NUS MODULE REVIEW FOR AY2015/2016

Semester I:

PL4201: Psychometrics and Psychological Testing.
PUBLIC IVLE link for the module
I took this because it was compulsory for my CDP course. It is usually taken by a particular prof (for the past 5 years?), but it changed during my semester, so it was very difficult to ask for opinions and tips from seniors. The prof took a lab class and most of his students followed him to this module, so I think he’s a good prof. The downside to that is, you’ll be at a little disadvantage if you havent taken his lab module before (just a little).
Workload: 18 % assignment, 32% Mid-terms, Final exam
Course material: One textbook
What I liked about the module: It was useful. You are being taught things that would be useful to know in the future (if you’re dealing with scales and pscyh assessments). The assignment helps you to understand the content a lot more.  It helps that the prof is friendly and helpful too. I also liked that you’re graded on effort for assignments rather than correct answers.
What I didnt like about the module: The content can be dry at times, especially if you’re not into stats and things like that. Being a H1 math person, the proving part of the module was a torture to me. I ended up memorising.
Good idea to take it?/advice: It really depends. The module was painful for me at times, but I recommend it to those who are on the path of being a researcher. Even if you’re not, these are things that are good to know as a psych major. Painful, but useful (for me). There’s also the satisfaction of understanding concepts when you actually do, so that’s awesome too.
Grade I got: B+, which is really decent considering I was at the bottom of the class for mid terms (2 marks from failing). Managed to pull it up with finals I guess!

PL5221 Analysis of Psychological Data Using GLM.
This was another module that was compulsory for my CDProgramme. It’s a level 5k module that psych honours student can also take if they want. It’s quite tough to follow sometimes because of a combination of reasons: 1. The prof speaks fast and with an accent 2. the content by itself is tough. The mid terms were horrible for me. There was a SPSS component for mid terms and my computer crashed. ): In the end, the entire class did so badly they had a redo for it.
Workload: 30 % assignment, cant remember the percentage, but it may have been 35% mids and 35% finals or 30-40, respectively.
Course material: One textbook that you do not have to buy. You do not refer to it at all.
What I liked about the module: Again, it was useful. It was open book (not that it really helped a lot).
What I didnt like about the module: The content is quite tough. It was hard to follow at times. The assignments are trickier than it needs to be. Even after taking 3 modules under this prof, her accent still gets me.
Good idea to take it?/advice: It really depends again if you’re planning to go on the researcher route. If you’re not, then you can save yourself the trouble. This is more advanced than what you typically would need just to read journal papers. It’s definitely not an easy A class. I hated the exam, up till now, we still have no idea how to solve on entire question and the prof wouldnt answer us ):
Grade I got: B+, I really feel like this one is a close shave. Not sure how I got B+, but I’m not complaining.

Semester II:

PL4228: Criminal Forensic Psychology
I’ve sort of always wanted to do this since I entered uni in year 1 because it’s kinda cool, no? After I did my internship that involved some forensic work, I was even more keen. Well, it wasn’t anything I expected. I think Forensic Psych has got many branches, but I feel like this one focuses more on the forensic mental health… rehabilitation and assessments. I guess it’s probably because the profs are for MSF so they bring that kind of focus. Is it a bad module though? Definitely not. Still think I learnt a lot, even if it wasnt what I planned on learning in the first place. It kind of made me have a little more confidence in what our ministries are doing and it got me a little excited about research in this area as well. According to what I hear from my coursemates, everyone felt like it was too overrated. But I think it’s not horrible, just not what everyone expected.
Workload: 40% Essay, 10% Class Part, 5% Presentation, 45% Finals.
Course material: Readings and powerpoint slides
What I liked about the module: It made me interested about threat assessments and research in this area. The profs were interesting and approachable.
What I didnt like about the module: The content and examples focuses a lot on sexual offenders, so I feel like it was quite limited. It wasn’t what I expecting with very little forensic psych from the police perspective. I didn’t quite like that the essay was so damn long too (4000 words essay, whut?!). THE FINALS. Although it was 50 MCQs. There were some MCQ questions that took up almost an entire page. Also, I felt like it was really really difficult. It was like things I would never have thought of even studying in the first place (or have no recollection of it ever appearing in readings, and I’m quite the kiasu person who reads things like 3 times)
Good idea to take it?/advice: Well, do you like learning about rehab and threat assessments? I feel like this is more of an “abnormal psych” kind of track, so it really depends on you. If you’re deciding between this and another module, then just know that this isn’t what is hyped up to be. You’re not gonna be the next criminal minds, but you’ll learn things. so what I’m saying is, be realistic about expectations. If you do take it though, the readings feel like they’re more important than the lectures.
Grade I got: overall B+,  (B for my 40% essay, A+ for presentation)

PL5222/PL5222R: Multivariate Statistics in Psychology
This was my prescribed module for CDP, so we had to take it since it was compulsory. We used R instead of SPSS and learnt things like MANOVA, latent growth model, discriminant analysis etc etc.
Workload: 50% Assignments, 50% Finals (open book)
Course material: Powerpoint slides and Readings (Do not really have to do it unless you dont get the lectures)
What I liked about the module: It was the mixed classroom approach thing. Means lecture was before you came to class via webcast, then you come in to discuss what you don’t understand. I also liked that there were many useful assignments. The assignments were straightforward and focused on teaching you how to apply what you have learnt. It’s also pretty chill so the prof will help you if you have problems with your assignment. It’s not so much assessment as it is homework for your own learning. The prof is super patient and super knowledgeable. He explains things well and clearly. He answers your questions, even if he had already answered the same question 10 times already, with a lot of patience.
What I didnt like about the module: There are few things I disliked about the modules, so I wouldnt say I didnt like the following things, but more of sian. The mixed classroom approach thing. Took up super a lot of time. Though I think it’s useful, it takes up much time. Assignments almost every week. Again, I find them very useful and necessary, but it sucks having to do assignments every week, especially if you have other modules too. Overall, nothing to hate about the module.
Good idea to take it?/advice: Are you doing research? If you are, good module to take. If you’re not, I’m not sure if you’ll enjoy it. It’s not the most exciting module, but it’s useful. Do the assignments BEFORE class. It helps heaps. Just try to keep up with the webcast lecture and assignments. Ask the moment you catch no ball. If you know what’s going on, you’ll do fine. The exam is not tricky, it’s straightforward, so you just have to know your stuff. It’s reasonable.
Grade I got: A

PL5225/PL5225R: Structural Equation Modelling
This module was taught by the same prof as PL5222. I had intended to take this on an S/U basis because my prof said that it was useful for my thesis and told me to take it. Prof Mike (the module prof) told me to just take it as a graded mod. So in the end, I took it as a graded module to clear my honours requirement. Didn’t regret it because I would’ve needed to put in the same amount of effort anyway.
Workload: 50% Assignments, 50% Finals (open book)
Course material: Powerpoint slides and Readings (Do not really have to do it unless you dont get the lectures)
What I liked about the module: Everything I said for PL5222 under this section applies here too. On top of that, I like how useful SEM is. In fact if you have to choose between PL5222 and this, choose this. It allows you to make your experiment more complex and all.
What I didnt like about the module: Everything I said for PL5222 under this section applies here too. What I didn’t like initially was that the learning curve was super steep. It’s difficult to understand things in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes a little bit more intuitive.
Good idea to take it?/advice: It’s a very useful module and you get to learn how to use R, which is a useful program to learn (same for PL5222). The prof is good and helpful. Assignments are manageable and finals are open book, what’s there not to like? haha. The exam is not tricky and it’s reasonable. It requires you to think, yes, but it’s not unreasonable.
Grade I got: A

 

Future letters

Last week I had gone back to CJ with NUS for think careers day to speak to juniors about their higher education choices. I dont quite remember participating in think careers day in CJ, but now that I’m in university, I feel like it’s important.

Coincidentally, a few days before going back to CJ, I was clearing my table (yet again) and I found a key to this drawer that has remained lock since 3 years ago. I opened it and I found many letters I had written back then when I was in JC  to year 1 of uni to my “future self”. I thought this was quite future enough for me to open them.

It feels like a really long time ago (7 years), since I was struggling in JC, feeling inadequate, lost and hopeless. The things that matter then were promos and A levels and trying to find my place in this world. I wrote in one letter saying that I probably am laughing at my 18 year old self and thinking she was silly thinking that things wouldnt work out fine in the end. Now at 23, I dont think those anxieties were silly. I think they were justified, given my perspective and position at that time.

It kind of brings me back to this conversation I had with someone recently about how we forget how it feels like being a “youth/teenager”. So often we think their worries and anxieties are trivial. We forget how it is like be searching for our identity and deciding who we are and who we want to be. We say things like “just say no to her” or “just ignore him” or “just focus on your studies” or “just stop hanging out with those friends”. Well-meaning, but unhelpful.

When I was speaking to the juniors in CJ, their questions, more often than not, is filled with a lot of anxiety (e.g “Is it competitive in Psych?”, “Can I get into NUS?”, “How hard is it to get into Psychology”, “How do I study for A levels?” etc. ). Being in uni now and being in y4, I want to tell them not to worry, it’ll all work out, go for what you’re interested in and things will come naturally. But I know, it feels difficult fully understanding that at their point in life now.

I guess that’s why I write those blogposts and go back to CJ for think careers day. Because I understand what it feels like being lost. I know how it feels like being a freshie and not knowing if you would survive this new world. I know how it feels like being in JC and not knowing the options I have.

When I went back, I realise that’s kind of what I enjoy. I enjoy hearing questions and addressing fears and helping someone dream a little. I like giving them something to work towards. I like reducing their fears, even just a little, and giving them a little bit more hope and excitement to sustain them the tough times ahead. I like it when they come to me focusing only on getting over promos and leave thinking they have a shot at uni.

At the end of the day, to me (probably not to NUS), it doesnt matter if they come to NUS or not. It doesnt matter if they apply to FASS. I just want them to know that as long as they dont give up, put in the effort and try, they have a shot at something they want. They may not succeed, but they still have a chance.

So to those juniors who end up coming to me and asking me how to study for A levels and what should they do because they arent doing well now. My advice is always, keep working at it even you don’t get it. Consult your teachers, have a plan, be consistent and even if you keep failing, just keep going till the end. I always try to tell them that they have a shot. As long as they still bother to ask for advice, they already got the right attitude to succeed.

I know how it feels like failing and failing constantly. I know how it feels like feeling like you’re the dumbest in your class. And sometimes, I see friends. Friends who are brilliantly intelligent. The only problem is that they had nothing to work towards. They didnt have think careers day, there was no motivation or anyone to believe in them. And it’s just a few hours in my JC, but I hope I’m that person for at least one person that day.

And so, these few days, I keep thinking about what I want to do in the future and what kind of person I want to be. I’m not sure. But whatever it is, I hope I never forget to always speak words that will encourage. I hope to never forget how it feels like being younger and uncertain. I hope I never be dismissive. Last week was one of those weeks where I look back to see how far I’ve come and look forward and think where I want to go.

Inconclusive, but at least a clue.

 

Psychology: Which university?

It’s pretty obvious that the A level results have been released from the amount of emails I’m getting about decisions about university (“Which university should I go to study Psychology?”). Not too long ago (actually, 4 years ago…) I was in the same position of deciding which university I should go. NUS or NTU or SMU? SUTD was new then and I think I wasnt very interested in the courses there (can’t take any with my arts background too) so I didnt consider it at all. So, I had an idea that I wanted to study Psychology, but I didnt know if I should enroll into NTU or NUS.  I didnt apply for SMU because their psych programme only taught very minimal psych (8 modules) and the rest were things I was less interested about. So SMU wasnt really an option for me. Ended up applying for both NTU and NUS and having to decide which to accept. I’m not going to do a detailed comparison in this post because I dont think I know NTU enough to do that. Instead, I’m just going to dispel some common myths about NUS psychology, answer some common questions and then just share the thought process of why I chose NUS in the end.

