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Loughborough SEFS Information Thread

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Interview Discussion 30-01-2014
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    As I've been asked to write some information about the SEFS course I thought it would be a good idea to make an information thread and possibly answer any questions regarding SEFS. I have now finished learning content for semester 1 and am a member of both the Physics Staff-Student Committee and SEFS Staff-Student Committee so I can answer many questions to do with those areas, if not i'll try find out the answer to any questions.

    What Is SEFS?
    SEFS is the Science Engineering Foundation Studies course offered at Loughborough. Completing this 1 year course will enable you to progress to the engineering and science departments within the university.

    SEFS Allows you to progress to degrees within

    - Aeronautical/Automotive Engineering
    - Chemical Engineering
    - Chemistry
    - Civil Engineering
    - Computer Science
    - Electronic & Electrical Engineering
    - Materials Engineering
    - Mathematics
    - Physics
    - Manufacturing Engineering
    - Mechanical Engineering
    - Product Design Engineering


    My Educational Background

    I went to a normal public school nothing special and my GCSE's were not amazing mostly B's - enough to get me into sixth form. In GCSE I was in a mixed ability class for maths mostly comprised of foundation borderline students, and top set science (Just).

    I went on to study A-level Mathematics, Physics, Geography, General Studies, AS Psychology and AS Business.

    My A-level results were not great and I was considerably out of my depth for mathematics and physics. I resat my AS year and ended up with C's which was okay concidering my GCSEs and the fact that my exam board were hard exam boards, ie. OCR MEI for mathematics. I wanted to study physics at university as the A2 physics modules really opened up passion and interest in the subject but with C's your very restricted. I opted to do a foundation year as I did not feel ready for university and hate change. A foundation year would greatly benefit me. I chose Loughborough as my firm over my other choices (Such as Sussex and Liverpool) as I felt Loughborough's course was the most established and Successful. I really failed to find any negative points with the course and the open day really sold Loughborough to me. I have now finished learning content for semester 1 and await my first set of exams late January.

    Many students chose SEFS for a multitude of reasons. Some didnt do as well as they could of like me, others got good grades but had a change in hear t of what they want to study. The SEFS course also facilitates international and mature students from all over.

    What Is it Like To Study The SEFS Course?

    You will study a range of subjects, some degree programs have more flexibility allowing you to pick certain modules. Others however, such as mechanical engineering are pre-set and not negotiable. For Physics I have compulsory modules in Basic Physics & Materials, Mathematics, Physical Chemistry and Learning & communications. I have an optional module block where I can chose to study either Applied Mechanics or Programming. I picked Applied mechanics and chose not to study programming as I did mechanics at A-level. overall the course has 130-140 students for this year studying a range of subjects. Around 50 wish to progress to engineering, 25 for computer science, 20 for physic, Not sure on the rest but those are the major ones.

    I can write about the modules I study, I did not study Business Skills for Engineers, Programming or Inorganic Chemistry so cannot comment on those modules.

    Typically I have 12 lectures a week and 2-3 tutorials. From The middle of the semester until late semester you have laboratory sessions for Physics and Chemistry. Mechanics you have a one two hour slot to carry out an experiment.

    Basic Physics and Materials - I have 3 lectures a week, one of which is specifically dedicated to materials, the other two are dedicated to physics. Every fortnight you have a tutorial which covers problems you have been set. From week 5-9 you have a weekly two hour laboratory session where you cover physics experiments. For the physics labs you are paired up with a partner and cover 5 different experiments one of which you have to write a formal report up on. You must keep a laboratory book to write your findings and a write up for each experiment. These 5 laboratory sessions contribute to 10% of your final grade and the formal report also contributes to 10% of the final grade.

    Mathematics - I have 3 lectures a week and 1 weekly tutorial class where you are set a problem sheet and the lecturer is present to help with any questions you are stuck on. You learn basic calculus and graph work which forms the back bone for the main degree programs. Topics range from C1-C4 in semester 1. You have two in class tests which combined contribute to 20% of your overall Mathematics 1 grade, the other 80% is from the final test. Its worth noting that you are not allowed a graphical calculator so you must solve trigonometric equations using either the CAST diagram or hand draw graphs. Likewise for simultaneous equations.

