Author Topic: 2nd Year MEng student - Failed Maths - Do I just cut my losses and find a job?  (Read 19080 times)

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Offline HammerFET

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Hi all, this is my first post here. I've been meaning to get a bit more involved with the forums as I have been one of the "quiet ones" for a while now.

I've just finished the second year of my Electronics MEng programme at Bristol University in the UK. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make a good grade in my engineering mathematics unit and now have my neck on the line for passing into third year.

The pass mark being 40%, I achieved 33% the first try. Having failed that, they let me retake the exam over summer. This time round I've only managed to score a messily 9%...

Engineering Math is a subject that a lot people fail in my Uni. I know many classmates who are in the same position as me right now who risk being kicked out. I can't understand how getting 33% the first time and 9% the second time add up after 3 months of extra work. I and many others are trying to put this across to the University as having been an unfair exam but time is short and they don't seem to be budging.

I'm gathering my thoughts on what to do next and am considering leaving University with a Diploma to find a starting role at an electronic engineering firm with hope to get my foot in the industry ladder.

I am a bit of an electronics enthusiast and have many many years of personal project experience behind me as well as an urge to tinker (something I feel was lost in my university career).

My question is, would any UK company accept to take me on? I have a BTEC National Deploma with three out of three distinctions behind me and hope to come across as an enthusiastic individual.

I may not have the option to retake my second year depending how well I can persuade my Uni to keep me on. In which case my other option would be to switch course or find another Uni (the latter being unfeasible as I'm already settled into a rented apartment).

I cannot see myself doing anything other than electronics as this is quite a bit of a passion for me. I Would not hand in my scopes for anything!

The only other option would be Computer science with electronics as this is less mathematically involved.

I'd rather not start from scratch however but depending what would give the quicker route to climb in industry, I'd take it.

The kind of thing I'm interested in doing is microelectronics, computer architecture, ect, or that general direction.

What would people recommend?

Thanks for all your comments!  :)
 

Offline EEVblog

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If the UK is anything like Australia, then the Diploma should be enough to get you a good job in the industry, you just may have to work a bit harder at it than someone with higher qualifications.
It's usually about the individual, not what bit of paper you have. Smart companies will hire the best person for the job, and the one they like the most, not the most qualified.

Once you get that foothold in the industry, that's all you need. My advice would be to start looking for jobs and going for interviews, rather than worry about if someone will take you or not. You only know that if you try. If you are offered a good job, take it. If you aren't offered anything, keep trying.

Qualifications go at the bottom of a Resume for a reason.

I know some people that get into electronics via the computer science route, but it's usually because of their passion for and experience in electronics, and not the degree.

I don't know about the technicalities and culture in the UK though, but others will chime in I'm sure.

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Looking here:
http://www.electronicsuk.net/
and searching for "junior electronics designer" I see plenty of jobs (do they pay ok?)

First one I found:
http://www.jobsite.co.uk/job/junior-electronics-engineer-939950411?src=search
Quote
"Ideally educated to degree or equivalent in Computing, Software and/or Electronics Engineering."
is encouraging, translated it means "we don't care, as long as you can do the job".

and:
http://www.jobsite.co.uk/job/electronics-engineer-940082944?src=search
Quote
"To be considered for the Power Electronic Development Engineer - SMPS, PSU, IGBT role, you will be;
Qualified to at least Degree level or have equivalent experience "

Sound pretty much like Australia, some care, some don't, go for it.

Dave.
 

Offline Psi

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It sounds like they are teaching a really high level math. Which imho isn't needed for general electronics.

Most electronic engineers really don't use that sort of math in electronics much if at all.
Day-to-day it's just ohms law and most of the rest is only high school level math.
There definitely is some high level math needed in a few areas of electronics (RF) but its more the specialty areas than the general stuff.

If you decide to try the paper again have a look at as many old exam papers as you can find, that's one thing i found really useful. (Even old exam papers from other UNI's at the same level)
If you can figure out how to do everything in the last 5 exams it really helps.
Also figuring out where and why you lost marks in the exams you have done will help as well.

You have my sympathy if they're writing the type of exams where each question builds on the last and making one mistake early on results in wrong answers from the on. I hate those with a passion.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 01:02:36 pm by Psi »
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Offline JuKu

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I cannot see myself doing anything other than electronics as this is quite a bit of a passion for me. I Would not hand in my scopes for anything!
That's your answer right there.

I struggled at math, too, but that didn't prevent me from making a successful career in electronics. As said, almost all of the math needed is either simple high school level equations or found in application notes, specialty fields (RF, EMC simulations etc.) You do need to understand Fourier and other such stuff, but your tools will do the calculations for you.

Hang in there, pass the exams, have a fun career!
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Offline baljemmett

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Engineering Math is a subject that a lot people fail in my Uni. I know many classmates who are in the same position as me right now who risk being kicked out. I can't understand how getting 33% the first time and 9% the second time add up after 3 months of extra work. I and many others are trying to put this across to the University as having been an unfair exam but time is short and they don't seem to be budging.

Well -- keep at them -- when I studied at Bristol (BSc Computer Science 2004) I remember there was a similar situation with some unit that caused a bit of a stink but eventually got straightened out.  Unfortunately a) I didn't take whichever unit it was, b) it was a while back and c) the Department of Computer Science always seemed like it flew by a number of its own rules compared to the Faculty of Engineering as a whole.  So alas I don't remember any details, and even if I did they might be useless in the broader context!  But certainly the tutors at the time were throwing their weight behind getting things sorted.

In fact, come to think of it, one of my friends managed to fail his second year quite spectacularly -- passing maybe one or two units -- and was offered the opportunity to retake it.  So don't lose hope quite yet if you want to continue; keep talking to them and hopefully they'll realise it's not really in their best interest to throw people with a real passion for the subject out on their ears!

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The only other option would be Computer science with electronics as this is less mathematically involved.

The kind of thing I'm interested in doing is microelectronics, computer architecture, ect, or that general direction.

The 'engineering mathematics for computer scientists' unit I took in my first year was pretty straightforward stuff, from what I recall.  I think it contained introductions to formal logic, boolean algebra, some statistical stuff (Monte Carlo simulations I think?), etc -- nothing like the beefy engineering maths my brother (MEng Mechanical Engineering) took.  Certainly nothing extraordinary or that should be too taxing given your areas of interest.

The computer architecture courses the Department offered to us pure CS students were excellent in my time.  Unfortunately since then we've lost the superb Barry Thomas, who renewed my interest in electronics with Introduction to Computer Architecture in the first year, and I'm not sure if David May is still teaching (I believe he stood down from his head of department role to set up xMOS with some former students).  But his Advanced Computer Architecture unit available in the fourth year (although I took it in my third, alongside the somewhat-prerequisite Computer Systems Integration unit) was extremely interesting, even if a decent chunk of it at the time was looking at the Transputer architecture in detail!

