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June 22, 2021, 05:20:18 am

Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1336863 times)  Share 

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #675 on: December 19, 2017, 09:44:27 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PHYC10006 Physics 2: Life Sciences & Environment 

Workload:  3 x 1-hour lecture per week
                   8 x 2.5-hour practical
                   1-hour problem-sloving session per week

Note: the schedule of practicals is given on the back cover of your lab manual. And I know on the handbook it says pracs last for 3 hours but when we were doing them they only gave us 2.5 hours. It might be different in the future so just be mindful of it.

Assessment:  Practicals (Prelab + Lab report completed during practical) - 25%
                        Ten online weekly assignments - 10% (1% each)
                        One written assignment (Interactive Writing Task) - 5%
                        End-of-semester 3-hour exam - 60%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes. Past exams up to 2012 are available but only past three years' papers are provided with solution.

Textbook Recommendation:  The prescribed textbook is Physics for Global Scientists and Engineers, Volume 1 or Physics for the Life Sciences 3E. I 'found' the latter one but only used it once. So they are not really necessary. Aside from textbook you will definitely need to buy the lab manual for pracs and problem-solving sessions and a logbook for writing reports.

Lecturer(s): A/Prof Michelle Livett covers thermal physics, fluid and radiation and imaging. Prof Ann Roberts covers electricity and magnetism.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2017

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1(89)

Before doing this subject I was really surprised to find out that there wasn't a single review of it here. Considering the relatively large cohort with both biomed students and science students, I didn't know if it was simply a coincidence or people were just so bothered with physics that they just wanted to get it over with. Now that I have finished it, my overall attitude towards this subject is positive. You will be provided with enough resources for learning and assessments. The coordination of this subject is not sublime but they do a decent job. Assuming that you have done physics in high school, you won't find this subject challenging if you keep yourself up to date with the content.

 A/Prof Michelle Livett and Prof Ann Roberts are both good lecturers and they present their content in a very clear fashion. For the majority of lectures you won't need to memorise much. It's not necessary to memorise formulas for they will be provided in the exam. But you must pay attention to any derivation shown on slides or handwritten by lecturers on camera because they can be assessed. In-class demonstrations are also examinable. So make sure you know what happens and why it happens. The only part of course which involves some memorisation is radiation and imaging. But it's really nothing compared to biology.

Problem-solving sessions:
I find myself unqualified to comment on them because I have never been to any one of the sessions. I heard that they didn't take rolls and the only thing you did in class was to solve questions in group on board. So I figured why not just do those questions on my own. Now you can be as lazy as me by not going to the sessions (which is highly not recommended), but you can't go further by not doing questions on problem-solving sheets. Because in my year the examiners decided to put two of those questions directly onto the final exam paper. Even if it won't happen anymore, you will still find many questions in the exam to be variants of those from problem-solving sessions. So be sure to do the questions.

Personally, I never enjoyed any of the eight practicals. And this is predominantly why I gave the rating of 4 out of 5. When I was reading reviews of this subject on studentvip, some student mentioned how 'awesome' the practicals were. So I walked in the lab with some expectations but gosh did it turn out to be disappointing. The time management for pracs was weird. They were 2.5-hour long when they were supposed to be 3-hour long. And for the first prac everyone was rushing in the end. Some students went 20 minutes over time to finish their report. Then for the second prac, most people walked out 30 minutes early. Furthermore, the criteria for lab performance is ridiculously arbitrary. You can lose mark for 'distraction' during pracs even though nobody knows what it means. You can possibly lose mark for asking your demonstrator questions because it shows that you are unprepared for pracs, which leads to my next point that your practical experience and mark hugely depends on your demonstrators and they are nowhere near as good as those in chemistry last semester. I asked my demonstrators quite a few questions each prac and never lost a mark for that. But some people in other labs weren't that lucky. As for the report, it's basically copying stuff from the manual and answering questions. Prelabs are done online. They are mostly multiple choices with few questions where you need to fill an answer. Overall my tip for practical is to write your report as well as you can and hope for the best.

1. Weekly online assignments:
These online assignments come out every Friday and are due next Monday if I'm not mistaken with the schedule. Your best ten results will be picked for the 10% final mark. I think the thing worth noting about these assignments is that some if not most of the questions are harder or even much harder than those you get on the exam. Don't stress too much if you are stuck with some questions or you think you've spent too much time on them. It always took me quite a while to finish one assignment. Moreover, in my year, one question from assignment showed up on the exam paper. Therefore do take your time and work through them.

2. Written assignment:
Somewhere around the middle of semester you will get this IWT (interactive writing task) assignment. The purpose of this assignment is to help you familiarise with essay-style question which will show up in the final exam. You need to choose one of three topics for your piece. Topics include guideline questions so you are basically still answering questions and putting them together fluently. Your first draft is not marked but reviewed by two other students and a tutor. You will also review drafts of two other students who work on different topics. Your reviews are marked so don't just say stuff like 'good job'. Be as constructive and considerate as you can. After receiving the reviews you will develop your draft based on them and submit your final piece which needs to include how you use the reviews. Everything is done online. Your reviews and final piece are what are marked. I don't know what the weighting is but I think I wrote more for reviews than for my final piece. Feedback and sample pieces will be provided later in the semester.

You might be thinking that with three questions being given before the exam from problem-solving session and online assignment, the final exam in my year should be easy. But the most challenging part of the exam is the sheer amount of stuff to write. There should be quite a few students who weren't able to finish in my cohort. In fact, if I spent any time thinking of those three questions, I wouldn't be able to finish on time considering I only had few seconds left. There won't be too much time for you to think so try to write as fast as you can. As for difficulty, I think it's fair. It's easy to spot some patterns in the way they write questions from the past exam. For example, thermal physics is usually about someone walking, running or cycling and how heat processes are occurring, electricity is very likely to have a question on a three-point-charge system and radiation and imaging is probable to have an essay-style question. You won't see anything you haven't seen before. Therefore the best preparation is to go through your lecture slides and make sure you know how to solve all the questions you have seen in problem solving sessions and assignments.

Overall, this is a decent subject which is not too hard to do well in. From what I've heard it is better coordinated than Physics for Biomedicine. Therefore for biomed students, if you are eligible for Physics 2: Life Sciences & Environment, do pick it. And if you have any inquiry about this subject, feel free to PM me ;).

Edit: Apologies for being misleading here. Students with study score of 25 or more in VCE Physics 3/4 or equivalent have to do Physics 2: Life Sciences & Environment. I thought we had a choice but apparently I was muddled :-X.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 04:52:09 pm by Knarf »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #676 on: January 01, 2018, 11:40:10 am »
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10004: Biology of Cells and Organisms 

Workload: 2x 1 hour lecture per week, 1x 1 hour tutorial per week, 5x 2 hour practical every 2 weeks, 5x 1 hour skills workshop alternating with practical

Assessment: Exam 50% (hurdle), 25% practicals, 20% 4x module tests, 5% assignment

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: One sample exam as well as extra extended response questions

Textbook Recommendation:  Biology: An Australian Focus (provided as an interactive e-book)

Lecturer(s): Alex Johnson, Andrew Drinnan, Lauren Salo, Mark Green, Mark Elgar

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2017

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 89 H1

Comments: I really enjoyed this subject and felt that it was taught extremely well.

Alex Johnson: Alex gave lectures on cellular biology, which were my personal favourites. His voice was extremely pleasant and he spoke at a perfect pace. The content was quite straight-forward. The lectures covered the different components of cells and how they function together as well as the origin of these components.

Andrew Drinnan: Andrew gave lectures on plants, as well as cellular respiration and photosynthesis. He was more interested in telling us random facts about plants rather than delivering the content he said he would. However, the parts he taught were quite simplistic and he gave quick summaries at the end of each lecture of the important information that we would need to know (and his exam questions reflected this)

Lauren Salo: Laurenís lectures were on physiology. For the most part she was very thorough in her explanations and the content was delivered exceptionally well. However, she kept running out of time and would carry over content to the next lecture, resulting in her final lecture only being half completed, which was a shame as it was an interesting lecture.