    Physical Chemistry - I have one two hour lecture which covers a broad range of chemistry and sometimes other topics such as thermodynamics and space. You also have 4 laboratory sessions where you must complete a pre-laboratory test online. For the chemistry laboratory sessions you must work on your own. Chemistry lecturers and postgraduate (?) students are able to help you if you are unsure. Unlike physics you do not need to keep a laboratory book but instead you must fill out a post experiment proforma which often include graphical, and/or error analysis and some questions. The final exam is multiple choice, 100 questions in 100 minutes.

    Engineering: Applied Mechanics - This is the engineering module not so much like mechanics in mathematics. You study engineering topics to do with structures and have a report worth 30% of the grade on an engineering topic. To do this report you must attend a single laboratory session which forms the basis of the report. This is the only laboratory session you attend and the rest of the course is theory. you have one exam contributing to 70% of your credits.

    Learning and Communications - This subject is not like the others, its to emphasise ways to be a successful student at university. You get taught how to effectively revise, take notes, complete scientific reports and essays. You have a 1500 word scientific essay to complete, a group poster to design and a group presentation on the poster topic. There are no exams for this module as the essay and poster/presentation form the examination for learning and communications.


    Course Structure/Examination

    Depending on the modules you do you might have mostly exams or no exams at all. Coursework comes in the form of in class tests for mathematics whereby you have two in class tests worth 10% of your final semester 1 grade each. These are short tests lasting 45 minutes. Physical Chemistry also has an in class test which is comprised of 25 multiple choice questions regarding the lectures you have covered so far worth I believe 25% of your final grade. Business Skills for Engineers in entirely coursework based and as far as im aware has no final test.

    To progress to your degree program of choice you need to get set percentages in your exams or a set overall percentage. Even though you only need 40% to pass the module most degree programs want at least 50% minimum often higher. For physics I need 70% in Maths and Physics and an overall percentage of 60%.

    Final exams exist for Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Mechanics.

    Mathematics - A 3 hour exam covering all topics covered in semester 1. This is worth 80% of the module grade.

    Physics - A 3 hour exam covering topics covered in semester 1. You get a multiple choice section worth 40/100 marks. The remaing 60 marks are split into three blocks of 20 for materials, electricity and mechanics. For these sections you have a choice of answering one of two questions. This is worth 80% of the module grade.

    Chemistry - A 1.5 hour multiple choice exam comprising of 100 questions which are based around the lecture notes.

    Engineering - A 1.5 hour exam where you have to answer 4 questions. 2 questions must come from section A and 2 from section B. There are 3 questions in each section so you get to chose which questions you want to answer.



    How Does It Compare To A-level?
    Some areas are harder than A-level, others easier. The teaching is completely different. Labs are harder then A-level but also more interesting. You still need to work to obtain a high grade.



    How Have I found It So Far?

    So far it has not been too difficult with me as I fortunately did mathematics and physics at A-level. I still put plenty of effort in and did between 2 to 6 hours work a day depending on what needs doing but less at the weekends which I tend to save for reports/lab write ups. Week 7 was the hardest as I had 3 labs, 4 write ups and an essay to hand in. Doing the correct a-levels before hand certainly helps getting A grade in them wont always equate to high marks on SEFS. I found that being organised really helped. If you put effort in expect very high results.

    I found the laboratory lessons very useful. I came from E grade in physics practicals at A-level and just got 95% when my physics laboratory book was marked. Chemistry labs I scored almost as high in which is very good considering that I have not touched chemistry since GCSE.


    F.A.Q
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    Thanks for this, I've applied for this course to progress to computer science, it's nice to know how it's actually run
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    I made a thread about my application to the Foundation year at loughborough http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=1863662

    Is it extremely difficult to get in to and when can i expect a response having applied in late november? I fulfil the requirements for the course though, DDD is required in my BTEC National diploma in Aerospace Engineering with a Distinction in maths at technicial level i have acheived that result and i am predicted all distinctions, but am worried about my GCSE maths as the grade i acheived was a C and that is the minimum stated on the SEFS website, i had forgotton to add my A-level in physics which i done in 2008 as i thought the points for it would be of no use i acheived an E that year, but have included my BTEC result and predictions.

