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September 23, 2021, 01:32:32 am

Author Topic: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 610049 times)  Share 

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hairs9

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #540 on: June 25, 2021, 03:13:23 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: MTH2021 - Linear algebra with applications


Workload:
3 x 1 hour lecture
1 x 1.5 hour applied class

Assessment: 
2 assignments worth 6% each
12 moodle quizzes worth 0.5% each
A midsemester test worth 16%
Applied class participation worth 3%
Lecture poll participation worth 3%
Exam worth 60%

Recorded Lectures: Lectures were done over zoom, with their recording, including screen sharing, uploaded.

Past exams available: There was 1 sample exam with solutions

Textbook Recommendation: 
Course notes, which were provided online but also available at the bookstore for a small price if you prefer to handwrite notes
Elementary Linear Algebra with Applications 11ed was recommended but completely unnecessary. The course notes cover everything needed.

Lecturer(s): Tim Garoni

Year & Semester of completion: 2021 Semester 1

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 96 HD

Comments:
I didn't really enjoy this subject. It is very much a pure subject, with some applications tied in. The basic structure of the course notes is to provide a definition and then provide theorems/lemmas/corollaries about the definition, with some examples tied in. Which would be fine, if the subject wasn't a key part of other areas of maths. I enjoyed the content any time proofs weren't involved, especially the applications.
Areas of study included:
  • Linear systems and matrices(with applications in graph theory and economics)
  • Determinants
  • Euclidean spaces
  • Vector spaces(with applications in coding theory)
  • Linear transformations
  • Eigenvalues and eigenvectors(with applications in Markov chains, search engines, and differential equations)
  • Inner product spaces(with applications in data fitting and linear regression)
  • Orthogonalization(with applications in data compression and principle component analysis)

Tim was a pretty good lecturer but the content was pretty dry and I often found myself lost in all the mathisms of the proofs and pretty confused.
The applied classes involved doing questions together in a group on a whiteboard. My tutor was pretty helpful in getting us to understand the proofs on the problem set.

The assignments were quite difficult but I did appreciate that there was only 2. Tim also gave a lot of hints for the more difficult questions, which definitely helped
The moodle quiz was a 5 question mostly multiple choice quiz at the end of each week, reviewing everything. It wasn't too difficult and forced you to stay up to date.
The midsemester test was a 16 question moodle quiz, similar in format to both the weekly quizzes and parts of the exam. It was pretty nice, all things considered
If you went to and participated in 8/11 of the applied classes, you go the applied class participation marks
To get the lecture poll participation marks, you had to correctly answer 75% of the lecture flux polls within 24 hours of each lecture. 24 hours was a bit rough and I often found myself flicking through the lecture to the flux quiz instead of watching it regularly.
The exam was online and invigilated. The sample exam was quite similar in format and content to it, which was helpful. There were a few 'rigourous proof' questions, which I found quite challenging.
All in all, there weren't many assessments, which made this subject a bit less stressful than some of my others

Don't do this subject as an elective(unless you are a fan of pure maths). Wherever your passions lie, this subject will help you improve your resilience and problem solving skills(if it doesn't break you first)
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 12:57:37 pm by hairs9 »
2019-Methods [45], Psychology [41]
2020-English [38], Chemistry [43], Spesh [43], UMEP maths [4.5], ATAR: 99.05
2021: Bachelor of Science - Advanced(Research) at Monash

ThunderDragon

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #541 on: June 25, 2021, 05:07:51 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: ATS1310 - Extreme Earth! Natural hazards and human vulnerability

Workload:  1- 2 Hours of Lectures per week and a 2 Hr Tutorial per Week

Assessment:
10 Tutorial Worksheets worth 2% each = 20% in Total
Short Essay worth 15%
Major Research Essay worth 40%
Briefing Paper worth 25%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with a screen capture

Past exams available:  No as there was no exam. The briefing paper ''acted'' as the final exam even though it was basically another essay.

Textbook Recommendation:  Environmental Hazards: Assessing Risk and Reducing Disaster
Keith Smith although this textbook wasn't too helpful

Lecturer(s): Megan Farrelly

Year & Semester of completion: 2021 Semester 1

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 81 HD

Comments: This unit was pretty fun and a good break from all my other Science units. It is a mixture of science and social science so it isn't devoid of Science. Megan was a pretty good lecturer and the lectures were decent however I started to get a bit lazy in the second half of the semester and skipped watching the lectures. The weekly tutorials are compulsory as the Weekly quiz is only open during your specific tutorial time so make sure you show up as these Tutorial worksheets are pretty much free marks since your lecturer will essentially feed you most of the answers. The prescribed readings in my opinion weren't too necessary unless you are planning to major in Human Geography as I still did well on my Weekly tutorial quizzes.

In terms of what's hard about this unit, the assignments are what makes this unit (and arguably most Arts units I think) more annoying than the Science units. The short essay has a really small word limit of 500 words(+/- 10%) so it was really hard to get everything into the word limit. Since this is the first essay, they do mark it slightly more leniently. The Major research essay on the other hand is 2000 words (+/- 10%) and was certainly a pain especially with the amount of research journal references we needed to use. Make sure you spend a lot of time on the Major research essay and don't leave it to the last few days like I did as my grade for this essay wasn't too great. The last assignment is the Briefing Paper which is basically an essay where you write about the effects a disaster (they give u a few options to choose from) have on the people and the science behind it. This has a 1500 word (+/- 10%) limit. This assignment is marked fairly harshly though as I spent over 14 hours on this essay and barely got above an HD for the briefing paper.

Overall, this unit is run fairly well, and as long as you put in the effort into your assignments, getting a Distinction should be fairly easy. However, wouldn't call this a WAM booster as like a lot of Arts units, getting High Distinctions for essay-heavy units is pretty hard. However, I would still recommend this as a good elective.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 03:23:40 pm by ThunderDragon »
2019 - Geography [41]
2020 - English, Methods, Chem, Bio and Psych [39]
2021 - 2023 Bachelor of Science at Monash

ThunderDragon's Journey to Med

Billuminati

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #542 on: July 06, 2021, 10:03:40 pm »
+2
Subject Code/Name: BMS2021 - Human molecular cell biology

Workload: 
2 hr recorded lectures
2 hr workshop

Assessment:
55% workshops (including a 20% protein trafficking group oral + poster presentation)
15% from 5 fortnightly MCQ quizzes on each of lecture topics A-E
30% final exam

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No. However, Jess gave us access to a massive question bank of practice questions if we added a multi and a short answer question to the bank (with a correct marking scheme). Some questions were made by the staff, but I think most were student generated. Each lecture topic had 2 practice quizzes, one for the multis and one short answer question. Every time you start a new attempt at these practice quizzes, the questions will be randomised, so you may or may not end up with the same questions you've completed before. The practice questions were harder in general than the actual exam. There were also 2 moodle quizzes that are full length mock exams, both were slightly harder than the actual exam.

Textbook Recommendation:
Molecular Biology of the Cell (6th edition), saved me big time during my group project

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry (7th edition), didn't use as lecture slides were based on the other textbook

Lecturer(s):
Jessica Gibbons
Richard Loiacono
Mike Ryan
Craig Smith
Caroline Speed

Year & Semester of completion: 2021 Sem 1

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 91 HD

Comments:
Overall impression and lecture content: I have mixed feelings about this biochem/molecular bio unit. On one hand, all of the lecturers were phenomenal and extremely supportive on the forums, as were the TAs (I heard some groups had really bad TAs but my TA, Rachel, was super chill). The amount of overlap with my elective chem units as well as the other 2 biomed core units in 2nd year sem 1 was certainly another pleasant surprise. Most individual assessments were very reasonable as well, including the final exam. I would've rated it a 4.5/5 if it were not for the huge emphasis on group projects (29% of your overall grade came from group assessments), which I'll rant about when commenting about the workshops.

Jess from the gene repair lectures in BMS1062 (who's also the unit coordinator) had us for topics A and B which were metabolism and cell signalling respectively. You can pretty much understand topic A by Le Chateliers Principle, if you have too much of something then you probably don't want more of it, if you don't have enough of something you'll want to make more of it.

Topic B was on how signalling molecules produce a cellular effect when they bind to receptors, it goes into details on the different receptor classes, transduction cascades, what protein classes are involved in the cascades, how do different second messengers function as well as a few different pathways involved in growth. Due to the focus on growth associated cellular signalling pathways, the lectures also discuss cancers and how we can target proteins in the various transduction cascades to treat them. I can't stress enough that this is THE most important topic of the unit, a lot of the pathways you cover here (ESPECIALLY the cAMP pathway) come in very handy in BMS2031, your physiology unit. The various cell signalling pathways will also pop up again and again in topics C, E, D and F in some form.

Richard had us for 3 lectures in topic C which was on pharmacology. It overlaps heavily with the pharmacology you did in BMS1052 ie types of receptors, the ANS (only the sympathetic nervous system covered in this unit), receptor agonists/antagonists etc except you're introduced to pharmokinetics ie what your body does to the drugs as opposed to what the drug does to your body (pharmodynamics). In terms of new content we learned about the 2 stages of drug metabolism, the cytochrome P450 enzymes that are involved in Panadol metabolism and the effects of inhibiting these enzymes with grapefruit juice (which may result in overdoses as they can't break down the drugs, or excess breakdown intermediates are channeled towards production of a toxic compound).

Mike's topic D lectures were on the cell cycle, various protein trafficking pathways and apoptosis. His slides are heavily image based so you really need to take good notes (I personally liked it because it forces you to actively word the presented info in your own words for a better understanding). ln his lectures he says "actually" a lot, but I personally find his section of lectures was explained the most clearly out of all lecture topics.

Craig from BMS1021 in 1st year takes the dev bio lectures which was topic E. In terms of new content we looked at some signalling pathways in dev bio and their roles. We also revised our knowledge of embryonic development, molecular biology techniques (from BMS1062) and stem cells. There is a substantial amount of overlap with the reproductive and embryology lectures in BMS2011, our anatomy unit.

