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Joseph41

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VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« on: December 01, 2017, 01:33:33 pm »
+19

We have hundreds and hundreds of university subject reviews (template largely taken from those threads), which help students select their subjects. It makes a whole heap of sense to have a place where past VCE students can review their VCE subjects - 1/2 and 3/4, it's all good!

(Units 1/2 and Units 3/4)

Review Index
Current Totals
Arts Subject Reviews: 3
Business Studies Subject Reviews: 4
English Subject Reviews: 7
Health and Physical Education Subject Reviews: 4
Humanities Subject Reviews: 7
LOTE Subject Reviews: 3
Maths Subject Reviews: 7
Science Subject Reviews: 18
Technology Subject Reviews: 1

Total: 52 Reviews
Total: 33 Subjects Covered

(2) (3) etc. denote 2nd and 3rd reviews.

LOTE Subjects (3)
Technology Subjects (1)

This is a thread for subject reviews only.  If you have any questions, then please PM the member who wrote the review. The views expressed are those of the authors. Keep in mind that, despite best efforts, information provided may not be accurate.

We encourage you to review the subject(s) you have completed, even if someone else has already reviewed your subject(s). The more reviews we have, the more helpful this resource will be. Please do not name teachers or denigrate your school.

Please use the following template for subject reviews:

Code: [Select]
[b]Subject Name:[/b]

[b]Units:[/b] (Is it Units 1/2 or Units 3/4?)

[b]Workload:[/b]

[b]Assessment:[/b] (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)

[b]Exam Thoughts:[/b] (What's the structure? How hard was it?)

[b]Textbook Recommendation:[/b] (What did you use? How much did you use it?)

[b]Recommended Other Resources:[/b]

[b]Year of Completion:[/b]

[b]Rating:[/b]  out of 5

[b]Your Mark/Grade:[/b] (Optional)

[b]Comments:[/b] Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.

Updated as of reply #54
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 03:25:14 pm by insanipi »
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K888

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 02:44:11 pm »
+7
Subject Name: History: Revolutions

Units: 3/4

Workload:
Such an arbitrary thing - really depends on how strong you are at the subject and what score you're aiming for as to how heavy the workload is.

It's probably higher than your regular subject, but still manageable if you stay on top of things.
Outside of class time (and when we didn't have a SAC), I'd try to regularly flip through the powerpoints I had (which was my method for memorising stuff) and do a cumulative few hours in a week - 2, maybe 3? Not too much. Regularly doing 30 minutes adds up, and it doesn't have to be super formal study - I often just explained stuff to my parents or whatever.
When it comes around to SAC time, I would say I almost doubled the amount of study I did, just because I smashed out practice questions and did more heavy study.

When it came to exam time, I'd say I was doing something Revs related (even if it was just thinking) for at least 1 hour each day in the 3-4 weeks prior, and increased that in the week or two before the exam.

If you pay attention in class, the workload isn't too bad. But you definitely need to do stuff outside of class. Also, if you're struggling to understand and memorise stuff, you're going to need to dedicate a bit more time to it. Time spent on the subject really pays off, though, and you'll be amazed at how much a small amount of effort can improve your marks.

Assessment:
I'd imagine that SACs would vary from school to school, but my class did 4 SACs (2 for each revolution), all emulating what we'd be doing on the exam. So (keeping in mind I did this with the old study design), the first SAC was 3 or 4 pointers (the 10 mark ER questions) for China - AOS1 (my first revolution), the second was a source analysis for China AOS2. For Russia, we did a source analysis for AOS1, and an essay for AOS2. Basically just helped us prepare for the exam by simulating similar conditions and questions in the SACs.

Exam Thoughts:
If you know your stuff and have done a fair bit of practice questions throughout the year, you'll be fine. Just need to keep a clear head.
It's a pretty close exam for timing, I was writing non-stop for basically all of it. So, make sure you're all good with time management.
I think VCAA are still working out the finer details for the exams with the new study design, but it seems like they're really expecting you to think deeply about stuff and not just regurgitate a pre-prepared response.
I was pretty lucky to do Revs in the last year of the study design, because I had a lot of relevant past exams at my disposal, and the exam itself was a pretty good one IMO.

In terms of actual structure, you write about the two revolutions you studied during the year - one revolution for section A, and the other for section B. Your teacher will generally have a preference and teach the class to do the exam in a specific way - eg: China for section A, and Russia for section B - but some leave it up to students to pick. I'd say know which revolution you're going to be doing for each section early, so you can refine your preparation and not have to do so much general stuff.

Under the new study design, the exam goes like:
Section A
- AOS1: source analysis
- AOS2: extended response
Section B
- AOS1: essay
- AOS2: source analysis

Textbook Recommendation:
China Rising & Reinventing Russia
I think these are the HTAV textbooks, and my school had a class set of them in the library so we could borrow them for the whole year and not have to buy them. Tbh, my teacher was really good and already incorporated a lot of the textbook and heaps of other resources into our powerpoints, etc. so I didn't have to use the textbooks that much. That being said, they're good at helping you learn what happened, and they provide a pretty balanced view of events.

Recommended Other Resources:
I didn't use any other resources, but my teacher provided us with a lot of practice questions that he'd written, which were incredibly useful.
Oh, and use the study design!! Make sure you're always referring back to it so you don't miss anything. I think people got stuck on the Alexandra Kollontai question for Russia in this year's exam, but she's clearly mentioned on the study design!

Year of Completion: 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 45 raw > 45.51 scaled

Comments:
I've said it heaps of times, but Revs was by far my favourite subject that I did during VCE. Across the state, I think it's sometimes taken as a bit of a bludge subject, but if you want to do well, you can't bludge it and need to put the effort in. Work out a system for remembering dates (I'd recommend mnemonics), make sure you learn the significance of events (and leaders), and learn how to answer questions the way VCAA want you to answer them. Try to get a good relationship with your teacher going, because it'll really help you succeed (but in the end, how you perform is all up to you!) and enjoy the subject more.

I think one of the reasons I loved Revs so much was I was learning stuff about the world that I hadn't ever covered at school before. I also felt it was a bit more relevant than some of the subjects you might commonly do in VCE.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 04:16:54 pm by K888 »
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Vaike

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 03:04:32 pm »
+9
Subject Name: Biology

Units: 3/4

Workload: Relatively high, large amounts of content and questions that require very thorough understanding of concepts covered.

