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NUS Math Module Review: MA3220 Ordinary Differential Equations

This module is taught via E learning given the Coronavirus period. A variety of topics pertaining to ordinary differential equations is taught in this module.

The first half of the module includes solving first, second, third and higher nth order ODEs. All these are done so by determining the particular solution to the ODE and the general solution to its corresponding homogeneous ODE. Then the general solution to the particular ODE is “ a particular solution + the general solution to its corresponding homogeneous ODE “.

To master this portion, one must be well versed in multivariable calculus, complex numbers (from JC) and higher order differentiations. This portion may seem easy to some but it is quite prone to carelessness.

Moreover, Some ODEs are tricky and will require students to think out of the box to solve (probably by factorization, trigonometry, product rule, quotient rule, chain rule etc). The challenge in this part is that some methods which work for certain ODEs may not work for other ODEs. For instance using the variation of parameters method or the Euler equation/ formula may work for some ODEs but not for other ODEs.

Hence, to master this portion, one may need continuous and kaisu practices from many past year papers and textbook problems. In fact I practiced problems from past year papers dated back as early as 2003.

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