Must admit I'm not sure how the Computer Science with Electronics course works; I remember sharing a few lectures with Computer Science with Avionics students, but mostly the foundation programming and architecture ones.  That makes sense, of course, and having a quick flick through the departmental web pages I see a few familiar unit and lecturer names on the CS+Electronics course.

However, in the end, you're in the best position to decide what you want to do.  Others here will have advice regarding qualifications in industry, and formal electronics education -- I'm just a software guy who dabbles in electronics as a hobby -- but in the end the question is probably whether you want to continue.  The university isn't (or shouldn't!) be in the business of squashing passion for a subject just for the sake of it, so make your interest clear to them and hopefully you'll be able to have a useful discussion with your tutor regarding your options.  And good luck, whatever you decide to do!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 02:11:11 pm by baljemmett »
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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i suggest move down to lower level math, read and exercise. most people/student i found out weak in math because they dont have strong foundation AND they dont know what use of it, and of course... lack of exercise (lazy). math is constructive and contextual subject. you have to know level1 before study level2, otherwise its pointless. and also you have to have some picture on what purpose it is and whats its for. communicate or ask help from your tutor/lecturer, you will build good relation with them.

"small tool with skill" is better than "big tool no skill"
but if you have "big tool and skill", thats the best.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 03:02:52 pm by Mechatrommer »
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Offline Hypernova

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I failed enough courses during my BE to fill up a semester and more, all of them math related. The only courses I did well in were all project oriented (especially the 4th year projects where it was straight A's for me), and it's those courses that really tell whether you have it in your heart to be an engineer. I remember one of my old professors commenting that exams are a poor way to measure performance when it comes to engineering.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Here we go again ...

Engineering Math is a subject that a lot people fail in my Uni. I know many classmates who are in the same position as me right now who risk being kicked out.

Maybe you are hanging out with the wrong mates? Maybe they are great drinking buddies, but maybe you should look for other role models. Like those who actually passed the test. They must do something right you and your mates didn't.

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I can't understand how getting 33% the first time and 9% the second time add up after 3 months of extra work.

Maybe you learned the wrong things.  Maybe you didn't understood basics. Maybe you employed old learning techniques from school (memorize everything instead of understanding things). In other words, don't blame other.

Quote
I and many others are trying to put this across to the University as having been an unfair exam but time is short and they don't seem to be budging.

This is the completely wrong strategy. This is the strategy of losers. Don't you think your uni has heard this excuses before? I bet they are rather bored and annoyed by this. And I bet they can easily show that the math requirements went down in the last one or two decades. Because it went down everywhere. And I bet they could show you that your math exam was not unreasonable compared to recent ones and was simple compared to an exam ten years ago. Just that they can't be bothered. How old is your uni? 400 years? If so, they have for sure 400 year old records of students complaining about an exam.

Further, "fairness" is a concept that doesn't apply here. This is just whining. Things aren't fair and aren't supposed to be fair. When you enrolled you entered into a kind of "contract" with your uni. You promised to fulfill their requirements, however stupid and unfair they are,  in exchange for a piece of paper at the end. "No challenges" was not part of that deal. Now you want to break your part of the deal. The thing is, you can't change the rules while being in the game and playing it. You can't change the rules by giving up. A prerequisite for changing the rules is to have fully understood, mastered and won the game.

BTW, People will telly you that you will never need math again once you are an engineer. It doesn't matter if this claim is wrong or right (according to my experience it is wrong). The point is, you need math now.

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I'm gathering my thoughts on what to do next and am considering leaving University with a Diploma to find a starting role at an electronic engineering firm with hope to get my foot in the industry ladder.

That is something you have to decide. If you take this route just don't become one of those people who always claim they could have been an engineer, wouldn't it have been for <insert excuse of the day here>.

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I am a bit of an electronics enthusiast

This is maybe another issue you have, enthusiasm is no substitute for knowledge and hard work, it is just one part of the motivation for putting in the work. Every weekend football stadiums are full of enthusiasts filling the stands. Most could and should not play the game professionally, although many might dream they could, because they are so enthusiastic about it.

A lot of times engineering is dealing with cold, hard facts and a vastly unfair reality. Enthusiasm makes you get out of bed every day and go to work. But professionalism makes you come home safely every day, suppressing the urge to kick the living shit out of the bean counters because everything is soooo unfair. 

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In which case my other option would be to switch course or find another Uni (the latter being unfeasible as I'm already settled into a rented apartment).

What? You claim a fucking rented apartment will keep you from continuing at another uni? So much for enthusiasm. Really, find a better excuse if you want to give up studying, a much better excuse. "I could have been an engineer, wouldn't it have been for settling into a rented apartment. You know, I was young and I needed to settle into that rented apartment.". Oh yes, that will come over very well.

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I cannot see myself doing anything other than electronics as this is quite a bit of a passion for me.
Sure, but your rented apartment is more important?

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What would people recommend?
What about the following, you keep electronics as a hobby and look for a complete career change? Maybe real estate agent is the right thing for you.

Or you bite the bullet, stop complaining about unfairness and instead learn the stupid math, and whatever else your uni comes up with until they give you that piece of paper.
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Alex

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For a bit of context, Bristol has a good electronics degree course in the UK and they have been trying to up their standards since 2005.

Why do you think you failed?
 

Offline SgtRock

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Dear HammerFet:

--What ever you do with regard to your career, I recommend that you do not give up entirely on math. For many years I worked as an un-degreed  roof designer for lumber companies. To make sure I was not going to kill anyone through stupidity, I had to learn some Trigonometry (on my own). To learn the Trig., I had to go back and relearn the Algebra I had forgotten. Having learned the Trig., a coworker offered me his Calculus text book, I managed to get through that on my own.

--As a practical matter, I never did use the Calculus very much. But being familiar with it did allow me to understand a lot of things I would never have understood otherwise. Also it made me intellectually humble and intellectually confident at one go.

--DJ is absolutely correct, their are many people doing important engineering work, with minimal qualifications. And folks like DJ who hang in there and get their Engineering degrees, often end up working for suits and management types who would not know a derivative from a didgeridoo. You makes your picks and you takes your chances.

"Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." Albert Einstein

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Online IanB

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I've just finished the second year of my Electronics MEng programme at Bristol University in the UK. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make a good grade in my engineering mathematics unit and now have my neck on the line for passing into third year.

