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Examination Requirements and Evaluation


All students registering in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering are required to satisfy the technical presentation proficiency requirement during the 2B term or if admission to the program occurs after 2B, before the end of their first academic term in the program. The details of this requirement are provided during the first year so that the student may prepare a suitable technical presentation during a work term, to be given during the 2B term.


Every graduate engineer is required to present technical material during his or her career. At Waterloo we have a long tradition of written work term reports. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering extends this written requirement to include an oral presentation requirement.

Description of the Requirement

The examination consists of a 12- to 15-minute presentation using slides and a PowerPoint or PDF presentation.

followed by a five-minute question period. The content of the presentation must be technical and in most cases would be based on a previous work term or, if that is not possible, a self-study of an appropriately technical subject.

In general, a technical presentation is the presentation of an engineering project (which may be design, analysis, development, testing, etc.) or a technical tutorial on some aspect of engineering. In both cases it is expected that there is some evaluation or comparison. Note that such evaluations or comparisons are usually best presented as tables or graphs. A sales pitch for a particular product or methodology is not acceptable as a technical presentation.

The presentation should be aimed at a level appropriate for 2B students, and should not be at a level appropriate for the evaluators.

Presentations appear in each student's 2B schedule on Quest. A student who fails this presentation may make a second presentation either in the Co-op Work Term between 2B and 3A or in the 3A term, but not both. A student who does not appear for his presentation is deemed to have missed and examination and does not receive a second opportunity to clear this milestone. A student who, at the end of 3A, has not cleared this milestone must make an appointment with the Academic Advisor. Normally this will require that the student is enrolled in SPCOM 223 in the student's 3B term, however, it may be possible to clear the milestone in the Co-op Work Term between 3A and 3B.

Normally, twelve through twenty slides should be sufficient for the presentation.

The students are also required to dress appropriately and to attend all other examinations in their session.


Two evaluators grade each examination and the overall grade on the examination is either pass or fail. The grading scheme is based on the following four aspects:


The flow and organization of the presentation is evaluated. While the organization is not judged on the technical merit of the material, the presentation must be on a technical topic and must have appropriate content. The material should be presented in a manner that is easily followed. The presentation must include an introductory outline and a summary/conclusion.

The duration of the presentation must be between twelve and fifteen minutes. If the length of your presentation is greater than 15 minutes but less than 15 minutes 30 seconds, you will receive a -1 in organization. If your presentation is less than 12 minutes or greater than 15 minutes 30 seconds, you will receive a 0/2 in this aspect and thereby fail the examination.

A student who is late for a presentation session will also receive -1 in organization.

Visual Aids

The slides must be of a professional nature; thus, handwritten slides and hastily drawn figures are not acceptable. In general, students will use an appropriate choice of presentation software, for example, PowerPoint 2010, that is able to export a presentation in either .ppt, .pptx or .pdf format. The visual material must also be readable at a reasonable distance, and be free of grammar and spelling mistakes. The following three formats are allowed:

A presentation in electronic form must be brought on a USB flash drive. Presentations in any other presentation format must be accompanied with a laptop which has a VGA analogue display connector. (Note that MS Word and other word processing software is not acceptable.)

The following three slides must be present:

If these three slides are not present, you will receive a 0/2 this aspect.

Available for download is a TPM Template Presentation for PowerPoint which can be modified by the presenter.

Note: this is not an endorsement of PowerPoint; however, this is the only presentation software known to the Technical Presentation Coordinator. If you would like to convert the template into another standard, please contact the coordinator Douglas Harder.

If the presentation is based on a previous Co-op Work Term placement, the title slide will contain the following block below the title of the presentation:

First_Name Last_Name
Position within Company
Company Name
2A|B Candidate for B.A.Sc. in Electrical|Computer Engineering
Date of Presentation

For a presentation based on self-study, the title slide will contain the following block below the title of the presentation:

First_Name Last_Name
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo
2A|B Candidate for B.A.Sc. in Electrical|Computer Engineering
Date of Presentation

Presentation Style

Factors such as voice projection, distracting nervous habits and presentation skills are evaluated. While speaking-notes are acceptable, reading the presentation is unacceptable.

Response to Questions

The student's ability to answer queries in a calm and straightforward manner is evaluated. Again, the technical correctness of the answers is not the key issue. It is the ability to formulate an organized, appropriate and well-thought out response, which is important.


For each aspect, the following grading scheme will be used:

0.0unacceptable performance
0.5poor performance
1.0marginal performance
1.5acceptable performance
2.0good performance

The totals from both evaluators are summed to give a grade out of 16. A passing grade for the examination is 12/16 with at least one non-zero grade in each aspect.

Note that the four areas of evaluation are not completely independent. Very good or very poor performance in any of Aspect 1, 2 and 3 probably has an influence on the grade of the other areas. Also, Aspect 4 depends to some extent on Aspect 3.