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Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1202458 times)  Share 

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #255 on: February 28, 2014, 12:12:02 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ECOM20001 Introductory Econometrics

Workload: 2 x 1-hour lecture per week, 1 x 1-hour tutorial.

Assessment:  2 Short Answer-based assignments worth 10% each, Tutorial participation worth 5%, Mid-semester Test worth 0% or 10%, final exam worth 65% or 75%. Result is calculated using MST 10% and Exam 65%, then MST 0% and Exam 75%, and the higher mark is awarded. Assignments are largely just questions that test students' ability to apply knowledge (similar to QM1 assignments). They are reasonably simple if you've been paying attention.  The exam is of appreciably greater difficulty.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, three (if I recall correctly)

Textbook Recommendation:  Text is not required. All examinable content is covered in lectures, though Principles of Economoetrics 4th ed., Hill, Griffiths & Lim is suggested.

Lecturer(s): Jenny Lye

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 SM2

Rating: 3.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 75 H2A

Comments: Overall the subject is enjoyable insofar as it feels that what you are learning is useful. Initially much content is "repeated" from QM1 (basic probability, hypothesis testing and regression) albeit in greater detail. Those derivations that you "don't have to worry about, and just accept" in QM 1 are derivations that you need to commit to memory in this subject. The subject is almost entirely regression-based, but greater depth is achieved than the simple linear and multiple regression seen in QM1. Some time is devoted also to time-series analysis, and a few weeks are based upon troubleshooting a breakdown in the assumptions upon which simply regression analysis is based.

The content can become very dry, particularly in lectures, but if you enjoyed QM1 you will find Intro Ecom tolerable at least, and perhaps even interesting. The tutorials follow the standard format of pre-prep, going briefly through the pre-prep and then completing in-tute questions. The Mid-semester test and Assignments are quite simple, whereas the Exam is somewhat more demanding, placing greater emphasis on derivations and actual understanding of the underlying mathematics as opposed to simple application of methodology. Don't let it screw you over like it did me :P

It's worth noting that you will have to purchase/pirate and become reasonably familiar with the Eviews software. It isn't that difficult to use and fulfils a similar role to the Statistics Excel add-on does in QM1, but initially represents a small learning curve, and is required to complete assessments. Often eviews regression output is provided as part of assignment and exam questions with bits missing, so knowing what's where and how all the figures are inter-related is very helpful.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #256 on: March 03, 2014, 07:59:31 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CHEM20019 Practical Chemistry

Workload: Six lectures (two per week) for the first three weeks of semester, along with two tutorials in Week 4. Two 3.5 hour pracs per week from Week 2, with one day off towards the end of semester.

  • A short (1.5 hour) online test on the lecture content due about halfway through the semester, worth 10%.
  • 15 'short' prac reports and 2 long prac reports, collectively worth 90%

Lectopia Enabled:  Spas did not record his lectures, the other lecturers do record their lectures.

Past exams available:  No sample exam for the online test (just study the notes.)

Textbook Recommendation: No recommended textbooks, although the standard second year chemistry textbooks may be useful. The lab manual is a requirement to do the pracs. You also need PPE (a lab coat and glasses, gloves are provided.)

Prof. Spas Kolev (3 lectures on chromatography and flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, also error analysis.)
Associate Professor Spencer Williams (2 lectures on organic structure determination + 2 tutorials.)
Colette Boskovic (One lecture on magnetochemistry)

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 2.

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Some brief comments on the experiments preformed and the lectures:

Lectures: Were good, if a little dry. Useful background knowledge for the reports. The online test is reasonably straightforward, although it's worth doing a bit of study for it, as that 10% can count come results time. It's obviously 'open book,' as it's an online test.

Experiments: There were four different groups of experiments done (organic, inorganic, analytical and physical.) Most experiments lasted a single period, although two experiments done towards the end of semester took multiple periods. Each experiment required completion of a risk assessment (a summary of any risks involved in the experiment, basically just read the MSDS, not marked but you had to do it,) pre-labs (marked, usually counted for two marks towards your final score,) and a report (the final eight marks, due a week after the experiment.) It generally took as long to do the report as to do the experiment - so you're looking at seven hours (sometimes more,) of report-writing per week, as well as seven hours of prac classes. Thus, the workload for the subject was very high. You also had to work consistently, as there wasn't an exam to save you if you stuffed up a few reports.

There was also a great deal of time pressure during the experiments themselves, especially the organic and inorganic experiments. There was usually no time to breathe, or even go to the toilet. This was especially the case where you had to share equipment (IR spectrometers, rotavaps, magnetic balances, etc.) Obviously, read over the experiment a few times before you go on, on top of the pre-lab questions and risk analysis. Also look up any data which may be useful during the lab (i.e. melting points.)

Fourtunatly, the reports (with a few exceptions,) were reasonably straightforward and generally marked reasonably. Unfortunately, the marking was only done by your demonstrator (so a little unfair.) Submissions were also not done electronically, I often did worry about the security of my report, especially when 'submitting' it was just dropping it into a box! Finally, some comments on the experiments themselves:

Organic: Four experiments in the first four weeks of semester, with a single three-period experiment in the last four weeks. Usually involved synthesising something, so yield was worth a few marks. Other marks came from a correct mechanism and following the basic report structure correctly (=very easy.) The experiments themselves were enjoyable, but very rushed (you won't be leaving early.) Similar to first year chem organic experiments, so if you're good at them, you'll be fine here. A bit more advanced in techniques and data analysis, however.

Analytical: Three experiments. Experiments themselves very straightforward, usually finish an hour or so early. Involve using analytical instrumentation (HPLC, GC, fAAS,) to answer a simple question (how much calcium in seawater, etc.) Reports are straightforward and not too time consuming. Probably the easiest part of the subject.

Inorganic: Similar to organic - you're making something, then analysing it (using IR or magneto chemistry.) Requires that you remember your first year chemistry. Synthesis not as hard as organic, but the reports are much harder and significantly more time consuming. Expect to spend at least three hours on each report. Pracs are similar to the synthesis of a Co complex done in Chemistry 2.

One of the extended reports is an inorganic report (you do two, the organic one, and either the physical one or the inorganic one.)

Physical: Four quite different experiments - measuring equilibrium of a gas phase reaction, a caliorometry prac, a kinetics prac and a computational chemistry prac (a 'dry lab,' done in the computer lab.) Experiments are reasonably easy, the reports are not, requiring involved calculations (which they usually tell you how to do.) Just be sure that you're meticulous in the prac with your data collection - after all, a good analysis won't fix crappy data. That said, your result is actually worth very little (only one mark, if I remember correctly.) Similar to the first year physical chemistry pracs, although the data analysis is usually a bit more involved and the techniques used in the pracs are a bit more difficult.

One of the extended reports is a physical report.