The pass mark being 40%, I achieved 33% the first try. Having failed that, they let me retake the exam over summer. This time round I've only managed to score a messily 9%...
I have to observe that you are attending one of the top universities in the UK, and an MEng course is set at a higher level than a BEng course. The academic requirements for getting that degree are supposed to be somewhat rigorous.

So I have to echo what others have said. You really ought figure out what you are doing wrong with that maths exam and why you are getting such low marks. Is it because you don't understand the material, is it because you are not doing the right kind of preparation, is it because you are not showing your working correctly? (Often if you get the wrong answer at the end but had the right method shown in your working you will get marks for that.)

How did you do at A level maths? Was that a strong or weak subject for you?

Some people may suggest otherwise, but mathematics is an important capability for a professional engineer. Some jobs may not use much mathematics as much as others, but mathematics does require structured and logical thinking and you need those qualities as an engineer.

Looking back to my time at university, I also struggled with the academic requirements of my engineering degree course. The level of difficulty was a big step up from A levels (which I breezed), and the increased amount of study required was a huge shock to me. There was no avoiding lots of study and hard work to get through it.

I'm afraid I don't see easy solution. Either you need to satisfy that mathematics requirement, or you need to switch and do something else. Is there a BEng in the same department you could drop down and do instead?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 06:00:22 pm by IanB »
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Offline Chet T16

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i suggest move down to lower level math, read and exercise. most people/student i found out weak in math because they dont have strong foundation AND they dont know what use of it, and of course... lack of exercise (lazy). math is constructive and contextual subject. you have to know level1 before study level2, otherwise its pointless. and also you have to have some picture on what purpose it is and whats its for. communicate or ask help from your tutor/lecturer, you will build good relation with them.

"small tool with skill" is better than "big tool no skill"
but if you have "big tool and skill", thats the best.


^This. I've just started third year (of four) and the maths is still an arse ache because i've no idea what or where its used. For my electromagnetic waves module this semester all this div, curl grad stuff is a mystery to me.

I can't see how these people don't realise doing the odd problem with numbers instead of just f'ing derivations would be useful
Chet
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Offline gregariz

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I think only you can really answer the question.

FWIW engineering degrees were originally designed as a military ordeal in order to weed out the student ranks to those truly committed. The rewards were supposed to make the ordeal worth it.. but that could be arguable in many cases. For instance when I went through only about a quarter of us finished. Mathematics is probably the one with the most feared reputation. On a positive note engineering used to include 3 years of math rather than the now common 2. Some of the computer based ones only seem to have one year of math these days. The only time you usually use it during the rest of the program would be in something like applied electromagnetics or digital signal processing in the later years.

I am still under the impression that earning a degree does open up employment opportunites, and does teach you things even if it often doesnt seem like it.. particularly if you want to try living in a number of countries or industries. The larger companies with HR departments will not employ you without a degree as a general rule - and certainly not as a designer, where higher degrees seem to be somewhat of a requirement but YMMV of course.

But you will always have the situation, particularly if you are going to stay in a local area and get to know everyone whereby you may find employment via word of mouth rather than the resume. I suspect for some people that may be rather limiting however.
 

Alex

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an MEng course is set at a higher level than a BEng course. The academic requirements for getting that degree are supposed to be somewhat rigorous.

I have to correct you on this one Ian. BEng and MEng students are taking exactly the same module in the UK. Am I missing something here? The only difference is the pass mark is higher for MEng students, 10% higher I think, dont quote me on this. If you meet the BEng mark, it should not be hard to meet the MEng mark when so low on the mark scale. I am almost certain you are given the choice to move into BEng if you are not doing well.

This doesnt mean the BEng is inferior to the MEng. You might want to move straight into a PhD and you are not interested in the MEng or you simply want to have two degrees on the wall of your living room. Having said this, some companies (eg Rolls-Royce) will only consider MEng students for industrial placements. Their loss.
 

Offline HammerFET

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hi all, I'd firstly like to say, wow... That's a lot of replies very quickly! Impressive!

Back in college I did AS Maths and BTEC Engineering maths. It was all very basic stuff and I got As in each one. I did know however that that standard at university wouldn't suffice and was accepted due to my technical abilities. I took a small audio DSP based on the ADAU1701 chip that I had been working on and the academic who interviewed me loved it. I was also offered a place at UCL and Sheffield for the same reasons but turned them down in preference to Bristol.

The Engineering Maths at Bristol is a separate department run by mathematicians rather than engineers. The lectures are done as a group of 200 engineers including aerospace, mechanical and civil students. All the material and examples are therefore based around mechanics.

As far as the course goes, it's made up of ~20% Vector calculus (that I'm very fond of and did quite well in), 10% Numerical analysis (not too bad either), 20% PDEs and 50% stats!

I have been noticing that a lot of the required maths is retaught to use in specific subjects where they are put in context. So far vector calculus is the only thing we've come across as far serious maths is concerned. From next year onwards the course becomes much more practically based and there is no more engineering maths!

I admit that I'm not one for going out partying or getting up to the usual student racket, but rather getting carried away with personal projects and not concentrating as much as I should on university work. Don't get me wrong, I attend all the lectures and actually did quite well in all the other exams... just not maths  :-\

For my university, the BEng and MEng courses are the same for the first two years and then split off from third year. There is a 40% (BEng) or 50%(MEng) minimum requirement to progress through however.

To BoredAtWork, the reason I say I'm reluctant to move accommodation is that I have a year contract with them. If I leave I'll have to pay the entire years worth of rent and then how will I afford my relocation?? There will be no more student loan once I leave Uni. It would be more worthwhile for me to start my course from scratch.

I think the reason I failed the first time was due to being massively unprepared. I did too much bookwork rather than past papers. Out of hundreds of pages of notes, only a fraction came up and that wasted a lot of time for me for me and I didn't do as many problems as I should have. I learnt from that however for the second attempt but when I got into that exam hall, the paper had no similarities to the previous years. Even though, it wasn't so much the maths that got me, but the wording. I couldn't understand what was being asked, it was all mechanics and stats analogies that totally threw me off.

I will speak to my tutor about all this in person. He's extremely helpful and should help me maybe worse case retake the year. But we'll see.

I just wanted to clear up the idea of finding work without a proper degree. I had read very mixed opinions online so wanted to see what I could make of it. I'd love to continue my course but at the end of the day, my heart is in heading up industry. Whatever is the most efficient route, I'll take.
 

