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December 10, 2019, 03:20:46 pm

Author Topic: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings  (Read 29724 times)  Share 

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planttle

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #60 on: November 12, 2019, 10:00:46 pm »
+8
Subject Name: literature
Units: 3+4
Workload:
 a pretty light workload, i didn't get much homework, you choose how much work you want to do
Assessment:
school coursework: 50% (u3 - 25%, u4 - 25%) exam:50%
unit 3: adaptations and transformations (essay and oral (not assessed)), creative response (written creative piece and statement of intention)
unit 4: close analysis (two essays, different texts), perspectives (essay)
Exam Thoughts:
two sections - a: perspectives essay, b: close analysis - you must choose a different type of text for each section (for example, you cannot write about two plays or write about the same novel for both sections), marking guide seems pretty vague and subjective to me
pros: it can be fun, especially if you have a good topic and passages, because you get to look deeply into your texts and have your own interpretation, there's also no set structure for how you write your essays
cons: you only have an hour to write each essay which is really hard especially since you have to both deep and wide and likely have a lot to say, you can't bookmark the pages of your question booklet in reading time, no dictionary allowed
Textbook Recommendation:
the only textbook i had was the atarnotes complete course notes, they were pretty good but i lost use for it early in the year, i suggest only getting it if you feel like you need extra support in understanding how to analyse your texts and writing essays, otherwise maybe just borrow it from a library and have a skim
my teacher gaves us notes from the insight exam guide, again probably just borrow this and have a read of it since it only focuses on the exam you might not get a whole year's use of it
Recommended Other Resources:
- find some crits and reviews online! if you become a member of the slv you can access databases for free, i suggest jstor, but you can also find some that you don't need to log into to access if you just search them up
- if you have trouble understanding your text read shmoop or sparknotes articles
Year of Completion: 2019
Rating: 5 out of 5
Your Mark/Grade: haven't received my study score yet but I scored above 40/50 for each of my sacs
Comments: lit was my favourite vce subject! I had a lot of fun looking deeply into texts and perspectives and it was lovely break from my other subjects. the culture is also really good because people don't choose literature if they don't like it, it's really good to have a mature and complex discussion of the texts that you may not have in an english class where people's interest varies, also a lot of opportunities for jokes and light-hearted conversations and debates outside of class. also, you get to read out loud in class if you want!! please do not choose this subject if you do not like reading because that's basically all you will be doing throughout the year.
the texts I studied: twelfth night, robert browning's selected poems, cat on a hot tin roof, north and south, and only the animals
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2018: revs
2019: lit, bio, japanese sl, methods, chem

Genshai

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #61 on: November 15, 2019, 09:54:05 pm »
+2
Subject Name:
Biology

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

Workload:
I found bio had a relatively light workload, as everything links together :)

Assessment: (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
U3: At my school, we had 2 SACs (each 4%) for AOS1 and 1 SAC (8%) for AOS 2. Both of these were the classic test.
U4: We had 1 SAC (8%) per AOS (x3), with the final being a scientific poster.
This totalled to 40%, with the exam being the final 60% :)

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
I really didnt like the 2019 exam :( It emphasised a lot of 'less important' aspects of the studying design (very little adaptive response, gene regulation) - a lot more application questions and quite unlike other vcaa exams imo :) I think i had just expected something else, and didnt study appropriately.
The exam itself is 2 hours and 45 minutes, including 15 minutes reading time. There are 40 MC questions and 11-12 short answer questions, consisting of multiple parts (a,b,c etc). I find bio MC are relatively easy compared to other subjects, but the short answer requires a very specific response. be careful :)

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
I used the the Nelson Biology textbook, but honestly, i stopped using it half way through. My teacher gave us summaries throughout the year, so i found those more beneficial than the textbook.
I dont /endorse/ it ;), but you can find many pdf copies of textbooks online for free, so maybe check some out before you choose to purchase one. Or use them all, whatever floats your boat.

