Just finished my undergraduate degree, AMAA

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Mere Intricacy

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Senior Member

05-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingpir View Post
This is because your program doesn't result in a job that makes money. There is no weed out process. They fail you out by piling ridiculous amounts of course work on top of the already impossible exams. If you didn't study/work you'd fail
I bet I could easily get the marks without studying.
I did the math and the physics, D and HDs without
I taught myself how to code, purely from intuition.
Only engineering subject I didn't do was elec. I bet that's so hard.. just basic circuit stuff and the rules you learnt in physics.

Also let's not forgot you didn't do an engineering degree. You dropped out.
I guess you were weeded out to. Unable to handle the pressure?


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Kodoku

Senior Member

05-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingpir View Post
Why?

Let's put this into perspective. Your first year GPA was a 1.94, this was after stretching it out over 3 semester so that you could have 3 class semesters.

I'm not a math brained person, but failing linear algebra 1 when you're only taking 3 courses either means you have no work ethic (which you adamantly deny) or you have no aptitude for math.

During my first semester of engineering they made you take 6 courses, all of which were science courses. These courses were Calculus, Intro Phys, Intro Chem, Statics, Intro to Computer Programming and Linear Algebra. If you wanted to cut that course load in half and just take 3 of them in the summer they'd automatically subtract the weight of those courses from your GPA. In other words, you had to take 6 courses a semester.

During that time I realized one thing; you could scrape out a B as long as you worked. If I ever got below a B it was because I didn't put in the time.

Now, obviously your program isn't at all comparable to engineering. If they made engineering degrees as easy as math degrees we wouldn't have any math majors. But the point is that there really isn't any excuse to rock a 1.9 taking 3 course semesters. If you had chosen engineering you would have failed out first semester.
First of all, my comment about work ethic was a rejection of the idea that arts students have bad work ethic, and the implicit suggestion that you don't need work ethic for an arts degree. Hence my anecdote about a philosophy course that required a greater work ethic than any of my science courses. In fact, it does not even follow from my comment that I have good work ethic, so at no point did I adamantly defy having poor work ethic.

As it turns out, I get bored very easily. And when I get bored, I tend to stop working. The main reason I did exceptionally well in analysis and topology is that I never got bored. The material was interesting, I enjoyed doing the problems, so putting in 20 hours a week or more for just the analysis course was not an issue. By contrast, putting in even 2 hours a week for a boring course like lin algebra 2 was a chore. So I think that's an overall poor work ethic by any reasonable standard.

Though you're also displaying poor perspective by suggesting that failing an easy course demonstrates either a lack of aptitude in the material for that course or a bad work ethic. For one thing, one can suffer temporary functional impairment (e.g. via mental illness). For another, not everything is like engineering where it's mostly about just putting in long hours doing computations in preparations for tests. One can be both competent and have a good work ethic but fail to grasp one small but important concept that prevents the person from understanding a lot of material. Lots of students face this particularly in calculus. In that case one needs the foresight and motivation to seek extra help (e.g. via office hours). Failure to do so is neither bad work ethic nor a lack of aptitude for the subject. And some people do extremely well in the first two years of math courses but get destroyed in upper division math courses (you know, the ones you don't need to take for engineering). A lot of them give up on math and transfer to something sciency, including... (drumroll) engineering!

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During that time I realized one thing; you could scrape out a B as long as you worked. If I ever got below a B it was because I didn't put in the time.
And you assume this experience applies to everyone? In that 4th year combinatorics course I got a 63. I did all the problem sets (acing them), I actively participated in in-class discussion, understood the material extremely well, but still bombed the final. I also know of plenty of people who worked their asses off and still failed some of the courses I was in. Your narrow experiences are not universal.

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Now, obviously your program isn't at all comparable to engineering. If they made engineering degrees as easy as math degrees we wouldn't have any math majors. But the point is that there really isn't any excuse to rock a 1.9 taking 3 course semesters. If you had chosen engineering you would have failed out first semester.
I'm sorry, but this is just a joke. Here's a question that was on one of our problem sets for MAT357. Prove the following theorem:

http://drexel28.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/extending-uniformly-continuous-functions/

That's just one question on one problem set, and by no means a particularly difficult one. Or here's a fun one: construct a monotonically increasing function on [0, 1] whose discontinuity set is exactly the set of rationals in that interval. The construction actually uses nothing you wouldn't have seen in engineering. It's just a challenging problem, one that I can't see very many engineers being able to solve.

