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January 19, 2021, 03:52:38 pm

Author Topic: QCE Subject Reviews and Ratings  (Read 1010 times)

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Joseph41

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QCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« on: October 31, 2020, 04:48:16 pm »
+5
We have hundreds and hundreds of university subject reviews, and of reviews of high school subjects in other states. These reviews really help students select their subjects. Now that we're getting toward the end of 2020 and some QCE subjects are finishing up, it's time to set up this QCE subject reviews and ratings section!


Review Index
Current Totals
Arts Subject Reviews: 0
English Subject Reviews: 0
Health and Physical Education Subject Reviews: 0
Humanities Subject Reviews: 0
Language Subject Reviews: 0
Maths Subject Reviews: 0
Science Subject Reviews: 5
Technology Subject Reviews: 0
Other Subject Reviews: 0

Total: 5 Reviews
Total: 5 Subjects Covered

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

Arts Subjects (0)
English Subjects (0)
Health and Physical Education Subjects (0)
Humanities Subjects (0)
Language Subjects (0)
Maths Subjects (0)
Science Subjects (5)
Technology Subjects (0)
Other Subjects (0)

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]Level:[/b] (Year 11? Year 12)

[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 #000
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 10:20:50 am by Bri MT »

K.Smithy

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Re: QCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2021, 06:52:15 pm »
+6
Thought I'd start this thread off ahaha :P I've enjoyed reading these for the other states, so I thought it'd be fun to do my own (I'll do all my subjects but I'll spread my posts out over the next couple of days/weeks so ya'll aren't getting spammed :)).

Subject Name: Psychology

Level: Year 12 (Units 3/4)

Workload: Personally, I didn't find there to be too much work - however, just like every other subject, this will be different for everyone. I really enjoyed the subject and the content really clicked with my brain, so I didn't have to put in any extra work to understand it (can't say the same for some other subjects ahaha). For my class, the bulk of the workload came from trying to understand case studies.

Assessment:
- Data Test worth 10% - these are pretty straight forward. Just practice data/graphical analysis and you'll be set.
- Student Experiment worth 20% - these can be annoying but just try to make sure that you have good data. Bad data can really mess up your assignment.
- Research Investigation worth 20% - these are by far my favourite. Unfortunately, because of COVID, I didn't get to do one this year - but I really enjoyed the one that I did in year 11.
- External Exam worth 50% - it is scary having an assessment piece that weighs this much, but it is important to keep in mind that it is just like any other piece of assessment you have completed. QCAA isn't out to make your life hell with the external exams, so if you understand the content, you will be ok :)

Exam Thoughts:
The structure of the exam was something like this...
Paper 1: ~30 multiple choice questions and some short response questions.
Paper 2: Entirely short response questions with a focus on case studies, and a data analysis question at the end (on the 2020 exam they asked for interquartile range which really threw me because I haven't done that since grade 10.... lets just say that I did not get that one right).

The external exam was definitely much easier than I was expecting it to be. The questions were really straight forward for the most part; however, there was the odd question here and there that was vague, or was beyond the level of the syllabus (I am sure that this will not be the case in the future). Some questions were just wrong (there was a multiple choice question that asked "Which of the following neurotransmitters is inhibitory," but then, out of the list of four neurotransmitters, provided two inhibitory neurotransmitters). In whole, the exam was pretty good. I will say, however, you do need to know quite a lot about the case studies and that really tripped me up. My biggest piece of advice for this subject is to know your case studies and if, like me, you don't know the case studies come the exam, don't leave any questions blank! Make answers up! Get something onto the paper!

Textbook Recommendation: my school provided us with the Oxford textbook (which I thought was a pretty good textbook). We did use Pearson for units 1/2 and I really do not recommend it. Oxford was much better. It is important to note, however, that the Oxford textbook does not have all of the necessary case studies in it. Most of my class learnt about the case studies a couple days before the exam when we found the annotated bibliographies.

