First Year Survival Guide 2017-09-05T07:24:00+00:00

First Year Survival Guide

Welcome, first years! Many have said that the first year of engineering is difficult. This page was created to provide you with resources and tips in an attempt to make your first year a little less difficult. If you would like to contribute to this page, please go to this page. Good luck!

First Year Engineering Club

The first year engineering club (FYEC) is a club composed of first years who are elected in Engg 100. They represent the first years in Engineering and they will plan and host events throughout the school year (targeted to first years). If you have more questions check them out here:

First Year Club

General Information

Hungry? Here’s where you can find microwaves on campus:

Click here to see an interactive map of all the microwaves on campus. Notably, there are microwaves at the Geerstore in ETLC, many of the discipline club offices, NREF 2nd floor and Mec E 4th floor.

Cold? Here’s how you can take advantage of the many ped-ways on campus:

You can get all the way from DICE to SUB without setting foot outside (DICE 2nd floor –> ETLC 2nd floor –> NREF 2nd floor –> GSB 1st floor –> ALES 1st floor (follow signs that say “Ped-way to SUB”, you have to go up some stairs)–> SUB 2nd floor) From the LRT (Dent-Pharm Exit) you can get to CCIS, while only being outside for a few short steps (SAB 1st floor–> CAB 1st floor –> CHEM 1st floor –> CCIS 1st floor) If you want to do a marathon loop around campus from HUB mall to SUB without setting foot outside, here’s how (HUB 2nd floor –> Business Atrium –> A few steps outside to Earth Sciences –> Earth Sciences 2nd floor –> CCIS 2nd floor –> A few more steps outside to the MecE building –> MecE 2nd floor –> ETLC 2nd floor –> follow the same route at from DICE to SUB from here!)

Interested in what your future will look like in different disciplines?

Take a look at the University Calendar to see find info about course sequencing for both traditional and co-op programs of study, calculator policy, list of electives and more. The Calendar is also super handy for staying in the loop with regards to important dates like the fee payment deadlines, last day of classes, holidays and withdrawal deadlines!

Planning to study on campus?

Here’s a handy link to the opening hours of all buildings on campus.  Ensure you can find a place to post up for those long, late night study sessions. There are some great spots to study on campus: Rutherford Library South Reading room offers adequate table space in a cozy atmosphere, the HUB-Humanities bed-way has nice tables and a great view (and some occasional piano playing, though the first floor is usually busy, there are great study spots in Cameron Library’s upper floors especially if you want some quiet time to really get work done, SUB is full of tables to study at, but if you’re looking for peace and quiet, it’s not the place for you, there are great tables in CCIS L1 and L2, but they are usually full, so if you’re lucky enough to snag one, cherish the moment!


Any calculator taken into an examination must have a sticker identifying it as an approved programmable (green sticker) or approved non-programmable calculator (gold sticker). Students can purchase calculators at the University Book Store with stickers already affixed to them or can bring calculators purchased elsewhere to the Faculty of Engineering Student Services Office (second floor, Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering) where the appropriate sticker will be affixed to the calculator.

Engineering Paper

You can buy Engg paper at the Geer Store which is located right next to the Tim Hortons in ETLC. If the Geer store is closed you can also get Engg paper from the different engineering discipline clubs in the clubs hallway in ETLC. Engg Paper is also available at the U of A Bookstore in SUB.


You can get textbooks but the book store in SUB but if you are looking for some more affordable options (used textbooks) check out these links:

Geer Store Used Textbooks
SU Used Textbook Registry

Health & Wellness

All students are eligible to participate in either the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan or the Ualberta Health Insurance Plan depending on how long you are studying at Ualberta. For more information, click here.

In addition to AHC and UAHIP, Ualberta student union has put  together a Health & Dental Plan for you as well. For more information about this plan, click here.

Ualberta cares for your physical and mental wellness. Come check out what the university has to offer in Sports & Recreation and Counselling & Clinical Service.


Practice Exams

Along with any practice exams your professors may provide you with, the ChESS Exam Registry provides solutions to old homework assignments, labs, and exams including those covered in first year. You can also use the SU Exam Registry. Please keep in mind that these resources are provided as a guide and plagiarism can jeopardize your university career.

