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Author Topic: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings  (Read 15362 times)  Share 

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courtney2502

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2017, 09:05:44 pm »
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Subject name: History Revolutions

Units: 3&4

Workload: Possibly one of the most vigorous subjects in VCE content wise. It's definitely a subject that you cannot bludge, nor just focus on memorising statistics, dates and quotes. It's a subject in which you must understand the complexity behind significant peoples, ideologies and events, and you must be able to identify and understand how everything relates to each other, as well as being able to support your answers with a suficient amount of evidence. Constant revision is necessary throughout the whole year if you want to do well in Revolutions.

Assessment: My school did it in a different order to what I presume most schools did as we focused on Section B first, but our first Outcome was an Essay of the Causes of one Revolution (Russia in my case). The second Outcome was on the Consequences of that same revolution which was a source analysis. The third outcome was for the Causes of the second revolution (China in my case) which was also a source analysis, and the final one was about the consequences of that same revolution, which was two extended response questions.

Unit 3 and 4 is worth 25% each (50% altogether) and the exam is worth 50% of the overall grade.

Exam Thoughts: It was a 2 hour exam with 4 sections weighted 20 marks each (overall out of 80 marks, and 30 minutes was dedicated to each section).
Section A had two parts - a source analysis and two extended response questions.
Section B also had two parts - an essay and a source analysis.
The hardest part I believe is managing your time efficiently- you need to be able to move on from an uncompleted section if you don't finish it in the time dedicated to it in order to ensure you don't cost yourself marks in other sections. As well as this, going into the exam, you need to know both revolutions inside out, as well as accurate evidence - you cannot just make these up. You have 15 minutes of reading time, in which you really should be planning in your head the order of which parts of the exam you would do first (I recommend numbering them from 1 to 4 - 1 being the one you're most confident in and 4 being the least, and doing it in that order, as you may be able to finish sections you're confident in earlier and give yourself more time in your weakest sections.)

VCAA is bound to throw something at you in the exam that is miniscule and possibly wasn't extensively covered (for me, that was Section B of Russia being all about women - that really threw me) so I suggest making sure that you cover every single aspect of the study design in as much detail as you can possibly muster.

Textbook Recommendation: My school used Analysing the Russian Revolution by Richard Malone and China Rising by Tom Ryan. These were the only books we used in class and I found them to be very beneficial, moreso the structure of the Russian textbook rather than the Chinese one.

Recommended other resources: This was my Year 12 subject in Year 11 so honestly, I didn't realise any other resources were available until the month before exams. I purchased the ATARNotes History Revolutions book which I loved as it condensed all the information down into basic summaries which was useful if you already had a grasp of the complexities behind the events. It also had boxes for quotes and statistics which I found very useful. I also made Quizlet's for memorising facts, quotes, dates etc. and that was very effective and I did not forget any facts that I had memorised. I also recommend getting Checkpoints - I did not do so as it was too late, but my friend had a copy for the French Revolution and I also thought that would be very useful.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 3.5/5

Your mark/grade: 35! A, A, B+

Comments: If you're looking to do this subject, I recommend doing it in Year 11 rather than Year 12 so that you can invest as much time as possible into this subject as that is definitely required to do well. Otherwise, if you love History, I also recommend doing it, however I slightly can't stand the thought of taking another History class in my life, so if you want to learn about the Revolutions, perhaps documentaries and research in your own time so it doesn't destroy any slight love you have for History. Don't be thrown off by this though, it still is quite a rewarding and very interesting subject and I always looked forward to the classes!

« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 04:58:42 pm by courtney2502 »
2017: History Revolutions [35]
2018: English [41] Further Maths [38] Psychology [41] Legal Studies [38] Viscom [37]
ATAR: 90.55
2019: Primary Education @ ACU

Joseph41

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2017, 11:53:46 am »
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Disclaimer: did VCD in 2012, study design has changed, and is changing again in 2018. Take with a grain of salt.

Subject Name: Visual Communication Design

Units: Units 3/4

Workload:
Heavy. Perhaps surprisingly so. Basically all of my subjects were content-heavy, but I by far and away spent the most time on VCD - and it ended up being my poorest study score.

The thing with VCD - perhaps even more than other subjects - is that you're never really finished. There isn't that much content to remember, but there's no real reason you couldn't add an extra page, design or annotation to your folio, y'know? There's no real "end" - you're basically just confined by time. So yeah, don't be fooled into thinking that VCD is a "bludge" subject. If you want to do well, you'll have to invest time.

Assessment:
For me - and this is stretching my memory a bit - I believe it was a 50/50 split between coursework and the exam. Coursework included both theoretical SACs and two folios (roughly, one in semester one, one in semester two). For 2018 and beyond, the assessment split is as follows:

Unit 3 assessment: 25%
SAT (Unit 3-4): 40%
End of year exam: 35%

So, it looks a little different. I'd recommend reading through the study design for 2018+ if interested.

Exam Thoughts:
Broadly, my advice is to not neglect the exam. It's easy to do, because you focus so much on practical stuff throughout the year, and there realistically aren't very many resources available to use. But work with your teachers as closely as possible; the exam can end up being quite important (as above, it will contribute 35% in 2018+).

The biggest challenge for me in the exam was timing. I'm pretty comfortable rendering designs, for example, but they take me a long time. I hadn't really practised doing renderings or other designs much under time pressure, and that's going to be a huge thing with VCD. You might walk out of the exam disheartened because you feel like you didn't get your best work on paper, but don't worry - I think pretty much everybody will be in the same boat.