Recommended Other Resources:
Biozone ! amazing resource for studying for SACs !! i wouldnt recommend it for the exam necessarily, but perfect for the SACs. I also used it consistently throughout the year, which i would highly recommend !
Edrolos were a great resource. I highly recommend the biology edrolo. I would watch these before we covered the content in class, and then after we covered it. Really helped to hear the information multiple times.
ATARNotes Lectures: super helpful and refreshing. The bio lectures were great for refreshing older content and preparing for what was to come. Would highly recommend.

Year of Completion:
2019

Rating:  out of 5
5/5 !!
Bio was my absolute favourite subject. I would highly recommend it !! I actually skipped the 1/2, and only did the 3/4 for timetable reasons. i had no interest in bio at first, but I quickly fell in love with the subject !

Your Mark/Grade: (Optional)
I had an average of about 93%, and was ranked about 1-5 in the cohort.
I will update you when my ss is released :)

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, content, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.
I would do it again in a heartbeat ! i really, really recommend bio. Its actually fun studying for !
2019: Biology
2020: English, Methods, Revolutions, Chemistry, Art :)

Geoo

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #62 on: November 17, 2019, 04:11:39 pm »
+3
Subject Name: Biology

Units: 3/4

Workload:
Above average. There was alot of content to remember and understand, which meant some very long weeks of work.

Assessment:
Unit three SACs are worth 16%, and is out of 100. Unit four SACs are worth 24%, and was out of 90. At my school, I had three SACs for each unit, so a total of 6 throughout the year.
Unit 3:
SAC 1: Photosynthesis and Cellular respiration
SAC 2: Cellular Signals and Apoptosis
SAC 3: The Immune System

Unit 4:
SAC 1: Epidemics and Pandemics
SAC 2: Poster SAC/ Experimental design
SAC 3: Human Evolution

Exam Thoughts:
This year's exam was one of the easiest I had seen, however, it was very random and only had half of the study design on it. I think alot of the questions were a very small point on the study design that were quite specific, so if you didn't study it or didn't know it, you were kind of screwed. I was also expecting alot of of AOS 1 unit four, there were no questions on natural selection or speciation, and only one on fossilisation. The experimental design was also alot easier than previous years and more straight forward. Overall, I think it was just a really weird exam.

Textbook Recommendation:
I did not have any textbook assigned to me, nor do I suggest one for studying biology. My school required me to use biozone, and most was just taught in class were we relied on the notes we made throughout the year.

Recommended Other Resources:
Even though I was not told to, listening to douchy's biology podcast was a good way to summerise information and learn a few tips and tricks from someone who new the course and what VCAA look for inside and out. I found looking at other people's notes quite helpful to get a different perspective, and they may have paraphrased it in a way which may be easier to understand compared to a classroom definition.

Year of Completion: 2019 (year 11)

Rating:  5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:
Unit 3: 95/100
Unit 4: 84/90
Exam: TBA

Comments:
Overall, biology was one of my favourite subjects to study all year. I always looked forward to it and thoroughly enjoyed the content. Whilst there was alot of content to memorise, I didn't find it too much but it was definitely borderline. I spent alot of time writing notes and summery posters which I did find quite helpful when it came to revision. I do have a few regrets about the subject however, and that is expression. I knew my content inside and out, however, when it came to exams I really struggled to express myself by either giving too much or not enough detail, and sometimes just leaving a few things out. I really needed more practice with this and I unfortunately just ran out of time. So I would definitely recommend starting exam prep earlier (which I started early October, and ending up completing 17 practice exams), and doing exam like questions consistently throughout the year.