Overall, the subject is reasonably well run, the pracs are interesting and usually fun (just make sure you're well prepared!) although the workload is very high. It's also a rare chance to gain a fair amount of laboratory experience in second year. Unfortunately, if you want to major in chemistry, you can't avoid this subject, or it's third year sibling.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 02:49:10 pm by mahler004 »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #257 on: March 14, 2014, 06:13:04 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MUSI10023 Music Language 1: the Diatonic World

Workload:  1 x 3hr workshop per week

Assessment:  Weekly Assignments (70%), End of Semester Exam (Written 20% + Listening 10% = 30%)
Lectopia Enabled: No

Past exams available:  No

Textbook Recommendation:  Didn't buy it, don't need it

Lecturer(s): Andrew Perkins

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 Summer Semester

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: Keep in mind that I did this as part of my breadth and it was done in the Summer Semester. The Summer Semester lecturer and Semester 1 lecturer aren't the same. So some of my comments may be specific only to the subject taken over the Summer.

If you have a good solid foundation in music theory, then this subject should be a breeze; However, if you're used to the notation used for harmony in AMEB music theory, you're going to have to get used to Figured Bass notation - but this isn't too hard and you can often reason out what chord it's representing. The contact hours are quite low and because of the weekly assessments, there isn't that sudden need to cram for the end of semester exam, so stress levels are generally also quite low.

The weekly assessments start out at a weighting of 8% and gradually increase to 12% alternating between composition and analysis. Get out your coloured pencils for the analysis tasks because you're going to have to use them to circle motifs and identify links in the piece. You're given a sample of what an analysis looks like so use that as a template of how you're going to go about the analysis. For composition, I recommend not being too creative. If you try making your compositions too complicated, there's a greater chance of making mistakes (ie. parallel 5ths, incorrectly doubled 3rds etc.) and they're penalised quite heavily.

For the end of semester assessment, it's split into 2 parts, the written and the listening.

Don't underestimate the listening exam, it's worth 10% and of each piece they ask you to name the work and movement (if applicable), the composer, the period (late baroque, early baroque, medieval etc.) and what type of piece (quartet, symphony, motet, aria etc.). The last piece is one that isn't on the listening list and you're supposed to make an educated guess on the period, instrumentation and any other notes on melody, structure, or other note worthy aspects of the excerpt. I recommend just doing a little bit of listening each week. You're only assigned 3 or 4 pieces per week, so it shouldn't take you too long. Although I know how much of an annoyance this can be, but how you approach your listening of the assigned works is very important. I recommend, whilst listening, to make a note of the instrumentation, language of the lyrics (if applicable) and other distinguishing features. For example, there was one piece that only had harpsichord and a string instrument playing together, so it was easy to identify when it came up on the exam.

The written component is split into two, and much like the assignments, it's an analysis of a piece (10%) and harmonisation (10%). The harmonisation isn't too difficult, it's a 4-part harmony. Just look over your assignment and try to identify the kinds of errors you've made. The analysis shouldn't be too much of a challenge either. I recommend first identifying the key and check for modulations (accidentals make this obvious), particularly to the 6 related keys. Try to see if the modulations occur in sequence. Identifying modulations should be able to give you a rough idea of structure. Once you've done this, and if you have the time, try to look for motifs and at the melodic line.

Overall, this is a very manageable subject. However, learn from my mistake and don't let the listening get the better of you; because of commitments and general laziness, I'd only done about half of the listening before the week of the exam and ended up cramming the other half of the listening the day before. Even though I most likely got 8 or 9 out of 10, these really aren't the kinds of marks you want to be losing.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 04:36:56 pm by chair »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #258 on: March 27, 2014, 12:50:11 pm »
Subject Code/Name: FINA20026 Painting Techniques 


Contact Hours: Intensive Mode: 6hrs per day for 6 days (36hrs)

Total Time Commitment: 120 hours (including 36 hours contact and 84 hours non-contact)


 1. A comprehensive folio that will include completed work made for set exercises/projects, and related materials (80%)

2. A comprehensively illustrated and notated visual diary, reflecting on material trials and notes on various techniques (20%).

Both the completed folio and workbook will be required to be presented two weeks after the final supervised studio practice session. Students are notified of the exact date/process in the first class.

Lectopia Enabled:  No

Past exams available:  N/A

Textbook Recommendation:  No

Lecturer(s): You are assigned to one of several 'streams', and a different tutor teaches each stream. That person is virtually your only staff contact; mine was David Ralph.

Year & Semester of completion: February, 2014

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 86

Comments: ♦ This class is not taught during the semester, but rather over the summer and winter breaks. More people are allowed to enroll than register. After enrolling, you must be 1 of <100 students to register on the registration date. The spots are highly competitive, and if you don't refresh the registration page within the first few minutes of registration release, you most likely will not be able to register, and will be asked to unenroll.

♦ The 6 hrs daily for 6 days are taught in studios at the Southbank campus. Small, intimate, friendly.

♦ There is a general subject outline that tutors follow, but each stream is taught slightly differently according to the tutor's preference. My tutor, David Ralph, was an absolutely charming gentleman <3

♦ Project One - National Gallery of Victoria visit to observe different historical painting styles. Personally found it fascinating, and I returned on the weekend to take more photos for quick brownie points.

♦Project Two - Painting a flat, linear tonal piece in acrylics. Boring, but paint fast because acrylics dry as you paint, and you will be assessed on the texture of your piece. Don't mix paint brushes; keep a few for light colours, a few for dark colours.

♦Project Three - Stretching, sizing and priming a canvas with gesso etc. Easy. Don't forget to document every step for these projects with notes and photos, however seemingly minor, so you can add them with annotations to your visual diary later.

♦Project Four - Working alla prima with oils. In the week you have to finish your portfolio, try to finish all your oil paintings first. Oil paintings take a ridiculously long time to dry, even in winter. When I collected my paintings, I noticed many students' work had been damaged. Their paintings were stacked upon other paintings, and the paint had stuck them together. It took a few hours to mend my own work when the class had ended.

♦Project Five - Colour as it applies to the creation of illusions. BLUE + YELLOW = GREEN done.

♦Project Six - Oil paint on canvas. Definitely everyone's favourite, and the last project of the intensive week. You pick your own subject to paint, and the hours fly by. If you're particularly enthusiastic you can choose to do multiple oil paintings of your preferred subjects, and have the tutor grade what s/he deems to be the best. I chose to do this while waiting for the paint layers of every other painting to dry. Remember to document EVERYTHING. Bring a camera to every class.

♦Despite being an intensive class, the workload is not at all demanding and students from a variety of degrees will be able to succeed. There were only a few bewildered science brethren who seemed to struggle with the very practical, hands-on approach.

♦ Don't leave everything until the day before assessment. Painting itself is straight-forward, but excruciatingly slow. Carpal tunnel syndrome levels of slow.

