MA3238 Stochastic Processes I

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Academic Year 2023 - 2024
Semester 1

NUSMods Description

This course introduces the concept of modelling dependence and focuses on discrete-time Markov chains. Topics include discrete-time Markov chains, examples of discrete-time Markov chains, classification of states, irreducibility, periodicity, first passage times, recurrence and transience, convergence theorems and stationary distributions. This course is targeted at students who are interested in Statistics and are able to meet the pre-requisites.


This class was taught by Prof Wang Wanjie from the Statistics Department. It is a dual-coded class, with ST3236 being the alternative code for Statistics students. Students registered under ST3236 and MA3238 were taught together, took the same exams, and probably graded along the same curve.

This class is honestly not hard for me. I initially had worries how I would cope because I took ST2334 which is not as rigorous as ST2131 (MA2116). So there were concepts like conditional expectation and conditional variance which is unfamiliar with me. My helpsheet included these terms even though it is probably trivial terms for the statistics students or those who took ST2131. Content was easy to follow. Prof said she won’t ask us to prove results, but rather apply and calculate. She also added topics like Monte Carlo Simulation, Poisson Processes and Continuous Time Markov Chains from Stochastic Processes II (MA4251/ST4238) into the class.

Tutorials had to be submitted but I think there is a loophole for doing tutorials. Tutorials were due on Friday 2359 hrs, but the last tutorial was Friday 5pm and by then the solutions were released. I think a lot of students copied the tutorials when it was released after the last tutorial, attended the lecture from 6pm-8pm, then go home, scan and upload the tutorial. I personally don’t do that as it does not help with learning. I always attempt them on the weekend they were uploaded.

Midterms was ok for me. It was not hard but there was 1 question that threw me off. I got slightly above the median and above the mean. The finals was alright for me. I managed to solve everything. At the last minute, I spotted a mistake with my working (a claculation error, how typical), and within the last 30 seconds, I quickly re-did the question and multiplied 2 7x7 matrices in 10 seconds flat and I wrote down the answer just as we were told to stop writing.