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Is UTSG Life Science really that horrible?

I need current students who is studying in the Life Science department make some clarifications of the common hearsay listed below:

1. In the first year, the class average of some tests, such as Chemistry, is 40% before bell curve.

2. The predetermined average after bell curve is 68%.

3. The class size is horrible. For lectures, the class size is 1000 students. ( What about tutorials and Lab?)

4. What programmes are the competitive ones in the second year? I want to get in Biochemistry Specialist programme and I just leaned that there are only 40 spots in the programme! Is that mean I should get at least 3.7 in GPA and 80% in every courses in order to get in?

5. You are just a number and the school does not care about their undergraduate students.

6. The student satisfaction is low.

I am in great dilemma in choosing universities although the term is about to start. I have another offer from Imperial College London, Biology department. Because I want to study Biochemistry Specialist programme, I am now thinking about going to UofT, Besides, I recently noticed that the Biochemistry Specialist programme only have 40 spots so it is extremely hard to get in. I am now giving second thoughts about going to Imperial.

In the end, do you recommend anyone to go to UTSG for Life Science. Do you think it's a good idea for me to give up Imperial College London for UTSG. I am an international students for either Canada and UK.

Thank you for your help.

I need current students who is studying in the Life Science department make some clarifications of the common hearsay listed below:

1. In the first year, the class average of some tests, such as Chemistry, is 40% before bell curve.

2. The predetermined average after bell curve is 68%.

3. The class size is horrible. For lectures, the class size is 1000 students. ( What about tutorials and Lab?)

4. What programmes are the competitive ones in the second year? I want to get in Biochemistry Specialist programme and I just leaned that there are only 40 spots in the programme! Is that mean I should get at least 3.7 in GPA and 80% in every courses in order to get in?

5. You are just a number and the school does not care about their undergraduate students.

6. The student satisfaction is low.

I am in great dilemma in choosing universities although the term is about to start. I have another offer from Imperial College London, Biology department. Because I want to study Biochemistry Specialist programme, I am now thinking about going to UofT, Besides, I recently noticed that the Biochemistry Specialist programme only have 40 spots so it is extremely hard to get in. I am now giving second thoughts about going to Imperial.

In the end, do you recommend anyone to go to UTSG for Life Science. Do you think it's a good idea for me to give up Imperial College London for UTSG. I am an international students for either Canada and UK.

Thank you for your help.

26
replies

You need to assess your own ability to do well in order to decide if UTSC Life Science would be horrible for you. Obviously there are many students who do very well in this program every year. There are also many students who don't. This is due to the fact that U of T admits a large number of undergraduate students. You will have very large class sizes, but that works for some people. Others prefer a smaller environment. If you think you can come out ahead of the pack, then you will do well at UTSG regardless of the rumors you hear

So if I didn't miss anything....U of T hasn't given you an offer yet and you're about to start university in 3 weeks? If that's the case...go catch your flight to London.

That is, if you want to start uni now. You can do another year of school and apply for fall 2012 I suppose.

That is, if you want to start uni now. You can do another year of school and apply for fall 2012 I suppose.

@sllencer wrote

So if I didn't miss anything....U of T hasn't given you an offer yet and you're about to start university in 3 weeks? If that's the case...go catch your flight to London.

That is, if you want to start uni now. You can do another year of school and apply for fall 2012 I suppose.

another offer

As in he has offers from both schools.

@sllencer wrote

So if I didn't miss anything....U of T hasn't given you an offer yet and you're about to start university in 3 weeks? If that's the case...go catch your flight to London.

That is, if you want to start uni now. You can do another year of school and apply for fall 2012 I suppose.

I have offers from both universities and I am still in delimma.

@wanghaoanyiyi wrote

@sllencer wrote

So if I didn't miss anything....U of T hasn't given you an offer yet and you're about to start university in 3 weeks? If that's the case...go catch your flight to London.

That is, if you want to start uni now. You can do another year of school and apply for fall 2012 I suppose.

I have offers from both universities and I am still in delimma.

You needed to have paid UofT's tuition by now if you wanted to attend this year....

1. In the first year, the class average of some tests, such as Chemistry, is 40% before bell curve.

- Sometimes, but not that often. It doesn't really matter, because if the marks are crazy low, the profs will adjust the marks. But generally because the classes are large and the profs have been teaching them for years, the grades end up with averages near to 65.

2. The predetermined average after bell curve is 68%.

- Basically, yes. Most first year life sci courses have an average grade of 63-68% (C-C+). But "curves" (Which are really linear adjustments most of the time), don't happen all that often in the standard life sci courses.