1. NTU has direct honours, while NUS does not, will this be a problem for me and which one is better?

This is a concern for a lot of A level graduates have. Yes, NTU has a direct honours programme, whereas NUS has a 3+1 programme. What does a 3+1 mean? It means I take 3 years bachelor degree and if my CAP is 3.2 and above, I am automatically enrolled into the one-year honours programme. This means you can choose to graduate after the 3rd year or carry on (if your CAP permits). On the other hand, in NTU, you can only graduate after your 4th year. So, even if your CAP does not put you in any honours classification, you still have to go through with your 4th year and graduate without honours. I see this as an advantage because there’s more flexibility there. Plans may change along the way and you may decide that an honours doesnt value-add to your future job or to you in any way. Then, you have that option to graduate at 3 years with a bachelor’s degree. Plus, there are some people who feel that if they dont a certain class of honours (say, 2nd upper and above), then there’s no point “wasting” that one year. If you’re one of those people, then having the option to graduate at the third year instead of going through another year is definitely a plus point, just in case you dont make the honours class that you want (touch wood, touch wood). So in my opinion, there’s really no difference between the two other than having the option to graduate earlier without an honours.

2. I heard that you need to take other modules other than Psych in your first semester?

Yes, but I would say that it’s the same for both schools. The reason is because you cannot take a higher level module if you’ve not completed your stats and your psychology 101. So, no matter which school you go, you only take 2 modules related to psych and the other modules are “others”. I think the difference is then what the “other” modules are. In NUS, you have to clear FASS baskets. So other than Psychology (or your major modules) you need to take one module from each basket (3 baskets in total). This requirement do not need to be fulfilled in your first year, just complete it by the time you graduate. To put it simply, other than trying out the level 1 of your major, you need to try 3 other level 1 modules of the other majors from FASS too. Then comes the next question, But I’m not good at arts/writing/language, how?

3. But I’m not good at arts/writing/language, how? Will I lose out if I choose FASS and have to take other (supposedly artsy) modules?

The short answer to this is, I dont know. I have to remind you that Psychology has got a great deal of writing as well, so if you’re super adverse to words, maybe Psych isnt your thing either. The thing is, there’s a lot of modules in FASS that does not require superb writing abilities. Like, English. *gasp*. Yes, English in university is not like how we know it in sec school. It’s very technical and science-y (at least the exposure module is).

4. You may not even be able to take the psychology exposure module because I heard you have to do well and may not be able to bid for the module.

There’s actually two separate things here.  a) When you come in, you need to bid for your modules. So if you want to be a psych major, you bid for the basic stats module and the psych 101 module. This has NOTHING to do with your results. Everyone gets a set of points every semester and it is not dependent on your results. I think with sound bidding skills (like dont go all cray and put all your points in one module), you’ll be able to get the mods you want. Ask your seniors for halp!!!

b) To be a psych MAJOR, you need to get at least a B- for both stats and psych 101, this is only for the psych major (and CNM). I cant comment whether it is “difficult” to get at least a B-. It really depends on your cohort and prof since everything is bellcurved. I was very anxious about stats when I entered uni too, being a h1 maths Arts student in JC and being horrible at math since kindergarten (yes, number bonds killed me). I asked my senior if stats was tough. He told me, just listen in lectures and be consistent. If you dont understand anything, just ask and clarify. I stuck to that and did really well for stats 1. I even grew to kinda like it (and went on to do 3 level 5 stats modules). So, what I’m trying to say is, dont be too anxious about the stats part or the b- part. Just do your best. And if you do not make the cut, then there’s always placement test. And if you do not make the cut for that too, then maybe being a psych major would be tough even if you got in because, being realistic, you might die under the bellcurve with a weaker foundation/aptitude for psych.

Things I considered when choosing schools:

  1. Distance from home – It may not seem like a big deal now, but when you have 8am classes, this can make all the difference. This includes getting to your classes (internal shuttle), not just the school.
  2. School culture – The hall life (if you’re planning to stay hall), the people, the feel the school gives you, the CCAs, even (or especially the admin), the campus. I think these are the factors that really affect your school experience
  3. Opportunities offered by the school – Both NTU and NUS provide their students many many opportunities, but then there are some programmes that are offered exclusively by each school. Look at the programmes and see which one suits you better. This may even include exchange programmes (both schools do offer this, but the partner universities differ too), summer programmes, double degree/major programmes.
  4. The modules and the faculty – To be honest, if you’re just going for the lessons, then the core modules wouldnt differ much in content no matter what school you take it in. You can even just use a textbook to study instead of going for classes. But I think it’s more of the faculty’s expertise that makes the difference. The way they deliver the classes/ their experience – if you’re serious about learning, then you need to look into this more before making a choice. I’m not saying NUS’ lecturers are better that’s why I chose NUS. I didnt know and was too lazy to go to the open house to find out (well, I dont recommend skipping open house if this is impt to you.) I chose it based on modules offered by the schools. I think you can easily find this on the school’s webbies. I felt like I was interested in what NUS was teaching, so I went for it.
  5. Other modules/majors/faculties – A large part of your uni life, you will take modules other than your own major modules, so look and see if there are modules outside your own major that you would enjoy. Not sure about NTU, but there are some “popular” modules in NUS like Forensic Science, Animal behaviour, Understanding our universe (star gazing in Malaysia, I heard)… there are also language modules etc. yea so find out what are some of these modules that would interest you too. Studying is not all about… studying.
  6. FASS offers a lot of other majors – back then, I wanted to do Psych, but I wasnt super sure. I was thinking of social work, history and then when I entered, SEA was in my list too. So, if you’re unsure or if you’re thinking of double majoring then you should see if the school you are in offers that exposure/opportunity.

Other things I did not consider, but would be good to when considering NUS:

Things I like about NUS:

  1. When I entered uni, I didnt have the gradeless first sem thing. Basically, you can choose not to count any of your grades in your first sem. You can choose the modules you want to count (i.e you can just choose to count all the modules you did well in). I think it’s wonderful (even though I didnt get to have it ): ). Because the first semester of uni is often stressful. You’re adapting to uni life, you’re late for classes, you’re trying to juggle school and hall activities, you’re trying out that new cca, you’re in that new r/s with that girl you met at orientation camp, you’re trying to see if you can give tuition and cope with school work etc etc. There’s so many things to adapt to in this new phase of your life. A gradeless first sem is a great thing and is an advantage more than a disadvantage. You can choose to use or not use it.
  2. Concurrent Degree Programme – When I first entered university, this wasnt offered yet. Basically, if you hit certain requirements, you get to earn your masters degree while you earn your bachelor’s degree. So it’s sort of like a through train programme, where you graduate with both certs and take a year less than you would take it you had taken them separately. I’m the first batch of CDP students, along with two other people, and I think this is a good initiative too. It really value-adds to my education in Psych. It’s torturous sometimes, I’m not going to lie, but it is very manageable. Currently, this is only for Psych (and other majors from other facs), but if masters is something you know you want, then there’s an added consideration here.
  3. I like the facilities in the school. I didnt think this would be a thing for me. But I like the library, utown and just the things you can do on campus. I like the cai peng from deck also, just sayin’.
  4. I like the admin (most of the times), things are done quickly and you get a response from people very fast. They’re helpful and knowledgeable (again, most of the times, I have met couple horrible ones). I like that they change things very quickly too. In my first year, shuttle buses were often crowded and no one could get to classed in utown on time. The following semester or year (I cant remember), there were express services. Loved it.
  5. I like the bidding system (yes). It irritates the heck out of me sometimes, but I like it because I cannot imagine having to do fastest fingers first, star wars, in NTU. But then, some NTU students tell me they like their star wars, so really depends on you. I like it because you’ll get your modules as long as you strategise. My brain (and internet) cannot handle fastest fingers first.
  6. I like we have an MRT station nearby. I think nothing else needs to be said.
  7. I feel that this point is often taken for granted, but I like that we have 25 mins moving around time that the lecturers (usually) keep to strictly. When lessons are 2 hrs, they are normally 1hr 35 mins. This is because they give you 25 mins to shuffle to the shuttle (bus). This is super considerate and useful!
  8. Okay, this one, I feel like NUS wins hands down. Our s/u system. We get to s/u our modules AFTER we get our results. NTU students often complain because they have to s/u their modules BEFORE their results. SMU students complain because they just dont get s/u at all. This wouldnt seem like a big deal until you enter, I guess.
  9. Cheap and good food.
  10. You apply for exchange a year in advance. I used to hate this until I have NTU people complaining to me that they do not have time to plan their modules or settle accom or buy tickets. Then I feel like having the luxury to apply 1 year in advance is gr8.

Things I dont like about NUS:

I find it hard to think of what I not like about NUS because I’m not much of a fault-finder, but if I have to pick something I dont like:

  1. The bidding and balloting system – yes, I know what I said earlier. But sometimes, it’s too much of a hassle and sometimes you dont get to read modules you really want. That sucks. A lot. You can beg and appeal and it works sometimes, but it’s not a guarantee. I PAID MY SCHOOL FEES, LET ME STUDY WHAT I WANT!
  2. I wish it were at a better location. okay, I hear the NTU students asking me to shut up.
  3. I wish the halls were cheaper.
  4.  I wish it were less crowded.
  5. THE DAMN BELLCURVE. I feel like NUS’ bellcurve is especially steep, yes even (or some people say, especially) for psych. It’s too competitive in NUS (same could be said for other unis tho). I hate the bellcurve system. I have classes without bellcurve and I love it because it encourages students to help each other out.
  6. They dont help you look for internship (for psych). NTU has a system to help their students find internships AND they get credits for internships (for psych). In return, students have to do reports and stuff. In y3 when I was looking for internships, I wished there was such a portal, but then I think this isnt something that cant be overcome by a little bit more proactivity. I also wished that NUS credited internships. But, they dont ): They only let you “claim” half a mod.

I dont know, maybe I’m in school too little times to find something substantial to hate it. But so far, my schooling experience have been positive. So NUS people, please feel free to add what you like/hate about school

Things that seem to matter, but dont really:

  1. School ranking – If you’re planning to stay in Singapore, it doesnt really matter all that much. Yes, there’s some prestige to the NUS brand, but it’ll matter little if you totally hate your experience.

Yes, so that’s my response to most of the people who email me, if you have any additional questions, I’ll try to add it in here too.

Ultimately, NUS or NTU or SMU or whatever other school, you still study and whichever you choose,there’s bound to be some pros and cons. I guess the important thing is to learn how to work around them or live with it.

And it doesnt matter in the end because you’ll learn to love the school you choose (says cognitive dissonance), so all the best!