Mark Green: Only gave 2 lectures on reproduction and they were fantastic. He continually applied the content to real life and at the end of the second lecture did a quiz asking questions that most people should know the answer to (about birth control etc.) and gave out razors and condoms to people who got the answers correct.

Mark Elgar: Mark taught the evolution aspect of the course, which consisted mostly of rote-learning. I didnít find him to be very engaging but the content was quite easy to remember. He would give monologues about an evolutionary scenario, which came up on the exam word for word. His monologues are still embedded in my memory long after the subject, so he did a good job of ensuring that the content was learnt.

Exam: 50% hurdle consisting of 3 sections with approx. 180 marks. Section A is multiple choice, some worth one mark others worth two. Section B is a fill in the blank, quite straightforward for the most part. Section C is the only section where answers need to be written and the questions can vary wildly. This year the examinable content was not just that taught in lectures but also on any extra material (skills workshops, practicals, tutorials, videos and textbook readings).

Module Tests: Each module had a test worth 5% (4+5 were combined). Some of the questions could be a little contentious with ambiguity between several answers (admitted by the tutors), however they encompassed the content delivered in lectures and were a good feedback tool, however they werenít available in feedback mode like chemistry.

Assignment: The assessment unanimously hated by the cohort. We were given some data on the molecules involved in photosynthesis and told to write a lab report on it. Hardly any information was given and the word allocation was extremely low (less than 300 for the entire thing). Donít have high hopes for getting a good mark with this.

Practicals: The pracs for the subject were quite simple and easy to get full marks on if you followed the demonstrators advice. I personally found most of them to be rushed (much more than chemistry) but easily completed if you keep up with the demonstrators. Unfortunately you are not told what you are being marked on until you get into the lab (or if you have friends who have already completed the lab). Some of the labs I found that I would only complete the tasks we were being assessed on due to time constraints.

The tutorials are quite useful depending on what tutor you have. I had Michelle and she was fantastic, she knew exactly where most students would be having trouble and put a great deal of effort into helping us understand it. There are plenty of worksheets that are completed (depending on the tutor) which make fantastic revision material. The tutor will also tell you what is coming up in the future (assessments, practicals) so that you donít forget. 

Skills Workshops
These were a new addition this year. The aim was to boost our Ďscientificí skills (understanding data, writing experiments, hypothesis, written responses etc.). The intention was good but the delivery was not very helpful. I found them to not be very clear in what we supposed to be learning. Often the examples used were obscure and a bit difficult to understand. The content is exam assessable, usually in the form of part of the section 3 content (e.g. write a hypothesis for this experiment, analyse the data).

Advice for the exam
The exam is a real mixed bag. The first section, consisting of multiple choice has questions that require logic and critical thinking and others that are purely memorisation. Some of these questions may be a little bit contentious, where you have to decide which is going to be the best answer.

Section b involves filling in the blanks of a paragraph using a word bank. This section is not too challenging as long as you remember some of the buzzwords from the semester.

Section C is an extended response type question and is where most students do the worst. This is where the skills workshops were meant to help. The questions could be anything (you are told who is writing each questions during the final tutorial) and are more there to test your scientific thinking than simply being able to regurgitate information.

During SWOT VAC the biology department ran a series of lectures to assist with section C. If they run them, I highly recommend that you attend them as they provide extra section C questions and the criteria required to get full marks.

One practice exam is released. Often there will be questions on the practice exam that will also appear on the exam.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #677 on: January 01, 2018, 08:38:41 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10005: Genetics and the Evolution of Life 

Workload:  2x 1 hour lectures per week, 5x 2 hour practicals every second week, 5x 2 hour workshops alternating with practicals, 1x 1 hour tutorial per week

Assessment: 20% from 4 module tests (3 online, one completed in tutorial), 5% assignment, 25% practical assessment, 50% exam (hurdle)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture
Past exams available:  One sample exam provided, with answers and additional section c questions

Textbook Recommendation:  Biology: An Australian Focus (provided as an interactive e-book)

Lecturer(s): Dawn Gleeson, Hayley Bugeja, Theresa Jones, Lauren Salo (guest), Andrew Drinnan

Year & Semester of completion:

Rating: 2 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: (Optional) 89 (H1)

Comments: Compared to BIOL10004 this subject is badly run. It was disappointing to see the quality slip so much (I will discuss further below)

Dawn Gleeson, the queen of cat pictures, took the first set of lectures looking at genetics. For the most part, she was quite easy to understand but could be a little robotic at times. She provides a general introduction to genetics including the different classifications and genetic linkages and how diversification occurs. Her examples were set out extremely well and easy to follow and she provided us with plenty of extra practice questions. There will be a lot about drosophila.

Hayley Bujega: Her 3 lectures were easily the worst of the lot. It seemed like she was reading the information straight from her computer and there was little engagement with the audience (we had the least amount of people turn up to her 2nd and 3rd lectures). I also felt that there was some content that she didnít understand so she struggled to explain certain concepts. She was covering gene expression but I didnít feel like I learnt anything from her lectures, it just seemed to be endless talking without much explanations. She also made continual mistakes during the lectures which she didnít always correct. I was better off with the tutorials and the textbook.

Theresa Jones: Her lectures started off a little frustrating as there was a video we were required to watch prior to her lecture that we were not informed about. This resulted in the lecture being pretty much a waste. She did apologise for this in her second lecture, as she did not realise we were not informed, and actually went through the content of the video. Overall, her lecture content was delivered with a high level of enthusiasm and very professionally. She taught the zoology section and she had an endless knowledge of cool facts about animals that allowed for a good way to remember them.

Lauren Salo: Although she only filled in for one lecture of Theresasí, Laurensí lecture was by far my favourite of the semester. She was very engaging and physically demonstrated some of the concepts she was trying to explain, making it much easier to understand.

Andrew Drinnan: Andrew gave lectures on the evolution of the protists, fungi and plants. The lectures were quite interesting but we were required to remember a vast amount of information (such as the different types of chloroplasts in various protists and were in the timeline plant adaptations appeared). He did a good job of showing us the level of content expected so as not to allow us to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information provided.

Dawn Gleeson (again): Dawn returned to give the final three lectures on population genetics. These lectures were quite straightforward, mostly going through examples of scenarios (which follow the same format each time) and there wasnít too much that needed to be explained.

I found the tutorials to be excellent in helping with revision, as we were shown ways to summaries the different topics into easy to understand ways. There is also content learned delivered that is exam assessable (such as human evolution)

I had Lauren Salo as my tutor. She is absolutely brilliant, an excellent teacher who knew how to explain any concept. Unfortunately, she did have to take about 3 weeks of personal leave and I had to attend other tutorials. The other tutor was great, however he was covering the content in a different order so that resulted in me missing out on some content (such as the human evolution)

Skills Workshops
The Skills workshops were a big let down (as they were last semester). Their purpose is to help build upon the foundations of being a good scientist (research skills, writing skills etc.) but they fall short of being useful. They seemed to be worse than semester 1. I understand what they are trying to do but they need some serious restructuring.


Module Tests; Each component of the course has an associated test worth 5%. The first was completed in the tutorials and the rest online. I found some of the questions to be very contentious and there was issues with several of the tests not marking people correctly or some questions not having any correct answers. This was dealt with straight away, however some questions that had incorrect answers were not fixed.

Assignment; like semester 1, the assignment was the worst assessment. It involved looking at two genes associated with drosophila and required an analysis of the genes (linkage, dominance, sex linked etc.). Very little information was provided making it near impossible to understand exactly what was wanted

Practicals: I enjoyed the practicals, my demonstrator (Ian) was extremely helpful in promoting an understanding of what we were meant to be learning and would provide as much help as he could when asked. Again, like BIOL10004, we are not told what we are being assessed on until the day. Assessments were usually a quiz combined with us having to demonstrate satisfactory completion of practical tasks (such as finding cells on microscope). There were 2 post prac tests that required us to have our (fully completed) practical notes. This was a little bit annoying as I had to ensure that I could find the correct pages and also that I had filled in the correct information.