3. The class size is horrible. For lectures, the class size is 1000 students. ( What about tutorials and Lab?)

The classes are large. First year bio and chem are all over 1000 people. Tutorials and labs are much smaller, typically fewer than 20 students (well often there's multiple lab sections running simultaneously, but your TA will only teach about 20 of you).

4. What programmes are the competitive ones in the second year? I want to get in Biochemistry Specialist programme and I just leaned that there are only 40 spots in the programme! Is that mean I should get at least 3.7 in GPA and 80% in every courses in order to get in?

The biochem specialist isn't that competitive really. According to the department website, you need about 73-76% average to get in. If you don't get in after first year, you can also try again after second year.

5. You are just a number and the school does not care about their undergraduate students.

I find students in specialist programs don't feel this as much. In the specialist programs, you typically have to take "harder" courses, which deters people who aren't interested in the subject matter. If you take the specialist/harder versions of courses, the profs tend to be super caring about the students.

Hope this helps.

- Sometimes, but not that often. It doesn't really matter, because if the marks are crazy low, the profs will adjust the marks. But generally because the classes are large and the profs have been teaching them for years, the grades end up with averages near to 65.

2. The predetermined average after bell curve is 68%.

- Basically, yes. Most first year life sci courses have an average grade of 63-68% (C-C+). But "curves" (Which are really linear adjustments most of the time), don't happen all that often in the standard life sci courses.

3. The class size is horrible. For lectures, the class size is 1000 students. ( What about tutorials and Lab?)

The classes are large. First year bio and chem are all over 1000 people. Tutorials and labs are much smaller, typically fewer than 20 students (well often there's multiple lab sections running simultaneously, but your TA will only teach about 20 of you).

4. What programmes are the competitive ones in the second year? I want to get in Biochemistry Specialist programme and I just leaned that there are only 40 spots in the programme! Is that mean I should get at least 3.7 in GPA and 80% in every courses in order to get in?

The biochem specialist isn't that competitive really. According to the department website, you need about 73-76% average to get in. If you don't get in after first year, you can also try again after second year.

5. You are just a number and the school does not care about their undergraduate students.

I find students in specialist programs don't feel this as much. In the specialist programs, you typically have to take "harder" courses, which deters people who aren't interested in the subject matter. If you take the specialist/harder versions of courses, the profs tend to be super caring about the students.

Hope this helps.

@studentx wrote

1. In the first year, the class average of some tests, such as Chemistry, is 40% before bell curve.

- Sometimes, but not that often. It doesn't really matter, because if the marks are crazy low, the profs will adjust the marks. But generally because the classes are large and the profs have been teaching them for years, the grades end up with averages near to 65.

2. The predetermined average after bell curve is 68%.

- Basically, yes. Most first year life sci courses have an average grade of 63-68% (C-C+). But "curves" (Which are really linear adjustments most of the time), don't happen all that often in the standard life sci courses.

3. The class size is horrible. For lectures, the class size is 1000 students. ( What about tutorials and Lab?)

The classes are large. First year bio and chem are all over 1000 people. Tutorials and labs are much smaller, typically fewer than 20 students (well often there's multiple lab sections running simultaneously, but your TA will only teach about 20 of you).

4. What programmes are the competitive ones in the second year? I want to get in Biochemistry Specialist programme and I just leaned that there are only 40 spots in the programme! Is that mean I should get at least 3.7 in GPA and 80% in every courses in order to get in?

The biochem specialist isn't that competitive really. According to the department website, you need about 73-76% average to get in. If you don't get in after first year, you can also try again after second year.

5. You are just a number and the school does not care about their undergraduate students.

I find students in specialist programs don't feel this as much. In the specialist programs, you typically have to take "harder" courses, which deters people who aren't interested in the subject matter. If you take the specialist/harder versions of courses, the profs tend to be super caring about the students.

Hope this helps.

Thank you so so much for your help! I am still in huge delimma and it is killing me. Now the chance to get into the Biochemistry specialist programme is the most important factor in deciding where to go. Apart from finding out on the website of the Biochemistry department that there are only 40 spots in the programme, I also read on the 2011-2012 Arts and Science Calendar: While it is difficult to predict what will be competitive course marks and average in a given year, based on previous years, the estimate is: course marks = mid 80s; average mid 80s.Achieving these estimated marks does not guarantee admission to the subject POSt in any given year.

According to this, my understanding is that even if I get GPA 4.0(course marks = mid 80s; average mid 80s), I still do not have guarantee to get into the programme, not to mention if I only get 73%-76%.

