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NUS Module Review: CS2102 Database Systems

Grading components:

Tutorial attendance & participation – 5%

Assignments – 15%

(There were 4 assignments in total, each with a different weightage: 1 small programming assignment to perform data query in any language you prefer, 2 IVLE quizzes, 1 SQL query assignment)

Team project – 20%

Midterm – 20%

Final – 40%

Webcast is available.

Module content:

This module covers mainly relational databases, including entity relationship diagram, SQL queries, database normalization etc. It serves as a good introduction to RDBMS and has great practical usage for students from non-CS major but will be working with databases for future work. PostgreSQL is used but there can be certain syntax differences between lecture notes and PostgreSQL because the textbook used is not based on postgres. If you encounter such issues, do clarify with lecturers on what to do in exams.

Triggers and functions in SQL are also covered but not tested. NoSQL databases are discussed in the last few lectures but not tested as well.


For our batch, both midterm and final exam are conducted on Examplify.

Midterm only tests SQL queries and you are allowed to run the queries to check correctness. Test cases are also provided. Hence the median is very high.

Final tests all topics except for the ones excluded as mentioned above. Question format is very similar to IVLE quiz. SQL queries are tested again. Questions are easy and straight forward so be sure not to make careless mistakes.


The group project has become significantly harder as compared to previous sems because >= 15 entity/relationship sets are required. As a result your database will have around 10 tables. This results in more work for both database schema design and web development. Most likely you need to justify the sets you have by increasing the number of features in web. As such, you may want to have someone in your project team with certain knowledge about web development, or at least eager and diligent enough to pick up some if everyone in the group has no prior experience.

Having said so, your database design and SQL queries are still more important than web UI. So put in more effort in ensuring you can get full marks for database-related components. It’s possible to get into top 10 teams and get bonus mark with a simple web UI (and sufficiently complex database design).

Personal thought:

Getting familiar with writing complex SQL queries is a must to score well. Both midterm and final test them, and your group project score relies heavily on them.

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