Top Tips for Surviving First Year - revised for 2019!

Here are some tips for getting through first year in good shape.

1.  Attend as much as you can.

Missing the one lecture or lab now and again is not a massive problem, but if you're missing a lot of your classes, you'll fall behind and won't know what's going on. Don’t rely on MyPlace for getting notes and assignments: sometimes these are handed out only in lectures. Our statistics show that those students who attend all their classes get the best marks. Conversely, students who don't attend are the ones who fall behind and then eventually drop out.

2.  Try to pass everything.

Most of you are taking 120 credits this year and we expect you to finish the year with a full 120 credits in the bag. If you fail a class, you have to take the class again in 2nd year, which on top of a hefty 2nd year is very bad news.

3.  Know how the University compensation scheme works.

If your weighted average mark over all the classes you are taking is >= 45% you can be compensated in one 20 credit class if the mark is between 30% and 39% inclusive.

4.  Every mark counts.

Since you need an average of >= 45%, and every mark you get counts towards this, it follows that you should try to accumulate as many marks you can in everything. High marks are really worth getting, as they can help compensate for lower marks in other classes - see Tip 3 above. Make sure you attend all your class tests and hand in something for every assignment.

5.  Programming Foundations is REALLY important.

Put a good lot of effort into CS105 Programming Foundations. This class is the most vital one to understand properly to survive 2nd year. It is the first class in a sequence of classes which will teach you how to design and implement serious pieces of software in Java.

6.  Every good student deserves a transfer.

If you want to transfer from BSc (Hons) to MEng then impress us wildly. To get onto the MEng, you need >= 70% average and >=70% in Programming. You also need to take and pass the follow-up class to MS108 as an elective - MS109 Foundations of Business Analysis and Technology (Semester 2).

John Levine, 14th October 2019.