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June 22, 2021, 04:49:26 am

Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1336859 times)  Share 

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #720 on: November 11, 2018, 03:29:44 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BIOM20002: Human Structure and Function 

Workload:  6x1 hour lectures per week, 4x 2 hour anatomy practicals (optional but highly advised), 1x 2 hour physiology practical (necessary attendance for 10% report marks), a whole lot of optional DSLs, CALs and Anatomedia if further help with topics are required.

Assessment:  10% written lab report (question based), 2 x 10% MSTs, 2 x 35% end of semester exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  Yes, 4 readily available past papers as well as questions in most of your lectures (especially physiology) as well as practice questions galore for MST and end of semester revision (from the lecturers).

Textbook Recommendation:  I don't know, check previous posts...

David Williams: Primary physiology lecturer, probably not as good as Charles Sevigny, the BSci equivalent, but definitely still an amazing lecturer and even better coordinator. I believe he is the primary reason for the massive upheaval of the subject (will elaborate later);
Jenny Hayes: She returned!! Best anatomy lecturer hands down. She has a habit of repeating important concepts 3 to 4 times, which means you usually don't have to re-watch her lectures. She also ensures everyone is well accustomed to an anatomical diagram before continuing her explanations. Such a great lecturer, happy to see here back,
Alistair Stewart and Michael Lew: Pharmacology Lecturers, I don't think I ever attended any of their lecturers in person, but they're definitely very capable lecturers over lecture capture ahaha,
Dagmar Wilhelm: Taking the hardest and probably least liked topics of Embryology and Reproductive Anatomy, she breezes through them and makes them pretty damn palatable,
Varsha Pilbrow: "Deeper Anatomy" - Inside a muscle or bone or skin etc., she prefaces later lectures which use this knowledge for further implementation. Definitely a good set of lectures to watch and very useful. Slightly fast.
Quentin Fogg: THE most difficult set: Arm, Leg and Back Anatomy. Oh god what a series. Tries to make what is so difficult and so complex easy and fun, but that is a hard task with arm and leg anatomy. I skipped half these lectures until the very end. Definitely requires quite some time to revise. Very content heavy.
Stephen Harrap: Renal function - These lectures are a nice end of semester break with many PollEv questions interspersed and very "general concepts based". Don't skip these "in fear" like I did.
Stuart Mazzone: Nervous System Anatomy. He appears quite early and really "sets the tone" for what the rest of the semester will feel like. Before his lectures are a set that makes the semester feel like it will be a breeze. His lectures I feel adequately portray the pace and the dedication required for the rest of the semester

And finally, the "interspersed" lecturers/workshop lecturers which only covered one or two lectures each
Someone for artificial limbs - I din't need to watch that one (wasn't examined) so I didn't, heard it was interesting though.
Jason Ivanusic for "principles of viscera" and "upper respiratory tract anatomy": great lecturer, a key one for 3rd year anatomy, basically just showing his face to us. Importantly, he does NOT preface the difficulty for respiratory anatomy so don't skip Jenny's Lectures because of him.
Paul Soeding, Makhala Khammy and Noel Cranswick: Applications of pharmacology, great, useful lectures for understanding of pharmacological principles,
Angelina Fong: Workshop on Cardio-resp integration: again, wasn't explicitly examined therefore only watched about half of it.
Charles Sevigny: Cardiovascular Challenges Workshop and Physiology practical coordinator. What can I say. One lecture from this guy is too few. david is great in his own right, but this guy is like the Physiology equivalent of Terry Mulhern. Some even sneak into the BSci Physiology lectures for him. This workshop is definitely work watching!

