Preparing for MECH 2
MECH 2 is a challenging program, and many students ask how they can best prepare for it. We identified some of the common problem areas for students and have gathered just some of the resources you can access over the summer to prepare you for the challenges ahead. The listings below are only some of the many that are available – you may find other resources meet your personal needs better.
Common problems in mathematics are in understanding functions, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, vectors, and integration. The following resources may be helpful:
- UBC Continuing Studies offers non-credit math courses that are helpful for reviewing concepts you may have forgotten. MATH 002 can be particularly helpful.
- Credit math courses can also be helpful. If you didn’t fully understand Math 101, you should revisit those concepts.
- If you want to look ahead at the material you will be covering this year, Mech 2 includes material from MATH 253 and 255.
- Please note that you will be responsible for the math content of Mech 2 even if you have taken these courses before (see the advanced standing section).
Prefer Online Review?
- Professor David Joyce of Clark University has posted a free “short course” for trig, and complex numbers including problems, hints and solutions.
- A very useful set of notes on mathematics for mechanical engineering is available from Dr. P. Venkataraman of the Rochester Institute of Technology. A useful feature of these notes is the inclusion of MATLAB code that illustrates some of the concepts discussed.
- Single Variable Calculus: MIT Open Courseware.
- A calculus text book and study guide is available from Dr. Gilbert Strang at MIT.
- Integration by the Math Tutor.
- “Paul’s Online Math Notes” provides a good, free set of online notes that you can also download in pdf. It covers calculus, linear algebra and differential equations.
Common problems in physics are in properly preparing and using free-body diagrams, knowing how to properly set up and solve a problem, and having an understanding of basic concepts in physics such as forces and moments, work and energy, and rotational motion, for example. The following resources may be helpful:
- An introduction to classical mechanics.
- The University of Oklahoma has a very useful site that summarizes important fundamental concepts. Pay particular attention to the statics, dynamics and math pages. This page also allows you to generate practice exams (you may wish to restrict the questions to the topics above), which can be quite helpful in figuring out what you know and don’t know. Note that some of the links in the subject area title pages are dead, but if you use the submenus at the top of the page, you can access the content.
MATLAB is a very helpful software package, and you will need to use it during Mech 2. Students in Mechanical Engineering have access to MATLAB in both the MicroLab and the PACE Lab.
FreeMat is a software package that is similar to MATLAB. FreeMat is open source and can give students access to the functions and capabilities of engineering math software on their personal computers.
Tutorials and Resources
A short tutorial (right side menu) to introduce the basics is available from Dr. P. Venkataraman of the Rochester Institute of Technology. He uses further MATLAB examples on the math review pages that can be found on the left side menu.
The MATLAB documentation site provides tips, demos and documentation on MATLAB functions. This is a good resource to figure out what functions are available within MATLAB.