NUS Module Review 2014/2015

Semester 1 was spent on exchange, so I won’t be reviewing those mods here

Semester 2

PL4880G: Positive Psychology
I got to know of this module through a senior and I got to say that it really lived up to my expectations and is probably one of the best honours module I’ve taken. It’s interesting and useful. It was crazy because I bid 1.6k for this module, but I do not regret it one bit. I’ve heard it’s fluffy, but I do not think so though.
Workload:

Essays (3) 20%
Thought Questions (10) 10%
Seminar Presentation 5%
Research Presentation 10%
Final Paper 10%
Assignments 15%
Final Exam 30%

Course material: Readings and powerpoint slide
What I liked about the module: The topics covered were already interesting in itself. The prof made the module even better. It felt like a ted talk every week and I looked forward to going to class every week.
What I didnt like about the module: The workload is kind of heavy as compared to the other honours modules I’ve taken. Every week you have to do your readings to send in your thought questions. However, the readings are very bearable and can sometimes be interesting.
Good idea to take it?/advice: Yes, if your workload is not already too heavy. I liked the module and would recommend it to anyone mainly because of the topics and the prof. Read your readings for exams!
Grade I got: B+

PL3282A: Lab in Interpersonal Relationships
I got to know of this module through a senior also and heard it was a bit more slack as compared to other lab modules. We basically just did readings the first 6 weeks. So we read readings and groups will take turns to present on it (you only present once). So pretty slack. Then one group project, which is somewhat like PL3231.
Workload: Ahhh, I cant remember but the components were the weekly reflections for the first 6 weeks, research proposal, research proposal presentation and then the report and presentation of your results.
Course material: Readings 
What I liked about the module:
 It was slack. You have free reign to kind of do whatever experiment/study you want.
What I didnt like about the module: I learnt very little.
Good idea to take it?/advice: You have to get very good group mates. If you’re looking to learn something about research… hmmm not the best lab mod to take (maybe try applied lab). But if you’re looking to just clear the requirement, then this is quite the perfect module for you, it’s not heavy at all.
Grade I got: A-

PL3231: Independent Research Project 
I had to take this as part of my requirement for CDP, but usually psych majors choose to do this or lab. I did it under Prof Eddie Tong and so I think IRP experience will differ from person to person, so perhaps I should review what’s the pros and cons of doing IRP over lab or other modules. If you hate research to the core, don’t do it. If you’re trying to figure out if you like research, it’s a good idea to try this out. I feel like it’s a mini version of thesis, so less work needs to be done, but you kind of get a good experience. You typically do one experiment/study and then you write a report.
If you can, get a prof that’s doing an area you’re interested in and then see if you can get the same prof again for thesis. The good thing about this is that your IRP study can be part of your thesis. So while people take about 1 yr to do their thesis, you kind of get an extra sem. Your IRP can be a pilot study or a “study 1” for your final thesis.
I didn’t do as well because of my final report. I made the mistake of not handing in a draft before my final report. ): Yeap, so dont make that mistake~!
Grade I got: B

NUS module review: AY2013/2014


/Edit: This draft has been sitting here for the longest time haha so I decided to complete it today.

 

Read disclaimer in previous module review

Every sem and every prof and every cohort is different. Do add in your own review/opinions in the comment for the various modules too so that people can get more perspectives. Anything else you wanna know can also be asked. As always, contact me at leepeiwei09@gmail.com if you’re shy.


 

So this my accumulation of modules for year 2:

Semester 1 (2013/2014)

GEK1049 Introduction to Narrative Writing

Took this under the impression that we’ll be doing some narrative writing, but it wasnt the case. It was more technical than anything else, breaking down the different components in narrative : Setting, characters, plot etc. Most of the time this was done through the watching of videos. The entire lecture was just snippets of videos and him explaining them. It’s quite easy to follow although it can get a bit boring at times. The readings are rather basic with 2-4 pages each topic. Got introduced to many new films because of this module. oh yes, and the exam was even done in a lecture hall because you had to watch clips to answer questions. lecture part is done mostly during lectures (so you have to attend) by the sms-ing method to answer questions during lectures. Assignment was fairly simple – A 1000 word essay

Workload: Tutorial participation 15%, Electronic contributions: IVLE, blogs etc.10%, Lecture inputs 15%, Assignment (essay)20%, Total for Final Examination 40%
Course material: Online textbook
What I liked about the module: Movie watching all the time + slack + essay was simple.
What I didnt like about the module: Too many components and I didnt really know how to study for it to be honest. Also, there were about 30+ people cramped into my tutorial group, that’s more than my sec school class.
Good idea to take it?/advice: I normally do recommend people to take this as a GEM mainly because it’s rather slack and you dont have to be good at English. It’s also relatively easy to do well if you study because it’s straightforward and people are looking to S/U it.
Grade I got: A+ This came as a pleasant surprise because I didnt think my finals was fantastic. Got A+ for my essay, but it felt so iffy with all the other components I didnt put in effort for (I’m not a talker in class… at least not to the TA)

GEK1900 Public Health in Action

I was looking at another module offered by this faculty/department that was seminar style, but that module’s bid points were cray. I think I was the first or second batch for this module and it was still very very new. Nick told me to take this with me and I did mainly because it fit right into my timetable + low bid points. It was seminar style and lasted 3 hours. The first hour or so was used for lecturing by different lecturers every week. The next hour, you break up into your seminar groups and then start discussing and churning out a paper (yes, every week). The last hour is spent discussing it in the lecture hall again. I was lucky to be blessed with good group mates that turned up and did work. Many people just come after the lecture hour and it’s perfectly fine because most of the answers can be found online with some research. Every week you’re given a grade and it’ll make up your grade for 35% of your final grade. Also, because this module code’s 2nd digit is a “9”, it can use to fulfil science or arts GEM.

Workload: seminar group work (35%), Peer Evaluation (10%), Individual Essay (25%), Take home test (30%)
Course material: none
What I liked about the module: It’s slack and you dont have to do work beyond class (other than the essay and tests). You dont have to turn up for lectures. Learnt a lot of random “fun facts” about health and stuff like that that I still remember up until today.
What I didnt like about the module: The last take home test was cray cray. they gave us like 24 hours to complete 2 essays, which was nuts especially if you have classes after that class.
Good idea to take it?/advice: I used to recommend it to people, but I heard the format has changed. Not sure how it is like now, but based on my experience, it’s a pretty slack module. If you’re looking to score, you need really good group mates.
Grade I got: B+

PL2132 Research and Statistical Methods II

If you’re taking this module, you’re either a psych major or sick in the head (just joking). You learn one-way, two-way ANOVA, regression, correlation and all that kind of stats things. I think I kind of enjoyed stats after this module (I’m not kidding). You also have to plan and carry out a small-scale experiment during this module which is the bulk of the headache. Tutorial classes are a must go. I think I enjoyed this module mainly because of the Prof and the TA and my group mates/tutorial mates. I took it under Prof Sim Teck Ngee and I loved the way he taught. He treats you like you’re an idiot and explains everything crystal clear, even if it’s something you should know. Listen in lectures and it’ll save you a lot of heartache and headache later. The TA was the best. My TA was Ranjith. His emails are golden. He explains everything so perfectly even, or especially, through emails and he replies almost any time of the day. His tutorial classes are so fun to be in and our tutorial class had like a Ranjith fan club or something. All exams were open book.

Workload: I cant remember the breakdown but I think it was Mid terms, class tests, project report (individual), finals
Course material: 3 textbook
What I liked about the module: Definitely the Profs. stats can be dry, but I think the Prof + TA made it bearable. Plus good groupmates helped a lot. I’m still friends with them after this module (:
What I didnt like about the module: It’s taxing and this is the only module I’ve ever stayed up past midnight and until 4am to complete my assignment. However, it is necessary. so… yea.
Good idea to take it?/advice: I dont think you have a choice, but make sure you try and get good groupmates because it’ll really kill you if you dont. Also, organise your notes for your open book test. What I did was to make tables for the ANOVA calculation and left blank spaces so that I can just fill them up when I get the question. Saves time! (yes I’m sharing with you my sneaky secret… that’s not so sneaky since I told everyone to do so too during my sem).  It wont make sense if you havent taken the module, but yea, it will make sense soon. People during my sem (me included) also printed Ranjith’s email answers to our questions and brought it into the exam because let’s face it, you cannot explain better than him. If you take under Prof Sim, he’s quite sneaky so do look out for tricks in the exam! Do past year papers, practice a lot with your friends! Listen up in lectures and be involved in tutorials. You dont have to buy the textbook, as Prof Sim would tell you, but I still did anyway (2 of them). Wasted moolah for the theories one… the smaller ANOVA one was rather useful. But if you listen in lectures and copy down notes, you dont need textbook for this module (if taken under the same prof)
Grade I got: A- , I did pretty average for class tests and mids (I was the median) and my report got A-. Think I did pretty okay for finals too.

PL3234 Developmental Psychology

Again, many people were complaining about prof’s accent/voice, but I found it to be a non-issue after the first couple of weeks until you get used to it. The prof was a good prof and she explained everything rather clearly. She mainly went through the experiments in lectures > content (you can read content yourself). I dont really like developmental in general, I think. It wasnt all babies and children, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s more of how they acquire language, how they acquire perception and things like that.

Workload: 30% mid term, 20% paper, 50% finals
Course material: One textbook
What I liked about the module: I would say it was well-structured and the prof knew what she was doing. She was also very receptive to feedbacks and it was webcasted. It’s pretty content heavy, but it’s easy to know how to study. The problem is just fitting all that info into your head. Also, you “parenting” that would be useful when you have children.
What I didnt like about the module: Content heavy and the textbook is cray. Only 20% of the things in the exam are from the textbook (declared by the prof) so it was damnnn sian to have to study the thick thing for only 20%.
Good idea to take it?/advice: If you’re just taking this just because babies are cute, dont. However, you do learn a lot that can be applicable in the future when you have children. life skills yo! I think that’s my biggest take away, tbh. It’s pretty heavy, so dont take it with other heavy mods? Study the experiments and the outcome of the experiments.
Grade I got: B, I did below average for mid terms and average for my paper, I’m pretty sure I did below average for my finals.

PL3236 Social Psychology

I only took this because I wanted to pair developmental with a lighter core. I’m glad I took it this sem because the Prof was really good! I think I enjoyed the module because of his execution of the module > module content. I took it under Prof Jia Lile. He explained things so clearly and it was super easy to follow what he was saying. You study mainly social phenomenons like conformity, aggression, interpersonal attraction (lovee….) and my favourite was cognitive dissonance. Yea, I fell in love with psych even more after this module to put it simply.
Workload: 40% mids, 15% presentation, 45% finals
Course material: One textbook
What I liked about it: The content is easily relatable and it’s an interesting conversation topic with others too. The exams were also manageable and mostly application. They were MCQ + short answer questions. They are reasonable questions and all you need to do is just know your shit.
What I didnt like about it: Hmmm, nothing at all actually.
Good idea to take it?/Advice: YES GO FOR IT. Even if you’re not a psych major. I’ve told two non-psych major friends to take it (coincidentally also under Prof Jia) and they absolutely loved it. Just study your content well and try to apply it to situations around you to help you remember. Bellcurve is pretty steep on this one though.
Grade I got: A. I did pretty well for my mid terms and my presentation was average, so i guess finals pulled me up.

Semester 2 (2013/2014)

GEK1012 Contemporary Social issues in Singapore

Haha, honestly, I took this module because 1) it had the same textbook as SW1101e (no need buy textbook!) and 2) It fit right into my timetable. 3) Open book exam. I know I’m such a sloth. The module talked about different populations too, but it’s not like SW1101e. Here they also include things like problem gambling,youth, families and all that.