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Semester 2

Rating:  5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Pending

Now I'm no "H1 student" of sorts like many of the other reviewers but because previous reviews are a bit dated and it's pretty obvious there has been an overhaul since, I decided to give this subject a fresh review. Hence, expect no "textbook recommendations" or study advice. Instead, can I say, due to the hard-work of David Williams (primary physiology lecturer and coordinator) and return of Jenny Hayes as an anatomy lecturer and coordinator, this subject has truly boosted it's ranks to, in my opinion, a subject that can compete with and even possibly beat (in terms of quality) MCB (entirely dependent on which areas of study you prefer). This is in stark contrast to previous reviews. I came into this subject with low expectations but curiously got an email the week before semester which stated, from David Williams himself, that I should "remove all expectations of the subject as it has undergone a major overhaul". It was as if he could read my mind. Boy, did he do a good job on that overhaul. This subject is now well integrated and the anatomy and physiology components definitely seem to fit well into each other. It is still split into 6 main topics based on body systems (Foundations, Neuromuscular, Musculoskeletal, Cardiorespiratory, Genitourinary, and Digestion), but each feels like a unit in and within itself with anatomy and physiology building upon each other. Pharmacology is interspersed in between but mainly collects in the later lectures within the Cardiorespiratory (principles of drug action, with cardiorespiratory examples) Genitourinary (for drug elimination) and Digestion (for adverse drug effects). This also worked well. Whilst the first week or so may feel out of place, with a mismatch of 'embryology', 'homeostasis' and 'drug examples' lectures being placed throughout the week in a random fashion that leads one to believe there is no thought process behind it, it quickly turns formulaic and flows on from another from the second week onward. The practicals are amazing (no dissections though unless you pick anatomy in 3rd year), and the resources provided are wide and easy to use. The only thing is anatopedia seems to only work for university computers as it required a "screen larger than the one on my laptop". The famous clickers you hire at the start of the year, mentioned by all previous OPs for this subject, we're also done away this year in lieu of PollEv, which some lecturers (David and Stuart: both physiology) definitely use more than others (Jenny, Varsha, Dagmar, Quentin: all anatomy). Overall, much like MCB, this subject actually motivated me to study it through general interest and great lecturing, which means, for the second semester in a row, the core Biomed subject I believe far exceeds the other selective subjects (I took Microbes and Experimental Pathology in semester 2 and Biological Psychology in semester 1). The MST's were difficult, yes, as they were in MCB I guess, but weren't impossible, and the whole theme for the entire semester was to focus on "principles" rather than details (yes, even for that dreaded musculoskeletal system AKA arm and leg hell). This statement proved correct from the type of questions provided in the MSTs and End of Semester Exams. The Practical Report wasn't a report as much rather than a series of questions based on observations in the practical. DEFINITELY watch the workshop on cardiovascular challenges for this report, it answers 9/10 of the questions (Also, as mentioned prior, Charles is just a legend). The practical was also fun, giving you a chance to measure blood pressures like **real doctors**. The end of semester exam was easy, perhaps too easy, composed primarily of MCQs and ERQs (fill in the blanks). There was only 20/120 marks of the  dreaded "integrated response questions", and only in the second end of semester exam. It was also (nicely) explicitly told to us which sections would be examined in each exam (an explicit break down). Overall, this subject was my favorite so far in all of my degree. It has motivated me to continue trying for better and better marks and for that ever elusive MD place. Fingers crossed for my first H1 since first year first semester. Definitely ignore those previous reviews. This subject is now one to be remembered forever.

PSA: HSF is back, it's revived, and it's better than ever. Thank you especially to David Williams and Jenny Hayes for a great revival of a subject I previously dreaded. Fantastic Work!!
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 06:12:00 pm by alxhrmnn »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #721 on: November 15, 2018, 06:32:01 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ACTL20002 Financial Mathematics II

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

Assessment: Assignments 2 × 10%, Mid Semester Exam 10% (45 minutes), End of Semester Exam 70% (2 hours) - Hurdle: Need at least 50% on the final exam to pass the subject

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  5 past/sample final exams and 4 past/sample mid semester exams, all with solutions

Textbook Recommendation: Compound Interest and its Applications by Fitzherbert and Pitt (Also used in ACTL20001/FMI, one of the prerequisites for this subject) - As I said in my review for FMI, it's not vital but does provide very good explanations (which may not be completely clear from lectures and lecture slides) and extra questions with fully worked solutions. Also, given it's used in both the core level 2 actuarial subjects and is priced around $30 new, I'd suggest it'd be worth getting.

