In the 4 or 5 long years of undergraduate life, academics act as a centre of gravity of a student’s life. Though the power of the gravitational field varies from person to person, it acts as an innocuous motivation to attend the lectures (That and the 75% attendance rule). The academic structure in IITR, like its sister IITs, involves a credit based approach towards the ultimate CG calculation. There are many intricacies in this system, so without bothering you with too much details, we present a readable and not-so-boring intro to the Academic System. For lack of better terms, we shall call it ACAD-101.
The time of school has passed. Your old, beloved subjects are now replaced by more exciting and challenging (or in some cases, boring and suicidal) courses. Every department has numerous courses. They are classified on the basis of:
1. Year: The core courses of your department (exclusive to your branch) are in the order of increasing dependence. Generally speaking, in the initial two years the courses aim to cover the breadth of all topics in your field. Later on, courses are designed to deepen your knowledge, and teach you the various intricacies of these topics.
2. Type: Elective courses are additional courses you take after the 1st year in every succeeding semester. They can pertain to science, humanities or management and are mostly of 2-3 credits. They are instituted to allow the student to gather knowledge of fields other than those of his core branch. However, in most cases they have been reduced to an excuse for students to interact with the better looking females of Archi or Chemical branch.
To put it in a simple manner, the credit of a course is its weight in comparison to other courses.
To put it in a slightly more complicated manner, credits have something to do with your GPA.
The credit of each course depends upon its relevance to the student’s branch, and on how much time would be spent procrastinating while studying the course during the end sems. Loosely translated to ‘kodi’ in Hindi, the term makes for some very catchy phrases which you shall see in the future.
The world of IITR is governed by the laws of a) physics and b) relative grading. Relative grading is perhaps one of the most intriguing things on this planet. As the name suggests, it means that your result is judged on the basis of your performance relative to the class. There is a specific mathematical formula (involving standard deviation, mean and other scarier terms) which is used to calculate your grade in the course. This grade later translates into your grade point average of all the courses you have taken in a semester.
GPA or Grade Point Average is a rating that is used to judge your academic performance. You are given a grade in each course after completion. You multiply the grades’ values with the corresponding courses’ credit and add all of them up. Now you divide it by the sum of credits, and you get your grade point average.
If you do it for one semester, then it is called your SGPA or SG.
If you do it for your entire lifespan in IITR, then it is called your CGPA.
Whatever your immediate seniors may claim, your CG is one of the things that sticks onto your resume for the initial years. Vital for foreign internships, research prospects and fat paychecks, and almost unnecessary for picking up mates at a bar; the authors of the guide would recommend that you keep an eye on it.
End Sem Exams
The months of November and April witness the migration of hoards of clueless students from Alpahar and Nesci to the murky corridors of MGCL. Derelict books are dusted off. Gigabytes of study material change hands. Ghissus are stalked for their impeccable notes. This time is characterised by many symptoms, which include sleep deprivation, prolonged pointless hours on facebook, excessive yearning for food (which requires you to leave your table) and an unavoidable thirst for funny youtube videos.
Branch Changer (BC)
Any resemblance that this acronym bears with that of a rather infamous Hindi swear word is sworn to be nothing more than innocuous coincidence. With stringent branch change regulations sprouting a new roadblock around every corner, it’s quite a challenge to be a BC.
A branch change occurs after your first semester, and requires serious dedication to studies and an utter disregard to Maslow’s theory. It is governed by the rules of a Free Market Economy, with demand and supply balancing each other. A change in the academic structure two years ago eliminated the need for a threshold CGPA for securing a branch change. The direct result was a marginal drop in the minimum CGPA required to make a change. However, a discontent student in an unpopular branch can only expect to see himself as a discontent student in another unpopular branch at the minimum grade.
It’s tough, highly competitive and insanely unpredictable. However, it has its perks too.
Social strata in Planet R can be taxonomically divided into 2 kingdoms - Ghissus and non Ghissus. Further phylla include productive and non-productive ghissus. Non ghissus thrive on top of the social food chain and Ghissus triumph academically. The Ghissus account for 50% of the occupancy of MGCL on normal days. The other 50% is made up of young couples looking for a quiet corner to canoodle.
It is considered fashionable to adorn your resume with tons of cleverly worded academic projects, other than the compulsory B.Tech project one is required to do in his final year. Besides being a niche resume point, a project also allows one to specialise in a topic, only to realise ultimately that research is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Along with projects from their home departments, students often take up projects from the Department of Management Studies in fields such as Finance, Marketing, Supply Chain Management and the whole shebang. To be gifted with the dubious honour of working on a project, one needs to diligently follow the given procedure –
Knock on a professor’s office and try to convince him that you are absolutely the one he needs as well as deserves.
Fail and repeat Step 1.