Typically, exams to this point have been a combination of prac and theory, so it's important to take in relevant materials to use. You can find past exams and examination reports here.

Textbook Recommendation:
I had a textbook, but honestly don't know which one it was. Regardless, we used it very irregularly.

Recommended Other Resources:
One of the best things you can do, I think, is to just design and analyse designs in your down time. For example, try to link design elements/principles to ads you see on TV, in the newspaper or on billboards. Think about why those elements/principles have been used in relation to the target audience and the like.

Otherwise, you can read a little more about my VCD experience here.

Year of Completion: 2012

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 44 raw > 42.25 scaled

Comments:
If you're looking for a subject simply to fill the gaps, do not pick VCD.
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

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TheBigC

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2017, 12:24:21 am »
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Subject Name: Biology

Units: Units 3/4

Workload:
Biology is a content-heavy subject. It is entirely conceptual-based and assesses students' abilities to explain - often - complicated concepts in a concise manner. Biology requires that you study and revise material on an almost-daily basis to ensure perfected understanding and continual ability to recall different facts and figures. This may sound tiring, but let me re-assure you, these aren't just 'any' facts and figures, these are some of the most exciting and interesting, sometimes even extraordinary aspects of life and about how the biological world around us 'ticks'. Overtime however, as you perform this level of continuous revision, a more complex understanding is able to be acquired, thereby linking all the seemingly different and dispersed concepts into small cohesive groups (i.e. Unit 3 is all about proteins and their functioning within the human body....) making the subject itself less 'rote' and more understanding-based.

Assessment:
The SACs ultimately account for 40% of one's study score, with the exam contributing the remaining 60%.

Unit 3: (16% of total score)
Different schools do different assessments, however I can describe the SACs that I had sat for:
SAC 1: Practical SAC involving an investigation of enzyme activity
SAC 2: Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration Test
SAC 3: Immunity Test
SAC 4: Extended Practical Investigation (some schools will so this in unit 4).

Unit 4: (24% of total score)
SAC 1: Two large components of evolution were described in an article and a written, essay-like, response had to be constructed to answer 3 very broad questions.
SAC 2: Biotechnology Test.

Exam Thoughts:
This examination was out of a total of 120 marks:
- 40 marks for multiple choice
- 80 marks for short answer
The exam itself was not too difficult for those with whom prepared well, however, I did find the time constraint to be of the greatest difficulty, whereby only barely finishing on time (I am usually quite fast too....)
I would recommend to students that are planning on taking Biology as a course in 2018 to focus largely on experimental design questions and various application questions throughout their studies as these will - most definitely - be on your end-of-year examination. Unfortunately, many resources lack these questions (I will address which resources do not lack these below).

Textbook Recommendation:
I used many, many texts:
- Jacaranda Nature of Biology 2
- Heinemann Biology 2
- Nelson Biology Units 3&4
- Campbell Biology
The texts I used most were Nature of Biology and Heinemann Biology 2... Nelson was horrific and one of the worst, most shallow texts that I had. If you are willing to spend the money, indeed purchase it as some information is decent and not found in other textbooks, however, everything else is useless, misleading or sometimes even plain incorrect. I mainly used Campbell Biology as a reference to deepen my understanding of different concepts and to clarify any ambiguities.

Recommended Other Resources:
- Biozone workbook (my goodness this was AMAZING).
- NEAP smartstudy guides (exams + questions)
- ExamPro Biology
- A+ notes (these were awesome)
- (DURING EXAM REVISION): TSFX lecture notes were the best compilations I had even encountered. These were so damn useful.
- VCE Checkpoints is essential as well..... (great way to test yourself on each area of study)

Year of Completion:
2017

Rating: 6 out of 5 (haha)

Your Mark/Grade:
Not Available (results are due Dec 15th)

Comments:
This was such an amazing subject and honestly, I had a fantastic time studying it.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 11:58:23 pm by TheBigC »

bdgonz

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2017, 04:08:26 pm »
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Subject Name: Health and Human Development

Units: Units 3&4

Workload: HHD is regarded as quite a content heavy subject, so if you struggle with memorising, it may not be your forte. However, even though definitions must be memorised almost word perfect (for full marks), HHD has become (and is becoming) far more about applying your health-related knowledge. Furthermore, if you read over your notes and revise even once a week, remembering content for the end of year exam should not be as daunting as it is made out to be.

Assessment:
Unit 3 SACS (25%): Australia's health
Unit 4 SACS (25%): Global health
Exam: 50%

Note: The study design is changing for 2018, so this structure may not be the same

Exam Thoughts: The exam is 100 marks and is comprised of multiple part questions from both Unit 3 and 4. There will usually be one or two pure definition questions, one 6 marker. The examiners will always throw in a few curveballs to try to distinguish the good students from the great students, so be prepared for that. It should be noted that HHD is regarded as an 'easy' subject, and because of this there is very very strict exam marking. I lost marks on my exams on questions that I had memorised from the textbook.

Textbook Recommendation: I used the Key Concepts Unit 3&4 Textbook (with the gumboots on the front), but this textbook can no longer be used for 2018. I used my textbook a lot, but I slightly regret it. I wasn't aware of the utter importance of the study design, and unfortunately memorised a lot of un-examinable information. The study design is your best friend. Obviously use a textbook, but structure your notes to the study design dot point (to ensure you are completely prepared for the exam).

Recommended Other Resources: Usually HHD lectures are quite good, because it exposes you to different ways of answering questions. Try to go to lectures that are run by examiners! Buying notes is okay, but I believe making your own from multiple resources is far more valuable.