Online IanB

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I have to correct you on this one Ian. BEng and MEng students are taking exactly the same module in the UK.
You are probably better informed than I am. I am not an EE and I don't know the specifics of the courses at Bristol. But in general though, an MEng course is has an extra year of more advanced material than a BEng course (four years instead of three?), and it is normally expected that the MEng course is for more able students? (For instance, that final year of more advanced material would require a stronger grounding in the fundamentals taught in the earlier years?)
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Offline gregariz

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I can't see how these people don't realise doing the odd problem with numbers instead of just f'ing derivations would be useful

This is not a new problem and has been a constant source of frustration for students as long as I can remember. But the bottom line is that most university lecturers are employed, retained and promoted on the basis of their research performance. This means that they need to publish. Publishing these days usually means that they must come up with something new and/or novel which is often not useful for day to day engineering. The reason for this is that most of what is useful has already been well published and is often quite hard. In addition it takes a long time to get from PhD to full faculty usually so many of your lecturers have little industrial experience and so don't know what real engineering looks like. They will know what the underlying theory is though, even if they can't apply it.

The even bigger picture (why this has not been checked) is that engineers do not generally command the salaries (& student fees) you see going to many MBA's, Lawyers and Medical doctors. Because of this individual schools do not have the same capabilities as professional schools like Legal and Medical schools to fund and set up clinical faculties (ie students need to be able to professionally practice from day 1 so teaching faculty is made up of part time practicing professionals). As a result your engineering school is most likely run like a physics or science school rather than a professional school.

The only real solution that I can see is to make sure you do whatever industry placements etc you can do and suck up the theory at least until you finish.
 

Online IanB

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I just wanted to clear up the idea of finding work without a proper degree. I had read very mixed opinions online so wanted to see what I could make of it. I'd love to continue my course but at the end of the day, my heart is in heading up industry. Whatever is the most efficient route, I'll take.
I've got to say I wouldn't recommend it. You can never know what the future holds, and you never know when that degree might come in useful. For instance, with large companies with HR departments that insist on a degree to filter out applicants as was mentioned before. Or in my case, I unexpectedly moved to the USA for work--a degree was a required qualification in the visa application process. (A PhD would have been even more useful as it happens, but I didn't dream of that all those years ago when I graduated and chose work instead of advanced study.)

There are other ways of getting a degree of course. You could leave full time education and get a degree by part time study or distance learning (the OU for instance), but before you do that I would have another go at getting past that exam. See if you can have a third attempt somehow.
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Online IanB

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The even bigger picture (why this has not been checked) is that engineers do not generally command the salaries (& student fees) you see going to many MBA's, Lawyers and Medical doctors. Because of this individual schools do not have the same capabilities as professional schools like Legal and Medical schools to fund and set up clinical faculties (ie students need to be able to professionally practice from day 1 so teaching faculty is made up of part time practicing professionals). As a result your engineering school is most likely run like a physics or science school rather than a professional school.
This is kind of true, but I must say when I studied for my engineering degree they tried to make up for it. We had industry visits, industrial working placements, and design projects done in conjunction with working engineers from industry. And of course plenty of lab work to put theory into practice.

I've also found in my working career that although they crammed us full of theory at university, I have learned far more mathematics and theoretical stuff during continuing professional development than I ever learned as a student. The learning never ends, and to some extent you are supposed to learn engineering practice in the working environment. There is not enough room for it in a university course without displacing important other stuff you need to know.

But I won't disagree though, that a picture is worth a thousand words. And sometimes the only way to really grasp a theoretical concept is to see how it is applied in a practical example with numbers.
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Offline gregariz

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But I won't disagree though, that a picture is worth a thousand words. And sometimes the only way to really grasp a theoretical concept is to see how it is applied in a practical example with numbers.

My comments were vulgar generalizations of course... but a couple of people have asked about postgrad supervision on here and elsewhere and I always give the same advice for the same reasons above... look for the practicing Adjunct staff in the faculty to do your supervising.
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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I've just started third year (of four) and the maths is still an arse ache because i've no idea what or where its used. For my electromagnetic waves module this semester all this div, curl grad stuff is a mystery to me.
this reminds me of my day. i remember the most mysterious subject i've been taught is "Control System", i've no f*cking idea what it was, they taught this Nyquist and Bode Plot etc, what?! i was just fooling around, follow what other people did, having fun and read what i can. luckily i passed, and still i've no slightest idea how i got passed and what i was learning... until i came out doing real job and hobby engineering stuff. from this i've learnt the system or environment in U has not given me enough exposure (or practical introduction) to understand and appreciate it. they want to rush and pack things in that 4-5 years, so you will have trouble catching up to figure it out. If i go back to U now and learn "Control System", i'm sure i can get better result than i was or A :P its the appreciation of the subject that makes you work hard.

"Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." Albert Einstein
one of my favorite quote. you dont have to be great in math to be a great person. its been proven by people such as him (Einstein), the late Jim William etc. but if Mr Einstein is excel in math, i think he can open up the wormhole already, and if Jim was good at math, i think Delorian now is a reality with the invention of Flux Capacitor.
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Alex

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Electronics is such a vast field with core sciences like physics and chemistry working hand in hand. No degree will be able to capture the full scope of this field, no matter how many years; human brain is simply unable to absorb everything, never mind process it. (NZT-48 anyone?)

Courses are often blamed for being too general and hands off. I often blame unit organisers for not teaching how to solder properly or telling the difference between a pozidriv and a phillips screw (*googles quickly*). I am sure you too Hammer are still surprised by the range of skills, or lack of, students come on these courses with. I totally understand where Bored@Work is coming from and how much do I agree with him for some 'students'! But think about it. Do you need to know how to solder to design a model to control a wind turbine? No, you dont. Would it allow you to quickly build a circuit to test a theory? Yes. Do you need to build a circuit to test your theory? Most likely not. Are models for wind turbines useful? Damn right!

My point is that 'good' universities like Bristol will try to give a taster of what is out there, some practical skills, some theoretical skills and a lot of professional development. The last bit is even happening right now. But thats it. The rest is up to you, the enthusiastic student, to figure out yourself. Pick and mix. You will see this more with the optional units towards the end.

Back on track, you were accepted in a strong university, which gives you access to top-notch engineers and scientists. You will inevitably have subjects that you dont enjoy as much/hate because of the size of the field as I said above. The thing is, you need to get those out of the way to focus on the parts of the degree that you like. Courses are regulated to some degree so you cant have four years of optinal courses.

Reading in between the lines of your posts, you don't seem to want to leave without a fight. That's my suggestion to you. Pass the units you dont like, use past papers and such techniques and just enjoy the ones you like. In the end your average performance will be high. Then you will get your third year project or masters project and plenty of chance to get that iron hot! It has a lot of 'weight' so you being hands on will excel!

If later in your career you need something you didnt use to like, learn it on your own. This time you will have a strong incentive. Finally, it is much easier to try again that maths unit than it is going to work now and going back to uni later.

To quote my favourite modern era financial analyst, "You makes your picks and you takes your chances."
 

