Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have focused a lot on a lot of the events going on around campus, but I really haven't mentioned much about my classes except to say that I was busy studying for midterms. That is quite ironic, because the main reason I am at college is to take classes and complete my degree. I better talk about some classes then!

All engineering majors need to complete a specific set of classes with at least a certain technical GPA (depending on the major) in order to be admitted into the College of Engineering. Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 are among these requirements. I know that my major, Chemical Engineering, requires both Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations as well, but I am not so sure about the degree requirements for the other majors. This following link has information on the degree requirements for each of the majors:

Right now, I am in Multivariable Calculus, more commonly called Calculus 3. I took AP Calculus BC my senior year of high school, and I scored high enough to receive course credit for both Calculus 1 & 2. I worked hard during calculus and I had a really great teacher, so I was really prepared for college calculus. At first I was worried about making the transition into college classes in general, but I took AP classes and other challenging classes all throughout high school, which really helped me make the transition. I would recommend to take AP or other similar classes while in high school, because it really prepared me for college and saved me time and money! Just for taking the AP Calculus BC exam and scoring well, I earned a total of 7 credits for 2 classes required for my engineering major.

Here is a link to the course equivalencies at MSU just in case you are interested:

Each class and professor are different, but I could describe how my calculus class works since many other classes follow this same basic format.

My larger lecture meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 50 minutes. There are no more than 80 people, which is small for a lecture. Even though that class size is about 3 times larger than a high school class, it really does not feel that large, especially since I sit closer to the front. The class size will be much smaller once I get into the higher level engineering classes. My professor spends the class explaining each day's topic and doing a few examples of different problems. Really it is not very different from my high school classes, except for the fact that the seats are much closer together and the desks are tiny!

Each Tuesday, I have a 50 minute recitation. It takes place in a classroom with about 20 people. A graduate student TA spends most of the class answering any questions on the homework or content that anyone may have. The last 15 minutes of each recitation is reserved for a really short quiz over the past few lessons. Our exams are 50 minutes long and take place during the recitation period for which they are scheduled.

The four exams make up most of our grades with a small portion (about 14%) coming from the quizzes. We have assigned homework problems, but so far none of it has been graded. The biggest difference that I have noticed between high school and college is that for most of my college classes, homework makes up only a small portion of my grade, if any. Exams make up the majority of my grades. Seriously I only have one grade so far in my honors archaeology class, which is my first exam score.

So that is the basic format of most of my classes. Overall, classes have been going well. Speaking (well, writing) of class, I better head to class right now!

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