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Thread: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

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    Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Quote Originally Posted by Amundies View Post
    Pretty much the same content is covered, you will miss a few electives here and there (which has to happen if you want to get 2 degrees in 5 years when separately they would take 7 years) but nothing significant enough to make a difference.
    Hey dude


    By the way:

    I've been telling people not to bother to do Engineering if they are doing only General Maths. People have been telling such people that the unis offer Summer School as well as bridging course; so they should be able to pursue Engineering without higher level Maths in their HSC. Since you have done so many Maths units already in your Engineering course so far, you have the real experience. What do you think? Can a person doing just General Maths pursue Engineering?
    Last edited by Drongoski; 31 Aug 2015 at 11:18 PM.
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    Re: Is Engineering (Civil)/Science (Physics) a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    Hey dude

    By the way:

    I've been telling people not to bother to do Engineering if they are doing only General Maths. People have been telling such people that the unis offer Summer School as well as bridging course; so they should be able to pursue Engineering without higher level Maths in their HSC. Since you have done so many Maths units already in your Engineering course so far, you have the real experience. What do you think? Can a person doing just General Maths pursue Engineering?
    even though you didn't ask me, here are my 2 cents

    imo, in general, I think only the brightest students of general mathematics would be capable of taking on mathematics at a higher level. If the average student in general mathematics could only grasp basic concepts like reading/interpreting a graph then they would struggle very heavily with the bridging course since it is taught at a very fast pace (literally all of the HSC content in a few weeks before uni) and then you must use whatever you learnt to do more further problems and many students have a weak foundation and it is likely that they would not succeed

    but then again if a student works really really hard, I don't see why not (probably like 0.1% of students)
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    Re: Is Engineering (Civil)/Science (Physics) a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squar3root View Post
    even though you didn't ask me, here are my 2 cents

    imo, in general, I think only the brightest students of general mathematics would be capable of taking on mathematics at a higher level. If the average student in general mathematics could only grasp basic concepts like reading/interpreting a graph then they would struggle very heavily with the bridging course since it is taught at a very fast pace (literally all of the HSC content in a few weeks before uni) and then you must use whatever you learnt to do more further problems and many students have a weak foundation and it is likely that they would not succeed

    but then again if a student works really really hard, I don't see why not (probably like 0.1% of students)
    Sorry Square; I forgot you are also doing Engineering.

    But 'working really hard' is not the point; if a student lacks the intellect, working 36 hours a day would not help.


    Edit

    Sorry @Op. Didn't mean to hijack your thread.
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    Re: Is Engineering (Civil)/Science (Physics) a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    Sorry Square; I forgot you are also doing Engineering.

    But 'working really hard' is not the point; if a student lacks the intellect, working 36 hours a day would not help.
    that's what I mean by 0.1%, like regardless of how long you spend staring at some equations they are not going to solve themselves and they do require the student to have the ability to solve them. I know some people say practice makes perfect or whatever but realistically you don't have that much time between uni and HSC (i know like 5 months) but like unless you are studying full time every day and something clicks in your brain the general person probably won't understand

    ---------

    I read what i wrote over and realised probably doesn't make sense cos I got a band 4 in english but basically like if you're an average person in general you probably will not survive in engineering.
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    Re: Is Engineering (Civil)/Science (Physics) a good idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amundies View Post
    I would tend to agree with that, if someone is doing general maths then they're going to find engineering extremely hard. But if someone were to actually ask me if they should do engineering because they are interested in it but they've only done general maths, most of the time I would say they should go for it because there's still that chance that once they get to uni and actually start learning interesting stuff, they start working harder/smarter. I haven't actually done general maths, so I'm not quite sure what their syllabus is but from what I hear it will definitely be one of the largest uphill challenges that you'll face in your education years if you were to do engg after having done general maths.


    When you have some time, may I suggest you have a look at a General Maths text book or some past year HSC questions - should be able to find them in any suburban library. You'll gain a better understanding of the level of maths involved.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Moved to a separate thread.

