Opening New Ideas – Introduction to Sem 2 Courses of Mechanical Engineering

Hello Everyone!

How are you doing? Surviving? Vibing?

Here is the long-awaited (or so I hope) post about sem 2 of Mechanical Engineering!!!!

Note we still have most of the courses shared with Mechatronics (check out James’ post!) But we have one course that is different- Mechanical takes MECHENG 235 (design and manufacture 2) whereas mechatronics takes MECHENG 270 (software design). From this semester, it became more easier to tell who is studying and who is studying mechatronics. You become more deep into what mechanical engineering is like….and I love it!

Anyway. Enough of me ranting. Here are the courses taken in Semester 2 of Mechanical Engineering:

ENGGEN 204: Professional Skills and Communication

This is a paper all engineering students take, and you’ll be assigned a group of 8 people across specializations.

Personally, I’d say it is a very chill class! People of mech/tron should be very used to group projects by this paper, and honestly, it is less stressful than any of the courses….that is, if you have a good team. Unlike your previous group projects (e.g., MECHENG 201 and MECHENG 235), you can’t choose your group; it’s randomly assigned.


-Tutorial attendance (10%). There is one tutorial per week in which attendance is mandatory, but for some reason, you can’t make it (e.g., you are sick), you can fill out a form to explain why you couldn’t attend.

-Quizzes(30%) – Instead of tests, we have 4 quizzes with 20 questions covering 2 weeks’ worth of content; the quiz itself isn’t too bad, so make sure you’ve read through the lecture content and start the quiz.

– Video assignment – The first assignment is a 3min video assignment, where you are assigned a concept to explain to a particular group of people. In my case, it was the 2nd law of thermodynamics for philosophy students. 

– Presentation – A 7-minute presentation where you are assigned a complex topic and need to argue for or against it. 

– Report – This is the assignment I am working on right now; you and your group will be required to write a 1000-word report. For you mechanical engineering students, you probably had lots of opportunities to write a report before this.

Study Tips:

  • Make sure you’re communicating well with your group! 
  • Have all the slides available to you while you are doing the quiz – sometimes it’s useful to go through the extra resources specified in the lecture materials!

MECHENG 222: Dynamics

As the name suggests, it’s pretty straightforward. This course is an extension of ENGGEN 121 dynamics – I genuinely thought I could run away from 121, but so far, no luck. Here we are studying how objects move in 3D, it’s relative acceleration and velocity, vibration, damping, momentum, and more. Initially, it can be a little daunting, but as time passes, you get to enjoy it much more.


  • 2 tests (each worth 15%): There are two tests, one covering part A (Lihua’s content) and one covering part B and C (Hazim). Honestly the first test wasn’t bad, my cohort’s average was about 90%, and if you can survive the quizzes, the test is a breeze. However, test 2 is more difficult and caused much agony. (Good luck!)
  • 2 projects (17% altogether): There are two projects you will have to work through; although the word project implies that something is being built, in reality, it is some working out with little bits of coding and making graphs. So yes, as Mechanical Engineering students, you will still have to use a bit of Matlab, but it’s a very portion!
  • Fornightly quizzes (2.5% each) cover content from the past two weeks. The questions are randomly generated from a pool of questions, and unlike MECHENG 242, you get the actual answer after each attempt. (You get 3 attempts in total!) The quiz questions are definitely challenging, but it prepares you well for the test/project/exam.
  • Exam (35%)
  • Lab (3%) – haven’t done this yet, but you will have a prelab quiz and a lab session you will have to attend.

Study tips:

  • Go to your tutorial! Personally I cannot motivate myself to go through the tutorial questions unless the tutor is literally in front of me solving the questions. These tutorials are optional, however there is a catch – the amount of past exam/test solutions you get depend on the tutorial attendance. So grab your friend’s hand and go to the tutorials!
  • Solve a lot of questions – this is pretty typical advice, but without solving the questions, you probably won’t understand what’s going on.
  • Visit Lecturer’s office hours – both lecturers are lovely and offer office hours. If you are genuinely struggling, I definitely recommend going!
  • Have a study group – Not going to lie, dynamics is HARD. You probably will need multiple brains to solve those tutorial questions. Plus it’s good for moral support! (but remember Academic Integrity!)