Recommended Other Resources: the annotated bibliographies will give you an overview of the case studies. Look at them early on. But ignore the case studies that you are not required to look at (there are some recommended ones in there, ignore them - they are a waste of time).
Unit 3 can be found here, unit 4 can be found here.

EDIT: it completely slipped my mind, but I'd also recommend the AN Psychology Complete Course Notes book. Was great!! Can't believe I forgot as I was writing this  :o

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 (it lost one point because of the number of case studies you need to know about... if there were less case studies it would have gotten a solid 5/5 because the content is enjoyable)

Your Mark/Grade: 96/100 (A)

Comments: Overall, psychology was a great subject. I feel like this is kind of an unpopular opinion because a lot of other people seemed to hate it. My sister is currently studying it and she definitely hates it. I really loved the content (in particular the localisation of function topic). And I found that what I learnt in the class changed the way that I viewed the world and people around me. Learning about bias has certainly made me think about the things that I think ahaha. I would suggest for this subject that you create a study "Bible" - using the syllabus points to help structure your notes so that you can ensure you haven't missed anything. Some people used flashcards and found those helpful (I didn't use them, but if you want a cool app to make flashcards I'd recommend AnkiApp). Practice exams can also be very helpful as the ensure that you understand how to respond to certain questions (I personally didn't do any practice exams for psych but I did for biology and I found it helpful). As with every other subject, I recommend doing as well as you can on your internals, bank up as many points as you can.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 09:28:12 pm by K.Smithy »
QCE 2020: Physics (92) || Psychology (96) || Biology (93) || Methods (79) || English (98) || SOR (91)
ATAR: 98.40
2021-2024: Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) @ UQ

K.Smithy

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Re: QCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2021, 12:14:02 pm »
+7
Subject Name: Physics

Level: Year 12 (Units 3/4)

Workload: not too much, but certainly more than psychology and biology. Just like when you study mathematics, the calculations need practice. Some require you to use formulae which are not provided on the formula sheet. For example, when calculating the magnitude of an electromagnetic force in three dimensions, you may need to use sine and cosine rule. Both of which aren't provided on the formula sheet.

Assessment:
- Data Test worth 10% - these are pretty straight forward. Just practice data/graphical analysis and you'll be set.
- Student Experiment worth 20% - these can be annoying but just try to make sure that you have good data. Bad data can really mess up your assignment.
- Research Investigation worth 20% - these are by far my favourite. Unfortunately, because of COVID, I didn't get to do one this year - but I really enjoyed the one that I did in year 11.
- External Exam worth 50% - it is scary having an assessment piece that weighs this much, but it is important to keep in mind that it is just like any other piece of assessment you have completed. QCAA isn't out to make your life hell with the external exams, so if you understand the content, you will be ok :)

Exam Thoughts: The exam was almost entirely electromagnetism and the structure was unexpected and different to the mocks. There were more graphing questions than expected and, unlike the mock, it required you to make connections between different topics (for example, one question required you to solve a simultaneous equation using circular motion and electromagnetism formulae to get the correct answer). Its also important that you keep general knowledge facts in mind - i.e. the Earth has a period around the sun of 365 days. Small things like not converting to standard units can also trip you up in the exam.
Overall, I found the external exam trickier than the mocks but manageable.

Textbook Recommendation: we were provided with Oxford textbooks and they were really good.

Recommended Other Resources: the only other resources I used were the ATAR Notes Physics Complete Course Notes and the odd YouTube video. My teacher did some fun activities with our class that were particularly interesting. She found the scripts for some physics role-playing exercises that are used at some Australian universities and we would act them out as a class - pretending to be famous scientists such as Einstein and Newton. These were a good introduction to new topics.

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 (I, personally, wasn't a fan of some of the electromagnetism topics - but most of the content was quite enjoyable).