This is a very unpopular opinion, but i enjoyed unit 3 so much more over unit 4. Not only was the content more engaging, but I looked forward to revising the knowledge that I learned for my SACs, and I found that I could relate it to real like alot more. Unit 4 was were I struggled, but I believe it really all just came down to expression, in which I just didn't know how to do so. I also didn't mind the practical poster investigation. I chose to do it on photosynthesis, in where I was experimenting on how does the wavelength of light effect the rate of photosynthesis or something like that. It was a really basic research question, but I really liked the process involved and creating my own poster.

I personally think that this was a great subject for doing in year 11. It has taught me many things that I will carry over into year 12, and overall it has been a giant learning curve. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the content and I will definitely miss biology.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 04:22:30 pm by Geoo »
.                                                                                                         |2019| Biology.
                                                                          |2020| English, Maths Methods, Food Studies, Chemistry.
                                                                                                       My VCE 2020 Journal

MissSunshine

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #63 on: November 18, 2019, 05:30:57 pm »
+5
Biology:

Units: 3/4  - year 12

Workload:
Although the subject is fairly content heavy, a great deal of the content is interconnected which reduces the workload! Many people I know found there was too much content to learn but I found having a passion for the subject and wanting to truly understand each topic made it feel like a lot less work! (Side note; AOS1 U3 Bio is practically the same as AOS2 U4 Chem which is great revision for the bio exam and cuts down your workload a tonne at the end of the year when you're studying for your last chem sac and juggling exam revision at the same time)

Assessment:
Unit 3 SACs - 2 SACs each counting for 8% so Unit 3 was overall 16%

Unit 4 SACs - 3 SACs each counting for 8% so Unit 4 was overall 24% - one of the assessments was a practical investigation, the SAC involved planning and completing the SAC followed by a handwritten timed prac report poster (it might be different for other schools but that's what we did  :) )

Final Exam - counts for 60% and involves both multiple choice and short answer (40 MC, 11-12 SA) in a 2.5 hour time frame plus 15 mins reading time.

Exam Thoughts: (What's the structure? How hard was it?)
I really liked the exam, although it is moving towards a greater focus on application questions and more niche sections of the study design is was definitely a fair exam that rewarded individuals who worked hard and understood the concepts rather than rote learning.

Textbook Recommendation: (What did you use? How much did you use it?)
Throughout the year I used the Heinemann Biology textbook but I only really used it as supplementary to my teacher's ppts (he used the textbook to make the ppts plus added extra info so I was basically taking notes from the textbook) .

Recommended Other Resources:
The resources I used the most were my teacher's ppt's and edrolo which I consistently watched before each class as well as used to get ahead of my class and the content. (I finished content at the start of term 3 which gave me sufficient time to complete 15+ exams without feeling pushed). After finishing each piece of content in class I used the Neap study smart questions which were by far my favourite resource and extremely helpful.

Year of Completion:
2019

Rating:  out of 5
6/5!!

Your Mark/Grade:
Unit 3 (GA1): 95%
Unit 4 (GA2): 100%
Exam(GA3): TBA (fingers crossed)

Comments:
Bio was genuinely my favourite subject during year 12. All of my other subjects had quite a heavy workload as well but my love of the subject and it's content made biology feel like my 'break' subject despite it having a similar load. I found flashcards to be the best form of revision (getting family to ask me questions that I put on the front and I explained the content rather than having a memorised response) but many people I know fell into the trap of just making flashcards for what they felt was the most important. The key for bio flashcards is to make them on everything even if you think it's unimportant. If your stack of cards isn't thicker than the textbook you probably haven't done enough!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2019, 05:32:51 pm by MissSunshine »
2018: Texts and Traditions: 45
2019: English, Biology, Chemistry, Methods, Specialist

Elsa//768

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #64 on: November 27, 2019, 12:45:00 pm »
+3
Subject Name: EAL

Units: Unit 3&4

Workload: Moderate and increases before each SAC/ exam.