Lecturer: Jason Davis

Year & Semester of completion: 2018, Semester 2

Rating: 4 Out of 5 (Objective rating, not based on my personal level of enjoyment of the subject, or lack thereof :P)

Your Mark/Grade: H2B (72)  :o ... Expected much lower

The majority, if not everyone, of people taking this subject will be actuarial students aiming for a high enough mark to obtain their exemptions. I came into this subject in that boat (despite previously having doubts), but around half way through the semester decided actuarial was definitely not for me. I also lost motivation, and thus by the end of the semester was literally aiming for a pass - I'll try to remain as objective as possible (or at least be very clear when something in my review is purely personal opinion), but if you're an aspiring or current actuarial student reading this, keep in mind I was probably aiming a lot lower than you, and therefore may also have a slightly different perception on things.

In addition, this subject was previously taught by Mark Joshi who sadly passed away in 2017. Jason took over for this year, and from the handbook it looks like there will be a different coordinator next year, so I'm not too sure if everything will remain the same.

This is a compulsory subject for the Actuarial Studies major, and a big step up from Financial Maths I. It's probably one of the biggest challenges faced in the first two years of the Actuarial Studies major in terms of assessment (second to MAST20004/Probability). To maximize your mark, you really need to be staying up to date and consistently engaging with the material - I did not do this, and it definitely came back to bite me during my mid semester exam and final exam preparation.

Topics covered include:
-Pricing a variety of different types of bonds (Discount securities, floating rate notes, indexed notes ...)
-Various techniques to analyse portfolio performance
-Different rates of interest (Spots rates, forward rates ...)
-Forward contracts/arbitrage
-Risk of default
-Using stochastic interest rates if IID (Annuities and accumulations, Life insurance)
-The lognormal distribution
-Dependent stochastic interest rates
-Time series models (Auto regressive and moving averaging, usually used in the context of dependent stochastic interest rates)
-Excel simulations

IMO the content in the second half of the subject when things became probabilistic was significantly more interesting than the first half. Although the latter half of the subject was meant to be harder, I actually found it easier to engage with (especially when trying to catch up in exam period) because of this.

Lectures in this subject consisted of being talked through lecture slides (all uploaded way before the lecture), which would contain a decent amount of blanks that needed to be filled in during the lecture. Occasionally, hand-drawn notes or Excel simulations were also shown. The slides typically took you through the theory and contained a few examples per lecture, which were usually very useful. However, a significant amount of time is also needed to process the content and work through it yourself (Probably a given).
I relied on lecture capture, which worked fine and got everything needed, however I regret doing this now as I think watching at home contributed to my disengagement and allowed me to slack off more - That being said, if you're motivated and focused, using the capture would probably work fine for this subject (It did for me in the past), although it was definitely frowned upon by the lecturer.

Although there are no participation marks, unlike previous actuarial subjects (*Cough, Intro to Actuarial, cough*), tutorials in this subject were highly useful, and as a result (at least from what I saw/heard), most people would regularly attend. The questions/solutions often provided further information that was not covered in lectures, so at minimum FMII students should be doing the questions and checking the solutions that are posted at the end of the week. However, tutors also provided useful tips and tricks (E.g. Quickly setting up equations of values on the Casio FX82 calculator), so it'd be best to attend all/most tutorials to maximize your mark. It's highly recommended that you try the questions yourself first to get the most benefit. From the tutorial page in the LMS: "In 2017 there was a very strong correlation between students who made an honest attempt at the tutorial questions and their final grade. "
The questions themselves were mainly calculations, worded theory and proofs. There were also questions involving Excel work which were also just as important (See final exam).

The assignments were probably (IMO) the most enjoyable part of the subject. They were both Excel based, and required you to create a dynamic spreadsheet using lecture material and basic Excel functions (No macros/programming could be used). The dynamic part is important, and I'd also add that you should try to account for every possible situation (I lost marks on my first one for limiting the range of what the answer could be) - Don't assume the results will be something you'll necessarily see in reality.
The lecture content needed for first assignment was quite simple and easy to understand. However, implementing the actual spreadsheet was the challenge, and really required you to think outside the box. On the other hand, the actual theory/content needed for assignment two required more thinking and understanding, but the actual Excel spreadsheet was much easier to implement. As a whole, the cohort scored much better in assignment two.