Your Mark/Grade: 92/100 (A)

Comments: 3/4 physics is very different to anything you would have been exposed to in physics class previously. Units 4 was particularly interesting and more theoretical than practical.
QCE 2020: Physics (92) || Psychology (96) || Biology (93) || Methods (79) || English (98) || SOR (91)
ATAR: 98.40
2021-2024: Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) @ UQ

K.Smithy

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Re: QCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2021, 09:46:41 pm »
+5
Subject Name: Biology

Level: Year 12 (Units 3/4)

Workload: For the most part, not much. My teacher assigned some activities for us to do before lessons (not every week, but it certainly became more common as we approached exams) and other than those teacher-assigned activities, there really wasn't too much extra work. When I had free time I would sit down and work on my good, trusty set of notes - but I did most of this at the beginning of the year. There was a couple topics that I did dedicate some time to (just watching YouTube videos on them), so I could understand them a bit better (however, these were topics that were covered during online learning, so it is understandable that I struggled with them a bit more).

Assessment:
- Data Test worth 10% - these are pretty straight forward. Just practice data/graphical analysis and you'll be set.
- Student Experiment worth 20% - these can be annoying but just try to make sure that you have good data. Bad data can really mess up your assignment.
- Research Investigation worth 20% - these are by far my favourite. Unfortunately, because of COVID, I didn't get to do one this year - but I really enjoyed the one that I did in year 11.
- External Exam worth 50% - it is scary having an assessment piece that weighs this much, but it is important to keep in mind that it is just like any other piece of assessment you have completed. QCAA isn't out to make your life hell with the external exams, so if you understand the content, you will be ok :)

Exam Thoughts:
The structure of the exam was something like this...
Paper 1: ~20 multiple choice questions and some short response questions (a lot of the short response questions had graphs or some sort of stimulus with them that you were required to analyse).
Paper 2: Entirely short response questions. The difference between these short response questions and the ones in the first paper, is that these ones really required a good understanding of the content.

Textbook Recommendation: we were provided with Oxford textbooks and they were really good (for physics and psych). I really only used it to help when I was writing my notes. I will say, however, the Oxford textbook was really disappointing for bio. It contained so much useless information and was structured weeeiiiiirrrrreeeeddd. I would recommend looking around at other textbooks if your school hasn't already provided you with one.

Recommended Other Resources: I also used the ATAR Notes Complete Course Notes, and the "Pearson Biology QLD: Year 12 - Skills & Assessment Book (Pearson really did something with this book, let me tell you! Was a great resource and I thank my bio teacher for forcing my school to buy them for us :))

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 (I know I keep giving out 4s, but I just did not like the ecology stuff... I just don't vibe with it)

Your Mark/Grade: 93/100 (would've been 95/100 if my bio class didn't go into extraordinary review for the student experiments... but its ok... I'm over it.... I never even talk about it anymore... did I say IT WOULD HAVE BEEN 95/100?!?!? ahaha its ok, I survived anyway. Who even needs those extra two points...)

Comments: Good subject, but a looooooot of content, so it did take a while to read over my notes. I would recommend for the ecology surveying stuff (in particular the belt/line transect stuff) that you go outside and actually do some surveying. That way in the exam you can just visualise yourself doing it if you get a question about the best surveying technique for an area or something..
« Last Edit: January 11, 2021, 06:12:54 pm by K.Smithy »
QCE 2020: Physics (92) || Psychology (96) || Biology (93) || Methods (79) || English (98) || SOR (91)
ATAR: 98.40
2021-2024: Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) @ UQ

Isuka

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Re: QCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2021, 04:57:58 pm »
+6
I think K.Smithy did subject reviews for Year 12 (Units 3&4) so I think it would be good if I did Grade 11 (Units 1&2) considering I completed Grade 11 this year. I think I'll start off with...

Subject Name: Chemistry

Level: Year 11 (Units 1&2)

Workload: I think specifically for my school, our teacher didn't provide much homework for us. However, it was a common assumption that you do complete the review questions by yourself at home. In order to keep on top of your work, you MUST always review each topic with questions, questions and more questions. As I write these subject reviews, I think I will reiterate this fact a lot because practice questions and papers are scientifically-proven to be the best study technique. In class, what I did was write down whatever the teacher says but to be brutally honest when I prepared for each exam, I never looked back at them. I always did questions. I believe there are fewer calculations and maths-based problems in Units 1&2 than Units 3&4 but I would be lying if I said that it wasn't the focus for my exams (e.g. gas laws, mole calculations, limiting and excess reagent etc.).

