Sunday, November 28, 2010

as an undergraduate at the University of Moratuwa..

With the release of the finalized results, I feel the urge to post a short summary of my life as undergraduate for the 4+ years (2006 - 2010) at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Moratuwa. In short, I see my undergraduate studies a successful one, which essentially makes the year 2010, the most remarkable year of my life so far. An A+ for the final year project which happens to be the 10 credit module, making the final semester GPA to be 4.04, as well as the final overall GPA of 3.80 which puts me into the first class became the highlights of the year.

Level 1
First semester of the first year didn't go well, if I consider the grades. First difference I saw from the advanced level was, in advanced level I knew questions as well as the answers when I sat for the exams. In undergraduate studies, for some modules, I felt like I even didn't know the questions ;) I did score well, and was in the GPA of 3.96 (out of 4.20), when we got the results for 5 modules out of 6, with all A+, A's and A-. But a single module was powerful enough to change the result. It was a C- for Thermodynamics. This immediately dragged my GPA from 3.96 to 3.58. After all, it was just a 2 credit module (13 total credits for the semester). Amazingly almost all the friends were with A+'s and A's for the very same module! I later learned that most of the questions were from the past papers, where unfortunately I didn't even have a single paper for that module.

Lessons learned
  • Unlike in school, a lower grade for a single module can be poisonous - In school, I happened to get lower marks to not-so-interesting modules like Social studies, which never made any impact to my rank, as Mathematics and other *good* subjects always saved me with 90+'s. :)
  • GPA system is weird. It starts with a big interval, and all of a sudden, even for a difference of 5 marks the grade falls like hell. C has a GPA of 2.0 where C- has 1.5, just with 5 marks interval for C and C-, where A+ has 4.20, and A got 4.0 where the interval is [85,100] and [75,85).
  • Past papers are life-savers. I didn't know the fact that past papers are stored in the library for the students to get photocopies. I got to know this only at my level 2. I could have gone to the library and got some past papers for that module.
  • Getting two A's is better than getting an A+ and an A-, as far as GPA's are considered.
  • We can score maximum of C, in a second attempt. I always thought of upgrading my C- of thermodynamics to C, but never did that as I hate repetition!
  • Everything works in this world according to the theory of relativity. If we do average in an easy exam, that will essentially make our score to the bare minimum. Here *easy exam* means, an exam where many people get high score.
  • You can't just omit/ignore a single module. No this-is-my-module sentiments.
  • The first year was an important year in our undergraduate life. After the first two semesters, we will be allowed to choose our preferred major. But stuff doesn't work like that. Everyone prefers some departments, hence it goes with the GPA. That made first year the most competitive year of all! We are batch 06'. With Batch 09' it was changed to First semester. That means, after first semester students will be divided into the departments.
As I scored lower for the first semester, I had to work smart (please note the usage of the phrase *work smart* instead of *work hard*. I worked hard in the first semester. No doubt.) for the second semester to avoid ending up with a department that I do not like much. Getting lower grade means, you will lose the freedom to choose. That's it!

To be on the safer side, I tried to attend the 'kuppi' classes (whatever the media it is), though personally I hate those type of *classes*. These 'kuppi' classes are classes where senior students explain the particular module in Sinhala/Tamil medium. Mostly they will explain the concepts or do some past paper questions. I don't like huge crowds, but it was a good memory to recall. I DID feel some of those classes were just wasting my time. ;) This time, I paid attention to the past papers. With all A+'s, A's, and A-'s, I was able to get 4.00 for the second semester, which I consider a reasonable success.

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