Hey, all the juniors out there! So you guys were the first one to enjoy the benefits of having a “survival guide” last sem. And I’m happy to report that you will have this guide for your next sem too. And if you ask for it, maybe for the 6th sem also.
With your previous guide, and now yourself having gone through that sem, you may have known by now that you cannot expect the experience I had to be the same as yours. This is meant just to give you a heads up of what’s in store.
Also as a side note : I will be grateful if you could tell me in the comments on whether the guide was really of help to you. Even after following what was told in the post, did you fare well? Please let me know!
So without further ado, let’s begin.
MICROCONTROLLER BASED SYSTEM DESIGN (MCBSD)
Faculty : Gururaj Rao
If the name doesn’t sound to be important, let me assure you it is. The very basics of embedded systems, home automation and one of the very core subjects of the stream. The theory is important because the practical has a huge demand. And besides, many of you might find it interesting too.
And by no means it is easy. You will be getting your first hands on the assembly language. While it’s simpler than the high-level programs like C++, you need to gain a lot of expertise for you to master the course.
The corresponding lab (Microcontroller lab) runs parallely, which means you get to apply the concepts you learn in the class within the same week. Given that the faculty completes those concepts on time (which our faculty pretty much did), you will find it useful.
As with anything that relates to coding, you need to practice. Gururaj sir makes us write a lot, which is good as by the end of the course you will have a personalized microcontroller handbook with you. Just make sure you or anyone from your class isn’t caught using mobile. We know the wrath it ensues (which includes skipping a very key concept due to which we are facing problems with our projects even today).
The reference book Mazidi might look like a very important book to be bought, but I didn’t even turn a page in the entire semester. Maybe because I had a good class notes to rely on. Buy the book only if you are planning to do projects based on Microcontrollers in the future.
LINEAR CONTROL THEORY (LCT)
Faculty : Jayalakshmi N Sabahit
As relevant and important (maybe more) as MCBSD. Can be interesting to many and boredom to some. And as with every subject I take even mild interest in, I didn’t perform well here too.
Part of the problem was the faculty’s inability to put the point across clearly. The fact that she is stringent with her checking also didn’t work. She is one of the senior-most faculties we have, and is good with helping students with their doubts. You can even approach ma’am if you are looking to do some project work. But when it comes to teaching the course, I could not follow most of the times, and many of my classmates couldn’t too.
Again, there’s a Bakshi-like angel to your rescue : thy name is KR Varmah. It’s a blue coloured book available in abundance in the library alongside the most widely recommended Norman Nise (Nothing wrong with that book, but I found Varmah to be more useful). Every small concept here is of utmost importance. So make sure you are clear with all of them.
BK Singh sir had taught the course to other class. So if Jayalakshmi Ma’am isn’t available, I’d recommend you approach him. He’s always welcoming to any kind of doubts.
POWER SYSTEM ANALYSIS (PSA)
Faculty : Mohan Kumar Singh
Another beginner’s course to one of the biggest field in the Electrical world : Power Systems.
Remember I told you I don’t perform well whenever I am actually interested in any course? Well, this one’s an exception!
The always smiling MKS Sir has utmost clarity with the concepts and explains them in the most understandable way possible. If you manage to note down everything he says, you won’t be needing any reference material. For those who still ask for it : go for Nagrath and Kothari. You may need to revise some parts of EM here and there so keep your EM notes (if you have made one) somewhere near your desk.
Notes of LCT and PSA will help you a lot in the next semester – one for lab and the other if you happen to take any courses on power systems as a program elective. In fact, you should preserve every notes you write. You never know when you will need them.
COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS (CS)
Faculty : Sudheendhra Prabhu
Yet again taught by Prabhu Sir ( He also taught me AEC in 3rd sem about which you can read here), this course was yet again confusing because of his teaching methods. But it was relatively lesser. I flunked badly during the first sessionals but gained momentum in the second, as I figured out how to study the course properly by then.
I used to read through the Haykin book ( a useful reference though the syllabus may not exactly match) during the class which helped in following whatever’s happening on the board. For the second sessional portion there’s a book written by a certain author named Chittode. There’s just one book in the library so grab it at the first opportunity you get.
Since the concepts are pretty general in the communications field, you can even google some of the stuffs you don’t understand. Dearth of problems to practice still is a problem, but they are pretty much standard so the assignment ones should suffice. Just make sure you know how to solve each one of them.
GENERATION, TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION (GTD)
Faculty : Siddaraj
Do you remember the school days when you used to mug up for subjects like History and Geography? If you don’t, GTD will take you back to those days. This is a course so vast, you can study as much as you can and there will still be room for more. The reference book itself ( J.B. Gupta ) will make Grewal look like a small kid. The first sessional portion specially will be torturous with numerous diagrams, although you might be familiar to the concepts.
Only those good with rote learning will sail through this. I wasn’t, so again it was one of the nails to my coffin that is GPA. Since the portion is huge, I would say keep yourself updated with what the faculty is teaching. Make sure you understand, if not remember, all the things said in class. I used to pay zero attention in class (since the faculty couldn’t keep the class engaging) which I think was one of the main reasons for my underperformance. With Tech Tatva and club activities, it is easy to have the classes overlooked. But for this course at least, please make sure you don’t do it. Practice the diagrams at regular intervals. Because otherwise you will find yourself in a mess during sessional preps.
