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NUS Computing Review: CS1231S Discrete Structures

Workload

Moderate for first 2/3 of the module, high for the last 1/3

Difficulty

This was by far the hardest module I took in Y1S1 and the difficulty lies specifically in using the correct concepts to answer a question. Many questions will look similar but the way to prove/solve them can be vastly different.

The harder segments were undoubtedly the chapters on Graphs, Trees, and Number Theory. If you learn these 3 well, I can almost guarantee that you will get A- and above. The difficulty in these 3 chapters are not the concepts (they are rather straightforward in fact), but the application of the concepts.

Advice

Be consistent in your work and do not leave it till recess/study week to “catch up” on this mod. You will not have enough time to do so.

Also, for practice/revision, do not just read through past year papers. That was the folly I committed and it cost me my A- and above for this mod. Instead, actually make time for yourself to attempt the papers in earnest and do corrections. What I did was to revise all the past year papers by reading the qns and reading the ans keys. But this is the wrong strategy for this module.

The correct way to go about studying this module (contributed by my friend who scored A+) is to just go through the papers, selectively choosing the questions you have not had much exposure to yet or are still unsure about, do them, review the ans key and do corrections, and make a note somewhere on the qn and the ans (it is open book for midterms and finals so just bring your entire notes to the exam hall. no one cares).

Afterthoughts

I kind of knew I would not get A- and above for this module near the end and I suspect anyone doing this module will also be able to tell their expected grade nearing the end of the semester.

That said, this module reportedly has a high percentage of people getting A- and above (around 40% for my batch) so please do not sell yourself short and convince yourself that the bellcurve will whack you. While the profs say they apply the bellcurve for this module, I think they are quite lenient with the marks/percentage cutoff too for distinctions.

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