Alex

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and of course you can continue with projects in your room, with moderation!
 

Offline HammerFET

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I admit there has been 80% of my course I have loved. The lecturers who have shown interest in my hobbies are very supporting and have opened up many opportunities for me to use university labs and workshops outside of studies to anything I wish. I have found that a lot of what I've learnt does come in handy and if not, gives me a good place to pick up from.

The only problem I have is that admin tends to get in the way of everything. I'm certain that if I put my case forward I would be aloud to continue to third year while taking maths as an extra unit, or even worse retake the year. University regulations however say that less than 30% in engineering maths requires me to withdraw.

I'm gonna have to do a lot of pestering...
 

Offline gregariz

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To quote my favourite modern era financial analyst, "You makes your picks and you takes your chances."

The reality is really however that student's with an interest but no experience in electronics do rely on universities to steer them right. If I look back and ask myself if I had experience in the industry would I have made different study choices? Yeah most likely.

I know it was just an example you probably pulled out of space but the case of a wind turbine I find is actually pretty telling. Engineers do alot of wind turbine type studies at universities. But they are not useful. If I recall mine was a control system for a radio telescope. But very few engineers work on these types of problems in their day to day jobs. They'd be much better served to have kept the teaching to that of a well published PID controller and had the students actually implement it, including the soldering bit. I'd of used that, and employers would appreciate that practical skill.

The reality is that engineering is a very practical profession. The choices that universities make are to teach less theory and increase practical capabilty or teach more theory (inc breadth) and decrease practical capability. The student is unaware of that choice unless they know what the profession already looks like.
 

Offline JayDee

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HI,
You need to think about this realy seriously.
You dont have to have a degree for many jobs and especially once you have several years experiance in the relavent field BUT the degree DOES help, some companies specify you must have a degree for two reasons.
1st you know how to apply your self and solve tricky stuff.
2nd, Your qualified and it legally helps protect them (a bit, might not be much but everything helps when the Sh*t reall hits the fan) ), they emplyed an person PROVEN to work to a given standard. Anything you do, design or make is backup up by the fact that you once (i.e. your degree) proved you could work to a high engineering standard.

later in you carear a degree can help when joining engineering institutions, working for certain companies, bolstering customer confidenceand sometimes it can even help you get a job!v :-)
A degree is by no means the answer to everything, common sence and perseverance win almost all the time but do not discount the advantages of holding a decent degree. 'Decent degree' means it was hard to get. Bristol have a good rep, saying you have a good engineering degree from somewhere like bristol does actually mean something.

I have employed and will continue to employ people with every concievable level of education and experiance, qualifications are only one aspect of an employee and I probe a new graduate more on what they have done in thier hobbies (tells me quite a bit) than the content of the course. The level of the degree already tells me about there 'academic' ability. 

Doing an interesting engineering job is fantastic but at some point, the real world will work you 10x harder than anything you will ever do at UNi. Uni made me work, but it was Work that nearly drove over the egde, you cant give up in the real world, people depend on you finding the solution.... it can be real hard but when its good, engineering is the best job in the world.

I found Uni tough, my maths was also very poor and I struggeled badly but squeaked though on the staight mathmatics, better on the applied stuff like Thermodynics and had a natural affinity with some of the deisgn stuff. We all have our strengths and the best ones are, perseverance and a love for your field of work.   Perseverance is not EASY...you just have to find a way to push yourself on. Easy to say, I know. :-)

What ever you want to do in engineering, just keep heading towards it a little bit at a time (with or without a degree)...just dont give up or expect to get the perfect job first time. I've done some real rubbish jobs and was told loads of times that too many people were chasing the 'interesting jobs, BUT I found my way in and spent 10 years doing electroincs in motorsport (so far!), which took me around the world for free and recently finished working on research equipment in Antartica for 18 months.
 
Now working for myself and having to work as hard as ever learning new stuff every day. I was not an A* student and struggeled quite a bit at uni, I was just a person who knew they were an engineer, period!

My maths is still awful and I regret not spending the time at School and colledge sorting the basics, I now get by and rely on lots of techincalm books and a calculator. 

2nd Yeasr? Yeah it will be hard and the second year can be quite a shock as they often push hard and expect to loose quite a few people.  Talk to your tutor, the maths lecturer or another maths lecturer, there are often additional lectures put on for people struggeling in maths, its just so common...try them... try anything, just dont give up. I really think you will kick your self if you drop out now.

Lets face it you have invested a lot of time and cash so far.. make the most, maybe a change to an alternate course will work better for you..thats fine but make sure you chage for the right reason and not just becasue the course is pushing you.
Oh yeah, loads of your course WILL seem irrelevant to real industry or overly academic b ut you just dont know what bits you'll use in the future... a your career is long and you'll use more that you think over the next 40 years in industry.
J. Best of luck dude, lots of us here have been there..but its one you gotta do on your own. :P

Also remember to have the odd beer :-)  A 2:1 is the drinking mans 1st !
 

Alex

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If I look back and ask myself if I had experience in the industry would I have made different study choices? Yeah most likely.

Are you happy where you are now, and where you can get from there? If so, I dont see why you would want to change the path that got you there, risking not ending up there. Besides, we have seen that time travelling is not a good idea. Right Scott?

I know it was just an example you probably pulled out of space but the case of a wind turbine I find is actually pretty telling. Engineers do alot of wind turbine type studies at universities. But they are not useful. If I recall mine was a control system for a radio telescope. But very few engineers work on these types of problems in their day to day jobs. They'd be much better served to have kept the teaching to that of a well published PID controller and had the students actually implement it, including the soldering bit. I'd of used that, and employers would appreciate that practical skill.

It was from a PhD project, this particular one is hopeless, the student needs to first debug the work of previous students. ::)

You are right, you could have worked on PIDs that are readily applicable so you find a job tomorrow. But because it is so common, you can just go out and learn about it. Now, a telescope control system! Tolerances there are much higher (speculation) and you have to do a great job just for your system to be integrated in the telescope. I mean, where do you mount it without it getting in the way of the telescope? You probably have to learn about telescopes first! Now, imagine if you applied the control theory from telescopes to a PID controller. WoW. That would be a fine PID controller. It will be expensive though, so it would not be to control your room heater but some higher reliability equipment like the thermoelectric cooler of a $200k custom tunable laser diode. Your tight-control overpriced PID will allow me to lock the wavelength of the laser on the absorption lines of water and detect its movement in the cylinder of a combustion engine. Then the engine manufacturer can optimise their design to reduce emissions.

Or you can do the PID controller for room heating. Equally useful, just very different.

Actually, that job will come to you, not the other way around. I would give you a ring and negotiate a collaboration to use your expertise with those PID controllers, whereas I would go to the local electronics shop for the standard type.

