Life of a NUS Business (Acc) Student: AY 15/16 Semester 2

Disclaimer: Before I start, I will not reply to any requests for notes. I have already stated my reasons in previous posts so please do understand, thanks. 

trusty weapons of choice for the sem

trusty weapons of choice for the sem

4 semesters down, 4 more to go! Technically it’s 3 more semesters of studying only because I’m going to exchange next semester. Yays to 1 semester of no minimal studying and discovering Europe! Okay I was emo-ing for a while but not everyone was sharing the same excitement that I felt but whatever, the countdown is starting to feel real as time passes by day by day. Time is really passing too fast; perhaps its because of the weekly internship grind as July is coming by already.

Did this post in bits and pieces as internship has really drained the energy out of me. I tried to get this post out earlier (as compared to Y1S2 which was done in July), and slightly more detailed so hopefully it’s more useful to those who want to find more about the modules they are due to study for. Following up the Y2S1’s post, I took the accounting basket this semester and were pre-assigned ACC3601, ACC3603 & ACC3605. I delayed taking MNO2007 as I wanted to map the module overseas so my overall module mapping is slightly different as I have cleared most of my ULRs already. Undoubtedly, this was the most challenging semester academically wise so I’m just glad everything is over and I survived. (P.S. no pictures again, being lazy this round hahas sorry)

ACC3601 Corporate Accounting and Reporting

Least stressful and most straightforward module out of the 3 accounting modules. For Semester 2, this module was taught by Prof Edmund Keung, while for Semester 1 it was taught by Prof Stephen Lynn. Both professors focus on different things in the modules. and have different teaching styles so do please take note! From what I hear, Prof Lynn focuses more on calculations and gives weekly pop quizzes, while Prof Keung focus more on FRS along with its applications and impact on the corporate world. Nonetheless, this module has a healthy balance of learning the major FRS that affects the accounting world, along with solving calculation-based questions based on different FRS.

Textbook isn’t very useful but still required for the WileyPLUS (which is an online platform for the prof to upload practice questions and online textbook is available). This is a module where you can actually self-learn because the content isn’t very difficult. Prof Keung does use very funny analogies (is true love an asset or liability? omg I can’t even…) and although there is class part, I don’t think he really takes note of who is actively talking in class. This sectional is my first lesson of the week so it’s really quite a good stress-free start to the week.

Course assessment consists of 25% Assignments (3 assignments in total), 15% Class Participation, 30% Mid-Term & 30% Finals. Assignments are case studies of real life situations and each group also get around the same, so the only real differentiating factor are the written exams. You are allowed to bring in a two-sided cheatsheet for both mid-term and finals, so the bell curve is expected to be steep and a few marks can make all the difference of you being the top 25% or being below average.

Protip: Take note of Prof Keung’s assignments and his style of questions. For my semester, he had a focus on accounting principles and certain questions which came out in the assignment came out in the mid-terms and finals as well. Read his questions carefully and answer to the questions; don’t let habits affect your answering of the question.

Final Grade: B+

ACC3603 Assurance and Attestation

Better know as Audit! Most content heavy module out of the 3 accounting modules. Our first lecture notes already had 140 slides, and the slides were all super wordy. This module requires no textbook and was taught by Prof Chu Mui Kim. She is a very knowledgeable professor who also teaches in SIM, so trust me students in her class are in good hands. Around 75% of accounting students will end up doing an audit internship, so as much as you may not like the module, please do try your best to take away something from it; you wouldn’t want to appear lost like a headless chicken not knowing how to do something during your internship.

Components of the module include: 10% Class Participation, 20% Group Project, 10% Case Presentation and 60% Finals, the only accounting module out of the 3 which have such a heavy weightage on Finals. Prof Chu does take note of who speaks up and who doesn’t, but since class part isn’t a large factor the difference it makes is quite negligible. If she remembers your name, it’s a positive sign so speaking up a few times (like once every lesson?) is more than enough. There are 6 case presentations (so 6 groups) so for some lessons you just need to sit there and hear people present. You won’t have time to do all the cases before each sectional so just read up a bit so that you won’t be lost during each presentation. Group project consists of a presentation (5%) and report (15%), both are quite manageable and again people get around the same marks. In the end, the finals are the make-it-or-break-it factor. Personally, I thought I didn’t really answered the questions well for finals but everyone feels the same way so again, PRAY TO THE BELL CURVE GODS~!