I have to say though, Siddaraj Sir might not be good in teaching, but he’s a really cool person otherwise! He keeps the dates for assignments according to our convenience, doesn’t say a word if you’re late to his class and he cracks up the class at least once in a week!
DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSING (DSP)
Faculty : Harish Kumar Singh
It’s a sequel to your much loved course Signals and Systems. No, don’t worry, this one is much simpler. There’s hardly any Fourier!
If you ask me to pick up one of all the courses to be called as “scoring” on a gunpoint (because none are, really), I would choose DSP. Practice the problems enough to get a grip over the methods, and you’re good to go! There’s a book by Ganesh Rao which has several solved problems which can be tried out. I think it doesn’t cover all the concepts. You can look in library for other books. But rest assured, you don’t need to worry much about the course.
I’ve mentioned about this in the MCBSD section. There is a lot expected from you to be done before the start of the lab. Like codes to be written on your own. But what ultimately happens is trade offs of the same within the sections. Who suffers the most? The poor batch who will be doing the experiments first.
Since I believe there is no good coming out of it anyways, I will try uploading my codes in the drive. You can just hope that the problems would remain the same! But don’t just blindly copy them. Understand the logic and then write.
And yes, you will be expected to make a “mini-project” at the end of the lab as well. Projects on Microcontrollers can be complicated, but you can have so many applications! For some reasons we were told in the beginning we won’t be having a mini project, which, you can imagine, was such a good news for us. But to the bewilderment to many, it was put back into the course just a month prior. With such short notice we couldn’t come up with the best project. You, please, be prepared with the topic no matter what they say.
As I had said during my previous study guide, evaluation of lab defies all logics and expectations. I don’t think any of the 60-40 weightage to continuous eval and end semester exam and marking scheme of the final exam is considered seriously by our faculty. All that matters is : bring the output during the exam. If you get a tough experiment, then tough luck. What makes matter even worse is that you can’t put lab exams into rechecking.
I suffered through it all. The whole focus on getting the output and not look at what approach the poor student has taken is baffling to say the least. The only mistake during my exam was one line of code. But still, no output is a no output. So bear the brunt.
I hope the marking would be a little more transparent (why don’t we get our marks written on the observation book like folks in mechanical get? It’s even hidden from us during vivas), and follow what has been prescribed.
Sigh. Big rant, yes. But that was my plight! I really hope you won’t be in the receiving side this time.
EM LAB – II
It’s the exact same thing that you went through in the last sem. Personally, I feel the lab does no good in providing us more insights on the subject. I would have liked to have some design aspects of motors rather than just the load tests on existing ones.
You are provided with all circuit diagrams and procedures in the manual, with no explanation of the hows and whys. And then, they expect us to know everything because “we learnt it in the last sem”. What we learn in the class, and what needs to be learnt for the lab are completely different!
Vivas are also a pain. It is very difficult to recall what we’ve studied. I used to sit at least for an hour in library before each lab and read as much as I can about the experiment I’m about to perform. It worked, most of the times. But whenever it didn’t, we have to tolerate the constant smirks and remarks of the teachers, meant to humiliate you. If you say something even mildly stupid then not only the faculty who’s asking it, but also the ones around will laugh at you.
I get the intent. Make them remember the mistake so that they won’t repeat the next time. But I think there might be a better way to do so. And it certainly doesn’t make attending the lab more interesting. The problem explained above on the evaluation applies here too.
Again, I can only hope that it would change. Come what may, prepare well for the experiment. Not for the viva, but for yourself to understand what you’re actually doing there for 3 hours.
THE DRIVE TO SURVIVE
Did the assignments and sessional papers helped you prepare the last time, in any way? Let me know please.
This time around, there’s more in the offering! I was kinda more serious about studying for this semester and actually maintained a book solely for assignment solutions. It helped my batch (you can imagine the magnitude). And to some extent it should help you too.
Now don’t get too excited hearing this. Some assignments may not have the solutions, while some answers might be wrong. I won’t give any guarantee to those!
Apart from that I have a few older sessional papers too. Which means more practice!
As of now, I don’t have my own sessional papers. Will check with someone from Manipal and upload it on the drive later.
So here it is. Click here for the drive link, and use it to the fullest!
If it’s not been clear yet, let me be : this semester had been the toughest to me and a whole lot of my peers. The GPAs have gone low, and the course more tougher. I work harder in every consecutive sem, but the results goes even lower!
I am not saying this to threaten you. But to assure you that this happens with every one of us. I would be the happiest if you score well. But in case you don’t, please don’t undermine yourself or lose the trust in you. Understand that this is a phase and not even the only thing that is going to shape your future. Stay strong and don’t lose the resolve to try harder next sem. Because tell you what – that worked for me.
And finally I would request our department to understand the nuances of emotion that we go through when we see the results. Stick to the course structure. Conduct assignments and give them on time. Make fair and careful checking of papers. The papers that you set should reflect the coaching that you give us. Take our teacher feedbacks seriously. So that this batch won’t suffer through the hardships that we did.
I am not attacking the department by any sense. But just conveying that there are rooms for improvement which will help us students gain better knowledge and better marks.
Woah. That shit was serious! Don’t worry. Relax. Here’s a meme. Have a laugh.
There are tough times ahead. But don’t you worry. Just give your best and be confident it would pay off.
Well, that’s about it! Do I need to tell you to like my facebook page and keep reading the blog? No, right?
All the very best! Please do keep the feedbacks coming!