Freshman’s Guide to Academics: MIT
After endless research and comparison, you have finally set your mind that this is the place you want to spend the next four years of your life. College brings with it a lot of new experiences, some good, and some not. You need to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything, because these memories will stick with you for the rest of your life, but in all the fun and hullabaloo you also need to make sure that you are not lacking on the academic front, and pass all your subjects in the first attempt.
Here are is a small guide, which talks about some basic terms and rules, and will help you ease your way into the classroom.
The number of contact hours per week defines the no of credits the subject carries. For example, if there are 4 classes a week, it’s supposed to be a four credit subject. Each first year semester carries 22 credits each.
It is really important for you to make sure that by the end of the semester, your attendance is equal to or more than 75%, falling short of which, you can be detained in that particular subject, and will have to re-register for the course in the next semester/academic year. By applying simple math, you get to know that you can miss a maximum of 12 classes for a four credit subject, and a maximum of 9 classes for a 3 credit subject. You can miss a total of 3 labs, and you may not be evaluated for full marks while appearing for repetition labs if you have missed any.
Cutoffs and Distribution of Marks
You can score a maximum of 100 marks in a subject, the marks are internally divided into three major chunks
- Assignment tests (20 Marks)
- Sessional Exams (30 Marks)
- End Semester Exams (50 Marks)
You need a minimum of 18 marks in your end semester examination to be eligible to pass the subject, and further, your total score including your internal assessment marks (Assignments+Sessionals) should be above the cutoff set by the department for each subject.
A total of 5 assignment tests are conducted across the span of a semester, with each test carrying a weightage of 4 marks.The questions are usually given beforehand and students are expected to be ready with the solutions in a week’s time. The assignment tests act as a tool for students to judge their understanding of concepts, and should be taken seriously and be solved at least once before attempting the test.
Sessionals form the major chunk of internal assessment marks, and it is important that you do well in these to make sure you clear the subject even if you somehow happen to mess up your end sems. Two sessional exams are conducted per semester, with each test carrying 15 marks each per subject.
End Semester Exams
The big daddy of all assessments, as the name clearly states, end semester exams are the concluding exams for each semester. Students are evaluated out of 50 marks, and it is imperative that you score a minimum of 18 marks to be eligible to pass the subject.
Here is a quick run-down of the first year curriculum:
The course is split into two cycles
- Physics Cycle
- Chemistry Cycle
The students are enrolled into a total of 24 sections, starting alphabetically from A and going all the way to X. Sections A to L fall in the Physics group whereas sections M to X identify as the Chemistry group. The cycles are then switched at the beginning of the second semester.
Engineering Mathematics-I is taught in the first semester, irrespective of the cycle being followed, and Engineering Mathematics-II is taught in the second semester.
Considering that you start your year with the physics cycle, here is what your year will look like:
Physics Cycle is pretty straightforward and easy as you will brush up on things you have already learned in higher secondary. Do take care of tricky subjects like Basic Electronics and Mechanics of Solids, though Engg. Mathematics is said to have the highest number of casualties every semester.
Engineering Mathematics-I (MAT 1101): 4 Credits
Engineering Physics (PHY 1001): 3 Credits
Mechanics of Solids (CIE 1001): 3 Credits
Basic Electronics (ECE 1001): 3 Credits
Basic Mechanical Engineering (MME 1001): 3 Credits
Communication Skills in English (HUM 1001): 3 Credits
Workshop Practice (MME 1011): 1 Credit
Engineering Graphics-I (MME 1111): 1 Credit
Engineering Physics Lab (PHY 1011): 1 Credit
Protip: While nothing beats paying attention in class and regular revision and exam prep with proper planning and enough sleep, but if you find yourself panicking at the last minute, here are some things you should keep in mind so that you pass the course, without having to appear for make-up exams.
Engineering Mathematics-I: Make sure you solve all problems from each topic, and make a sheet to jot down all the formulae for last minute revision because a lot of questions are formulae based and owing to the vastness of the syllabus, you may have a tough time remembering all of it. You may solve past papers to understand the type of questions asked and the weightage given to each topic. You may also want to learn some basic calculator operations that may come in handy during your exam as you will need to solve a lot of iterative problems and it is very easy to go wrong while working manually.
Engineering Physics: Practice all the derivations and solve assignment problems to make sure you get all your numericals right. Make sure that you can put to words in proper technical terms of what you have grasped the concept to be, as evaluation can be pretty harsh and proper definitions are needed for full marks.
Mechanics of Solids: Solve all assignment problems and do not leave a single derivation untouched. MOS is a fairly practical subject and requires thorough practice of every concept. You may find topics like SFD and BMD to be a little tough to grasp if you have not payed attention in class. Try referring to YouTube videos to get clear your concepts. Past papers may prove to be helpful.