Year of Completion: 2016

Rating:  4 out of 5 (was occasionally a bit dry, but not often!)

Your Mark/Grade: 42 raw

Comments: I repeat again, THE STUDY DESIGN IS CHANGING! A lot is likely to stay the same, but parts are certainly changing. I found HHD to be a fun, interesting subject and an overall good choice for one of my Year 11 3/4s (I think it prepared me for this year). Good luck!

2016 | Methods [39] HHD [42]
2017 | English [45] Accounting [41] Economics [34] Psychology [45]
2018 | Laws (Honours) / Commerce @ Monash University
ATAR: 97.50

Joseph41

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2017, 03:13:59 pm »
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Subject Name: Health & Human Development

Units: 3/4

Workload:
To do pretty well? Perhaps not as much as other subjects (of course, this is all subjective). To do really well? A fair bit (again, subjective). Like, I feel I probably could have scored 40+ with a fair bit less effort, but with a subject like this one, I think going the extra metaphorical mile tends to pay off.

Assessment:
Honestly just going to go off memory here. I'm pretty sure it was 25% for Unit 3 SACs, 25% for Unit 4 SACs, and 50% for the end-of-year exam. The study design is changing (again) in 2018, though - I suggest checking it out here. By the look of the new study design, assessment comprises:

* Unit 3 SACs: 25%
* Unit 4 SACs: 25%
* End-of-year exam: 50%

So I don't think much if anything has changed.

For me, SACs pretty much simulated the exam - so short answer and mid-length questions, typically between one and six marks. This is probably my preferred form of assessment - I think it suits me best - and it was also good practice for the exam. What it meant is that I could develop effective study techniques throughout the year for that particular assessment type.

Exam Thoughts:
You can find past HHD exams and examination reports here. As you'll see, these traditionally include 1-6 mark questions, potentially covering the entire course.

To me, the trick to HHD is a) learning the content (relatively straightforward - just requires consistency), and b) learning answer structures. More than any of my other subjects, I found HHD to be formulaic. That is, answering different question types in certain ways tended to be a sure way of getting full marks. Working off the examination reports linked above is a great step toward this - they're truly an undervalued resource.

Otherwise, timing is a big thing in the exam (and to a lesser extent, SACs throughout the year). I think I finished with like four seconds left in the exam, and that was pretty stressful. I really, really recommend working on timing throughout the year, and developing a quick (but legible) writing style.

Textbook Recommendation:
Honestly, I reckon they're all pretty similar. I used mine mostly to form summaries (see below), and occasionally the chapter review questions.

Recommended Other Resources:
I'd just smash out as many practice questions during the year, and practice exams at the end of it. Don't be afraid to re-do questions, would be some of my best advice. If you do a question and get like 5/6 on it, come back to it later on. Keep answering questions until you get 100% on them (work with your teacher if they're willing).

Same thing with practice exams at the end of the year. Just keep working at it until you're nailing your responses.

Year of Completion: 2012

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 50 raw > 50 scaled

Comments:
Overall, I enjoyed HHD 3/4. I didn't do HHD 1/2, so was taking a bit of a risk - it was either this or Extension Philosophy. No regrets (although uni Philosophy is sweet, for anybody playing along at home).

There's a fair bit of content. Sometimes it's dry, sometimes it's interesting (obviously IMO). None of it is particularly groundbreaking, but it's a good subject.

To do well, I think dedication throughout the year is key. If you leave revision until exclusively the end of the year, you're going to be playing catch-up, and that's not what you want. My study technique:

1. Pay attention in class. Take notes.
2. Pay attention in class. Complete practice questions.
3. For independent revision, make summaries of key concepts. Then summarise those summaries. Then summaries those summaries. Try to condense entire parts of the course into one page of notes (doing so really makes you think about what's important).
4. Closer to the exam, another technique I used was simply going through each dot point on the study design, and writing as much as I knew about that concept. If I could write a lot, sweet - it was a confidence booster. If not, I knew I had to work on that particular dot point.
5. Work out what questions are really asking. As above, IMO HHD is formulaic in this sense.
6. Get people to test you before SACs and the exam. I found that if I could explain something verbally, I could also do it in writing (my written communication tends to be better than my oral communication). Using the above-mentioned one-page summaries is a great tool for this.
7. Pay attention in class.
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bdgonz

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2017, 12:07:55 am »
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Subject Name: Psychology

Units: 3/4

Workload: Moderate to heavy. Psychology inevitably has a lot of content that must be memorised, but to do really well you must be able to apply this knowledge and think quite quickly on the spot. To be successful in the exam (40+) you should know the content extremely well, and have lots of practice applying the knowledge. The recent study design change in 2017 has focused on making the questions more about applying knowledge as compared to spewing out memorised content (however, this is still a part of the course).

Assessment:
Unit 3 - Worth 16% and comprised of:
SAC 1: The Nervous System and Stress
SAC 2: Learning and Memory

Unit 3 - Worth 24% and comprised of:
SAC 1: Sleep and Consciousness
SAC 2: Mental Health and Phobias
SAC 3: Research methods

End-of-year exam: 60% (very important!)

Exam Thoughts: The exam is made up of Section A (50 multiple choice questions) and Section B (70 short answer questions, including one 10 mark extended response question).

This is a change in 2017, as previously (2016 and before) there has been Section A (65 multiple choices), Section B (60 short answer marks) and a Section C Research Scenario (15 marks).