♦The teaching style is paint-by-numbers; you're walked through painting using the Renaissance and Baroque methods layer-by-layer. The main disadvantage is patience. My entire class took ~15 hours to paint a very simple, monochromatic graphic on a panel of cardboard the size of my hand. If you don't enjoy repetitive, practical-based commitments, you may not flourish. Otherwise, assuming you have the motivation, Painting Techniques is a given H1.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #259 on: April 10, 2014, 10:34:21 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ENGR20004 Engineering Mechanics

Workload:  3 x one hour lectures and 1 x 2 hour workshop per week.

Assessment: 5% weekly quiz + workshop attendance (only get marks for quiz if you turn up to your workshop)
                      4 x 7.5% assignments (2 on statics/solid mechanics and 2 on dynamics)
                      2 x 7.5% mid-semester held in Week 6 and Week 12
                      50% Final exam (also a hurdle requirement)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, 6 available, however no solutions are provided.

Textbook Recommendation:  There is both a statics and a dynamics textbook. I'd recommend skipping the statics and probably buying the dynamics

Lecturer(s): David Ackland, Joe Klewicki and Cheng Chin

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating: 1.5 Out of 5

TL;DR: If physics isn't your strong point, this overly-complicated and (for the most part) poorly taught subject will be the bane of your existence for a good 3 months.

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: So I was looking through the subject reviews randomly and thought I'd done one for this subject but apparently not, because the link took me to Hancock's review where he had a very different impression of it to me. As a took this subject a year ago now, some of the details might be a little hazy, but I don't think I've forgotten enough to make this review invalid.

The subject matter is pretty obvious by the name of the subject. You're looking at static mechanics in weeks 1-6 (culminating in a MST on statics in week 6), then moving over to dynamic mechanics in weeks 7-12 (with another MST in week 12). I found statics to be easier, and I think this is the prevailing view among the other students I knew.

The lecturers are a bit of a mixed bag. There was two streams: Ackland took one stream for both statics and dynamics, and Klewicki (statics) and Cheng (dynamics) split the other one. The lecturers all had far different ways of presenting material: Ackland would probably go the most traditional route, presenting slides and writing examples using the document camera, but was not very good at explaining concepts; Klewicki would do the majority of his examples on the whiteboard (made it a nightmare for lecture recordings) but I found was the best at explaining things; Cheng would use a tablet to just annotate the slides he presented, and although he was a bit hard to understand, I found him better at explaining the dynamics section than Ackland.

Anyway, I think the main reason I disliked (maybe even hated) this subject was that I basically had zero background in physics. I hadn't done physics in VCE and – as I'm majoring in Civil Eng via the Environments Degree – I hadn't done basically anything physics related in first year. Therefore, it's pretty tough to come into a subject where the majority of the cohort has done VCE Physics Units 1-4 and Physics 1 & 2 in first year and feel like your up to scratch. Additionally, only MATLAB stuff I knew was the very basic stuff you learn in Linear Algebra. I see the Environments course has now added the "Structural Environments" subject that seems to fix some of these issues.

One thing I'd stress for this subject is to pay attention for every minute of the lecture. I found that if I wasn't paying attention for just one slide it was pretty hard to recover. On a related note, don't fall behind. There is masses of work to be done and you pretty much have an eternal assignment (i.e. when one assignment ends, you immediately get another).

And to be honest, I was pretty useless with the group assignments. I'm generally one to take charge of a group and sort of set the standards, but I became pretty passive in this group as I had no idea what I was doing. That said, the assignments were pretty long, complicated and difficult, even for the people that did have a decent grasp on things.

The only reason I passed this subject was because I did I ridiculous amount of cramming in the last week before the exam. I basically did everything I should have been doing all semester: I watched every lecture (and paid attention), went over basically all tute questions, developed a much more effective problem solving approach, and re-did the MSTs (with much better results). But the marking is super, super easy (likely as a result of this subject's high failure rate). In every assessment I got a better mark than I expected or deserved. I came out of the exam thinking I could have failed and ended up with a H1.

So that was more of a boring autobiographical piece than a review, but overall Engineering Mechanics is the most difficult and stress inducing subject I have encountered at university so far, partly because I was poorly prepared for it, partly because the Environments degree was broken (hopefully fixed with the introduction of Structural Environments), partly because it was poorly taught (by Ackland at least), and partly because it was an undoubtably tricky subject.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 03:44:20 am by chysim »
UoM | Bachelor of Environments (Civil Systems): 2012-2014 | Master of Engineering (Civil): 2015-2016 |

Feel free to shoot me a PM pertaining to getting to M.Eng through the Environments course, or the Envs/Eng courses in general.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #260 on: April 12, 2014, 05:33:42 am »
Subject Code/Name: BOTA20004 Flora of Victoria 

Workload: 13 x 75-minute long lectures (Neville Walsh's is not assessed), 2 x full day excursions (content assessed), 6 x 3-hr practical classes

Assessment:  1 x 10% in-excursion assignment, 1 x 25% 1500 word research essay + herbarium specimen, 1 x 65% final examination

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, and screen capture is included!

Past exams available:  No, but a small number of practice questions were provided. Just study everything and you should be fine.

Textbook Recommendation:  None required - you purchase a subject manual prior to starting the subject. If you have any of Leon Costermans's books, they'll come in handy. You also need a dissection kit for practical classes.

Lecturer(s): Mike Bayly, Pauline Ladiges, David Meagher, Neville Walsh, Tracy Regan, John Morgan

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, February (summer semester)

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 95 (H1)


Flora of Victoria, like most life science subjects, is essentially a big bunch of facts and themes you need to remember and regurgitate on the exam. However, the subject was/is probably the most well-run and well-contrasted class I have taken to date in my university degree (current subjects included). The practicals complement and add to lectures, and provide new knowledge with practical settings enabling you to commit it to memory more efficiently, and the two full-day excursions were surprisingly fun and very informative. The staff are all utterly friendly, helpful and gorgeous with not a single exception, and are willing to provide feedback, seek help from more knowledgeable staff and converse with students like equals. I used to think botany was a horrible, horrible science, but this subject proves that, even if you dislike it (and the staff are aware many people take it for 'easy' summer credit), botany is useful, ubiquitous and sometimes even fun (crazy, I know, as it might seem impossible to think of it as fun after BIOL10004's botany section).

The lectures ranged from highly interesting to somewhat boring as far as revising them went - much of the more interesting content was presented in practicals and on excursions, though I found the lectures were overall quite intriguing if you attended in person. Most of the 13 lectures were presented by Mike Bayly, who is an utterly stellar lecturer, but guest lecturers were interspersed throughout the subject's short duration; Pauline Ladiges (yes, she wrote the first year biology text) lectures on the mallee bioregion of NW Victoria, John Morgan from La Trobe gives a lecture on the surprising biology and conservation of Victorian grasslands, David Meagher lectures on bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts), Tracy Regan talks about the principles of conservation biology (by far the least interesting lecture) and Neville Walsh (the Senior Conservation Botanist at our Royal Botanic Gardens!) gives a non-assessed lecture on the role of the Gardens in botanical conservation and research; his lecture is one in which you should just sit back and listen to his stories.