I also heard that the Biochemistry Specialist programme is the programme that have the greatest number of students who want to get in. Howeverm according to you, it is not the case. Then which programme is the most competitive one? Do you know how many students in the Life and Science department or where can I find the data about this sort of stuff? Again, thank you so much for your help.

@ktel wrote

A GPA of 4.0 on a 4.0 scale is not mid 80s...You would need a 3.7 or so I think.

False. On UofT's GPA scale (which is a 4.0 scale like all real GPA scales), 4.0 is 85%. That means that if you have 85% or higher in a class, your GPA for that class is a perfect 4.0. Gotta love UofT!

@KilgoreTrout wrote

@ktel wrote

A GPA of 4.0 on a 4.0 scale is not mid 80s...You would need a 3.7 or so I think.

False. On UofT's GPA scale (which is a 4.0 scale like all real GPA scales), 4.0 is 85%. That means that if you have 85% or higher in a class, your GPA for that class is a perfect 4.0. Gotta love UofT!

I heard in Mat157 nearly 30% of students have 85%+ or perfect 4.0's. Is that true? I will be taking Mat157 this fall.

@Xiaohaha wrote

@KilgoreTrout wrote

@ktel wrote

A GPA of 4.0 on a 4.0 scale is not mid 80s...You would need a 3.7 or so I think.

False. On UofT's GPA scale (which is a 4.0 scale like all real GPA scales), 4.0 is 85%. That means that if you have 85% or higher in a class, your GPA for that class is a perfect 4.0. Gotta love UofT!

I heard in Mat157 nearly 30% of students have 85%+ or perfect 4.0's. Is that true? I will be taking Mat157 this fall.

LOL! Good luck with that. 50% of the students dropout after the first test, and only 25% of those remaining do above average (which is usually a D+).

@kraken wrote

Yeah I was gonna say... lolwut? 30%? not a chance.

D: My upper year friends have deceived me!!!!! D:

Should I drop it for Mat137 then? Can I still do that? :(

@Xiaohaha wrote

@kraken wrote

Yeah I was gonna say... lolwut? 30%? not a chance.

D: My upper year friends have deceived me!!!!! D:

Should I drop it for Mat137 then? Can I still do that? :(

MAT137 is useless these days as UofT changed the requirements for entry into math, physics, CS programs down to MAT135,MAT136 instead of MAT137 since they eventually lead to the same third and fourth years classes. Unless you want to get into the math specialist programs, which require MAT157 and not MAT137, there is no point in going through the headache of MAT137 and just chill and take MAT135,MAT136.

@Phase wrote

@Xiaohaha wrote

@kraken wrote

Yeah I was gonna say... lolwut? 30%? not a chance.

D: My upper year friends have deceived me!!!!! D:

Should I drop it for Mat137 then? Can I still do that? :(

MAT137 is useless these days as UofT changed the requirements for entry into math, physics, CS programs down to MAT135,MAT136 instead of MAT137 since they eventually lead to the same third and fourth years classes. Unless you want to get into the math specialist programs, which require MAT157 and not MAT137, there is no point in going through the headache of MAT137 and just chill and take MAT135,MAT136.

Not true at all. In fact, MAT135/136 would truly be the useless one since you do not actually gain any knowledge from it, other than useless methods of how to compute (which any software program can do it faster than you). Proofing on the other hand, is a whole lot different. Ask students who have completed Mat135/136 what theorems they know how to apply that is applicable, 50% will tell you none.

In MAT137, you learn very important concepts (delta-epsilon etc) such as how to proof solutions using your knowledge of theorems. These are very applicable concepts and useful not only in the engineering/physics field, but also for research. In this course, you actually learn material that you can use in your future studies.

NOTE: MAT137 is NOT necessarily more difficult than MAT135 to get a 4.0. If you are good at math, it is DEFINITELY easier and require less hard work input than MAT135.

In MAT135/136, you do more computations than actually understanding the theory behind it. This course is VERY MECHANICAL and requires less intelligence. You do not have to completely understand why some operation can be used in this context and not in another; and yet without understanding these concepts, you can score well just by "memorizing" all the methods of solving a particular type of equation. Hard work is required here.

In summary,

a)If you have the flair for math, take MAT137, it will pay off at the end of the year and your academic career.

b)If you are a hard worker but had to struggle through HS calculus, take MAT135/136 and save yourself the agony. Pass and forget.

[quote=ArchEnemy]Not true at all. In fact, MAT135/136 would truly be the useless one since you do not actually gain any knowledge from it, other than useless methods of how to compute (which any software program can do it faster than you). Proofing on the other hand, is a whole lot different. Ask students who have completed Mat135/136 what theorems they know how to apply that is applicable, 50% will tell you none.[/QUOTE]

No knowledge + a much higher probability for a good grade > little knowledge + lower probability for a good grade. Assuming that most math students are aiming for graduate school, it is clear that MAT135/136 is the way to go since GPA is king.