Mid Semester Exam
Unless it will change in the future, the mid semester exam only tests a small section of the first half of the subject (Usually 2-3 questions worth 10 marks). As a result, if a topic you're not comfortable with comes up, it can have a big impact on your score. It's also important to note that all the past/sample exams are very different, so it's very difficult to predict what you might get/wing it by rote learning. If you want to score well in this one, make sure you're up to date with all the content! That being said, if you know what you're doing, timing probably won't be an issue for you. The MSE will most likely contain mainly calculations (But not too many stock standard "bookwork" type calculations).
This year the median score was 6.5, which was apparently lower than usual.

Final Exam
All the content is technically testable, but the final exam apparently should be skewed towards the latter half of the course. The final exam will also provide a challenge, but has a bit more predictability than the mid semester exam; Not in a way that allows rote learning if you want a good/exemption level score, but so that you'll have an idea of what topics will likely appear - That being said, Jason made a point that the particular challenge/think outside the box type questions won't be retested, so you should focus more on the content/slides/tutorials rather than past exams. Also, since it obviously covers a much larger range of the content, you won't be screwed if a particular topic you're weaker in comes up. Personally I found my final exam, as well as the past ones easier than their mid semester counterparts, but this was most likely due to the reasons outlined above. Also, my final exam seemed quite a bit easier than previous years (Which a couple of people agreed with me about). The final exam will typically contain calculations, more theoretical questions, definitions/written theory, and as mentioned earlier, questions related to the Excel simulations, testing your understanding of how you set it up (Should be easy if you did the simulations). As per usual for actuarial subjects, you don't get a formula sheet and need to know the key formulae (As well as how it works and how you'd modify it if some condition changed) - Fortunately though, you're not expected to memorize any complicated formulae for particular results, e.g. the variance of time series processes   

Ultimately, this is a challenging subject which you need to keep up to date with if you want to score well. While this was the subject that made me decide actuarial was not for me (despite my initial enthusiasm in first year), if you can get through this one and maintain interest you'll probably 'survive' the major.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 12:58:38 pm by M909 »
VCE, 2015-2016
BCom (Econ) @ UniMelb, 2017-2019
MCEng (Elec) @ UniMelb, 2020-?


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #722 on: November 16, 2018, 09:11:29 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MEDS90020: Principles of Clinical Practice 3

Workload: Varies depending on rotation.

Written examination - PCP3 rotation based (2 x 3 hours), end of semester 1, end of semester 2 (35%)
10x OSCE stations (2 per rotations)  end of year (35%)
Mini-CEXs throughout the year (two per rotation, of which the best 8 will contribute to mark) (10%)
Written tasks specific to rotation (e.g. reflective piece in GP, discharge summary in  Mental Health), throughout year (10%)
Standardised case-based discussion, end of year (10%)

Lectopia Enabled:  No

Past exams available:  Recalls available on UMMSS

Textbook Recommendation: 
Will outline rotation-specific study material below.
Although I never had it, "The Unofficial Guide to Passing OSCEs" is a great textbook to refer to.

Lecturer(s): Clinical site-dependent

Year & Semester of completion: 2018

Rating:  5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: N/A


General comments
MD3 has been the best year of medical school so far for me. This is your advanced specialty year, where you will rotate between Child and Adolescent Health, OB/GYN, Aged Care, General Practice and Psychiatry. You will shuffle through many different hospitals and clinics during the year, so make sure you have a private car available. Otherwise, the teaching in each rotation was great and all of my teams made an effort to include me as much as they could.

I found the year less time-intensive than earlier years, but this is variable depending on how much you want to stay back. You get more responsibility as you begin to help admitting patients into the ward, reviewing patients as needed, and finishing some mundane paperwork/scutwork. As usual, there will still be lots of free time spent observing on the wards however. When there was nothing interesting happening, my teams were always happy for me to leave early and study. Compared to MD2, you will find yourself with much more free time (and not clerk patients because you have no more long cases to do).