The lectures in topic F were on the molecular biology and pathology of cancer and these were delivered by Caroline. A lot of the content is pretty much common sense as in you already have a pretty good idea of how cancers are caused solely based on your knowledge of the topic B and D lectures. Any multis on topic F were very Googleable, but expect more genetics and pedigrees than you're comfortable with in short answer assessments.

Workshops (individual assessments): Workshops 2, 4, 5, 10 and 11 were assessed individually. Each one of these is worth 5% of your overall grade. They generally (with 2 exceptions discussed below) consist of a 1% pre quiz (unlimited attempts so free marks) and a 4% post quiz due within 24 hours of your workshop session's finishing time. The post quizzes weren't easy, they're usually 5 multis + 2 short answer questions worth a total of 10 marks, so the whole quiz is out of a grand total of 15 marks and the Moodle time limit is 20 minutes which means you'll be very pushed for time. The short answers really test how well you can apply the knowledge learnt during the workshop case study to similar but slightly different scenarios and they usually required essay-style responses. These were marked pretty leniently though.

In workshops 10 and 11, there wasn't a post quiz, there was a worksheet instead due 24 hours after the end of your allocated workshop just like the other post quizzes. It's pretty easy to full mark those as you don't have to contend with time pressure. Workshop 1 wasn't assessed as it was a warm up session to familiarise us with how the workshops were run in the unit.

Workshops (group assessments): The lowlight of the unit. In workshop 3, we had metabolic case studies on people in fasting, starvation and diabetic states. Our task was to do an oral presentation on our assigned state (ours was a 24hr fast) accompanied by a figure illustrating the pathway to be drawn on the whiteboard behind us. This was a total disaster because although I looked up the theory and made a head start on each of the 3 possible assigned metabolic states, none of my group members knew anything because they didn't catch up with lectures so I had to waste 1 hour teaching them the concept (if I ended up presenting everything by myself the rubric would've given me a 0). Then our TA, Rachel, came over to my table and said that I had misinterpreted the topic and a lot of concepts I've already included in the figure weren't relevant and didn't address the topic very well so I had to fix that as well. In the end the presentation was so bad, everyone stuttered so much and our figure was basically a giant wall of text without any visual element at all (it was worth 80% of the presentation marks and honestly ours deserved a 0). My team members even erased the figure I scribbled on the whiteboard (with MD quality handwriting) before they were supposed to ie before Rachel took a photo of it for assessment purposes. Rachel must've taken pity on us and marked us very leniently with a 7/10. Thankfully there was a 1% pre quiz for this workshop which carried my mark.

The 2nd group oral was on the actions of the controversial drug clenbuterol. We were assigned to produce an oral presentation on the side effects of clenbuterol over Zoom, and the post assessment was a 500-word summary of our oral along with our accompanying poster style slide during the presentation, both of which were due 24 hours after the workshop finished. In terms of content, our presentation was extremely heavy on the physiology side (I like using overlaps in biomed subjects to help with understanding). Our group was lucky enough to have this workshop straight after the midsem break, which means we had the whole break to prepare for it instead of having other classes to worry about (for those of you who don't know, due to rona restrictions we had 2 workshop cohorts, while we start workshops in week 1, the other cohort start in week 2 so they were always a week behind us and had to prepare for the oral during week 6 where there were other classes). We were supposed to do the oral on camera and without a script, but I thought I could get away with writing the script and getting everyone to read it from the same device as the Zoom meeting so it looks like we've memorised it well and can confidently present it in front of the camera. As you can see with my unit review delays, I put the "pro" in procrastination, so I didn't really spend that much time preparing for the oral during the midsem break (I also had to study for the BMS2011 midsem which was right after the break finished and I was super behind in that unit). Most of my group members weren't that motivated as well, but I took the initiative along with another girl in my group to carry the group. During the oral, one of my team members had really bad wifi connection, and one of the most important parts of the oral got lost because of internet lag and I was freaking out about that. Luckily the marking was also pretty lenient, we scored 17/20 for the whole workshop (oral + summary combined), although we did get caught by Rachel for reading off a script (it was only -0.5 marks so I guess it's worth it when the alternative is forgetting our lines).

The big one is the group protein trafficking poster presentation worth a whopping 20% of your overall grade, spanning workshops 7-9. All your group orals leading up to this point were in preparation for this poster presentation, they're like trial runs of sorts in hindsight to get us used to working in our teams. The task assigned to us was to create a conference-style, A0-sized scientific poster on how beta-hexosaminidase is trafficked from the rough ER to the lysosome, its physiological function in healthy individuals, how mutations in the HEXA gene encoding it cause errors in trafficking and how does the consequent partial or complete beta-hexosaminidase deficiency cause Tay-Sachs Disease. Workshop 7 was basically the project briefing where we assign roles, set deadlines and sign a teamwork agreement. We had workshop 8 to work on our scripts, and workshop 9 was the actual presentation. Unlike the last 2 times, this time my group really pulled our sh*t together. Initially I wanted to do the whole thing myself because I seriously didn't trust my group, but the other girl who helped me carry the group in the clenbuterol presentation got extremely offended and offered me constructive criticism about how I shouldn't steal other people's parts, it's pretty condescending to do so and it's not fair that I have to spend all that extra effort doing the project which may affect my performance in other units. I had a thought about what she said and decided she was right. Surprisingly, we were able to meet ALL mini deadlines we set for ourselves, even the team members who did no work in the previous projects. We created an amazing poster and the oral went smoothly without any incidents as well (one of my group members forgot to refer to the figures during the presentation so I had to point for him for a while before he got the cue). When I got my personal score back, I was happy to find that I scored 33/34 on the presentation (I lost 1 mark cuz I got carried away pointing at the figure which I designed that I forgot to make eye contact with the audience). The peer evaluation was worth 15% of the project, consisting of 6 marks out of 40 while the poster + oral made up 34 marks out of the 40. Hence, the poster + presentation were worth 17% of our overall grade and the peer evaluation was worth 3%. I got some poor reviews for trying to do the whole project by myself, but at least my groupmates were honest, they wanted me to improve as opposed to wanting me to look bad in front of the TAs and lecturers by playing mind games in the evaluations unlike my BMS2011 project (which I'm definitely ranting about in my upcoming review). The peer evaluation platform is brand new (we say goodbye to the 90s style CATME website) it's called Feedback Fruits and half the marks came from rating your team members, viewing your reviews and writing a self reflection, whereas the other half came from your group members' evaluation of you. All feedback were anonymous.

Note that the workshops were divided such that 1-3 were on topic A, 4-5 eye on topic B, 6 was on topic C, 7-9 were on topic D (group poster presentation), 10 was on topic E and 11 was on topic F.

Topic quizzes: There were 5 MCQ quizzes for topics A-E with 8-16 questions depending on the amount of lecture content in each topic. You are given an average of 1.25 minutes per question so the duration ranges from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. They were spread out so that you had one every 2nd week, they open on Thursday mornings and close at 11:59PM on Friday night. Although this component of the course is quite stressful since the quizzes usually coincide with my CHM2911 lab reports due on Thursday nights or my BMS2011 lab tests which I do on Friday nights, I really appreciate this component of the course as it forces you to be up to date with your lecture content. When it comes to SWOTVAC, you'll be thanking Jess that you don't have a billion lectures you've missed and have to do 2x speed marathons. Out of these quizzes, the topic A and topic E quizzes were the hardest because their questions test your understanding ie they're not as "Googleable" like the others (only scored 9/12 and 10/12 respectively for those ones). The rest were pretty easy to full mark. Just a warning, in Jess' and Mike's slides in particular, a lot of content won't show up in your search function as they're part of the slides' images, so make sure you know where to find things beforehand for those lecture topics.

End of semester exam: Open book, 130 minutes for 20 multis + 60 marks from short answer for a grand total of 80 marks. The short answer section consisted of 6 questions worth 10 marks each, these are subdivided into very reasonable subquestions ie you didn't have to write massive essays unlike your workshop post quizzes. However, the application style questions were very reminiscent of the post quizzes in your workshops, it's just that the answering format is easier for you because you no longer have to worry about where each mark comes from in your essays when the subquestiond require only a few words to answer. The exam was overall very fair and you're not rushed on time, but still you can't afford to consult your lecture notes on every single question. It was also stressful to avoid plagiarism as Jess made it clear we can't copy our lecture slides, so I copied my own lecture notes which were already reworded, maybe at the cost of a few marks lost for missing detail. However there were 2 dodgy questions. One was on topic B and asked us something Jess didn't explain to us (but I think I still BSed a convincing answer using prior knowledge) and the other was a subpart of the topic F question that examined something that was only covered in the workshop but not in the lectures (only lecture content were examinable according to Jess' exam format announcement).

The multis section consisted of 8 questions on topic F since it didn't have a dedicated topic quiz. The rest were evenly distributed over the other 5 topics. All multis were easier than those in the topic quizzes as well as the MCQ practice quizzes, so full marking those is pretty achievable.

Edit: Results came out this afternoon, after back calculating my exam score, they must’ve marked short answer quite leniently, but I don’t think they were scaled up by a lot because the cohort apparently did pretty well.

Edit: Jess just released some detailed feedback on the exam. After seeing how the short answers mostly had averages in the 70s (with the exception of a few topics) and with quite a lot of people getting 80-100% on them, I can safely say that there was little to no scaling, but there was a lot of lenient marking. The average exam mark was 67%.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 03:10:26 am by Billuminati »
VCE 2016-2018

2017: Biology [38], Further Maths [44]

2018: Methods [37], French [38], Chem [40], English [44]

ATAR: 98.1

2019- : Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Monash (Scholars), minoring in Chemistry

Billuminati

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #543 on: July 08, 2021, 04:08:14 am »
+2
Subject Code/Name: CHM2911 - Inorganic and organic chemistry

Workload: 
2 hr recorded lectures
3.5 hr labs
1 hr workshop/tutorial

Assessment:
30% labs (8 x lab reports worth 3.75% each)
5% NMR dry lab worksheet
10 x 0.5% weekly prelecture quizzes (only weeks 2-11 were assessed)
4 x 2.5% assessed tutorial worksheets
50% final exam

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No. However, 2 mock exams provided which were slightly harder than the actual exam.