This stuff is conceptually difficult. We don't spend hours upon hours doing the same exercise in a thousand different cases to master an algorithm or solution technique, we just study abstract mathematical structures to learn about structure itself. The difficulty of engineering comes primarily from an onerous workload. The difficulty of pure math comes from the sheer difficulty of developing an understanding of abstract structure.


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stillnotCampir

Senior Member

05-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mere Intricacy View Post
I bet I could easily get the marks without studying.
I did the math and the physics, D and HDs without
I taught myself how to code, purely from intuition.
Only engineering subject I didn't do was elec. I bet that's so hard.. just basic circuit stuff and the rules you learnt in physics.

Also let's not forgot you didn't do an engineering degree. You dropped out.
I guess you were weeded out to. Unable to handle the pressure?
First of all, I doubt you've done even 5% of the engineering subjects. There are several different sects of engineering and some of them are very specific. I doubt you've taken any metallurgical classes or in depth material science classes. These classes are very applied and nothing like your abstract/useless physics classes. The classes stop being your typical science classes after first year tbh.

You don't get bad grades in engineering because of lack of intelligence, you get them because of how the tests and course load work.

For instance, the first year calc test I wrote had a class average of 40%, with the smartest kids scoring around 70-80%. They do this intentionally, even the the smartest students walk out of first year with a high 2 or low 3. The ones that didn't spend the 3-6 hours a night doing course work and studying failed indefinitely.

You might be the exception to this rule, but considering you do 3 course semesters at some mickey mouse college in an irrelevant country, I doubt it.

It's hard to explain, but in the engineering program I was in not studying was ludicrous and lead to immediate failure.

I dropped out of engineering for several reason, but admittedly one of those reasons is that I hated the course work and course load. My cumulative GPA when I left was a 2.9, so I could definitely hack it. "weed out" refers to people that are forcibly withdrawn from the program.

*all of this is based on my experience with UofA's and UBC's engineering programs


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stillnotCampir

Senior Member

05-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodoku View Post
First of all, my comment about work ethic was a rejection of the idea that arts students have bad work ethic, and the implicit suggestion that you don't need work ethic for an arts degree. Hence my anecdote about a philosophy course that required a greater work ethic than any of my science courses. In fact, it does not even follow from my comment that I have good work ethic, so at no point did I adamantly defy having poor work ethic.
I didn't think that anyone could be so daft as to say BA students have challenging course loads.

Quote:
As it turns out, I get bored very easily. And when I get bored, I tend to stop working. The main reason I did exceptionally well in analysis and topology is that I never got bored. The material was interesting, I enjoyed doing the problems, so putting in 20 hours or more for just the analysis course was not an issue. By contrast, putting in even 2 hours a week for a boring course like lin algebra 2 was a chore. So I think that's an overall poor work ethic by any reasonable standard.
You can dance around the reality of it all you want but it won't change the truth. You did bad first year because you were lazy, anything else is just an excuse. You math nerds have difficulty with self evaluation.



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And you assume this experience applies to everyone?
Either that or I am a ridiculously exceptional student. I'll accept either answer.

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I'm sorry, but this is just a joke. Here's a question that was on one of our problem sets for MAT357. Prove the following theorem:

http://drexel28.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/extending-uniformly-continuous-functions/

That's just one question on one problem set, and by no means a particularly difficult one. Or here's a fun one: construct a monotonically increasing function on [0, 1] whose discontinuity set is exactly the set of rationals in that interval. The construction actually uses nothing you wouldn't have seen in engineering. It's just a challenging problem, one that I can't see very many engineers being able to solve.

This stuff is conceptually difficult. We don't spend hours upon hours doing the same exercise in a thousand different cases to master an algorithm or solution technique, we just study abstract mathematical structures to learn about structure itself. The difficulty of engineering comes primarily from an onerous workload. The difficulty of pure math comes from the sheer difficulty of developing an understanding of abstract structure.
Engineers not being able to solve pure math problems? Well I'll be damned, what's next? Chemists can't read sheet music? Physicists can't teach children to read?

