casual attire will be nice for the presentation, it is after all a year of hard work, and dressing up nicely will complete the whole project nicely ya? =)

How does a person choose the FYP topic? If you have some interest in an area, but not sure on what you want to do exactly, then it will be good to arrange with the prof for a meetup, state your interest, and see what the prof can offer you. For me, my FYP was a continuation of my independent study, except without the network part. The content is of course more in-depth as compared to the independent module. Learning this area as a math student is definitely a unique experience. Worth it? Oh yeah~! =P


MH4920 - Supervised Independent Study 1 (Y3S2/4AU/Wildcard)
Supervisor: Asst. Prof Wu Hong Jun
Topic: Introduction to Computer and Network Security

Report(100%): ?
Overall Grade: A+

1 (informal) report to hand in on week 13, a weekly meeting with Prof. Wu, and that's about it for the syllabus! Of course, the assessment criteria and meeting guideline varies between profs. This course clears 1 mod of ANY list (except for FYP and Internship), so even if your independent study topic is not related to your track, it is still counted as clearing a Major PE mod. =)

If you are going to take this mod, then it is natural it is something you are interested to read, otherwise something must be wrong with you. XD My topic is on an introduction to Network Security, where I learnt some basic computer features, like how memory is stored, attacks on memory stacks, Internet attacks and ways for mitigation. No deep content, but definitely interesting! I actually enjoyed reading and typing out the content for this mod. =D

So since this is such a great mod with no exams and tests, why is everybody not taking this mod? The reason is simply the motivation you have. If you are consistently doing your tutorials every week and it becomes a routine for every semester, cool, you are qualified. If you are those who is not doing tutorials, frequently busy with CCAs, hall events and other nonsense, then this mod will prove to be a burden compared to other mods. For normal modules, you have your course notes, the lecturers teaching and your tutors going through the solutions, you will know what is correct and what's not. An independent study module is different. You have no starting content except for reading books and articles online. So if you don't read and pile up the weeks, the work you are going to accumulate in a few weeks can be much worse than half a semester for an ordinary mod. Scary.

There is a trick to this though! Since this is an independent study, it means you can read the content anytime. So if you are free during the holidays, you manage to get a prof to supervise in the following semester, and you know what's the topic even before the finals end... Just read and type out the report during the vacation. Then you will have a 'free' 4AU module in the whole semester. XD

And oh, I would like to thank Prof. Wu for giving me a chance to learn more about programming and its related attacks. (After knowing my interest for his C++ mod) I must say I didn't do all the tasks he gave (such as implementing simple software attacks on a different OS), but it is a really good learning experience. =D My original topic was actually on a cryptosystem, but I think this network security is a nicer (and easier?) topic to learn.


======= Transfer Credits from NUS =========

MH3300 (Y3S2/4AU/UE)
MH4301 (Y3S2/4AU/UE)
MH4310 (Y3S2/4AU/A2)

MH3300 (Graph Theory) corresponds to MA3233 (Combinatorics and Graphs 2)
MH4301 (Set theory and logic) corresponds to MA4207 (Mathematical Logic)
MH4310 (Coding theory) corresponds to MA4261 (Coding and Cryptography)


That's about it for the MAS cores and major electives! The post at the bottom is about the electives :)


Kenji said…

Thanks Senior for the all time advice that you have given throughout the 4 years of your studies! Wishes you all the best for your future endeavours!

Copyrights and cheers to you!

MAEC Course Review is coming up!
Below is the link:

Hope to continue the legacy of course review!
Denise Tan said…
hi! Can i ask if you still have the notes for ES8006? Is the mid term exams pure memory work and it is content heavy? Please help!! thank you T_T

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