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How to be a Problem Set Pro

Posted by on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 in Academics, College Life, General Information.

As I find myself pumping out four problem sets a week, with my first round of tests looming around the corner, I’d consider myself slowly becoming a problem set pro. While I’m only one month into my hardest semester at Vandy, I thought I’d offer some study tips I’ve picked up along the way that particularly apply to all those engineers or soon-to-be engineers out there.

1. Go to office hours. While my friends in HOD and English are puzzled by why and how often I go to office hours, I literally could not do well without them. I have all the office hours for my classes in my Google Calendar each week, because let’s be real, I’m gonna need them. TA’s are super helpful and when there are twenty desperately confused BME students around a table, you can learn a ton from your peers. At the rate I’m going, I’m averaging about 3-4 visits per week to my TAs/professors.

2. Work with other people. This is crucial, both for your sanity (sorry I’m making this sound so bleak, engineering can just be challenging) and for you to learn. I work on basically everything with my two of my BME friends, as we try to understand the material. It also makes all the work more bearable if you have friends doing it with you. We’ve lately taken to singing turbulent or laminar depending on the Reynolds number. (Basically there are two options after you do a bunch of calculations, and we’re just trying to make it fun.)

3. Don’t procrastinate. Okay this is like a standard tip of life. But with problem sets, really, don’t procrastinate. Otherwise, you will be panicking, frantically flipping through pages of formulas, and unable to ask the TAs questions because it’s 1 AM and the problem set is due in 8 hours. Unfortunately, this often takes a lot of planning, but it will save you a lot of stress in the end.

While engineering can be tough, it’s definitely manageable with enough planning and hard work!

I'm still hoping for the day biotransport will be outside.

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