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UK MSc Program Difficulty (Imperial College London)

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Ummmm, first time posting on thegradcafe so I hope I'm making a thread in the right section!   

Early last year, I have been accepted into MSc Adv Aero Eng at the Imperial College London.   

However, due to personal circumstances and financial problems, I had to defer the program for a year.  

Now, I am about to enter the program in 6 months. (Fall 2017 Entry)  


Currently, I am freaking out about my future and how I will perform academically while studying in UK.  

I did my undergraduate program (BEng- Mechanical) at the McGill University in Canada.  

I obtained CGPA of 3.42 without putting too much effort into studying. (Honestly, I think I only spent  about 20~30% of my time studying)  

But by not doing anything for a year (due to deferral), I feel like I have forgotten everything

and will have a difficult time at the ICL.  


I have recently started to study 2~3 hours per day. (using the books/topics outlined by the course handbook's 

"to know before coming in" list) But I feel like this is not enough.  


So I wanted to ask if anyone went through a similar process and how it was for them.  

Has anyone did their Bachelors in Canada and Masters in UK? How did it go for you?  

Was there any academic difference? 

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I did the MSc in Adv Computational Methods at Imperial and it was definitely hard work, but not unmanageable. I did my undergraduate degree in the US, so the biggest difference for me was that the final exams were often your entire grade. This meant that the course required a lot of self motivation to prepare throughout the semester for the final exam. 

I recommend trying to find a group of people to study with early on. This is so crucial to getting through the exams and makes it so much easier! I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have about Imperial or and Aeronautics department :)

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Thank you for your reply! I did not know final exams are 100% of your grade. But since I actually prefer 100% final exam marking scheme that sounds good to me!  


My biggest concern is, how quickly do you go into each topic?  

As in, for aerodynamics, do they expect you to already have solid foundation of aerodynamics and flight mechanics?   

Do they spend first few weeks at least briefly going over basics from the ground zero?    

I just would like to gauge how much knowledge of each topic they expect from you before coming into the program.  


Also, I don't know for sure if your program had 4-month work placement term as well. But I wanted to know

if I have to seek for a company to work for all on my own or if the college provides list of potential companies to work for. 

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I did my bachelor's in the US and engineering MRes at Imperial. One of the big differences between North America is that the marks come down entirely to a final exam (or in the case of more hands on engineering fields, an exam and a project). There is generally less you are required to do during the term (unless it's a coding-based class, in my experience), so there's a lot more personal responsibility required to stay on top of the material. Also remember that the grading scheme is different: 50% is passing, 60% is merit, 70% is distinction. Getting a 90%+ like you would for an A here is not the norm. (However, I studied my butt off for a statistics exam thinking as if it was the US grading scheme and ended up with a 93%.)

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That's what I read on the website as well for the grading scheme.  

But how does that translate to NA system of GPA?  

From my point of view, 50%+ is passing makes sense. But 60% being merit and 70% being distinction

make it sounds as though 60%/70%+ is very difficult to achieve.  

Does that mean the exams are designed so that 50% is somewhat achievable (easy or mid difficulty) and 

60+% is at the top of the bell curve? (as in ~85%+ in NA?)   


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From my experience, the grades are achievable. I'd use a rough conversion of pass = C, merit = B, and distinction = A. They just don't have the same kind of inflation that we do here, so you don't get people topping out the scale.

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