Exam: The exam was really no different than BIOL10004. Each module was weighted depending on how many lectures there were. I liked the exam as I found that the questions asked were well thought out. The section C questions were easier than BIOL10004, much less scientific thinking.

Some of the questions from the sample exam were the same or very similar, which was a great confidence booster.

Unfortunately, there was a mistake with one of the section b questions (one too many to fit onto the sheet) and instead of being told to disregard the last part, we were informed to cross out the entire question. I still completed the question, as I felt that it would be a disadvantage to myself as it was my best section (17 marks out of 45 for plant/protist/fungi section) and Dawn emailed us afterwards informing us that we were meant to complete the question.

Why I rated this subject poorly
You can probably see that I have been very negative with this subject review. I absolutely loved the content that was covered in the subject, however the way it was run was such a let down from BIOL10004. We were expected to do extra readings from the textbook and other sources on the LMS (which is fair), however these were usually not clearly listed and often placed in the wrong section, making it difficult to keep track of what was to be learnt. For example, when it came to Theresaís lectures, we were expected to watch the set of videos on animal classifications so that we would understand the lectures. Unfortunately, we were not informed of this and the videos were not located under the correct section. The LMS was a complete mess, with mazes of folders, usually located in the wrong sections. I had to show some of the tutors where the human evolution video was located as they couldnít work out where it was placed.

The reason for so much content to be learned outside of lectures was due to the drop from 3 lectures to 2, resulting in the lecturers not having as much time to deliver all the content required. This would not have been problematic except for the complete lack of organization and structure.

I hope that in the future the subject will be run better, as it is a very interesting subject and essential for many majors.

Advice for the subject
Go into the subject with a positive attitude. Sometimes the content may seem boring but it provides a great baseline for seeing what fields you may want to continue studying in.

Continually revise, as there is a lot of content in the subject and you will need to memorise a lot (names of animal classes, names of protists). I suggest using flashcards (I personally used Anki). Most of you will likely be undertaking Chemistry 2 at the same time and these subjects combined introduce you to a lot of new information and are very demanding so it is essential to stay on top of the workload (otherwise you will have too much to learn during the exam period).

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #678 on: January 12, 2018, 04:40:57 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST20005: Statistics

Workload: 3 x One Hour Lectures, 1 x Problem Based Class (Tutorial) and 1 x Computer Laboratory Class per Week.

Assessment: Three Assignments (6.7% each, totalling 20%), Computer Laboratory Test held in the last week of semester (10%) and 3 Hour End of Semester Written Examination (70%).

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Yes, three past exams and solutions were made available on the LMS for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Please note that there was a new lecturer for 2017. However, the past exams were still an accurate representation of what to expect for the exam (even though there were several errors that students pointed out in some of the exam questions and the solutions to past exams).

Textbook Recommendation: The prescribed text is R. Hogg, E. Tanis, and D. Zimmerman, Probability and Statistical Inference. 9th Edition, Pearson, 2015. To be honest, I hardly used the textbook. The assignments, tutorial classes, computer class sheets, lecture examples and past exams gave a sufficient number of questions. However, the lecturer did provide a list of additional questions that students could attempt from the textbook towards the end of semester. I would say that these additional textbook questions just give students extra practice!

Lecturer(s): Dr Damjan Vukcevic.

Year & Semester of completion: 2017, Semester 2

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Rating: 5/5

Comments: As mentioned above, this was Damjanís first time taking this course. I believe the previous lecturer was Dr Davide Ferrari. Personally, I really liked Damjanís teaching style and feel that I learned a lot from this subject! MAST20004: Probability or MAST20006: Probability for Statistics is a prerequisite for this subject. So make sure that you are familiar with the special probability distributions taught in these prerequisite subjects since they will be used frequently throughout the semester. In particular, the Binomial, Poisson, Exponential, Uniform and Normal distributions came up quite frequently. You will also need to be familiar with what a random variable is, expected value, variance, covariance, independence, Law of Large Numbers, Central Limit Theorem and Moment Generating Functions (this last topic is not used very frequently in MAST20005).

Like all mathematics and statistics subjects, the key to success is practice, practice, practice! The more questions you can attempt throughout the semester, the more comfortable you will be with the ideas presented in the course. Statistics is all about applying the concepts taught with real data sets. However, one of the focuses of MAST20005 is also learning the derivations of the formulae presented in lectures. You will often need to prove some result using techniques taught in the course in the final exam.

Please note that the subject MAST90058: Elements of Statistics shares common content with MAST20005. Both subjects have the same lecturer, time and place. The subjects are essentially the same in content. The only difference is that MAST90058 has a slightly different focus on what it teaches students. It focuses more on the practical applications of statistics, whereas MAST20005 assesses students more on the derivation of important formulae. This is reflected in the final exams for each subject. The first six or so questions are the same for both courses, but the last two questions are usually different due to the slight differences in the focus of each subject.

A major focus of this course is using the data collected from a given sample to make inferences about the entire population. We are often interested in trying to estimate a particular parameter concerning the population. For example, we may want to estimate the proportion of the population that support a certain Prime Minister. Clearly, it would be too difficult and expensive to collect data from the entire population (all of Australia) just for a simple news poll. So instead we would collect data from a sample and try to infer the population proportion based on the results of this sample of smaller size. We summarise the data from any sample with statistics (e.g. sample mean, sample standard deviation, sample median, sample proportion) and use these to estimate the desired parameter. Point estimation (including method of moments and maximum likelihood estimation) will be covered as well as interval estimation.

Other topics in this course include regression, hypothesis testing (including distribution free hypothesis tests, goodness of fit tests, analysis of variance and likelihood ratio tests), order statistics, quantiles, resampling, Bayesian methods, asymptotic distributions and optimality. This subject will also introduce you to many new probability distributions that may not have been covered in prerequisite subjects. The most important of these are the chi-squared distribution, t-distribution and F-distribution.

Damjan uses a combination of both lecture slides and handwritten examples (recorded on the document camera) in delivering his lectures. The problem based classes are just like the typical mathematics and statistics tutorials with students collaboratively working around the whiteboards. The computer based classes will allow you to use the programs R and RStudio to both enhance your knowledge of statistical inference as well as learn how to use a computational program to find point estimates, construct interval estimates and undertake hypothesis tests in an efficient manner. The lecture examples will be done both by hand and by the aid of R.

ASSIGNMENTS: There are a total of three equally weighted assignments throughout the semester. I found these to be quite reasonable and fair both in the time they take to complete as well as the consistency with what had been covered in the lectures. Please note that a random subset of questions is chosen for marking (just like in MAST20004). Typically, the assignments contain six questions and three of these will be marked. Complete solutions are released after assignments have been submitted and returned to students.

COMPUTER LABORATORY TEST: The test (50 minutes) is held in the last week of semester. This will test your competency with R and will assess how efficient you can be in applying the concepts taught during the semester. You will be allowed to bring three doubled sided A4 sheets into this test as well as HARD COPIES of all of the tutorial sheets and computer laboratory class notes.

FINAL EXAM: The final examination is 3 hours in length. You are allowed to bring a single double sided sheet of notes into the exam and a hand held scientific calculator (consistent with the approved model from the Faculty of Science). R output will be provided in the final exam, but you need to know when you will need to use that output as well as how to read it. As mentioned above, consistent effort throughout the semester will pay off!

On the whole, I felt this subject was well coordinated and supported with interesting real world examples. This area of mathematics is also very applicable to many industries and fields of science. This subject has definitely motivated me to continue with my studies in probability and statistics! If youíve liked previous courses from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, Iím sure youíll enjoy this subject!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 05:11:34 pm by Maths Forever »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #679 on: January 17, 2018, 04:00:21 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ACTL10001 - Introduction to Actuarial Studies

Workload: 2 x one hour lectures per week, 1 x one hour practice class per week

Assessment: 2-hour end-of-semester examination (70%), two assignments totalling not more than 2000 words (20%), a 45 minute mid-semester examination (10%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Yes (2 with full solutions)

Textbook Recommendation: None required - the lecture notes were sufficient

Lecturer(s): Shuanming Li

Year & Semester of Completion: 2017 Semester 2

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 95 (H1)

As an avid statistics and maths student, I thought I would choose a maths-related breadth subject to support my studies so decided to choose ACTL10001. In complete honesty, I didn't know how difficult this subject was going to be until the middle of the semester.