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT137, you learn very important concepts (delta-epsilon etc) such as how to proof solutions using your knowledge of theorems. These are very applicable concepts and useful not only in the engineering/physics field, but also for research. In this course, you actually learn material that you can use in your future studies.

LOL, any person can pick up delta-epsilon proofs without ever taking a class. It is quite an easy concept. As for other proofs, most math/CS/physics majors who end up going the MAT135/136 route are going to take MAT246H1 (Concepts in Abstract Mathematics), which is a course that actually specializes in teaching students how to write proofs and getting into that mindset. All the proofs taught in MAT137 are taught in this course and much more, hence making MAT137 obsolete and utterly useless.

@ArchEnemy wrote

NOTE: MAT137 is NOT necessarily more difficult than MAT135 to get a 4.0. If you are good at math, it is DEFINITELY easier and require less hard work input than MAT135.

Have you even taken the class or taken a look at the anticalendar? The average for MAT137 is not much higher than the average for MAT157, and the majority of students who have taken it have done horrible. In fact, there is a rumor going around that the reason why UofT dropped the calculus requirement down from MAT137 to MAT135/136 for Math/physics/CS majors was because of all the complaints from students on its difficulty.

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT135/136, you do more computations than actually understanding the theory behind it. This course is VERY MECHANICAL and requires less intelligence. You do not have to completely understand why some operation can be used in this context and not in another; and yet without understanding these concepts, you can score well just by "memorizing" all the methods of solving a particular type of equation. Hard work is required here.

It does not matter. When it comes to graduate or professional school, that A-/B+ in MAT135/136 is going to look much more favorable than that C-/D+ in MAT137. I also doubt they would care much at all if you learned how to write proofs in first year, when you will learn it anyway in MAT246H1 and use proofs for upper year math courses in the math major stream.

MAT137 is useless. It is made magnitudes more difficult than it is supposed to be, the proofs can be learned in a second year class (MAT246H1) when you have better transitioned into university, and the average math student is much more likely to do worse in it and hence hurting their GPA than doing well.

No knowledge + a much higher probability for a good grade > little knowledge + lower probability for a good grade. Assuming that most math students are aiming for graduate school, it is clear that MAT135/136 is the way to go since GPA is king.

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT137, you learn very important concepts (delta-epsilon etc) such as how to proof solutions using your knowledge of theorems. These are very applicable concepts and useful not only in the engineering/physics field, but also for research. In this course, you actually learn material that you can use in your future studies.

LOL, any person can pick up delta-epsilon proofs without ever taking a class. It is quite an easy concept. As for other proofs, most math/CS/physics majors who end up going the MAT135/136 route are going to take MAT246H1 (Concepts in Abstract Mathematics), which is a course that actually specializes in teaching students how to write proofs and getting into that mindset. All the proofs taught in MAT137 are taught in this course and much more, hence making MAT137 obsolete and utterly useless.

@ArchEnemy wrote

NOTE: MAT137 is NOT necessarily more difficult than MAT135 to get a 4.0. If you are good at math, it is DEFINITELY easier and require less hard work input than MAT135.

Have you even taken the class or taken a look at the anticalendar? The average for MAT137 is not much higher than the average for MAT157, and the majority of students who have taken it have done horrible. In fact, there is a rumor going around that the reason why UofT dropped the calculus requirement down from MAT137 to MAT135/136 for Math/physics/CS majors was because of all the complaints from students on its difficulty.

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT135/136, you do more computations than actually understanding the theory behind it. This course is VERY MECHANICAL and requires less intelligence. You do not have to completely understand why some operation can be used in this context and not in another; and yet without understanding these concepts, you can score well just by "memorizing" all the methods of solving a particular type of equation. Hard work is required here.

It does not matter. When it comes to graduate or professional school, that A-/B+ in MAT135/136 is going to look much more favorable than that C-/D+ in MAT137. I also doubt they would care much at all if you learned how to write proofs in first year, when you will learn it anyway in MAT246H1 and use proofs for upper year math courses in the math major stream.

MAT137 is useless. It is made magnitudes more difficult than it is supposed to be, the proofs can be learned in a second year class (MAT246H1) when you have better transitioned into university, and the average math student is much more likely to do worse in it and hence hurting their GPA than doing well.

OP I apologize for the long quote, but I hope this helps you to better understand the basis of our debate.

