QC’s University Admissions Specialist, Eddie Pan, shares valuable insights on the Electronic and Electrical Engineering programme offered by Imperial College London. Eddie was educated at Imperial from 2018 to 2022. He has guided over 20 high school students in their college applications and has in-depth knowledge of the key academic and non-academic requirements of college applications.
Qn: What subjects did you do at high school (e.g:IB/A Level/AP etc)and how did you score?
Ans: I studied for the IB Diploma Programme at ACS Independent. I took Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics as my Higher level subjects. I got 7 on mathematics and physics and an overall IB score of 44.
Qn: What were your CCAs and Leadership positions in high school?
Ans: I participated in Student Council. I was a Student Councilor and Class Chairperson.
Qn: Could you highlight 5 questions you were asked in your entrance interviews and your answers to them?
1. Why Electrical and Electronic Engineering?
At a young age, I became mesmerized by electricity during my Physics lessons. I wanted to do more than just setting up circuits. I needed to go further than what an electrician might do, as I wanted to be able to create pioneering products that run on electricity, or design complex electrical control systems that are of industry standards, or equipment that efficiently distributes electrical energy.
2. What Are the Main Types of Electric Current?
The main types of electric current are AC (Alternating current) and DC (Direct current). In direct current (DC), the electric charge (current) only flows in one direction. Electric charge in alternating current (AC) changes direction periodically.
3. Define Inductance and Capacitance.
Capacitance is the amount of charge that is stored inside a capacitor at a given voltage while inductance is the property of a coil to resist any changes in electric current flowing through it.
4. Graph y= sinc x. (Desmos)
5. What are your future career goals after university?
I aspire to be an electrical engineer in the future. I am interested to be an expert in the machine learning field, hence I hope to be able to develop my expertise in this area in university. Machine learning being a type of artificial intelligence has been increasingly more accurate at predicting outcomes without being explicitly programmed to do so has gained traction over the years and in different fields. I hope to develop new machine learning algorithms and contribute to the advancement of the latest technologies.
Qn: How does the workload of university compare with IB/A Levels?
Ans: The workload at Imperial is much higher than the IB coursework. The lecturers often go through the content very quickly and expect you to catch up and self-read. However, with a lot of determination and perseverance, almost all students will be able to keep up with the programme. Very few (less than 5) fail the year.
Qn: How did you decide on your final university? Did you get offers elsewhere?
Ans: I decided on Imperial because of the fact that it is based in a big and large city like London. I did get offers like Edinburgh and Manchester, but decided that they were not for me as I preferred a city campus.
Qn: What is the cost of Living and cost of school fees for the entire duration of the undergraduate degree?
Ans: Cost of living in London is expected to be higher in London. Per year, the cost is to be expected to spend around 18000 pounds for accommodation, food, travel and entertainment excluding school fees, which is around 35000 pounds per academic year.
Qn: How is the teaching and learning work in your school? Are the faculty accessible?
Ans: There is a high workload at Imperial. However, with proper time management as well as good self-discipline, I am confident that you can succeed. Faculty are accessible, but it is recommended that you book an appointment with them in advance as they are often busy and have many commitments.
Qn: How large is the cohort for your courses? How many Singaporeans are there?
Ans: There are 150+ cohorts, but this varies depending on the course. Less than 5 Singaporeans per batch.
Qn: Are people very competitive academically? How many exams are there in a year? What happens if one fails the year?
Ans: Imperial College is one of the top 10 universities in the world, students at Imperial are extremely bright and generally do well academically. There is bound to be competition in an academic setting, but Imperial students are generally helpful as long as you ask. There are 4 exams in Year 1, to be taken in the summer term, in the months of April and May. If one fails the year, you may be given the chance to resit the modules, depending on how badly you failed it or be asked to leave the college.
Qn: How would you describe the school culture?
Ans: Motivated yet fun. Imperial students are generally a disciplined bunch. However, we know when and how to have fun when the time calls for it — there are many student clubs and societies which you are free to join!
Qn: Is there an established Singaporean presence at your university? How many Singaporeans are there per batch?
Ans:There is a high Singaporean presence at Imperial. Depending on course wise, but on average there will usually be 2-3 per batch.
Qn:How are freshmen/freshers welcomed to your university?
Ans:There is a freshers week during the first week of school, where there is no lectures. Instead, you will get an orientation by your department, attend some taster sessions from the various student’s clubs and societies as well as settle some administrative procedures. (eg: fire safety)
Qn:Is your school “cliquey”? Do people tend to hang among people of their own major/course/social class/race/nationality only, or is there a high degree of integration?
Ans:There is a high degree of integration. Imperial is one of the most international universities. Coupled with the fact that London is also extremely cosmopolitan, I feel that Imperial is extremely accepting of people from different backgrounds and races.
Qn:How would you rate the following “scenes” in your college and its surroundings: shopping, drinking, clubbing, fine arts, and sports?
Ans:Fine arts is one of the best at Imperial. There are many museums in the vicinity, like the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum, which I am sure you will enjoy. Imperial does have its own bar, (in fact 2) at the main campus, and it is not uncommon for to see students drinking there at night. There are not many shops in the vicinity of Imperial. However, there are many places to exercise at Imperial, like at the gym, sports hall etc.
Qn: How’s the accommodation? Do most people stay in college dorms/halls, or independently? How should one look for accommodation?
Ans: First year accommodation is guaranteed. Hence, most people stay in college halls the first year. From second year onwards, people usually turn to property portals like zoopla and right move to search for houses to rent on the private market. You may consider finding friends to flat share as this is usually more cost efficient.
Qn: How is the transport like? Does one need a car? If so, how should one go about getting a car?
Ans: London’s public transport should suffice. There are many modes of public transport, like the underground, overground and trains, and that should be sufficient for you to get around Central London. Avoid taxis since they are expensive. If you really would prefer private transportation, I would recommend cycling.
Qn: Is Asian food readily available? If one is to cook, where can we get the Asian food from?
Ans: Yes! There are many Asian markets all around central London. The food and ingredients we get in the Asian supermarkets is similar to what you can get at home for the same price, although in pounds.
Qn: Do most people cook, eat at a catered facility or cafeteria, or eat out? How’s the catered food?
Ans: Most students cook at home since halls at Imperial are not catered, and eating out in London is generally expensive.
Qn: What are the laundry arrangements like?
Ans: It depends if you are staying at Imperial halls or not. If so, laundry is paid, charged at 2.5 pounds per wash and per dry for a full load (it depends on you if you prefer rewearing your clothes or not. But for me, a full load is around a week’s worth of laundry.)
Qn: What’s the best experience you’ve had so far in college?
Ans: My best experience is when I get to travel overseas and visit different parts of Europe that are less conventional. For instance, eastern european cities like Prague, Warsaw, Burcharest.There are lots to see there and I am sure there is something for everyone!
Qn: Any final things you’d like to tell juniors about your school?
Ans: Enjoy university! It is one of the major milestones of your life, hence it is important to cherish every moment, amidst the many ups and downs you are bound to encounter along the way.
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