Dear Fresher, This year, Catz Freshers are receiving an additional Catz JCR Publication – a Subject Guide. We commissioned our year group to create a guide designed to assist in adjustment to life and work at Catz, specific to each subject. Our contemporaries reacted with typical Catz spirit and we are so proud of the results. In each guide should be a brief intro to what your first year will be like, with contact details, relevant links, helpful tips and useful information. By no means will all of it be relevant (or even make sense) before you arrive, but hopefully having a gist of how the year will turn out will prove helpful, and we suggest you read it in the summer. We also recommend that you keep it in mind throughout the year, some of the points may only become relevant later in the year. We ask that you don’t distribute these guides outside the Catz community – it’s by Catz, for Catz. We have tried to verify all the information, but some will inevitably change, such as who will supervise you. Please accept our apologies if that is the case. For this Engineering guide we would like to credit and thank Ian, and the rest of the Engineers. Please remember there is a multitude of people for you to come to with questions – us, the Subject Reps, your college parents, and others in the main Freshers’ Guide. We all want to help. Looking forward to meeting you – enjoy the rest of the summer! Catz Love Beth and Mikey
Introduction Hello and welcome to Catz Engineering! Firstly, congratulations on getting/ accepting/ meeting your offer to do the best course at the best college at the best university in the world. Now the fun starts! We, the 2nd year engineers, have compiled this guide to give you some idea of what to expect from your first year at Cambridge, at the end of which you will have to impart this wisdom upon next year’s baby engineers! I am Ian Doughty and I am the Catz Engineering Society president. This is a society that you will enter at an indefinite point during Freshers’ Week (your first social will be a pub crawl, on the same night as all of the other freshers, but the real fun happens at your freshers’ meal, which will probably be a curry and definitely result in you earning your SCCES hard hats). Engineering is unique at Catz in having its own society, but we are a good bunch and socials, of which there will be about 3 per term, are always a laugh. Here are your 2nd year engineers- these should be your first port of call if you have any issues with anything engineering-y, and can’t be bothered to ask your DoS (Director of Studies). You will have all been assigned one of us to be your ‘parent’ and look after you in your first weeks here, as well as answer any questions you have before arrival- just drop us an email and we will be glad to help. We are: Name: Ian Doughty – email@example.com Hometown: Tring, Herts I love Catz because: It’s nice and close to everywhere you need to go. Also lovely buildings, lovely people etc. I love engineering because: It’s a proper subject, unlike Land Ec and History. Labs are also fun, as are socials. Most embarrassing moment(s): Seeing the master in just my boxers and a sheet/toga before our initiation curry (no shoes). A lot of what happened at this curry. Everything that happened after the curry (there is video evidence of the aftermath) Name: Will Fulwood firstname.lastname@example.org Hometown: The Other Place I love Catz because: We have an ability to segregate ourselves from others in clubs and create our own corner or corridor (you will experience these). I love engineering because: Natscis have lectures on Saturdays, medics and vets both have to stick their hands in places where the sun doesn’t shine, law students never leave the library, mathmos are seen more rarely than eclipses and all the arts people probably won’t end up with a job. Most embarrassing moment(s): Running naked round main court after the hockey dinner although I was too drunk to care at the time.