Lectures covered (broadly) the biogeography and biogeographic regions of Victoria and Australia, conservation threats to Victorian plants, climatic history, environmental conditions affecting plant growth, vegetation types/plant habitat structure (and underlying environmental conditions affecting this), some soil classification (Mike agrees this is not a riveting part of his lecture), Victorian wet forests (cool temperate rainforest and wet sclerophyll forest), bryophyte biology and environmental importance, the semi-arid mallee ecosystem including vegetation types, mallee eucalypt regeneration and human impacts, Victorian grassland makeup, conservation and some surprising facts about how grassland biodiversity works (this is actually really cool), plant adaptations to fire, plant adaptations to (usually low) soil nutrient levels, plant adaptations to harsh environments, plant adaptations to biotic interactions, Victorian flora's genetic diversity (a whole lecture q_q), the Royal Botanic Gardens conservation efforts and finally principles of conservation biology (quite dull). Lecturers were overall passionate and explained everything well with reference to their slides, though do note you need to listen to lectures to get all the assessable lecture content into your head; slides are by no means comprehensive for these lecturers. Tracy's lecture and Mike's genetic diversity lecture were fairly boring, but otherwise the lectures were all good!

Practicals are three hours long and typically involve identifying plant families, genera etc. etc. Do note that the overarching content from these is assessable; don't learn the specific names of random plants you I.D., but do learn things like the characteristics of a Poaceae floret, types of fruit, varieties of capitulum in a daisy etc.. The pracs were generally well-run and quite enjoyable, but after a long day of lectures they can be very draining. There is no in-prac assessment; everything is assessed on the final exam. The final practical details some information about herbarium specimen preparation for the 25% assignment.

The two day-long excursions involved visiting vegetation communities around the Melbourne region. The first excursion was to Anglesea; we went to Distillery Creek and the Point Addis headland. Demonstrators (including Mike; try and get into his group as his knowledge is incredibly good) will take small groups of people around the walking tracks and talk about the vegetation and plant groups of the areas. Take notes, particularly for the first excursion, as the excursions are assessed on the exam! Make sure to especially be aware of the general themes as compared to specific little details, though these are useful to know and a question about which species (with scientific names given) lived in which area from the first excursion came up on the exam. There was also a short answer question about the ironbark trees from Distillery Creek. The first assignment is handed out and completed on the day of the excursion, but you get plenty of time to answer the quite simple questions. I botched my written answer up and still got 85%, so it should be fine! The second excursion was to Mt. Macedon (near Sunbury) and to a remnant mallee woodland in Melton. There was a lot less assessable content for these, as we looked at transects and estimated % cover of various plant species and types - this isn't something that can really be assessed on an exam. There was a single MCQ on both excursion sites for this second excursion on the exam, but nothing asking specifically about the areas and their plants. Still, it can't hurt to revise!

The exam was very fair and assessed about as large a variety of themes as could be expected in a two-hour exam (I reckon a three-hour exam for this subject would be far more preferable). There were a variety of MCQ and fill-in-the-blank questions to cover more specific details and nitty-gritty anatomy of reproductive structures etc., and another ~50% of marks were dedicated to broader themes in the short answer and essay sections. You will need to write two essays on two broad topics - you get a choice between two prompts for each essay, which is great news for those of you who don't take things like population-wide genetic studies to heart (like me) but actually remember everything about how mistletoes transport seeds and how buzz-pollinated flowers reproduce! If you know and understand all the subject content, this exam should be very fair. Just make sure to be relevant with your essays and revise practical and excursion content thoroughly as well.

The 25% assignment (a monograph on a species of Victorian plant) was the bane of this subject - a 1500 word research essay and accompanying herbarium specimen. DO NOT BORROW BOOKS FROM THE BIOMEDICAL LIBRARY - be courteous and either photograph pages then study them at home, or use them within the library. There were 80 undergraduate students doing the same assignment, and some books used by all had only one or two copies. Note that postgraduates (~40-50 in our cohort) did a different, more rigorous research essay assignment.
For the herbarium specimen, all instructions are given in the lab manual and online in the form of the herbarium how-to document from the UoM herbarium (Google it!). Make sure to cut your plant early and change newspapers when pressing it, make sure to give your OWN detailed observations on the label and follow all herbarium mounting practices properly. Also try and aim for an aesthetically pleasing end product! I have a sample specimen that received full marks which I can photograph if anyone wants a guide as to what to do. Mounting multiple parts of the same plant is also okay - refer to the herbarium how-to guide if you have any questions, or email Kathy Vohs, Mike Bayly, Gill etc. failing that.  As far as the research aspect goes, the staff are looking for well-researched assignments, and most of the species you'll be studying do not have much information available in the mainstream domain, so be prepared to book-hunt and journal-hunt quite a bit (though some species have next to no journal information, you can indicate this in one of the sections in the assignment). Tips to a good essay, according to a demonstrator I asked, are answering all the questions listed as dot points in the manual thoroughly (including the illustration point), showing extensive and wide research, clarity of English expression (!!!) and going a little further than is expected in finding and presenting your information. Pictures are not required, but I took and attached photos as an appendix to show some of the features. Also note that the description of the plant should be largely based on your OWN observations, and should not come from a textbook. Make it clear that it's you who is describing the plant. The assignment might be a bit of a time sink, but you have a while to do it (from the end of the subject until Week One's Friday), so getting a good mark should be no problem!

Overall, despite occasional moments of boredom during pre-exam cramming sessions, this subject was wonderfully organised, diverse in terms of teaching approaches taken (pracs, excursions and lectures), full of incredibly kind staff and fairly assessed. The research assignment being due on the Friday of week one meant I became behind early and have stayed behind all semester, but it's totally worth it - this subject is great, even if you hate botany, and not extremely hard to get high credit for either (unless you're like simpak and want a score well above 90, which is rare due to the style of assessment and exam having many written open-ended questions). If you're interested in biology, Australian plants/geography/history/geology or just getting some credit over summer, I can highly, highly recommend this subject. It was so well-run that two of my botany-hating third year friends are now taking a botany class each this year; I think this proves that BOTA20004 is pretty fantastic. Good luck!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 06:07:42 pm by LeviLamp »
VCE: Chemistry | Biology (2011) | English (2011) | Environmental Science | Mathematical Methods CAS

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #261 on: May 31, 2014, 08:02:16 pm »
Subject Code/Name: FLTV10010: Making Movies 1

Workload:  12 x 2hr Lectures @ Southbank Campus (VCA)

Assessment:  Weekly multiple choice test (4 questions) - 20%

Visual Sequence (Storyboard) Week 6 (50%)

Director’s Statement (1000 words) Week 12 (30%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Audio recording only

Past exams available:  No exam in this subject, examples of assessment tasks available via LMS

Textbook Recommendation:  Absolutely nothing

Lecturer(s): Jonathan auf der Heide + Guest lecturers for 3 weeks

Year & Semester of completion: Semester One, 2014

Rating: 1.5 Out of 5



12 lectures about a variety of topics that cover the basics of film (acting, genre, story, sound, etc.) The main lecturer, Jonathan auf der Heide, is a pretty funny guy but he doesn’t shut up about the one feature film he made. There’s a hurdle requirement of 75% so make sure you sign your name off the sheet during the lecture. By the halfway point of each lecture don’t be surprised to find that half of the other students have already left…

The lecture will basically be an hour of film clips interspersed by some discussion by the lecturer. Pretty mundane stuff but some of the clips make you want to go home and legally obtain the full movie. The content has almost no application to the assessment tasks.