Workload: Group Project and Presentation 20%, Individual Paper 20%, Tutorial Participation 10%, Final 50%
Course material: 1 textbook, no need to buy imo.
What I liked about the module: I think it makes you more socially aware, if you’re not involved in the community. I always feel that university students should have a compulsory module like this to make sure students get in touch and are aware of the needs around them. Especially so since they’re going to be the leaders of our nation. I like the group project that makes you go down to the ground and find out more about the issues in the neighbourhood. Also, I think the best part is having Prof Ngiam to lecture this mod. Okay, he can drone on at times, but you cannot deny that he so experienced in this field. The main take away is not so much content knowledge but the impartation of the heart and perspective he has for the different population
What I didnt like about the module: A little dry, but I dont think you can spice it up that much. Bell curve is pretty steep too I think.
Good idea to take it?/advice: It’s an open book exam. Prepare well a few population groups before you go in. I had this one girl sit beside me going cray over her notes that were all over the floor and her table. She was flipping for half of the exam. So, please be organised. Have a mindmap or something so it’ll be faster.
Grade I got: B+

PL3232 Biological Psychology

Well, it’s a core mod for psychology majors. I initially was pretty afraid of this module because Bio right? I’m not a science student so the idea of bio psych was really bleah. I wanted to map this back on exchange, but couldnt, so I had to take it. I heard that bio pysch was really hardcore from previous semesters, but the prof was new for my semester so I decided to go for it.

Workload: Cant remember the percentages but… essay, mid terms, finals, class participation. 
Course Material:
 1 textbook
What I liked about the module: Well, I turned out liking bio more than I expected myself to. I liked that it was more concrete and certain. I ended up liking the chapters on memory a lot. The workload was a lot a lot less than previous semesters (because of the prof)
What I didnt like about the module: I didnt like how the course was structured. I think because it was a new prof, it was really really disorganised. You never know when the assignment was due or what you had to do or what chapters were going to be taught. Plus I learnt nothing bio in this course in the lectures. It was very philosophical and I learnt everything from either the textbooks or youtube. The exams were so bad it had to be moderated because the average was fail. The exams were more definition questions than anything else, but then again this differs from lecturer to lecturer. The assignment was rather nonsense in my opinion. It was “how to write an essay”. We had to hand up a draft and then improve on that draft later, which wasnt too hard if you dont put in effort for your first one.
Good idea to take it?/advice: Again, it differs from lecturer to lecturer. For the exams I spotted certain concept/theories he picked out during the lectures and studied it’s definition and content. If you like bio, hey go for it. I enjoyed the content of the module more than I thought I would. The only gripe I have about this module is the disorganisation of the lecturer. The module content is very heavy and there’s a lot of readings to do and things to understand.
Grade I got: A-, This came as a surprise because I after the exams he gave this exam summary and I thought I did pretty horrible based on the “model answers” he gave. So I guess it must have been bell curve that saved me.

PL3236 Abnormal Psychology

It’s another core mod for psychology and I took this under a new lecturer as well. You learn about all the different mental illnesses. This is the stereotypical module for psychology, I guess. It’s what everyone thinks Psychology is about. If you’re planning to be a clinical psychology, I guess this is where it all starts too.

Workload: Cant remember the percentages but… presentation, one report, mid terms, finals, class participation
Course Material:
 1 textbook, 1 case study book
What I liked about the module: I liked the Prof. (Prof Keng) She was interesting, engaging and compassionate (when she talked about her clients). I liked that I was exposed to more mental illnesses than the usual stereotypical ones.
What I didnt like about the module: Well, there’s nothing much I didnt like about the module. I guess just that the content was rather heavy and more dry at certain parts (medication etc).
Good idea to take it?/advice: If you’re genuinely interested, then take it. You dont really have much choice if you’re a psychology major I guess. I think it’s also very important to be educated when it comes to these things. I have no idea how many times I hear people saying schizo or bipolar when they are really referring to multiple personalities. It gives you more insight and understanding when it comes to mental illnesses. The case study I presented on was on DID (multiple personalities) and the story was just heart wrenching and I guess that’s when I realised that clinical psych was probably not my cup of tea. So, if you’re planning to go on to be a clinical psychologist, try this out to see if you can handle hearing stories and dealing with things like these.
Grade I got: B+, I didnt do very well on my mid terms because she tested quite a bit of things from chapter 1 and yknow… who really reads chapter 1 right? okay, that’s me making an excuse. Read chapter 1, yall.

PL3236 Abnormal Psychology

It’s another core mod for psychology and I took this under a new lecturer as well. You learn about all the different mental illnesses. This is the stereotypical module for psychology, I guess. It’s what everyone thinks Psychology is about. If you’re planning to be a clinical psychology, I guess this is where it all starts too.

Workload: Cant remember the percentages but… presentation, one report, mid terms, finals, class participation
Course Material:
 1 textbook, 1 case study book
What I liked about the module: I liked the Prof. (Prof Keng) She was interesting, engaging and compassionate (when she talked about her clients). I liked that I was exposed to more mental illnesses than the usual stereotypical ones.
What I didnt like about the module: Well, there’s nothing much I didnt like about the module. I guess just that the content was rather heavy and more dry at certain parts (medication etc).
Good idea to take it?/advice: If you’re genuinely interested, then take it. You dont really have much choice if you’re a psychology major I guess. I think it’s also very important to be educated when it comes to these things. I have no idea how many times I hear people saying schizo or bipolar when they are really referring to multiple personalities. It gives you more insight and understanding when it comes to mental illnesses. The case study I presented on was on DID (multiple personalities) and the story was just heart wrenching and I guess that’s when I realised that clinical psych was probably not my cup of tea. So, if you’re planning to go on to be a clinical psychologist, try this out to see if you can handle hearing stories and dealing with things like these.
Grade I got: B+, I didnt do very well on my mid terms because she tested quite a bit of things from chapter 1 and yknow… who really reads chapter 1 right? okay, that’s me making an excuse. Read chapter 1, yall.

PL3551 Undergrad Research Opportunity Program

I didnt UROP after this classmate in my developmental Psych class told me that there was something like that. Basically, it’s unpaid RA. It exposes you to research and things like that. For mine, I did it under Prof Jia Lile because I took his social psych and thought his research was interesting and he was a nice prof. So, I applied for UROP under him. For this module review, it’ll be a little different because no two UROPs will be the same since it differs depending on prof and project.

My workload for this module was pretty heavy, but yet slack. Heavy in the sense that I had to watch 100 over videos and code body movement (how many times the person nodded etc). Slack in the sense that, not much content to study and only one report (5000 words) to write.

Why I recommend taking UROP: Well, you have a more hands-on experience for research and you get to get a glimpse of what it is all about and see if it’s for you, without having to be the main researcher. The workload, as compared to my other modules, was much lesser (again, depends on prof). Research experience is always something good to write on your resume and why not get it while also earning credit? Working under a prof that is working on projects of your interest is important because it is easier to ask the prof to be your thesis prof in the future. It also gives you a chance to see of your working style is in sync with the prof.

Advice: Choose a project that you like. Be proactive and update the prof frequently on your progress so that he/she doesnt need to chase you for your work (they have other students too). Do your report properly, give drafts if you can. I would also say, choose a project that has two students because another girl also worked with me and that made all the difference in the world.

Grade I got: A, Well, there’s no bellcurve…

SSA1208: Everyday life of Chinese Singaporeans: Past and Present

I used this to fulfil my SSA. I mainly chose it because of the video component. I like doing videos, so naturally I gravitated towards this module. Plus, I heard good reviews about this mod so I decided to take it.

Workload: Presentation, Audio interview, Video/scrapbook, Report and final exam (open book), class participation
Course Material:
 nothing
What I liked about the module: The profs were passionate about their area of expertise. I really liked learning about Singapore in general. They teach you the origin of street names, hawker centres etc. I learnt a lot about Singapore’s past in this module.
What I didnt like about the module: The workload is very time-consuming. I spent a lot of time on this module because there was so much to do. I think it was also because I was interested in the subject, so I took up a lot of time just looking at things out of interest. hehe.
Good idea to take it?/advice: Why not? I think it’s a module that’s pretty easy to score with very nice profs. If you need to clear your SS, then I recommend this module because I learnt a lot about Singapore from it. And open book exams are always a plus for me. I didnt really study a lot (or at all) for this module. Put in effort for your CA and you’ll be fine.
Grade I got: A-

 

Bidding

Well, bidding has ended for me and I’ve never been so annoyed at CORS before. Michelle says it’s probably because we forgot how to bid after a semester of not bidding. So anyway! I’ve got all the mods I needed at an incredibly expensive price. I’ve saved my P account points for about 4 semesters and they’re all gone this semester. ): I dont know how I’m gonna survive next semester… but I’m gonna try.

My honours mod this sem was cray. I initially planned on taking either of the 3 mods that I thought would be left over after the y4s bid, but all that was left was 1 vacancy. Then there was this mod I didnt count on taking, but wanted to, and there were 13 vacancies after the y4s bid. So I went for the 13 vacancies one thinking it would be cheaper. Nope. The 1 vacancy ones ended up to be 73 points and 900smth points. The one that I bid for ended up being 1.6k. What in the world of the toadstools. (omg im influenced by huizel) I bid for the 13 vacancies one, although I knew the one with 1 vacancy will defo be cheaper, because 1) interest 2) I dont want to be the only y3 in the class and 3) I now have a two day workweek.

I’m freaking P account broke now. The lab module was already a killer and now the honours mod D: I’m left with 300+ points at the end of y3. how sad is that. Not sure how I’m gonna bid for my honours module next year. Hoping that MPE and priority bidding will save my ass next sem :/

This is my 2nd semester under-loading (sort of… I decided to take the career mod too, so technically I have 5 modules)

Please find your bidding results for Acad Yr 2014/2015, Semester 2 as follows:

——————————————

          Allocated Modules

——————————————

Module Code: PL4880G

Module Title: Positive Psychology

Bid ID: B00005112451

Your Bid: 2004

Winning Bid: 1620

Module Code: PL3282A

Module Title: Lab in Interpersonal Relationships

Bid ID: B00005042472

Your Bid: 1009

Winning Bid: 607

Module Code: GEM1046

Module Title: Home

Bid ID: B00005078800

Your Bid: 401

Winning Bid: 1

NUS Module Review for AY2012/2013

This week is bidding week and I’ve been getting emails from people asking me about modules I’ve taken. As such, I’ve decided to do a module review. Also, I had a psych senior who used to them but he has graduated this year. It seriously helped me A LOT. (google him, his name is Alan) So I decided to continue this tradition for future psych majors/NUS students. So I’m hoping to continue it and one day someone else will continue this when mine gets outdated. Plus, did the freshie survival guide previously and found it very convenient to just point people to a page to read.

Because I’ve not been doing this consistently, I’ll be reviewing it one shot (a year at a time). Also, my memory is bad, so I may not remember the breakdown of the workload for certain modules. If you have the info, do tell me 😀

I understand people have different opinions of things and I’ll, of course, be talking from my point of view. Also, different from Alan’s, I will not put down every module’s Prof’s name. This can be easily found with a little research.

Also, I will be putting my grades down here for the world to see. I dont really like doing this and it makes me feel uncomfortable being so transparent, but I know the question “so what grade did you get” always follows the question “should I take the module?”. I like to ask that question for a gauge also. I’ll remove it if people have a problem with this at any point.

Every sem and every prof and every cohort is different. Do add in your own review/opinions in the comment for the various modules too so that people can get more perspectives. Anything else you wanna know can also be asked. As always, contact me at leepeiwei09@gmail.com if you’re shy.