The scenario is optimised to make my point, but the examples are real. I hope you can clearly see the two career paths in this example.

The reality is that engineering is a very practical profession. The choices that universities make are to teach less theory and increase practical capabilty or teach more theory (inc breadth) and decrease practical capability. The student is unaware of that choice unless they know what the profession already looks like.

I agree and you have hit an issue there. Engineers tend to be kinesthetic, they learn from doing. I think the practical aspect is crucial and although good universities will have good undergrad facilities, you only get access to the 'good stuff' later on, which is a shame but it is a problem of resources, including supervisors.

This is were mentoring schemes come into play, professional institutions, industrial placements (big one), career fairs etc etc. You get a lot of industry insight early in the degree from those.

Another idea currently designed at least in Manchester is to do the equivalent of a 'hacker space', but under the wing of the university. This way keen students can get access to facilities and work together on physical projects after hours. This can be their final year project or a free energy device. Brilliant.
 

Offline EEVblog

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I have to observe that you are attending one of the top universities in the UK, and an MEng course is set at a higher level than a BEng course. The academic requirements for getting that degree are supposed to be somewhat rigorous.

I missed that bit, I thought it was BEng.
How are you doing an MEng without having completed a BEng? That's how it works here, always BEng first before you are considered for an MEng course.

Dave.
 

Offline baljemmett

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How are you doing an MEng without having completed a BEng? That's how it works here, always BEng first before you are considered for an MEng course.

Here the MEng is an undergraduate degree that's a year longer than the BEng; not sure if Bristol even awards BEngs (when my brother did his four-year MEng Mechanical Engineering degree there wasn't a three-year BEng on offer).  Over in the CS department I had the choice of a three-year BSc course or four-year MSci (not to be confused with an MSc which is a post-graduate degree!)

I believe at some universities (Cambridge, for instance) it may work differently; I seem to recall it was a case of doing three years to get the Bachelors and then another year to get the upgrade on top.
 

Offline gregariz

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Its not a feature in the Australian system.. thought the Uni of South Australia used to run (maybe still do?) a 5 year undergrad MEng program (ie you transfered out after 3 years of the BEng into the MEng without ever completing the BEng). The Uni of melbourne have also now ditched their BEng for a 3 year BSc + 2 year Meng. I can imagine an undergraduate MEng would raise eyebrows overseas.
 

Online IanB

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The MEng was introduced as a "super degree" with the idea that the three academic years for a normal bachelor's degree was not long enough to provide the kind of formation and grounding that some employers are increasingly looking for. There has even been talk in the UK of a 5 year engineering degree, but with the current level of tuition fees I don't think that is going anywhere.

Typically, an MEng degree satisfies the entire academic requirement for chartered engineer status with professional bodies like the IEE or IMechE, whereas a BSc degree has an additional training requirement.

One way of looking at MEng courses is to provide higher market value for graduates. Increasingly a BSc or BEng degree is seen as a second tier degree in the engineering professions, especially as fields broaden and there is more and more stuff to learn.

(I should add that an MEng is still an undergraduate degree, it is not a postgraduate degree like an MSc or MPhil.)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 12:25:20 am by IanB »
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Here the MEng is an undergraduate degree that's a year longer than the BEng; not sure if Bristol even awards BEngs (when my brother did his four-year MEng Mechanical Engineering degree there wasn't a three-year BEng on offer).  Over in the CS department I had the choice of a three-year BSc course or four-year MSci (not to be confused with an MSc which is a post-graduate degree!)

My head is spinning... ???

Dave.
 

Offline FreeThinker

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Yuk!
Mathematics, really hard sums for super hero's! Seriously my brother was nicknamed 'the prof' at grammar school ....by the teachers. He was streets ahead of his mentors in mathematics and it was all very easy for him until he went to uni and fell foul of STATISTICS. It floored him and he failed it miserably. To this day (over forty years later) any mention of the subject prompts his now well worn phase 'bloody statistics' and an involuntary straightening of the back and a slight toss of head. The moral? Screw mathematics and do what you are good at! Beating yourself up over it is non productive, not being good at something should not stop you doing what you are good at.
Machines were mice and Men were lions once upon a time, but now that it's the opposite it's twice upon a time.
MOONDOG
 

Offline amspire

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So if you do the 3 year BE course, you get a BE.

If you do 3 years of the ME course and leave, you have nothing.

So that means that obviously a 3 year ME student is much dumber then a 3 year BE student, otherwise the ME student would be worthy of a BE at least.

Perhaps the course marketing guy at Bristol has a Phd in BS.

Richard.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 01:08:51 am by amspire »
 

Online IanB

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So if you do the 3 year BE course, you get a BE.

If you do 3 years of the ME course and leave, you have nothing.

So that means that obviously a 3 year ME student is much dumber then a 3 year BE student, otherwise the ME student would be worthy of a BE at least.
On most courses I believe you get a BSc at the end of year 3 and the MEng at the end of year 4. So if you dropped out at the end of year 3 you would still get the BSc (assuming you passed the exams).
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline vk6zgo

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I'm not a "Ginger Beer"---too scared of failure to try!----too late now!

One thing I did find out in the sub-professional stuff I studied,is that it is no use going through sample questions at the back of a text book,or in old exam papers ,& saying
"OK,I know that one!",or alternatively,working through all the questions over a long period.

The way that worked for me,was to do a Sample paper (either a real one,or a random one made up out of the text book) under exam conditions!.
The time constraints,& lack of other things to distract you,will allow you to determine your real level of competence.
I remember doing a sample paper under these conditions & getting  40%.
The next day,I did the real one & got--you guessed it! --40%!(I was lucky,I got to do the course over)

Another thing I found,although this applies to Electronics theory more than Maths,is that if you understand something intuitively,it sometimes puts you at a disadvantage compared to those who have to work out the Maths for everything--as that is what they want in the exam.

A particular case comes to mind;
Luma distortion in analog TV systems is measured by passing a staircase video waveform through the DUT,then passing it through a differentiating CR network,producing spikes,the amplitude of which depends on that of each step.
If the waveform is distorted,the rate of change of the step front edge will change,hence the spike amplitude changes.

I could see this intuitively,but had to explain its Mathematical basis to some of our newer Trainee Technical Officers.
As soon as they realised that it was simple Differentiation,they had no problem with it.
In an exam,I would probably assume it to be an easy problem,then get bogged down in the Maths! (I certainly would now--this was many years ago).

VK6ZGO 
 

Offline DrGeoff

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If you only got 9% the second time around then it's clear that there are some fundamental concepts that you have failed to understand. You are paying lecturers and tutors to teach you this, so put some pressure back on them and get them to work with you to clear up the holes in your understanding.
Was it really supposed to do that?
 