    I will give my chip in here.

    If a very very smart student wanted to study Engineering or Science in university, with a General Maths or no maths background, then in my opinion one summer bridging course still isn't enough.

    To put it into perspective, I believe the student should at the least focus their entire first semester of university (not summer) on doing fundamentals courses to get up to date (essentially going through the relevant maths required for future courses) before they attempt any of the actual courses related to their program.

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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    And if they were very very smart, you would think they would do at least 2U maths in high school if they had the option to.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    In my opinion, I think even having just 2U knowledge will make it tough on yourself and you will need to be on top of things the whole way.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Those who opt for General Maths or are "advised" by their teacher to do so are mostly those with low ability in Maths. So studying their Maths 36 hours a day isn't going to be much help. For most of them, the Maths required in Engineering is beyond them.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    Hey dude


    By the way:

    I've been telling people not to bother to do Engineering if they are doing only General Maths. People have been telling such people that the unis offer Summer School as well as bridging course; so they should be able to pursue Engineering without higher level Maths in their HSC. Since you have done so many Maths units already in your Engineering course so far, you have the real experience. What do you think? Can a person doing just General Maths pursue Engineering?
    Does UNSW (or any uni great at teaching math) have summer courses for 3u maths? Is there a difference between 'bridging courses' and 'summer school'?
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Quote Originally Posted by Flop21 View Post
    Does UNSW (or any uni great at teaching math) have summer courses for 3u maths? Is there a difference between 'bridging courses' and 'summer school'?
    No, summer courses are typically for those wanting to repeat a university level subject and or get more credits done during the summer holidays. Bridging courses are mainly aimed at those without the appropriate assumed knowledge / refreshers for high-school subjects.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    Those who opt for General Maths or are "advised" by their teacher to do so are mostly those with low ability in Maths. So studying their Maths 36 hours a day isn't going to be much help. For most of them, the Maths required in Engineering is beyond them.
    Tbh some teachers' advices are dodegy af

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    Re: Is Engineering (Civil)/Science (Physics) a good idea?

    Anyone reading this thread that is thinking about engineering while only doing general don't listen to anyone here. Sure you will have to put in effort but it is entirely doable. University has so many resources at your disposal to help you learn. If you put in an hour of study a day, go to lectures, talk with your professor on questions you're stuck on then I have no doubt in my mind you can pass engineering maths. People in this thread are vastly overstating the difficulty of 4u which you will realise when your 1st uni maths class goes beyond the 4u scope.

    I did general and went in to engineering without knowing what a radian was let alone the unit circle. In 2 years I went from doing simple interest and box and whisker plots to triple integrals, Fourier series, high order DE's etc. I've passed all my engineering maths courses, I've got an internship lined up for these holidays and I do my final research and design projects next year. Success in engineering 100% comes down to work ethic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    But 'working really hard' is not the point; if a student lacks the intellect, working 36 hours a day would not help.
    Yeah one thing they teach in general maths is if you can't do a problem stare at it for 36 hours without trying to get any outside help. It's like some of you think people that do general have learning disabilities, 4u isn't really as hard as you guys make it out to be.
    Last edited by joshman94; 24 Nov 2015 at 2:22 AM.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    joshman94


    Yours is indeed an amazing counter example. You seem to be a living proof that Engineering is doable with just a General Maths background. May I know which university you are doing your degree in - I'm surprised they were prepared to accept you into Engineering in the first place?

    You happen to have done only Gen Maths - but the fact you were able to handle the higher level maths means you were 3U/4U Maths material - but for some reason, you took up only General.

    By the way - congratulations for having come so far with only General Maths. You are an outlier.
    Last edited by Drongoski; 24 Nov 2015 at 5:04 PM.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Drongoski

    I did my degree at Newcastle, I believe they only had recommended courses going in to a degree meaning that they didn't particularly stop you from being accepted if you had the atar but not the recommended requirements. One thing that did help me was in the first lecture the subject coordinator showed a graph of the previous year's results. Only 5% of the general math students that did the course the previous year passed. Wanting to be an engineer but not being able to pass the first maths course would have been embarrassing, so I made a study schedule and stuck to it from day one. All it took was attending lectures and tutorials along with an hour or so a night to make sure I understood the content and could do some example problems.