Subject Content
The course is split into three main components: Financial Mathematics, Demography and Contingencies/Insurance. The financial mathematics part of the course was relatively simple, consisting of simple interest, compound interest, annuities in arrear/advance, deferred annuities, and introduced the force of interest. Demography was also quite easy, and was comprised of population models, birth rates/fertility rates, life tables, force of mortality and so on. The contingency part of the course was quite difficult, which is basically where you have to calculate the expected present value of future payments depending on the mortality of that person (which can get quite complicated, and it is not just a 'plug and chug' computation here, you really have to THINK). The course wraps up with overviews of types of insurance and superannuation which is quite self-explanatory, as well as covering the Law of Large Numbers which was interesting. Basically what I thought was difficult was the fact you had to know how to derive every possible formula given from first principles or using past knowledge of proof by induction or any alternative methods; not for the faint hearted! A strong maths ability is highly recommended here.

There are 2 assignments, each worth 10%. Both were based on Excel, essentially just utilising the spreadsheets to be able to compute your answer. The first assignment was very simple and covered the first 2-3 weeks of lecture content, however be weary because the markers will deduct markers for stupid reasons (i.e. you will lose 1 mark, out of 20, if you don't name the file correctly when you submit it). The second assignment was much more difficult, which was indicated by the average marks (43/50 compared to 19/20 in the first assignment). Nonetheless, persistence and discipline will ensure you get near to full marks on these. 

Mid-Semester Exam
The mid-sem covered all content from Weeks 1-6. The exam only went for 45 minutes and it was very difficult; most questions weren't too bad, but there were a few there to trick people up. Honestly, this exam was made more difficult due to the short time frame to complete it. If we all had one hour, then the average mark would've been higher (average mark was 18/30 of a 10% exam).

Final Exam
I was honestly frightened walking into this final exam as I felt like I didn't know the derivations and proofs inside-out, however I was (happily) surprised that this exam was incredibly easy compared to past papers we were given as well as past exam questions on the tutorial sheet! The lecturer told us that there were a record number of H1s in this course (~38%), yet still a record high fail rate (~17%). I guess it just depended on how well you prepared and practised the past questions!

The reason I gave this subject a rather low score was because the lectures were rather haphazard and the lecturer would always fall behind (we didn't cover a huge part of content in the last few weeks). Moreover, the tutorials were quite pointless considering you would have to do the tutorial questions before you come in and the tutor would just write the solutions on the whiteboard, despite them being uploaded on LMS each week. Also, on a personal note, I found it difficult to understand the lecturer due to his accent; however, I totally understand it is very difficult to deliver a lecture (in particular) in a second language, but it really impeded on my own learning so I just stopped going to lectures all together and went through them myself at home. Nonetheless, a good subject if you love some maths and are up for a challenge!  :)
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #680 on: January 22, 2018, 10:05:37 pm »
Subject Code/Name: HPSC30019 Minds and Madness

Workload: 1 x 1 hour online lecture per week and 11 x 2 hour workshops from week 2-week 12

(subject to change)
1000-word report due week 6 (25%)
1000-word History of Psychiatry in 5 objects, due last week of teaching (25%)
A 2000 word critical reflection, due during the end of semester examination period (50%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:    Past essays provided.

Textbook Recommendation:  Madness: A Brief History (R Porter) Oxford University Press 2003 (useful for assignments but not essential)

Lecturer(s): James Bradley

Year & Semester of completion: 2017 Semester 2

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 80 H1

Comments: This subject has been my favourite so far in my degree! I adored the content and became immersed in the history of psychiatry. I believe this should be an area that is mandatory for all psych majors and all future doctors or health professionals. Not only is it fascinating, but it gives an insight into how treatments such as psychiatric medications and ECT, came to be and why they did. The subject works chronologically through the history of the psychiatric patient and treatment up until the modern day. It outlines what it means to be 'mad' or mentally ill, and how society has influenced the treatment and depiction of madness.

All of the lectures are online and this is accompanied by a 2 hour workshop each week. I won't go into detail about the assessments, as they are most likely going to be modified next year to include a group assignment and I don't know which ones will be the same. Weekly online journal entries were used through which we had to nominate items (newspaper articles, images, documents, videos) which would then form the basis of a major assignment.  There was also an essay on the Mind Gallery at the Melbourne Museum and a critical review on society and the history of pscyhiatry.

To anyone intrested in the mind or psychiatry; Give this subject a go! You won't regret it and your life and studies will be enriched. It's worth it. Trust me!
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 10:07:17 pm by sjayne »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #681 on: March 01, 2018, 10:59:31 am »
Subject Code/Name: BIOM30003: Biomedical Science Research Project

Workload:  There are no classes for this subject, but you're expected to put in approximately 10 hrs of work a week, or a total of 170 hrs for the entire subject.

Literature review (due early in semester to see if you're on the right track) (0%)
Oral report (15 min) or poster presentation due towards end of semester (30%)
Written report (~3000 words) due end of semester (60%)
Supervisor assessment of research competence, based on student's contributions to project design and completion (10%)

Lectopia Enabled:  No classes

Past exams available:  No exam

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbooks but you'll need to be in touch with your supervisor or a lab member about finding relevant literature to your research topic.

Lecturer(s): n/a, coordinated by Joel Bornstein

Year & Semester of completion: Summer 2018

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: I would absolutely recommend this subject to anyone that's interested in the idea of doing honours or following research in some way in their future life. I used this subject to gain a taste of what it was like working in a lab to see if honours was a good alternative to medicine for me personally. I left the subject with a much stronger understanding of how research actually works and also gained real scientific skills that I hadn't throughout the first two years of my degree. Namely, by being a part of lab meetings, journal clubs, and having to write up a written report as per standards in my field, it felt like I was truly engaging in science, which you're only provided a diluted and dumbed-down version of through the first two years of biomedicine/science.

If you're not at all interested in honours, it goes without saying that you should definitely not do this subject - it is not easy, and just because it has no classes doesn't mean it's a bludge. This subject demands discipline and motivation to carry out your experimental design, because you'll probably spend the majority of your time working by yourself or carrying out tedious or trivial jobs to make your project perfect. If you're not genuinely interested in your project, it will definitely be obvious to not only your supervisor, but to whoever you present your oral/written report to.

People that want to do this subject need to have "excellent results" in discipline-relevant subjects (typically H2A or above) and permission from the departmental coordinator before they are enrolled. What this means is that if you're interested, you really need to be prepared early and have all of the administrative stuff ready to go well before your project starts. For example, I used semester 2 of 2017 to find an appropriate lab and contact the relevant coordinators to see if my project was appropriate for the subject.

In terms of assessment and what you get out of the subject, your supervisor will play a large role, so make sure they're someone you get along with decently well. In particular, your supervisor can be responsible for up to 60% of your grade, so it's important you're on the same page with them. The oral  presentation is unlike anything offered in level 1 or 2 subjects and as such it can be pretty difficult. I'd recommend starting work on it early and discussing with lab members about your progress. It is not something that you can freely improvise and you'll need to do some practice runs before you get it right.

The subject experience will also differ greatly between people, because no two people will have the same project. Similarly, there are projects from a wide range of different departments within the faculty, so I've kept this review to be fairly broad.

tl;dr: This is a great subject because it allows you to credit real lab experience towards your degree, and facilitates learning real scientific skills. If you're interested in research or you're contemplating honours, I'd highly recommend it.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 12:05:31 pm by Alter »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #682 on: June 18, 2018, 11:28:18 am »
Subject Code/Name: BCMB20002 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 
Workload:  3 x 1 hour lecture, 1 x 1 hour tutorial (recorded) a week

Assessment:  2 Mid Semester tests, each worth 10%, Weekly online quizzes that sum to 10%
Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture etc.

