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NUS Math Module Review: MA1421 Basic Applied Mathematics for Sciences

I felt like I was losing out in this mathematics module compared to the A level students who took mathematics, but in the end, I think it wasn’t that big of a problem. Expected to have an easier time with the statistics portion since I have taken more statistics modules in poly, but the lecturer for the statistics part really made this very difficult and cumbersome.

The module consists of:

– 10% Worksheets (done every lecture, submit anytime before finals, free points)

– 10% Assignment (to replace a non-examination chapter, excel stuff)

– 20% Midterm Test (OPEN BOOK)

– 60% Final Exam (35% Math + 25% Stats, OPEN BOOK)

For the tests, they’re open book, but you’re not gonna need to refer to them unless for formula or if you forget how to differentiate or integrate, which if you don’t practice, you really will forget (like me). The lecturer explicitly says it doesn’t matter even if you use your calculator to solve for the answer or you skip steps, as long as you get the final answer, your working portion can be empty, you can just write a “solved using calculator” if you so desire.

Content starts off with basic mathematical functions, like powers of x, trig functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, hyperbolic functions, and complex numbers. Then covers calculus (differentiation, integration, partial derivatives, total derivatives). Last major part is ordinary differential equations: first and second order ODEs. You will basically learn various scenarios which you just have to manipulate into the appropriate form to use some sort of a general equation or general method to solve for the answer. The last part will cover linear algebra, most important thing is knowing how to find the eigenvalues and eigenvectors, which I feel had a trend of always coming out. The real last part is numerical methods and group theory, which weren’t really tested in exams because there are no good ways to ask questions on those.

Do put in some effort in practicing and making sure you know how to solve the basics, at least the basic examples and exercises in the lecture notes, and give the past year papers a try. It’s more than enough preparation for this portion.

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