Textbook Recommendation:

Inorganic:
Weller Inorganic Chemistry (7th edition), didn’t use.

Cameron also recommended a free website called the “Organometallic Hypertextbook” for his section of lectures which was pretty helpful despite looking like it was made in the 90s: http://www.ilpi.com/organomet/index.html

Organic:
Clayden Organic Chemistry (2nd edition), the lecture slides were derived from here, but since we will be using this as well in CHM3922 (advanced organic), a lot of the content is harder than what we're expected to know in 2nd year. Didn't really use much but can be useful to clarify things I didn't understand eg ring inversions.

None of the textbooks were prescribed ie compulsory.

Lecturer(s):
Lisa Martin (coordination chemistry)
Cameron Jones (organometallic chemistry)
Kellie Tuck (general organic chemistry)
Phil Chan (carbonyl organic chemistry)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2021

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 96 HD

Comments:
Overall impression and lecture content: I loved the lecture content of this unit despite the difficulty, especially the organic sections taught by Kellie and Phil since I want to do advanced organic (CHM3922) next year as part of a 6-unit minor necessary to qualify myself to deal drugs teach chem in high school should I fail to make it into med school. This unit was organised really well into 4 discrete topics with a healthy amount of overlap within the respective inorganic (1 + 2) and organic (3 + 4) topics. I’d highly recommend going through the tutorial worksheets (both assessed and unassessed ones) carefully as they were apparently all taken from past exams. At the beginning of the unit, I noticed that there were no discussion forums on the Moodle page and I asked if there will be any because in biomed we’re prohibited from emailing lecturers directly for content questions as other students can’t benefit from the lecturer’s answer. They immediately added them so the teaching team definitely caters to student demands very well.

Topic 1 was taught by Lisa and is basically revision of inorganic chem from 1st year, except we were taught how to explain the spectrochemical series with ligand field theory (similar to molecular orbital theory we see in 1st year but applied to metals and ligands). We also had a look at how we can use Nernst's equation to determine which oxidation state is more stable when a particular ligand binds, and we were introduced to Jahn Teller distortion and what e- configurations are associated with elongation or compression. I might be biased because I don't plan on taking inorganic next year, but I found this section to be my least favourite because it overlaps too much with first year and I wasn't initially comfortable with the physical chemistry covered here ie Nernst equation. In the recorded lectures, certain parts of Lisa's explanations on the new content ie ligand field theory and Nernst equation were slightly unclear, but she's more than happy to help on the topic forums and by the time you watch the lectures a 2nd time (after completing the tute worksheets), you’ll know what you’re doing with those. The ligand field theory stuff was a really good segue into the next topic that is organometallics. On a more negative note, the solutions to the topic 1 sections on both mock exams were plagued with typos and theoretical errors, but Lisa was able to clarify everything timely on the discussion forums.

Cameron, our unit coordinator, had us for topic 2 which was on organometallics. Organometallics is similar to coordination chemistry except the complexes must contain at least one metal-carbon bond. In the lectures, Cameron takes us through a lot of theory (including some organometallic IR spectroscopy stuff on bond strengths that none of us really understood) and organometallic reactions which was very intimidating for a completely new topic. However, he did a great job at explaining everything and it turns out that a lot of the equations on his slides are just there for context and aren’t actually assessable eg formation of cyclopentadienyl anion. You’ll only be expected to draw a structure, determine the valence e- configuration of a metal in a complex from its oxidation state, find the e- count around the metal centre and from this state whether or not a given complex is stable ie does the e- count follow the 18 e- rule you covered briefly in topic 1. You may also be asked to predict the product of a given organometallic reaction, but most are pretty straightforward eg if you see an alkali metal and a halogen bound to another metal, it’s likely a salt elimination. If you did the tute sheets, you’ll be set to ace this section. My favourite part of this lecture block is applying the different organometallic reactions you learned to catalytic cycles. On a side note, I even came up with my own formula for determining how many e-s a ligand contribute to the e- count, it’s given by #(e-)= hapticity (the number after the eta denoting how many atoms on the ligand are simultaneously bound to the metal centre) - charge, note that it doesn’t work on neutral monodentate ligands which contribute 2 e-s to the e- count. Also if you get something you can’t answer in topic 2, just say pi* back donation and synergetic sigma forward donation and you’ll be right 99% of the time :P.

Kellie takes us for topic 3 which is more or less a refresher of 1st year organic in its first week with resonance structures, orbital hybridisation in valence bond theory, carbocation stability and electrophile vs nucleophile etc. However, the new content starts at the 2nd week with SN1, SN2, E1 and E1 reactions, how to identify them and how to draw their respective mechanisms. Zaitsev’s rule of elimination reactions (reverse of Markovnikov’s rule where the poor get poorer ie carbons with less hydrogens already attached are more likely to be deprotonated in elimination reactions) was covered in weeks 8-9. Week 9 went crazy on electrophilic additions, rearrangements and ring strain, with triangular intermediates in bromination and oxymercuration looking as satanic as the Illuminati. I was initially very lost when watching Kellie go through some exceptions in carbocation rearrangement stability rules in bicyclic molecules with ring strain, but watching the lectures a 2nd time and asking Kellie to explain some parts of her slides in text on the forums cleared everything up. Half of topic 3 weren’t exactly new content for me as I studied these when preparing for the GAMSAT, but given that the GAMSAT fried my brain so much, I forgot 99% of my O chem after my test day so I kinda have to relearn them with everyone else. Kellie did an epic job at taking us through these crazy mechanisms, she was especially good at showing us how to do exam style questions and answering our queries on the lecture content in the tutorials which were live as opposed to recorded.

Topic 4 was ostensibly dedicated to carbonyl chemistry, however in reality it covers many different organic reaction types including oxidation, reduction (ugh memorising all the reducing agents and what functional groups they’re strong enough to reduce), pericyclic reactions, electrophilic aromatic substitutions, nucleophilic acyl substitution + addition (revision of Grignard and esterification mechanisms from 1st year) and enol/enolate reactions. Phil is also a legendary lecturer because in his recorded lectures, his teaching style (heck, even his speaking style) was exactly like Eddie Woo who saved me big time in high school maths. He’s somehow able to make all the scary mechanisms sound so much less intimidating by getting us to recognise recurring patterns in the mechanisms. Phil got us to focus on applications over memorising, which actually helps your muscle memory in mechanisms, if you listen to his explanations a few times very carefully and do some practice, drawing mechanisms will actually become second nature. To do well in this section, you need to memorise a simple pKa table (lower pKa of conjugate acid= better leaving group= increased reactivity in nucleophilic acyl substitutions) and trends in electrophilicity (more electrophilic functional group= more reactive in nucleophilic additions, you need to memorise a list of functional groups in order of their electrophilicity given to you on the lecture slides to do that). You also had to memorise a bunch of reagents (including conditions) used in organic synthesis, what they do to different chemicals and their relative strengths. In some way, this topic was reminiscent of the fill in the box/organic reaction pathways questions in year 12 VCAA chem exams, but it was souped up and taken up to 11.

Labs: Consists of proformas (worksheets asking you to answer theoretical questions on your lab) as well as full writeups. Due to rona restrictions, 2 wet labs in the past have been replaced by 1-hour Zoom sessions where the TA helps you interpret data provided to you for the writeup. In addition, the restrictions mean that we're no longer able to take our own NMR and UV-Vis spectra, which means for proformas or reports, we get provided model results on Moodle to copy into them. Everyone's happy about this change since we can no longer be penalised for having dodgy results which happened a lot in first year for me which was on-campus. Note in the short lab descriptions below, unless otherwise stated, assume the lab is on-campus and the report is a proforma.

Lab 1: We had to make a coloured cobalt complex. Nothing too special here.

Lab 2: We had to elucidate the structure of a vanadium complex through redox titration. However we did not obtain our own data in 80% of the lab (Guoy balance not available due to rona). We messed up our titration, but I was able to impress my TA by correctly determining why I the titre was of a wrong ratio.

Lab 3: We were making acetylferrocene from ferrocene through Friedel-Crafts acylation. This was a commercial based lab so they want you to be aware of how much each reactant costs and the industrial applications of organometallic compounds.

Lab 4: Online lab with full lab report writeup, we were supposed to generate an organonickel catalyst and use that to catalyse alkene isomerisation, then use gas chromatography to determine the catalyst’s effectiveness at isomerising hexene and heptene. Instead, we just looked at model result gas chromatograms.

Lab 5: A really confusing lab that shows you how to separate aqueous and organic phases, I looked like a total idiot in that lab as I had no idea what I was doing even after the prelab quiz and video. I understand they designed this lab to make it more independently directed so that we learn the theory after doing the lab, but I can’t be independent if I don’t have the theory explained to me beforehand.

Lab 6: Online lab with proforma. This lab was originally on the pinacolone rearrangement and testing its presence with the DNP test. The proforma was basically mechanism hell, but teaches you a lot about the rules of mechanisms that come VERY handy on the exam (Tracy who is the online lab TA is a f*cking legend, she’s always very helpful during the session and outside the session).

Lab 7: Friedel-Crafts alkylation of 1,4 dimethoxybenzene. The carbocation was generated by 2 different alcohols, but there was only one product in the end due to carbocation rearrangement. I lost marks for some pretty dumb stuff, as in, I copied the mechanism in the lab manual and got a mark off because it didn’t show the activating group in action. I lost another few marks for failing to link to the scenario you’re given in the lab manual where you’re asked to determine the product as the literature on the reaction is outdated (spoiler alert, I was able to find that exact reaction in a chem education journal in 10 seconds flat with a quick Google search so I kinda ignored the lab manual and thought they were capping).

Lab 8: We had to make a yellow goo through a Claisen-Schmidt condensation that is apparently the active ingredient in sunscreen. This is another full lab report writeup, for me (who had the lab in week 12), it was due during SWOTVAC. I half-a*sed it because I was studying hard for the BMS2011 final, so this was my worst performing lab.