[quote=Phase]

@ArchEnemy wrote

Not true at all. In fact, MAT135/136 would truly be the useless one since you do not actually gain any knowledge from it, other than useless methods of how to compute (which any software program can do it faster than you). Proofing on the other hand, is a whole lot different. Ask students who have completed Mat135/136 what theorems they know how to apply that is applicable, 50% will tell you none.[/QUOTE]

No knowledge + a much higher probability for a good grade > little knowledge + lower probability for a good grade. Assuming that most math students are aiming for graduate school, it is clear that MAT135/136 is the way to go since GPA is king.

For Graduate school (eg. MSc/PhD in chemistry, math or physics), GPA is NOT king. Letters of Recommendation (LOR) are.

For Professional school (medicine, dentistry or law), yes, GPA is king.

@Phase wrote

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT137, you learn very important concepts (delta-epsilon etc) such as how to proof solutions using your knowledge of theorems. These are very applicable concepts and useful not only in the engineering/physics field, but also for research. In this course, you actually learn material that you can use in your future studies.

LOL, any person can pick up delta-epsilon proofs without ever taking a class. It is quite an easy concept. As for other proofs, most math/CS/physics majors who end up going the MAT135/136 route are going to take MAT246H1 (Concepts in Abstract Mathematics), which is a course that actually specializes in teaching students how to write proofs and getting into that mindset. All the proofs taught in MAT137 are taught in this course and much more, hence making MAT137 obsolete and utterly useless.

These are words coming from a student who wants to do a major in Physics and CS.

If any Tom, Dick and Harry can understand delta-epsilon easily, then without a doubt they are fine with math. But my experiences with most UofT life science students tell me otherwise.

Without a moderate foundation in math, you will pretty much cut off any path leading you to take higher level math courses. Do take into consideration that MAT137 will better prepare you for upper year courses, while MAT135 will not do as good a job.

@Phase wrote

@ArchEnemy wrote

NOTE: MAT137 is NOT necessarily more difficult than MAT135 to get a 4.0. If you are good at math, it is DEFINITELY easier and require less hard work input than MAT135.

Have you even taken the class or taken a look at the anticalendar? The average for MAT137 is not much higher than the average for MAT157, and the majority of students who have taken it have done horrible. In fact, there is a rumor going around that the reason why UofT dropped the calculus requirement down from MAT137 to MAT135/136 for Math/physics/CS majors was because of all the complaints from students on its difficulty.

I have not taken the MAT137 course per se, but I've done the past tests. This should be more than sufficient for me to make such a claim.

I'm not sure where you obtained your information on class averages from, since the anti-calendar does NOT post class averages, but I'll take your word for it. I hope you do not automatically relate the difficulty scale of a course to its class average, because that is a very poor inference.

@Phase wrote

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT135/136, you do more computations than actually understanding the theory behind it. This course is VERY MECHANICAL and requires less intelligence. You do not have to completely understand why some operation can be used in this context and not in another; and yet without understanding these concepts, you can score well just by "memorizing" all the methods of solving a particular type of equation. Hard work is required here.

It does not matter. When it comes to graduate or professional school, that A-/B+ in MAT135/136 is going to look much more favorable than that C-/D+ in MAT137. I also doubt they would care much at all if you learned how to write proofs in first year, when you will learn it anyway in MAT246H1 and use proofs for upper year math courses in the math major stream.

MAT137 is useless. It is made magnitudes more difficult than it is supposed to be, the proofs can be learned in a second year class (MAT246H1) when you have better transitioned into university, and the average math student is much more likely to do worse in it and hence hurting their GPA than doing well.

MAT246H1 is really abstract and goes beyond the scope of most life science research requirements. MAT137H1 does not. It's like learning Taekwondo. If you want to learn it for self-defence purposes, there is no reason to go all the way to the black belt. A blue or red belt already puts you way ahead of the average person.

To OP:

A biochemistry specialist is not very competitive to get into at UofT. Most UofT students who aim to get into medical school try to avoid the 3 infamous specialist programs, Biochemistry, Immunology & Microbiology (abbreviated as 'BIG' as you will often hear it at UofT). Hence you do not require a 4.0 in all your courses. A 3.7 in 1st and 2nd year should safely get you the Biochem Spec. If you haven't already made your decision on which schools to choose, hope this helps.

[quote=Phase]

@ArchEnemy wrote

Not true at all. In fact, MAT135/136 would truly be the useless one since you do not actually gain any knowledge from it, other than useless methods of how to compute (which any software program can do it faster than you). Proofing on the other hand, is a whole lot different. Ask students who have completed Mat135/136 what theorems they know how to apply that is applicable, 50% will tell you none.[/QUOTE]

No knowledge + a much higher probability for a good grade > little knowledge + lower probability for a good grade. Assuming that most math students are aiming for graduate school, it is clear that MAT135/136 is the way to go since GPA is king.