Offline Chet T16

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Here (Ireland) I can do 3 years and get a degree in Engineering Science or 4 years and get an honours degree in Electronic Engineering. Or we can take the science degree and do a further 2 years and get a masters
Chet
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Alex

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My head is spinning... ???

I dont blame you.

The uni of Bristol (e.g.) offers a 3-year BEng degree (H600) and a 4-year MEng degree (H606).

The idea of the 4-year MEng degree is to avoid having to pay the large fees associated with an isolated Masters. You just pay a fourth year of the BEng fees.

By going on the MEng course, you are still doing all the BEng courses and years, the pass criteria are a bit higher. When you graduate, you get only one paper saying Masters in blablabla. So think of it as a different way to serve a product that the uni offers.

There are various combinations for students that change their mind in the process.

I am not very fond of this scheme as you have to do the Masters at the same uni.
 

Offline HammerFET

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As Alex mentioned, I'm currently on the H606 course. It's fairly easy to jump course over summer, I have a friend who moved down from MEng (H606) to BEng (H600) because he's after a Medical Electronics MSc course elsewhere.

Imagine BEng here at Bristol the same as an MEng but a year shorted with various advanced topics pulled out. It works like that for all the courses.

The way things are looking now are that I either have to Withdraw, switch course or appeal.

Depending on how things go I will try appeal to retake the year else perhaps move to the Computer science with electronics course.

Leaving isn't an option as I feel I've invested too much in this course already.

It all rests on meeting with my tutor on Monday who could persuade the head of department to allow me past these rules  :-\
 

Offline XynxNet

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Retake the math course, if possible and review your exercise methodes.
Math is all about logic and "structured" thinking, which you have as an engineer, and about exercise, exercise and exercise.. ;)

My strategie at university was to do all the homeworks and exercises i could get, even old ones. Get some other students to compare your solutions and redo those you got wrong the first time. Just reading the solution doesn't work! Math will gulp up your time like a black hole for most students. That's normal.

Looking at your "engineering math 2" topics, I can assure you that it get's easier after that course.
 

Alex

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Just be honest about it to your tutor and have an answer for why do you think you will succeed next time. Also have a complete plan for what you would ideally like to do from this point on. Prepare to give away some points but know which points you must insist on.

Maybe approaching someone higher like the head of school will be of no benefit. Try instead those lecturers that you feel will have something to good to say with examples.

Good luck and let us know how it went.
 

Offline HammerFET

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Sounds like a plan, I'll take the weekend to go over where I can start again for maths and use that to help me on Monday.

Thanks all for your advice, I'll post further as things unfold.
 

Offline EEVblog

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The way things are looking now are that I either have to Withdraw, switch course or appeal.

Depending on how things go I will try appeal to retake the year else perhaps move to the Computer science with electronics course.

Sounds like you have a decent backup plan then.
Good luck.

Do you have to retake the whole year?, or just the math class?

Dave.
 

Offline HammerFET

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If anything, it'll just be the maths class.

Might be worthwhile because I could try get a bit of work experience on the side.

I'll see how it goes though.
 

Offline Lawsen

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I do not know the job market at Bristol U.K.  I have looked it up, the Bristol unemployment rate is around 7.2% to 8%.  This is from:

http://www.Bristol.gov.UK/page/

The rent rate is around 150 pounds per week.

http://www.hoopla.co.UK/torrent/flats/Bristol/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol#Economy_and_industry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Bristol

http://www.caringatchristmas.org.uk/SurvivalGuide.html

Very sad:

http://english.aljazeera.net/video/europe/2011/08/2011827162514362413.html

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/01/200912114444924271.html

It looks like you have terrible time at it with a possible high unemployment rate and the rent does not seem high compared with California, U.S.A.  This not doing well in electronics math is really personal.  It is not an electronics subject.  We are not your academic ad visor.  I did not do so well in electronics math, either, a B at most.  I did not do well in biology statistics at all.  I did not make it through the summer program in calculus at first try and retake it with a B, but it was averaged with the lower, because I did not dropped out.  Schools could be really punishing.  I no longer participate much in chemicool.com website because those on line tutoring or helping strangers like a pharmacist student, medical student, or high school student with their homework are too time consuming.  I done it in all categories around 2007.  I have read enough non sense from you, thinking about selling your oscilloscopes, because you could not handle calculus?  Oscilloscopes are used by non mathematics people.  Have you read a Tektronix's manual requiring the user to master calculus up to differential equations, d/dt?  It would be great if everyone did to appreciate those graphs more, but the minimum level for that is trigonometry.   Maybe, you could find an advisor at your school to help you like I did in biology to geology?  I did my electronics at a community college, before the university era.  My gig now is the giant HP plotter care taker job.  That job is even harder than school.  If I misplace one screw, than I am screwed.  I have to memorized the screw patterns.  The job is on call, no benefits and no steady income. 

Just beg to retake the math class and only just take that class and nothing else.   Devote full effort on that class, nothing else, no experimenting with oscilloscopes and spending time with friends and traveling.  Send the oscilloscopes back to your mother's place.  The only sine wave is f(x)=sine(x), with the knowing how the graph could shift and those electronics formulae and Kirchhoff's voltage laws for a circuit in a closed loop.  Failure is a part of engineering and life.  Please, do what you could to minimize failure. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirchhoff's_circuit_laws

What is my suggestion to you?  Do not drop out, even if it means you live semihomeless.  Homeless is on the rise in London as I saw on the news.  Write an essay to why you are not doing well in math and how will you do things differently will needed to be presented to the re-enrollment committee at your school.  Are you in probation or disqualification?  I told you this is a personal topic.  I am not so sure I ought to be writing so much about this situation.  Are you practicing your math more?  You need to practice your math about a year to six months before taking the class?  Have you considered seeking a tutor or guide?  I do not want to be a tutor, no, not me. 

A job, if you could find a good job to help with the rent, then do so, but how much time will that take from that math practice?  Could you move in with someone to live cheaply that does not have much woes or troubles?  Could you move your things back home to mother and live even more spartanly and just your graph paper, few calculators, and practice math?  The schooling is for the theory.  The job will be different, depending upon who hired to to do a particular task.  It might be as mundane as putting the right screws into the right place and figure out how to make a machine or circuit work. 