Online learning assignments (ie NMR dry lab and prelecture quizzes): The NMR dry lab consisted of a proforma worth 20 marks like our other lab reports. However, it's weighed 5% of our overall grade instead of 3.75% like the others. The prelab video was more or less a refresher of year 12 NMR stuff, so make sure you watch it before your Zoom class, but in the dry lab Kellie goes insane with coupling, showing you how fluorine can split hydrogens in H NMR, how aromatic protons can detect and hence be split by protons in the environment adjacent to the adjacent proton environment (this is called 4J coupling, as opposed to the 3J coupling you’ve encountered in high school and 1st year chem) and how phosphorus and fluorine can split each other when you barely refreshed your year 12 knowledge. You're GUARANTEED to leave the workshop confused like hell as there is nowhere near enough time in the allocated 1 hour to cover all the content and clarify any questions. I had to spend a grand total of 20 hours on this assignment, looking through various Youtube tutorials to no avail. Out of desperation, I compiled a megalist of dumb questions on the assignment for Kellie to answer (me posting a megalist on the relevant lab forum has become a weekly ritual from then on). Luckily, Kellie was extremely patient with me on the forums with and effectively clarified everything without giving too many details away, I was able to use that info to quickly finish the assignment AND help others struggling with the report on the forums, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.

The prelecture quizzes were very easy to full mark (they're usually out of 5) if you paid attention to the prelecture material on Moodle and checked your work. Only prelecture quizzes from weeks 2-11 were assessed.

Assessed tutorials: There were 4 of these assigned on Thursday mornings of weeks 4, 7, 10 and 12 and due at 10AM the Monday after that (with the exception of the week 12 assessed tute which was due the next day at 5PM). These were based on topics 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively and are worth 2.5% of your CHM2911 grade each. They're all very easy to full mark as they're open book and all the answers are in your lecture slides. To get us accustomed to the eExams, the assessed tutes in weeks 9 and 12 were conducted as Moodle quizzes and some of the questions asked you to sketch mechanisms, then upload them as a photo for assessment, which was pretty similar to the 10 hybrid questions on the actual exam. These quizzes were open time as well, so the only time limit after you click the start button is the due time of the assessment.

Final exam: Closed book, 130 minutes for 120 marks from 32 questions (I’d say 80%+ of the marks came from short answer but there were 15-16 multis as well IIRC). The exam was divided into 4 equal sections of 30 marks each, 1 for each lecture topic. 2 mock exams were made available to us around 1 month before our actual exam which were slightly above the actual exam in terms of difficulty. I’d really suggest watching the revision lectures held during SWOTVAC, as the lecturers also go through higher difficulty problems and even drop hints on what may pop up on the exam. If you can follow the lecturer’s logic during those, you won’t have any problems at all acing your final exam. There were 2 surprises though, in topic 1 I think they asked us to calculate something that we weren’t taught to. In topic 2 they surprised us with a question that required a very deep understanding of the theoretical side of the lectures (as opposed to the usual more application based organometallics questions), I had a mind blank so I just put down whatever BS I could come up with at the time. The questions on topics 3 and 4 were surprisingly easy, the mechanism questions were especially nice in that they didn’t ask you to draw a mechanism AND predict the products, they gave you the final product as a sort of “show that” questions for us to flex our QEDs.

Edit: Results came out and I think the exam was scaled up by quite a lot. I thought I only got 96-100/120 (because I know for sure I had mistakes in the many mechanism questions and there were some odd theory questions here and there I forgot the answer to on the day), but apparently got 114/120.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2021, 03:53:50 pm by Billuminati »
VCE 2016-2018

2017: Biology [38], Further Maths [44]

2018: Methods [37], French [38], Chem [40], English [44]

ATAR: 98.1

2019- : Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Monash (Scholars), minoring in Chemistry

Billuminati

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #544 on: July 10, 2021, 02:01:02 am »
+4
Subject Code/Name: BMS2011 - Structure of the human body: An evolutionary and functional perspective

Workload: 
2 x 1 hour recorded lectures
1 x 1 hour livestream lab
1 x 1.5 hour in person lab every 2nd week

Assessment:
30% total from 3 lab tests (divided into 8% test 1, 12% test 2 and 10% test 3)
20% poster group project on the anatomy of human evolution
20% midsem
30% final exam

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No. Practice questions from past final exams provided, but some weren’t relevant to the current course content

Textbook Recommendation:
Gray’s Anatomy for Students (4th edition)

However, I also used Sobotta’s Atlas of Anatomy (15th edition) and Anatomy- a Photographic Atlas (8th edition) to help me prepare for schematic and prosection labelling questions

Lecturer(s):
Luca Fiorenza
Olga Panagiotopoulou
Julia Young
Sonja McKeown
Kim Catania
Anne Peters
Craig Smith

Year & Semester of completion: 2021 Sem 1

Rating: 0 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 90 HD

Comments:
Overall impression and lecture content: This unit was the worst unit I have taken in biomed so far (even making BMS2031 ie biophysics look like it’s well run in comparison). There was so much content to memorise (luckily they decided that we only need to know half the unit for the final exam), but apart from the difficulty, its organisation was EXTREMELY poor (you’ll see why as I roast this unit piece by piece below). To be fair, maybe it’s just that the unit coordinators haven’t adjusted the unit to the rona age very well, but to put it nicely, there’s a ton of improvements that could be made. In terms of lectures, I'll briefly give my impression of the lecturers here.

Luca (unit coordinator) takes lectures on the muscular system, the axial musculoskeletal system, hominin evolution, skin pigmentation, appendicular (ie lower and upper limb anatomy), cranial evolution, dental anatomy and origins of bipedalism. His lecture slides have almost zero information on them (you have no idea what point he’s trying to make with his slides alone) and you’ll have to listen for the information he wants to deliver very carefully (even so, it’s barely comprehensible because he doesn’t explain things in the most intuitive way and Youtube had to save me when I had trouble understanding his content). In Luca’s defence, he did offer us a lot of really useful online resources on the evolution stuff that he did not explain very well, so you’d be fine if you went through those. My social skills aren’t the sharpest after 1 year of quarantine isolation, but I’m getting the vibe that he might be annoyed at the questions we ask him on the forums and only answer them begrudgingly (again, I’m stressing it’s just my suspicions, speculations and general impression).

Olga (2nd unit coordinator) lectures you for the skeletal system, head and neck anatomy, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, digestive system and urinary system. Her lectures were the best in the unit, her slides have a healthy mix of text and images, and force you to listen to them by not giving everything away. She stands out from all other lecturers because she’s very clear on what’s assessable and what’s not, so it takes a lot of guesswork out of studying for the final exam when it comes to SWOTVAC, freeing up time to study for some other difficult BMS2011 concepts or other units. Her explanations were always great when you tune in to listen, her lectures were the only ones I didn’t require Khan Academy or Crash Course to help me consolidate. She has this quirk where she starts every lecture AND Moodle announcement post with “Dear students…” so it comes as no surprise she cares about our progress and understanding of her lecture content and she’s on the forums all the time answering people’s questions very quickly and in a lot of detail.

Anne only has 1 lecture on animal diversity and taxonomy, this is pretty much revision of high school bio and helps you understand how to read a phylogenetic tree (which will come in handy in Luca’s lectures).

Sonja has 2 neuroanatomy lectures in week 7. These examine embryonic brain development as well as the anatomy of the adult nervous system (both CNS and PNS). You’re introduced to the cranial nerves and their functions so make up (or look up) your most inappropriate mnemonics to memorise them (one is listed in the spoiled section under the heading Labs: in-person), they’re very important to know for this unit’s assessments. Sonja was really nice on the forums as well, being very quick to answer student questions especially during SWOTVAC.

Kim’s only lecture is on the anatomy and physiology of the special senses except for touch (ie sight, smell, taste and hearing). A lot of it will overlap with the neurobio you covered in Sonja’s lectures, as well as the sensation lectures in BMS1052. Like Sonja, Kim is very approachable on the forums for questions on her lecture content.

Julia takes 2 reproduction lectures in week 11 covering the developmental origins of the gonads to anatomical adaptations for effective reproduction, as well as the anatomy of the mature male and female reproductive organs. Her lectures were witty, humorous and very easily understood. There was quite a lot of overlap between her lectures and the BMS2031 reproductive lectures, so you can kind of kill 2 birds with one stone if you run out of study time.

Craig takes you only for 1 embryology lecture in week 12, which is a revision of BMS1021 dev bio and overlaps heavily with his lectures from BMS2021.

Lab quizzes: These were VERY difficult (except for lab test 1) despite being open book. You’re given 30 minutes for 20 marks and some questions involved labelling multiple parts of a dead body (prosections). Every single muscle looks the same when you’re under this immense time pressure, however I would much prefer these to be open book than closed book which they were in previous years apparently. Especially in tests 2 and 3, you won’t have much time to Google the answers or look them up in your lecture notes, from my poor results in those, I think a lesson would be “never fall behind on BMS2011 lectures”, because the lecture content, while not explicitly assessed in these tests, helps you understand the labs tremendously.

As I just alluded to, the lab tests only assessed the content covered in the labs. Test 1 was on the general and axial musculoskeletal systems. Test 2 was on the appendicular musculoskeletal system, cranio-dental anatomy, neuroanatomy and special senses. Test 3 was on thoracic viscera (ie cardiovascular + respiratory systems), abdominal viscera (ie digestive system) and the urogenital systems. When I was in one of my BMS2031 labs (I haven’t taken lab test 2 at that point but have completed test 1 and the midsem), Julia (who is also the chief examiner of BMS2011) told me that since the cohort average grades for test 1 and the midsem were so high, Luca and Olga decided to make subsequent assessments insanely difficult. Indeed, my scores reflect this pretty accurately, I scored 92.5%, 80.4% and 78.4% on the 3 lab tests respectively (the cohort average for these were 84%, 73% and 66% respectively). It really didn’t help that everything else in my other units were due on the last day of the semester which was the same day as test 3.