Lectures are usually front-loaded into the first week of rotation so that 90% of your time on subsequent weeks were devoted to your placement. I found that this worked quite well as I wouldn’t be completely clueless on my team, so to get the best value out of being on placement, study the material beforehand! Each rotation emphasises different parts of history and examination (e.g. birth, growth, immunisation, feeding, HEADSS for paeds, and forensic, developmental and psych history for mental health) so make sure you are familiar with these during your rotation.
Refer to the presentations and conditions in your study guides to get an idea of what you should be studying. Throughout the year, most questions expand past taking only a history + examination, but now you’ll need to discuss how you would address a patient’s concerns and most importantly, counsel them on their options.

I would strongly advise writing rotation-specific notes before you start that rotation, as you won’t be completely clueless when you start out. This was how I organised my year:
•   CAH term: Finish CAH notes by Week 4, begin WH notes (which is by far the heaviest in terms of content)
•   WH term: Finish WH notes by Week 4, revise for mid-year written exam
•   AC term: Finish AC notes by Week 2, begin writing GP notes (which I knew would be the heaviest in semester two)
•   GP term: Finish GP notes by Week 3, begin writing MH notes, begin OSCE practise
•   MH term: Finish MH notes by Week 2, spend the rest of the term refining previous notes and revising

As for how to write your notes, I’m a huge fan of tableception. Compartmentalising similar things allows you to build up your own structure when answering questions.

Rotation-specific advice + study resources

Child and Adolescent Health
This was one of my favourite rotations throughout the year. I was fortunate enough to be placed at the Royal Children’s Hospital, which I think is one of the most amazing hospitals to work at! There is a strong culture of teaching amongst the registrars and consultants – for example, at the end of most General Medicine rounds we would often be asked to talk about something we learnt in rounds and research a topic to present on the next round.

The lectures at the beginning of the rotation don’t usually pop up in exams. However, the high yield topics would be vaccinations, fluid management, SUDI/SIDs, non-accidental injury, HEADSSS screen, and physiological/pathological murmurs in children. Looking at the most important and common presentations, I would group them into clusters:

•   Seriously unwell child (hypoglycaemia, DKA, meningococcal septicaemia, anaphylaxis, meningitis-encephalitis)
•   Child with altered conscious state (afebrile seizures, febrile seizures, mimics)
•   Child with changes to breathing (Asthma, bronchiolitis, croup, pertussis, epiglottitis, foreign body)
•   Child with vomiting and abdominal pain (both surgical and medical causes)
•   Failure to thrive (there are lots of differentials here)
•   Child with fever
•   Child with rash (infectious and inflammatory causes)
•   Child with developmental delay (yes you need to remember your milestones)
•   Child with a limp

When thinking about your differentials, it is useful to also group them by age as well, as some conditions are more common in certain age groups.
The RCH guidelines are more than enough to get you through – they’re very comprehensive and most questions are based off the guidelines. You can also find the RCH handbook for complementary information. The RCH Kid’s Info Fact Sheets are very useful as they’re mainly targeted at parents, so you can refer to them when practising how to counsel patients. 

The rotation is split into three sub-rotations in ED, a random specialty and General Medicine. I personally found the ED shift to be the highlight of this rotation – we were able to assign ourselves patients and review them independently, after which a registrar would come and find us to present to them. They have seemed to develop a slick, well-oiled system. Shifts are usually 8 hours and split into an 8am-4pm and a 4pm-12am block, but you do not have to stay the whole time! In the morning I would advise coming in at 11am as it’s usually quiet until Fast Track opens at 11. Otherwise, your contact hours for the rest of the rotation are quite variable but I was able to be off by noon on General Medicine at the latest for most days.

You will also be able to attend a special session where you go to a local high school to practise your adolescent interviewing skills under the HEADSSS framework. Near the end of your rotation you will also have a simulation session of Advanced Life Support in paediatrics.

During this rotation you will have two rostered Mini-CEXs and you will have to write weekly reflections on interesting patients you see on the ward. Don’t worry about the reflections – they’re usually marked leniently.

This is the most time-intensive and content-heavy rotation of the year. The first week of lectures is an absolute marathon, but it does provide around 85% of what you need to know. Otherwise, other resources include the Permezel textbook and the guidelines from PROMPT and RANZCOG. These should adequately cover what you need to know.

What makes this rotation so time-consuming is the much feared logbook, but each clinical site is lenient in its own way. You need to tick off a certain number of births, clinics, reviews and certain major procedures. While it’s a lot to look at, most people usually have no problem signing everything off by the latter end of the rotation – if this is your rotation before exams, try sign off everything as soon as possible so you have as much time to study as you can.