Resources at UAlberta

The Math and Applied Sciences Centre provides students with additional help through weekly seminars and extensive review workshops for midterms and finals. They offer these sessions for all first year courses. Midterm and final reviews require registration. More information can be found here:


A $10 off coupon for one MASC session is included in your ESS Engineering Handbook.

Additional help with mathematics and statistics courses is offered at the Decima Robinson Support Centre for Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, located in 528 CAB (Central Academic Building). Students can drop in at 9 AM – 3 PM on weekdays for homework help or to ask questions related to class content. The Decima Robinson Support Centre also offers study sessions, review seminars, and practice exam sessions. Access their website here:

Decima Robinson Support Centre
If you’re really struggling to understand a certain topic, aside from Professor’s office hours, some courses also have help rooms. Teaching assistants are present there for a certain period of time and can help you out with any topic or to help you understand a certain assignment question. Help room locations and hours can be found in the syllabus that is distributed by your professor.
Thinking of withdrawing from a course or extending your degree? Or just anxious about your grades and need to talk to someone to know what are the best options for you? Well, think no more the Faculty of Engineering Student Services office has all the resources to help you out. Student advisors are available to help you out with all your worries. The office is located at 2-300 Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering.

Student Services

Online Resources

Homework assignments can be difficult, especially the ones from mathematics courses. Along with the one-on-one help you can receive from Decima, the following online tools can help you understand the questions. Wolfram Alpha is a computational knowledge engine which can help you solve questions on a variety of topics. Symbolab is a math solver with step-by-step solutions which can guide you through the solving process. Desmos Graphing Calculator can graph functions and allow you to visualize the problem. These resources are provided as support tools but it is up to you to understand how to do the problems in the end.


Math can be tough but you are not without help. Here we include some online tutorials we think are excellent places to learn.

PatrickJMT is a math tutorial website. Each tutorial is given in the form of short video. In each video, Patrick explains a mathematical concept or solves a certain type of math problem in about 5 minutes. All his videos are available on Youtube as well.

SOS math is a one-stop site for all your mathematical need. All tutorial are in text form. Be sure to check their various formula tables.

There are also some very useful Youtube channels such as CrashCourse and Khan Academy. Both of them offer video tutorials in a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to maths, physics, and chemistry.

Extracurricular Activities

Sign up for one of the numerous intramural sports leagues offered at the University of Alberta! Create a team with your friends or request to join one and compete against other students for a chance to be the intramural champions. The faculty of engineering also forms teams for some sports and engineering students are welcome to join. Please email the AVP Health and Wellness at for more information. For more information on intramural sports follow the  link below. 
Intramural Sports
Do you love dodgeball? Every year, the Students’ Union runs a university-wide dodgeball tournament where approximately 100 coed teams battle it out for the Campus Cup. Think you have a chance at being the victors? Learn the rules and register by visiting the Campus Cup page.
Campus Cup
Joining clubs is a big part of university and the University of Alberta has an incredible amount of clubs, student groups, and organizations which you can participate in. There is a big Club Fair at the beginning of every year where students can sign up to join clubs or to receive more information. For a list of all organizations (including students clubs) at the University of Alberta click here. 
Clubs and Organizations
Interested in giving back to the community for a wonderful cause? There are numerous causes that you can donate your time to address by volunteering with different organizations within the university and the City of Edmonton. Visit any of the links below to find volunteer opportunities.
Students’ Union Volunteer Registry
Volunteer Edmonton

Events for You

Academic Survival Guide: First Years Edition

Do you want to know how a 4.0 GPA student studies? Are you amazed by the people who are involved in school but still get a 3.5 GPA or above? This event, designed exclusively for  first year engineering students, is a panel discussion with upper year engineering students. Feel free to stay after the event for a chance to chat and ask more questions from fellow engineering students. The speakers will be talking about actions that they took that made their first year more or less enjoyable. They will also give tips on studying and time management. This event is to give first year engineering students opportunities to learn from their upper year students experiences and set them up to become successful! This is happening on September 22, 2017.