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NUS Math Module Review: MA4255 Numerical Methods in Differential Equations

After COVID-19 hits:

Finals (40%): Use anything you want but don’t communicate with anyone

Midterm (30%): 1 double-sided A4 size helpsheet allowed

Tutorial presentation (15%)

Homework (15%)

Midterm statistics:

Average: 80.3/100, 25th percentile: 69.75, 75th percentile: 93.5, standard deviation: 16.1, 10 students above 90/100.


This module introduces ordinary differential equations (ODE) and partial differential equations (PDE) and introduces the finite difference method to solve them numerically. If the equations are simple enough, explicit solutions are also derived in this course. Issues like convergence and stability of the numerical methods formed the bulk of the discussion in this course.

To be honest, this course wasn’t that difficult, it’s quite repetitive since we’re just applying the finite difference method to ODE, then applying it to higher dimension and higher order PDE. The analysis of the numerical methods were also the same throughout the course, just applied to different kinds of differential equations. The tough part about this course was that the derivations were often very tedious, so I had to work like a calculator to train for the exams, which wasn’t really worth my time tbh.

Another difficult part about this course was that the lecturer didn’t write very good lecture notes. The lecture slides/notes were directly lifted from textbooks by Burden (ODE), Trefethen (ODE, PDE) and another unnamed textbook (PDE). Check out the amount of typo errors the lecturer makes in half of his notes (image attached). He uploaded a new copy of notes every time he fixed some typos so I would recommend that you don’t print them out, because they may be subjected to huge changes throughout the course. Instead, read the textbook directly.

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