ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 3 Update

Wednesday I took the first MAT 343 exam and was able to get a 90.5/100 somehow. There were a number of true false questions, some you could figure out with your calculator and others you really needed to understand the various principles and rules we’d been taught. I have a few things to go back through and review. Should be able to do that over the weekend so I can hopefully not make the same mistake(s) going forward. I didn’t feel good about the test at all and was pretty surprised I scored as well as I did. Seems like this class is a lot of memorization and I need to do better at memorizing all the terms, etc.

Outside of preparing for the MAT 343 Exam 1, had the usual homework and a MAT 275 lab due last Tuesday and a MAT 343 MATLAB assignment coming up due on Sunday. We didn’t have any questions on the first MAT 343 exam regarding MATLAB.

Week 3 we’re looking at:

  • Vector Spaces
  • Subspaces
  • Linear Independence

I’m a few days ahead on the assignments for both classes which feels nice. The Vector Space homework was pretty straight forward, but really confused at the moment on how to get started to answer the subspaces homework questions. I am going to try ASU’s tutoring and hopefully they can help get me back on track. A number of the Subspaces questions have limited attempts and I really want to make sure I am doing those correctly.

The first exam in MAT 275 opens Saturday and is due Sunday. The first exam will cover topics like classification of differential equations, separable equations, direction fields, integrating factors, modeling with first order differential equations, Euler’s method and population dynamics.

I have been watching a lot of Krista King’s integration technique videos and feeling a little better about integration by parts and u-substitution. I still need to go through the partial fraction and trig integration techniques. I just flat out don’t remember them and don’t use them all that often. Hopefully they won’t show up on an exam with a differential equation, but given how the professor’s 343 exam went, I’m expecting some pretty challenging 275 exam questions.


Her differential equation videos have been helpful. I’m still getting tripped up by complicated integrals unfortunately but the separable equation, integration factor, and most of the mixing problems aren’t too bad. I just keep trying to slip in integration practice and hopefully by the time the midterm and final come around I’ll be much better at those and they won’t cause me any issues.

MAT 275 Week 3 we’re going over:

  • Population Dynamics
  • Homogeneous Constant Coefficients
  • The Wronskian

Back to the books!


ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 2 Update

Both MAT 343 and MAT 275 had a fair amount of homework due last Sunday 10/16. It’s a bit of a juggling act bouncing between the two classes right now. I’ve been able to get ahead which is a nice feeling and hopefully that lasts. I’m glad I got both of the labs done early. That took a bit of stress off. Just took a little bit of tinkering in MATLAB to get things working right, but those are done.

Linear Algebra (343) is giving me a lot of practice on basic arithmetic. I find it funny that I’ve been able to solve complex multi-variable calculus problems, but when I get asked to multiply two sets of numbers, then add the product and I forget one of them had a negative sign. Both my TI-84 and TI-NSpire CX calculators though will solve most of the problems so far, provided there aren’t unknowns which is great for checking my work.

I have my first MAT 343 test on 10/27 and have been going back through reviewing the first few chapters. Our text book has some of the problems answered in the back of the book so that has been helpful to get in a few additional practice problems. I’m still not 100% comfortable with Linear Algebra, but the more we work with it, seems to be a really interesting tool.

MAT 343 Week 2 we’re studying:

  • Elementary Matrices
  • The Determinant of a Matrix
  • Properties of Determinants

MAT 275 (Differential Equations) didn’t kill me last week which I think my wife is happy about? The Section 2.2 homework on Separable Equations really brought to light how important knowing your derivatives and integrals are. I dusted off my Anki Calculus flash card deck and have been going through those daily. You also have got to know what to do with natural log and e! I used those more in one assignment than I think I’ve used over the past year all! I’m still really nervous about this class. It really brings a lot of the Calc I and Calc II topics together.

I have got to work in some additional practice on integration techniques over the next few weeks to get better at being able to work the differential equations. The Integrating Factor technique really requires you to know your integral stuff.

MAT 275 Week 2 we have:

  • Direction Fields
  • Integrating Factor
  • Modeling with First Order
  • Euler Method

Outside of all this math, I registered for Spring 2017 classes Tuesday. Electrical Engineering upper division courses are moving over to a full 15 week session C format. This change won’t impact me much Spring ’17. The classes I will be taken are the 7.5 week session A and B classes.

I signed up for PHY 131 – Physics II: Electricity & Magnetism, PHY 132: Physics II Lab Session A, Session B EEE 202: Circuits I, EEE 230: Computer Organization & Assembly Language.

ASU Fall 2016 Session B Week 1 Update

This session, I’m signed up to take MAT 275 – Modern Differential Equations and MAT 343 – Applied Linear Algebra. I have the same professor for both classes. I’d been nervous that I’d have two tests on the same day, but looks like things are spaced out well enough that that won’t be an issue. Definitely have assignments due the same day though but I plan to work ahead as much as possible.

