Quick Tips on How to survive NUS FASS

Hello prospective FASS freshies,

I am a NUS FASS student (Y1 going Y2) who’s majoring in Psychology (intending to have social work as a second major).  Y1 has been a crazy and hectic ride, I crashed and burned. There were so many things that I had to learn from the scratch because I have totally forgotten about the fact the I can google for tips on how to survive university.

Also, I am a pretty lazy and poor student that skip almost all the camps just to nua before school officially starts. (which is probably a bad idea because it is always good to attend camp to meet more friends and seniors who can give you tips on how to bid and plan for module)

If you are just like me, you gotta continue reading because you don’t want to be the only blur sotong around in school.

*FYI: For those of you looking for more information on technical topics such as module requirement, bidding, double major, minor, maybe you gotta look somewhere else because what I am covering is mostly tips after you have settled your bidding.

So, here goes!

TIP #1: Read your Graduation Requirement CAREFULLY

For those who wants a ROUGH IDEA on module requirement in FASS, students in FASS usually take 5 modules per semester. Each module is worth 4 modular credits. From time to time, NUS will sometimes have compulsory modules to take, so there might be times where you will need to tank 6 modules. (note: compulsory modules are usually not too demanding).

For different majors and degree there are different graduation requirements. For the Arts students, for the 2015 cohort, we are required to clear a certain number of modules under General education (at least 5 modules) . Exposure in FASS (at least 3 modules, not counting your own major’s exposure module) , unrestricted and our major modules.

So, I bet many of you must be thinking, hmm so how do we differentiate the General Education and exposure modules. General Education are Modules that starts with a G, for e.g GEH1045 : World Religion. Each module have their own different code. So, for exposure modules, it usually ends with an E. E.g. PL1101E.

These modules requirement stuff is pretty self explanatory! More information can be found in the graduation requirement document (I posted a 2015 link for reference) : http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/doc/undergrad/modular_system/modular-2015.pdf

Sorry I am pretty bad at explaining the modules requirements, and I shall not do it just so I do not confuse you guys. 😦

After learning about the requirements, you will need to start bidding probably around early August. So for more information on how to bid and when to bid for modules, please visit this link: http://www.nus.edu.sg/cors/index.html

Reading the graduation requirement is pretty important as it gives you an overview of your academic life in Uni. It also helps you plan ahead if you are planning to do a double major, minor or double degree.

Fret not about module planning and bidding because you will get the hang of it after your first semester. Meanwhile, do check the NUS FASS facebook page as they have talks on how to bid modules and there are FASS seniors there to guide you on this.

TIP #2: Choose your modules wisely

After going through more than 10 years of studying in Singapore, I am pretty sure most of you would have an idea of how you best study. In FASS, there are certain modules that requires more application while the others requires more memorisation. So, by this time, you gotta know what style fits you best.

Some of the modules that I took last semester that requires application skills were EC1101E (Introduction to Economics) and CL1101E (Introduction to Chinese Language). After getting over with Sem 1, I realised that I was clearly not made for applying concepts as I got Cs for both modules.

However, I did pretty well with modules that requires memorisation such as the PL1101E and SW1101E (Psychology and social work exposure module)

Do not worry if you have no idea what style of learning fits you best and that you wish to try out unfamiliar modules, because first year students get the chance to S/U all their modules. (meaning you can choose to not count your grades into your CAP)

In addition to this, you might want to search up on module reviews to get a better idea of the module and lecture style that you are subscribing to.

Bear in mind that if you want good grades, then you have gotta choose your modules that you feel are your strengths.