So this my accumulation of modules for year 1:

Semester 1 (2012/2013)

 PL1101E: Introduction to Psychology
Took this module because I wanted to major. Lectures are taught by different professors every 2 weeks. They do give lecture slides… which are basically useless for exams because EVERYTHING from the textbook will be tested anyway, even those they dont go through in lectures. Tutorials are, in my opinion, useless. So are lectures actually… but you can just go there and listen so info wont sound new when you read textbook. Exams for mids was fully MCQ. It’s insane! 100MCQs!! Finals was MCQ and short essay. But it was interesting, learning about all the psych experiments and phenomenon. 
Workload: 20% Mid-terms, 30% Essay, 50% Finals
Course material: One textbook
What I liked about it: Learning interesting stuff which are applicable to daily life. Some profs were interesting.
What I didnt like about it: MANY THINGS
1) Exam format – What in the world? The number of mcqs and the type of qns asked is really DETAILS (i.e what animal was used in the ____ experiment or Who is______)
2) Changing profs every 2 lectures.
3) Content is insane
Good idea to take it?/advice:
If you want to major, you really have no other choice. If you’re clearing basket, psych, imo, is the most not worth it expo mod. The CORS points is high and the content is heavy, but it is interesting. I heard they rectified and improved many things after my year, so maybe it’s worth the shot. If you do take it, burn and drink the textbook. Lectures are quite pon-able, if you study on your own. Even if it doesnt come out in the lecture, it will come out in the exam.
Grade I got in the end: B, I did average for both mid terms and essay…so finals was less than average too i guess. I kind of killed myself in the finals and I knew it. I studied only the back half of the syllabus XP

SW1101E Social work: A heart-and-hand connection

Took this module because I considered taking Social Work as a major too. The lecture was boring? It’s not that the lecturer was lousy, it was just the content. Many people go in thinking you’ll learn stuff about helping others (at least that’s what I thought). In a way, yes… but quite indirectly. You learn more about theories and frameworks. I think you’ll kinda understand better about the problems faced by the different populations… but it’s not really anything that you havent already know if you’re quite socially conscious.

Workload: I can’t remember what was the exact breakdown but I know it included class participation, group project report and presentation, a reflection paper and finals.
Course material: One textbook
What I liked about it: I really liked that they incorporated agency visits in the syllabus to let students understand more about social work. It was quite troublesome going down to the agencies (two in total), but then it was enlightening and I enjoyed it.
What I didnt like about it: Too technical and lectures were boring. I dont think it’s because of the lecturers. In fact, I think they try to make it better by telling stories (too many sometimes). It’s just the content of the subject.
Good idea to take it?/advice/How to study: Yes if you’re considering social work (duh). I would say it’s a manageable module. You can actually study for it (by reading the textbook) and if you listen to the lecturers, it’ll at least confirm you a pass or a decent grade. If you want to do well, I think you should make a list of policies that are already in place (or at least know about them) and understand under which framework/theories they fit under. Also, for each population type, have a least of policies and know what each of them do and how they benefit the population and their shortcomings.
Grade I got in the end: A- , The final exam was half MCQ and half essay. I thought the MCQ was rather doable if you have read and studied the textbook. The essay portion was more on the lectures. I think it was alright, but I had friends cursing and swearing after the exam. So it really depends.

EL1101E: The nature of language
I initially took this module, wanting to use it as a GEM because I also took History to fulfil my humanities basket. But when I dropped my History mod, this fulfilled the basket for me. It’s pretty technical this one. It’s not English as we know it, it is more of linguistics. You learn how to transcribe pronunciations ( which is kind of fun) and learn all the technicalities of language. My dorm neighbour and I took this together and we left notes to each other in the “transcribed form”. -> heh, cheap thrills!
Workload: 30% mid terms, 30% Finals, 10% class participation (you do a class presentation too), 20% group work
Course material: one textbook
What I liked about it: The prof that I was taking under was hilarious. He’s korean and he makes the lectures rather interesting with his little jokes. I liked that I actually learnt something in tutorials. Plus, I felt this was the most structured module I was taking in that semester. They had worksheets to make sure you know what in the world was going on.
What I didnt like about it: To be honest, there was really nothing I didnt like about it. It was just another module. The exam was fair, the lessons were structured, the lectures were useful and the tutors were qualified.
Good idea to take it?/advice: I always recommend this when people ask which module they should take to clear basket and are fine with everything (unless you damn arty farty then go for Theatre studies). The response I always get is “I’m not good at English” which is perfectly fine and, in some sense, better. Because this module is all about the technicalities of language, it’s very scienc-y. If English comes naturally to you, you may find it a little more frustrating that you have to learn WHY we speak in this manner. So yea, if you’re bad at English, try it. You may improve your English on the way too.
Grade I got in the end: B. Not what I hoped for, but I did badly for mid terms because I studied only the lecture slides. I think my project saved me (got 19/20) and I didnt do all that badly for finals. Still, I think it’s worth to take this module, whether to clear basket or as a GEM.

HY1101E: Asia and the Modern World
I was a history student and naturally I took history as one of my modules for sem 1. I like history, I really do. However, I took this module and realised it’s not the kind of history I liked. I didnt like the way the module was executed either. I was told by seniors that I shouldve taken a level 2 mod instead because I didnt like the briefness of each lecture in this exposure module. I also didnt catch what in the world the tutor was trying to say. In the end, I dropped history for various reason on the 4th week.

Workload: Essay (40%), Class part (10%), finals (50%)
Course material: Printed readings (that you dont have to do, I was told)
What I liked about it: haha, to be honest, nothing much. I dont have anything much to say because I didnt really give it a chance. I dropped it on the 4th week. But up to the 4th week, I quite like the lecturers. They’re knowledgeable about their area of study and they try to make it fun.
What I didnt like about it: The module just felt rather messy. I didnt like the portion of history they were teaching and I hated studying about imperialism. I also did not like the touch-and-go briefness of each subject in the module (well, it is an exposure mod after all)
Good idea to take it?/advice: Why not if you have an interest in history? But do read the syllabus before going in to make sure it’s the period you’re interested in. If you’re not planning to major, then I advice taking a level 2k module instead. It’ll be more in depth and focused. If you havent taken history before, it’s really alright. I dont feel like you’ll be at a disadvantage because it’s not what is being taught in A levels.
Grade I got in the end: W (I withdrew after week 3 so an ugly W now sits on my cert)

SE1101E: Southeast Asia a changing region

Again, I took this to clear basket + I was an A level history student that studied about SEA. I throughly enjoyed myself in the lectures. The lecturers (I took it under Prof Gerard and Prof Irving) were entertaining, knowledgeable and engaging. They spoke about different themes in different southeast asia countries in each lecture. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I considered taking it up as a major midway through the semester.

Workload: Essay (40%), Class part (10%), finals (50%)
Course material: textbook
What I liked about it: I liked thinking about the themes. I think I may also be biased because I like southeast Asia in general. The profs were also good
What I didnt like about it: The essay was due on the 4th week or something (very early in the semester) and it’s quite intimidating for a freshie. I didnt like tutorial sessions. The tutor I was under felt really fluffy and I didnt enjoy tutorials at all.
Good idea to take it?/advice: Well, I really liked the module so I’ll say go for it. You dont have to read the textbook, just listen in lectures and know the themes well. The final exam was essay-based…so if you’re crappy at writing essays, I would say no?
Grade I got in the end: B- , This remains to be the worst grade in my entire transcript till today (I hope it remains that way). My essay got B+, so I’m guessing it’s my finals (duh) that pulled me down. I have no idea how I couldve done better, so… yea.

Semester 2 (2012/2013)

LAB1201: Bahasa Indonesia
I was still contemplating taking SEA as a major, so I took this as my “language requirement” if I should choose SEA as a major in the end. Also, I thought that this would be a useful language in Singapore. I enjoyed this module a lot. I made good friends in this module and it felt like a primary school module (learning vocab, spelling, essay writing and sentence structures). The lecturers were good and patient too. Chose this over bahasa melayu because I heard BM was more demanding and less fun.
Workload: 15% of written homeworks, 40% of tests (2 written test), 15% of project, 15% of oral exam, 15% of attendance & class participation
Course material: One “textbook/activity book” and one course pack
What I liked about it: Learning a new language is always fun. The lessons were structured too and you know what you’re doing (if you attend all lectures). The lectures werent useless. The lecturers were good. You’re involved in the lesson and you get to make stupid sentences and laugh at yourself. The project component was also fun. You can choose between cooking, singing, acting, batik painting and all that for your project and all these will be showcased on a project night.
What I didnt like about it: Well, with all language modules, the workload is heavy. However, I would say that among all the language modules, bahasa indon felt the least heavy out of all. (LEPAK!)
Good idea to take it?/advice: If you’re looking for a new language to learn, YES. I had a lot of fun during this module and up until today I still say “O, begitu”. Make sure your sked isnt crazy packed though because it’s 5 hours a week for this one.
Grade I got in the end: B, I s/u-ed this module in the end because it was lowest in that semester and I had s/u to spare.

LSM1303: Animal Behaviour
My JC teacher strongly recommended this module to me and everyone who had taken it before always raved about it. I like animals, I like learning about behaviour (hence, a psych major) and the bid point was 1 for my semester (iirc). So, I went for it. I looked forward to this module the most for this semester. Oh yes, dont get fooled by the 4 hour tutorial session. It’s only 2 hours and you choose the front 2 hours or the back 2 hours and it’s alternate weeks.
Workload: Project proposal, Group project + presentation, attendance, blogpost, finals
Course material: Lecture slides
What I liked about it: The entire module was pretty slack. The project was to observe an animal and ours was butterflies. I enjoyed every lecture and learning interesting behaviour of animals (or insects). I heard some people were bored with the lectures, so it really depends on you, I guess. It’s a pretty slack module and my group mates and I are still friends up till today! 😀
What I didnt like about it: Nothing much.
Good idea to take it?/advice: Yes! I would say this is one of the best modules I’ve taken so far. I really enjoyed it (good groupmates played a part too). They mainly want to teach the skills of scientific data collection in the project, so I think it really doesnt matter what animal you choose (of course, within reason). A lot of people cheated on their data collection (animals do not follow bell curves), so yea… just do what you need to do and you’ll be fine. Go for lectures and be engaged and you’ll do fine. Take down notes! and study your lecture notes for the exams!
Grade I got in the end: B+ , bell curve is pretty steep on this one, imo.

PL2131: Statistics for Psychology
This was one module I was terrified of before taking because… maths. I’m an arts student. I’m a h1 math student. Understand my fear? hahaha. I think the semester you take this module is very important. It differs by a lot from semester to semester. The semester I took focused very heavily on calculations and doing the various tests. Unlike popular belief, it’s not mathsy at all. They teach you things like T test and Z test and the theory of doing experiments. It’s really manageable even if you are a h1 math student. As long as you dont hate numbers to the core, you’re fine. I was taught under Prof Tsai. Well, the most obvious thing you will realise, going into her class, is her thick accent. A lot of people complained about this and refused to attend her lectures after a while, but I seriously think it’s not that bad after you get used to it. Also, she’s a good lecturer and explains things really well. Plus, her lectures are actually useful! So please go for them if you’re under her and try your best to understand.

Workload: 20% paper, 30% mid terms, 50%
Course material: 2 textbooks

What I liked about it: It’s statistics. But what I liked about this module was the step-by-step approach and the doing of questions DURING lecture. Lectures were well-structured and easy to follow.
What I didnt like about it: The paper. Although I did very well for the paper, I found it a bit too difficult for this module. However, it is a good chance to practice for future modules that require you to do reports. So… yea tough love? And let’s face it, it’s stats. how awesome can it get?
Good idea to take it?/Advice: It really depends on what major you are haha. If you’re not a psychology major, then you should be interested in stats, if not, I wouldnt call this an easy A module because of bellcurve. If you are, then the question is, when? I’m always under the impression that first sem’s bellcurve is high because everyone wants to major in first sem. However, now with the new gradeless first sem, maybe that’s no more the case… no idea. Anyhoo, you still have to get a b- at least to major. So… if you’re not confident with stats, I would say first sem, because you can S/U plus you can major after first sem. However, the better answer would be to see prof. If you think your style suits the prof, take it in that sem! Also, PL2131 likes to use the trick of asking you to do a two tail test but only giving you the value for one tail. So… yea, take note!
Grade I got in the end: A This came as a surprise honestly. I think my essay pulled my grades up because I didnt do too well for mids but my essay was way above average. So, do your best for every component!

