Category Archives: Personal

2014/15 Sem 1 Academic Module Review

Below is my module review for AY2014/15 Sem 1:

CS2105 Computer Networks

The concepts are intuitive, just that quite a lot of details need to be memorized for the tests.

The programming assignments take time to implement and more time to debug but not very hard if you have some background in Java.

For final, my revision focused too much on computations and procedures and did not memorize all small details so the MCQs are hard for me.

Expected Grade: B+

Actual Grade: B+

CS2106 Introduction to Operating Systems

The concepts are intuitive, not a lot of details like CS2105 but a lot of procedures.

The programming assignments are the same difficulty level as CS2105, takes some time to implement and debug, but not hard in nature, you can pick your own favourite language.

The final this time is 19 questions, each testing on one procedure, with the exception of 1 question which is on the concept. Overall I think the final was manageable if you understand the concepts well enough.

Expected Grade: A-

Actual Grade: A-

ST2334 Probability and Statistics

The concepts are similar to what was taught in JC H2 Maths, just deeper. For topics on probability and hypothesis testing, there are some derivations and table lookups which are not taught before but other than those, there are not much new things.

For final, majority of questions are about computation, about 15% of questions are about concepts, which I could not recall because I did not revise them. Other than that, the questions are okay.

Expected Grade: A-

Actual Grade: B+ Mostly due to poor performance in the finals and of course bell curve god!

LSM1302 Genes and Society

As a student with O level biology background, I took this module as one of my core science module, not GEM/GEK. However I did not really study until the reading week because… Actually I have no idea why I was not studying this module, the lectures are actually quite interesting (which I found out later). After going through all the webcasts in one week, I was quite familiar with most of the concepts. The final tested on both concepts and examples. I did not study examples in depth so I lost some marks there but I did score above average.

The projects are not closely related the the concepts so basically the marks you get depends on how much effort you put in to them.

Expected Grade: B+

Actual Grade: B+

LAJ1201 Japanese 1

This should be the hardest module that I have taken in NUS so far in 1 and half years. It has three tutorials per week, a lot of homework and a lot of preparations needed to be done before the tutorials. I spent about an average of 2 hours on homework and preparation everyday. And even though I considered that as a lot of effort, I still did not do well for the continuous assessments like the quizzes. So I guess the expected workload from the students should be higher than 10 hours per week (excluding lecture and tutorials).

There are people in this module who obviously have prior experience in Japanese, so as someone who started from the scratch, the bell curve may not favour me.

Expected Grade: B

Actual Grade: B

Year 1 Sem 2 – Result and stuff


I did not do as good as I expected for this sem.

A- for CS2020, which is kinda still within expectations since I did badly for final.

B for CS2100, this is still acceptable considering the difficulty level of the final.

B- for IS1103, this is quite a shock for me because I thought I did well enough for final to get at least a B+. Well, maybe it is because of the first assignment in which I did not pay much attention to. Or maybe the instructor has lied when she said our group’s project looks fine.

B for PC1143, this is also depressing for me, considering the fact that I devoted a lot of time on this physics module. To be honest I did not really master the content as compared to the physics majors, but I tried very hard. Maybe I lacked some exercise to help me understand how to approach the questions in the final.

B- for GEK1505, although I was already planning to SU this module no matter what at the beginning of the semester, I did not expect me to get such a low grade for such an easy module. I thought I did okay for final, confident of scoring at least 60% of the marks, but the result is the lowest I could imagine. Maybe it is the bell curve, who knows.

Apart from the depression from the release of results, I remained happy most of the time, chilling in my house, playing games and watching TV. Maybe it is a good time to put more time into my 2 programming projects.

Good luck to the rest of my holidays.

End of Year 1, Start of holidays

Today is my last paper for sem 2 of year 1 in NUS.

Not a bad sem, but certainly can be better.

