Course Selection

At Aalto, our course selection process simply involves checking Sisu (our course management system) and registering for courses during their registration period. They rarely check for prerequisites, and it’s almost guaranteed to get any course you need. Registering for exercise sessions is done alongside the course registration; you simply select which exercise group you wish to be in as part of the course registration process. It sounds a little complicated, but in reality, it involves ticking a few checkboxes before hitting the “register” button.

At NUS, the process isn’t so straightforward. For each semester, there is a course “Add/Drop Period,” which is a roughly 36 hour period where one can modify their existing courses for the semester. We have to request for courses and upload our course transcript, and prerequisites are checked. We can select up to 6 courses, and we have to rank them by preference. Furthermore, every course has very limited availability, meaning it’s quite likely you don’t get your choices.

Upon getting your selection results, you then need to request for tutorials and lab sessions. Tutorials are essentially our exercise sessions; it’s a session for applying the knowledge taught in the lectures to problems. Usually, this involves guidance. Labs, on the other hand, seem to involve just a reservation for a room with minimal guidance (if any). I have yet to go to a lab, so I’m not too sure about this.

My Selection

I purposely didn’t state the courses I applied for since I kept getting rejected from them (I applied for 12 courses in total for both rounds, but got a final total of 4). My courses are:

  • CS2100 - Computer Organization
    • I picked this mainly for the assembly content as there are a few weeks with quite a lot of hands-on work with assembly. Besides that, this course overlaps quite heavily with ELEC-A7100 (Basic Course in C Programming) and ELEC-E8001 (Embedded Real-Time Systems).
  • CS3247 - Game Development
    • I picked this for two reasons:
      • I wanted to get into game development at some point just because it sounds fun.
      • I wanted a course that involved programming in a team. I wanted to see how it was like to work alongside Singaporean students.
  • EE3031 - Innovation & Enterprise I
    • I picked this because I needed a course from the College of Design and Engineering that didn’t have conflicting timeslots with my other courses.
  • ME2102 - Engineering Innovation & Modelling
    • I picked this because I wanted to properly learn CAD modelling. My existing experience involves just sketching, extruding, exporting, and 3D printing, but this course properly teaches CAD from the perspective of a mechanical engineer. I’ve wanted to learn how to design physical machines within software, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn.

My schedule looks like this: Schedule

This schedule was created with a student-created website called NUSmods, which looks way better than EduRec, which is what NUS has for course management.

Yes, I also planned for as few exams as possible to lighten the workload towards the end of the semester. I also tried to cluster as many sessions as possible together to maximize the amount of time blocks I have for concentrated work in one of my accommodation’s seminar/reading rooms.

About Courses at NUS

(edited 1st of March, 2023)

Courses here consist of 1 to 3 parts: lectures (recitations), tutorials, and labs. Lectures are either used to introduce new concepts to students or as recitations where the last week’s worth of material is summarized and/or reviewed (in the case of a flipped classroom course configuration). Tutorials are like walkthroughs for questions that relate to the course material or are past exam questions. It’s more like a practical version of a lecture. Labs are where students need to actually complete exercises with or without assistance.

Labs and tutorials are intended to have more student discussion, but usually the classroom tends to be quite quiet. Locals usually do not actively participate in classes (lectures/labs/tuts) unless there is merit or the group size is small and they are familiar with the student/professor in charge. I heard that this is due to active class participation causing others to think you are a smartass.

The course material for my courses seem to be heavily reused for many years with minor tweaks. That said, the course material doesn’t seem to be bad, as the explanations are quite straightforward. CS2100 and ME2102 in particular are very well-made courses in my opinion, but I might be biased as I had knowledge of the topics prior to taking the courses.