Past exams available:  Yes, 3 on the LMS that related to the current content, some older with mixed relevance

Textbook Recommendation:  Lehinger's Principles of Biochemistry (7th ed reccomended, I had 6th). You must obtain this textbook, as the weekly quizzes are solely based off the readings from it.

Lecturer(s): Terry Mulhern, Paul Gooley, Heather Verkade, Paul Gleeson

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Semester  1

Rating:  4/5

Although apprehensive in the first few weeks, I came to enjoy this subject.
Terry Mulhern: L1
As someone who barely scraped through Chem 2, the first lecture in which Terry introduced thermodynamics again had me scared that this subject was going to be much more 'Biochemistry' than 'Molecular Biology'. However, he explained it concisely and clearly, and didn't go into too much detail for anything. This barely featured in assessment, apart from a general knowledge (mostly logic) of how unfavourable reactions can me made to 'go'.
Paul Gooley: L2-7
Paul's lecture style was probably the least engaging in my opinion.  He covered the levels of protein structure and protein evolution. However, it was fairly methodical and required more understanding than memorisation
Terry Mulhern: L9-11
Terry came back to cover Protein function and enzymes. This was probably the most confusing part of the course for me, with a few different formulas an graphs relating to enzyme kinetics and inhibition that we needed to understand and remember, but it was not weighted heavily on the exam.  As this is not a calculator-based subject, there was much less focus on applying formulas and more on understanding where they were relevant.
Heather Verkade: L12-23
Heather's lectures, although much simpler than the previous content, were the worst in my opinion.  Her lecture slides contained little content, and so you needed to take very detailed notes of what she was saying about them  or rewatch the lecture later.  Her lectures focused on DNA: Replication, Transcription, Translation, Structure and some work on receptors and cell cycle regulation. I found that for the DNA processes, I ended up finding explanations of them elsewhere on the internet to aid my notes writing, as her explanations were jumbled, confusing and often ambiguous as to what was important and what was not. She would often jump around lecture slides in a random order to explain the steps of a process, or just not include some steps altogether.
Paul Gleeson: L24-27
Paul's lectures on biological molecules and membranes were by far the simplest part of the course.  Much of the content, especially on molecules, was repeated from first year and the new content was very easy to understand and apply. The part of the exam that assessed this section was basically marks in the bank - very simple and predictable.
Terry Mulhern: L28-33
Terry returned to jump into metabolism in the last few weeks of semester. This was a daunting series of lectures, in which he advised us that we would need to remember the names and be able to visually identify every compound involved in glycolysis and the Krebs cycle. It moved pretty fast, and we finished off with some lectures on hormonal control of metabolism.  This was the part of the exam that I was most concerned about, but it turned out there was little to worry about.  There was only one  major question (a part B fill in the gaps 10 marker) that assessed this part of the course, and I was able to complete it without any memorised knowledge of the names of the enzymes etc. I found that all the MCQ that related to this part of the course only required some logic and an overall understanding of the purpose of metabolism and which parts of the body need it to function etc.

Tutorials: These were held as mini lecturers in a theatre, and were recorded. They were presented by whichever lecturer was presenting at the time, and thus varied in quality.  Terry's were probably the most helpful, as he went through a lot of problems that would otherwise have been confusing.
MSTs: These were MC quizzes held in exam conditions and were quite fair.  The first focused on Enzymes and proteins, and the second on Heather's Molecular biology content.
The exam: Was very, very similar to one of the past exams put up on the LMS, and thus I'm sure most people did very well (bye bye scaling). Very fair overall, with a decent distribution of marks for different parts of the course.
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #683 on: June 19, 2018, 11:13:22 am »
Subject Code/Name: ECON10004 Introductary Microeconomics 

Workload:  Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week

ē   Tutorial attendance/ participation (10%)
ē   Online MCQ test (5%)
ē   750-word assignment (10%)
ē   1250-word assignment (15%)
ē   Final exam (60%)

Echo360 Available: Yes

Past exams available: 
There were two past exams posted on LMS (2016 and 2017), where only one of the papers was provided with sample solution. There are lots of past exam papers which you could find on the library website.

Textbook Recommendation:
ē   Principles of Microeconomics
ē   Microeconomics: Case studies and applications
Personally, I would recommend the Principles of Microeconomics textbook if you have no prior knowledge in economics, as the readings would definitely help you understand the content better. There is an ebook available on the unimelb library website, so you donít have to buy the textbook unless youíre more of a hardcopy person. As for the case study book, itís not necessary to have it.

Tom Wilkening and Eik Leong Swee, depending on which lecture stream you are enrolled in

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Sem 1

Rating:  4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Content covered in the subject includes competitive markets, welfare, firm theory and game theory. There are many graphs to memorise and some basic calculation involving differentiation. Topics I found most interesting are price discrimination and game theory.

To do well in the subject, you should really attempt the pre-tute worksheets each week as well as attend all tutorials to understand the content of the subject better. Lectures are not compulsory as you could always watch the lecture capture at home. For the very first assessment for the subject (online MCQ), I would recommend finding a few friends to complete it together to increase chances of getting a better score. The questions are mostly the same with different figures.

The assignments for this subject were quite interesting, although some questions are quite ambiguous and caused some confusion for students. Checking the online tutor frequently would help clear some doubts you have. For our first assignment, the first question was about ride-hailing apps and the second question was about import quotas and tariffs. The questions donít seem too hard, but it isnít easy to score well. I did better for the second assignment, which was about the milk industry and a case study of your choice. First part of the assignment consists of a series of question based on an article, and second part is to choose an article and apply some aspect of economic activity. Both parts were equally weighted.

As for the lecturers, I was enrolled in Eikís lectures but went to Tomís lecture once. I did not have a preference for any of the lecturers, but Eik usually goes at a relatively fast pace and Tom teaches rather slowly. Eik uses doc cam for the first half of the semester and switched to an iPad to directly draw the graphs on the slides, which were great because the previous graphs drawn during lectures were not shown on lecture capture. Tomís graphs were usually recorded on lecture capture. He also goes through a few case studies during lectures which were in the tutesheets.

To revise for the final exam, redoing all the tutorial worksheet will help a lot. Donít bother reading the lecture slides again because it does not contain much information. If you need to refresh your memory regarding certain concepts, refer to the textbook or watch the lecture capture. 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 02:58:07 pm by junyper »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #684 on: June 23, 2018, 03:42:33 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MULT10015 Language

Workload: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week

Assessment:  1x 500 word annotated bibliography, 1x 2000 word analytical essay, 2x 750 word essays (exam period)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  Sample prompts are provided for the final essays

Textbook Recommendation:  All relevant material is provided on the LMS

Lecturer(s): Anthony Pym, John Hajek, Tim McNamara, Mary Tomsic, Rikke Bundgaard-Nielsen and Justin Clemens

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2018

Rating:  3.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


Iíd classify this subject as a foundational linguistic one. It provides students with a nice introduction to some critical ideas (linguistic relativity, LADO, language and empire, language and race, performativity, language acquisition and translation) and key thinkers (Saussure, Lacan, Freud, Butler, Austin, Whorf, Chomsky, Jakobson). Despite the breadth, the connections between topics was tenuous at times, and made the course feel somewhat disjointed. It also didnít help that tutorials were limited to around 45 minutes.

As concerns the lecturers, they were often engaging and clear in their explanations. At times however, there was the odd lecturer who deviated from the key readings, which was frustrating (given that students may only use material on the LMS for essays). While it is easy to become complacent, and reliant on the lecture slides, do not overlook the readings. Life will be made so much easier come SWOTVAC when you are preparing for the final exam. This is especially the case, because the exam topics are phrased in a way where students are required to cover 2 different areas in the one piece; thus 4 in total.