MECHENG 236: Design and Manufacture 2

This is an extension of MECHENG 235 (Don’t run away I promise it’s good!), and instead of basic components, we learn one step further – like engines, clutch, brakes, hydraulic and pneumatic actuators. We also learn more about the manufacturing process, like additive or traditional manufacturing. I love learning the content here; you start understanding the world differently. For example, for a bus door, I know it is actuated by pneumatics (air), which is why it makes that pshh pshh sound.


Urban transport vehicle: 

This is the main assignment for this course. You have a semester-long project designing a 3- wheel vehicle. This CAD is provided for you, and a group of 4 people needs to design the following:

-chassis – the cover of the car

-brakes – brakes

-turning system – a hydraulic or pneumatic system that will force the car to tilt

-powertrain – key components that drive the car, like the engine.

You have only a few submissions, but basically you will be constantly working on this project for the semester. These are:

  • PDS, objective tree, plan
  • Individual concept design
  • Final report
  • Presentation 

I won’t be covering too much detail about these assignments (if you have any questions, please contact me via LinkedIn or in person!), but it is an exciting feeling to work on a group project where everyone is specialising in different components. Note, if you don’t understand your part properly, probably no one else would. So there is a bigger feeling of responsibility.

other assignments are:

  • Exam (50%)
  • Lab (5%) – there are few labs at the start of the semester, where you can see actual engines and brake systems. You will also have a quiz after the lab, so make sure to take photos of the lab handout! Otherwise, the tutor teaches you a lot about the actual mechanism.
  • Quiz (5%) – there are 2 quizzes throughout the semester to make sure we are catching up with the lecture content, generally these quizzes are not difficult. You are given 2 attempts.

Study tips:

  • Watch lots of YouTube: I’m not talking about just the lecture content but about your systems in the project. Watching people explain how thinks for, as well as watching animations of how things fit together is very helpful! (I spent hours watching people disassemble their cars to understand what goes where!)
  • Go through a lot of diagrams: sometimes, youtube doesn’t give a good view of what you want to see. This is when you should refer to diagrams.
  • Consult the tutor often: In the end, your tutor marks your project. If you want to know what’s important and what’s not, attend the tutorials and talk to the tutor!
  • Talk to people from your subsystem: Unlike previous projects, no one knows better than your system than you….and other people who’s working on the same subsystem. If you are confused about something, talking to other people can be very helpful. Especially since the tutor is generally very busy!

MECHENG 211: Thermofluids

Another course shared by mech and tron, and if you’re interested in aerodynamics, this could be an interesting course for you. You start by learning of the basic heat transfer, either using heat energy for mechanical uses or using mechanical applications to heat/cool something.


  • 2 test (10% each), one in person one online quiz: Overall very good, but I suggest going to the tutorials (hint hint wink wink)
  • 2 lab reports (5% each): Lab report sounds scary, but in reality it is presenting your results and answering a few questions about your understanding of what’s happening. There are two labs; one on heat transfer plates and one about water jets. I have to admit, the second experiment was more exciting to see.
  • Fortnightly quiz: This will happen every week you do not have a 222 quiz (thank goodness!). They generally have 5 questions consisting of both multiple choice and calculation, but if you do the practice quiz beforehand, you won’t have much difficulty.
  • Exam (60%) – definitely a big portion of the grade is from the exam!

Study tips:

  • Go to tutorials! The tutors are all very good at explaining, and the tutorial questions are generally challenging. Also, they give many hints for the test! Although this is not mandatory, it definitely is worth it.

Overall Feedback of Sem 2 Mechanical engineering

I thought this semester was much better than last sem!

I liked the content better; I sorted out my sleep schedule and was on my way of balancing everything. Not that the course workload is less, but I think I’ve gotten used to what’s going on. 

Engineering is generally a heavy course, but how much effort you put in comes down to how much you’re willing to put in.

Personally last semester I wasn’t quite sure what Mechanical Engineering was, but now I think I have a better understanding what the life of a Mechanical Engineer looks like. I say if you have a genuine interest in particular vehicles such as cars, aircraft or engines, mechanical will be a good choice.

Enough of me today, good luck for all your remaining test/exam/assignments, and see you again in 2 weeks!

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