Assessment: Unit 3 and 4 SACS usually comprise of tests and labs, alongside an extended investigation.
  • GA1 (U3 SACs):16%
  • GA2 (U4 SACs): 24%
  • GA3 (Exam): 60%

Exam Thoughts: The biology exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and short answer section worth 80 marks. Personally, I think the exam aspect of VCE Biology is probably the area of the course that is least enjoyable, and could benefit from improvements. Many questions require extremely specific wording in their answers, and are often confusing as to how the marks are distributed. Biology exams always involve heavy amounts of interpretation of rather lengthy questions, which can also prove very difficult. Whilst a strong understanding of course content will help you excel in this subject, the structure of this assessment means that your ability to clearly interpret questions and concisely convey your understanding is just as important if you are aiming for high marks.

Textbook Recommendation: I honestly didn't rely on my textbooks too much throughout this subject. My school used Nelson, and I also purchased Nature of Biology. Both had shortcomings; the Nelson text often gave insufficient depth of explanation, whereas the Jacaranda Nature of Biology provided more information, but extremely large amounts of irrelevant information. Personally, I preferred NoB as the Nelson book just had too much missing, however bear in mind this is for the previous study design; I have not read the texts for the latest study design.

Recommended Other Resources: Google and ATAR Notes are your friends. Posting questions on the Biology question thread is a must; there are so many helpful posters who can give great explanations, and the amount of information online far exceeds most commercial resources. That being said, I did find the Biozone workbook quite useful, and would recommend picking it up.

Year of Completion: 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 45

Comments: I loved VCE Biology. Although there is a lot of content, most of it is extremely enjoyable *cough Human change over time*, and unlike most VCE subject, almost all aspects of the course tie neatly together in one way or another. As you continue through the course, you learn things that concepts that seamlessly integrate into past material, explaining things you may not have understood about them before. The course also has quite a broad focus, from fossils to genes, there is really a large array of fascinating topics to explore that help directly explain aspects of our everyday lives. If you can live with the wordy nature of the assessments, I can't recommend this subject highly enough.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 04:01:43 pm by Vaike »
2016: Biology | Further
2017: Chemistry | English | Methods | Physics | Specialist
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My guide to VCE Chemistry

Joseph41

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2017, 03:14:46 pm »
+11
Subject Name: English Language.

Units: Units 3/4.

Workload:
I honestly don't think there's very much content in EngLang aside from the metalanguage (language used to describe language). You can find a list of metalanguage you need to know on pages 17 and 18 of the study design. This is the shit you really need to know well - so long as you can apply this to actual texts, you should be sweet, IMO.

Of course, there is still other content (see overview below), but I don't think it's a content-heavy subject. Naturally, that's not to say it's easy - quite the opposite, in my opinion.

Assessment:
Unit 3: 25%
Unit 4: 25%
Exam: 50%

SACs vary school-to-school, and can come in a range of formats (essay, analytical commentary, short-answer questions, folio of texts, investigative report, perhaps others). My school largely tried to simulate portions of the exam, which I think was beneficial.

Exam Thoughts:
There are three sections.

Section 1: short-answer questions relating to a provided text or texts.
Section 2: analytical commentary.
Section 3: essay.

I really recommend having a look at past EngLang exams to see the structure - or even these sample questions.

Textbook Recommendation:
We used Living Lingo, which I believe is still pretty common. We didn't really use it that much, though - perhaps once every few lessons we'd read something from it. I definitely don't think it's necessary to doing well in English Language, but it can help - particularly with metalanguage.

We also had a book called Mastering Advanced English, or something similar. It literally wasn't referenced a single time throughout the entire year haha.

Recommended Other Resources:
In general, EngLang isn't a subject that depends on textbooks. If you want to get a head start, I'd recommend flicking through Living Lingo, reading books like How Language Works (David Crystal), or checking out these free EngLang notes.

Perhaps one of the coolest things about English Language, though, is the fact that you have practically unlimited resources. Basically everything around you, you can use. The whole point of EngLang is to analyse language - why it's used, how it's used etc. As such, you can analyse newspaper articles, TV segments, chip packets, Tweets, online advertising, reports, death certificates. Literally anything with language, and that's a really cool thing. There might not be that many practice exams publicly available (which is frustrating), but you can make your own by using what you have around you.

I made habit of reading both major newspapers each day, and that served me well. I wasn't really interested in the stories, but I developed a passable ability to analyse language and how it was used by different people.

Some other potentially useful resources:
* Quotes and language examples for EngLang 2017+
* EngLang essay and analytical commentary submission and marking
* EngLang question thread

Year of Completion: 2012.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Your Mark/Grade: 44 raw > 45.73 scaled.

Comments:
English Language is an amazing subject, and if you're interested in it, I really strongly recommend you pursue it. It shouldn't be called English Language - it should be called Linguistics, because that's fundamentally what it is. I went on to study Linguistics for four years at uni, which is something I probably wouldn't have done without EngLang - I owe it a lot.

I'm going to quote myself now to give a brief overview of what EngLang actually involves (both 1/2 and 3/4, in case anybody's considering doing the latter without having done the former):

Quote
Regarding what English Language actually is, here's a brief overview. For context, I went through English Language 1/2 and 3/4, and then went on to major in Linguistics at uni. The reason I say that is that English Language should really be called Linguistics, because that's what it is. For that reason, English Language is, perhaps, the most relevant subject of them all; language is all around us every single day.

English Language Units 1/2 (Year 11)
Unit 1
In Unit 1 AOS 1, you consider that nature of language, and what differentiates human communication systems from those of other animals. You look at how language results in meaning (super interesting IMO), how language is used for different purposes and in different ways (such as spoken, written, or signed), and how context impacts our language choices. You'll also be introduced to some "metalanguage" (language we use to talk about language): terms like morpheme and lexeme. This type of metalanguage is really important (particularly if you go on to study Linguistics), and is excellent if ever you want to teach English.