Assessment:
In Unit 3, the SACs are reading and creating texts, analysing argument and listening to texts.
Reading the creating means writing an analytical essay on a selected text, and my secondary school did Persepolis. Analysing argument involves both finishing an essay analysing the way persuasive techniques have been employed to present arguments, as well as short-answer questions testing comprehension of the article, which are weighed equally with the essay. Listening involves listening to two unfamiliar audios and completing the accompanying questions.

In Unit 4, the SACs are reading and comparing and presenting argument.
Reading and comparing involves completing a comparative essay analysing the similarities and differences between two selected texts, which for me were The Namesake and Reckoning. Presenting argument has two components- meaning students need to give a speech and complete a state of intention.

Exam Thoughts:
For EAL students, exam has 3 sections, with section A being listening, Section B being analytical essay, and section C being analysing argument and comprehension questions. EAL students do not need to complete a comparative essay on exams.
Overall, there were no major surprises on the exam. I thought this year's listening is a little bit easier than last year's, and section C is ok... For section B, I chose Persepolis and felt that the topics (particularly the second one) were a bit narrow.

Textbook Recommendation:
The major textbook that I used was Insight textbook for EAL students. This textbook was particularly useful because it provided many listening exercises!! Although not all of the questions are of the same standards as VCAA's, the structures are highly similar. I also recommend Insight comparative guides because the guide on Reckoning and The Namesake really helped me to have a good grasp of the major themes of the texts and offered some alternative perspectives from the ones I studied in class. In addition, LitCharts are quite useful for providing chapter-by-chapter analysis.

Recommended Other Resources:
I highly recommend asking your EAL teacher for additional help and resources. A huge thank you to Ms Ford for being so supportive and helpful!! The advice that your teacher offers are invaluable because by incorporating them into your next essay, you are constantly improving and avoiding making the same mistakes!

Year of Completion: 2019

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:
Unit 3: 91%
Unit 4: 97%
Exam: Hopefully I did not stuff up

Comments: EAL is not necessarily 'easier' than mainstream English, but it is certainly quite different both in terms of the structure of the course and the assignments that students do. Overall I enjoyed learning it because the grades you get are proportional to the work you put into the subject. Sure, you need to complete heaps of plans and practice essays and memorise quotes and there is no easy way out, but if you put in the hard work then you will definitely improve and achieve better marks. Also, I really liked the oral component of the presenting argument SAC because I love talking  :P
To quote my awesome EAL teacher--
'Knowledge brings confidence. Ignorance breeds fear.'
2018: Revolutions (46); Biology (47)
2019: EAL ( ); Methods ( ); Psychology ( ); Legal Studies ( )

After all, tomorrow is another day.

milanander

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #65 on: December 07, 2019, 11:58:43 am »
+2
 Subject Name: Mathematical Methods (CAS)

Units: 3/4

Workload: Pretty high. I jumped into 3/4 without doing 1/2 so I had a bit more to catch up on.

Assessment: 3 internal SACs:
SAC 1 covers all of unit 3 and is on differentiation. (17%)
SAC 2 covers the first half of unit 4 and is on anti differatiation and integration (8.5%)
SAC 3 covers the second half of unit 4 and is on probability and statistics (8.5%)

Internal SACs are worth 34% in total. There are also two end-of-year exams, worth 66% in total. Exam 1 (Tech-free) is worth 22% while Exam 2 (tech-active) is worth 44%.

Exam Thoughts: 2 exams:
Exam 1 is tech-free and has 40 marks worth of short answer questions. It's 1 hour with a 15 minute reading time.
Exam 2 is tech-active and you're also allowed a bound reference with notes. There are 20 MCQs worth 1 mark each, and 60 marks of short answer questions. The exam goes for 2 hours with 15 min reading time.

Personally I found exam 1 to be easier. Exam 2 is quite demanding of the CAS and you must be really know all the functions of the CAS inside out to do well.

Textbook Recommendation: My school used Jacaranda MathQuest. I think most people would agree that cambridge is better though.