The major assessment task is a 10 image ‘visual sequence’ (storyboard) that has to have a twist ending. You can access past examples on the LMS.
Jonathan will let you know that he isn’t too worried with plagiarism, basically if you can take a famous sequence from a movie but change the medium (to lego, drawing, painting, etc.) you’re basically guaranteed a decent mark.

The final task is a 1000 word director’s statement based around a short film. This is as simple as writing 150 words under each heading and having the ability to string it all together, reference a few films, and once again you should be fine.

The ongoing assessment is a weekly multiple choice test worth 20% of your overall mark. This is an absolute joke of an assessment as there are only 4 questions each week and if you didn’t listen during the lecture, you can just Google the answers. (Except the one question I got wrong and unsuccessfully appealed :(). You should get 4/4 every week if you are able to use Google at all.

Final Thoughts

To put it simply you will definitely get 90+% for the multiple choice tests, and at least 65 for the other two assignments. Right there is an H2B (72%), put a tiny bit of effort into the sequence and you should get higher.

Having said that, I wish I had done Intro Microeconomics/Macroeconomics or Finance 1.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 10:11:08 pm by alondouek »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #262 on: June 06, 2014, 01:30:30 pm »
Subject Code/Name: COMP20005 - Engineering Computation

Workload:  3 x 1hr Lectures per week, 1 x 2hr practical per week

Assessment:  10% Assignment 1, 20% Assignment 2, 10% MST in about week 6, 60% Exam.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with screen capture.

Past exams available:  About 20 sample exam questions provided, as well as a whole lot of exercises in the textbook for practise.

Textbook Recommendation:  "Programming, Problem Solving and Abstraction in C" by Alistair Moffatt.  And yes, it's essential to the course.  The course is built around this textbook. 

Lecturer(s): Alistair Moffatt.

Year & Semester of completion:  Semester 1, 2014.

Rating:  5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Will let you know after exam.


This subject is overall awesome and if you can possibly take it in Semester 1, when Alistair teaches it, you really should.  He is enthusiastic about programming and a very committed subject coordinator.  He replies to every email and the students love him (their dedication is shown in the fan website http://algorithmsarelife.com).  Expectations are clear and the content is well paced.

You start off right at the basics of C programming, but definitely the MATLAB stuff you do in ESD2 is helpful.  You shouldn't have any problems with the first 2-3 weeks if you've done ESD2.  How to manipulate numbers, functions, arrays, pointers, structures, strings are all covered in the first 10 weeks.  Each chapter covers a new concept and is accompanied by about 10 exercises for you to do.  If you do them all (Chapters 1 - 9 + 13) then you will be in a very good place for your final exam.  Some of the more difficult concepts are covered in his final two weeks and they involve more abstract thinking, a greater focus on recursive programming methods, and different problem solving techniques.  Some people are much better at this kind of stuff, some aren't.  For me, it takes me forever to generate an algorithm, but once once I have it, I can punch out the code like lightning.  But for a friend, he knew what the code needed to do, but it took him forever to write it. 

Currently I'm procrastinating studying for this subject by writing this review.  Which leads me to my one and only issue with this subject - even though the exam is 'only' 60%, it really should be more like 40% and we should have had another 20% assignment.  Testing programming skills via handwritten code is not conducive to real life situations - that said, mostly they are testing your ability to use logic, abstraction, and generate algorithms. 

This subject is difficult to 'study' for.  The only real way is to start coding, right from Week 1.  You HAVE to keep up with the exercises week-by week, because cramming code is nigh on impossible.  By the end, and after both assignments, you should be fairly comfortable with the general syntax of C so that you don't have to concern yourself with that sort of stuff in the exam.  Alistair is known for generating a difficult final exam to try and separate the 90%-ers from the 95%-ers, but that said he is very clear on what he expects from you.  I'll update this post with a comment on the final exam after I sit it next week (8am, first day of exam block!).
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #263 on: June 06, 2014, 01:53:20 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CHEM10007 Fundamentals of Chemistry

Workload:  3 x 1hr lectures per week, 1 x 3hr prac per week, 1 x 1hr tute per week.

Assessment:  6 Practicals (20% total), 3 online MSTs (5% each), Exam (65%).

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with capture.

Past exams available:  A few, maybe 4.

Textbook Recommendation:  I purchased the recommended Blackman textbook "Chemistry 2nd edition" but ended up just using the library copies for questions and pre-readings.

Lecturer(s):  Mick Moylan, Penny Commons, Jonathan White, Sonia Horvat.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014.

Rating:  5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Will post after results released.


This subject is a really great introduction to Chemistry.  As with a lot of introductory science subjects at UoM, they could do more to spark enthusiasm and energy into the content.  What we are learning in this subject is actually amazing and awe-inspiring, but you have to look hard for it because it's taught in such a dry way for the most part. 

(Some of the next para copied from the handbook:)
Mick started off for about 10 lectures introducing us to the structure of atoms, periodic table, naming compounds, bonding etc. 
Penny is a great lecturer and she talks about solubility and the solution state; ions and hydration; the behaviour of gases; the mole concept; concentrations; stoichiometry; acids, bases, neutralisation reactions and salt formation, redox reactions and reaction potentials.
Sonia lectures on acid/base strength and the pH scale; energy and chemical systems; rates of reaction and reaction order; catalysis and enzymes; chemical equilibrium; the equilibrium constant, Ka, Kb, stability constants and solubility products.
Jonathan takes us for organic chemistry (organic molecules: structure, nomenclature and functional groups; and biologically significant macromolecules).  It's a pity that Jonathan had to lay so much groundwork in the nomenclature and that kind of drier stuff because organic chemistry is super interesting and I think it will be great in future Chem subjects.

All lecturers were pretty good (I liked Jonathan the best) and if you do a bit of pre-reading to make sure you have an idea of what's coming the lectures are useful and well paced.  I had done some pre-study in the holidays leading up to the semester because I am aiming for a 90%+ overall grade so that I can skip to Chemistry 2 without having to take Chemistry 1.  I highly recommend this if you are aiming to do the same. 

I would highly recommend doing the assigned textbook questions after EVERY lecture starting right from Week 1.  It really takes the load off what you need to do in SWOTVAC and makes it much less overwhelming.  I stopped doing every question at about week 8 (when organic chemistry started) mostly because the exam timetable was released and our exam is on the last day... so I switched focus to more pressing subjects! 