PL3233 Cognitive Psychology

I dont really know why I chose this for my first core module, but I did. I was initially very stress over this module because the textbook SUCKED and I didnt understand what in the world it was saying. they replaced it after my semester. There were a million errors in there and honestly, the TA who sent out emails (I think it was our dear Ranjith) did a much better job. Although some found the prof a bit eccentric, I enjoyed his lessons. His slides has only one word each, but most things you can get from the textbook. His tutorial classes often killed my brain, but if you get his tutorial classes, do listen and try to understand anyway.

Workload:First Class Test (15%) + Second Class Test (15%) + short paper (15%) + Class Participation (5%) + Final Exam (50%)
Course material: 1 horrible textbook
What I liked about it: One of the class test is open book and the other is close book. I like that the class tests assess application rather than regurgitation.
What I didnt like about it: I didnt really like having class tests every few weeks. However, it did force me to keep up with my reading of the textbook and studying.
Good idea to take it?/Advice: Well, if you’re interested in things like perception, memory, language, executive functioning and all that, take it. If you’re a psych major, you dont have a choice. For the class tests, you just need to know your stuff and understand every experiment well if you want to get a decent grade.  It’s open book, so tag your book well for fast reference. The final paper was mainly regurgitation.
Grade I got in the end: B+ I did quite horribly on my essay (C- or something) and I thought that was it for my final grade because I constantly did average on my test. Like legit average (on the median kind of average).  So B+ was a good surprise for me.

SE2217 War and Southeast Asia
Liked studying about wars and southeast asia and was still considering being a SEA major so I took this module. We learnt mainly about Vietnam and Indonesia. Two lecturers specialising in these countries took turns to lecture us. It covered the main wars and larger events in those countries. The lectures were mainly content > arguments and theories. I would say it wasnt very necessary to turn up for lectures or do your readings, but I still turned up for the lectures anyway.

Workload: Tutorial participation  10% , “Perspectives” (part one) 20%, “Perspectives” (part two) 20%, Paper 20%, Final exam 30%
Course material: Readings
What I liked about it: I liked the assignment a lot. The first one was to research on any event or theme. I chose military strategy in the Vietnam War. The second assignment was to pretend you were a person in the topic you chose in the first essay. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The third essay was more of an argumentative essay and the week to hand it up depended on which topic you chose to do. .
What I didnt like about it: Having to write 3 essays for one module. I would say this is quite “heavy” because you are writing 3 essays for one module, but I think it was quite manageable. So you’re practically writing an essay every 3 weeks.
Good idea to take it?/Advice: If you have an interest in war and southeast asia, go for it. It broadened my horizon and made me understand things better. It was definitely an advantage that I was a history student in JC because certain concept and content I’ve studied before. However, the exam wasnt difficult, just questions about definition and 2 essays.
Grade I got in the end: A- I did well for my essays + there are many exchange students in this module… so yea.

Guide to applying for SEP (Student exchange programme) in FASS

So, I think it must be SEP application season because I’ve recently gotten a lot of questions on SEP application. I applied for SEP in Year 2 sem 1 and I was lost like a Pee without google maps in Norway. I wish I had some senior to help me then. I ended up having to email the individual unis to get more information, so it was really stressful and a lot of hard work. But it really doesnt have to be, I wish there was some guide then. So here is some rough guide on SEP application + some FAQ + some stuff I found out myself.

Should I apply for SEP and when should I apply?

When I entered uni, I was bent on NOT going for an SEP. It is so troublesome and leh ceh just to apply for it + 6 months away from singapore?! + many things to consider. But, eventually I did apply for it because my CAP hit a >4 and seniors were all like GO GO GO apply while your cap is high.

Things to consider when thinking of applying for SEP:

  1. Do you need to pull up your cap? This is very important because one of my exchange mates had to pull out at the last minute (a week before going) because she decided she wanted to pull up her CAP instead. SEP freezes your CAP and you are on a pass/fail basis. so yea. Do you need to pull up your CAP?
  2. Do you need to take certain modules offered only certain semesters? This is pretty self-explanatory
  3. Do you have the $$$ to go? There are some scholarships and stuff to help you, but try calculating your cost with the assumption you wont get them.

Advantages of going to SEP: You freeze your CAP (which is good if you’re satisfied with your CAP), you have a semester of S/U modules, exciting modules (some uni), new experiences and seriously SEP is one in a lifetime (sorta), travelling!

Disadvantages of going to SEP: You freeze your CAP (one year is a long time and your cap can drop drastically), you dont get to read modules that you want in NUS, moolah $$$, you run many risks – not mapping back modules…needing to overload when you’re back…

But honestly, I would say if you have a chance to go for it, go for it.

Next, when should I apply for SEP?

I think the simple answer to this is probably Year 1 Sem 2 – Year 2 sem 2. The advantages of applying in sem 1 is that a) you can choose to in either sem 1 or sem 2 or year long and b) there are more spaces in sem 1, sem 2 are all the leftover schools and spaces from sem 1.

You should also remember that you can only go after a year you have applied, so… a lot can happen in a year. But I think this is not too bad a system because it helps you plan ahead what mods you need to take before going and stuff.

I chose to go in year 3 sem 1 because of a number of reasons.

  1. My friends were all going in year 3 sem 1, so it’ll be lame being alone in NUS
  2. You reach during summer which is less depressing (this is really quite impt)
  3. I wanted to start taking honours modules in year 3 sem 2 (you cant map back honours module)
  4. It was more of a precautionary measure because in case you cant map back the modules you need, you have at least one semester to “save yourself” before graduation/honours year
  5. Risky going on your 6th semester as they warn you because if your modules arent mapped back in time (postage and admin is slow), you cant read certain modules when you’re back.
  6. Y3S1 seems like a halfway mark for me and I was pretty jaded after 4 sems, so a sem of slack sounds good!
  7. I wanted to do an internship during summer after year 3.

The reasons for going in sem 2 that I’ve heard and worth considering is

  1. You can travel after studying during summer
  2. Your CAP is quite stable to freeze and you can just enjoy yourself

I’m sure there are more, ask people who go in sem 2!

The Process

This was cray. It did help that my friend, Yumi, from the same major was applying with me. So research was shared between both of us. It felt like a research assignment. A million tabs were open and every waking moment was spent on looking at modules and shit like that. My top 5 choices changed almost everyday.

1) Decide the basics first

What are the basics? a) What semester do you want to go, b) What countries do you want to go (Includes the cost of living etc)

2) Look at the pdf

This was the most irritating part and I could almost memorise the entire PDF by the end of the whole thing. There is a PDF telling you what schools are there in what countries and how many spaces there are and the semester duration. During my time, they categorise by countries, now they go by the name of the school (which is damn stupid, imo) Well, Ctrl + F is your friend.

  • Look at the semester timing. I cannot tell you how many friends have made the mistake of not doing this and end up applying for a school that will eat into their next semester. Some schools run till January/February, but they let you go in December. So… do find out more when they say ending in Jan/Feb.
  • Look if it is only for certain majors to apply.
  • Look at how many spaces there are available. It really depends. For me, I preferred choosing those schools with more spaces because a) Higher chance of getting in, b) I dont wanna go alone D: c) If you’re applying in sem 1, that number there is sem 1 + sem 2. Meaning that if there are 2 spaces and one person decides to go in sem 1, and you go in sem 2, you’re going alone.

Things that can be confusing: Quarter semester system and tri-semester thing. It just means that the school operates with 4 semesters a year unlike our two semesters. But you’re only going for ONE quarter (which is much shorter)

3) Modules

On every school’s website you can look at their modules and what semester they are offered in.

Are they interesting and can you map them back?! okay, I know a lot of people are very confused about this mapping thing.

MC Ratio

There are MC exchange ratio on the FASS SEP website, so go look at it. The confusing part is the 30ECTs = 20 MC thing. What does it mean?! D: Basically, their normal load = our normal load. So if 30 ECTs is 10 modules, it’ll be map back to our 5 modules. If their 30 ECTS is 1 module, it’ll be mapped back to our 5 modules.

So you have to be very careful about this. Because if it is not 5 modules (SEP) : 5 modules (NUS) but some odd number like 3 modules: 5 modules (like the one I’m having now), it means that it’ll be economical to take ALL psych or ALL UE because one module here = 1.6 modules in NUS. meaning if I take 2 modules psych here and 1 UE, it’ll map back to 3.2 modules and 1.6 UE. They wont round it up/down for you. so… you’re stuck with 0.4 UE which you have to do one whole mod to fulfil, which is lame. For US school, it’s easier because they generally do 5 modules too. So it’ll be easy for the MC ratio thing.

okay, I understand this is tough, you can ask me if you dont get it.

Can you map them back?

Check with your coordinator. Best is to have schools that have more than what you need to take because you may not get all your mods + not every module will be there in the year you are going even though they have it the year you applied.

FASS doesnt allow level 4000 module to be mapped back. Most Psych core modules are quite hard to map back, but it is allowed. You can honestly try. Prof Stephen was very nice about helping me check if they’re okay to be mapped before applying.

Can you overload?

Most schools dont let you overload. Luckily for me, I get to overload. OVERLOAD IF YOU CAN. Scandinavians school and european schools generally let you overload. School’s free for them anyway.

4) Money money money

If you’re loaded, then skip this point. My parents told me to just apply to wherever I wanted because to them, overseas education is an opportunity they value a lot. (Plus they really want to get me out of the house. My mother was the one who kept asking me to apply for SEP) I’m lucky in that sense.

But having, unknowingly, applied to the country known for its high prices, it is really quite a chore. My parents are only funding my air fare, accommodation and things like that. For things like travelling, eating and spending, I’m paying for them. So I really feel the pinch when using the washing machine is 4 bucks and dryer is another 4 bucks. Or when eating out means 25 bucks for sandwich and 8 bucks for hotdog.

So really do take this into consideration. If you want to come to Europe, the cheaper places are of course Eastern Europe. Scandinavia is generally expensive, to say the least. Asia is rather cheap-ish. US, Canada is still in the okay price range for exchange, I feel. Australia and New Zealand is getting increasingly expensive.

5) Where do you want to travel

I wasnt that interested in Europe to be honest. If it werent for SEP, I wouldnt even think of travelling Europe. I very much prefer to explore Asia or US. I’m a sua gu and have not travelled out of SEAsia/Australia.  In fact, US and Canada were my top 3 choices. I chose norway because my friend who was bent on travelling Europe put it as her first choice and I decided I shall put a Europe-ish place for my 4th, at least. My fifth was new zealand (which was my first at first) I dont regret it because I know if not given this chance, I wouldnt have come out here myself. Now that I’ve seen Europe, I’ve had an appreciation for it and will probably be back. Plus I’m allowed to overload… which I’m very glad to.

6) List your choices down and rank them considering:

a) number of spaces : It’s all supply and demand… so… yea
b) Place: Safe? Expensive?
c) Modules
d) Money

7) Take a photo + Write a good letter

Put in effort for this, dont be an idiot.

FAQ

1) What CAP should I have to apply for _____?

I get this a lot and asked this a lot when I was applying too. The truth is, you dont really know. It’s supply and demand. I’ve had friends with 4++ who didnt get into a US university, but a friend with 3.6+ who go into one. So it really does depend

2) What are the more popular countries

For some odd reasons, Australia and NZ arent all that pops. US and Canada is very pops. UK too actually. Europe, not so, because of the odd timings + non-english speaking.

