Hardest Class(es) at Michigan?

<p>I'll be an incoming freshman this fall at the College of Engineering. I'm kind of scared of the transition because I feel that high school was too easy and did not prepare me well for college. If anyone would share what class(es) gave him/her the most trouble in the first year and why, I'd greatly appreciate it.</p>

<p>Your first year or two of engineering, you don't have that much choice in what classes you take. I don't think any of the classes you'll be taking are extremely difficult, there just may be one or two in areas you find you're not good at. Engineering requires physics 240 (calc-based electricity and magnetism), and I know some people who struggled with that. I think what might be more likely is that you have problems adjusting to the overall workload as opposed to any specific class.</p>

<p>Can't help much more than that since I'm not actually an engineer, and I don't think you'll be taking any of the classes I took as a freshman.</p>

<p>Ok here's the scoop.</p>

<p>First year engin classes are ENGIN 101 and ENGIN 100.</p>

<p>ENGIN 101: Intro to Programming</p>

<p>If you have previous programming experience, this class should not be that hard. The profs in Fall 05 were Dorf, Bilaef (sp?), and Daida. I had Dorf. Many students do not like her. She's not very clear on assignments, has a shrieky voice, and sometimes rude in office hours. I didn't really like her, and her grading policy was unclear...basically, you could choose which grading option you wanted (out of two choices), but it was sorta poorly managed and you never completely understood how the course was graded. Overall, though, I found that her curve was fair and a sufficient number of students go A's.</p>

<p>Last fall was Daida's first time teaching 101. Took him forever to grade the finals, and he sorta teaches you more about his philosophy on life than programming in general. Neat guy, but has a unconventional view of the world (I'll talk about this later). Overall, I heard he was a hard grader in 101.</p>

<p>Bilaef is the teacher most students prefer. He knows his stuff well, and has been teaching the course for awhile and wrote a C++ textbook as well (although he is a Nuclear eng prof). Didn't take his class so dunno anything more.</p>

<p>ENGIN 100</p>

<p>This course is divided by topic...such as Design: The Next Generation, Engineering Design in the Real World, etc. It's basically an Intro to Engineering class with technical writing and design assignments.</p>

<p>I took Engineering Design in the Real World...taught by Daida. Here comes the interesting stuff.</p>

<p>This class was prolly the hardest class of all the Engin100 classes last term. Usually, the Biomed section is the hardest, but in my class, only 4 people got A's, out of ~100. It's a weird course. He teaches you about his philsophy on life. We learned how the real world was a nonlinear system, how we needed to become generative systems, how the beer game (prod-dist. simulation) modeled reactive systems, how the world might come to an end, how systemic structure influences behavior, etc. We also learned about systems thinking, the correlation between robustness, complexity, vigilance, and Murphy's Law. It was really a f!cked up class, although the guy is a good lecuture. Huge ego problem though, but some students seemed to like him and kissed his @ss a lot.</p>

<p>The main part of the class is a team design project (redesign Ugli basement, MAGIC bus website, etc)...which can take up A LOT of time. You are split into teams of about 5 and have to meet up at least once a week. In the end, you have to propose a design and implement it to a small degree, and write a 40 page technical report on your design. But this happens in all sections of Engin100 though.</p>

<p>Basically, Daida's grading is messed up. The average is about B+, but about 80% of the class gets this grade, and only ~5% get A's (from winrer 06). The reason for this is there are a lot of points given out that don't sufficiently separate the students. For example, everyone basically gets the same grade on journal assignments, the design project (graded very leniently so every gets 90%+), and other all-or-nothing assignments. The only real differentiators are the midterm, the final, and some smaller projects. B/c of so many free points, he grades straight-scale.</p>

<p>But he finds ways to intentionally f!ck you up and lower ur grade (hard midterm graded on straight-scale). So the end product is a grade distribution where almost everyone is at B+, and almost no one with an A. He'll constantly tell u not to stress too much about grades, only to cover up his messed up grading system. I got a 92.6% (93 = A) in the class and an A-. Basically summed up the experience in that class. Always too short.</p>