Labs (livestream): We have an 1-hour Zoom session with an anatomy TA every week (except week 6 which was midsem week and week 12) where we go through certain pages of our lab manual, label those schematics (ie cartoon depictions of human anatomy), answer relevant questions in the lab manual and play around with a computer anatomy model called Biodigital Human. I felt so lost during these sessions because to understand these livestream labs, they presume that you have watched and throughly understood that week’s lectures. Of course, I’m always at least 2 weeks behind in anatomy lectures, so a lot of things didn’t make sense to me and I couldn’t answer a lot of the questions our TA, Hyab, threw at us. Luckily she’s very supportive, taught us many useful mnemonics and even went above and beyond to help us nail labelling questions when the orientation of the prosection or schematic isn’t what you’re used to ie anatomical position.

Labs (in-person): Every 2nd week or so (there were only 4 in-person labs due to rona restrictions), we go into the basement of the biomed LTB and examine some actual dead bodies. They were on axial MSK, appendicular MSK, neuroanatomy and thoracic + abdominal viscera (combined in 1 lab). One of the in-person labs (neuroanatomy) got moved to a Zoom session because both Luca and Olga were sick at that time (one of the unit coordinators must be present to conduct in-person labs), so it really disadvantaged the stream that had their labs on that week. Before the lab, it’s highly recommended that you complete a prelab Moodle quiz, while it’s optional and not assessed, it really helps you understand the concepts covered in the labs. A major drawback is that the lab sessions were only 90 minutes, you only spend 20 minutes at each station which was nowhere near enough time to go through everything on your lab manual. Given that all lab content is assessable on the lab tests, incomplete lab manuals often translated to poor marks, so make sure you Google the answers if you didn’t have time to go through everything in the lab. We had a really nice TA (Rohan) who looked like the Green brothers from Crash Course on Youtube (complete with the glasses) who taught us some wicked mnemonics, I don’t know what’s wrong with us, but we all seem to learn best with questionable mnemonics:

Spoiler
Some lovers try positions that they can’t handle (scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, trapezium, trapezoid, capitate, hamate which were the 8 carpal bones)


Spoiler
On occasions Oliver tries to a*ally finger various guys, v*gi*as are history (olfactory, optic, oculomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, vestibulocochlear, glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory, hypoglossal which was the order of the 12 cranial nerves)

Olga was super helpful as well despite my lack of knowledge being painfully obvious from all those missed lectures. Once when Olga asked me something in the lab and I was like “I’m sorry I don’t know, but could it be X?” with my best educated guess, she was like “Not quite [insert explanation], BTW you don’t need to apologise because you’re here to learn. You wouldn’t need to be here if you knew everything so it’s perfectly OK to not know what you’re doing”. This is the teaching style that separates average teachers from great teachers, I aim to be equally encouraging as Olga to my students if I ever become a teacher (my dream career at the moment is getting into medicine, practice medicine for 5-10 years after graduating med school, then go back and teach med school, but if that doesn’t work out, being a high school teacher will require much of the same qualities as well).

Midsem: Tests knowledge of the week 1-5 lectures (ie no lab content). It was open book like the lab tests, but it was super easy in comparison (no dead body labelling). You can literally look up everything on Google. Some answers to questions (especially from Luca’s lectures) can’t be found on the lecture slides, so you may need to spend extra time Googling or searching through your notes. However, you’re given 70 minutes for 40 multis which is more than enough time to finish, check your answers and find answers to any difficult questions. I had a very unpleasant experience with the teaching team on the midsem. A few days before the midsem, I’ve found a practice midsem for the 2012 version of BMS2011 on the internet. Given that I’m aware of the BMS2011 midsem’s notoriety from this thread on ATAR Notes, I wasn’t about to let a practice exam go to waste. I went through the 50 questions, found some that were pretty challenging and asked them on the forums. I got told off by the unit coordinators who informed me that posting past exams on forums isn’t allowed, that I shouldn’t do that again and as such they won’t help me with those questions. There was another priceless expression of this units’ poor organisation, when the midsem marks were released, it turned out that I somehow scored 101.32% on it (probably keeping even the strictest Asian parents happy) because while they entered our marks correctly (I got 19.25), they accidentally made the denominator out of 19 instead of 20. They eventually changed it back but everyone who got above 19/20 (and hence “got” >100%) had a good laugh about it. The cohort average was 87%.

Group project: We were assigned a topic about human anatomy in the week 3 online lab and this was due on Friday of week 10 at 5PM. Our topic was to create an A1-sized poster (you can’t change the canvas size) evaluating the identity of the hominin Homo floresiensis aka the Hobbit which was discovered on Flores, Indonesia in 2004, comparing and contrasting various models in scientific literature that attempt to explain its origin. In essence, this was a literature review but in poster form, we ended up using 10 different references. Hands down this is the worst part of this already terrible unit. We received no guidance from the teaching team on this poster whatsoever and the rubric was extremely subjective and poorly written. To add insult to injury, all the fonts had to be bigger than a certain size and we’re given almost no freedom on the poster as we’re not allowed to change the template which was horribly designed. However, I found a hack that allowed us to fit everything onto the page (by decreasing line spacing, the unit coordinators never prohibited this even though they didn’t allow small fonts). The worst part comes from the backstabbing group members (only 1 backstabber for this project luckily). Similar to the BMS2021 group project, the team evaluation was worth 15% of the group project, ie 3% of your overall unit grade and the poster component was worth 85%. I only received 76% on the Feedback Fruits review because of one backstabber. Thankfully, we scored 76/85 for the poster section, giving me an 87.4% overall on the group project which I guess is still acceptable. They said (and even gave me a 2/5 in the fostering teamwork criterion when I don’t think anyone else in the group gave someone else less than a 3/5):

Spoiler
“Some decisions seemed to be made based on own thought which drove the poster's direction into what was envisioned by a single member rather than the whole team. Please seek to work with the team and ask for suggestions or feedback on ideas rather than implement them.”

“The lack of a 'team' feeling was very present. It would benefit greatly if you could work to identify what everyone does best and go off that rather than complete most tasks on your own. There is more at stake here than just marks and I am sure it would benefit you if you learn of the humanity behind working with a team on any set task.”

The above 2 passive aggressive reviews were written by the same person for me in the anonymous review system Feedback Fruits. Yes, there ARE some things in life more important grades, perhaps not being a backstabber is one of them. And being one means you have ABSOLUTELY NO moral high ground over me to lecture me, judge me and labelling me as lacking humanity or empathy. I mean, bruh, I never saw you complaining about a lack of team spirit or how the project was done by one person when I was busy pulling all those all nighters finishing the project, rectifying some cases of plagiarism that could’ve gotten us all of us kicked out of uni if not corrected (had put a lot of copied pasted stuff into my own words and referencing them properly) when you’re doing God knows what. You’re probably just trashing me on the review platform with such a pretentious lecture so that my grades go down and I look like I’m a sociopath just so you get into med more easily (sorry for the rant, back on topic). Edit: I do get where you're coming from and my rant may have been interpreted as an inability to receive constructive criticism, but I had teammates who gave me all 3s (which was lower than how that person rated me as a whole) and wrote really detailed and critical suggestions for me in my other group project for BMS2021 and I was ok with that. Heck, I believed this person does have a point in some ways, it just comes off to me that they're playing mind games and being passive aggressive, one shouldn't dismiss the message just because the messenger didn't convey it well

The other group members gave me very fair and honest reviews (mostly 4 out of 5), I gave everyone high reviews too because I don’t believe anyone should be penalised on easy peer review marks for such a terrible assessment task (yet some snake seems to think it’s OK). I suffered in the teamwork criteria because again, I had bad experiences from high school group projects and tried to steal other people’s parts to do them myself, but I feel it’s reasonable if it’s honest and not playing mind games to make me look bad in front of the lecturers. However, in future projects I will definitely trust my teammates more and delegate tasks so that I don’t steal everything and do everything myself because I do recognise the importance of teamwork and I want to respect the feedback I receive from my other good teammates. It doesn’t matter if I become a doctor or a teacher, in any profession I’ll end up doing teamwork of some description. I’m not entirely faultless in the project either, due to the various other labs, I’ve put off doing the project (same as everyone else in my group) until 2 weeks before it was due.

The only good that came out of the group project is that you can interpret it as a blessing in disguise if you want. It exposes you to how crappy certain people can be, which helps you lower expectations when you’re dealing with Karens no matter what profession you end up in.

End of semester exam: Closed book, 130 minutes for 60 multis (including some with drop down options) assessing lecture knowledge from weeks 6-12. This exam was way easier than everyone initially expected, especially given that it was closed book, otherwise many of us would’ve failed. There were like 2 hard questions from Luca’s lectures that went into a lot of detail about the theory covered in his lectures (which I wrongfully assumed to just be context, please assume everything is examinable unless specifically indicated otherwise), but it is what it is, you can only give it a lucky guess and hope for the best. Protip: in dropdown questions, if you know all but 2 of the options (say you only know 1 out of 3), for the 2 you don’t know put the same answer for both so that you’re guaranteed 2/3 in the example I’ve given instead of risking mixing them up and only scoring 1/3. All those extra 1/3 and 1/4 marks you pick up this way will boost your unit score when every single mark counts in biomed (as we say, HDs get MDs). This was the only exam I felt I aced this semester (and it’s the most objective one). Edit: now that results are out, I can safely say that there was minimal scaling (maybe only be 1 mark out of 60). Which is surprising because one’d expect quite a lot of scaling for the hardest unit in biomed as I heard it’s the unit with the most fails in previous years from my TAs.

Edit: Luca just made an announcement on the average grades on the exam, it was 69% (no cap). This is pretty surprising because this implies that the final exam was harder than practical theme test 2 (73%), which was certainly not the case for me. They also commented that the grade was consistent with past years' BMS2011 exam scores when conducted on campus with invigilation, so I think they figured out a way to stop the WAMflation from cheating which is very good news, it means you no longer have to push yourself so hard to beat the cheat
« Last Edit: July 21, 2021, 07:06:59 am by Billuminati »
VCE 2016-2018

2017: Biology [38], Further Maths [44]

2018: Methods [37], French [38], Chem [40], English [44]

ATAR: 98.1

2019- : Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Monash (Scholars), minoring in Chemistry

Billuminati

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  • Posts: 167
  • Respect: +82
Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #545 on: July 10, 2021, 07:46:07 am »
+3
Subject Code/Name: BMS2031 - Body Systems

Workload: 
2 x 1 hr recorded lectures
1 x 3 hr lab every 2nd week
1 x 1 hr (online) or 2 hr (in-person) workshop during lab time every 2nd week

Assessment:
45% total from all labs (including a 2% career development module)
15% midsem
10% endocrinology + respiratory Moodle quiz, some people called this midsem 2
30% final exam

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No. Practice questions from past final exams provided which were significantly more difficult than the actual exam.