In Unit 1 AOS 2, the focus is mostly on language acquisition; that is, how we develop language proficiency. There are stages of child language acquisition, which you'll consider in some depth (again, super interesting). Development can vary between "subsystems" of language, too (basically, the five main areas of language) - and you'll learn about this in terms of phonology, morphology, lexicology, syntax and semantics. There'll further be discussion centred on differences between learning language as a child and an adult, and also differences between monolingualism, bilingualism and multi-lingualism. In an ever-globalised world, this last point is surely of particular importance.

Unit 2
IMO Unit 2 is absolutely fascinating. There's a big emphasis here on the nature of language change, and how English has developed as a language over time. In AOS 1, you look at the development of the language from Old English to contemporary English. This includes things like why the language changed, and what influence it's had on us as citizens. There's also a section on the relationship between English and other languages, and how they may have diverted from the same roots in the past. Further, there's a bunch of stuff on the concept of "Standard English" (very important in Linguistics), plus attitudes toward language, word addition and word loss.

Unit 2 AOS 2 sees more of a focus on the impact of language contact; that is, when languages "collide". Particularly relevant is how English is becoming one of if not the world's most dominant language, and the impact that that will have on us. You will also consider how new languages are formed, including pidgins and creoles. The relationship between language and culture is also considered, which, as you can imagine, is pretty important in today's world.

English Language Units 3/4 (Year 12)
Unit 3
Unit 3 is split in halves, with those halves basically considering informal and formal language. AOS 1 looks at informal language, including key characteristics, the impact of context, stylistic features, and how and why informal language is used.

AOS 2 is essentially the same, but for formal language.

Unit 4
Unit 4 AOS 1 looks more at language variation within the Australian context, including variation along geographical, national, regional and cultural axes. Standard and non-Standard English is again important, and you also consider the nature of accents.

Finally, Unit 4 AOS 2 considers the inherently intertwined (at least IMO) relationship between language and identities: both individual and group. Language variation is again a factor, this time due to personal factors (age, gender, occupation, interests, aspirations, education etc.). The concept of prestige also arises.

P.S. You can find a lot of this information in the English Language study design. :)
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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2017, 03:43:18 pm »
+12
Subject Name: Chemistry

Units: (Is it Units 1/2 or Units 3/4?) 3/4

Workload:
Moderate.
I am a fast leaner, and found that I could stay ahead of the class fairly easy.
Putting in the effort to regularly revise information and complete past exam questions is rewarded well.

Much of the work involves learning processes for answering questions (eg. find the amount in mol, then multiply by enthalpy) and memorising content (especially for fuels). Unit 4 AoS 1 also requires problem solving.

A low scoring student will know some of the content and processes.
A medium scoring student will be familiar with most of the processes and content
An exemplar student will understand where the processes come from and the connections between concepts

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
GA 1: Unit 3 SACs     16%
GA 2: Unit 4 SACs     24%
GA 3: Exam               60%
My SACs consisted of a combination of tests and prac write ups.
It is very important when completing a prac to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. It is a good idea to revise both the topic being assessed and experimental methodology before a prac. During any experiment, you should conciously maintain awareness of how scientific methods apply to this task.

There are some experiments that are paticularly common for schools to use in their pracs. It would not hurt to look at these and make sure that you understand them.

One of the unit 4 SACs is a scientific poster.
Students are not rewarded for choosing difficult or complex experiments, so I strongly advise ALL students to pick an experiment that is fairly simple. The focus should be on showing your understanding of the scientific method, conventions, and understanding of how studied concepts are applicable to the experiment.

Students should organise their time to allow for research and (ideally) draft completion at home.

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
The exam is broken into section A (multiple choice) and section B (short answer). A data booklet is provided, and you should be familiar with its use and contents well before the exam. It is important to practice use of the equations in the data book numerous times, with particular attention being paid to the units used in each equation and constant.

Many students found this exam challenging, due to testing of content many students lack familiarity with, experimental design questions, and application questions.
I would advise future students to carefully read the examiners report for the research methods section.

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
I used the Heinemann textbook, and found it to be a very useful resource. There were, however, some errors.
I regularly used this throughout the year, and found it easy to prelearn concepts with it.
In the lead up to exams it was only used to look up specific queries.

Recommended Other Resources:
I would strongly recommend a collection of past exam questions by topics.
 I had StudyOn due to it being on my school booklist, however I rarely used it as the online format was inconvenient for mathematical work and drawing diagrams.

Year of Completion: 2017
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Vaike

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2017, 03:58:22 pm »
+10
Subject Name: Further Mathematics

Units: 3/4

Workload: I'd guess significantly below average workload for a VCE subject. The FM course is relatively shallow in content compared to most subjects, which alongside relatively straight forward concepts, results in a smaller workload than most other subjects. This however, does not mean you can neglect the subject completely, to do well requires large amounts of practice, as well as understanding every single concept inside and out.

Assessment:  Usually a SAC for each module so:
Unit 3:
  • Data Analysis SAC ~ Usually multi period test like SAC that covers, well, data analysis extensively.
  • Recursion and Financial Modelling SAC: ~ Usually a normal test like SAC.
Total contribution to study score: 20%

Unit 4:
Since schools can select from 4 modules; Matrices, Networks, Graphs and Relations and Geometry and Measurement, you may encounter a variety of SACs, but usually involve standard tests.
Total contribution to study score: 14%

Exams contribution to study score: 66% (33% each).

Tl;dr:
  • GA1 (SACs): 34% of study score
  • GA2 (Exam 1): 33% of study score
  • GA3 (Exam 2): 33% of study score

Exam Thoughts: Exams in Further Mathematics are largely predictable and usually don't throw up to many surprises.

Exam 1 consists of 40 multiple choice questions, and a CAS calculator and notes are permitted. The majority of these questions are straightforward, however it is common for VCAA to come up with one or two questions each year that really split the state. These difficult questions really assess understanding, which is why it is so crucial to have a firm understanding of the theory covered. 

Exam 2 consists of 60 short answer questions, and once again allows for a CAS calculator and a bound reference to be consulted. Once again, there usually aren't any particularly difficult questions that arise, however, it is imperative to be able to really understand what the question is asking. Due to the relatively repetitive nature of these exams, doing practice exams and really making sure you learn from them is key to success. 

Textbook Recommendation: I used the Nelson Unit 3/4 textbook. Apart from the horrendous web application, the textbook was largely okay, and honestly, most textbooks should be fine. However, don't spend too long on or get too hung up over textbook questions; they should be used to gain an understanding and familiarity with concepts only, of which should be honed and refined using exam questions (preferentially VCAA ones at that).