For every challenging math class you took there is an equally challenging engineering class. The difference is that, as you mentioned, the engineering class was taken along side 4-5 other courses, not 1.


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Kodoku

Senior Member

05-06-2013

Quote:
I didn't think that anyone could be so daft as to say BA students have challenging course loads.
Depends on the program and university. But then again, I don't expect you to have any sense of perspective given your track record of making definitive statements about things you know nothing about.

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You can dance around the reality of it all you want but it won't change the truth. You did bad first year because you were lazy, anything else is just an excuse. You math nerds have difficulty with self evaluation.
In what you quoted, I explicitly admit to having poor work ethic. Guess you don't need to be able to read in order to get a 2.9 in your engineering program.

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Either that or I am a ridiculously exceptional student. I'll accept either answer.
Or the material you studied is not conceptually difficult, and just requires a lot of work.

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Engineers not being able to solve pure math problems? Well I'll be damned, what's next? Chemists can't read sheet music? Physicists can't teach children to read?
The construction of that function uses only material that engineers would have taken in their 1st and 2nd year calculus classes. That is not at all analogous to chemists reading sheet music, something they would not have learned to do. You have all the tools needed to solve that problem. You just haven't developed the mathematical maturity to tackle difficult problems with those tools.

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For every challenging math class you took there is an equally challenging engineering class. The difference is that, as you mentioned, the engineering class was taken along side 4-5 other courses, not 1.
Both 327 and 357 were taken alongside 4 other classes each. What are you getting at? In any case, challenging class is meaningless. Literally anything can be made difficult in a class. A test on your multiplication tables from 1 to 10 could be difficult if you had to solve ten thousand questions in one hour.

Furthermore, the tendency of engineering departments to weed out students who can't stand the onerous workload is actually a serious negative issue. Being an engineer isn't about doing applied math for hours on end - there's a disconnect between studying to become an engineer and actually being an engineer, just as there's a disconnect between studying life science and being a doctor.


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stillnotCampir

Senior Member

05-06-2013

Quote:
Or the material you studied is not conceptually difficult, and just requires a lot of work.
35% average on my MatE202 final. I'd say it was conceptually difficult.

The questions in MatE were never answerable by just spewing out formulas and problem solving strategies. They were usually answered in essay form with the inclusion of all relevant math.

ex: Here is a list of 30 materials and their characteristics. Design an arctic rover that can sustain at X speed at Y temperature on Z terrain.


This question would actually have many correct answers and many ways of solving. An in depth understanding of the concepts can lead you to any one of these solutions.





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The construction of that function uses only material that engineers would have taken in their 1st and 2nd year calculus classes. That is not at all analogous to chemists reading sheet music, something they would not have learned to do. You have all the tools needed to solve that problem. You just haven't developed the mathematical maturity to tackle difficult problems with those tools.
What? Wasn't that a MAT 357 problem? You took MAT357 in your last semester of 4th year, I would hope that your grasp of mathematical concepts would be more mature than that of an engineer, who typically only takes Calc I, Calc II and Linalg I.

The engineers that do have to take additional pure mathematics courses, usually Nano engineers or Biochemistry engineers, could likely easily solve those problems. Granted these students maintain strict 4.0 gpas and are some of the smartest students you'll encounter.

There is very little focus on pure mathematics in most disciplines of engineering no matter how you slice it.

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Furthermore, the tendency of engineering departments to weed out students who can't stand the onerous workload is actually a serious negative issue. Being an engineer isn't about doing applied math for hours on end - there's a disconnect between studying to become an engineer and actually being an engineer, just as there's a disconnect between studying life science and being a doctor.
I agree, but chances are if you couldn't rock a 2.0GPA after first year engineering you aren't going to preform very well in the actual field. Keep in mind coop students who do well in the field are consistently those with outstanding GPAs.


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Kodoku

Senior Member

05-06-2013

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35% average on my MatE202 final. I'd say it was conceptually difficult.
I don't see how a low average corresponds to conceptual difficulty. If I gave you a test consisting of 1000 multiplication table problems to solve in 30 seconds, you'd get maybe 1%. That would not be conceptually difficult.