Textbook Recommendation:
Vanders Physiology (VERY useful for lab report write-ups)

Lecturer(s):
Julia Choate
Ari Pinar
Craig Harrison
Liz Davis

Year & Semester of completion: 2021 Sem 1

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 92 HD

Comments:
Overall impression and lecture content: This unit was the 2nd or 3rd best unit I ever took (surpassed only by BMS1062 and CHM1011). I used to be so bad at high school bio and homeostasis was the bane of my existence, but this physiology unit really kindled my love for the discipline with its great teaching staff and innovative teaching activities. I realised pretty early on in the semester that I can use my elective chem knowledge (specifically, Le Chateliers Principle) to help me understand all trends in physiology which I’d say was my eureka moment in biomed. I would’ve given BMS2031 a 5/5 if it were not for the final exam’s difficulty (not in terms of content, but in terms of time management).

Julia (unit coordinator) has you for the cardiovascular, renal and digestive system lectures. She’s like your kind old grandma who bakes you cookies when you come to visit, and she’s always friendly and approachable in the labs and on the unit forums. Her quirk is signing off her forum posts with “Happy X!” where X is “writing” when we’re writing a lab report, “digesting” when we’re clarifying something about her digestive system lectures and “studying” when we’re cramming for the midsem or finals.  I know most lecturers don’t answer questions in a lot of detail because they got their own research to take care of or something, but Julia really goes above and beyond in answering student’s forum questions (including my numerous dumb questions on the labs). I contributed heavily to answering other student’s question as well because it trains my explanation skills if I were to become a teacher, and it’s great short answer response practice for me. Consequently, Julia didn’t answer the student I was replying to, I wasn’t sure if she forgot to or she felt it was unnecessary because I already answered them. I was kind of hoping that she would confirm whether or not my understanding or explanation were of exam quality. On the topic of education, since a potential Master of Secondary Teaching requires 2 science sequences, I have to sacrifice 2 chem units from my electives including CHM3990 for 2 biological units, and when I learned that Julia’s education lab is taking students interested in physiology education, I figured out that it may not be a bad idea to enrol in PHY3990 with her research group in 3rd year.

Ari (assistant unit coordinator) takes 3 of the 4 respiratory lectures (the 4th lecture was replaced by an online learning module on rona). He kind of read off his slides which wasn’t like his awesome lectures in BMS1052 at all, some of which weren’t formatted correctly as the images and text boxes have clearly been moved around. As such, I had to spend quite a lot of time watching Ninja Nerd on Youtube to understand the respiratory lecture content and I believe respiratory was my worst topic on the final exam as well. However, he’s very enthusiastic on the forums, preferring to guide us in the correct direction instead of giving us the answer right away which avoids the spoon feeding pitfall. He’s more than happy to clarify aspects of his lectures that weren’t well explained and we all appreciated that very much. One day, he even emailed me to talk about something, he has 1 on 1 catch up sessions with every student in the cohort to check on how they’re going and he offered me some really valuable advice in preparing for med interviews. Like in BMS1031 and BMS1052, he saved our incompetent a*ses in the labs time and time again (not just the respiratory lab, EVERY SINGLE lab).

Craig’s lectures were on the endocrine and reproductive systems. While you do get all the info you need from his lecture slides, they’re squeezed into a tiny corner and barely visible (but they’re still there). However, he’s really good at choosing the images that tell the clearest story on his slides and his explanations were mostly clearly, although I did have to resort to Khan Academy to help me understand the female reproductive system lectures where the endocrinology associated with pregnancy and delivery were extremely complicated. The endocrine workshop ran by him was especially hilarious with his homebrew educational video.

Liz only takes 1 pharmacology lecture. It was pretty similar to the enzyme kinetics ie Michaelis Menten double reciprocal plots you were introduced to in BMS1011, but applied in a pharmacological context where you discuss affinity, potency and efficacy.

Lab assessments: I will now list everything we did in the labs and the % of your overall grade associated with each lab assessment. Overall there is a huge focus on group projects, but I didn’t really have any bad experiences with any of the group projects in this unit because I actually ended up with a good group. As with my other units, I didn’t trust my group members with doing anything in the beginning which was a source of tension, but as the semester went on, I softened and put more trust in them and sure enough, they did not disappoint me. Unlike previous physiology units (BMS1031 and BMS1052), the labs in BMS2031 were actually really good, so they must have improved the lab program from the time of the last BMS2031 review on this thread.

Career workshop on networking (2%): Basically teaching us how to take advantage of the nepotistic job market- it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. If you literally put down anything in your Pebblepad portfolio, you’ll be awarded the full 2% of your overall grade. I was also introduced to my team members with whom I’ll have to write up all group reports in the semester, as well as my TA, Nadya, who was a final year postgrad med student at Monash. Throughout the semester it was always interesting to hear about Nadya’s journey from biomed into postgrad Monash med which is the pathway I want to take myself.

Toad cardiac muscle lab (11%): Consists of a worksheet we had to hand in by the time the lab session finished (thank God no references required). The experiment investigates the effects of stretching a piece of isolated toad ventricular muscle on its force of contraction upon electrical stimulation. Adrenergic agonists and antagonists were also investigated for their effects on the force of contraction. I was in the cohort who did this lab online and the gut lab in-person (the other stream did this in-person but got to do the gut lab online). Since the worksheet was made available to us on Monday of the lab week and my lab was on Thursday, I made a head start on it and basically walked into it with the worksheet completed. I even briefed my team at 5AM on what we’re doing and what each of our job is (doing a briefing in the group chat the night/morning before the lab became something of a ritual for me whenever there’s a group assessment lab). However, there were some technical difficulties on the day which created some unnecessary panic and delays, and just like in high school bio, I was missing a few key points in my pre-prepared theoretical question responses. Nadya had to basically hold our hands throughout the whole Zoom lab, she told us that it doesn’t actually matter if we submit something 5 minutes late for this particular lab because when she was in biomed, she handed a billion things in 2 minutes late. All of those near-submission panic attacks from BMS1062 were for nothing apparently. Due to my less than stellar responses to the theoretical questions, we were only given 86.9% for the report which was only slightly above cohort average.

Human CVS lab (5%): Examines the effect of exercise and the baroreceptor reflex on the cardiovascular system (I was the test subject for the baroreceptor reflex). Assessed by a 10-multiple choice Moodle prequiz to be completed within 20 minutes which was very easy to full mark if you watched all 4 cardiovascular lectures and paid attention to the workshops thus far in the unit. There were no assessments in the lab or after the lab, but apparently someone who full marked the prequiz decided to wag the lab, and then had their mark revoked.

Water diuresis/renal function lab (11%): Examines the effect of hydration and exercise on urine production rate in human test subjects (I wasn’t allowed to be a test subject due to being asthmatic, but I was the timekeeper, data collector and team manager). AKA the peeing lab. The test subjects drank a water load and their urine were collected at 20 minute intervals and analysed for their volume and Na+ concentration. For the writeup, you’re provided with a report template which is quite similar to the CHM2911 proformas with a bunch of theoretical questions for you to answer as well as some that require you to refer to the statistically-analysed cohort data. The final report was not hard at all, we answered all the questions really well, checked our work with literature and got 94.2% (it was better than the 1st team report as we got 2 weeks or so to complete it).

Spirometry/lung function lab (5%): Taught us the basics of spirometry, helping us identify different lung volumes and showing us how obstructive lung diseases differ from restrictive ones in their presentation on a spirometer recording. I completed the online version of the lab which was made for the 2020 cohort before I came into the lab, so I knew exactly what was going on. The assessment came in the form of a 5-multiple choice question quiz on the lab content (you’ve read that right, 5 questions for 5% of your overall grade). Nadya initially trolled me by saying when she was in biomed this was insanely hard and many people got 0s for not studying for it, but all the questions were free marks. I’m not aware of anyone who didn’t get 5/5

Gut function lab (1% prequiz + 10% proforma-style report): The last lab of the semester was on determining whether your assigned piece of isolated rabbit ileum has predominantly sympathetic or parasympathetic innervation using receptor agonists and antagonists (pharmacological techniques) to support the hypothesis. Although most people had sympathetic innervation ileum sections showing up with an inhibitory effect on its spontaneous contractions, we were stoked when my group somehow ended up with an excitatory effect in contractility indicative of parasympathetic innervation (Julia, Ari and the substitute TA filling in for Nadya were all very excited as well and crowded around my table). I had to pull an all nighter on the last day of semester to finish that report off (we were given around 1 week after the lab this time), but it was worth it in the end when the results came back with 96.7%.

Workshops: While the workshops didn’t have assessments you must complete within them, a lot of the other in semester assessments as well as the final exam may potentially examine workshop content. Basically the workshops are interactive lectures where your TA is your lecturer. If they’re online (which they were most of the time), they ran only for 1 hour, but when they’re on campus they usually ran for 2. I heard these were actually optional, but I chose not to skip any and I felt that’s the best decision ever. Nadya took us through so many exam style ie application/case study questions and helped us so much with understanding and consolidating the lecture content of that week and my team really got a bonding experience in those tutorials. I must confess that I did not pay attention at all in my last ever workshop in week 12 as I was busy finalising my gut report, but then again neither did anyone else because we all follow the due today do today rule.

