Author Topic: 2nd Year MEng student - Failed Maths - Do I just cut my losses and find a job?  (Read 19255 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>.

Quote
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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Offline 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.
 

Offline 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.
 

Offline 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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Offline 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

  • Guest
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

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

Offline HammerFET

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 17
  • Country: gb
    • NakLojik
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...
 


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