For Graduate school (eg. MSc/PhD in chemistry, math or physics), GPA is NOT king. Letters of Recommendation (LOR) are.

For Professional school (medicine, dentistry or law), yes, GPA is king.

@Phase wrote

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT137, you learn very important concepts (delta-epsilon etc) such as how to proof solutions using your knowledge of theorems. These are very applicable concepts and useful not only in the engineering/physics field, but also for research. In this course, you actually learn material that you can use in your future studies.

LOL, any person can pick up delta-epsilon proofs without ever taking a class. It is quite an easy concept. As for other proofs, most math/CS/physics majors who end up going the MAT135/136 route are going to take MAT246H1 (Concepts in Abstract Mathematics), which is a course that actually specializes in teaching students how to write proofs and getting into that mindset. All the proofs taught in MAT137 are taught in this course and much more, hence making MAT137 obsolete and utterly useless.

These are words coming from a student who wants to do a major in Physics and CS.

If any Tom, Dick and Harry can understand delta-epsilon easily, then without a doubt they are fine with math. But my experiences with most UofT life science students tell me otherwise.

Without a moderate foundation in math, you will pretty much cut off any path leading you to take higher level math courses. Do take into consideration that MAT137 will better prepare you for upper year courses, while MAT135 will not do as good a job.

@Phase wrote

@ArchEnemy wrote

NOTE: MAT137 is NOT necessarily more difficult than MAT135 to get a 4.0. If you are good at math, it is DEFINITELY easier and require less hard work input than MAT135.

Have you even taken the class or taken a look at the anticalendar? The average for MAT137 is not much higher than the average for MAT157, and the majority of students who have taken it have done horrible. In fact, there is a rumor going around that the reason why UofT dropped the calculus requirement down from MAT137 to MAT135/136 for Math/physics/CS majors was because of all the complaints from students on its difficulty.

I have not taken the MAT137 course per se, but I've done the past tests. This should be more than sufficient for me to make such a claim.

I'm not sure where you obtained your information on class averages from, since the anti-calendar does NOT post class averages, but I'll take your word for it. I hope you do not automatically relate the difficulty scale of a course to its class average, because that is a very poor inference.

@Phase wrote

@ArchEnemy wrote

In MAT135/136, you do more computations than actually understanding the theory behind it. This course is VERY MECHANICAL and requires less intelligence. You do not have to completely understand why some operation can be used in this context and not in another; and yet without understanding these concepts, you can score well just by "memorizing" all the methods of solving a particular type of equation. Hard work is required here.

It does not matter. When it comes to graduate or professional school, that A-/B+ in MAT135/136 is going to look much more favorable than that C-/D+ in MAT137. I also doubt they would care much at all if you learned how to write proofs in first year, when you will learn it anyway in MAT246H1 and use proofs for upper year math courses in the math major stream.

MAT137 is useless. It is made magnitudes more difficult than it is supposed to be, the proofs can be learned in a second year class (MAT246H1) when you have better transitioned into university, and the average math student is much more likely to do worse in it and hence hurting their GPA than doing well.

MAT246H1 is really abstract and goes beyond the scope of most life science research requirements. MAT137H1 does not. It's like learning Taekwondo. If you want to learn it for self-defence purposes, there is no reason to go all the way to the black belt. A blue or red belt already puts you way ahead of the average person.

To OP:

A biochemistry specialist is not very competitive to get into at UofT. Most UofT students who aim to get into medical school try to avoid the 3 infamous specialist programs, Biochemistry, Immunology & Microbiology (abbreviated as 'BIG' as you will often hear it at UofT). Hence you do not require a 4.0 in all your courses. A 3.7 in 1st and 2nd year should safely get you the Biochem Spec. If you haven't already made your decision on which schools to choose, hope this helps.

So out of Mat135/136, 137 and 157, which is the best course to take? Math is not challenging to me but I also would prefer not to take an extraneously difficult course if it confers no benefits over the easier ones. I plan on majoring in astrophysics.

@Xiaohaha wrote

I plan on majoring in astrophysics.

I STRONGLY recommend at least MAT137, but Phase may say otherwise.

MAT137 or MAT157 is definitely more useful for your major especially since you are going to be dealing with a lot of physics. If you choose to take MAT135 now, you may or may not struggle in your higher level courses.