This year I found the exam quite simple, easy and straightforward. The multiple choices were relatively easy and the short-answer questions were relatively predictable. In the exam there is likely to be a question about a 'Scientific Poster' question and a 'Media Study' question, as these must also be done during your SAC work. Psychology is a subject where you can prepare to an extent, but after a certain point, your score will be reflective on how resilient and adaptive you can be in the exam. For me, I was forced to make up a question about caffeine antagonists and bullshit a 5 mark conclusion question. Adaptivity is essential! 

Textbook Recommendation: My school actually didn't use a textbook. Our teacher got us to watch Edrolo videos before we came into class, and then we used powerpoints she created to learn the content. Not having a textbook can be daunting, but I found it actually less stressful (as there was no need to be overwhelmed by piles and piles of information).

However if your school uses a textbook, I recommend structuring notes using study-design dot points, and double checking with teachers if all the information is relevant.

Recommended Other Resources: Edrolo is great (but not everything is entirely correct). Makes class feel like a revision lesson.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating:  5 out of 5, absolutely loved this subject. All the information was super duper interesting.

Your Mark/Grade: 45 Raw (scaled to 44.5)

Comments: Psychology has been my all-time favourite subject of VCE. I thought it was HHD, but after doing Psych I realised that HHD gets the silver medal. All of the content from stress to memory to sleep to mental health to research methods is interesting and fascinating. My friends and I especially loved applying our Psychology knowledge to real life situations (especially reinforcement and punishment). I must mention that my Psych teacher was INCREDIBLE, and that she took 3 of our Year 12 classes. The other Psych teacher was nowhere near as good, and a lot of those students hated the subject. However, if you are passionate and driven and interested in the science of the human mind; Psych is for you!

Hope this helps  :D :D
2016 | Methods [39] HHD [42]
2017 | English [45] Accounting [41] Economics [34] Psychology [45]
2018 | Laws (Honours) / Commerce @ Monash University
ATAR: 97.50

ellellen

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2017, 03:32:07 pm »
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Subject Name: Media

Units: 3/4

Workload: For your SACs there isn't too much content, a lot involves memorisation but it isn't too hard. The SAT (your film, photography, etc) however, involves a lot lot lot of work, and will probably take up most of your time for quite a few weeks.

For my SAT I made a short film. This was a long process that involved creating a folio that demonstrated your thought process in coming up with your idea, and explained your creative choices. This took weeks and weeks to create. Then you need to go through the process of drafting, scripting, storyboarding, finding actors and locations, filming over several weeks, doing reshoots, then editing, THEN putting all of this into your folio too. This took sosososo long, but luckily you'll have most of the term 2 holidays to do your filming. Of course, putting together your SAT is heaps of fun, and you get to be in charge of every aspect of what you produce, and I loved doing it so much. But, just be aware that it is a very time consuming process, and for me, it took up a lot more time than studying for any SAC for any subject (although it was worth a lot more than any single SAC too, so fair). Ultimately, despite the hard work, the SAT will be the most enjoyable and rewarding assessment task you'll ever undertake!

Assessment:
- 3 SACs throughout the year, worth a total of 20%
- SAT (School-assessed task) worth 40%
- Two hour exam worth 40%

Exam Thoughts:
*Disclaimer: the study design is changing from next year, so this is what my exam was like, but yours might be slightly different!!!!*

The exam is split into three sections; each one assessing the content of a different one of your three SACs. It might be different next year but for me these sections were:
1. Narrative
2. Media Texts and Society's Values
3. Media Influence and Regulation

Each section was weighted pretty much evenly; the exam was out of 65 marks so one section is usually worth a couple marks more than the others. Each section had a number of short answer and extended response questions.

The exam is pretty straightforward, however one slight difficulty I found was with how some questions are structured. For example, in Narrative, you study two different texts. A question on the exam might say something like "referring to one of your media texts, answer this question _________" and then the next question says "using your other text, answer this very different question __________" and you need to weigh up which text you think suits which question better, and which you have more examples for! This was hard for me because I am very indecisive! Other than that, the exam wasn't too difficult, and if you did well on the SACs, the exam is really just like all your SACs put together in one.

Textbook Recommendation: I used Heinemann Media, which was the same textbook used for 1/2 Media. It is nice for teaching about some film and photography techniques but isn't very useful for the SACs or exam.

Recommended Other Resources: YOUR FILMS/ TV SHOWS/ OTHER TEXTS. Watch them all before the year starts, watch them throughout the year, know them back to front. These are your most valuable resources. It's also pretty useful to read analyses of your texts on random blogs and websites, which might mention a certain point about your texts that is useful for your assessment!

Year of Completion: 2015

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 44 raw > 42.6 scaled

Comments:
Overall I loved media, particularly the SAT. Our teacher also chose really good texts for us. For Narrative we looked at Children of Men (2006) and The Hunger Games (2012). These films were pretty good, but after watching them each 10+ times in one year, I became so sick of them!
For Society's Values we looked at how gender was represented in a variety of different texts, comparing texts from the 1960s, 1990s, and 2010s. These texts were: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, The Simpsons, Step by Step, and Modern Family. Section three does not involve any specific media texts.

I recommend media if you're interested in filmmaking, watching movies, analysing films and tv shows, and learning about different theories of how the media operates!