Assessment 1:

This is a small, 500 word, annotated bibliography. Iíd strongly recommend that students use the Unimelb annotated bibliography sample as a template for this response. It provides all the features that should be included in this form of writing. Additional information can be found under the subject information tab on the LMS. A 10% + or Ė word count quota is granted for this assessment (like all the others). Essentially, tutors are looking for a clear, insightful and accurate (as concerns referencing) response.

Assessment 2:

With this essay spanning 2000 words, adequate time must be dedicated to it. Many students left it to the last week and subsequently found that they didnít have enough to write about, couldnít respond to the essay question in a holistic manner, or were just pressed for time. For many, this was the first Ďproperí tertiary essay. Hence, it can take a while to adjust to new introduction formatting, referencing conventions and overall paragraph structures. If I recall correctly, there were 8 different prompts to pick from, making this a very fair task. Just ensure that all the key words and phrases of the prompt are defined in the introduction.

Assessment 3:

The final exam comprises two essays of 750 words. I was quite disappointed with the prompts provided. Despite the lecturer telling students that translation (the last topic) would not be formally assessed, 2 of the 6 topics pertained to translation. Also, in comparison to the practice essay questions, the ones released were quite limited in scope. If possible, Iíd strongly suggest that students dedicate the full 5 days to this task.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2018, 01:35:22 pm by clarke54321 »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #685 on: June 23, 2018, 08:28:40 pm »
Subject Code/Name: LING10002 Intercultural Communication

Workload: Two 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week

Assessment: 1x 1500 word ethnographic task (address terms), 1x 2500 word ethnographic task (narrative inquiry)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available: NA

Textbook Recommendation:  Jackson, C. (2014). Introducing Language and Intercultural Communication. London & New York: Routledge

Lecturer(s): Dana Chahal

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2018

Rating:  3 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


I would recommend this subject to anyone interested in the social side of linguistics. The course covers the topics of conversation analysis, the use of address terms, narrative inquiry, identity and non-verbal communication. While the textbook elaborates on these topics, it doesnít add anything particularly critical. Iíd suggest that students pay close attention to the assigned readings, as these will provide you with material that is highly relevant to the assignments.

I place a great emphasis on the readings because the lectures were poor. Unfortunately Dana spent most lectures merely reciting the textbook. The only reason that I continued attending lectures was to engage with my peers, and listen to their original understandings of the content. Luckily the tutorials provided a greater opportunity to clarify points of ambiguity.

Assignment 1:

This 1,500 word essay took the form of a research report and focused on the use of address terms. As noted by previous reviews for this subject, the assessment instructions were terribly vague. Hence, it is fundamental that students continue to ask their tutor questions regarding the required content, layout and word limit (ie. do extracts contribute to the limit). And it really is important that tutors are your first point of call, given that there was often conflicting desires among the lecturer and tutor.

In terms of the actual content, students are required to undertake their own ethnographic observations and collect empirical data (namely address terms). The better performing students narrowed down their question to a particular context. For example, some analysed addressed terms in a certain cafť or sports club. Itís also easier to find targeted research if you can localise the scope of the task.

Invariably, there will be critiques handed down by your tutor when you receive your final mark. For the sake of the next essay, I strongly advise that you meet with your tutor and discuss the essay. They appreciate it if you approach them with an open mind, rather than a mark bargaining one.

Assignment 2:

The second essay was yet another research report, which concerned itself with narrative inquiry and its capacity to study language, culture and identity. To extract what is known as a critical event (a significant life moment involving the aforementioned themes), students were required to interview a partner. The evidence taken from your partner should then provide the basis for your research questions. That is, if culture shock was the focus of the discussion, students could analyse the way narratives help elucidate the way one copes with transition. This is the same for topics such as bilingualism or overseas exchange.

Again, make sure that you clarify points of uncertainty with your tutor. Some tutors are more rigorous than others. For example, if I wanted to analyse the significance of features like the passive voice, inclusive language or hedging statements, I had to affirm this with scholarly reports (even if I spoke about these points for one sentence).
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 06:33:28 pm by clarke54321 »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #686 on: June 24, 2018, 04:33:50 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST20031 - Analysis of Biological Data

Workload: 2 x one hour online lectures per week, 2 x one hour interactive lectures per week, 1 x one hour computer laboratory class per week

Assessment: 6 online quizzes, held fortnightly throughout the semester (15%), 3 assignments, due weeks 5, 9 and 12 (25%) and 2 hour exam, held in examination period (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  No.

Past exams available: One practise exam, one past exam (no solutions).

Textbook Recommendation: None required - the lecture notes were sufficient.

Lecturer(s): Meghana Kulkarni and Jose Lahoz-Monfort

Year & Semester of Completion: 2018 Semester 1

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (93)

As someone who is planning to major in Statistics, I decided to try out this (relatively) new subject, first introduced in 2017. I got the vibe off a lot of people in the course that they didn't like the subject, and with some good reason. Firstly, the subject did not require any maths prerequisites, but was heavily maths-based (only one first year Biology subject was required). Hence, a lot of those majoring in the biological pathway (zoology, etc) struggled a lot with the heavy math content. In fact, I did as well. A lot of very new and difficult concepts were introduced throughout the length of the course. The problem with the subject, however, is that the main content of the subject was shown through 'online lectures'; basically 10-30 minute clips uploaded to the LMS each week, presented by Davide and Ben, in which they discussed the relevant material we had to know (rather thoroughly). However, the course also has interactive lectures (in person), in which Meghana and Jose would cover some typical exam-style questions, which were rather handy, but always ran 1-2 weeks behind the content shown in the online lectures. I think that the subject might benefit by having the online lectures actually shown in person so students can gain a clearer understanding of the subject content, and the interactive lectures be turned into tutorial-style classes. Another problem with the interactive lectures was that they aren't recorded, and so many people (including myself) missed out on some due to personal/other circumstances which was a bummer. Full solutions to the interactive lectures are provided, at the very least. That being said, I found the practice classes very useful, particularly as I'm following a statistical pathway. Essentially, these labs taught you how to use R (a statistical software package) to display, manipulate and interpret data. In particular, how to display, manipulate and interpret LOTS of data in your set (I mean, 1,000 data points - who would want to manually calculate the mean of that?).

Subject Content
This first two weeks of this subject starts off with a review of high school statistics (so summary statistics, graphs, types of data, sampling, probability distributions (binomial, poisson, normal)). Thereafter, the course dives into sampling distributions and the calculation of 95% confidence intervals for sample and population means (i.e. one sample z-tests and t-tests), introduced the likelihood function and maximum likelihood estimator (which is actually a very neat way to find the best estimator), hypothesis testing, how to calculate P-values, t-distributions, bootstrapping, Chi-Squared goodness of fit tests, contingency analysis, relative risk, odds, two-sample t-tests (i.e. comparing two means). Up to this point basically everything we learned involved how to calculate 95% confidence intervals and carrying out a hypothesis test based on the data obtained.

The second half of the semester involved the idea of designed experiments and importance of good experimental design (blinding, blocking, randomisation, etc) and how this can be applied to biological experiments. This idea was used to determine an appropriate sample size of a certain experiment, given the margin of error required. Then the subject dived into ANOVA and introduced the F-distribution and F statistic, which was actually really interesting but also could get very confusing. This was used to find that the log-likelihood ratio statistic follows an approximate Chi-Square distribution (Wilk's Theorem) which can make analysis much easier. Then we continued on with linear regression, correlation, covariance, slope, intercepts and their 95% confidence intervals and interpretation. Things became increasingly complicated when multiple regression and interaction was considered (with Lasso regression as well), and finished this section up with logistic regression (general linear models). Finally, the last section of the course involved model selection (the Akaike's Information Criterion, cross-validation and the Bayesian Information Criterion); that is, which model is best for your data given a trade-off between complexity and goodness of fit? (which becomes very important when you have multiple parameters to consider). This is followed by a brief introduction to Bayesian Statistics which is very interesting; basically treats the estimator as a fixed parameter value compared to that in frequentist statistical inference!

Now, this was very full-on and statistically based, and the only 'biology' part of the course came in only with examples and problems. Hence, I think this subject should be called 'Introduction to Biostatistics' or something else instead to accurately reflect its course content (as it is a MATHS focussed course, not a biological focussed one!).