Recommended Other Resources: I do not think external references for Further are very necessary; personally I just watched a few YouTube videos about some of the more difficult topics and found that sufficient. However, I did find making a bound reference was super helpful and honestly I'd regard it as a must do, not so much for consultation during an exam, but for consolidating knowledge and understanding.

Year of Completion: 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 50

Comments: From what I can gather, Further Mathematics is perhaps the most misunderstood subject in the entire VCE curriculum. Simply put, many students fail to acknowledge the hidden complexities and do not approach the subject in the same manner they would with others, regarding it as a 'bludge' or an 'easy subject'. Whilst this isn't necessarily false, the relatively shallow nature of the subject goes both ways, making it both accessible to a large demographic, but also intensely competitive at the high end. It is really important to put in a consistent effort throughout the year, and to make sure you thoroughly understand the concepts.

That being said, I still enjoyed my time with Further. Having a subject that's concepts weren't too daunting was nice, especially in year 11, and the relatively lower time investment required was a welcome bonus too. Many of the concepts covered are also actually useful in real life, particularly financial math, and I still find myself using these concepts quite regularly. Perhaps my favourite thing about this subject though, is that it rewards effort. Simply put, if you a prepared to work hard, you should be rewarded well, irrespective of academic abilities. Whilst the intense competition at 45+ does mean there is an element of luck involved when shooting for very top end scores, if you work well throughout the year you can minimize the 'amount of luck' required, and really set yourself up for a good score.

2016: Biology | Further
2017: Chemistry | English | Methods | Physics | Specialist
2018 - 2021: BSc Advanced - Research [Computational Science and Mathematics] @ Monash

My guide to VCE Chemistry

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2017, 04:15:59 pm »
+8
Subject Name: French

Units: 3/4

Workload:
Pretty chill for most of the year, it just ramps up as you approach the oral exam.
I probably did quick vocab stuff on quizlet for 10-15 minutes every second or third night, but aside from that didn't have to do much, aside from set homework - we'd usually get at least one thing each class, which probably took no more than 30 minutes max.

As you approach the oral exam, you'll probably be spending several hours per week (cumulatively) on your detailed study and general preparation. You'll do a lot in class, but also probably have to do stuff at home. Really, it's up to you how much time you want to spend on it, though. You'll have to do research, make sure you know your texts well, and have good answers to the questions your teacher provides.

I'd say you should also try to do 15 minutes of oral practice every week, even if it's just with a friend.

Assessment:
I recall doing 1 listening SAC, 2 writing SACs, and 2 speaking SACs, I think. One of the speaking SACs was essentially a mock oral, but just covered the detailed study.

The listening and writing SACs were kind of related to the topics we were covering in class, but aside from the vocab you learn from that topic being helpful in the writing SAC, the fact that it's on a particular topic isn't that relevant. It's all just testing your language skills.

Exam Thoughts:
Oral exam structure:
- You walk in, sit down, say your student number, say hello to the examiners, etc.
- General discussion - 7 minutes - you'll probably get asked about school, your family, pets, what you plan to do once year 12 is finished, whether you have a job or not, and that sort of stuff. They might throw in a weird question or two to see how you are at thinking on your feet, but it's all pretty swell as long as you've practiced and have confidence in yourself
- Detailed study - you do an introduction of your detailed study for up to 1 minute, then answer questions/discuss for 7 minutes. You'll get asked about your texts, the links between them, and other stuff, which I've detailed here. Make sure you know your specific topic well, but also the broader context of the detailed study. Because the examiners don't know your specific topic *that* well, you'll probably get asked questions that are more general than ones you may have been asked in mock orals you've done with your teacher.

Written exam structure:
- Listening - three texts, two of which you respond to in English, one of which you respond to in French. You can listen to past listening tasks on the VCAA website to get an idea of speed - I found them to be a bit slower than what I was used to from in-class listening tasks. Make sure you practice listening tasks throughout the year so that you have good technique - i.e. not checking dictionaries whilst the task is playing, jotting down dot points, listening for key words, etc.
- Reading - again, pretty straightforward. I always found it quicker to read the question, then look through the text to find my answer, but some people read the text first. Highlighters are really helpful. Sometimes, you'll just be unlucky and get a dud reading task - the one on buildings last year (2016) was a bit odd - but most are fine.
- Writing - ~300 words, you get 5 prompts (which will specify varying text types you have to use) and have to write on one of them. Pretty straightforward.

As long as you're reasonably competent at French, the exam timing is fine. Don't get caught up spending ages on your writing, and you should be able to finish a bit early. Make sure you respond in the correct language - you'd be surprised how many people make this mistake, particularly in the reading section.

Textbook Recommendation:
I think the textbook we used was Elan or something like that. Used it frequently, and I'd imagine any textbook you use for French is something you'll use frequently, so would recommend buying the prescribed textbook.

Recommended Other Resources:
I think a lot of people use Schaum, which is a grammar book thing. I used it a bit and wasn't really that into it, but some people love it. So, if you want the extra practice and will commit to using it, then I'd probably say get it.
Otherwise, using Quizlet for vocab is great, and ask your teacher for practice discussion questions.

Year of Completion: 2016

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
My enjoyment was mainly affected by a poor relationship with my teacher, I think the subject itself is fine, and being able to speak a second language is great.

Your Mark/Grade: 37 raw > 46.63 scaled

Comments:
I think doing a LOTE makes for a good change to the grind of your other subjects. It doesn't really require huge amounts of work, you just have to consistently do a small amount across the whole year. It's not a subject that you can really "cram" for - the effort you've put in for however many years you've been studying French for is what counts. So does natural ability.
Honestly, confidence is probably one of the main things. The people that ace French are confident. I did well in my SACs during the year because I was confident in my ability. You need to be able to show composure.

