This paper presents the result of a teaching methodology in a first year engineering subject, Materials and Processes, to improve the overall grade and associated pass rate. Students with borderline university entrance have shown great difficulty during their first year in the engineering degree program. The 'smoothing-in' of school graduates into the first year is seen as a transition period, with second year being the first intensive engineering form of study. At our university, a system of teaching and learning strategies in a common first year subject, Materials and Processes, has been implemented over the past few years to improve both the grades and the student pass rate. This approach was taken because many universities have to accept students with lower entrance scores to fill quotas in engineering which are increasing as employment prospects pick up. In this first year subject, the student academic results have increased an overall grade but not associated pass rate. Results from a series of student surveys indicate significant positive student feedback on this teaching and learning approach which resulted in grade improvement. These results have encouraged the continuation of similar approaches to other year subject delivery.