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The questions in MatE were never answerable by just spewing out formulas and problem solving strategies. They were usually answered in essay form with the inclusion of all relevant math.

ex: Here is a list of 30 materials and their characteristics. Design an arctic rover that can sustain at X speed at Y temperature on Z terrain.
I'm not saying you never have to be creative or actually demonstrate any genuine understanding. Just that most of the difficulty associated with engineering is associated with the sheer quantity of work, rather than the difficulty of concepts. Your example question only sounds difficult in a particularly time-sensitive environment.

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What? Wasn't that a MAT 357 problem? You took MAT357 in your last semester of 4th year, I would hope that your grasp of mathematical concepts would be more mature than that of an engineer, who typically only takes Calc I, Calc II and Linalg I.
First of all, that's not what mathematical maturity means. Second of all, the point I was making is not about me. It's about the difficulty of what one studies in upper division math courses, e.g. the third year course MAT357. Third of all, you don't even need calc 2 or linear algebra to do this problem, let alone anything more advanced. You just need to know a few basic facts about simple convergent series, the formal definition of continuity, and what it means for the rationals to be countable. A gifted (or particularly persistent) first year math student could solve this problem.

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The engineers that do have to take additional pure mathematics courses, usually Nano engineers or Biochemistry engineers, could likely easily solve those problems. Granted these students maintain strict 4.0 gpas and are some of the smartest students you'll encounter.
Cool.

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I agree, but chances are if you couldn't rock a 2.0GPA after first year engineering you aren't going to preform very well in the actual field. Keep in mind coop students who do well in the field are consistently those with outstanding GPAs.
Chances are if you couldn't rock a 2.0 GPA after first year of math, then you aren't going to get 99% in honours real analysis either. It's not that grades don't matter or aren't an indication of promise, it's that students often lose sight of the forest for the computational trees and lose their passion for engineering in the context of doing applied math.


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idontblamelag

Senior Member

05-06-2013

Is Woodsworth College highly regarded?

Also, do you have a job yet?


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stillnotCampir

Senior Member

05-06-2013

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Originally Posted by Kodoku View Post
I don't see how a low average corresponds to conceptual difficulty. If I gave you a test consisting of 1000 multiplication table problems to solve in 30 seconds, you'd get maybe 1%. That would not be conceptually difficult.
The tests weren't like this. They were all easily completed in the allotted time and had conceptually difficult problems.
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I'm not saying you never have to be creative or actual demonstrate any genuine understanding. Just that most of the difficulty associated with engineering is associated with the sheer quantity of work, rather than the difficulty of concepts. Your example question only sounds difficult in a particularly time-sensitive environment.
Sadly this isn't the case. The questions required a conceptual mastery. They never time starved you after first year.

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First of all, that's not what mathematical maturity means. Second of all, the point I was making is not about me. It's about what one studies in upper division math courses, e.g. the third year course MAT357. Third of all, you don't even need calc 2 or linear algebra to do this problem, let alone anything more advanced. You just need to know a few basic facts about simple convergent series, the formal definition of continuity, and what it means for the rationals to be countable. A gifted (or particularly persistent) first year math student could solve this problem.
My point is that engineering puts very little emphasis on pure mathematics in general. Reading over that question again, I don't know if it would even be that difficult for an engineer to solve. I haven't done calculus in forever and wouldn't be able to recall the skills that I knew.

Here is a final from the guy that taught me math 101 http://pacific.math.ualberta.ca/gord...2011/final.pdf

This guy is an applied mathematician and was renowned for giving the easiest finals. I'm not sure what the average was.


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Chances are if you couldn't rock a 2.0 GPA after first year of math, then you aren't going to get 99% in honours real analysis either. It's not that grades don't matter or aren't an indication of promise, it's that students often lose sight of the forest for the computational trees and lose their passion for engineering in the context of doing applied math.
Right, what I'm saying is the smart kids out preform the dumb kids in real life engineering scenarios. Meaning that the universities are breeding better engineers through their methods.


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stillnotCampir

Senior Member

05-06-2013

Quote:
Originally Posted by idontblamelag View Post

Also, do you have a job yet?
I'm assuming that this is a rhetorical questions as he clearly stated that he is a math major.


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