NUS Module Review — AY 17/18 Semester 2

Nathaniel Theodore Ling
9 min readJun 11, 2021

Hey all, this is part 3 of my module review over the past 5 years. By way of introduction, I am Nathaniel — a recent double degree graduate (Mechanical Engineering and Economics) from the National University of Singapore. I think having a further introduction is pretty self explanatory with my previous module reviews, so lets start things proper!

AY 17/18 Semester 2

ME2102 — Engineering Innovation and Modelling

Lecturer: Prof Lee Kim Seng and Seah Kar Heng
Assessment Rubric: 25% CAD Assignments, 25% Quiz, 50% Finals
Module Content (split into 2 key parts):

(a) Prof Lee Kim Seng:

  • More on knowing how to use SolidWorks (CAD software) to create drawings and engineering design from scratch

(b) Seah Kar Heng:

  • Using Shingley’s Design Textbook to answer finals related questions like Bearings, Gears, Shafts, etc

In summary, ME2102 is a straightforward module with a very steep bell curve. The first half of the module teaches students how to utilize a CAD software for engineering related drawings (pretty useful skill for individuals looking to be a design engineer as a career). The second half of the module will be learning some mathematical equations related to screws, bolts, gears, etc — essentially mechanical related equipment.

Pro-tip: You’ll need to put in the time to really learn the tips and tricks on utilizing SolidWorks (similar to any kind of software out there like R, Python, etc), and there is no easy way around it. 6 weeks is definitely not enough time to be competent in designing a a model from its engineering drawing (in terms of the unseen CAD test) — assuming you’re only practicing about 3hrs/week. One will need to place at least 8–10 hours/week to try and CAD out simple engineering models from an engineering drawing. On the flipside, the second half of the module will not be too hard if the finals is still open book as per my time, following the formulas and the steps to solve the questions is sufficient enough.

ME2121 — Thermodynamics

Lecturer: Prof Daniel Sng and Christopher Yap
Assessment Rubric: 20% Quiz, 10% Lab, 70% Finals
Module Content (split into 2 key parts):

(a) Prof Daniel Sng:

  1. Introduction to Thermodynamics (more of properties, open and closed loop systems, etc)
  2. Properties of Pure Substances and Introduction to Steam Tables
  3. First Law of Thermodynamics
  4. Second Law of Thermodynamics
  5. Reversible and Irreversible Processes, Entropy

(b) Prof Christopher Yap:

  1. Vapour Power and Refrigeration Cycles
  2. Air Cycles
  3. Ideal Gas Mixtures, Psychometry and Applications

ME2121 would vary among individuals in the level of difficulty, but I found it to be moderately challenging. One will require a good amount of focus (3–4 hours of deep work) to internalize a specific concept but those that have an attention span of a goldfish like me will face some difficulties. As mentioned in the module content, Prof Daniel Sng will cover a extension of thermodynamics based on what you’ve learnt in PC1431, and Prof Christopher Yap will take you through different types of thermodynamic cycles (refrigeration , turbine, jet engines, etc). There were also some quizzes and lab sessions which shouldn’t pose too much of a difficulty if you have placed in a decent amount of continuous effort throughout the semester.

Pro-tip: The CA is meant for students to have some sort of buffer in case they are unable to score during the finals, which goes to show how ruthless the finals will be (a concern for your future self haha). I’m not sure how much the syllabus has changed since newer ME cohorts will have heat transfer incorporated in ME2121, but having a good amount of knowledge is crucial for doing moderately well for this module. The first half of the module despite being easier in content, proved to be difficult in terms of solving the question since Prof Sng tested on entropy change with respect to compressed water… (most students had 0 idea what was going on since we had not many key numbers to plug in for compressed water). I had some of my peers that attained a decent grade as they cleared the questions with ease for the 2nd half of the module — which will be a good idea for students to try and nail the problem solving process of various thermodynamic cycles. After all, the moment you see an insane question during your exam, chances are that close to 80% of the cohort are feeling the way — lost and confused hahah…

ME2135 — Fluid Mechanics II

Lecturer: Prof CJ. Teo and Eric Birgersson
Assessment Rubric: 10% Lab, 15% Quiz, 25% Group Project, 50% Finals
Module Content (split into 2 key parts):

(a) Prof CJ Teo:

  1. Turbomachinery
  2. Potential Flow

(b) Prof Eric Birgersson:

  1. Viscous Fluid Flow
  2. Navier Stokes Equations and Applications
  3. Boundary Layers
  4. Flow around Immersed Bodies

This module by far was a living nightmare for me, despite having a relatively pleasant experience from ME2134. I’m not exactly sure why, but it most probably stemmed from my lack of preparation of the module as I was struggling to answer the easier questions during the exam, resulting in a mediocre grade (I kind of expected it the moment I walked out of the exam hall). Prof Teo’s module content was not very hard to grasp, which also included a midterm quiz and a lab session. However, Prof Eric’s content was horrendously difficult due to how complex Navier Stokes was and viscous flow/boundary layers being very “fluffy” per-se. Further, the group project was to simulate an air mask based on Prof Eric’s innovation, which was a steep learning curve considering that we needed to learn ANSYS within 6 weeks…

I do not actually have any pro-tips for this module as this module was a huge struggle for me and I lacked strong conceptual knowledge to tackle the module with ease. All I can say is that if you’re taking this module to clear your aeronautical/oil and gas specialization… all the best!!

