22 Dec 2014
Tips and thoughts on 1A Computer Science at the University of Waterloo
Here, I’ll talk about the classes I took in 1A as a CS student at the University of Waterloo.
- Don’t space out your classes. Make them as close together as possible. You will have time to get to your next class.
- Online courses give you more free time, but don’t get left behind.
- A good time and a good prof are equally important.
- 8am in high school is not the same as 8am in university. You will skip classes. Start your classes a bit later.
Math 135: This class will destroy you. They teach this content in third year at other schools. Most people have not encountered this type of math before, the dreaded proof. It requires you to think very critically, and I would compare it to solving puzzles. The class is just about various proofs, and even gets into a little encryption with RSA. Weekly assignments, and two exams.
Math 137: This class is pretty easy. The first half of it is high school review. Later, you will get a bit more into it, with proofs for some of the formulas you have to know. Don’t underestimate the midterm, as our average was around 56%. The second half is more about anti derivatives and integrals, but I found the final much easier. Maybe they were trying to raise the average. Weekly assignments, and two exams.
CS 135: If you have any previous CS experience this will be a really easy class. If not you will be in a lot of trouble. The course is all about programming with Racket, a dialect of lisp. The assignments are good, as you will be using the theoretical stuff you learned in class, doing problem solving and such. There are weekly tutorials, but I never went, as I found they were a waste of time. Weekly assignments, and three exams.
SCI 238: Astronomy. I loved this class, and it’s really easy, maybe because I took it online. There are 5 assignments which contain basic physics questions and then a final. My lecturer, Michel Fich, is a great guy, and listening to his lectures is very enjoyable. It also fulfils one of those science electives, so I would recommend this 10/10. Just make sure you listen to the lectures every week, and not cram 2000 slides the day before the exam.
Hist 110: Western History. This is another great class. Every week you get a 3 hour lecture, which is basically a summary of some period of history. Starting with the Greeks and ending with the reformation. You’ll leave the class with a solid knowledge of the history of the west, which is pretty great in my opinion. It’s relatively easy as well, you have to write a one page reading log every week, and then two exams.