Assessment: I think I would just be copying K.Smithy with the assessment because it would be the same. By the way, I'll probably just copy and paste the below advice into all the sciences since its more generalised advice:
- Data Test FA1 (10% weighting) - In terms of exams, this is the place where it is easiest to get a lot of marks. Since it is very data-related, it is more testing you of your critical thinking and data interpretation rather than knowledge application.
- Student Experiment FA2 (20% weighting) - In terms of assignments, I like these the best and I think this is the best place to get marks here. I find structured and analytical reports easier and considering student experiments are consistent through all sciences, you can just copy and paste the structure basically :P. As K.Smithy stated perfectly, ensure you get good data! My advice is to improve/refine your experiment and data and remove as many errors as possible and then discuss 'extensions' rather than 'improvements'.
- Research Investigation FA3 (20% weighting) - I believe this is the harder of the two but in these investigations, my advice is to find the most credible sources (such as peer-reviewed articles, systematic reviews, randomized control trials) from the most reputable places ( e.g. from PubMed or Google Scholar or an online library). Consequently, ensure you evaluate your sources well.
- Mock External Exams FA4 (50% weighting) - I completely agree with K.Smithy on that "it is scary having an assessment piece that weighs this much". As I mentioned above, just do questions, questions and questions. Past papers are really useful and I know there aren't QCE past papers but HSC, VCE, WACE are all good. Specifically for Chemistry, I think WACE past papers are quite good.

Exam Thoughts:
It may vary across from schools but for my mock external exam it was something like this:
Paper 1: Unit 1 and consisted of 15 MCQ and the remainder was SAQ. This test included simple familiar and complex familiar.
Paper: Unit 2 and consisted of SAQ and extended response. This test included complex familiar and complex unfamiliar.

Textbook Recommendation: Our school default textbook for chemistry was the Oxford "Chemistry for Queensland Units 1&2 Student book + obook assess" and it was quite good. It has questions following every subchapter and chapter and it also had practise papers if you signed into the obook online. However, I did find "Cambridge Checkpoints QCE Chemistry Units 1–4" really good. It has really good application questions which are vital in the external exams.

Recommended Other Resources: I also used the "Pearson Chemistry Queensland 11 Skills and Assessment Book" which I found quite good because it was a workbook. Along with that, I used the ATAR Notes Chemistry Course Notes - personally, I think the Chemistry Course Notes are outstanding. They provided succinct and useful notes on each topic and highly recommended!

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating:  5 out of 5 (Personally, I love Chemistry and considering it is the central science, I would recommend for anyone)

Your Mark/Grade: 95/100 (A)

Comments: Great subject and if you are unsure what to do in university, Chemistry is a must-do subject because it opens a lot of career options. It requires quite a solid level of mathematics and it is important to understand the concept and to retain that knowledge for Units 3&4. The YouTube videos below outline a really really good method of studying in general for any subject:

Thanks! Happy New Year!
« Last Edit: January 09, 2021, 11:36:49 pm by Isuka »

Isuka

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Re: QCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2021, 11:36:19 pm »
+6
Subject Name: Physics

Level: Year 11 (Units 1&2)

Workload:  In Units 1&2, there is quite a lot of content to go through. That is thermal physics, electrical physics, linear motion, sound and light. Out of all of these, there is a lot of focus on electrical physics and linear motion, I believe. For example, in my last mock external exams (FA4), there were 3 ‘Complex Unfamiliar’ (CUF) questions which were 10 marks each: the first one was about electrical physics (specifically, Kirchhoff’s current and voltage laws), the second one was also about electrical physics (about a heating element – the relationship between power and resistance) and the third one (the easiest of the three because I love motion) was about linear motion (specifically about a car accident which is an application of friction formula, momentum and Newton’s second law). As K.Smithy implied, you need to have a very strong mathematical foundation (e.g. trigonometry, vectors, algebra etc.).