Scoring can really screw you over, though. I was rank 1 the whole year, full marked both writing SACs and got A+'s for the other ones. I aced my mock orals, and knew my topic really well. But, when I got to the oral - I got asked dud questions that didn't let me show off all my knowledge. Like, I was getting asked questions that didn't even link to my topic (I did the consequences of resistance during WW2 for the French, and one of the questions I got asked was who I thought were the important women in France in WW2). It was really disappointing, and tbh, I'm still a bit disappointed haha. Was mostly disappointed because I was good at French, and I didn't feel like I got the chance to properly show off the effort I'd put in for 6 years.
Got A+ A+ A for a 37 (comparatively, I got A A+ A for a 39 in Bio). So yeah, be warned - things can go wrong.

A final note: you will improve so much in your abilities over the course of the year. So if you're struggling at the start - don't stress! By the end of the year, provided you haven't just bludged the subject, you should be pretty proficient at French.
I've heard someone say being able to score 35+ generally means you're heading towards fluency, but not too sure about whether that's true or not.
2017-2020: Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)

Vaike

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2017, 04:35:59 pm »
+9
Subject Name: Physics

Units: 3/4

Workload: About average workload for a VCE subject. I found the workload to be significantly less than both Biology and Chemistry due to the reduced amount of sheer content to remember. 

Assessment:
  • GA1 (Unit 3 SACs): 21% of study score
  • GA2 (Unit 4 SACs): 19% of study score
  • GA3 (Exam): 60% of study score

Most assessments involve a test or prac report of some sort. There is also an extended investigation/scientific poster SAC, requiring a focus upon two continuous independent variables. Students are not marked on the 'difficulty' of their experiment, so I thoroughly suggest doing something simple and avoiding unnecessary stress. 

Exam Thoughts: The physics exam is composed of 20 multiple choice questions, and a short answer section worth 110 marks, with a double sided A3 reference sheet permitted. I found this examination to be rather odd in relation to other VCE exams; very similar questions are repeated year after year, questions are often ordered sequentially in the order you will have learned them, and questions almost never combine different areas of the course together. As a result, the exam often feels methodical and familiar, and quite frankly boring at times due to the repetitive nature of the questions is the collision inelastic or elastic justify your response . Examiners reports are often unclear and lacking in detail which is not appreciated, and questions asked do not involve much math or critical thinking.

Textbook Recommendation: Heinemann 3/4. Read both this and the Jacaranda book. Whilst neither are great, I would recommend the Heinemann book over the Jacaranda, it is significantly better in that it more clearly explains most concepts without excessive and irrelevant detail.

Recommended Other Resources: YouTube videos are a must for physics. I didn't find any notes or Checkpoints to be very useful, whereas online videos often go into more detail, explaining concepts thoroughly, allowing for a deeper understanding of some of the mind boggling concepts covered. 

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 46

Comments: I really wish I could have given physics a higher rating because I thoroughly enjoyed it, as much as biology which I gave a 5. The concepts covered are amazing; learning about special relativity, electromagnetism and wave particle duality truly and permanently altered the way I view the world, and were so much fun to learn. VCAA have done a really good job with this new study design of making the content more engaging than in the past. Because of these simply incredible concepts, I'd really recommend considering undertaking this subject.

However, whilst the lack of mathematics in the course, alongside the repetitive exam structure make the subject more accessible, they also greatly limit the scope of the course. It is really weird, and not in a good way, how different the VCE Physics exam is to the other science subjects; the repetitive nature and lack of questions requiring a deep understanding making practice a dull experience, which in addition with the absence of any kind of math that isn't basic, poorly represents the study of physics in my view, and is quite disappointing.

So whilst I thoroughly enjoyed learning the content of VCE Physics, it could have been even more interesting. I would recommend it to anyone interested in physics or challenging their understanding of the world, however as a subject, it could be greatly improved if it the exam style was changed to be more inline with other science subjects, as well as introducing more math to allow for deeper exploration of various concepts.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 09:47:23 pm by Vaike »
2016: Biology | Further
2017: Chemistry | English | Methods | Physics | Specialist
2018 - 2021: BSc Advanced - Research [Computational Science and Mathematics] @ Monash

My guide to VCE Chemistry

Vaike

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2017, 08:00:04 pm »
+14
Subject Name: Chemistry

Units: 3/4

Workload: From my experiences, the workload for Chemistry was the highest of all the science subjects, due to not only the large, broad range of content to cover, but also due to the tricky exam questions that require a really thorough understanding. However, I didn't find any of this work laborious, as the content was engaging, and the questions varied enough to keep me thinking on my feet.

Assessment:
  • GA1 (Unit 3 SACs): 16% of study score
  • GA2 (Unit 4 SACs): 24% of study score
  • GA3 (Exam): 60% of study score
Most assessments involve a test or prac report of some sort. There is also an extended investigation/scientific poster SAC. Students are not marked on the 'difficulty' of their experiment, so I thoroughly suggest doing something simple and avoiding unnecessary stress, I may have made said mistake this year (whoops, don't waste time trying to do a back titration). The focus of Chemistry has shifted quite heavily towards practical work and understanding scientific experiments, so make sure to work at this throughout the year.

Exam Thoughts: Unlike the physics examinations, the chemistry exams always throw up a surprise with some unusual and difficult questions. The exam consists of 30 multiple choice questions and 90 short answer marks, many of which rely on the use of an accompanying data booklet provided in the examination. This years exam was quite different to past years, involving relatively little stoich, with a larger focus on assessing content knowledge and experimental design, which I found quite difficult. In my experience, and through looking at graded distributions, VCE chemistry typically has a more difficult exam than physics and biology, having a lower percentage required for an A+ cutoff. However, that being said, I also think it is the most enjoyable exam, due to its variation in question topics, and particularly well thought out questions.

Textbook Recommendation: I highly recommend getting your hands on Heinemann 3/4; it's probably the best VCE textbook I've used for any subject, although there are some errors. Explains most concepts in adequate detail, and is significantly better than the Jacaranda textbook. That being said, it doesn't cover everything as well as I hoped, hence I'd recommend googling stuff when you feel the text isn't fully covering a topic.

