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We need a plan of attack!

Hey y’all!

I’m super sorry for not having blogged in such a long time; it’s just that life has been rather hectic and yet ridiculously uneventful. There is, of course, lots to enjoy about (school) life, except when your reading list looks like that for every module you take - with 49852942 pages for each reading - in addition to the textbook which still rests in the plastic bag, you begin to wonder how you even survived the previous semesters…

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But survived I did, and it’s all good – at least until results day arrives on 2nd June. For those who haven’t signed up for SMS Results Release, do sign up before 19th  May HERE, but only if you would like to be rudely awakened at around 7:30am in the morning. The CAP (cumulative average point) you see at the end is cumulative across the semesters. So suppose you got a CAP of 4.5 in the first semester and 4.7 in the second, the CAP displayed in the message you get for the second semester will be 4.6. The message will look something like this:

 

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Since the new semester is starting in a few months, here’s a rough guide to NUS/ module planning that prospective students may find useful. Some tips will probably be more applicable to FASS students than those from other faculties, but the links should still be useful. There are many other guides around, but I hope this will help anyway. In any case, keep in mind that things will become clearer as soon as you are inducted. It always does! :)

NUS ACADEMIC CALENDAR

To find out when school starts, when your holidays begin (I don’t know about you, but that was definitely one of my primary concerns when I first entered university) and when the short holidays are, the academic calendars for each semester can be found here: http://www.nus.edu.sg/registrar/calendar.html


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Orientation Week is for freshmen – if you choose to sign up for the camps and stuff. Otherwise school only begins a week later, yay. Also, FASS peeps, tutorials only begin in Week 3. Yay again. Recess week means you don’t have to go to school for a week, but you can’t really have fun either unless you have no mid-terms to study for or term papers to write – which is impossible. If you only have term-papers though, you can slack off slightly I suppose… except that would mean sacrificing a lot of sleep during the term. I’ve watched too many sunrises than I’d have liked to this semester.

Examination dates depend on the modules you choose (see below) and timetable is self-planned too. They are all contained within the period listed though! Yes, you get a 12 week break after (between) each academic year. Feel free to gloat at the June holidays of the past. Note, however, that many, many students will be scrambling for internships and stuff during this period – it’s a three month break after all – and you’ll probably feel the pressure of finding one too. It is still quite a dilemma for me though, given there wouldn’t be school holidays once we graduate... But that’s that. Real world pressures beckon :(

 

CHOOSING YOUR MODULES

 

NUS Module Listing (all faculties): https://aces01.nus.edu.sg/cors/jsp/report/ModuleInfoListing.jsp?fac_c=31

Corspedia: http://www.corspedia.com/ (Bidding history of all NUS modules)

 

There are quite a number of bidding guides around, so I’ll not be touching that here. But basically you’ll have to bid for all the modules you want to take in the upcoming semester, unless you have pre-allocated modules. If you are a freshmen without a declared major in FASS, you will have to pick your modules. Refer to the first link above, filter by faculty and major, and start listing the ones you are interested in.


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While the list is not, as of yet, updated for the new semester (Semester 1 AY 2014/ 2015), you can look at the modules available for the past semester and a basic description of what the module’s all about. When you eventually gain access to IVLE (after matriculation), you can also look at a more detailed breakdown of the module, including the syllabus + reading list + assessment components. Note that the content and assessment of each module can vary vastly from semester to semester/ professor to professor though, so it would be best to wait for the new semester’s listing to be uploaded before you really take in the details. Search for your module code HERE, and the results will look something like this:


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You should be looking at the module details for the current semester – the one which is active (i.e. not inactive, not highlighted in red). Clicking into it will reveal a pop-up window which includes all the details you may need. Some have really empty descriptors though, and sometimes assessment components are only decided after the semester starts. If anything’s not listed on IVLE, you can email the professor and see if (s)he is able to provide any additional information. You can also use module review or Google for module reviews – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at things you can find on the Internet. Again, note that module reviews can and do differ from professor to professor.

From the CORS and IVLE links, note the module prerequisites/ preclusions and begin planning your timetable for your whole undergraduate life, especially if you are interested in a double major/ major + minor. The recommended workload is 20MCs per semester, working out to around 5 modules assuming 4MCs per module. The MCs that each module takes up are available on CORS.

Go to the websites of your respective faculties – most of them are quite well-maintained – and look at the major/ minor requirements. Look at the maximum number of Level 1000 modules you can take – it’s 60MCs for FASS – and what “baskets” you will need to clear e.g. FASS – you have to take an introductory module for each of the Humanities, Social Sciences and Asian Studies clusters. Plan in advance – in terms of how many level two modules you would need, how many level three ones and what modules would need to be fulfilled first. As Steve Rogers would emphasise, you need a plan of attack. Or risk additional semesters.

 

PLANNING YOUR TIMETABLE

 

So now you’ve a list of modules you may be interested in. Next is to make sure the lectures and exam dates don’t clash (there are usually more options for tutorial slots). Plan your timetable properly and it’s really easy to have three day work weeks (for FASS students).

I like using the unofficial timetable builder here: http://cors.bicrement.com/

There are many, many other timetable builders around though, so you could look around and take your pick! This one (http://nusmods.com) is also quite popular amongst the students, and you can refresh for new colours. Its advantage is that lecture/ tutorial location is listed along with odd/ even week details.

Generally speaking, the more popular the module is, the more bidding points it would cost, so that’s a factor you have to bring into consideration as well. Popular modules do not necessarily guarantee that it is interesting/ that good grades are guaranteed though – if something is easy, everyone battles it out on the bell curve. Unfortunate.

 

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This post is already regrettably long, but I hope it’s been helpful nonetheless. I’ll try to figure what might be useful for y’all to and post more in the coming days, and if there’s anything you’d like to know just drop a comment and I’ll try to help! Meanwhile here’s a picture I took of hottie Godfrey Gao at the Audi Fashion Festival last Wednesday.

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Have a smashing weekend/ holiday/ life y’all!