Assessment:
- Data Test FA1 (10% weighting) - In terms of exams, this is the place where it is easiest to get a lot of marks. Since it is very data-related, it is more testing you of your critical thinking and data interpretation rather than knowledge application.
- Student Experiment FA2 (20% weighting) - In terms of assignments, I like these the best and I think this is the best place to get marks here. I find structured and analytical reports easier and considering student experiments are consistent through all sciences, you can just copy and paste the structure basically :P. As K.Smithy stated perfectly, ensure you get good data! My advice is to improve/refine your experiment and data and remove as many errors as possible and then discuss 'extensions' rather than 'improvements'.
- Research Investigation FA3 (20% weighting) - I believe this is the harder of the two but in these investigations, my advice is to find the most credible sources (such as peer-reviewed articles, systematic reviews, randomized control trials) from the most reputable places ( e.g. from PubMed or Google Scholar or an online library). Consequently, ensure you evaluate your sources well.
- Mock External Exams FA4 (50% weighting) - I completely agree with K.Smithy on that "it is scary having an assessment piece that weighs this much". As I mentioned above, just do questions, questions and questions. Past papers are really useful and I know there aren't QCE past papers but HSC, VCE, WACE are all good. Specifically for Physics, I think VCE past papers are quite good.

Exam Thoughts:
It may vary across from schools but for my mock external exam it was something like this:
Paper 1: Unit 1 and consisted of 15 MCQ and the remainder was SAQ. This test included simple familiar and complex familiar.
Paper: Unit 2 and consisted of SAQ and extended response. This test included complex familiar and complex unfamiliar.
- Definitely for the CUF questions, they are all application questions.

Textbook Recommendation: Our school default textbook for chemistry was the Oxford "Physics for Queensland Units 1&2 Student book + obook assess" and it was quite good. It has questions following every subchapter and chapter and it also had practise papers if you signed into the obook online. However, I did find "Cambridge Checkpoints QCE Chemistry Units 1–4" really good. It has really good application questions which are vital in the external exams.

Recommended Other Resources: Same as Chemistry, I also used the "Pearson Physics Queensland 11 Skills and Assessment Book" which I found quite good because it was a workbook. For physics, I think I attempted as many VCE past papers as much as possible. I’ve found that VCE tends to be slightly harder so its good if you complete VCE questions. Closer to the FA4s, I used “Neap Physics 1&2 Smartstudy Exams” which I found useful just because it was VCE but it is not cost-effective – in retrospect, I wouldn’t have gotten the Neap book and stuck to the free VCE past papers.

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 (Personally, Physics is my favourite subject, for sure because I just love mathematics and its applications in the real world)

Your Mark/Grade: 96/100 (A+)

Comments: I think Physics is similar to Chemistry in the way that it opens a lot of opportunities and career options. As I mentioned earlier, this is my favourite subject, but I have to say that if you want to do well (i.e. A/A+), you MUST do self-study and heaps (and I mean heaps) of practise questions. Of course, you need to retain your understanding from Units 1&2 to Units 3&4, but you don’t need to worry as much as Chemistry. If you have a strong mathematical foundation, then you have no choice but to do Physics. If you don’t have a strong mathematical foundation, then you also have no choice but to do Physics (I feel like an advertisement now). Jokes aside, I highly recommend Physics as a subject to do!
The YouTube videos below outline a really really good method of studying in general for any subject:
“How to study for exams - Evidence-based revision tips” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukLnPbIffxE)
“How to Study for Exams - Spaced Repetition | Evidence-based revision tips” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-zNHHpXoMM)
“How my friend ranked 1st at Medical School - The Active Recall Framework” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDbxPVn02VU)

Thanks! Happy New Year!