3) Does ranking matter?

Yes it does. Someone with lower CAP, but higher rank for the school may get it over you.

4) If I reject the one I got offered in the end, can I wait for another one?
no. not in the same round. Reject = wait next round (next sem). So please choose wisely!

5) Summer school or Exchange?

ok, this depends on what you want. I wanted to freeze my cap and have a semester of slack. Plus I wanted to do other stuff during my summer besides studying. Depends on what summer school you go for, summer school normally comes up (money wise) to be the same as exchange with a lot less time to do what you want to do ): It’s too short to experience much to be honest and summer schools you dont get to mix as much with locals.

But some summer schools can be quite fun and not offered during normal sems. Example is semester at sea. If I had the money, I would definitely go for it. Mongolia summer school is cool too. Stanford summer school D:

Plus summer school is much easier to get in. So if you cant get into SEP, then summer school is probably a good option. If you have the cash, why not? It’s an experience too! A good one too!

Tips

1) Go somewhere with more than 1 person if you’re not too social. At least you have one person to start you off.
2) Do not be afraid to go to a non-english speaking country
3) Try going somewhere you can overload.
4) Plan plan plan. Plan what modules you are going to take. I’ve had friends who are already going to take modules equivalent to 5 psych mods overseas, but they still take too many psych modules in NUS. So they have excess modules. PLAN YOUR MODULES
5) Planning and preparation – dont skimp on them. You will regret if you do insufficient research and choose some school that you cant go later/go already realise you cant do shit
6) The amount of shit you have to do will all be worth it.
7) Ask seniors, go be proactive, call the schools even if you have to!

GO FOR AN EXCHANGE PROGRAMME!

Freshie in NUS FASS survival guide (life hacks)

Updated: 20 July 2016

This year, many of my friends are freshies in FASS because of the guys exiting army and entering into the world of Uni. I keep getting repeated questions (from the previous years and this year) about certain things, so I decided, I’m going to do a blogpost on what to do as a freshie.This is going to include all useful links which explains everything in detail. So when my future juniors enter, I’ll just direct them here. Also, since I was once a blur freshie who googled everything, if you are a blur freshie who googled this out while trying to find out some terms… well… welcome too!

Also, feel free to contact me at: leepeiwei09@gmail.com (I’ll help to my best abilities!) if you’re shy about posting comments

What’s covered here:

  • Graduation requirements (GEM, SS and all the stupid short forms)
  • Minor/double major
  • bidding/balloting/timetable
  • Gradeless first year/semester and S/Us
  • Modules
  • Some common NUS terms
  • What to expect in uni
  • Useful Links

Graduation Requirements

So since this is supposed to be a sort of “idiot’s guide to FASS”, I’m gonna just explain the requirements real quick.

An overview before you start:

What do I have to complete (for a 2016 onward freshie):

1) 4 exposure modules (including the expo mod of your chosen major) + 2 writing modules (FAS1101 and FAS1102).
2) 5 modules from each pillars
3) 7 UEs
4) 2 modules from anywhere
5) 10 modules from your major (excluding the exposure module)
6) If you’re taking honours, another 8 honours module

University Requirements:

For those before 2015:

  • 1 Singapore studies module: These are modules with “SS” in front.
  • 2 GEM modules: Unless you’re a poly student, you need 2 GEM mods. One from Science and one from humanities OR two science gems (for FASS students) So, how do you tell which is Science and which is humanities? The common misconception is that you see if it’s “GEM” or “GEK”. Nope. You look at the numbers. If the 2nd number of the course code is “5”, it’s a science gem, if it’s “0” it is a humanities GEM. If it’s a “9” you can use it to fulfil your arts gem OR science gem. Easy enough?
  • Here are some useful links:
    To see All the Gems offered in NUS: http://www.nus.edu.sg/gem/GEMs_offered.pdf
    To learn more about GEMS : http://www.nus.edu.sg/gem/about_what_is_ge.htm
  • 2 Breadth: This includes EVERYTHING outside of your faculty. If you’re a psychology major and you take a history module, do you count it as breadth? NO. It only counts as breadth if it’s not from your faculty (i.e Engineering, design, business) You can use an SS module or a GEM module to fulfil this, as long as the GEM is not offered by your faculty. (e.g a science GEM by school of engineering or a SSB by school of biz)

For 2016 onwards: 

I’ve been informed there has been a change in the university requirements for the new cohort and I’ve been asked many questions regarding this. To be honest, I think the new system probably makes life easier and is more intuitive.

So, what is part of your requirements? You have to take 5 General Education modules, one from each “pillar”:

  1. Human Cultures
  2. Asking Questions
  3. Quantitative Reasoning
  4. Singapore Studies
  5. Thinking and Expression

How do you know which modules are from which category? Well, I’m glad NUS has done away with the number coding system and now it’s easier to identify what modules are from what pillar.

  • ‘GEH’ – Human Cultures
  • ‘GER’ – Quantitive Reasoning
  • ‘GES’ – Singapore Studies
  • ‘GET’ – Thinking and Expression
  • ‘GEQ’ – Asking Questions

So, the GEK/GEM codes does not apply to y’all anymore!

Faculty Requirements:

2015 and before:

  • 4 Exposure Modules: Basically these are all the “XX1101E” modules, XX being PL or SW or whatever (there are exceptions). So where should you take these 4 modules from? Basically, FASS is divided into 3 – Humanities, Social sciences and studies. So, you have to take one from each group. Where does the last one come from? the 4th exposure module have to be from the division of your chosen major. (e.g you decide to major in English, you have to take one more expo module that is History, English lit, Philo or Theatre studies.) Which basket or division is European studies and Global studies from?! Good question! I was recently informed by Gary that these two exposure mods can be used to fulfil the “Humanities” or the “Social science” division/basket.Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 8.56.29 pm

For those 2016 and after:

You only have to take 3 exposure mods now (from each basket), but have to take 2 writing modules, FAS1101 and FAS1102, on top of that.

Unrestricted Electives:
For both before 2016 and after 2016:

  • 7 UE Modules: What are UE modules? Basically they are ANYTHING that is not your major. They can be from your faculty, but not your major. So if you’re an English major, you can take English lit modules to fulfil your UE. Gems and SS can be used too.

A NOTE TO REMEMBER: You can only take a maximum of 15 level 1000 modules and out of this 15, a maximum of 8 can be from your faculty. This 8 does not include GEMs and SS offered by your faculty.

Two extra modules from anywhere:
Only applies to those 2016 and after:
Yeap, and then two extra modules from either your major or anywhere.

So to recap for 2016 onwards freshies:

1) 3 exposure modules (including the expo mod of your chosen major) + 2 writing modules (FAS1101 and FAS1102).
2) 5 modules from each pillars
3) 7 UEs
4) 2 modules from anywhere
5) 10 modules from your major (excluding the exposure module)
6) If you’re taking honours, another 8 honours module

Credits to Ching Siang for informing me about the two extra module thing and the writing modules! (:

Gradeless First Year and S/Us

To first understand what the heck is a gradeless first year or semester, we must first understand what in the world is an S/U. An S/U can either be your friend and your foe and the nature of S/U has changed a lot since I was a freshie.

So let’s say you take a module and then the results come back to you and they were horrible. You have the option to S/U it. It means that you can count the credit of the module (if you passed it) so you do not have to retake the module or take another module to replace it, but you do not have to count the grades to your CAP. If you fail, the grades dont count either, but you have to take the module again/another module to replace it.

Up to this point, one thing to note. S/U is only done after the release of exam results.

Now say you’re a freshie that enrolled in 2016 (only 2016 onwards ah). You can S/U a total of 8 modules in your first year. Huh shen me lai de?

So in your first semester, you take 5 modules (normal workload). All 5 the results jialat jialat. You get to S/U all 5. yaye! If only 4 modules jialat, you can s/u those 4 modules only. And what happens to the remaining 4 S/Us? You get to keep them for the next semester!

So, in your first year, you typically take 10 modules and you get to S/U 8 of them. This 8 can be used in any combination. 4 this semester, 4 next. 3 this semester, 5 next. You DO NOT have to use all 8.

So let’s say, you finish your first year and you only used 4 S/Us, what happens to the remaining 4? You get to bring 3 S/Us to the next 3 years of your life in NUS. If you used 6, you can bring 2 S/Us only. (So please used your S/Us sparingly because you might need them in the future!).

There’s also rules surrounding what kind of modules can be S/U-ed.
If your module is from your own faculty, modules 3k and above cannot be S/Ued. And modules 2k and below with pre-requisites cannot be S/U-ed too.

Credits: Gradeless first year information was made understood to me by Esther

Okay, with that aside, here are the more complicated ones that I’ve been asked before

Minor

What in the world is a minor?! Okay, minors… they are QUITE useless, in terms of certification. But can be quite fulfilling to take. It can be your area of interest or a major that you liked but did not find practical to major in. Do remember that NUS has a lot of minors that are not majors. There are minors in religious studies, gender studies, forensic science, healthcare etc etc.

Minors take up 6 modules out of your 7 UEs. Meaning, you only need to do 1 UE if you’re doing a minor.

Double counting: For minors, you can double count modules to fulfil requirements from your major and your minor. For example, if a certain module PHXXXX can be used to fulfil my minor AND my major, you can double count this module. However, you do not double count MCs. What this means is, you fulfil both your major and your minor requirements, but you still have to take one more UE to fill up that MC. (you do not take less modules if you double count for minors) So instead of just having 1UE, you have 2 UEs left. You can only double count up to 8MC (which is 2 modules)

Note: You have to declare your minor by sem 4, or else… you have to complete all your requirements for that minor then declare it.

Double Major

you may need to overload if you’re a normal student doing 2 majors unless you take an extra year or something/special sem/summer prog.

Where does double major fit into your MC requirements?

It eats up all your UEs and plus another 5 modules for you. (48 MC for your second major. 48 – 28 (UE requirements) = 20 mc) So if you’re a double major, no you do not need to do UEs.

Here’s an input from Yingjie: Double majors do not necessarily require overloading. It’s 12 modules, so it just depends on your combination. For example, if you’re in FASS and you do a second major in Science, say Life Sciences, your Breadth modules can also count towards your other major. Or in some cases, your first and second major may share modules, so it depends on how you work it.

So you may not end up having to overload! (:

For 2016 onwards

Compared to your seniors, each major (without honours) only need to do 44MCs (11MCs) worth of major modules. So you need to take less modules to graduate with a second major now.

And, remember now you got that extra 2 modules of anything (as compared to your seniors), so like mentioned above, you can replace your UE (7 modules) with modules from your second major. You can also use your 2 extra modules of anything to fulfil modules from your second major. So all in all, if you make use of that 9 modules, you only have to take an extra of 2 modules! Yaye! If you’re lucky and find crosslisted modules, you don’t even need to take extra modules (double yaye!).

Pros and Cons of doing Double Major and Minor:

This is my take on this, I understand many people have differing objectives/views/abilities and stuff.

The advantage of taking a double major is you are qualified in two majors. This is especially so if the job you want specifically requires you to have a certain major rather than a general degree  (i.e Social Work degree if you want to be a social worker). Plus it’s totally cool if you love two majors and want to study both more in depth. Plus, you do not pay more each sem.