In semester tests: The midsem examined the cardiovascular and renal lecture, workshop and practical content (however it does not assess the water diuresis lab) and had 30 multiple choice questions to be completed in 45 minutes. The time limit is very tight so the midsem wasn’t very Googleable, but nonetheless it was open book. Now, the definition of a MCQ is very misleading, some of the more application-based questions had a billion parts to them in drop-down menus, but there were plenty of free marks to be gained from stock standard MCQs that were straight recall (those billion-part MCQs were weighed the same as single-answer MCQs). If you know your trends for cardiovascular and renal physiology (eg increased sympathetic nervous system activity= increase blood pressure, increase RAAS activity etc, increased Bowman capsule hydrostatic pressure= decreased filtration), you’ll be fine.

The endocrine and respiratory test was 20 multis in 30 minutes and assesses the endocrine and respiratory lecture content as well as the endocrine workshop. ALL of the questions were straight recall unlike the midsem and can be looked up very easily on Google or in your lecture slides since they weren’t application-style and overly specific. You won’t be pushed for time at all so take the time to check through your answers because this is probably the easiest 10% assessment you’ll ever get in a biomed unit.

Final exam: 130 minutes for 17 multis + 7 x 14-mark short answer questions (1 SAQ per lecture + 1 SAQ on the acid-base workshop) for a grand total of 115 marks. Although the exam was open book, you’ll barely have enough time to look anything up by Google or your notes. I almost didn’t open my notes at all due to the time pressure, I had to leave a 5-marker almost completely blank in the end and didn’t get the chance to check over my answer for any of the multis, that’s how pushed for time the exam was (even more so than the midsem). To be fair, I did not do enough timed practice of the provided practice questions because of the hassle of receiving feedback via Moodle, so don’t be like me (the BMS2021 practice short answer questions provide you with the marking schemes whereas you have to send your answers through the Moodle forums for manual feedback for BMS2031). The exam questions were very fair themselves, they’re way easier than the practice short answer questions since they’re divided into more manageable subquestions instead of essay-style responses. However given the sheer amount of stuff to write down for certain short answer questions, I’d say that a more appropriate exam length would be 2hr 40 min instead of 2hr 10 min. I felt BMS2031 was my worst performing exam of this semester. Edit: results are out, after back calculating the exam score, it was indeed my lowest. I only expected 80/115 (because I only gave 2 sentence responses to quite a few 4-5 markers, but apparently it’s 96/115 from my calculations. They either scaled it up a lot or were really easy on the marking, maybe because we were marked quite strictly for the in-sem assessments, they’re compensating by being chill on the exam responses.

Edit: Julia released some feedback, from her average section values table, the average mark was 64% (74/115). Furthermore, only ~17-18% of people got HD on the exam.  I'd say there was quite a lot of scaling as opposed to lenient marking.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2021, 09:26:51 pm by Billuminati »
VCE 2016-2018

2017: Biology [38], Further Maths [44]

2018: Methods [37], French [38], Chem [40], English [44]

ATAR: 98.1

2019- : Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Monash (Scholars), minoring in Chemistry

Professor Polonsky

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #546 on: July 10, 2021, 02:55:49 pm »
+6
The worst part comes from the backstabbing group members (only 1 backstabber for this project luckily). Similar to the BMS2021 group project, the team evaluation was worth 15% of the group project, ie 3% of your overall unit grade and the poster component was worth 85%. I only received 76% on the Feedback Fruits review because of one backstabber. Thankfully, we scored 76/85 for the poster section, giving me an 87.4% overall on the group project which I guess is still acceptable. They said (and even gave me a 2/5 in the fostering teamwork criterion when I don’t think anyone else in the group gave someone else less than a 3/5):

Spoiler
“Some decisions seemed to be made based on own thought which drove the poster's direction into what was envisioned by a single member rather than the whole team. Please seek to work with the team and ask for suggestions or feedback on ideas rather than implement them.”

“The lack of a 'team' feeling was very present. It would benefit greatly if you could work to identify what everyone does best and go off that rather than complete most tasks on your own. There is more at stake here than just marks and I am sure it would benefit you if you learn of the humanity behind working with a team on any set task.”

The above 2 passive aggressive reviews were written by the same person for me in the anonymous review system Feedback Fruits. Yes, there ARE some things in life more important grades, one of them being not being a dirty snake backstabber. And being one means you have ABSOLUTELY NO moral high ground over me to lecture me, judge me and labelling me as lacking humanity or empathy. I mean, bruh, I never saw you complaining about a lack of team spirit or how the project was done by one person when I was busy pulling all those all nighters finishing the project, rectifying some cases of blatant plagiarism that could’ve gotten us all of us kicked out of uni if not corrected (had put a lot of copied pasted stuff into my own words and referencing them properly) when you’re out there partying and doing God knows what. You’re probably just trashing me on the review platform with such a pretentious lecture so that my grades go down and I look like I’m a sociopath just so you get into med more easily (sorry for the rant, back on topic).

The other group members gave me very fair and honest reviews (mostly 4 out of 5), I gave everyone high reviews too because I don’t believe anyone should be penalised on easy peer review marks for such a terrible assessment task (yet some snake seems to think it’s OK). I suffered in the teamwork criteria because again, I had bad experiences from high school group projects and tried to steal other people’s parts to do them myself, but I feel it’s reasonable if it’s honest and not playing mind games to make me look bad in front of the lecturers. However, in future projects I will definitely trust my teammates more and delegate tasks so that I don’t steal everything and do everything myself because I do recognise the importance of teamwork and I want to respect the feedback I receive from my other good teammates. It doesn’t matter if I become a doctor or a teacher, in any profession I’ll end up doing teamwork of some description. I’m not entirely faultless in the project either, due to the various other labs, I’ve put off doing the project (same as everyone else in my group) until 2 weeks before it was due.

The only good that came out of the group project is that you can interpret it as a blessing in disguise if you want. It exposes you to how much of a piece of sh*t certain people can be, which helps you lower expectations when you’re dealing with Karens no matter what profession you end up in.
Dude you need to chill out. You're talking about someone giving what appears on the face of it genuine and constructive feedback that actually reflects a shortcoming (which you acknowledged) in how you go about group projects. And you're calling them a "dirty snack backstabber" when the implication of this feedback was less than 0.5% of your overall grade for your subject. 

In the workplace, you'll be receiving feedback from your managers that has promotion implications - possibly many thousands dollars a year, or even more. You might disagree with it, but sulking, getting angry like this, and calling people "Karens" probably won't get you far.

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #547 on: July 11, 2021, 07:26:29 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: ATS2145/3145 - Japanese proficient 1

Workload:  2x 10ish minute workshop videos to watch each week, a worksheet to do each week, 1x 1h tutorial and 1x 2h tutorial each week where attendance is marked.

Assessment: 
11x 1% worksheet
Interview then essay 25%
Exam 25%
Speaking test 20%
3x lesson test 6%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes

Past exams available:  No

Textbook Recommendation:  Tobira. Yes you pretty much need this book to pass since it has worksheets in it and has all the content you need.

Lecturer(s): Dr Naomi Kurata

Year & Semester of completion: 2021 Semester 1

Rating:  3.8 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 81 HD

Comments: Keep in mind I haven't had any experience doing Japanese since VCE and this semester was completely online for this subject. I thought it was overall a good subject but ended up not watching any workshop videos after a few weeks since I could just learn the assessable content from the textbook and the workshops are just summaries of the textbook. I'm sure if this subject was on campus and I could actually talk to the teachers then it would be a much better experience.
2018 Methods
2019 English | Chemistry | Economics | Specialist  | Japanese SL

2020 B.Eng/Comm
2021 - 2025 B.CS/Comm Diplang in Japanese @ Monash

commercecapstan

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #548 on: July 13, 2021, 11:52:05 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: MKC1200 - Principles of Marketing 

Contact Hours:[/b] 1 hour tutorial every other week

Assessment: 20% STP essay, 15% tute participation, 15% mcq, 50% exam

Recorded Lectures:  Yes

Past exams available: No

Textbook Recommendation: Don't buy it

Lecturer(s): Maureen Griffiths

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 1 2021

Rating: 0.25 / 5

Your Mark/Grade: D

Comments:
pure shit unit. lecturer was dry af and most of the time read the slides word for word without adding anything useful. the STP essay (which is a 20% essay) was difficult af to research, but is good for exam prep I guess. the content was alright, but still boring as hell lol.

exam preparation was by far the hardest. the exam questions they ask are completely nonsensical and doesn't initially test your application skills. for example, a question they would ask is "what are the 5 stages of consumer decision process", which might not seem difficult, but keep in mind the exam is closed book, so you're literally going to have to remember the 5 stages. Also note that marketing has millions of different concepts, so be prepared to remember a shit tonne of info
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 12:01:00 am by commercecapstan »

commercecapstan

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #549 on: July 13, 2021, 11:56:07 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: ETC1000 - Business and Economic Statistics

Workload:  2 hour workshop each week + prerecorded lectures

Assessment:  group presentation (20%?) + workshop stuff (20%?) + exam (60%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, on YouTube

Past exams available:  2016 and onwards

Textbook Recommendation:  Nope

Lecturer(s): Brett Inder

Year & Semester of completion: 2021 sem 1

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: D

Comments: was alright, not really a big maths wiz but the content isn't too difficult to grasp. the group presentation was a bit of a shitshow, but overall if you understand the concept visually, then it'd be a piece of cake. i personally found the exam difficult (and genuinely thought I failed it, but ended up getting a 60% for the exam, with a 70% overall score). just knock out past practice exams and you'll be fine. brett inder, the lecturer, is fantastic. he usually would post a pre-exam video which was extremely helpful as it tackled on what to expect for the exam.

my methods and further maths study score was average, but i still didn't find the topics in this unit too challenging, so should be relatively beginner friendly to non-stats kids.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2021, 11:58:11 pm by commercecapstan »

LifeisaConstantStruggle

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #550 on: September 13, 2021, 03:49:50 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: ETC4420 – Microeconometrics 

Workload:
1x 3 hour lecture per week

Assessment: 
2x STATA exercises (20% in total) – Some questions and replicating some models on STATA – not very hard but quite lengthy
1x Assignment (20%) – Includes writing a report after estimating a few models taught in the lectures – not very hard as well, but very lengthy and hard to finish, especially for those who haven’t used STATA much.
1x Final exam (60%) – Students thought it was quite lengthy (I thought it was alright tbh), but aside from that, not the hardest exam ever.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  One

Textbook Recommendation: Econometric Analysis – William Greene – only 3 (very long) chapters are needed for this unit, specifically:

Part IV:
17 – Binary Outcomes and Discrete Choices,
18 – Multinomial Choices and Event Counts,
19 – Limited Variables, Truncation, Censoring and Sample Selection.