    One thing that I noticed was that initially the 3u and 4u students had already seen the content before so they didn't feel the need to study. By halfway in the course when the content was new for them, I would do better than most of them in the weekly quiz, purely because of my study habits. They didn't believe me when I told them I did general maths in highschool and had beat them in a maths quiz.

    I did have some fundamentals missing though, doing general wasn't ideal but once it got to the point where the content being taught was new for everyone then it didn't really matter as much. Looking back on it I enjoyed the maths courses and they obviously became extremely useful in other classes like thermo, fluid dynamics and reaction kinetics. Partial differential equations was the only math course I really struggled in and I honestly would have found it hard whether I had done 4u or not
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    For most of them, the Maths required in Engineering is beyond them.
    Super old post, but now that the thread has been bumped I should mention that I disagree with this. You can talk all you want about natural ability in math and limitations of how much you can achieve, but I personally think that a very large proportion of people are capable of understanding most of the mathematics in engineering, with sufficient effort of course. (And this amount of effort is not prohibitive, study smart not hard etc).

    The natural talent card gets played far too much. I have seen talented students use it as an excuse to not work hard, and I have seen students that in their words lack pretty much any mathematical talent use it as an excuse to not try. On the other hand I have also seen some such students flourish!

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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Quote Originally Posted by joshman94 View Post
    Drongoski

    I did my degree at Newcastle, I believe they only had recommended courses going in to a degree meaning that they didn't particularly stop you from being accepted if you had the atar but not the recommended requirements. One thing that did help me was in the first lecture the subject coordinator showed a graph of the previous year's results. Only 5% of the general math students that did the course the previous year passed. Wanting to be an engineer but not being able to pass the first maths course would have been embarrassing, so I made a study schedule and stuck to it from day one. All it took was attending lectures and tutorials along with an hour or so a night to make sure I understood the content and could do some example problems.

    One thing that I noticed was that initially the 3u and 4u students had already seen the content before so they didn't feel the need to study. By halfway in the course when the content was new for them, I would do better than most of them in the weekly quiz, purely because of my study habits. They didn't believe me when I told them I did general maths in highschool and had beat them in a maths quiz.

    I did have some fundamentals missing though, doing general wasn't ideal but once it got to the point where the content being taught was new for everyone then it didn't really matter as much. Looking back on it I enjoyed the maths courses and they obviously became extremely useful in other classes like thermo, fluid dynamics and reaction kinetics. Partial differential equations was the only math course I really struggled in and I honestly would have found it hard whether I had done 4u or not
    Congratulations for doing well in your Engg course despite doing only Gen Maths. I guess you are one of those who could have done 3U, but for whatever reason, chose General.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    I qualified my statement: "For most of them". I was only expressing my view; of course I can be wrong. But perhaps you could look into past statistics of those embarking on an Engg course with only General as maths background - what % went on to do well. Being in a Uni environment, maybe you have better access to such data.
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    Re: Studying Engineering in university with no maths background

    Quote Originally Posted by Drongoski View Post
    I qualified my statement: "For most of them". I was only expressing my view; of course I can be wrong. But perhaps you could look into past statistics of those embarking on an Engg course with only General as maths background - what % went on to do well. Being in a Uni environment, maybe you have better access to such data.
    There are other factors that such statistics will be impacted by though. Are the same proportion of these "less talented" students truly interested and driven in their studies? Note also that I am not claiming that it will be as easy for the student as it would be with some talent, but rather that very little talent is required as a prerequisite, and that VERY few students are truly "not capable" of learning the mathematics in engineering. (This is not a rip on engineering, I believe this about most mathematics outside of contest or research math.)

    And this is of course just me expressing my view as well.
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