How to improve your chance of getting a good grade.


Many students will do well in this class; others may be disappointed in their grade.  Yet, a number of students show problems with poor lecture attendance, poor lab preparation, and poor or incomplete work on problem sets. These simple suggestions are offered in the spirit of trying to reduce the number of students so disappointed.  Your actions will have great control upon your class grade.

Study Hard: put in the necessary time.

To do well in college classes, you should expect to devote about  2.5 hours of studying for each hour of lecture (including time working problem sets and working on lab projects).  If  you are taking 16 units, this means that, between studying and attending lectures, you sould be expending about 8 hours per day, 7 days per week.  This is in addition to your time attending lectures.

Problem sets.

Turn in every problem set. Make sure your answers are correct. Do not work in groups---do the work yourself. Work the problems over until you understand them perfectly and can solve them quickly: the exams are usually very similar. If you skip the problem sets, or if you copy another student's work, you will not learn the material, and you will do badly on the exams. Skipping more than one problem set, or working the problems carelessly, almost always leads to a low grade in the class.


Attend every lecture: It is hard to keep up with the material if you don't.
Read each day's on-line lecture notes before you come to class: It will be hard to follow the lecture if you don't.
Take notes. 
Each lecture day, read the same material in the class textbook. The textbook covers the material differently: it helps to have several perspectives.


These are major independent commitments, and a major component of the class. You are learning independent design.  Develop an solid on-paper design before you enter the lab, and make sure that your calculations show that the design will work to specification. Allow plenty of advanced time for building, testing, and de-bugging, as the odds are good that your initial design has problems which you have not anticipated. De-bugging is a central part of design work.


Read the class notes. Read the text.  Work problems from  the problem sets. Work an old class exam posted on-line. Make sure that you understand the old posted exams. Make sure you can  work an old exam for practice in the  amount of time you will be given for the class exam.

Why it is worth it.

Engineering is well- paid, and, particularly if you are involved in designing products or developing a technology, creative, hence interesting and fun.  If you can manage to keep your undergraduate G.P.A. significantly above 3.0, you have much better chances of being admitted to an M.Sc. Degree program. Compared to B.S.E.E. graduates, M.S.E.E. graduates are much more likely to be involved in design work, as opposed to manufacturing,  test, quality assurance, support, and technical sales. If your GPA is in the 3.6-3.7 range or above, you might consider a Ph.D. This is a hard 4-6 year commitment, but you will be more likely to lead design teams, to plan the next products a company develops, or to rise into the upper levels of technical management.