Basic Electronics: Get hold of notes with solved examples, or use the PDF provided in the study material to go through each topic. Do not make the mistake of trying to study the subject by just reading through it. Use a pencil and a calculator and makes sure that you thoroughly finish each topic by solving the numericals and practicing circuit diagrams before moving to the next topic. Jot down all the formulae and important circuit diagrams in one notebook, this will come in handy during last minute revision as there is a lot to remember and it would be a good idea to stay organized. You can also go through past papers to get an idea of the type of questions that are asked and the common questions that might be asked again this time if you are lucky.
Basic Mechanical Engineering: BME is a scoring subject and it is important that you score well in it to boost your GPA. Go through all the slides and practice the diagrams with proper labelling and derivations of basic formulae. Solve assignment questions and jot down all the formulae in a separate sheet for revision. Make sure that you do not skip the last few topics as sure shot scoring questions maybe asked from them.
Communication Skills in English: Get hold of all the handouts and worksheets that were distributed by the faculty in the course of the semester as these can prove really helpful in brushing up your skills. Make sure that you at least go through the summary of the prescribed reading material and solve all the exercises provided in the study material. This should suffice.
Chemistry Cycle requires a lot of mugging up as there are a lot of things you should know by heart, including definitions, diagrams, processes and maybe even some tricky bits of code if you are not the one who tries to understand logical processes and often depends on memory to learn something. Be wary of Engineering Mathematics-II as it has the largest number of re-registrations every even semester.
Engineering Mathematics-II (MAT 1201): (4 Credits)
Engineering Chemistry (CHM 1001): (3 Credits)
Biology for Engineers (BIO 1001): (3 Credits)
Basic Electrical Technology (ELE 1001): (3 Credits)
Problem Solving Using Computers (CSE 1001): (3 Credits)
Environmental Studies (CIE 1002): (3 Credits)
Engineering Chemistry Lab (CHM 1011): (1 Credit)
PSUC Lab (CSE 1011): (1 Credit)
Engineering Graphics-II (MME 1211): (1 Credit)
Engineering Mathematics-II: The thing with mathematics is that, it requires practice, and you can’t expect to score well, if you start preparing the night before the big day. Try to allot time at least two or three days before the exam if you have not been studying the entire semester (because you should have been). The syllabus is vast and do not commit the blunder of thinking that you will sail through the test by just reading through the methods and by memorizing the formulae. Practice all the assignment questions, and clear your doubts with your faculty. Past papers may prove to be extremely useful if you are looking for repetitive questions.
Engineering Chemistry: The syllabus is vast and requires a lot of by hearting. Make sure that you jot down all the definitions, diagrams and reactions in a separate notebook as it’ll help you stay organized and will come in handy during revision. Do pay attention to past papers as a lot of questions are repetitive in nature and there is a high chance that you may get similar questions again. Write and practice the definitions and process diagrams.
Biology for Engineers: You either get Biology, or you don’t, there is no in between. The course material is scattered and it is hard and tedious to grasp the concepts if you try to switch through the slides at the last minute. Try making a list of concepts that you are supposed to learn, and try explaining it to yourself after you are done reading through the topic. YouTube may come in really handy as it has a lot of detailed videos with clear cut explanations bundled with catchy animations to help you understand how certain processes work.
Basic Electrical Technology: Practice is the key to cracking this subject. You might need a textbook to solve extra questions, as questions can be twisted in multiple ways and nothing but practice can sail your ship to the safe harbor. Practice star delta conversions and take care of conversions. Also, if you are running out of prep time and want to get more marks, try covering Electrical Power Systems as you’ll get sure shot questions which are often repetitive in nature.
Problem Solving Using Computers: If you took computer science in your +2 course, PSUC is going to be a joyride. Even if you haven’t ever tried your hand at coding, and this is the first time you are learning the basics, try to pay attention in class, because it can be really tedious to learn it all by your own. PSUC is totally logic based, and if you can remember the basic syntaxes, and procedures, you can score good marks in the subject. If you absolutely have no clue the night before the exam, try jotting down a list of topics, and scour through your course material and practice writing a sample program for each concept. Often some problems are taken directly from the course material, and this might prove helpful. Also, don’t ignore the theory part of the subject.
Environmental Studies: EVS is a fairly easy subject, and you can score an A if you pay attention in class and study seriously for your end-sem exam. Practice all the diagrams, make a chart of various processes and by heart all the definitions. This should suffice.
It can be hard to balance academics and college life together. Because at one side, you have fests, friendships, places to visit, and on the other you have huge pile of books waiting to be read. But if you pay attention in class, and actually put in effort while solving your assignments, it is not a tough job to sail through first year. Listed below are a few resources that might come in handy. Good luck!
Make-up exams and Revaluation: http://manipalthetalk.org/colleges/mit/register-makeup-exams/
Websis portal: Access the student portal from here. http://websismit.manipal.edu/sis/
Library portal: Access old question papers and much more (only usable on intranet or IoN) http://libportal.mahe.manipal.net/
–Peeyush Chauhan for MTTN
Photo credits: Anmol Rathi and Paul Nandadeep for MTTN