Recommended Other Resources:
Worm's Maths Academy videos on YouTube - he goes through past VCAA exam questions in a lot of detail (way better than examiners reports)
Cambridge checkpoints were a waste of money
I found MAV and iTute to have the hardest commercial practice exams.

Year of Completion: 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: will find out Dec 12th

Comments:
Personally I loved methods and I found that I did well in it (mostly, probability ruined me though) even though I had horrible grades in maths from year 7 to year 10. I didn't do the 1/2 sequence so the first couple of weeks was quite difficult and you really need a strong foundation in maths to be able to tackle the questions. There's also a large amount of application questions on the exam which tests not your ability to rote learn concepts but to apply and think outside the box.

I think methods is a great subject to take if you enjoy maths and problem solving or if you just want to keep your options open for university courses. I found the subject to be fun (yes, F-U-N) to do and would highly recommend!
« Last Edit: December 07, 2019, 12:01:59 pm by milanander »
2014 2015
Studio Arts 36, Product Design 39

2019 2020
Systems, Methods, Specialist, Physics, Viscom, English
UMEP Art History 4.0

milanander

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #66 on: December 08, 2019, 11:23:58 am »
+1
Subject Name: Systems Engineering

Units: 3/4

Workload: Very high (folio subject, what do you expect?)

Assessment:
Internal system engineering SACs are run very differently across schools. At my school, we did an oral presentation (with a powerpoint or some sort of slideshow) for our unit 3 SAC. And for our unit 4 SAC, we had to write up a case study in the form of a report and also had to answer a bunch of prompts that our teacher gave us.

SACs for unit 3 and 4 are worth 10% of your study score each.

In systems, the school assessed task (that is, your folio which details your design project) contributes to 50% of your study score, so basically that's the most important assessment.

Finally there is the end of year VCAA exam (1 hour 45 minutes long) which is the only external assessment for this subject.

Exam Thoughts:
The end of year VCAA exam for systems is 1 hour and 30 minutes long. You also get a 15 minute reading time.

The exam is split into 2 sections. Section A is multiple choice (20 questions, 1 mark each) and Section B is short answer (80 marks in total).
The entire exam is out of 100 marks.

In general the short answer section of the exam have questions that are only worth 1-3 marks so each question just requires a very brief answer. The only exception is the final question, worth 5 marks, where you're presented with a new form of technology (for example, facial recognition, artificial intellegence...) and you have to describe how the technology works and evaluate its effectiveness and any possible implications (both positive and negative) for society -- for example, social, economic, environmental factors.

The exam weighs 30% of your study score.
(General warning: the systems engineering exam has always been really late in the exam period so if you're planning for an early holiday in November you've been warned!!)

Textbook Recommendation:
My school did not use a textbook lol.

Recommended Other Resources:
While doing VCE physics is absolutely not a requirement for systems engineering, getting your hands on some physics textbooks or resources would be really helpful. I don't really know too much about overlaps in unit 3/4, but a VCE physics 1/2 textbook would be enough in my opinion.

Also datta.vic.edu.au (the design and technology teachers association) has some great resources for systems which are specific for VCE. Highly recommend checking it out.

Year of Completion: 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: will find out December 12 (96/100 folio)

Comments:

I really enjoyed doing systems eng this year. As someone who hopes to get into the engineering field in the future, I thought this subject was a great introduction to the industry. In my opinion, systems eng perfectly combines the theoretical classroom knowledge with much more vocational and hands-on training, so I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants an insight into the engineering / product design field.

Systems eng has some parallels and overlaps in knowledge with physics in the theoretical component, and it also overlaps with VCE Product Design and Technology in the more practical parts as well as OH&S (occupational health and safety). So if you've done either subject it could be beneficial to your performance.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 11:26:40 am by milanander »
2014 2015
Studio Arts 36, Product Design 39

2019 2020
Systems, Methods, Specialist, Physics, Viscom, English
UMEP Art History 4.0