One advice: Don't look at the your academic career only at the present, think and plan long term.

@ArchEnemy wrote

For Graduate school (eg. MSc/PhD in chemistry, math or physics), GPA is NOT king. Letters of Recommendation (LOR) are.

For Professional school (medicine, dentistry or law), yes, GPA is king.

Really? Do you even know of the graduate school process for math and physics schools? Of course, if you want to go to some unheard of school with a tiny math or physics department and have a crappy start to a post-doc, sure, but if you want to go to a top 50, then you're GPA is going to need to be a 3.5+. I've actually heard this from students who have been through the process and some could not get in anywhere (top 50) even with a 3.5 GPA and a strong GRE. Also, if you change your mind and want to apply for professional school (which is quite common these days), then you are essentially screwed.

@ArchEnemy wrote

These are words coming from a student who wants to do a major in Physics and CS.

If any Tom, Dick and Harry can understand delta-epsilon easily, then without a doubt they are fine with math. But my experiences with most UofT life science students tell me otherwise.

If he was debating taking MAT157 or MAT137, then I truly doubt he is a life-science student.

@ArchEnemy wrote

Without a moderate foundation in math, you will pretty much cut off any path leading you to take higher level math courses. Do take into consideration that MAT137 will better prepare you for upper year courses, while MAT135 will not do as good a job.

I'm pretty sure the course developers and the professors know more than you do, or they would have not dropped the math major requirement down from MAT137 to MAT135/136. MAT246H1 is all that is needed to develop that strong foundation, anyways.

@ArchEnemy wrote

I have not taken the MAT137 course per se, but I've done the past tests. This should be more than sufficient for me to make such a claim.

With all due respect, A few past tests aren't exactly strong indicators of the course. I did some of the past tests for PHY151H1 and found them easy, while other tests were just impossible.

@ArchEnemy wrote

I'm not sure where you obtained your information on class averages from, since the anti-calendar does NOT post class averages, but I'll take your word for it. I hope you do not automatically relate the difficulty scale of a course to its class average, because that is a very poor inference.

Indeed, the averages are not posted on the anti-calendar, but I have spoken to quite a few upper year students in math specialists/math major streams. For those of them that have taken MAT137 have told me it was completely useless in the grand scheme of things. Averages may not be a strong indicator of the difficulty of the class, but just what kind of students would be taking MAT137/MAT157? Students looking to go into math, physics, or computer science. The vast majority of students taking this course likely had a 90+ in high school calculus, and the vast majority will do poorly in those two courses.

@ArchEnemy wrote

MAT246H1 is really abstract and goes beyond the scope of most life science research requirements. MAT137H1 does not. It's like learning Taekwondo. If you want to learn it for self-defence purposes, there is no reason to go all the way to the black belt. A blue or red belt already puts you way ahead of the average person.

Well, now that he clarified, he won't be needing MAT246H1. Please enlighten me, how is learning how to write proofs important to a life-science major? It isn't even a necessary skill for a physics major, which is one of the more quantitative majors. MAT135 and MAT136 and perhaps MAT235 and MAT244 would be all the math that a life-science major would ever need in their career.

@Xiaohaha wrote

So out of Mat135/136, 137 and 157, which is the best course to take? Math is not challenging to me but I also would prefer not to take an extraneously difficult course if it confers no benefits over the easier ones. I plan on majoring in astrophysics.

MAT135/136. MAT137 and MAT157 would only be useful for mathematical or computational physics, most definitely not astro. How many astrophysicists write extensive proofs in their work? And if you want to learn how to write proofs for whatever reason, then I still suggest taking MAT246H1. It is much more in-depth, but it is not built like most first year weeder classes (MAT137/157) that are designed to fail as many students as possible, according to students who have taken the class.

@Phase wrote

@Xiaohaha wrote

So out of Mat135/136, 137 and 157, which is the best course to take? Math is not challenging to me but I also would prefer not to take an extraneously difficult course if it confers no benefits over the easier ones. I plan on majoring in astrophysics.

MAT135/136. MAT137 and MAT157 would only be useful for mathematical or computational physics, most definitely not astro. How many astrophysicists write extensive proofs in their work? And if you want to learn how to write proofs for whatever reason, then I still suggest taking MAT246H1. It is much more in-depth, but it is not built like most first year weeder classes (MAT137/157) that are designed to fail as many students as possible, according to students who have taken the class.

MAT157 actually teaches you how to prove things, but being able to proof something cannot be learnt in a short time. So MAT157 actually requires you (implicitely) to know how to prove. One of my friend dropped MAT157 in first week because he did not have that foundation (he is actually smart to make that decision). As Professor Murty (prof of MAT157 2010-2011) said, each math course has different flavour, and if you want your math to be related to life sci the most, then MAT135 & MAT136 is the best course. No need to take meaningless challenges.

