Semester 1 Summary

Hi again everyone!

How is it week 4 of sem 2 already? Kind of crazy how each week seems to fly by quicker than the last. I’ll definitely take it though if it means we are getting closer to a summer break. This new semester has already been quite the experience, with new classes and an overall change in the collective atmosphere of the Civil cohort. Before I delve into discussing the last few weeks, it only feels right to give my perspective on the first semester of Part II Civil Engineering. As formerly promised, I’ll attempt to throw in a general overview of what each papers contains, and hopefully provide some useful tips and advice on how to stay on top of everything.

  • CIVIL 201 : Feels a bit rough starting on this course because it is a highly controversial paper that had a lot of people reeling throughout the semester. 201 is all about transport engineering (one of the further specialisations that Civil encompasses) and deals with the gathering of site information and methods of presenting in an engineering application. Lack of communication, a rough coursebook set out, and no lecture recordings plague the course, but giving an optimistic view of the content, it’s actually quite interesting. The field day was a good opportunity to apply some of the theory we learnt in class to a practical situation, and assignments were fairly intuitive and straightforward. Oh, and the exam being in week 12 turned out to be a low key blessing, as the stress of 4 exams is exasperating already.
  • Don’t totally rely on past test/exam papers for study, as a lot of the content seems to change from year-to-year
  • Make sure to have a solid understanding of the requirements needed in the field exercise (such as measurements and methodology) before the actual day
  • Unfortunately, go to lectures!


  • CIVIL 210 : This definitely is the paper that most invision when thinking about Civil Engineering. Essentially broadening on the concepts learnt in the statics section of ENGGEN 121, 210 packs in heaps of conceptually challenging ideas that are (for the most part) really enjoyable to learn. The paper deals with stresses, internal actions and elasticity (amongst other concepts) in structures. A lot of time is required in this subject to sort of comprehend most of the ideas, but is definitely enjoyable nonetheless. A few freebee homework assignments, a tricky project, and three nuanced tests all lead to the ultimate final exam, which admittedly wasn’t the most friendly grade-wise compared to other subjects. Overall, a well-run satisfying course, that is quite ruthless when concepts aren’t fully understood.
  • Tutorials are PIVOTAL, especially if the lecturer is present
  • Be sure to submit those homework assignments for free marks (some of my mates unfortunately failed to do so)
  • Results well and truly come down to understanding the concepts concisely, and be sure to try lots of previous test/exam questions


  • CIVIL 220 : Formally named ‘Engineering Geology’, casually named ‘Rocks’, 220 is quite different compared to most of our application-driven subjects. Firstly perceived as a pretty tedious exercise in concentration, 220 actually contains a lot of interesting content that is immediately applicable in real life situations. The knowledge of the properties and applications of rock types was surprisingly stimulating, and it’s always nice to have a tangible correlation to our own backyard. Unfortunately we weren’t able to experience the annual Eastern Beach exercise (supposedly a fun time) due to unpredictable weather conditions, which hiked up the percentages in all other assessments. A fairly lenient test, a quick mapping assignment, an immense soil lab (with report), and an exam bundled 220 into an overall well presented paper.
  • Memorisation is important, so actively try to find an effective technique to absorb the information efficiently
  • Friday tutorials are useful, as previously explained content is reintroduced with a different perspective
  • Playing with soil in labs is fun, and if you disagree, you are wrong


  • CIVIL 230 : Fluid Mechanics 1 is quite the roller coaster. 230 in a nutshell discusses the properties of fluids and how they relate directly to external entities, and for the most part, it is quite enjoyable. The concepts are unique and the workload isn’t too taxing compared to other subjects, but the reliance on self made assumptions and somewhat misleading assignment tasks (in preparation for the 25% test) ultimately let the course down. One lecturer in particular is fantastic, as he’s very kind and approachable, and goes the extra mile to make sure everyone has an opportunity to absorb his portion of the course. Other than him, 230 unfortunately felt a bit irrelevant in hindsight, and although presented some interesting ideas, failed to captivate. The couple of labs are quite interesting (seeing theory being utilized in real life), the quizzes are straightforward, and make sure to study well for the 25% test!
  • Make sure to go to the contact hours of the lecturers before the class test if any queries arise (I wish I did this!)
  • Don’t forget to do the quizzes
  • In class examples are important in the second half of the course, so be sure to understand them before attempting past test/exam questions


  • ENGSCI 211 : Not much to say about this course, being the next step after MM1. Just a good course overall, that continues a very similar path and workload to its predecessor. Peter Bier is back for a third straight semester, and is still as passionate and quirky as the first time seeing him pull up in his unicycle back in first year. Data analysis is definitely the most hotly debated content, but when given a fair go is passible at worst. MM2 serves as a nice change up to the otherwise Civil heavy semester.
  • Go back and remember the bare bones of MM1, as the first topic essentially builds on previously taught knowledge
  • Tutorials are useful when preparing for the weekly quizzes
  • Very similar to MM1, so if successful in that course, stick to the formula!

Geez, hopefully this blog isn’t too bogged down with tedious information and useless anecdotes! I promise next post won’t be so evaluative and I’ll actually start to discuss my experiences inside, and out of class as a second year Civil Student.

For now, thanks for reading. Watch this space…


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