Although some of the pracs weren't that inspiring in themselves (I LOVED two of them though) I had a brilliant and wonderful demonstrator.  Some of the demonstrators I encountered in passing though seemed pretty average so I think I got lucky there, hopefully you will too!  Pre-writing your pracs really takes a load off when you're under time pressures during the pracs, so make sure you pre-write what you can.  You also have to do an online pre-Prac test and hand in a code to show you passed.

The tutes were OK but they were badly synced, if you had a tute early in the week it would cover material that hadn't been lectured on yet, which was annoying for some people.  A good argument to do the pre-reading though, even if it's just a quick read through. 

None of the concepts in this course are particularly difficult, although a lot of people struggled with electrolysis.  Really they are just laying the groundwork and giving you tools with which to tackle more complex chemistry problems further down the track.  It is part rote-learn and part problem solving, but the equations are pretty straight forward, you just need to learn how to use them. 

The exam was very very fair.  Questions are very similar from past exams so if you do all the past exams you'll know what to expect.  It is 50% (90 marks) multiple choice and 50% (90 marks) short answer.  Really, it was one of the fairest exams I've ever sat.  There should be no surprises with this subject.  Learn the material, and you'll ace it.

NB.  If you perform well in the exam for this subject, you will get an offer to go straight to Chemistry 2.  You don't have to accept the offer but it means you avoid Summer Semester.  Performing well means > 85%.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 07:30:29 pm by hobbitle »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #264 on: June 06, 2014, 02:20:07 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST20029 - Engineering Mathematics

Workload:  3 x 1hr Lectures per week, 1 x 1hr tutorial per week.

Assessment:  15% MST, 3 x 5% Assignments, 70% Exam.

Lectopia Enabled:  Not during semester, but lecture recordings are released during SWOTVAC.

Past exams available:  Yes, a whole bunch (about 12) available from the online library resource and the LMS.

Textbook Recommendation:  There is one, but you don't need it.  Everything you need is in the lecture slides that you buy from the Co-Op.

Lecturer(s): Marcus Brazil or Christine Manglesdorf

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Will post after results released


Hancock has already given a great review of this subject so I won't say too much.  I actually really enjoyed this subject.  I felt like I could really see the usefulness of the application of what we were learning, and whilst I do agree that a lot of it was just punching numbers into formulas and integrating, I still liked the fact that I could really see how what we were doing was applicable in the future as an Engineer.  I also was grateful for  a bit of a break from the more abstract/conceptual subjects like Linear Algebra in first year.  It was fun to just do maths and be able to understand it and understand why.

It should be noted that my lecturer Marcus was pretty average, and I heard Christine was much better.  Marcus basically just read what was on the slides, which you can essentially learn yourself (like Hancock did).  Although seeing him work through the answers to the exercises I found helpful.  They would really benefit from taking one lecture per chapter to kind of explain why we are doing what we are doing and how it is applicable in the 'real world'.  For example, when doing PDEs, most people just rote learn the process and don't actually understand at all what they are doing. Even 5 minutes to explain La Places equation would have been great - but perhaps this is assumed knowledge, I don't know.

Maybe I also enjoyed it a lot more because Engineering Mathematics marks the end of core maths subjects for my major, and now I get to actually integrate it into Level 3 subjects... hopefully.  Anyway, I quite liked this subject, and even though my tutor was kind of strange, she was also pretty nice and helpful and liked explaining things to us.  The tutorials are actually great and helpful (I had a particularly good little group as well).

The exam was VERY fair and predictable - almost too much so, but hey I'm not complaining!  Do 4 or 5 of the past exams and you'll know exactly what to expect from your final exam.  They didn't throw any curveballs or try to trick you.  It was very satisfying :)
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 07:33:53 pm by hobbitle »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #265 on: June 06, 2014, 04:43:39 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MUSI20149 - Music Psychology

Workload: 1X2hr lecture per week

Assessment: Weekly participation in web-based quiz (40%= 10X4%); 2000 word written assignment, due at the end of semester (60%).

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  N/A, 2 past sample essays were given to us.

Textbook Recommendation: There is one, but you don't really need it. If you want you can borrow it from the library or look it up online

Lecturer(s): Every lecture had a different speaker (don't remember the names)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

I chose this subject at the end of week 2 just before the last enrollments (I dropped MIIM20001) because I wanted a "relaxing" and "bludge" subject. Since lectures were at 9am and living 2 hours away, I probably attended about 3 lectures the whole semester. Some of them were very interesting while some were mind-numbingly boring. I remember in week 5, 6 or something we learnt about auditory damage from listening to music too loud for prolonged periods of time. The speaker, Jeremy Marozeau brought his machine which could measure how loud you listen to your music to! :) That was probably my favorite lecture all semester.

Every week there are 4 MCQ questions which make up the weekly quiz which contribute to your final overall mark. Each question is 1% and since there are 4 questions every week for 10 weeks, it makes up 40% of your overall mark. This is easy to attain some much required marks but make sure you do them well since mistakes may be detrimental to your overall score. Theoretically if you got 30/40 for the quizzes, to get a H1, you would need a 50/60 for the essay component. Whereas if you got 40/40 (not easy), you would only need a 40/60 (66.67%) in comparison. So yeh, I guess it does make quite an impact.

The reason why I gave this subject 4/5 was largely due to not much info about the final assessment. The final 60% essay to be honest, is a pain and I do not speak for only myself but for others when I say that the staff in this subject did not really give much detail as to what was expected of the assignment. The thing they provide is 2 sample essays which scored well but yeh maybe I'm just noob hahahaha :( I'm not sure how hard they mark the final essays and how hard it is to get a H1. But from my experience so far, I don't think it's as easy as everyone makes it out to be ? :/

Overall, I found this subject to be quite relaxing thorughout the semester at times very interesting.

Edit: put in grade mark + if anyone has any questions feel free to PM me.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 06:31:11 pm by ChickenCh0wM1en »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #266 on: June 06, 2014, 11:47:18 pm »
Subject Code/Name: SPAN30014 - Spanish 5

Workload:  2x1.5 hour tutorials each week

Assessment: Más ejercicios 10% (weekly exercises), pruebas 35% (in-class tests), presentación oral 15% (oral presentation), ensayo final 15% (final essay) and final exam 25%

Lectopia Enabled:  N/A

Past exams available:  No

Textbook Recommendation:  Aula 4 (you need it)

Lecturer(s): Tutors are: Sandrine Michel, Sam Rutter and Pablo González del Rivero

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 Semester 1

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 90 (H1)

Comments: Most language students will gladly tell you that every language subject turns to shit by third year. They're not wrong.

Ok, perhaps that's a little hyperbolic, but in comparison to previous Spanish subjects this one is a bit of a bummer. First of all, it's too slow. You honestly feel like you're going through at snail's pace, which sounds glorious, but after two years of Spanish there's something exciting about ploughing through quickly. You miss out on that sense of development and achievement because of how slow this subject is. In reality, there really is quite a bit to learn, but the tutors tend to linger on relatively simple concepts. Presumably this is because these concepts have been difficult for previous students and they've over-corrected.