Also take a peak here at the study design for next year: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/vce/media/MediaSD_2018.pdf

VCE 2015: Biology | History Revs | English | Legal Studies | Media | Methods
ATAR: 96.55

Currently: Arts/Law at Monash University - History Major, Journalism Minor

Quantum44

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2017, 05:17:48 pm »
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Subject Name: Biology

Units: 3/4

Workload:
The workload of biology varies quite a bit depending on whether you are doing it as a sole 3/4 in year 11, or with many other subjects, and what score you are aiming for. I was hoping for a score well into the 40s, and since I did biology as a my only 3/4 in year 11, I put in a lot of consistent work throughout the year and smashed out the practice exams at the end of the year. If you are looking for high marks, Iíd recommend 6-8 hours of work a week working through the course by writing notes and doing practice questions, increasing this amount considerably before SACs. In terms of practice exams, Iíd definitely say 40 is the golden number for biology, however it really depends on your learning style and Iím sure there are people who have achieved study scores of 50 by doing many fewer practice exams, or far more.

Assessment:
I did biology when the previous study design was used, so we had 10 SACs. Fortunately, VCAA have decided to be less brutal with this new study design and I believe there are now 5 SACs each contributing 8% to your overall study score. However I am not very familiar with the new study design so you should definitely check the VCAA website for the fine details.

Exam Thoughts:
The exam is structured around two sections:
- Multiple Choice: 40 marks
- Short Answer: 80 marks

- Reading time: 15 mins
- Writing time: 150 mins

In my opinion, you should be aiming for a mark per minute for multiple choice. The questions are generally straight forward and just test your knowledge of the content. Then use 90 minutes for short answer, as these make up the bulk of the exam and test knowledge of content, ability to apply concepts to unseen problems, and how you can convey your answer in a fluent and concise manner. Finally, you should aim to leave 20 minutes at the end to check over the exam, mostly focused on reading over your responses to the short answer questions.

Textbook Recommendation:
I used the Nature of Biology, which, despite being known as the most comprehensive textbook for VCE biology, wasnít particularly helpful. It included far too much useless information and glossed over important areas of the study design. On a whole, it left me confused as to what VCAA focus on when assessing the study design.

Recommended Other Resources:
Connect Education notes are a really good, high quality resource and also give solid exam advice as they are made by people who actually know the VCE system very well. Didnít really use anything else although Iíd recommend NEAP smart study questions as a good alternative to checkpoints if you are planning on doing lots of past exams at the end of the year.

Year of Completion: 2016

Rating:  5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 45

Comments: Biology is a great subject, particularly if you love science and want to pursue a career in a biological area medicine or just want a taste of VCE in year 11. Looking back on VCE, itís probably the most fun Iíve had at school as it really felt like I was learning something interesting and tangible while getting an overview of how life works. I havenít gone into a great amount of detail in this review but Iíll leave links to my biology resources below if you want some more tips and tricks.

How to get 40+ in VCE Biology
Improving Expression in VCE Biology
UAdel MBBS II

cookiedream

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2017, 12:21:56 pm »
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Subject Name: English Language

Units: 3/4

Workload:
Didn't find it to be much, personally, other than the metalanguage. The study design has all the terms that you need to know for the exam, and you shouldn't learn beyond this (particularly since there's a risk that the examiner might not know the new term). I put in the work throughout the year, with writing practice paragraphs and answers to short answer questions mostly - rarely full essays. Definitely went to the teacher often for feedback, though I'm not sure whether that counts as workload ahaha.

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

My school had six SACs, three for each unit. For every unit, there was one SAC for each of the three sections of the exam: Short Answer (Section A), Analytical Commentary (Section B) and Essay (Section C).

Exam Thoughts:

Section A: Short Answer (15 marks)
Based on the transcript denoted as 'Text 1'. You get around 4-6 questions with marks varying from 1 mark to 6 marks. They're very centred around your ability to recognise and correctly use metalanguage (e.g "Identify the social purpose of the text" [1 mark] - you need to know what "social purpose" means). Here, you also need to be very specific to the given text, ensuring that your answers are not generic and that you use line numbers.

Section B: Analytical Commentary (30 marks - actually out of 15 but then doubled)
Based on the transcript denoted as 'Text 2'. Also has a great emphasis on metalanguage and text specificity, except you can decide what exactly to talk about. You can structure your paragraphs in terms of subsystem, in terms of sociolinguistic variables, in terms of identities, etc. etc. No conclusion required - I certainly didn't write one!

Section C: Essay (30 marks - actually out of 15 but then doubled)
At the end of the exam booklet, you're given three pages. Each page has a set of stimuli (around 3-4, or maybe even 5) and at the bottom of the page, there's a statement/question which you need to discuss/show how/agree/disagree, etc. Greater emphasis on your retention of linguistic concepts (e.g. taboo, Standard English, Australian English, individual and group identities) and how you're able to talk about them. Structure is important here, with an introduction, 3-4 body paragraphs and conclusion necessary. Metalanguage is a bonus but there isn't as much focus put on it as in the previous two sections.

Overall, I thought this year's exam was kinda easy...but I was scared to admit this coming out of the exam room. The short answer questions were really straightforward, where you can easily interpret the mark allocations. The analytical commentary involved a written text, so there was no need to go into the specifics of turn-taking/topic management as well as prosodic features and phonological features - as you would if it was a spoken conversation. The very first essay topic suited me very well (something about social groups/change...? I forgot), whilst most people I know chose the second topic (which was about PC, euphemisms, etc.). The last essay topic was kinda weird, where it asked you to discuss Standard English, which was definitely my weak point!

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
'Living Lingo' was the main textbook my school used. I sometimes read it and annotated pages on topics which I had greater trouble with (particularly PC and doublespeak), but other than that I barely used it.