<p>So basically, Engin 100 was the hardest class for me. Huge time-waster and bascially left me with no time for my other classes. Engin Design in the Real World and the Biomed Design class are the worst in terms of grading.</p>

<p>Another thing you'll get used to in college is that grades virtually always round down (92.9 =/= 93).</p>

<p>Many people consider engineering harder to get good grades in than LS&A classes (and typically they'd also agree engineering courses are harder and take up more of your time too). Fortunately for you, two of these things work out in your favor:</p>

<p>Like cherrybarry said, you'll only take two engineering courses your first year -- unless you came in with a lot of the prereqs covered. Due to the average engineering GPA (not sure if this is freshmen or for graduates) being a 2.85, the requirements to graduate with honors covers a greater range of grades (had to be careful not to say it was "easier" per se: 3.200-3.499 is cum laude, 3.500-3.749 is magna cum laude, 3.750-4.000 is summa cum laude). Contrast this with LS&A last semester that had: top 3% (3.917-4.000), top 10% (3.794-3.916), and top 25% (3.621-3.793).</p>

<p>Thus, you could make a solid B+ GPA (3.300) and graduate with honors. Unfortunately, many of your engineering classes you'll be taking past your freshman year are curved with the average being (for me, at least) around C+ / B- or B- / B. Thus, a B+ is definitely a significant margin above the class average.</p>

<p>The hardest classes your freshmen year will be: Math 115/116 (although the material is supposed to be not that bad, the exams are crazy, and graded sadistically -- you'll know what I'm talking about after your first midterm), Physics 140/240 (a few people sail through this, hardest part is the exams are all multiple choice -- not so easy when every answer looks right and no partial credit), Engin 101 (only if you've never had programming experience), Engin 100 (only if you have bad time management, bad team skills or a bad team, or just can't adapt to new ways of thinking). I had Daida's Engin100 for Winter2005 and it was one of the best classes I've had at U of M -- but with Daida, you either love him or you hate him.</p>

<p>I hope this is of some help as a primer for your freshman year. The best way to prepare (besides taking some summer classes at a local college) is to have good time management (i.e. don't procrastinate), good study habits (read the book, go to class), and get in a routine. Also, know when you are having trouble or in over your head and get help - go to office hours, join a study group, talk to your classmates. And take those practice exams before the real thing!</p>

<p>quick question: where u in peer390 last term?</p>

<p>Yes, I was a Peer390 for the Winter 2006 term.</p>

<p>lol i've seen you before...in Mojo</p>

<p>Thank you for all the replies. </p>

<p>I'm actually thinking about taking a class at a community college this summer. I wanna take Calc II (MTH 116) or Engr 100. I took the AP Calc AB test a few weeks ago but won't get my score until July. It'd be weird if I didn't pass the AP Calc test but got the Calc II credits from the community college. What would they do? Make me retake Calc I? Originally I wanted to take PHY 140, 141 but my local community college requires Calc II to take a similar course, which doesn't really make sense because this course should be equivalent to AP Physics in high school. A lot of my friends in AP Physics never had Calc II or even Calc I. </p>

<p>Anyway, what class(es) should I take at a community college?</p>

<p>If you can get any of Engin101, Physics, or Math out of the way, I'd recommend it. I doubt you'll be able to find a class that would be acceptable to transfer as Engin 100 credit. There is a database that shows transfer credits for LS&A and another for engineering. If in doubt, definitely get it pre-approved by U of M before you take the class so you know it'll transfer. If you happen to pass Math 116 but don't get credit for the AP Calc AB exam, then it's likely they'll just make you take an upper-level math class in its place. An advisor can give you a more definitive answer.
One of my friends started with Calculus II at U of M, but apparently never had Calculus I. He was able to convince his advisor to let him take Stats 350 in its place.</p>

<p>Yep, cherrybarry. I rememer the Peer390 consults we had in MoJo with you in Team Epic.</p>