    Thanks, i really hope i get in its been almost four years since i last applied to the SEFS programme and this year the main aeronautical degree programme do not consider applications to there first year if you have a BTEC but do consider the BTEC for the SEFS programme and i feel that my maths/physics and practical skills have improved greatly but i just feel its very competetive to get in to.
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    I will finish off the post at some point in the near future.
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    (Original post by Oh my Ms. Coffey)
    I will finish off the post at some point in the near future.
    Cheers mate
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    I might get around to finishing this tomorrow.
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    (Original post by Oh my Ms. Coffey)
    ...
    I would be interested to know what level maths you think the course starts off at? The SEFS website states all you need is GCSE grade B for entry, but the level of the SEFS material I downloaded from learn appears to start a lot higher than that. I understand some of the Cartesian Co-ordinates and Indices material but that is it.

    Also be interested in the same info about the Physics modules. Never done Physics before at all!

    I have just purchased a copy of the recommended maths book , but I'm wondering what else I can do or what is the best way to prepare for someone coming at the program without and A-levels in maths or sciences .
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    (Original post by BigV)
    I would be interested to know what level maths you think the course starts off at? The SEFS website states all you need is GCSE grade B for entry, but the level of the SEFS material I downloaded from learn appears to start a lot higher than that. I understand some of the Cartesian Co-ordinates and Indices material but that is it.

    Also be interested in the same info about the Physics modules. Never done Physics before at all!

    I have just purchased a copy of the recommended maths book , but I'm wondering what else I can do or what is the best way to prepare for someone coming at the program without and A-levels in maths or sciences .
    Erm, Its easy A-level personally. I did a hard A-level exam board and the questions asked are like introductory questions for the topics we did at A-level. Lectures move very fast though.

    Having did A-level maths i dont find it much trouble. From our in class tests I only really dropped marks for using my method to solve a problem instead of the one asked or silly errors.

    I do suggest getting a head start though, CGP guides are good. I've got the suggested maths book but dont really use it, you get some problem sheets set anyway.

    Physics I suggest reading Schaum's outline on physics (Cant remember which one). The Palgrave foundations series for physics seems good too though its a tad harder and they put questions with traps in.

    I didnt use the other books, I have them but they seem old/hard to read.

    Again I suggest CGP books for physics too. I used the pre-Alevel chemistry CGP a bit.
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    Good thread,
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    I'll finish the rest of this tomorrow hopefully.
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    (Original post by Oh my Ms. Coffey)
    I'll finish the rest of this tomorrow hopefully.
    A year ago i would not have seen myself doing a foundation course, the reason being was that loughborough had changed there requirements for the aeronautical engineering degree which meant my BTEC in Aerospace Engineering would not be accepted, however when they changed the requirements i had said to myself it does not matter i will do the foundation at loughborough to get in to the first year of the main aeronautical engineering programme. Recently a student doing the same course as me applied for the first year but was rejected and offered the foundation at loughborough, he then called them up and managed to arrange and interview with the prof at the aeronautics department where by they will accept him for the first year. I am thinking on whether or not i should open a case to do the first year at loughborough or continue on to the foundation. Much of the first year of aeronatuics at loughborough has been covered in my current course however only 2/3 of a maths and physics A-level content has been covered and no laboratory work. And now i am in doubt as to what to do, prior to doing my btec in aerospace engineering i have a GCSE in maths C grade and an E at A-level physics. Much of the units in the first year of the aeronautics has been covered in my btec however obviously not in exam format and as mentioned 2/3 of maths and physics content of an A-level. Do you think i should do the foundation or open my case for the 1st year? as a guy doing the same course as me has been accepted by loughborough on to the first year. Thanks alot
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    (Original post by Sh47)
    A year ago i would not have seen myself doing a foundation course, the reason being was that loughborough had changed there requirements for the aeronautical engineering degree which meant my BTEC in Aerospace Engineering would not be accepted, however when they changed the requirements i had said to myself it does not matter i will do the foundation at loughborough to get in to the first year of the main aeronautical engineering programme. Recently a student doing the same course as me applied for the first year but was rejected and offered the foundation at loughborough, he then called them up and managed to arrange and interview with the prof at the aeronautics department where by they will accept him for the first year. I am thinking on whether or not i should open a case to do the first year at loughborough or continue on to the foundation. Much of the first year of aeronatuics at loughborough has been covered in my current course however only 2/3 of a maths and physics A-level content has been covered and no laboratory work. And now i am in doubt as to what to do, prior to doing my btec in aerospace engineering i have a GCSE in maths C grade and an E at A-level physics. Much of the units in the first year of the aeronautics has been covered in my btec however obviously not in exam format and as mentioned 2/3 of maths and physics content of an A-level. Do you think i should do the foundation or open my case for the 1st year? as a guy doing the same course as me has been accepted by loughborough on to the first year. Thanks alot