Recommended Other Resources:
I also used Kirsten Fox's 'English Language Exam Guide' to help my SACs and for Section A practice during exam revision. 'English Language for Senior Students: A guide to Metalanguage', also by Kirsten Fox, is a really helpful resource which explains in-depth different metalanguage terms, with good examples, and different concepts listed in the study design. Since Units 1/2, I've also used 'The Complete Guide to English Usage for Australian Students' by Margaret Ramsay as another resource for metalanguage. 

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 49 raw > 49.45 scaled

Comments:
Really enjoyed Eng Lang!! Although it's quite difficult, it's a great subject which I found really fun, highly applicable to real life and easy to study for. Don't think I would've enjoyed the other Englishes as much, hence not have done as well in them. The content really made me think of the kind of language we use in different situations, particularly the speech of politicians when they're in public as opposed to a private domain. Personally, I found the assessments to be quite reliant on structure, which I liked since there's almost a set way in which you can write (not as much for Section C though, which is why I didn't do as well in my essay SACs lol). I highly recommend this subject for anyone who enjoys learning about the wonders of the language we use and take advantage of on a day-to-day basis, and those who don't mind memorisation of the metalanguage (some found it to be really dry and boring) and those who don't mind a bit of structure.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 12:32:51 pm by cookiedream »
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nice!

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2018, 05:05:58 pm »
+8
Subject Name: Legal Studies

Units: 3/4

Workload:
Moderate. Legal studies is majorly a content subject, but it's not as much content as, say, bio. The workload mainly consists of reading the textbook and completing questions from it, doing regular prac exam questions, and making content summaries. Although you must memorise case studies as well as principles of government and more, you must also be able to apply this knowledge to questions considering the strengths and weaknesses of different aspects of the legal system in evaluation questions, which can be done through past exam questions.

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

Exam Thoughts:
The exam essentially can be split into short answer and extended response questions, and consists of 70 marks, with 15 minutes reading time and 2 hours writing time. The exam increases in difficulty as it goes. It begins with short 2 mark questions such as identifying and explaining one criminal sanction, and leads to larger analytical questions, including analyses of the legal system. For these questions, students must draw on not only their memory, but critical thinking in how to answer. The final question on the exam is the dreaded 10-marker, which usually draws upon two different areas of study and requires either a comparison, evaluation, or both.

Students who do well in the exam tend to not just memorise content to answer the short 2-4 mark questions, but also have considered many aspects of different mechanisms within the legal system including the difficulties one may face when using the legal system in terms of its Fairness, Accessibility, and Timely nature (FAT). To earn full marks on such questions, students must address each of these elements, and how they are or are not achieved.

You should aim to get the first questions out of the way as fast as you can in order to give yourself more time to give a detailed response to larger questions. Also, during reading time I would recommend skimming the exam, and focusing on the larger questions and brainstorming paragraphs in your head. As soon as writing time starts, jotting down a plan is VERY beneficial so that you can start writing straight away when you go to the analytical questions.

To score well in your answers on the exam it is imperative to use the stem of the question. You must use the stem in your response to show that you understand what the question is asking, and to make a more coherent answer. Every paragraph should link back to the stem, similar to in English when you would write a linking sentence at the end of each paragraph. You could also use the stem to begin a paragraph. For example, if the question is:
"The Commonwealth Constitution protects Australians through express rights.
Evaluate the extent of this protection."
, you should aim to begin your paragraphs with a variation of "One way in which the Commonwealth Constitution protects Australians through express rights is..."

Textbook Recommendation:
Justice and Outcomes- used heavily at the start of the year as I had not completed units 1/2 and thus needed to really learn the basics of legal studies. However, it also very useful as a glossary, as well as for case studies (specifically the 1967 referendum). The questions do not all need to be completed but you can just decide which questions are worth doing. Very helpful in terms of giving extra information to make an answer more detailed.

Recommended Other Resources:
CPAP- AMAZING !!!! Used CPAP study guide religiously due to the concise and easy to understand information. Exam tips were extremely helpful to understand what errors to avoid according to past examination reports. There are many tables showing comparisons and strengths and weaknesses within the legal system which definitely assist more visual learners, and can easily be built into paragraphs. The mini exams at the end of each area of study are so so so helpful, and extremely good SAC revision, especially as there are sample answers/ a marking scheme at the back.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 46 raw (scaled to 46.12)

Comments:
Legal studies is a really interesting and informative subject !! I would recommend to everyone as I think everyone should be aware of how the government and courts operate, how legislation is passed, and how one may be able to access dispute resolution. The content really isn't hard to learn and understand as long as you do the basic work, and is actually fun to study for once you get to the exam period ! After doing legal studies, I enjoyed it so much I ended up putting Law as my first preference for uni, which I had not even considered beforehand  :)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 10:01:40 pm by nice! »
2017 ATAR: 99.00
2018: Laws (Honours) / Biomedical Science @ Monash University

Joseph41

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2018, 12:10:07 pm »
+8
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Joseph41

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2018, 01:01:09 pm »
+9
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

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sonnyangel

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2018, 05:45:56 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Visual Communication Design



Units: 3/4



Workload:
There isn't much content in general, however, the folio requires a lot of time and effort. Creating one is a lengthy process but it can also be really rewarding, especially if you like your brief. Overall, I found the workload quite manageable; I occasionally spent more time on VCD than my other subjects but it was nice to have a creative outlet and be able to spend time on things that are more time-consuming than difficult.
 
Assessment:
+ 3 SACs (25%)
-       Mini folio
-       2 written SACs
+ School Assessed Task (folio) (40%)

+ End-of-year exam (35%)
*NOTE: The study design will be changing in 2018 so it may be different!