The assessment comprised of 6 online quizzes held fortnightly (no time limit), 3 assignments and one final exam. The online quizzes were relatively easy and simple to score high in (only 5 of the best 6 quiz marks are considered for the 15%, so you have room to screw up one). It's open book and you can just go through your notes; it's used more of a revision tool if anything, no nasty surprises. The 3 assignments were very arduous, however. They required you to use R to carry out computations, and much of the assessment was focussed on topics that were yet to be covered in the interactive lectures. Nonetheless, you have about 2-3 weeks to complete these assignments, which should be enough time to think through some of the problems and achieve relatively high scores in.

The final exam was relatively fair, in my opinion. It wasn't too different from the practise and past papers provided, with just a few questions different in content (which did throw must of us off).

Overall, I understand this is a relatively new subject and am sure that after making changes to the subject to what most people thought needed changing, that it'll be a solid subject in years to come. Definitely recommend to anyone doing statistics or biology majors!  :)

« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 01:11:15 pm by silverfox »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #687 on: June 25, 2018, 06:29:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PHYS30005: Muscle and Exercise Physiology  
Workload: 3 lectures per week, that's all. 

Assessment: 2 MST 15% each, 1 assignment 10% and final exam 60%.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture etc. But lectures could use laser pointer to point out a particular feature of a slide. The laser pointer is not available on the lecture recap.

Past exams available:  No. No examination preparation material is provided, except for a very few amount of practice questions that was gone through in the review session. You don't need those material anyway I will come back to that point later.

Textbook Recommendation:  Too many. However the slides are sufficient. I would still recommend "Jones, D., Round, J. & deHaan, A. Skeletal Muscle from Molecules to Movement, Churchill-Livingstone" and "Houston, M.E. Biochemistry Primer for Exercise Science, Human Kinetics" Lecturers tend to use graphs from these two books. They are available in library, but limited quantity.

Lecturer(s): Dr Renť Koopman - Prof Gordon Lynch - Prof Mark Hargreaves - Prof Matthew Watt - Dr Kristy Swiderski - Dr Kate Murphy - Dr Marissa Caldow - Dr James Ryall - Dr Paul Gregorevic -

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Semester 1.

Rating: 3.9 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: Okay, so just 1 day after the exam week, I decided to write up this review. There are a few available reviews for this subject, but they are very old and pretty much outdated. Many things have changed since those reviews and certainly this subject is a lot better than previous years. The quality and assessment has been improving a lot, and I will come back to those points later.
My review is consisted of the following part: 1. What you will study, why you could consider to choose this subject. 2. Teaching quality and my personal study experience. 3. Pre-final Assessment 4. Final Exams 5. Conclusion.

1. What you will study
Here, this subject is splitted into these portions: Metabolism, Muscle mass regulation and From stem cells to muscle repair and homeostasis. Each portion is consisted about 10-11 lectures and 1 review session/workshop.
Two MSTs are constructed 1 lecture after each topic is completed. The assignment is at the end of metabolism and is about the metabolism only.
Now given the above basic information, I would like to be a bit more specific.
Firstly, why should you consider this subject? Well, you must be a physiology major student to enrol in this subject. From second year physiology subjects, like PHYS20001 by the lovely Charles and BIOM20002 by David Williams (En-huh) you should notice that physiology is about understanding the process which human body works. Those kind of purely rote memorisation in subjects like anatomy or pharmacology will not be working properly for this subject. If you love understanding rather than rote memorisation, then this subject is great for you. Furthermore, physiology is a subject that involves many other broad subjects. For example, to understand membrane potential, you need to understand the Nerst's Equation of electric chemistry. Those muscle injury is also related somehow to physics. If you like merging what you have learned together, then this subject is suitable for you.
In the first part of this subject you will be learning metabolism. You will learn the basic substance metabolism of carbohydrates (CHO abbr in this subject) fat and amino acids. Then you will learn the body homeostatic response to exercise and fatigue. The next topic is about muscle mass regulation. You will be learning the muscle synthesis and breakdown regulations, their cellular pathways ( not difficult) and diseases like sarcopenia and cancer cachexia. In the final topic you will be learning muscle generation, both neonatal and during injury. Finally you will be learning muscle plasticity, what the muscle will adapt to the new environment.
Now, a friendly advice, this subject does involve some cellular pathways. I guess you canít really avoid cellular pathways unless you study the anatomy subjects. However, the cellular pathways involved in this subject are a lot less than those biochemistry or immunology subjects. Personally I really hate studying those pathways, so that's why I performed very bad in MCB (BIOM20001). However, personally I believe this subject involves a lot more 'easier' pathways and is certainly less 'offensive' than MCB. Indeed, this subject will regard human as a broad continuity, rather than been dissected into different part like immunology. You will need to memorise some pathways in metabolisms, like how fat is transported into the mitochondria, but they are pretty straight forward and does not involve too much rote learning.

2. Teaching quality and my experience
Overall, the quality of this subject has been improved greatly since 2013. In the first topic metabolism, you will have Rene as the principal lecturer. He is a bit talky and does not include all necessary material in his slides, which means you have to listen to the lecture. Further more, he loves using laser pointer. In lecture recap, the recording will not show the laser pointer, which means if you want to succeed in this subject, you must go to the slot to listen to the recording by yourself. However, he does include a few things that he did not mention in the lecture which really sucks.
Then you have Prof. Gordon Lynch. He is amazing, very professional and includes every examinable material in the slides. He teaches a few lectures in metabolism and muscle mass regulation, but the bulk part of the muscle regeneration lecture. He seldom writes dodgy questions. However, he uses laser pointer as well. That is a problem.
Other lectures pretty much just come and go. They are quite friendly as well, if you have question, even very basic ones, they will not be upset when you present your questions at the end of their lectures.
Finally, I wish to mention "Mark Hardgraph". In previous reviews, you could see that Mark received consistent low ranking. Now I guess the faculty has received bad subject reviews and reduced his lecture to merely 3 times. Now at the top of the slides, he includes the key take away message. This does solve some problems. However, his lecture style is still pretty poor. If you can't make it to his lecture, don't feel too bad about it.

Now I will discuss how I study this subject. Basically, I focused on the lecture slides, which saw a steady increase in its importance as semester progresses. Except for Rene, all examinable materials are contained in the lecture slides. You need to put the slides alongside with your notes together when you write up summary notes. Those reference books are important in the very beginning of the semester, but become useless at the final topics. You could use OCR to transcribe scanned version of the book into words that you can store in the computer. Finally go to the lectures. Those lecturers are using laser pointer and if you don't go then you may miss the main point.

3. Pre-final Assessment
Well, I guess this is the part of subject that is getting interesting. In this year, the regular assessment is quite difficult, but the final is very easy. The examination format is pretty much similar to the ones in PHYS20001, consisted of MCQ (A to E) and EMQ(A to Z). Not too much to say about MCQ, but for the EMQ in MST, we do have some difficult questions written by Rene. An article was pulled from one of the journals, containing some of the information we have studied. We were then asked to fill in the blank, using both what we have learnt in lectures and the information given in the article. Personally I find this really challenging. Except for this, the questions written by Gordon and other teachers are straightforward. When I mean straight forward, I mean either you know the answer and solve the question within 10 seconds, or you don't know the answer, could not solve it in 2 minutes, and ended up guessing.
The assignment is not well assessed in this semester. Basically, we were asked to solve some problems within a scenario. Marks are given, not penalised. This means that you can have one assignment error-free, but still receive less than expected mark because you have missed some points. Furthermore, the question this year was not well-articulated and was ambiguous. I guess the lecturer received some bad complaints and decided to give everyone 10% extra marks.