Name: Ele Brown – email@example.com Hometown: St. Albans, Herts I love Catz because: We get a cheese course at formal hall I love engineering because: Formula One. Nuff said. Most embarrassing moment(s): Fleeing from the Cambridgeshire police after my boyfriend pushed someone in the River Cam #lad #unay #banter Name: Kaival Patel – firstname.lastname@example.org Hometown: Wellingborough, Northamptonshire I love Catz because: Catz is Home I love engineering because: Engineering guarantees to instil in us a fantastic range of skills and knowledge Most embarrassing moment(s): Constant danger of being run over by bicycles. Also the fact that I genuinely have no embarrassing stories. Name: Joe Shreeves - email@example.com Hometown: Hartley, Kent I love Catz because: It’s a friendly college and only 4-7.5 mins walk away from the Engineering Department. (An essential requirement for 9.00am starts!) I love Engineering because: It has a good mix of practical and theoretical sessions Most embarrassing moment(s): Missing the last 3 weeks of the first term due to exploded appendix!! Name: Daniel Potter - firstname.lastname@example.org Hometown: Singapore, although originally from Neuss, Germany I love Catz because: Central location, friendly people and always great love for the Wheel I love Engineering because: Playing with lego counts as work! Most embarrassing moment(s): Unable to walk properly when leaving the mahal. Name: Michael Lin - email@example.com Hometown: Auckland, NZ, although originally from Kobe, Japan and educated in Monterey, USA I love Catz because: While it provides a quiet and peaceful learning environment, Catz is also full of friendly people so I can enjoy my time here. I love Engineering because: It is never boring, the labs and experiments are interesting and it gives me a chance
to be creative. Most embarrassing moment(s): Asking a girl ‘Can I have your picture so I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?’ As you can see, we all work hard and (some of us) play hard. At times it is challenging but you wouldn’t have got in if you can’t cope with the workload. It is not impossible and everyone here wants you to do well. In the rest of the guide there is information about course related things such as content, supervisors etc. but it is important to remember that while you are here to do engineering, that isn’t all you should do. I row, captain the college 3rds at football, go out on the lash, stay up to date on TV thanks to iPlayer and still have time to do all of my examples papers and lab reports without needing to do ‘all-nighters’. Obviously the idea is to hit the ground running (8 week terms are both a blessing and a curse- long vacations but intense terms), but the whole point of Freshers’ Week is to have a good time and meet lots of new people and the rest of your time at university is as much about the experiences you gain from it as it is about gaining a degree. Course Content We’re not going to do a better job than the CUED website of explaining the course, so just go to www.eng.cam.ac.uk/admissions for general course stuff, and www.eng.cam.ac.uk/teaching/index-freshers.html for freshers specific stuff. Everyone has good and bad subjects, but whenever you question why you are doing, for example, linear circuits when you want to be a civil engineer, firstly remember that everything is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, so a breadth of knowledge will be good, and then consider how much choice you will have in third year to do whatever you want (coursewise, within reason). Exams They may sound scary, but at least Engineers don't have many exams in the first year (8 in 5 days in second year, but we won’t go into that). Be thankful you're not a Medic or Vet! Engineers have 4 exams at the end of the year, each lasting 3 hours. The topics are Mechanics, Structures and Materials, Electronics, and Maths. In the Easter (Summer) term you will have 4 weeks of lectures, 2 weeks ‘free’ (for revision) and then all your exams will be in the penultimate week, leaving a week and a half of May Week (2 weeks in June!) to unwind at garden parties and May Balls. It is a bit daunting having them all together at the end of term, but it gives you longer to revise for them beforehand. All the exams are hand written, and consist entirely of long and short questions. No essays at all. You are given data books in the exam so you don't have to remember all of the equations, and as Dr Palmer will tell you, an intimate relationship with your databooks is the first step to success. From the middle of the Michaelmas term you will start to be given past paper questions to do so that you know what to expect. All the past paper questions dating back to 1996 are online, so there are lots to choose from. In January you will
