Is ENGR 102 a Hard Class? My Personal Experience

Alex
Edmondson

ENGR 102 is an introduction to engineering course where many TAMU engineering students encounter engineering principles for the first time. In this article, we will review the syllabi, my personal experience, and finally whether ENGR 102 can be considered easy or hard. 

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The ENGR 102 Syllabus

ENGR 102 is the first engineering class most freshmen will take when first arriving on Texas A&M’s campus in the Fall. It seeks to introduce students to the profession and begin teaching them useful skills they will use for the rest of their careers. The class is focused on teaching students to learn to code in the Python programming language for the majority of the semester. Another key goal of the course is to educate students on the wide variety of majors and minors available to students and what makes each one unique. Ultimately, the course aims to give students knowledge of basic coding and their desired major for them to succeed throughout the rest of college.

Grading Policy

The ENGR 102 grading scale used at Texas A&M is a unique one. Two tests make up 45% of the grade – a midterm (20%) and a final (25%). Both tests are 1 hour 50 minutes in length and consist of both multiple-choice and free-response questions. In-class assignments such as Python labs and quizzes then make up 44% of your grade. The last 11% comes from department work, which is quizzes/short essays that are assigned based on some of the majors you have been introduced to. Having only two tests in the semester enforces students to study hard for each, as there is little room for error.

Python, programming language
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My Experience in ENGR 102

I recently took ENGR 102 as a freshman at Texas A&M in the Fall of 2021. My professor was Dr. Rene Elms, who was great and one that I would suggest to all. Do not let the 2-hour credit deceive you, it tends to take up the same amount of time that a 3-4 hour class does. I received an A in the class, and have some tips for those who wish to do the same.

Tips For Success

  1. USE RATE MY PROFESSORS! It is 100% true that a professor can make or break a class for you. Look up the professors, read the reviews, and try to find one that is spoken of highly. Use add/drop week in August to squeeze in their class if filled. So many times this year I heard friends talk about a poor professor and how they suffered as a result.
  2. USE YOUTUBE! If you have no experience in coding before this class, YouTube is your best friend. The class is extremely fast-paced and hard to catch up with if you get lost. If you do not 100% understand a topic, look up a video and they will explain it perfectly. The 10-minute video can save your grade.
  3. TALK TO YOUR GROUP! At the beginning of the semester, you will be given a group to work on all your labs with. Become friends with these people! If you’re a newbie, the groups are based on experience so others in your group will be knowledgeable. The better your group works together, the easier the labs will be and the more your grade will improve. One of the guys in my group taught me so many things and I’m sure someone in yours can too.
  4. STUDY! This one may seem obvious but is the most important. You only have two tests, so you need to make them both count. Begin studying at a minimum one week early, and go week-by-week throughout the course. The best ways I learned past material were making flash cards, doing practice tests, and going over quizzes but there are tons of different ways. Find what works best for you and I promise that if you put in the time and effort, the grade will come.

Resources

  • YouTube: CS Dojo and Khan Academy. These two channels helped me enormously this past year and they can help you too. Look up any topic you are struggling with and find a video by one of these channels.
  • ZyBooks: Many of the professors will require you to purchase an online textbook through ZyBooks. Some will make you do activities through it, while others won’t. Although it is annoying and boring, it is a great resource and has good activities that can help you learn.
  • Quizlet: So many students have put together great study sets and flashcards over the past years. The course is separated by modules/chapters, and there are usually sets for each one. If there is a specific module you are struggling with, using Quizlet is a great idea and resource.
  • Your Friends! Believe it or not, there are tons of people in your class that know code. These people may be able to explain things 10x quicker and easier than a YouTube video or Textbook will. Take the leap of courage to ask for help. You won’t regret it, and you may even gain another friend out of it.
elevated view of college students in class in front of computers
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So, is ENGR 102 a Hard Class?

Material-wise, ENGR 102 is not a hard class. The majority of the content is learning basic Python language that all students are capable of understanding. However, it will test your ability of time management. If you can’t finish your assignments on time or often procrastinate studying for a test, then your grade will suffer as a result. The average GPA of all students who took the class in the fall was around a 3.1, meaning the average student received a B. 

Overall, ENGR 102 accomplishes its mission of teaching students basic coding and engineering principles soundly. It is a fast-paced class with a heavy workload, but an A is achievable with the right mindset and dedication. Doing well in this class will give you essential knowledge and skills to succeed in future engineering classes throughout college.