Do not drop out, because it might be more difficult to re-enroll in again.
You could always rent a place, losing an apartment is not a big thing, might be a blessing, because the end to high rents and down sizing to live within your means.
Another career might be good, too, but which career? 
As you read my history, I did not specialized in a particular career, but I did have my electronics certificate and earth science geology and few biology classes that I did not do well in and some did well above average.  I am a giant HP plotter care taker for an art studio doing advertisement arts.  I also repair microscope lamp houses for biology and geology.  I enjoy working with USB accelerometer seismographs and GPS modules.  I try to combine them; electronics, geology, and
exploring sciences. 
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 08:24:07 pm by Lawsen »
 

Online IanB

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I do not know the job market at Bristol U.K.  I have looked it up, the Bristol unemployment rate is around 7.2% to 8%.
Actually though, the UK is such a small country that you don't tend to look for professional work in a given city or area, you move to anywhere in the country you find a job offer. Obviously this changes a bit if you are settled down with a family and children at school, but when you are starting out location is not that important.

Also, headline numbers for unemployment can be misleading. Particular unemployment rates in professions like engineering can be quite different from the average.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline Lanman

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Failure is a part of engineering and life.  Please, do what you could to minimize failure.   

True that.  Oftentimes the difference between success & failure is at what point you choose to quit.  Anything worth doing is worth doing wrong until you get it right.  Something I've always considered key to succeeding in this business. 

Dave
 

Offline HammerFET

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Hey all, it's been a hell of a week. My appeal originally got rejected and I technically got kicked out of uni. I took a lot of time looking for a job or to continue a similar course at another uni but pretty much all courses are full now and I couldn't seem to find anywhere to get a place this year.

Thankfully, with the new term starting on Monday,  I have done a lot of phoning, emailing, meeting with various staff to squeeze every last hope out of getting back onto my course and with merely hours to go, I've managed to get back in!

It's three hours a week taking Maths for the year and that gives me plenty of time to nail it!

Thanks everyone for all your support, advice and kicks up the backside  :o This time I wont screw up!  :)
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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It's three hours a week taking Maths for the year
no no no. at least 1 hour a day for the math! thats minimum! and thats excluding in-class lesson.
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline Chet T16

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What math topics are you covering?
Chet
Paid Electron Wrestler
 

Alex

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Well done, congratulations!
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Well done, congratulations!
I don't agree this is well done. Earlier spending the same effort learning math instead of now spending the time whining and begging would be well done. All he learned now is how to weasel out.
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
For all else: Profile->[Modify Profile]Buddies/Ignore List->Edit Ignore List
 

Offline Kozmyk

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At least he's still in the game.
Well done for that, at least.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Glad to hear, good luck!

Dave.
 

Alex

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Well done, congratulations!
I don't agree this is well done. Earlier spending the same effort learning math instead of now spending the time whining and begging would be well done. All he learned now is how to weasel out.

Sure, but sometimes you have to not succeed in order to try harder next time, or try differently. This definitevely got him in a thinking process/re-evaluation that he might have not gone through before. I also think that weaseling out with the minimum damage caused is an important skill to have if ever needed.
 

Online Zero999

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I think university is a waste of time. In my experience, people with a good apprenticeship behind them are better at their jobs than those straight out of university.

You don't learn how how to read a datasheet at college, nor do you learn much about, CAD, laying out a PCB, soldering and case design.

I did a five year apprenticeship and studied one day a week. At the end of my training my bank account was 20k in credit, I had an HND, a lot of practical experience and a good job. If i'd gone to university, I'd have very little practical knowledge be over 20k in debt and be jobless.

I'm glad I didn't bother going, although part of me would've liked the social side. I did consider topping my HND up to a degree enabling me to become a chartered engineer but I decided against it.
 

Alex

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I think university is a waste of time. In my experience, people with a good apprenticeship behind them are better at their jobs than those straight out of university.

You don't learn how how to read a datasheet at college, nor do you learn much about, CAD, laying out a PCB, soldering and case design.

I did a five year apprenticeship and studied one day a week. At the end of my training my bank account was 20k in credit, I had an HND, a lot of practical experience and a good job. If i'd gone to university, I'd have very little practical knowledge be over 20k in debt and be jobless.

I'm glad I didn't bother going, although part of me would've liked the social side. I did consider topping my HND up to a degree enabling me to become a chartered engineer but I decided against it.

Fair enough, I am glad it worked out as you wanted it, aka you are happy where you are. But you are making a big assumption here:

Quote
If i'd gone to university, I'd have very little practical knowledge be over 20k in debt and be jobless.
 

Offline SgtRock

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Dear HammerFet:

--I am glad you managed to convince them to give you another chance. Be sure to get some math tutoring if necessary, it does not come easy to some of us. As I said before, knowledge of the Calculus will boost your confidence and give you the basic understanding to compute almost anything.

--As you can see, there are a lot of experienced and knowledgeable people on this forum who are only to glad to help. Do not pay too much attention to our resident curmudgeon. He just assumed you were looking for a lot of personal criticism based on zero knowledge. Why should one be polite to a struggling young college student? He could have easily given you all the advice he gave you, respectfully, and not treated you like a dog. But such is not his way. Better to discourage you, and better yet, discourage everyone.

--So study hard, otherwise you may end up working for someone like you know who.

“Ninety-nine percent of the world's lovers are not with their first choice. That's what makes the jukebox play.” Willie Nelson

Best Regards
Clear Ether
 

Offline Mechatrommer

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I think university is a waste of time.
You don't learn how how to read a datasheet at college, nor do you learn much about, CAD, laying out a PCB, soldering and case design.
now thats the quote of the year! people usually got misleaded. the truth is, going to uni is not about practical knowledge. practical knowledge is only a bonus, or very small part, or only to make you a "slightly" better graduate compared to other competing uni. but i agree the worthyness will depend on job vacancy, i cannot say for other countries, but for mine i think it is worthy, in the long term. and another misleading fact is you'll get richer if you go to uni. no you are not going to be rich if you have high education. if you are looking for a large pile of money and working skill, then dont go to uni, be a contractor, in my country at least.
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline HammerFET

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    • NakLojik
You don't learn how how to read a datasheet at college, nor do you learn much about, CAD, laying out a PCB, soldering and case design.

I agree, and that's exactly what I do in my free time. I try to encourage engineering as a hobby to many of my less practical friends and they in turn help me with the theoretical work.

I find university gives me the theoretical knowledge that I can later back up with practical experience. I often find myself sitting in lectures wondering how what they are teaching can be used for in a real world application. Many of my lecturers know of my hobbies and have helped me a lot this year, in fact that is one of the reasons I got given another chance. Some things they teach, i.e. Math, is harder to apply as the examples are abstract so I find it difficult to get to grips with.

I will be getting a tutor for a couple hours a week and make sure I work plenty each day.

All in all, I'm not disappointed that I have lost a year, but I've learnt more of how to get out of a sticky situation. Everyone goes through them at some point, better to make mistakes earlier than later...
 


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