Exam Thoughts:
The biggest issue with the exam for most people is time management. While the questions are of easy/reasonable difficulty, finishing in time whilst still being satisfied with the quality of your work is somewhat a challenge. I liked to separate the types of questions into 5 categories: theory, case studies, technical drawing, rendering, and design.
Theory questions are the ones that outright test your knowledge of content. These usually concern the topics of elements, principles, and typography. Case study questions are similar to the ones asked in your written SACs. They involve questions about a real or made-up product/company and you will either be required to analyse the designs or answer questions about the design industry in relation to the design/example provided. Technical drawings are some of the harder questions and these usually involve perspective drawings or orthogonal drawings. Technically, they could also be floorplans and elevations but I've personally never heard of VCAA asking for these kinds of drawings. Rendering requires you to render an object and make it look 3D. This is one of the most time-consuming questions. Design questions involve creating something that meets the brief provided. These are usually in the communication field, however last year, it was in the industrial field.
Overall, my method of tackling the time constraints was to answer the types of questions in a specific order. I typically went with this order: theory - case studies - technical drawing - rendering - design.

Textbook Recommendation:
I used the Nelson Visual Communication Design textbook (Third Edition). I found it helpful for theory as I didnít do Units 1 & 2 but overall, I donít think the textbook was absolutely necessary.



Recommended Other Resources:
Go to Top Designs and take lots and lots and lots of pictures. Having examples of what youíre supposed to do is super helpful since there isnít a specific format you have to follow and occasionally, youíll find that youíre unsure about how to start.
This is a link to a sample folio (https://emmascreations.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/year-12-unit-4-visual-communication-design-folio/).
For theory, the Edrolo guy is helpful if your school offers it. Also, the pinned posts on the VCD board are good too!

Year of Completion: 2017



Rating:  5 out of 5



Your Mark/Grade: 46 raw (scaled to 44.98)



Comments:
I really enjoyed VCD and it was my favourite subject all year! I think itís really important to make a brief youíre excited about because the folio takes a long time and if you donít like the requirements of your brief, you wonít want to work on it. It might also be helpful to be your own target audience so that way you know youíll be interested in what youíre designing!
2018: Commerce / Information Technology @ Monash

mzhao

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2018, 11:25:24 pm »
+10
Hey guys, here's a review on something a bit different.

Subject Name: Algorithmics (HESS)

Units: 3/4

Workload:
I felt that the workload was moderate to heavy. Unlike other subjects such as Methods or English, the content covered in Algorithmics is completely new, and shares little overlap with content taught in previous years of school. Furthermore, I found some of the content very challenging, especially the topics in U4 AOS3, which explore the much broader idea of computing through several thought experiments and philosophical arguments. While the conclusions they reach are fascinating, I spent, quite literally, weeks to grasp some of the logic behind those arguments. These two reasons combined made me feel that although the number of concepts taught are far fewer compared to other subjects like Biology, the difficulty of the content impacted the workload, and will impact you especially if you aim to master all of it.

Assessment:
Unit 3 - School Assessed Tasks worth 20%, comprised of:
- a small number of folio tasks which require you to explore the use of Data Types and/or employ design patterns to construct different algorithms.
- a project in which you present a solution to a real world problem by abstracting aspects of the problem, representing them using Data Types, writing up an algorithm in pseudocode, and presenting a short report detailing and justifying the design choices of your solution.
- a written report which evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of a sample solution to a real world problem.

Unit 4 - School Assessed Tasks worth 20%, which includes:
- a formal mathematical analysis of a given algorithm which solves a problem.
- the construction of an improved algorithm which solves the same problem, along with written analysis and justification for your solution.
- a report on the universality of computation and algorithms.

Exam - 20 marks Multiple Choice, 80 marks Short Answer, worth 60%

Exam Thoughts:
The content of the exam was a bit of a surprise once I opened the booklet. Back when I studied the subject in 2016, which was only the second year it had been around, there wasn't much information regarding the types of questions VCAA like to ask. The only guide we had was the 2015 exam, which mainly tested the theory and mathematics behind algorithms. The 2016 exam was very different, as many of the short answer questions asked us to apply our knowledge to construct algorithms to solve a variety of problems. Though I was more comfortable with writing algorithms compared to explaining the theoretical concepts studied in the subject, I was a bit sad that my emphasis on revision for the latter did not pay dividends in the exam.

Textbook Recommendation:
We were given access to a digital textbook on Alexandria Repository from Monash Uni which we used occasionally. I thought it provided only a basic and brief explanation of the content.
I preferred reading content from more advanced, university level textbooks. While they provided detailed explanations of concepts along with bonuses such as proofs for algorithms, the risk is, of course, wasting time studying content outside the scope of VCE Algorithmics.

Recommended Other Resources:
I enjoyed many videos on YouTube which gave clear explanations along with the intuition behind the standard algorithms you are required to learn in Algorithmics, such as Dijkstra's, Floyd-Warshall and Prim's.