Protip: Come prepared for the finals because it is the one that decides your grade. Pre-type out certain model answers (for example: the audit procedures and area of assertions for each topic) so that it will be just copy & paste in the exam because you definitely won’t have enough time. And remember sharing is caring, so do exchange notes with your friends to make your notes preparation as efficient as possible. Also do use some time to understand the notes you prepared, don’t get too engrossed in preparing the perfect notes!

Final Grade: B+

ACC3605 Taxation

The entire world of Tax revolves around the law, such as the Singapore Income Tax Act and GST Act, unlike accounting which is centered around principles. This is essentially the crust of taxation so it requires a total different mindset from corporate accounting and audit. It’s similar to Business Law (BSP1004 for those who don’t recall) as you will be looking at cases, and there isn’t a model answer that you can follow. The mathematical part will just be all the calculation, while the concept part is deciding whether/how much/which period each component is tax-deductible or not. Out of the 3 accounting modules, I found this one the hardest as I couldn’t fully understand and grasp the concepts required for each chapter.

This module is taught by Ms Lim Cher Hui. Let’s just say that she’s another Violet, and those in NUS Business should know who Violet is… Her teaching style isn’t structured in any way and although she is knowledgeable, her way of teaching may not be for everyone (like me haha whoops). I heard those who took tax in Semester 1 which was taught by Mr Simon Poh had a much more enjoyable time relative to us.

Assessment has an equal balance of CA and examinations, consisting of 20% group work (tutorial presentation & report), 20% class participation, 30% mid-term & 30% finals. We were allowed to bring in a double-sided cheat sheet for mid-terms and finals, which didn’t make much sense because an A4 sized paper is not enough to squeeze a half-module worth of content. For Sem 1 it was open book which is much more suitable for the module. Then again, you won’t have enough time to finish her papers so you won’t have much time to refer to your cheat sheet. What I didn’t like about this module is the lack of practices so you don’t really know what and how to prepare for exams other than doing your cheat sheet.

Ms Lim’s of class part is that every time you “believed that you have contributed in the facilitating of learning for the whole class”, you can fill in this green form she placed in a class file and she will decide whether you have truly contributed and deserving of class participation marks. I never liked class participation where the grading is made very obvious (such as Violet in marketing) as it made the whole classroom environment feel very artificial. I took a back seat and barely said a word throughout this whole module; I doubt Ms Lim knew my name until the end of the module because I didn’t speak up at all.

Protip: If you really want to get an A/A+, get on the good side of Ms Lim by impressing her with critical observations and comments. She’s a very knowledgeable and respectable figure in the tax scene, so it’s impossible to fluff through her. I can’t comment much on practicing for written exams due to the lack of practices, but you should try to have everything within your fingertips and not rely entirely on your cheat sheet. Don’t follow blindly her notes and textbook, policies and laws are ever changing so the IRAS website is your most reliable source of information regarding anything tax-related.

Final Grade: B+

FIN3101 Corporate Finance

I didn’t really have much module options because I cleared most of my ULRs already, so I decided to take this module as part of my finance spec. Used up 400 points from the P account, which could have been much higher if I had chosen a more popular time slot. This module was taught by A/P Ruth Tan. YES ASSOCIATE PROF! The last time I was taught by an A/P was way back during Y1S1 for Biz Law (BSP1004). A/Ps are super knowledgeable and can really teach well, so it was a good stepping stone for the high level finance modules.

This module is a slight extension of FIN2004; very few new topics are introduced as more is taught based on topics that were already taught in FIN2004. Breakdown of assessment are as follows: 12% Class Participation & Pop Quizzes, 12% Tutorial Assignments (group basis, 3 in total), 26% Case Study & Critiques, 20% Mid-Terms and 30% Finals. Cheatsheets are allowed again in mid-terms and finals, mid-term is 1 side while finals is double-sided so you do not need to do a brand new cheat sheet, which is always a plus because it’s so freaking time consuming to do.