TIP #3: Know your studying methods well and plan your timetable accordingly

In university, you plan your own timetable yourself. (Plan modules using: nusmods) So, if you are a person that works more efficiently in the late afternoon or night, you might not want to put 8am lectures into your timetable. Similarly, if you are a person that works better in the morning, you can choose to have your lecture early. (But be reminded that you will need to take time to travel and wait for the goddamn nus shuttle bus gosh)

Also, if you are not someone who can learn things fast, please try not to plan your lectures back to back because you will not have the time to absorb what is being taught in the previous lecture. And yes, if you are someone who procrastinate when it comes to doing work (which I believe most of us do), do not put your tutorials back to back because you will need time to chiong before the next tutorial. (if you get what I mean you last minute people)

Yesyesyes, and not to forget, if you are someone who hates the crowd, be smart enough to put your lessons either before or after the lunch hour (peak hour 11-1pm) so you wont need to have your meals in school. This is because the canteen is really crowded and rowdy during lunch time. If you have your lesson before lunch, you can grab yourself a meal outside school after lesson in a less crowdy and chaotic environment.

Some insider tip from a FASS student: We FASS students usually plan our timetable with one day break. So e.g we might only go to school from Monday to Thursday and Fri would be the off day. Some of us would even cramp everything into 3 days. Personally, having a 3 days work week is pretty chilling for me and I always use the free days to make notes, so its quite effective for me.

TIP #4: Be independent

Unlike in JC or poly where you got your friends to study with you, here in NUS, as we plan our own timetable to match our studying style and timing, it can be hard to find someone with an identical timetable as you. And so, it is even harder to find time to study together or to study the same stuff. So you have got to learn to be by yourself, find a comfortable spot around in school to study! Eating and having meals alone sometimes is quite a common in sight in school, so yup.

Studying in FASS also generally means that you will be flooded with READINGS. yayyyy. So, do spend time to roam around the library to get use to the environment and take time to visit the printing room and readings room (AS7 & AS8)! As a psychology and social work student, I have more than 120 pages of readings per week. So, do manage your time well and for some reading, you can choose to just scan through it. Most of our readings are uploaded by our lecturers so we can just print it from the school library or the bookshop. If its not uploaded, then you have got to visit the NUS RBR located in the library to find the book and scan the book manually.

TIP #5: Find friends and form clique

While I did mention that we should be independent in university, it doesn’t mean that we should be alone! Make close friends, most probably through camps and CCAs that can help you can chill with, especially when the school workload is already so heavy. You will always need your friends to keep you motivated and energised. In addition, if your friend is a nerd, it helps you to keep track of your own progress and also keeps you going.

Having friends in University in so important because firstly, the workload is a lot and friends that studies together from time to time keeps each other on track. Secondly, having friends and senior helps as they can share notes and practice questions amongst each other which can be very effective in helping you boost your studies. Lastly. you certainly do not want to have your lunch alone or have bus ride home alone for the whole of your 3-4 years in university right? Afterall, we are here to learn to interact with different people!

TIP #6: Buy your textbooks from your senior or online

Gees, the textbooks in university are extremely thick and expensive. So, one way to save up is to follow tip number 5 and have lots of networks. Buying books from seniors and friends usually come at a cheaper price. I have got friends who look at carousell to find their textbooks too. They are usually two times cheaper than the original txtbk price!

Alternatively, google scholar or nuslib are also good online platforms to search for ebooks!

TIP #7: Try out everything new and get yourself a CCA

In university. we are all so used to having tons of hi bye friend but not one that really truly cares. This is mainly because of our own unique timetable. And honestly, can you imagine, just after a long tiring day, you still have to take the same long bus ride home with your hi bye friend and it can get quite tiring to entertain each other. So, make sure you mingle a lot, try out your favourite sports or cca to make friends. People who get to know each other through CCAs and halls are usually closer because school work is not the only thing they talk about. So go out there, find your passion and a great friend!

TIP #8: Online Exams Paper

One last thing!!! Remember to check nuslib > exam paper for past year paper!! This is really esp impt if the mod is still being taught by the same prof who taught in the previous sem! This is because i realised that prof tend to ask similar/exact same qn across different sem! It’s best to look at the qns during the start/mid sem because it allows you to prioritise materials across the sem. No harm starting early anyways 🙂

That’s all I have gotta say.

All the best to whoever finished reading my long and lengthy post. I hope it is helpful!! 🙂

*Also, I understand that some of you might experience anxiety before university starts. This is quite normal as it is quite a huge transition from JC/Poly to University. Feel free to drop me an email or comment if you have any qn.