Recommended Other Resources: Online videos and websites are great resources. One of my favourite websites to use was molview, which was helpful for figuring out the structures and names of pretty much any molecule you could think of. I also found Checkpoints useful for chemistry; as they had some interesting original questions.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 50

Comments: Chemistry was a really great experience for me, and a really interesting subject to have studied. Be warned, if you're aiming to score well this subject is extremely deep and quite difficult, requiring the combination of extensive content knowledge with an ability to think critically in applying learned concepts to unfamiliar situations. If you like solving problems and doing puzzles, you should definitely have a look at this subject. Whilst at times, it does feel a bit repetitive and a bit of a marathon because there is so much content, the intricate nature of the topics keeps it engaging and interesting for the most part. I also really appreciated how different topics were intertwined in many questions, allowing you to draw upon knowledge from various areas of the course to draw conclusions, something of which physics lacks. However, the practicals I had to do were dreary and uninspired; not too different to pracs carried out in earlier years of schooling, but this will of course vary depending on your school.

If you are planning to only do one science subject for the purpose of a university prerequitsite, I would steer clear of chemistry. I found it to be the most difficult of the three, placing a larger emphasis on good scientific practice and experimental design, which may me more difficult to grasp due to limited exposure if you're only undertaking a single science subject. Additionally, chemistry is often considered the 'central science'; large parts of the course are made easier through an understanding of physics (such as electrochemistry)  and biology (such as metabolism and enzymes), and frankly, I found the concepts in the other two subjects to be more interesting.

However, in combination with those subjects, chemistry shines, and I'd highly recommend anyone taking either biology or physics to seriously consider taking chemistry too, alongside those who enjoy mathematics and puzzles, as some of the chem questions will really leave you with that rewarding 'aha' moment after you finally figure them out.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 07:33:59 pm by Vaike »
2016: Biology | Further
2017: Chemistry | English | Methods | Physics | Specialist
2018 - 2021: BSc Advanced - Research [Computational Science and Mathematics] @ Monash

My guide to VCE Chemistry

Syndicate

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2017, 08:17:55 pm »
+8
Subject Name: Specialist Mathematics

Units: 3/4

Workload: moderate (usually there is 1 application task for Unit 3, and 2-3 modelling tasks for Unit 4). It is quite easy to keep up-to-date with the class.

Assessment: The Unit 3 Application Task is worth 17% of your study score, whist the modelling tasks (all of them) are also worth 17% of your study score. There are two exams, exam 1 (non-calculator), which runs for 1 hour and 15 minutes (inc. 15 minute reading time), which is worth 22% of your study score, and exam 2 (calculator allowed), which runs for 2 hours and 15 minutes (inc. 15 minute reading time), which is worth 44% of your study score. Whilst exam 1 usually has 9-12 questions, exam 2 has 20 multiple choice questions, and 4-6 application questions (which has a few "sub-questions" as well)

Summary:
- GA1 (Unit 3 and 4 SACs): 34%
- GA2 (Exam 1): 22%
- GA3 (Exam 2): 44%

Exam Thoughts: Usually students tend to do well on exam 1 (non-calculator) as it is shorter, and has less applications in contrast to exam 2 due to the fact that the calculator is allowed (If you haven't started exam revision, you might not believe me for now). The fact that the calculator is allowed, VCAA can also test you on your "calculator knowledge", which can be cruel in some stages. Like any other subject, the exam usually starts with easier questions, and as you reach the end, it increases in difficulty as well. The exams also tend to focus primarily on calculus (there is usually an implicit differentiation and a separable differential equation question every year). I am sure that VCAA will also add in a statistics/ probability question into the exams every years from now on.

Textbook Recommendation: Cambridge Specialist Maths 3/4. In my opinion it is the best textbook out there, and I would say it covers the content quite well. I completed most of the questions from this textbook (although I did find some of the questions were unnecessary)

Recommended Other Resources: For exam revision, I competed a lot of exams, and I would say Heffernan, Neap and MAV were the best ones. You should be able to get practice exams from your maths teachers.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 43

Comments: Honestly, specialist maths is not as hard as you think it is. The difficulty of specialist has been over-rated for years, and it is easier than an "average" maths students perceives it to be (If you are in doubt, just go ahead with it, and drop it if things don't go well for you). The new study design (the current one, 2016-...) also has statistical interference in it (which is quite new). Although it is a bit boring to learn at first (especially if you are like me, and hate how vague probability can be...), you should be able to start enjoying it before exam revision starts (it is really easy to learn in my opinion). If you are doing specialist ONLY for scaling purposes, I think that might not be a good idea, as you may find it difficult and spend most of your study time learning specialist.

If you have any questions regarding Specialist, feel free to message me!  :)

Edit: updated the mark
« Last Edit: December 25, 2017, 04:47:25 pm by Syndicate »
2017: Chemistry | Physics | English | Specialist Mathematics | Mathematics Methods
2018-2020 : Bachelor of Biomedicine at University of Melbourne

Physics Guide 2017

Vaike

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2017, 08:48:16 pm »
+8
Subject Name: English

Units: 3/4
Workload: Extremely variable, depending on how comfortable you feel with the subject and what you're aiming to get out of the subject. For me, I spent much more time on English than any other subject, so I'd say the workload is extremely high. However, I know other who haven't spent nearly as long on it and as still done very well, so it's hard to judge I guess.

Assessment:
Surprise, most English assessments involve writing an essay under time conditions. Unit 3 involves a text response essay, an argument analysis essay and a creative piece, of which should be closely related to a text chosen by your school. Unit 4 involves an oral presentation, alongside a comparative text response essay.

  • GA1 (Unit 3 SACs): 25% of study score
  • GA2 (Unit 4 SACs):25% of study score
  • GA3 (Exam): 50% of study score

Exam Thoughts: The exam involves writing an argument analysis, text response and comparative text response essay in 3 hours, worth 10 marks each. Yikes. I never, ever felt ready for any of my SACs or the English exam. I didn't do a single practice exam under timed conditions other than what our school made us do, as I honestly couldn't take sitting down for 3 hours writing essays. Despite that, I still managed to almost complete my exam. The English exam was for me, the biggest hurdle in my VCE experience. However, I think it is important to realise that even if you haven't been able to fully complete and practice before the exam, pressure does wonders to how fast you can write; so trust that on the day you'll be able to get it done.

Textbook Recommendation: N/A, didn't use any sort of textbook.