The subject focuses on texts called testimonios. After 12 weeks of class, I'm not convinced that anybody is sure what testimonios actually are... Very basically, I think they're just first person texts. This was introduced as the overall theme of the subject—indeed it is the title of it if you believe the sílabo—and there was much talk of testimonios, but it never really added to anything. We would read a text or watch a film each week and have a really contrived and fruitless discussion about the themes of the text. It was silly and a waste of time. The way the texts we read related to assessment is indicative of its silliness. All questions either centred around regurgitating mindless details such as the author's name and the date it was written or regurgitating information that the teachers had mentioned in class, for example, how to interpret certain elements of the text. Needless to say, the teachers were at pains to make sure that we had already discussed those elements ad nauseum in class, so it wasn't an interpretation, but rote learning of boring details once again.

There are good bits, though, don't fear! The tutors are all fantastic. Personally, I had Sandrine and Sam; both of whom would walk to hell and back for any one of their students. You always left the classroom knowing that the tutors actually cared about how you did and were genuine when they offered their help. They're also exceptionally prepared for their classes, despite this being far less well co-ordinated than previous Spanish subjects (which isn't difficult Spanish 1-4 are exceptionally organised). Spanish classes tend to be more cohesive than most, which makes for a really supportive environment to learn in. Each of the tutors also seems to have a good idea of the students' abilities, which is more than you can say for almost any university subject.

I've come to expect a lot from Spanish at UniMelb. Spanish 1-4 are brilliant subjects. They're well co-ordinated, the assessment is fair, the tutors are all brilliant, the classes are fun, your classmates are all fantastic and you're left with a real sense of achievement. Regrettably, Spanish 5 doesn't live up to those expectations. I am sure that in the general scheme of things, it probably is a good subject; but in comparison to the other Spanish subjects, it is quite poor. It's poorly co-ordinated (exams not even through the SES system, the co-ordinator appears to have just chosen a time and date to shove an exam in a lecture theatre meaning that many students will have to bolt from UniMelb to REB to get to their next exam 40 minutes later), the assessment is hopelessly unfair and nobody seems willing to change it, testimonios are a stupid distraction and a desperate attempt to give the class cultural context and the course itself is set out to be slow and mind-numbingly boring.

This class wasn't a nightmare. I didn't hate it. So I do hope that my criticisms don't necessarily dissuade you from taking it. All I hope is that you go into this class knowing not to expect as much as you had from Spanish 1-4.

¡Que os disfrutéis! Si tenéis preguntas o queréis ayuda, mandadme un mensaje.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 05:24:39 pm by Mr. T-Rav »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #267 on: June 07, 2014, 01:51:10 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ECOL30007 - Marine Ecosystems: Ecology & Management

Workload:  28 lectures; 4 tutorials; 12 hours of group multimedia presentations

Assessment: Mini-symposium (presentation and participation, 15%) at the end of semester; critiques of tutorial readings (up to 2000 words) due throughout semester (25%); mid-term written examination of 1 hour (20%); written examination of 2 hours during the final examination period (40%)

"Mini Symposium" - You have to do an oral presentation, 8-10 minutes per a group member in a group of 5 people, about topic like "Aquaculture" or supertrawlers.
Critiques of Tute readings - You get given some studies and you have answer some questions about them. I think it was 800-1000 word limit, about a page per tute. You could get assessed on up to 3 tutes, but only 2 would count.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, only audio.

Past exams available: n/a. A relatively new subject (think it only started last year, in 2013). But they do supply sample exam questions.

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbook, mostly just the tute readings and such. Would definitely recommend reading the readings they link at the end of each lecture or ones they mention, as the content in each lecture is often based around studies that have been done.

Lecturer(s): Mainly Tim Dempster, Steve Swearer, Mick Keough and Rob Day.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Sem 1

Rating:  3/5

Vary in quality and content. Sometimes we would have like 3-6 lectures on a topic like "Disturbance", which wasn't very interesting, and we'd only have one lecture (by Tim Jessop) on Megafauna (turtles and such). As someone who is more into animals than anything else, I thought the lectures would have more on ecology and management of marine animals. It was more about well, everything in the marine ecosystem. Including lectures on ocean acidification and rising temperatures, and the effects it would have. Not super engaging for me, but still interesting in a way.

I would say it's better to attend these than skip them because sometimes the lecture slide content is hard to follow, especially Mick Keough's lecture slides which have little content (mostly pictures). I had problems with understanding the concepts in his lectures but I found the two reviews he posts on the LMS (Sousa 2001 and Minchinton 2007) really helpful to read, as his lectures take content from them.

Easiest way to get marks. You are given a series of readings to study, and there is also a question sheet. You basically answer the question sheet. Each tute had a question along the lines of "Design an experiment.." , which was sometimes difficult to come up with. If you take this subject I highly advise going to the tutorial classes that relate to each tute, as the lecturer will pretty much give you the answers to everything (so take notes!).

Just a short answer test on lectures that had been done. Straightforward, you just need to make sure you understand what each lecture was about.

Oral presentations:
The worst part of the subject. We were in groups of 5-6, presenting on a very broad topic. It was worth 15% (and no idea how they marked us). My group spent over a month meeting at least once a week with multiple Facebook, Drive etc chats to make sure we covered everything and nothing overlapped. We also had to include "research project" type plan thing which was supposed to be our answer to problems brought up in our presentations (eg. supertrawlers catch turtles, dolphins and other megafauna as bycatch, how can this be reduced?). I feel for the amount of work that was put in (everyone had to present for 8-10 minutes) it wasn't worth the time we spent (especially since the tutes were worth 12.5% each).

Time commitment:
So when you do your timetabling, it looks like you have a 3hr workshop twice a week every week. In actuality that timeslot is just for the oral presentations so you'll only have to go to classes in that timeslot maybe 3 times at the end of the semester.

They will give you practice exam questions, and I guess the format is kind of similar. There were 4 or 5 x 5 mark questions and 4 x 20 mark exam questions. You had to do all of them.
The questions weren't too difficult in my opinion, especially if you've done revision (went through lectures, did some background reading etc). I just didn't think I wrote enough content to cover 20 marks for each of the 20 mark questions. I'm not sure how much detail they want you to go into because they don't supply sample answers so I just wrote as much as I could.. and I hope that was enough.

Overall I'm not sure if I regret taking this subject. Aside from the laborious oral presentation, it was kind of a relaxing subject. Not quite a bludge but it wasn't super difficult either.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 09:36:14 pm by ReganM »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #268 on: June 07, 2014, 11:44:44 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ENGR30002 Fluid Mechanics

Workload:  3x50 minute lectures and 1x50 minute tutorial per week + 1 single 2 hour Prac at some point from ~ weeks 4-7

Assessment:  Prac Report (10%), Fluids Assignment (10%), 3 hour Exam (80% and a hurdle)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with video

Past exams available: Yes, but no solutions provided

Textbook Recommendation:  None

Lecturer(s): Stan Grant

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Sem 1

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

TL;DR: A really well taught but difficult subject that requires constant work throughout the semester to do well.