For the case study, you will be a given a real life scenario (from mergers to IPOs) and do up a few financial models to give your own opinion, such as whether a company overpaid for a takeover etc. For first timers, doing up such a model from scratch on an excel sheet can be tedious and time consuming; those who have done case before will be much ahead of you.

Protip: If you are going for exchange, you are better off mapping this module overseas UNLESS you are confident and proficient in finance. There are many Year 4s who take this module late for a free A, so bell curve will be steep. Revise regularly every topic as the pop quizzes can really catch the unprepared.

Final Grade: B+

GE1101E/GEK1001 Geographical Journeys – Exploring World Environments

Was slightly afraid that I couldn’t manage 4 lvl 3000 modules so I tried my best to find a relatively relaxing Breadth at FASS (didn’t want to travel to Science as much as I wanted to do a math module). Got this for 1 point again (yays to overflowing G account), which was surprising because it was at least 100 points when I checked the bidding reports. I decided to take a Geography module because I did well in the subject back in JC and it was one of the rare subjects that I enjoyed studying for. 

Very straightforward breakdown: 20% Human Geography project, 20% Physical Geography Lab (2 reports, 10% each) and 60% Finals. Lectures are web-casted, and there are a total of 4 tutorials (2 physical & 2 human). No idea why but my group flunked the Human Geography… fucking B- omg what the hell. I really though we did up a decent report but we supposedly didn’t answer the crust of the question. Physical geography practicals I got B & B+ so it was mildly depressing.

Finals format was that there were 8 essay questions to choose from (4 physical & 4 human) and you had to do at least 1 from each category. I went in fully expecting myself to do 2 human 1 physical but it turned out the other way because the physical questions were all so straightforward. It has been a while since I last wrote my essays so it was fun to be rushing essays during finals. I swear there was an adrenaline rush when I start vomiting out the facts that were cramped in the head.

No pro-tip for this module. But overall, felt that I could have squeeze an A- or even a A if my projects have fared better, but given how I put in the least time for this module (since I could still S/U), I believed I got a fair grade for myself.

Final Grade: B+

FINAL THOUGHTS

CAP (for Y2S2): 4

Overall CAP (till Y2S2): 4.27

B+ B+ B+ B+ B+

B+ x5

Imagine on a Monday morning, being barely awake and you just woke up from your phone alarm; you checked this random 1 message on your phone and bam, you see a bunch of letters immediately. Your mind isn’t ready to process the grades that you just saw; and the B+ grade that eluded me for my entire year appeared for all 5 of my modules. I really didn’t know how to react to receiving such grades, but as the day began it started to sink in but again, it just becomes a bunch of letters which you wouldn’t remember ever again. Statistically this is my best semester if I didn’t include all the S/Us that I used in the previous semesters, which didn’t make sense but what really does when it comes to grades haha.

I did expect the worst out of this semester, so I can’t be disappointed at myself for getting a B+ grade, but at the same time it’s just a meh moment because you didn’t really do very good either. Accounting students are really a smart group of people, so it’s fierce competition among your peers as you try and survive the bell curve. Getting B+ means that you are around in the middle of the pack, which is really nothing to be ashamed about. CAP dropped by 0.17 which of course sucks, but again it has been a steady decline once the protection of free S/U were gone. The next 2 years will just be a fight to maintain that CAP in the second class upper region. Although graduating with whatever grade wouldn’t really matter unless you join the government sector, it’s just a personal challenge to myself because I really do pride myself in doing well in school.

Someone irl did comment that I looked like someone who cares about his grades a lot, which I do agree. But at the same time, I do wish to achieve that balance between fun and studies. I think I have been doing an okay job so far, and the thing about it is that when I am focused on something, I really push myself for it. I just need to make sure that I push for the correct things in life. “If you don’t think you can do it, don’t bother even starting.”

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