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(Alternate Title: CS10101S – An interesting but tough journey.)
I had wanted to dabble in Python but with a bit more rigor than outside courses might offer, so I found out about this and appealed my way into the module. Probably wasn’t the best decision to make, in hindsight.
What I expected
A relatively tough but manageable module.
What I got
A module which teaches one the meaning of pain. Just kidding – the learning curve is pretty steep, though, and those who struggle with formulating things in a clear and logical fashion will probably find this module to be pretty difficult.
That said, I found a new interest in OOP (object-oriented programming), so perhaps that’s the one silver lining in my mostly stormy experience of this module.
[Webcasted/Course Materials?]: All lectures are webcasted and course materials are made available through the portal chosen by instructors, so no textbooks or anything is required.
Assessment & Workload
The weight of each component varies, but for my semester the breakdown was as follows:
Coursemology level: 25%
Tutorial attendance and participation: 5%
Mid-term exams: 15%
Practical exam: 15%
Final exam: 40%
Workload of this module is extremely heavy. Do expect to spend all your free time either figuring out what was taught through the fast-paced lectures or debugging written code for completion of the Coursemology exercises.
Where most took six hours for completion of their Coursemology assignments, it took me closer to six literal days for the completion of said assignments with poorer results. This unsurprisingly didn’t help much for the timed components of the assessment (exams and finals) where others got through the questions much quicker than I could. A C would have been nothing short of a miracle, but I expected something closer to a D+, D or an F.
I got a D, which was quite a blow. Expected, but nonetheless still quite tough to swallow – with my borderline first class at the start of the semester (4.50), even a stellar grade for my thesis couldn’t keep my final cap above the 4.5 mark and I ended my four years with a final CAP of 4.45. Bitter, but humbling.
Conclusion & Tips
Those looking for an introductory module to the Python language would be well-advised to steer clear of this module given its heavy workload and the disproportionate amount of time you’ll likely need to spend on it for a C. That said, it certainly provides a rigorous foundation for those with an interest in computing that would prepare them for more in-depth modules focusing on other aspects.
1. Lots of past year papers are freely made available for those that have signed up for the module. Do practice them as much as one would do for the Ten Years Series given that the questions which come out are largely in the same style as past years.
2. Get a good editing program for Python – I like Spyder, but there are other alternatives out there. You won’t be allowed to use it during the Practical Exam, but at least it’ll save you a lot of trouble when working on the assignments.
3. Be sure to allocate a lot of time to this module for learning the different solutions to a problem inside out. Do not underestimate it at any costs.
Due to the course’s policy on code plagiarism and whatnot, nothing is indeed available 😦