4. Final Exams
In this year, the final exam was really straight forward. I find this exam the easiest physiology exam I have ever taken. There was only about 4-5 questions that requires you to think carefully, but the remaining are straightforward. Again, when I mean straight forward, I mean either you know the answer and solve the question within 10 seconds, or you don't know the answer, could not solve it in 2 minutes, and ended up guessing. Most marks are awarded to the students who have been doing their best during semesters. So that's why some students ended up early leave.
Finally, I would like to give you some suggestions about the final exams. When the reading time commences, you need to check the question papers to make sure that the words are printed correctly. Then, I would suggest you to begin with the EMQ, because they are quite time consuming. Memorise those answers. When the reading time finishes and writing begins, write down the answers for the EMQ immediately. This will spare your time, and give you a lot calmness to tackle the rest of exam.

5. Conclusion
Overall, I believe this subject has improved in the past 4-5 years. Now its teaching quality is a lot better, so does its assessment. This subject is very well assessed. You should choose this subject if you want to do physiology in the future.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #688 on: June 26, 2018, 05:57:44 pm »
***Note to mods: There is another review for this subject (#440 on page 30) that must have slipped under the radar

Subject Code/Name: ACTL20001 Financial Mathematics I

Workload: 2 ◊ 1hr lectures per week, 1 ◊ 1hr tutorial per week

Assessment: Group (3-5) Assignments 2 ◊ 10% , Mid Semester Exam 10% (45 minutes), End of Semester Exam 70% (2 hours)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, 3 past final exams with solutions, plus 1 past mid-sem exam with solutions

Textbook Recommendation:  Official book for this subject is Compound Interest and its Applications by Fitzherbert and Pitt - Probably not vital but provided many extra questions with worked solutions, and is also used in this subject's successor ACTL20002

Lecturer: Ping Chen

Year & Semester of completion: 2018, Semester 1

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (85)

Comments: I found this to be quite an interesting subject, and a good/logical continuation from ACTL10001. Although it is considered the first "real actuarial" subject, I can't see how anyone who was able to satisfy the maths prerequisites for this subject would struggle too much. That being said, you can't slack off, and need to know and understand all the formulae presented, as well as the underlying concepts - But the actual proofs are not too hard to understand and learn, and you only actually have to remember a few key formula, and the relationships between similar ones.

There were 4 major topics in this subject (the first 4 chapters of the textbook); Chapter 1 was about interest, discount and force of interest rates, chapter 2 went into cash flows (mostly annuities), chapter 3 focused on loans and business project evaluation and chapter 4, which was all definitions, was about types of asset classes.

Lectures involved Ping talking through the slides, as well as annotating them and providing additional information. She was very organised with the timing of the lectures throughout the semester which was a plus. The lectures themselves were definitely helpful to watch, although I usually had to do my own study/practice later to actually absorb the material. I was also able to watch most of them with the lecture capture without drama.

Tute's in this subject were also identical in structure to those in ACTL10001 - You're given the questions beforehand, and then your tutor takes the class through the solutions, but worked solutions are uploaded at the end of the week (Which significantly hinders attendance). However, I found this subject's tutes more useful, as my tutor would provide a nice summary and go into more detail with the really difficult mathematical proofs (Although these types of questions were usually way above the expected exam standard). You'll get the most benefit out of these by trying the questions beforehand, then working through and correcting any mistakes after seeing the solutions.

There were two group assignments, which consisted of 5 or 6 exam style questions. As I mentioned in my review for ACTL10001, this essentially removes the "hard" factor of actuarial exams (Time, memorizing formulae, silly mistakes), and thus getting full or close to full marks in this section of assessment is the norm. Fortunately, this can boost your grade, and help shield the effect of silly exam mistakes/exam pressure. You're also free to chose your groups.

Mid Semester Exam:
While it only covers chapter 1 and the basic annuities taught in ACTL10001, you really have to know your stuff and be on the ball for this one. There's not much time to check over your answers or think about questions for long. However, it was quite similar in format to the past exam (2017's mid sem), and no real trick questions. Average was 21.7/30

Final Exam:
Was more difficult than the mid-sem, but you had quite a bit longer to think things through and review your answers (And I personally scored around 10% higher on my final exam than my mid-sem). Required an understanding of the 4 chapters taught (but no calculations for chapter 4 content), and had a fair few "different" questions. If you work through all the lecture slides (your number 1 place to start for revision),  have done the tutorial questions (There were a few exam questions very similar to these) and had a go at the past exams to get used to the timing, you should be fine. Note also for actuarial students taking this subject (probably all or almost all), your final exam mark in this subject, plus your final exam result in ACTL20002 are the only things that contribute to your CT1 exemption, and the actual result needed is not set in stone, but 75+ should be safe.
VCE, 2015-2016
BCom (Econ) @ UniMelb, 2017-2019
MCEng (Elec) @ UniMelb, 2020-?


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #689 on: June 26, 2018, 09:21:11 pm »
Subject Code/Name: COMP10002 Foundations of Algorithms
With the C language.

Workload:  3x 1 hour lectures, 2 hour tute (1st half mini lecture on lecture of the week/last week, 2nd half working on assigned exercises or assignment with tutor + helper on hand)

15% Assment 1, C programming project. Implement +, * and ^ operators that work over 100 digit numbers. There was a template that covered the main loop, you just had to fill in the logic. Around 350 lines.

10% Mid semester exam. Task was to write 3 functions of ascending difficulty. Being comfortable with basic C syntax and language should be enough to score decently, after that marks will be lost based on how lucky/skillful you are at handwriting code.

15% Assessment 2, No template, analyse the sentence fed using data that was also fed in. The open ended bonus mark (can't get higher than 15%) could take up a lot of time if you fully went for it. I just implemented what Jianzhong hinted and that gave me the mark. I had 400 lines.

60% Exam. Quite fair, around 20 marks on more theoretical based questions with the rest (40 marks) on writing functions and code that are testing C language skills or algorithms taught. There is always a tough last question apparently but this semesters was straightforward and the difficulty was just implementing the logic of the question rather than any conceptual "aha"

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  No, 2 sample exams were provided.

Textbook Recommendation:  Alistar Moffat's book, Programming, Problem Solving and Abstraction with C, it's a stripped down textbook of C designed for this subject with some algorithms at the end. Not necessary but is quite handy as it is the most concise C language textbook out there for this subject.

Lecturer(s):Jianzhong Qi, I like him. His jokes made me laugh even though they're terrible. His accent wasn't a problem for me personally but if you are really concerned take this class in semester 2. He was very knowledgeable and had an uncanny ability to understand the point of questions his students asked him when they made no sense to me.

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Semester 1

Rating:  3.5+ depending on how much you like programming = 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: High H1

Comments: The first 5 weeks of learning C was almost exactly like learning the equivalent construct from Python, a cruise if you were half decent at Python. Then it will spike in difficulty if you aren't careful when the heavier content such as pointers and algorithms are covered.

2 projects really depended on your programming skill could stretch from 5 (literal hackerman) - (when you give up) hours. I crunched as much of the specification as I could in 1 day (gave up cause I hit a bug or an design problem), completed it (fixed the problem but not neatly) in another day and fine tuned/cleaned the code when I felt like it until the due date. It can be done in a weekend.
Just stay up to date with the content in class because it builds on top of each other.

People did pretty decently in assignments, on average ~12/15, marked quite leniently according to tutor. Mid sem average was 6.5/10.

In this subject every mark is 1%. There are half marks though.

Common feedback was that the pace is much too slow at the start and too fast for the harder algorithmic/theoretical content. Otherwise I had fun writing code in an interesting language such as C.

To score well you need to find time to do exercises and play with the content taught in class. This is like math.

I did about 8/14 chapters of the textbook which covered most of basic stuff learnt in Python in about 2/3 weeks in the Summer. This made my life a lot easier and gave me more time to be settled into C and allowed me to cruise the first 5 and lesser so for the next 3 after that. I really recommend people dive into the language taught for any programming based subject you pick up.

The tutorials weren't very beneficial if had done exercises already, but I attended them all and the tutor and helper were very knowledgeable and helped deal with everyone's bugs and questions about C's nuances or lecture content. Alex Zable had Kahoots which was a blast!

NOTE: I didn't do COMP10001.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 10:44:40 am by stevenhuyn »