ME3112 — Mechanics of Machines

Lecturer: Prof HP Lee and ET Ong
Assessment Rubric: 30% Lab and 70% Finals
Module Content (split into 2 key parts):

(a) Prof HP Lee:

  1. Kinematics of Rigid Bodies
  2. Mass Properties
  3. Dynamics of Rigid Bodies — Planar Motion
  4. Energy Methods (Conservation of Energy)

(b) Prof ET Ong:

  1. Principles of Impulse and Momentum
  2. Impact of Rigid Bodies
  3. Undamped and Damped Vibrations
  4. Forced Vibrations

ME3112 is a really challenging module but if one is willing to put in the necessary time and effort to internalize the concepts and apply it to the questions, the module should be manageable. The first half of the module will ramp off from the basics of PC1431 and ME2112, and then sky rocket into Coriolis force, etc.. which will blow your mind as you’ll start to solve problems in a 3D setting (a HUGE upgrade from our usual 2D problems). The second half of the module is more complex in terms of the module content, but the finals preparation is relatively easier as the route to success is constant practice like MA1505 and MA1506.

Pro-tip: The module is open book, so feel free to bring as much help you think you’ll need during the exam (I actually printed $20 worth of notes to the exam hall but did not use a single page in the end LOL). After reflecting on my journey for this module, I’ll highly recommend knowing how to solve dynamics in a 3D setting since its 25% of the paper. Know how to set a reference point and set up your simultaneous questions to solve the problem and you’ll be fine. The next question will be on conservation of energy which will not be too difficult, but rather tedious in solving it.

Assuming you’re still on track to complete the finals on time, 1 question for Prof Ong’s section is a giveaway in terms of vibration — simply use the right equation to solve the specific problem given and you should be fine. The impact and momentum question will be slightly challenging but if you’ve done your revision, you will do fine for this module. As a side note, I thought I came out of the exam fine but did not receive a stellar grade, which got me to think if the bell curve for ME3112 has always been steep to begin with.

EC2102 — Macroeconomic Analysis I

Lecturer: Prof Seet Min Kok
Assessment Rubric: 15% Tutorial Participation, 35% Midterms, 50% Finals
Module Content:

  1. Introduction to Macroeconomics
  2. Measure of the National Economy
  3. Productivity, Output, and Employment
  4. Consumption, Saving, and Investment
  5. Model for Consumption and Saving
  6. Asset Market, Money, and Prices
  7. Business Cycles
  8. IS-LM and AD-AS Model

EC2102 by far was one of the best module I’ve taken for the semester, given how it was a “break” (lol so ironic) from the madness and intensity created by the mechanical engineering modules. I enjoyed listening to the Prof Seet’s explanations of the macroeconomy and how different models are created to answer specific portions of the economy (like its output, pricing, and wages). Perhaps I am more of a macroeconomics guy since I did way better in my macroeconomics modules than microeconomics.

Pro-tip: I eventually became a TA for Prof Seet in AY 19/20 S2, so there was a huge change in the structure of the module and the exams. EC2102 became more mathematical by nature, which you’ll learn how to use Lagrangian methods to solve for constraint problems for the midterm exams. This shouldn’t pose too much of a difficulty as it will be relatively straightforward with some practice. The key is building your equations correctly and the answer will come by eventually. For the math-allergic students, the finals will be more qualitative as it comprises of building the fundamental models — IS-LM and AD-AS. Knowing how to come about with the final answer given Prof’s inputs is crucial for acing the finals, which will be a breeze if you’ve mastered the concepts taught during the lecture.

Lastly, I think one should not neglect the tutorial participation despite some TAs giving equal opportunities to students to present their answers. As most answers are quite standard in terms of the execution and presentation, the difference lies in how you are able to convey the concept in layman words for your peers/classmates to understand. Although I scored above 75th percentile for my midterms and felt that I aced the finals with ease, I did not get a stellar grade, which I felt that my tutorial participation score pulled down. This was not surprising since I was late most of the time for classes and participated only when I needed to(which can pull down your grade — do not ask me why, but read in between the lines as to what position I took up for this module).

GET1020 — Darwin and Evolution

Lecturer: Dr John Van Whye
Assessment Rubric: 50% Midterms, 50% Finals
Module Content:

  • A semester’s worth of Charles Darwin, the theory of evolution, and other supporting topics

I received a crappy grade for this module, but this was one of the most interesting module in the whole GEM basket. We got to learn about Charles Darwin and his journey in order to formulate the theory of evolution, which was really interesting to me. Further, Dr John will elaborate further on other supporting topics like how some countries are able to progress further than others, etc.

I think this module is more of internalizing all the module content ( which will have not much information in the slides and NOT webcasted), so you’re forced to attend lectures and take down your own form of notes as Prof starts rambling on for 1.5 hours. If you have an attention span of a goldfish, you can consider using your phone to record the lecture so you can go home and re-listen to the lecture. As for your mid-terms and finals, its a 50 MCQ test given the topics that he has taught you. Most questions shouldn’t be too challenging, but there are a few question that a throw students off and distinguish the A’s from the B’s — which will be evident by how attentive you are during the lecture.

This semester for me was one of the hardest, given the insane difficulty of the ME modules and my time spent to prepare for an upcoming OCIP in Cambodia. My results were mediocre at best, but I guess we got to look forward and not regret any of our actions. I definitely would have done things differently as a Y1/Y2 student, which I only started going on my A game at Y4 onward.. but oh wells! Every year as a living individual is about learning and growing from your mistakes :)



Nathaniel Theodore Ling

I write about venture capital, equity research, and data analysis.