I slacked through most of the semester, playing osu! and dota2. I did go to the lectures and tutorials, most of them. I also tried making notes along the progress of the modules for both CS2100 and PC1143 which are more content heavy. I guess it helped during revision since I can recognize the terminologies and understand the concepts better.

Still, I did pretty badly for all exams because I did not really study as hard as last semester. During the reading week and exam week, I put most of the time doing travelling around the campus and sitting in front of computer playing games or browsing through other people’ lives.

Let me try to predict the grades while I still remember how I did for the finals:

For GEK1505, I never really studied but I guess the concepts are okay, final is a bit hard so I guess I can get B+.

CS2100 final is a disaster, I left almost half question blank because I got stuck at the first structured question. Given my “still okay” CA marks, I should be getting B+.

IS1103 is okay, I did not do well for the first individual assignment because I did not know it was graded, but final and term report are okay, this should also be a B+.

PC1143 is hard, I could understand the concepts but I could not solve most of the questions in final. Given that the percentage of final is not that high, I hope I could get at least a B.

And CS2020 should be fine, except for the final where I did not perform up to my standard, A or A-.

Holidays, as usual, is packed with agendas.

First thing on my mind is my peer mentor position at RVRC. As peer mentors, we are supposed to organize an orientation event for the freshmen, this could take a long time, especially considering the fact that we have only less than 20 people in total now and we are all not very experienced in organizing orientation. I guess I will just try my best to contribute ideas and do some videos for the events. And I may also want to be some kind of “game master”, it looked fun to me when I was an OG kid.

I also need to do an orbital project with my teammate. This should not be too hard once we have our ideas laid down. We could try to use some new tools like Meteor. Hopefully we can spend several weeks on this and get a nice and useful application done.

I am also planning to do an implementation project with my CS2100 lecturer on Android. It looks easy to code, so should not take too long as long as I am not one coding the back-end.

Then I could also do some projects for Computing Club if I have time to spare, such as the “module tree” app which guides you in choosing modules throughout entire uni life.

I hope the holidays does not end up being dota2 everyday. Haha.

Linear Progression and Stages – Belief or fact

Linear progression is a good concept, it assumes that things go from stage 1 to stage 2, then to stage 3, and eventually reach the final stage. However, the fact that it is simple and nice does not justify its correctness.

In real life, many things do not go through linear progression, say the development of the country. One may argue that a country can only develop according to the sequence of stages in the development model, i.e. pre-industrial, industrial and post-industrial. However, this may not be true for some countries which jump from pre-industrial to post-industrial by some alternative ways. Also, common linear progression has an end point which is definite, but this can be a belief rather than a fact. For example, a U.S. citizen may think that capitalism is the end of the stages for ideology, whereas a PRC citizen may think communism is the real end. Clearly if the perceived end is different, the progression is not clear any more. A U.S. citizen may claim that U.S. is at the final stage of development, whereas a PRC citizen would reject that and say U.S. has yet to go through socialism to reach communism.

In fact, building on that idea of indefinite end, we will never know if the progression has come to an end. For example, current computer technology has evolved to a stage where ordinary people can get access to a computer easily. Is this the end of the progression for computer’s accessibility? I think not, one possible subsequent stage of development would be a “computer” planted inside each person. And even at that stage, we cannot conclude that we have come to the end of the progression.

Progression can also be in terms of humans’ development. A person goes through different stages as he/she grows up. It would be logical to think that everyone follows a linear progression of life, biologically, from young to old. However, the real maturity of each individual may develop in a non-linear progression. Some people grow up with care and love from parents hence slowly turn from immature to somewhat mature, then finally mature. Others may not have such privilege, they have to become mature immediately because they do not have such luxury of time to go through transition before facing the serious world.

Now if we take a step back and redefine linear progression as always going from early stages to later stages(like jumping from stage 1 to stage 3 and skipping stage 2, but not the other way round), would it be perfect to fit everything inside? It appears so. However, now the hard part would be to define the stages clearly so that they follow a total order. Progression like EQ or maturity are hard to define stages as there are just so many factors to consider.