    The Lab's/Mathematics you learn are quite good here. Some of the lectures especially in semester 2 are quite challenging. In terms of difficulty semester 2 goes into far more depth then anything I did at A-level.

    Having done a foundation I would feel much more prepared than going straight into the main degree. A lot of the stuff you do in year 1 of your main degree you actually do in the foundation, they teach you it early so you already have the foundations.
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    (Original post by Oh my Ms. Coffey)
    The Lab's/Mathematics you learn are quite good here. Some of the lectures especially in semester 2 are quite challenging. In terms of difficulty semester 2 goes into far more depth then anything I did at A-level.

    Having done a foundation I would feel much more prepared than going straight into the main degree. A lot of the stuff you do in year 1 of your main degree you actually do in the foundation, they teach you it early so you already have the foundations.
    It would very useful i guess, would you suggest me doing the foundation? taking in to account my situation or open a case in-order to do the first year
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    (Original post by Sh47)
    It would very useful i guess, would you suggest me doing the foundation? taking in to account my situation or open a case in-order to do the first year
    How strong are you at maths?
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    (Original post by Oh my Ms. Coffey)
    How strong are you at maths?
    pretty average, am the type of person who would have to do a sum or a equation loads of times before i understand it etc, maths doesnt come naturally to me i have to work hard for it
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    (Original post by Sh47)
    pretty average, am the type of person who would have to do a sum or a equation loads of times before i understand it etc, maths doesnt come naturally to me i have to work hard for it
    Erm i'm not sure, it depends how well you pick up maths/how much mathematics you have covered so far.

    For Aero Eng you need 80% in both mathematics modules which is the highest requirement for mathematics out of all of the departments.
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    (Original post by Oh my Ms. Coffey)
    Erm i'm not sure, it depends how well you pick up maths/how much mathematics you have covered so far.

    For Aero Eng you need 80% in both mathematics modules which is the highest requirement for mathematics out of all of the departments.
    I had seen that, which is why ive started revising for some of the maths topics now for the maths units, its risky isnt it if i get anything below that i guess i wouldnt even be able to negotiate with the aeronautics department, whereas if i were to skip the foundation and do the first year atleast i would be on the degree course
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    (Original post by Sh47)
    I had seen that, which is why ive started revising for some of the maths topics now for the maths units, its risky isnt it if i get anything below that i guess i wouldnt even be able to negotiate with the aeronautics department, whereas if i were to skip the foundation and do the first year atleast i would be on the degree course
    Hi,
    I'm guessing that if they have stopped accepting a certain qualification then there is a reason for that.... obviously they don't feel it is giving students the right background knowledge for the degree. If you feel you can cope then of course there is nothing wrong with arguing your case with the admissions tutor, but I wouldn't be surprised if they say no.

    I also wouldn't look at the FY as a bad thing if it gets you to where you want to go. I mean progression from FY to degree is guaranteed as long as you meet the pass % for your choice of course...... and to be honest if you can't meet the pass % then the chances are you would be failing the first year of the degree anyway.