be given a practice exam, just to check that you are keeping on top of everything, although this exam doesn't actually count towards anything. The end of year exams are the ones that actually count. Coursework As well as the mark from your end of year exams, you get marks for the coursework you do throughout the year. These are mostly write-ups from labs and have a very lenient marking scheme called standard credit. It will be explained later by the University, but all you need to know for now is that it is nothing to worry about. None of the coursework is timed, so as long as you meet the deadline you can spend as long as you want. Obviously, Engineering at Cambridge is not just about lectures and exams. There's also a practical side to the course, which includes several projects and labs that tie in with the course. Labs usually take 2 hours in the morning and you'll work in pairs. Most of them are quite fun! The most important thing you need to know is that labs are marked by "standard credit", which means that as long as you show up on time and participate, you'll get full marks for the lab. Prepare to break your personal college-to-department sprint record if you oversleep before a 9am lab. Normal labs are either ‘long’, which means that you have to write a report that will be marked, or ‘short’, in which case you just have to turn up, get some results, explain these results to your demonstrator and then leave. Officially you have to do the reports yourself, but unofficially, as the labs haven’t been changed for ages, you can cut a few corners by copying from previous generations of Catz engineers’ lab books. There are also Computing and Drawing labs in Michaelmas and Lent terms. These will pretty much fill up your day, with the odd lecture thrown in. Neither assumes any previous experience, so some of you will find them pretty easy. Computing labs can be pretty frustrating, especially if you're close to overly keen people from other colleges, but incredibly satisfying once stuff works. Drawing is done by hand in the first term (don’t worry about equipment, you'll get everything here) and with CAD software after Christmas, which is a lot more fun and feels a lot more relevant and engineering-y. Finally, there are several week-long projects throughout the year. This begins with the week 1 Lego project. You get to design and build a system from Lego Mindstorms, which is, as you'd expect, tons of fun. Non-Engineers will be jealous because everyone loves Lego! There will also be a structural and an electronic project later in the year, which are also a lot of fun, although sometimes quite hectic. For structures you will design and build a truss for a specific loading requirement and for electronics you design and build an AM radio, which is very stressful but extremely rewarding if it works.
Supervisions Supervisions are what make Cambridge special. Two of you will spend an hour long session with one supervisor to discuss your examples papers and tripos questions. This may sound scary and intense, but they're really worthwhile. You will have already met some of your supervisors at the interview. None of them are bad. Dr Palmer: Easily distracted electronics fellow, who supervises maths and digital circuits. His office is a complete dump and contains all kinds of random stuff, from bicycle tyres to bottles of port. Look forward to him giving a long and innuendofilled speech at the Engineering dinner. Dr Sutcliffe: We don't know him very well, because he was on Sabbatical this year, but he interviewed us and he seems like a nice guy. Apparently loves people who use loads of colours in their supervision work. Brownie points will also be given if you play badminton. Sutcliffe may be your director of studies, although it could also be Palmer. De Jong: Probably the most intense, but also some of the best supervisions you will have are with the Matt DeJong and his whiteboard! He will also be your Structures lecturer in Michaelmas where he will, without a doubt, show off the holiday snaps he takes in front of bridges. Also a very capable Table Footballer, as he proved after this yearâ€™s engineering dinner. Ben Lindley: PhD student who designs nuclear reactors. Great supervisor, who you'll get to know better at the Fresher's week curry. These will be your main supervisors, but you may have others. Reading There is no set reading list for Engineers. You can get away with not reading a single book, as books are for pretend subjects like English and History. However, if you want to read any Engineering books for fun either before you arrive or once you are here, the University has published a list of suggested books that are related to the course but don't require a high level of knowledge. This list is at www.eng.cam.ac.uk/admissions/information/reading.html. Some lecturers also suggest books that are relevant to their course, which can be useful if there is something that you don't understand, or even if you're just interested in a specific topic. Lecturers can suggest specific text books that they prefer, but if you are happy with the lecture material then don't feel you have to buy the book.
Labs are the only things you have an excuse to get lost for, pretty much all lectures happen in LT0. If you manage to get lost on the way to department, kindly leave Cambridge as Catz is on the same street. We’ll show you the place you need to know once you get here
Top Tips • ‘Hand in lab reports on time. Even if it’s rubbish, turn up and hand it in.’ • ‘Try and do examples questions as soon as you’ve covered the content in lectures, don’t leave it all until the week/night before your supervision’ • ‘Get to know your data books intimately’ • ‘Do as many past papers as possible’ • ‘Use the library, there are fewer distractions there’ • ‘If you’re stuck then ask another Catz engineer for help’ • ‘Don't panic and enjoy your summer’ • ‘Invest in a good alarm clock’ • ‘Attend example classes because they are really helpful’ Conclusion So there we have it, we have given you all the information we think you need to know about engineering at Catz! If you have any questions, email one of the second years, and if not then we look forward to seeing you in Freshers’ Week!