Recommended Other Resources: Lauren's ATAR Notes VCE English notes are a must in my opinion. They were super helpful, and I relied on them throughout the entire year. I found text guides useful at times, especially so for texts that are difficult to follow or interpret. However, I think the most important 'resource' you can get access to is your teacher, and your peers. Even if you don't get along with your teacher, try to find someone you can get to mark your work and share ideas with, whether it be a past teacher (what I did) or another English teacher from your school; the knowledge and support they can provide is invaluable.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 45

Comments: English was a love/hate relationship for me. I hated actually writing essays formally, especially under timed conditions, and was glad to finish and know I'd never need write one again. However, I did love exploring the texts, discussing their ideas with others, identifying themes and symbolic meanings and such. Despite feeling a bit overwhelmed at first, I ended up enjoying the comparative section the most; it was liberating being granted a little more freedom by the broader prompts presented in this section, that always allowed for not only a discussion of the text, but the meanings behind them as well. Drawing similarities and differences between the two was also and extremely rewarding experience. Analysing  argument however I found extremely tedious, repetitive and inspiring; I absolutely despised having to write these essays.

Overall, everyone I have talked to has had a different experience with English, and I do believe that a large part getting the most out of this subject requires you to really invest yourself into it. The themes covered in the texts are often relevant to everyday life and are intriguing to discuss and reflect upon, although I don't think essay writing is a particularly comprehensive way to examine a student's understanding and analysing arguments should be destroyed and never touched by VCAA again.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 07:33:13 pm by Vaike »
2016: Biology | Further
2017: Chemistry | English | Methods | Physics | Specialist
2018 - 2021: BSc Advanced - Research [Computational Science and Mathematics] @ Monash

My guide to VCE Chemistry

Vaike

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2017, 09:13:09 pm »
+12
Subject Name: Mathematical Methods

Units: 3/4

Workload: Above average. That 1/2 Methods covers the majority of 3/4 significantly reduces the amount of work required for the later, as a large portion of the course is focused on revising previously covered topics from 1/2. That being said, getting as much practice and exposure as possible is imperative to success.

Assessment:
Can involve application and modelling tasks, alongside exam style like tests, depending on the school. 
  • GA1 (Unit 3 and 4 SACs): 34% of study score
  • GA2 (Exam 1): 22% of study score
  • GA3 (Exam 2): 44% of study score

Exam Thoughts: VCE Methods involves an Exam 1, a 40 mark short answer, technology and note free exam that runs for one hour with fifteen minutes reading time, and an Exam 2, including 20 multiple choice questions and 60 short answer marks, where a CAS calculator and a bound reference is permitted.

Methods exams are hard. Whilst a fair section of the exam may be relatively simple, VCAA are experts at weaving in subtle tricks, and writing very difficult and confusing Exam 2 questions. Despite most of the mathematics being relatively straightforward, it can be troublesome to identify the correct 'method' to solve some of these later questions, particularly under the stressful time conditions of the exam.

Textbook Recommendation: I used Cambridge 3/4 and would recommend it. I would not recommend doing every question, as some were irrelevant or wrong, but I would suggest using it to gain an foundational understanding, of which may be refined through completing practice exam questions.

Recommended Other Resources: Didn't find myself using too many additional resources outside what my teacher provided. Checkpoints was okay, but you can get almost all the questions in it from VCAA exams, so I wouldn't spend my money on it.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 43

Comments: I didn't enjoy unit 3/4 Methods very much. While I can't really fault the subject for something objectively wrong with it, I wasn't a fan of it being similar in content to units 1/2 without much else added, it almost just felt like more of the same. I also didn't really enjoy most of the topics, mainly functions (so many boring graphs) and the limited calculus explored, however, I did quite enjoy probability and statistics as something a little bit different. Again, most of this is just personal preference rather than substantiated criticism, but my lack of interest in these areas made it difficult for me to invest myself into the subject, and hence spent limited time completing practice exams and revising more difficult questions, which I do regret not doing.

In isolation, I think I would have found Methods enjoyable, but in combination with Specialist, which contained topics I was much more interested in learning, it was difficult to motivate myself to spend as much time as I should have on the former.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 07:32:54 pm by Vaike »
2016: Biology | Further
2017: Chemistry | English | Methods | Physics | Specialist
2018 - 2021: BSc Advanced - Research [Computational Science and Mathematics] @ Monash

My guide to VCE Chemistry

Vaike

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2017, 09:43:36 pm »
+9
Subject Name: Specialist Mathematics

Units: 3/4

Workload: Significantly above average. I found that a large amount of practice was required to understand and become fluent with the concepts covered, which were often also rather, complex  8)

Assessment:
Can involve application and modelling tasks, alongside exam style like tests, depending on the school. 
  • GA1 (Unit 3 and 4 SACs): 34% of study score
  • GA2 (Exam 1): 22% of study score
  • GA3 (Exam 2): 44% of study score

Exam Thoughts: Exam 1 is composed of 8-12 short response questions, is technology and note free, and runs for one hour, with fifteen minutes reading time. Exam 2 is composed of 20 multiple choice questions, with 4-6 short answer questions tallying 60 marks. A CAS calculator is permitted, as is a bound reference, and the exam takes place over two hours, with fifteen minutes reading time.

Whereas the Methods examination can have some crazy hard final questions, the majority of the difficulty in Specialist exams I found came from time. Whilst their are undoubtedly difficult questions in both, I found those in Specialist to be more straight forward; in that it was easier to identify what the question was asking. That said, the questions are perhaps more varied than methods, and are certainly fun yet challenging to tackle. However, there is also constant time pressure, so using reading time effectively and learning to work efficiently are critical to success.

Textbook Recommendation: I used Cambridge 3/4 and would recommend it. I would not recommend doing every question, as some were irrelevant or wrong, but I would suggest using it to gain an foundational understanding of the concepts, of which may be refined through completing practice exam questions.

Recommended Other Resources: Doing as many practice exam questions as possible is important, to both consolidate content knowledge and gain familiarity with exam type questions. Other than that, I didn't rely on too many external resources.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 43

Comments: I really, really enjoyed learning spec. From vectors and dynamics, to complex numbers and more advanced calculus such as volumes of revolution, the topics covered throughout the course were all distinct and interesting, although initially difficult. In spite of bottling the exam, of which is insanely competitive, taking this subject introduced me to large parts of mathematics I'd never seen before, and what I loved most, was that almost all of it had clear links to real world use and application. Whether it was using differential equations to model growth/decay, vectors, kinematics and dynamics to model linear motion, or statistics to analyse samples, learning these concepts and being able to apply them really captured my attention, and the satisfaction from mastering a concept was perhaps the most rewarding out of any subject I took.