Most prospective Fluid Mech students will have done Eng Mechanics in second year, so I'll work a bit of a comparison into this review. See my review for that here (and, for an entirely different perspective see Hancock's here)

After struggling mightily with Engineering Mechanics (although I ended up with a good mark), I came into Fluid Mech expecting to have a bad time. However – perhaps because the content is easier or maybe because it is explained better – I have found Fluid Mech easier than I expected.

Stan, an Alaskan native who splits the year between UoM and UCI, is a fantastic lecturer. He does something that some lecturers in this field often fail to do: looks at the subject material from a student's perspective. This subject can be tricky and confusing, but Stan seems to understand this and is good at explaining key concepts in detail and emphasising those of most importance. He also has a (somewhat strange but) good sense of humour, which injects some energy into the subject. He's also a genuinely nice guy and gave cupcakes (yes cupcakes) to everyone in the last lecture.

Fluid Mech is a well constructed subject. While the material is taught at a fairly high pace, it was not too much effort to stay up to date with lectures and tutorials, and the assignments were good at guiding study.

The tutes are good but not entirely necessary if you already have a good grasp on the material. The tutor basically goes through 3-5 questions that relate to the past week's material, and worked solutions are provided at the end of the week. Attendance isn't marked, so I only turned up when (a) I woke up early and/or (b) I didn't understand part of the previous week's material.

As all the assessment is completed individually. This is something I appreciate in subjects that are pretty difficult. With Eng Mech, you had to balance the tricky material with group logistics. You'd waste time trying to organise the work when that effort could be better used to understand the content. Also, with the harder subjects, you'll have some students that breeze through it, and others that lag behind a bit. Makes group work difficult as generally 1 or 2 of the group members end up doing most of the work.

The subject could probably be improved with a mid-semester test. 80% is too much for a final exam; it leads to an inherent need to cram and puts pressure on students who struggle. Also, I don't believe in exams as a hurdle requirement when a subject that has no group work; with group work, sometimes poorer students can be carried by their group, necessitating a final exam that they are required to pass. But when all assignments are done individually, a pass doesn't need to be redefined; 50% for the entire subject should be enough.

Overall, this is a very well taught and well constructed subject, especially when compared to the mess that was Eng Mechanics. It is probably one of the better non-breadth, non-elective subjects I have done throughout my Civil Systems major (in terms of material, teaching, workload etc.).

It's worth noting that Stan only lectures in Semester 1, whilst Semester 2 is run by the subject coordinator, Malcolm Davidson, who authored the subject notes which act as the basis for Stan's slides. So, while each semester essentially covers the same content, Stan's notes seem a bit more accessible to the confused masses. i.e. Malcolm's notes seem to lean further towards the common approach (in Eng at least) of just presenting you with a formula in which you plug in the numbers, whereas Stan aims to provide a more intuitive understanding. If any Sem 2 student is struggling to understand the content, send me a PM and I can provide you with Stan's recordings which may be more helpful.

As for advice: keep up with the workload. As I said, it's nothing too difficult, but the content really does build on itself throughout the entire semester, so make sure you understand last week's material if you want to understand this week's.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 02:02:43 am by chysim »
UoM | Bachelor of Environments (Civil Systems): 2012-2014 | Master of Engineering (Civil): 2015-2016 |

Feel free to shoot me a PM pertaining to getting to M.Eng through the Environments course, or the Envs/Eng courses in general.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #269 on: June 09, 2014, 12:52:32 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CEDB30002 Concepts in Cell and Developmental Biology 

Workload:  3x 1hr lectures each week

Assessment:  3x MCQ midsems throughout semester (10% each); 1200 word review of a given paper (10%), exam (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  We were given last years' exam and midsemester tests as revision.

Textbook Recommendation:  Two are suggested, but the lecture notes are enough.

Lecturer(s): A/Prof. Robb de Iongh, Dr. Mary Familari, Dr. John Golz, A/Prof. Gary Hime, Dr. Kim Johnson, Dr. Michael Murray, A/Prof. Ed Newbigin, Dr. Linda Parsons

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 1 2014

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA


This subject can be taken in a few majors (Biotechnology, Genetics, Immunology, and my major, Cell and Developmental Biology), and is taught by people from the Departments of Botany, Genetics, Zoology and Anatomy and Neuroscience, so you know off the bat that it's going to be a broad subject. And that it is - we cover three main areas:
  • Core Cellular Functions: This covers transcriptional/translational control, protein trafficking and cell polarity (apical/basal polarity, cell junctions, cytoskeleton etc).
  • Manipulating Cells and their Genes: This is where we learn the theory behind plant transgenesis, stem cells and pluripotency, transgenics and gene knockouts.
  • Building a Complex Organism - Embryonic Development This covers patterning mechanisms in animals and plants, differentiation, and homeobox genes.
So you can see that we learn about a lot of different things. The subject handles this well by having different lecturers for each area, and I have nothing but good things to say about every lecturer. They really know their stuff. There's an emphasis on experimental techniques, which to be honest I wasn't a fan of as I don't want to work in a research lab, but some people loved it.

Each midsem test covers an area each, and is made up of 25 multiple choice questions. We get last years' test (and answers) to practice on, and they're pretty straightforward questions. I liked how this was set out, so we had to make sure we knew the ins and outs of each area before progressing to the next one.

Each lecturer picked a recent paper about an area of their curriculum, and we picked from them in week 2 to write a 1200 word review on, which had to cover topics like how did the paper make the conclusions it did, what the paper brings to the field and potential further investigations. A draft was due around week 7, which was then critiqued by the lecturer and sent back to us for review until final submissions around the end of the semester. This was the first paper review I've had to write, and I found it quite easy to do - the instructions are clear, and I loved that we had them reviewed before final submission (the draft wasn't compulsory or worth any marks, it was simply for feedback).

The only real negative that I have about this subject is that the three guest lecturers we have throughout semester (on neural stem cells, prions, and xenotransplantation, respectively) can be really vague in terms of what they will assess. However, I've found that they tend to recycle their MCQ in the midsem tests, so with revision they're not a problem.

I took this subject alongside BCMB30003 Molecular Aspects of Cell Biology, and the two really complimented each other well, and covered some similar aspects. I would recommend the combo to people who can take it. And, for any keen bean first years who are reading this review, if you're thinking of taking this subject make sure you do  CEDB20003 Fundamentals of Cell Biology, it's a brilliantly taught subject and definitely prepared me well for this subject.
2011: VCE
2012-2014: BSc (Cell and Developmental Biology) - Animal Cell Biology specialisation
2015-2016: Masters in Laboratory Medicine