    I want to do Electronic Engineering but my maths background is only GCSE level and a couple of A-level topics, so SEFS was the best option. I was told to start revising maths now as they start at A-level and then move fast and apparently maths is what most people struggle with.

    Take a look at the links suggested here:
    http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/s...eparation.html

    Also, for the recommended reading ( http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/s...adingList.html ) I got out these two as they looked like the most user friendly:
    K.A. Stroud and D.J. Booth, Foundation Mathematics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009
    Breithaupt, Jim, Physics, 2nd Edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003


    I guess if you can work through that material quite easily then you should strongly argue your case for going straight onto the degree. Personally I think I will find it quite challenging getting up to scratch before SEFS start, I couldn't imagine jumping straight in at the deep end with maths and physics on the main degree.
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    (Original post by BigV)
    Hi,
    I'm guessing that if they have stopped accepting a certain qualification then there is a reason for that.... obviously they don't feel it is giving students the right background knowledge for the degree. If you feel you can cope then of course there is nothing wrong with arguing your case with the admissions tutor, but I wouldn't be surprised if they say no.

    I also wouldn't look at the FY as a bad thing if it gets you to where you want to go. I mean progression from FY to degree is guaranteed as long as you meet the pass % for your choice of course...... and to be honest if you can't meet the pass % then the chances are you would be failing the first year of the degree anyway.

    I want to do Electronic Engineering but my maths background is only GCSE level and a couple of A-level topics, so SEFS was the best option. I was told to start revising maths now as they start at A-level and then move fast and apparently maths is what most people struggle with.

    Take a look at the links suggested here:
    http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/s...eparation.html

    Also, for the recommended reading ( http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/s...adingList.html ) I got out these two as they looked like the most user friendly:
    K.A. Stroud and D.J. Booth, Foundation Mathematics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009
    Breithaupt, Jim, Physics, 2nd Edition, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003


    I guess if you can work through that material quite easily then you should strongly argue your case for going straight onto the degree. Personally I think I will find it quite challenging getting up to scratch before SEFS start, I couldn't imagine jumping straight in at the deep end with maths and physics on the main degree.
    Thank you very much for that Big V much appreciated!....I had made a list of all the topics for MAF001 and MAF002 and have started revising already, your correct to be honest i think i would be able to cope with the first year at the degree level but at the same time it would feel like i am taking a "short cut" so i have decided i will undertake the foundation. And as for whether the tutors at the uni would let me do the degree or not like i said before they accepted somebody on to the main programme who is doing the same course as me however it is possible he would struggle. The biggest pressure for me is acheiving 80% in the maths units and 70% in the physics otherwisee i am doomed!!! that would be so demoralising if i didnt get in to the aeronautical engineering programme because i am so passionate for it i don't think i would be able to do electrical engineering or a physics degree etc.
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    (Original post by Sh47)
    Thank you very much for that Big V much appreciated!....I had made a list of all the topics for MAF001 and MAF002 and have started revising already, your correct to be honest i think i would be able to cope with the first year at the degree level but at the same time it would feel like i am taking a "short cut" so i have decided i will undertake the foundation. And as for whether the tutors at the uni would let me do the degree or not like i said before they accepted somebody on to the main programme who is doing the same course as me however it is possible he would struggle. The biggest pressure for me is acheiving 80% in the maths units and 70% in the physics otherwisee i am doomed!!! that would be so demoralising if i didnt get in to the aeronautical engineering programme because i am so passionate for it i don't think i would be able to do electrical engineering or a physics degree etc.
    If the worst case scenario should happen, you can always resit the SEFS modules you fail. Also, when I spoke to the administrator I was told about 80% of people progress from the SEFS to the degree, so the odds are good if you are willing to work. Also, they have the two maths support centres so help is at hand.

    I'm coming at it from GCSE grade C and no other science...... but I have been told by various people that at Loughborough they do not let people on to courses unless they think they can succeed.....so just being there is proof enough you can achieve the 80 + 70% you need.

    I'm lucky for EEE all they want is 50% overall and 60% in maths and MMF110.

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