The disadvantage is that you have to overload every sem and your modules are mostly ‘heavy’ major modules. You dont get to study more “widely”. Because double major/minor eats up your UE, you dont get to take other interesting “nonsense” modules outside of your two majors. Plus, this means your timetable is rather rigid. (bye bye 3 day work week)

Should you go for it? (some questions to ask yourself)

Can you cope with two majors? (the workload is heavy)
Are you okay with not taking other modules? (this is one of the main reasons why I didnt take double major)
Will having two majors decrease your ability to enjoy your learning? (another main reason why I didnt take double major because I rather immerse myself fully in the learning of one major than to split my time between two majors and make it unable for me to fully ‘enjoy’ my modules. Yes I’m a nerd like that who is rather incompetent)
What are your objectives for uni? (Get an employable degree?/Enjoy learning?/Party animal?/ Networking?)

Bidding/Balloting/Timetable

Yes, the bane of every FASS student’s existence. CORS, bidding points, round 1C WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!

You are given 600 points in your P account and 400 points in your G account.

P account = Everything in your faculty
G account= Everything that’s not from your faculty + SS/GEM that is offered by your faculty

Let me introduce you to a friend you will meet every semester for the rest of your stay in FASS, CORS.
CORS website: http://www.nus.edu.sg/cors/index.html

As a freshie, you bid in Round 1C. This is a protected round. It allows you to bid for everything in FASS (including those offered by language centre) that a freshies can take (i.e including level 2k modules that have no prerequisites)
What can you bid for in this round:

  • Exposure modules
  • Level 2k modules that have no prereq
  • language modules (this one I’m not very sure)

Okay, got that? now, what if you want to bid for language modules breadth,SS or GEM: ROUND 2

So what is Round 3 for? It’s the left over spaces for every module. If you dont get all the modules you need by this round, please start fighting for some. In this round you use points from your P and G account.

Bidding Tips: (I get this ALL the time, but I asked this ALL the time too when I was a freshie)

  • Dont be stressed out over bidding, it’s not that tough, serious.
  • Log in every day, in case you got the wrong round for your modules (yes, kiasu a bit wont die one)
  • Dont save on your first sem, of course within reason. The thing is, you will probably rarely use your P account after you’ve declared your major because you can MPE (module preference exercise) for your major modules later. (more about MPE later)
  • If you see number of bidders super low in relation to the quota, shift your points somewhere else. If Supply > demand, everyone gets the mod for 1 point and you get refunded your bid points

Timetable building tips: (I regret not asking seniors for help on this)

  • USE NUSMODS: http://nusmods.com
    It was good during my time, but they just revamped it and it’s DAMN BLOODY GOOD now.
  • Always have back up modules
  • Look at the location for back to back lectures/tutorials. Typically, the prof ends 25 mins earlier for lectures and 15 mins earlier for tutorials for you to squeeze in the shuttle bus to get to your next class. But please dont put back-to-back classes which are ridiculously far from each other if you can help it. It does nothing for you, especially if you need to consult your prof/tutor after lecture.
  • Have an empty day, you’re an fass student, you’re known for empty days.
  • Lunch time for most people is 12-4. So… the canteens are really crowded (no thanks to the science park people too), especially the deck. I like to schedule classes during lunch because I rarely eat lunch in school and I dont like crowded canteens (long queues and no tables). You can eat in classes/lectures. Profs are generally quite understanding/they dont really care. Of course use common sense, dont picnic in class.

Balloting for tutorial tips: (I did it all wrong in sem 1)

For balloting, you choose tutorial slots and you start ranking them. It’s not first come first serve, it’s chance. If you think bidding is stressful. ho ho ho. This is horrible. This makes or breaks your timetable. It can make your 3 day week a 5 day week.

  • Rank tutorial slots that are 8am-10am and 4-6pm lower than those 10am-4pm slots. People rarely want these slots.
  • slots after/before the lecture is damn pops.
  • use other modules to block out days. This is a bit more complicated… but you’ll get it after sem 1, I think.
  • Dont cry if you dont get your tutorial slot and cmi for other slots. Talk to your prof, they’ll help you.

NOTE: For most modules, tutorial only starts on the 3RD WEEK OF SCHOOL. 

Module combination: 

I’m a psychology major planning to do honours, so whatever I say is based on my experience. Again, I understand everyone is different and it’s best if you ask your seniors from your same major. Double major/minors/double degree. I’m sorry I cant really help you, but feel free to still read to get some idea.

I always advise my friends to declare major in the first sem if they’re sure of what they want to do (this I didnt do because I was not sure… and there are consequences for being undecided). I usually tell them to take a level 2 mod in their first sem (of their preferred major ) for 2 reasons: A. get a REAL feel of the major and B. Get ahead.

Considering you have to do 14 modules from your major,

sem 1: do the exposure mod
sem 2 to sem 5: do 3 major mods + 2 other modules
by the time you reach sem 6 (year 3 sem 2), you’ve finished 13 major modules and are left with 2. This gives you the ability to “bring down” one module from your honours year, should you decide to do honours, so that your honours year will be less taxing.

It’s even better if you do 2 modules from your major in the first sem, so that you have flexibility in the future should you decide to go exchange or anything. Plus, now with the gradeless/capless first year, why not try out your level 2k module without the fear of it killing your CAP?

Also, try not to do more than 3 major mods a sem. (I’m talking from a psych stud POV) I have friends who can cope with more than 3 major modules a sem, but for me, I feel that 3 modules is optimal. (Not too slack, not too chiong)

How to choose modules:

  • Dont just look at the title. The title and description always sound better than it is.
  • Go google that module code with the term “IVLE public view”, sometimes the syllabus is online
  • Look for past exam papers: Go the LINC and search for past exam papers for the module. (NUS library: http://libportal.nus.edu.sg/frontend/index)
  • Look at the breakdown of the course… (20% class part 50% exam…blah blah blah) and see if you can live with that
  • Ask around, module-reviews.com is your friend…
  • Google for reviews
  • Look at your exam dates and make sure they are not one after the other!!!

What is…

  • s/u : (for batches after 2016, please ignore this) This is a very common qns. S/U is for modules that you dont want your grade to count towards your cap. Before the 2014/2015 batch, s/u can only be used for modules that are not from FASS. But from this batch onwards, S/U can be used for anything that is not your major, is 2k and below and has no prerequisites. This is a damn good move and I’m super jelly of all the freshies. S/U is like a super power, but then it’s limited. Only can use for 12 MC (about 3 modules). You need to get D above to S a module (grades do not count in to cap, but count MC as fulfilled) . You have unlimited U. So if you fail, you can just U it. (dont count grades, dont count MC… it’s like you never took the module)S/u calculator: http://module-review.com/?page_id=158
  • This calculator tells you if you should s/u the module.
  • Gradeless first year: Basically, everything you study in your first semester, you can s/u. Doesnt matter where it’s from, you can choose to s/u it (Up to 8 modules, I heard). So the credits count (you dont have to take the modules again), just that your grades do not.
  • CAP (cumulative average points) : This is the root of your stress in uni. Everything look at CAP (almost everything). Opportunities, exchange programme, double major… CAP is your overall average grade point. A/A+ = 5, A- = 4.5, B+ =4, B= 3.5, B- = 3, C+ = 2.5, C= 2, D+ = 1.5, D= 1, F=0
    Honours: First class is 4.5 above, second upper =4, second lower=3.5, third = 3.2
    CAP calculator: http://module-review.com/?page_id=177
    This calculator is super useful. It tells you how much you have to get to maintain your cap/move up/move down.
  • SJAP: your “CAP” for only modules from your major
  • GAPS: This place allows you to classify your modules into the various requirements and help you keep track of what you’ve taken
  • MPE: Module preference exercise – lets you indicate what modules you want to take next sem (only for your major). If supply> demand, everyone gets it for 1 point. If supply<demand, nobody gets it and you have to bid for it in round 1A when bidding starts.
  • IVLE: This is where everything concerning your modules are at (for most modules). Your module syllabus, textbook name, homework, lecture slides… readings. Everything. You even submit your assignment here. Your course mates names and contact too. Your whole life.
  • MYISIS: Not a terrorist group.This is the “admin” website. Your transcript, tuition fees, exam results, exam seat number and location… it’s all here.

What to expect in Uni/Tips about everything else

Again, this is my perspective (psych student…from a JC…and all)

  1. You dont have a “home class” anymore. You’ll see more or less the same people around after a while… and maybe come up with nicknames for them because you dont really know their names (heh heh heh, guilty as charged). Dont expect to have fixed classmates. You see them for one module and once the bell rings, next module everyone goes.
  2. Be proactive. Dont know, ask. The prof dont know what you dont know. Dont know how to find a resource, ask. Dont understand something, ask. Dont know how to do your assignment, ask. I started year 1 sem 1 being uber stressed because I didnt know how to do my assignments and the prof/tutor just expect you to do it on your own without much briefing. That was really scary for me because I didnt know what they wanted. Well, my bad for not asking. In uni, it’s quite different, sending emails to your profs and tutors are really common. Dont be afraid to do it.
  3. Uni is expensive: Go to IVLE used textbook forum/Carousell to save money.
  4. Working during Uni: Possible, but need good time management
  5. You can withdraw from mods: A lot of juniors I spoke to didnt know this. If you withdraw before the 3rd week, nothing will be reflected. If you withdraw before recess weeks, you get a ‘W’ on your cert, but nothing happens to your cap. After recess week, you get an ‘F’ and it counts into your CAP. I once withdrew from a mod once and now I think it was the wisest thing I did in my whole uni life. hahaha (kua zhang) but yes, if you’re dying in a mod, explore the option of withdrawing, if before recess week.
  6. FIND YOUR CLASS BEFORE THE DAY OF THE CLASS
  7. Dont spam exposure mods in your first sem
  8. “Uni was the best time of my life, I had nothing to do”, “Uni is chill” LIES… at least for year 1. Maybe it’ll get more chill after a while, but dont count on it. If you’re from a JC, imagine A levels every 4 months. Yes. that is it. But dont worry, you will survive and get used to it.
  9. CHECK YOUR EMAILS! Better yet, sync it to your phone. If it’s on email and you didnt see it, you’ll probably lose out big time. I’ve had profs telling us class was cancelled through email on that day itself. So… please just check it, together with IVLE announcements.
  10. Try to be consistent (again, diff strokes for different folks). But I find keeping up with things/readings weekly… (okay, sometimes I fall back a week or so), very helpful. As a psych student, of course you have to use your psych knowledge to good use in real life. Anyway, there are findings to back this up. Cramping last minute is not the way to go.
  11. Bell curve. This will either save or kill you. Dont be too happy/sad when you see your grades
  12. No one cares about how many lectures you skip. I personally havent really skipped any lectures before… other than PL1101E, which is surprising because I skip school in sec/JC like I was homeschooled or something. But in uni I learn that because uni is not an everyday thing, it’s easy to lose that rhythm and momentum, so even if you’re not learning anything from lectures, still try to go for it.
  13. Every week is a different topic.
  14. Readings… yes you are expected to finish them. Actually this depends on the module, but for psych… yes please finish all the readins, burn and drink if you can.
  15. Free days are for you to complete readings/assignments/maybe CCA/maybe go out
  16. Be prepared to learn more about yourself/others/people

Useful links:

IVLE: https://ivle.nus.edu.sg/
MYISIS: https://myisis.nus.edu.sg/psp/cs90prd/?cmd=login&languageCd=ENG&amp;
CORS: http://www.cors.nus.edu.sg/
NUS library: http://libportal.nus.edu.sg/frontend/index
Module Review: http://www.Module-review.com
Nusmods: http://nusmods.com/timetable

Okay, so feel free to leave me questions below and correct me if there are any wrong info on this page or any info i missed out.
I’ll try my best, I guess.

If you’re shy, leepeiwei09@gmail.com (Yes, start using emails, if you dont normally use them)
Hope this helped you!

ENJOY UNI, FRESHIE!!