Year of Completion: 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 48 (~49.2 scaled)

Comments:
Algorithmics is a unique subject, and offers a refreshing change from the bland textbook questions you receive in other classes. Because a large portion of the course relates to creating algorithms, I feel that prior experience with programming would help ease the workload, mainly for the start of Unit 3, when the fundamental ideas in programming are taught. However, don't let a lack of programming experience deter you! Almost none of the course requires you to write code in a specific programming language. If you are interested in problem solving and the ideas of computation, this subject will give you a good taste of the rapidly expanding field of algorithmics.
2016: Algorithmics [48 + Premier's Award]
2017: Biology [46], Methods [50 + Premier's Award]
2018: Physics [50], Specialist [50]
2019: Chemistry, English, English Language

Lsjnzy13

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2018, 12:45:55 pm »
+9
No one has done Chinese yet so here we go:

Subject Name: Chinese (SLA)

Units: 3/4

Workload: Relatively high

Assessment:
UNIT 3: 3 SACS (25% of study score in total)
  - Sac 1: creative writing (12.5%)
  - Sac 2: listening
  - Sac 3: oral
UNIT 4: 2 SACS (25% of study score in total)
  - Sac 1: reading comprehension and translation
  - Sac 2: listening and reading comprehension


Exam Thoughts:
Exam 1 Ė Oral (15 minutes)
Oral is split into 2 parts: General Conversation (7 minutes) and Detail Study (8 minutes)
For GC the two examiners take turns asking you questions relating to the following five aspects:
1. Yourself and your family
2. School (incl. subjects you do)
3. Friends / pets
4. Extracurricular activities/work
5. Future plans (uni, area of work etc)

For DS, you first spend one minute introducing your topic which must include:
- Introduction of your topic (very briefly, 1-2 sentences max)
- Which areas did you focus on (3-4 areas of focus)
- What sources did you use in research (3-5 sources)
- Why did you pick the topic? (optional. Very briefly if you choose to do it)

Examiners then take turns asking questions relating to your detail study.

Exam 2 Ė Written (2 hours + 15 minutes reading)
Written examination is split into 4* parts:
   1. Listening (2 questions, first question answered in English, second in Chinese)
   2. Reading Comprehension (2 questions, first question answered in English, second in Chinese)
   3. Translation (2 questions, both to be answered in English)
   4. Writing (you get 5 topics of 5 different text types, choose one to answer)

Textbook Recommendation:
I used the textbook written by Xinjingshan. Personally did not find it very helpful especially for writing, as the sample essays were all too short and well below the word limit. I would recommend getting resources off past students (eg. high scoring past SACs, essays etc) instead of relying on textbooks.

Recommended Other Resources:
See above.
Also, other PEOPLE are very good resources! I was able to get full marks for listening, and nearly full marks for oral because I spent the weeks leading up to the exam finding as many Chinese people as I can to talk to. Iím sure this applies to other LOTE subjects as well, just find someone and TALK to them. They donít have to be a VCAA examiner, just have a conversation with them and try to always answer in full sentences.

Year of Completion: 2017

Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 35 (43 scaled) (97/100 Oral Exam)
GA1: A         GA2: A+        GA3: A

Comments:
I doubt Iím qualified to give advice for reading and writing, since I completely messed them up for the exam. But I got nearly full marks for oral so hereís some advice for that:

-   For your DS, choose a topic that hasnít been done a trillion times. My original topic for DS was Chinese cuisine, which gets done by at least a hundred kids every year. I later changed it to the Chinese Education Mission of 1872 (cos Iím also a history geek) which has never been done before, so the examiners are automatically more interested.

-   Get as much info as possible, even if they seem irrelevant. For my DS on the CEM one of the students later became the father of railroad, and just for fun I researched the technologies behind railroad construction back in the early 1900s. Examiner ended up asking me a similar question for the exam.

-   Stay calm and act natural. Sounds clichťd, but I cannot stress this enough. Remember: you only go through this ONCE, but the examiners have to do this EVERYDAY for HOURS. So donít be afraid to be expressive, laugh, even make jokes, do anything to make the examiners feel comfortable. If you make it an enjoyable experience for them, theyíre more likely to give you a good score.

-   If you make a mistake, correct yourself immediately. You actually get marked on this. If you said something that didnít make sense, laugh and quickly correct yourself. Donít sit there awkwardly and donít act worried.

-   Make your DS personal to you. You WILL be asked Ďwhy did you choose this topic?í, make sure to provide a personal / interesting reason (do NOT say because someone told you to, someone you know did it before, etc).

-   HAVE GOOD MANNERS!! No, you donít get marked on it, but it leaves a good impression. Smile and say hi when you walk in, say thank you before you leave and remember to push your chair in.

-   Also, a general advice which definitely helped me, have some basic knowledge of Chinese history, politics, and geography, and how they influenced present day Chinese society and culture.

Good luck to anyone doing Chinese!

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

*Note: Study design changing in 2019, written exam will no longer include translation.

EDIT: Just to add, don't be afraid to lie during the oral exam. I BS'ed my way through half of my DS questions because I didn't know the answer. That's another reason why you should choose a topic that hasn't been done before, doing common topics will make it harder for you to get away with lying, since the examiners would know the topic really well.
One of my examiners asked me to name some famous people from the Chinese Education Mission, I named the 3 that I knew and their achievements, then she asked me "Apart from them, are there any other people that you know?"
Me (internally): F***! I only learnt those three
So I said the first Chinese name to come to mind (my own) and said some random achievement, and got away with it. 8)
Basically, just sound super confident.

EDIT 2: For oral you are not allowed to tell the examiners your name or school. If you're asked to introduce your school, make sure that there's not enough information for the examiners to figure out or have a general idea of what school you're from.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 01:49:54 pm by Lsjnzy13 »
VCE
2017: Chinese [35]
2018: Literature [47]; Ancient History [44]; Chemistry [39]; Global Politics [39]; Methods [34]
ATAR: 98.35
University of Melbourne
2019 - 2021: Bachelor of Arts
2022 - 2023: Master of Teaching (Secondary)
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