MIT Admissions

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Natnael G. '15

Apr 8 2014

Studying At Cambridge 101

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Disclaimer: This blog post is fairly specific to Computer Scientists, other majors have drastically different course structures. One thing most of them have in common though are the scale and weight of the exams.

Another non-trivial difference between academics at Cambridge and MIT is the way exams and grades work. MIT runs under a continuous assessment school of thought. Throughout the semester you'll take 1-3 tests + final and have quite a few problem sets/labs/papers that are continually assessing your knowledge. At Cambridge there is significantly less graded coursework. The supervision work I talked about last week is only graded for your benefit and doesn't contribute to your final grade. With that said though the supervisors provide reports where they predict how you'll do on the corresponding paper of the EXAMS. 1B Computer Scientists have 4 courses that do have graded coursework though.

  • Further Java - Six once a week labs during first term. Automatically graded via... read the post »


Apr 1 2014

The Seven Supervisors

Posted in: Miscellaneous

One of the academic differences between MIT and Cambridge is that instead of having recitations they have supervisions . A supervision consists of 1-3 students and a supervisor that is either a graduate student, who has some background with the course, or a professor/fellow. These supervisions are setup within your college (another system I'll talk about in a future blog) and are where a significant portion of learning happens at Cambridge. Here's a handy chart I threw together to show contact time at MIT vs Cambridge for IB Computer Scientists (it varies heavily based on year and course).


Feb 6 2014

Moving Across The Pond

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The same day the United States Government furloughed non-essential employees I said my final goodbyes, hopped on a plane to Canada and shipped off to a land of free healthcare, fizzy lemonade and double decker buses.

Patiently waiting to be interrogated and yelled at for misplacing all my papers.

My first few weeks at Cambridge flew by. Participating in meets and greets, pub crawls and administrative meetings, it felt like I was a fresher(Freshman) once again. Settling into classes I attempted to fix the one big mistake I made my freshman year by joining tons of societies(clubs). One aspect of University that is often over looked is the fact that there are hundreds of clubs willing to teach you skills that most adults pay hundreds of dollars to pick up. So I went to the society fair, signed up for a dozen more mailing lists than I should have and tried my hand at a few things I wish I'd started at MIT.

Cambridge University Dancesport Team (CUDT)

Dancesport has without a... read the post »


Sep 2 2013

Four Weeks of Freedom

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The arrival of September 1st signifies exactly 4 weeks until I board a flight to the U.K and embark on the second half of my college journey. And over the last 3 weeks most of the conversations I've had contained this bit of dialogue

Friend: Hey Nat, when do you head over to Cambridge?

Me: Uhh, October 1st, so around 4-5 weeks!

Friend: Woah, that's a long time. What are you going to do?

Me: Hmm, I don't know, chill and work for my brother I guess.

So this morning I decided it was about time I make a plan and here's what I've come up with. 

Discover New Music

The last two years has been a musical journey that D. Bae '15 and Matt O. '15 were instrumental in sparking. In my pre-college days the range of music I listened to was painfully narrow and my goal in these four weeks is to continue broadening that range with at least 4 albums/mixtapes a week I've never heard before.

Catch Up on Movies/TV shows

Growing up I've always been the type of person who needed... read the post »


Aug 26 2013

Taking Care of Yourself

Posted in: Miscellaneous

I was having a chat with my friend Matt O. '15 when we both agreed on a few aspects of taking care of yourself we wish we had learned two years ago. MIT has its times of incredible stress and it's during those times that these tips are most crucial. Taking care of yourself is incredibly difficult in the face of a three midterm week but these simple steps will make the experience that much more bearable.

Step 1: Eat Properly

How not to do it. (A dinner from last summer)

This is probably the one I struggled with the most. When you're in classes all day and doing psets all night it becomes much too easy to skip meals and rely on fast food. When you're not in a dining hall dorm breakfast becomes a luxury and 1.5-2 meal days become the norm. While the stereotype of the ramen eating college student are only slightly true, microwave meals became a staple and as a consequence the energy I had on a daily basis was limited. I always woke up groggy and felt nauseous on particularly... read the post »