Both math classes have a MATLAB component. Rumor has it, that the labs can take some time to work through. Hopefully as I get more comfortable with MATLAB I’ll be able to spend less time looking up function and fighting syntax errors. Classes officially started up Wednesday, but last weekend, I took advantage of being on break and got started on the first labs for both classes. The labs mostly just had us getting familiar with MATLAB. Hopefully I have everything solved correctly. ASU provides students with a copy of MATLAB which is great.

We start off MAT 275 with the following topics:

  • Classification of Differential Equations
  • Separable Equations

The lecture videos seem to be a little bit scattered on this class and really long. There are example problem videos scattered about as well. My MAT 267 professor has some very helpful and concise videos up on his page which I’ve found very helpful. Hopefully this time around with differential equations I can make it through. I really struggled with Differential Equations 20 years ago at UCR.

MAT 343 has us looking at

  • Systems of Linear Equations
  • Row Eschelon Form
  • Matrix Arithmetic
  • Matrix Algebra

I made it through the first two sections last spring before I got sick and had to drop the class and I saved my notes so the first two homework assignments weren’t too bad. On the homework assignments both classes have 2 assignments due every few days.

The Spring 2017 schedule of classes came out yesterday. Looks like all the classes I was planning on taking will be offered when I was looking to take them. I’m able to register for Spring already next week! Hard to believe that is not too far off!

Session A I’ll be continuing my physics studies with PHY 131 – Physics II – Electricity and Magnetism and PHY 132 – Physics II Lab. Session B will be EEE 202 – Circuits I and EEE 230 – Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming. Provided of course I can survive differential equations and PHY 131 & 132!

ASU sent out a note yesterday that a lot of the EEE courses will be switching over to Session C classes which instead of running 7.5 weeks, will run a full semester. I think this will be a good thing. There have been a few classes that have been very challenging to master the amount of material presented and I think having additional time for the labs and course will be a good thing. I don’t think this change will impact me until Fall 2017. I’m not sure yet if it changes my class plan, but over the next few weeks I plan to get an appointment with my academic advisor to make sure I’ve got a doable plan worked out to successfully complete the program.

That’s all the news for now. I better get back to MAT 275 and MAT 343!

ASU Fall 2016 Session A Complete

This week we wrapped up Physics 121 and Physics 122. No new material was presented for PHY 121. I had my last test on Tuesday and did well enough to drop a lower test score. Made silly mistakes on two questions. Just rushed through and got careless, but I know what I did wrong and if those questions show up the final or something in the future, I’ll know what to do. After looking at some complicated problems the past seven and a half weeks, I get thrown something pretty simple and then over complicate it. Sometimes its best to stick with your first answer instead of changing it!

Following the test on Tuesday, I spent the rest of the week working on reviewing and studying for the PHY 121 final this morning. I focused on reviewing the end of chapter questions in the textbook and past tests and quizzes. Watched a few videos on topics that I still had questions on.

The final was pretty straight forward, no crazy complex problems. A few pretty simple calculations, but nothing really complex. Walked away with an A- on the final so was pleased. Considering how hard the assignments have been the final was pretty simple. I’m hoping tomorrow after the exam window closes I can go back and review what I missed. There were three problems that I’m pretty sure I did wrong, but will find out for sure.

PHY 122 had Lab 6 due Monday. No template was given, but wasn’t too bad to come up with one based on prior labs. The lowest lab is dropped and I’ve done well enough on the past 5 labs to not have to turn in the pendulum lab 7. I was able to get most of it completed yesterday and today, put the finishing touches on it and submitted.

Feels pretty good to have those two courses crossed off the list! Final grades should be posted in the next day or so, but if my calculations are correct should have at least an A- in PHY 121 and an A in PHY 122.

Overall, PHY 121 has been one of the most challenging courses I’ve taken at ASU. It was frustrating that the discussion board wasn’t used a lot. On this class, I really had to look around for additional videos and resources to help explain the material. The problems really forced you to choose carefully how you setup your problems and think through what was needed to solve the problem. There definitely weren’t many simple plug in numbers to a formula. Overall, I hope this approach to solving problems will be beneficial, but it was a rather painful 7.5 weeks.

PHY 122, was interesting. Short of the labs taking up a lot more time than I would have expected, the lab equipment simulator worked well. It was nice to have a “set” of equipment all to myself. In previous physics labs in high school and UCR we’d have a lab partner and limited time to perform the experiments, but with the lab simulator you could spend a little extra time to try new things and really understand the principle or concept being studied. TAs were great and extremely helpful. Overall very positive experience with PHY 122.

Fall Session B gets underway on the 12th and I expect ASU will have Webworks opened up Monday. It looks like most of the lectures and course materials are available in blackboard now. I haven’t looked too much into MAT 343 and MAT 275 yet though, but will turn my attention there after a short break this weekend.