I thought the textbooks were useful in adding detail and mathematical explanations to the lecture slides, but it’s very long-winded and boring to read through.

Lecturer(s): Professor Xueyan Zhao – she’s very nice, and genuinely cares about her students. I’m more of a self-learner, and I thought I needed the textbook to supplement her lecture slides. Her explanations were a bit long-winded but that’s okay

Year & Semester of completion: S1 2021

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 92 HD

Comments:
This unit is by and large an extension of ETC3410 – Applied Econometrics, with more models, and more weird things to consider in applied economic modelling and practice. We investigate extensions of the models in ETC3410 (binary, instrumental variables, panel data) to imperfect datasets, which are listed below:

1)   Discrete choice – when the data is one of a few choices, e.g. ratings on Amazon (which is ordered), or preference in transport (which is unordered) – we look into multinomial choice models such as the ordered probit, multinomial logit, some of their extensions.
2)   Counts – when the data is built based on a count random variable (e.g. number of hospital visits) – we look into count regression models such as Poisson or negative binomial models – and some extensions.
3)   Data from non-representative samples (censoring, truncation, limited samples) – say for example, we only collected wage information from employed individuals, or recorded any wage below $X as <$X. We use the Tobit model, Heckman sample selection models (which are extensions of instrumental variable estimation in ETC3410) and associated extensions to deal with these defects.
4)   Binary panel data – where the dependent variable is a binary choice (e.g. employment status of an individual across 2013-2021). Not too fancy.

Alongside the above we also have concepts such as efficient estimation, set identification, etc. that’s driving current econometric research where we have no definite answers to.

The unit is called microeconometrics because the models taught are usually specifically applied to microeconomic data – data that concerns individual units (people, businesses, and other microeconomic individual units), and how variables have causal effects on one another. Personally, I’m not too interested in these topics but I thought the unit was quite good in introducing advanced, open questions in econometrics that I haven’t thought of. Combining the conceptual, economics knowledge in this unit with more statistics/machine learning concepts and you’ll be a well-rounded practitioner of data analytics and modelling.

I thought the underlying philosophy of this unit is conveyed quite well – in that real-life data is often quite shit, which makes our models usually quite shit, even with some level of sophistication, and improving these models for better outcomes, instead of piling on complexity and hope for the best is an active area of research right now. Whether this unit is taught well is very subjective, but I thought it was alright.
2016-2017: VCE (ATAR: 99.3)
2018-2020: Bachelor of Actuarial Science (+ Econometrics), Monash
2021: Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), Econometrics & Financial Mathematics, Monash

LifeisaConstantStruggle

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #551 on: September 13, 2021, 03:51:48 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: ETC4541 – Bayesian Time Series Econometrics 

Workload:
2x 1.5 hour lectures per week
3x 2 hour tutorials the entire semester

Assessment: 
3x Assignments (39%) – Questions pertaining towards the lecture slides, alongside some coding and simulation tasks. Quite typical of an ordinary econometrics unit. Not too hard but not easy too.
2x Learning Diaries (6%) – Just a record of what you’ve learnt and some reflections, pretty easy task.
1x Final Exam (55%) – Exam was quite lengthy, found it hard to finish with good answers but I thought it wasn’t the hardest paper ever.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Several

Textbook Recommendation:  Introduction to Bayesian Econometrics – Greenberg – Gives a very brief overview of each item we discuss in the unit, but not very useful beyond that. There are also some non-time series econometrics stuff that we don’t go through, and it’s quite interesting to read especially when you do the unit alongside ETC4420 - Microeconometrics, which teaches the frequentist equivalent of some of the equivalent models.

Lecturer(s): Associate Professor Catherine Forbes – a lot of people don’t like her ETC2420 unit, which she doesn’t teach anymore. But I thought she was quite good in this unit, in terms of answering questions and providing support as well. Definitely way better than ETC2420.

Year & Semester of completion: S1 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 93 HD

Comments:
I think a lot of people might have read about Bayesian statistics, but are usually unclear on how to explain them. It’s not a crazy awesome statistical paradigm that everyone should follow (otherwise people would be disappointed) – but it’s quite useful nonetheless.

Bayesian statistical inference is different by inference proper, which, aside from producing estimates, include producing quantities that specify our uncertainty on the estimate itself. In traditional, frequentist methods, we quantify this uncertainty using a sampling distribution (e.g. of the mean), which is usually only true in large samples, and cut the sampling distribution to report sampling uncertainty. Instead of a sampling distribution, we define all our estimates in a Bayesian case as probability density functions, which holds true in finite samples as well. Alongside some cool properties like Bayesian updating, dimension reduction, that’s basically the crux of Bayesian statistics and econometrics. Sometimes these are cool but it’s very hard to apply stuff in empirical work, and a lot of knowledge in computing and simulations are required to do these things quite well.

This unit is an introduction to Bayesian statistics, seriously, and applications of it to econometrics/time series, specifically, we look at:

1)   Bayesian statistics in general – specifying priors, likelihoods, posteriors, and associated properties, Bayesian hypothesis testing, and complications when dealing with high-dimensional integration.
2)   Simulation in Bayesian statistics – independent, Gibbs sampling, Metropolis-Hastings algorithms – which are important because we need to calculate and simulate values for many integrals in Bayesian statistics.
3)   Bayesian econometrics and time-series – we investigate linear regression in a Bayesian setting, and state-space models (nested in a larger Hidden Markov modelling literature) within the Bayesian framework.
One can estimate state-space models if they assume a linear-Gaussian structure (LGSSMs), but if assumptions are relaxed, we can then only do approximate estimates (NGSSMs).

These things are quite cool and can only be appreciated once you do more time series stuff at a graduate level. Applications of these include factor models in macroeconomics – large models that aggregate macroeconomic variables for estimation, or even in electrical engineering/neuroscience.

If you are generally interested in time series, this unit, alongside ETC4410 – Macroeconometrics/ETF5200 – Applied time series econometrics are must dos at an honours level. Though the items taught in this unit are largely theoretical, their application in fields beyond econometrics are practically endless. State-space modelling in particular can extend beyond many concepts in the natural sciences and engineering, and skills like these are definitely transferrable and a rare find among undergraduate level topics.
2016-2017: VCE (ATAR: 99.3)
2018-2020: Bachelor of Actuarial Science (+ Econometrics), Monash
2021: Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), Econometrics & Financial Mathematics, Monash

LifeisaConstantStruggle

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #552 on: September 13, 2021, 04:06:18 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: MTH5210 – Stochastic Calculus and Mathematical FInance 

Workload:
2x 1 hour lectures
1x 1 hour tutorial

Assessment: 
3x Assignments (30% - not sure) – I thought it were quite typical questions, and not too hard as well.
10x Weekly homework (10% - not sure) – Same as the above, but considering it was weekly, it was quite easy.
1x Final exam (60%) – As far as maths exams go, I thought the exam was very hard, and really stretches your knowledge. Knowing the textbook is quite essential.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Several

Textbook Recommendation:  Introduction to Stochastic Calculus with Applications – Klebaner – definitely a very important text because the lecturer is the author of this textbook, and he uses the content within the textbook very heavily instead of using slides or course notes (more typical for undergraduate Students)

Lecturer(s): Professor Fima Klebaner – he’s a very good and clear lecturer, clearly very experienced in teaching this unit (he’s also the author of the prescribed textbook), sets easy assignments too (the exam was a different story but it scales well)

Year & Semester of completion: S1 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 98 HD

Comments:
This unit is very much like MTH3251 – Financial Mathematics, but with more of a focus on stochastic calculus and underlying theorems. I guess it can be seen as a self-contained course in stochastic calculus alongside a bit of financial maths if you have some basics in calculus and probability. In particular, we look at:

1)   Properties of Brownian motion (the most basic continuous time stochastic process – which are random variables that move through time)
2)   Ito calculus – calculus incorporating Brownian motion (Ito’s formula underlies most, if not all studies in stochastic calculus – which is taught here)
3)   Stochastic differential equations – diffusion processes (applications of Ito processes in ODEs to make SDEs and PDEs – in particular, we look at conditions for which strong solutions exist for a particular SDE, and how to find them – solutions are stochastic processes that have an explicit form that incorporate Brownian motion as well, we also talk a bit about martingales in more detail, which is relevant for a lot of theoretical work)
4)   Weak solutions to SDEs – there are two ways of estimating weak solutions when strong solutions are not available, change of time, and change of probability measure, for which we investigate them here. The crux of it is just to define a new Brownian motion that makes the SDE solvable explicitly.
5)   Applications to finance – we go through this very briefly, mainly discussion on applying the above concepts on asset pricing theorems and option pricing. These are all quite basic, but interested students can extend these concepts from these basics to complex methods – such as more complex derivative pricing, and modelling. (Applications are taught in MTH5520 – interest rate modelling where we look at stochastic calculus applied in bond markets).

I would recommend this unit compared to MTH3251, although the undergrad unit helps a lot with making this unit bearable. This unit goes much deeper into stochastic processes in continuous time and can be very interesting once you know where and why the mathematics is used in real-life applications – something the maths department doesn’t do very well tbh. The unit that is a straightforward extension to this is MTH5520 – Interest Rate Modelling, which uses stochastic calculus as well, and I find that doing MTH5210 makes the content there more bearable too, compared to a lot of students who only did MTH3251. The concepts stick easier, and it’s much more interesting that way.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 04:22:41 pm by LifeisaConstantStruggle »
2016-2017: VCE (ATAR: 99.3)
2018-2020: Bachelor of Actuarial Science (+ Econometrics), Monash
2021: Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), Econometrics & Financial Mathematics, Monash