MAT246 doesn't do epsilon-delta by the way, so I recommend taking MAT157 for people who knows how to do basic proofs.

P.S. Prof Murty's MAT157 is not that much of a weeder. He is teaching it in this year too. I took it from him and because of his enthusiasm and great availability for help, only 50 ppl dropped it after 1st test (out of 150 ppl), and I think at least 75 ppl passed it and planning to take MAT257 (I'm included in there). He is the best prof for this course.

@chhan92 wrote

@Phase wrote

@Xiaohaha wrote

So out of Mat135/136, 137 and 157, which is the best course to take? Math is not challenging to me but I also would prefer not to take an extraneously difficult course if it confers no benefits over the easier ones. I plan on majoring in astrophysics.

MAT135/136. MAT137 and MAT157 would only be useful for mathematical or computational physics, most definitely not astro. How many astrophysicists write extensive proofs in their work? And if you want to learn how to write proofs for whatever reason, then I still suggest taking MAT246H1. It is much more in-depth, but it is not built like most first year weeder classes (MAT137/157) that are designed to fail as many students as possible, according to students who have taken the class.

MAT157 actually teaches you how to prove things, but being able to proof something cannot be learnt in a short time. So MAT157 actually requires you (implicitely) to know how to prove. One of my friend dropped MAT157 in first week because he did not have that foundation (he is actually smart to make that decision). As Professor Murty (prof of MAT157 2010-2011) said, each math course has different flavour, and if you want your math to be related to life sci the most, then MAT135 & MAT136 is the best course. No need to take meaningless challenges.

MAT246 doesn't do epsilon-delta by the way, so I recommend taking MAT157 for people who knows how to do basic proofs.

P.S. Prof Murty's MAT157 is not that much of a weeder. He is teaching it in this year too. I took it from him and because of his enthusiasm and great availability for help, only 50 ppl dropped it after 1st test (out of 150 ppl), and I think at least 75 ppl passed it and planning to take MAT257 (I'm included in there). He is the best prof for this course.

Hi, after spending a month in Mat157 I'm just writing to say that you were absolutely right and Murty is the most boss professor I have ever had.

@Xiaohaha wrote

@chhan92 wrote

@Phase wrote

@Xiaohaha wrote

So out of Mat135/136, 137 and 157, which is the best course to take? Math is not challenging to me but I also would prefer not to take an extraneously difficult course if it confers no benefits over the easier ones. I plan on majoring in astrophysics.

MAT135/136. MAT137 and MAT157 would only be useful for mathematical or computational physics, most definitely not astro. How many astrophysicists write extensive proofs in their work? And if you want to learn how to write proofs for whatever reason, then I still suggest taking MAT246H1. It is much more in-depth, but it is not built like most first year weeder classes (MAT137/157) that are designed to fail as many students as possible, according to students who have taken the class.

MAT157 actually teaches you how to prove things, but being able to proof something cannot be learnt in a short time. So MAT157 actually requires you (implicitely) to know how to prove. One of my friend dropped MAT157 in first week because he did not have that foundation (he is actually smart to make that decision). As Professor Murty (prof of MAT157 2010-2011) said, each math course has different flavour, and if you want your math to be related to life sci the most, then MAT135 & MAT136 is the best course. No need to take meaningless challenges.

MAT246 doesn't do epsilon-delta by the way, so I recommend taking MAT157 for people who knows how to do basic proofs.

P.S. Prof Murty's MAT157 is not that much of a weeder. He is teaching it in this year too. I took it from him and because of his enthusiasm and great availability for help, only 50 ppl dropped it after 1st test (out of 150 ppl), and I think at least 75 ppl passed it and planning to take MAT257 (I'm included in there). He is the best prof for this course.

Hi, after spending a month in Mat157 I'm just writing to say that you were absolutely right and Murty is the most boss professor I have ever had.

And to top it off, the first test is breeze if u know how to prove things using epsilon-delta. He cannot make 1st test hard because a lot of ppl don't know how to do epsilon-delta (some of them even don't understand what it really is), so the average will still be low no matter what. MAT257 is not comparable to MAT157 cuz i did well in 157 but for 257 I need to work much more. So you need to ace 157 to do well in 257.

Come to Math Union Tea time at 4:30 pm in Math lounge at 6th floor of Bahen each Friday if you want to meet me in person. Call out my username and I probably will recognize you. I am 2nd year (so its easier for you to find me).