Not having done units 1/2 did make it more difficult, so I'd really recommend taking these units first. Despite at many points feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed, I do believe it was well worth the effort. Hence, to anyone interested in learning how useful and beautiful math can be in modelling the world around us, or anyone simply interested in taking any sort of engineering course, this subject is a joy and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 07:32:33 pm by Vaike »
2016: Biology | Further
2017: Chemistry | English | Methods | Physics | Specialist
2018 - 2021: BSc Advanced - Research [Computational Science and Mathematics] @ Monash

My guide to VCE Chemistry

j1879

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2017, 10:16:08 pm »
+8
Subject Name: Economics

Units: Units 3/4

Workload: Moderate (in saying this, I knew students who found the subject very hard, and others who found the subject to be less so - really depends on the basic understanding you have of the economy and the nature of commerce).

Assessment: Economics SACs usually take the form of tests and short-answer questions. Generally, the tests include multiple choice, short-answer, and long-answer (this is usually an evaluate question worth 6 or 10 marks). My Economics SACs ran for 55 minutes in total, including 5 minutes of reading time.

The assessments are weighted as follows:
GA1 (Unit 3 SACs): 25% of study score
GA2 (Unit 4 SACs):25% of study score
GA3 (Exam): 50% of study score

Exam Thoughts: The 2017 Economics exam ran for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Similarly to the SACs I completed, the exam consisted of a multiple choice section, a short-answer section, and a long-answer section. The exam itself was okay in terms of content, but it's important to note for anyone looking into doing the subject that a knowledge of events in the economy in the past two years is vital to your exam.

Textbook Recommendation: My class utilised Economic Fundamentals in Australia by MacGregor and Salla. A good textbook with valuable insight, albeit a few typos in places.

Recommended Other Resources: Again, read through articles from commerce-focused sources (e.g. the Financial Review, the Economist - if you can get Plain English Economics that's really good to read; if not, statements from the RBA are intuitive, if biased towards optimism).

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5

Comments: Recommended for those who are interested in any kind of commerce subject - just remember that the basic building blocks (e.g. an understanding of AD and AS and how they interact, the assumption of rationality, current economic trends, and the knowledge that everything is not ceteris paribus) are really really important for the development of your skills later on in Economics. When you put the work in, it's a rewarding subject and useful in real-life situations too.

rainbowsparkles15

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2017, 06:05:11 pm »
+7
Subject Name:
Biology

Units: (Is it Units 1/2 or Units 3/4?)
3/4 (Completed in year 11)

Workload:
Quite content heavy but manageable as most areas of the course links together. Some concepts are initially challenging to tackle but if you have a love for sciences the workload doesn't seem too heavy at all!
It always depends on how much effort you personally want to put in but to do well, revision is necessary every few days (practise questions, summarising, watching videos etc.)

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
GA1- U3 16% (My school did 2 sacs)
GA2- U4 24% (My school did 3 sacs, one of which was the experimental design poster)
GA3- Exam 60%

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
There is one biology exam consisting of 120 marks, 40 multiple choice and 80 short answer (typically about 11/12 multi-part questions). This years exam was the first of the new study design and while most of the same concepts were examined, they were tested in different ways to previous years and more interpretation and inferring was required. There is now a heavy emphasis on the importance of experimental design and it's no longer enough to be able to design an experiment, we also need to analyse the reliability of investigations and draw valid conclusions. Straightforward content can be tested through the examiners asking questions related to a given experiment so it is crucial than you are able to comprehend and identify key parts of a question. It is not enough to be confident in the content alone, you must also be able to put on your biological brain and relate theory to an unknown situation and then get your point across clearly to the examiners (tough, I know! But definitely possible with some practise and passion). Another thing to keep in mind is that this subject isn't about memorizing, it's about understanding and when you understand what you're learning,  it becomes a whole lot easier.

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
My school used the Heinemann Biology 2 textbook. I've heard others say that Nature of Biology is better but I had no complaints. I made a summary of each chapter throughout the year using my textbook and this summary book was one of the best resources as the final exam came around. My only concern is that there is a lot of information in the textbook that will enhance your learning but isn't essential so it is important to have your study design close by as you move through each chapter to make sure you've got a deep understanding of the relevant points

Recommended Other Resources:
I'd first like to stress than it isn't essential to buy every resource available in order to achieve the best mark! (I did this being a year 11 and it was so not required) I purchased a range of resources but the best of all was the summary book I had created myself. If your school offers Edrolo it is a great resource but if not, there are so many YouTube videos out there that do an equally amazing job at helping you understand that tricky content. I recommend the Amoeba Sisters when you are first learning content for a very simplified and understandable summary to get you started. Khan Academy is also fantastic.

I also attended the TSFX headstart lecture but found it hard to absorb so much information in advance so I rather revision lectures to quickly review content, however the TSFX notes were great! I also purchased the A+ biol notes and ATAR notes summary notes book and preferred the latter as it was in more colloquial, digestible language so was easier to quickly read through. Unpopular opinion, but I'm not a fan of checkpoints as they distort the difficulty of exams when you actually go to do them. Looking back, I would have used external company tests??

I also cannot overstate how useful the ATAR notes community is and I wish I had started using it earlier! For biology in particular there are so many members happy to help you understand concepts and refine your answers as well as an abundance of notes. It's also so rewarding and helpful to answer other peoples questions and definitely strengthens your own understanding 

Year of Completion:
2017

Rating:  out of 5
5

Your Mark/Grade: (Optional)
Will let you know on December 15!

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.
Don't be scared off by the rumors of biology being impossibly hard, heavy in content and boring!! The 3/4 biology course is fascinating and strengthened my love of science and I cannot recommend it more. It isn't a subject you can slack off in but if you are prepared to put in effort (again, a manageable amount) the rewards are definitely worth it- I cannot recommend it more. Feel free to pm me with any questions (particularly if you're a year 11) and best of luck !

Edit: Typo
« Last Edit: December 05, 2017, 06:37:13 pm by rainbowsparkles15 »
2017  Biology [42]

2018  English | Chemistry | Methods | Further | Accounting