The great thing about obstetrics is that most women are healthy and well. Attending your first few births is quite a surreal experience – new parents literally crying with joy, unable to put babies in jumpers because they can’t stop their hands shaking – I had a dad literally grin and pat me on the back after waiting 14 hours for a baby to come out. It’s a time to cherish.

It’s different in each site, but you will usually be allocated a midwife to essentially shadow. Birth shifts entail a lot of waiting and observation, which can be quite boring for medical students. I would advise going on obstetric ward rounds with the doctors if possible and following them around, while letting your midwife know where you’ll be. This means that you’ll be able to attend to emergency Caesareans as they arise. Finally, if you’re able to, try and be allocated to a multiparous patient as labour is usually much shorter.

On birth shifts, most medical students will stand and observe but I would recommend you get as involved as you can. Palpate for the foetus and offer to insert catheters after each epidural. Nothing beats being the accouecher as well – try and see if you could catch the baby with the patient and midwife’s permission (because it is incredibly rewarding!)

The rest of your obstetrics term will entail clinic visits and a few random items here and there (e.g. US, pregnancy day assessments). As always, ask if you can see the patients independently if there are rooms available!

There are also lots of opportunities to get involved in surgeries. I'm not interested in surgery in the least, but it's still fun to ask if you can scrub up for most procedures. However, in gynae you’ll be usually relegated to the infamous job of holding the uterus up (which to be honest can get quite exhausting).

As for what’s important to study: every single lecture. I’m not kidding, but the good thing is that EVERYTHING will be reinforced on the wards. All of the material in Women’s Health is high-yield.

As for your assessment, you’ll need to write two case commentaries (one in obstetrics, one in gynaecology) based on patients you see. You will need references for each case so you should try and refer to guidelines. They can be marked quite harshly – so prepare yourself for it.

Aged Care
This rotation can be quite intense or relaxed depending on where you go. It’s split into Geriatrics (essentially General Medicine), Rehabilitation, Aged Psych and Palliative Care. It can be a rotation with lots of spare time – there isn’t much as much opportunity to speak to patients as they can be delirious, demented, mentally unwell or about to die.

The aged care guide from the university is your bible for this rotation, but it is missing information on Palliative Care. Refer to the eTg guide on palliative care and you’ll be set.

High-yield topics include:
•   Orthogeriatrics and Falls Prevention
•   Cognitive impairment: Dementia, delirium, depression
•   Urinary incontinence
•   Rehabilitation
•   Polypharmacy
•   Cognitive screening tools
•   Social support and services (ACAS, respite, TCP, role of allied health)
•   End-of-life care (managing symptoms, legal aspects)

Luckily there is no rotation-specific assessment in aged care.

General Practice
This is the most highly variable rotation. There are two extremes – either your GP will make you sit in the corner and observe, or you’ll be independently consulting every patient you see. I would HIGHLY recommend that you go rurally for this rotation as you will have a higher chance of parallel consulting (e.g. independently seeing a patient and offering a management plan before calling the supervisor in to double-check). In my practice, patients would book to see me and I was expected to print off scripts, pathology requests, and write patient notes and referrals. If I was unsure about anything I could call my supervisor to come in, so you won’t be left to flounder. I had many great, memorable experiences – seeing a walk-in patient with renal colic in the setting of a solitary kidney, and another patient with ?PE, and I was able to call and handover to the nearest ED service for these patients. I was also thrown into some difficult encounters – such as talking to patients who had been sexually assaulted or were severely depressed, at times suicidal. It’s a good idea to reflect on the patients who leave a strong impression on you.

Many students in more affluent metro areas were essentially passive observers for their rotation, which is not ideal for learning. While it is intimidating at first, you will find that your clinical skills improve immensely by reviewing patients by yourself, and it’s great seeing how much you’ve learnt during your clinical years.

As for the content, you’ll need to revise common presentations from MD2, but there is added emphasis on preventative medicine. You should know about:
•   All national screening programs (e.g. breast, prostate, colorectal, cervical screening, CV and diabetes risk, CKD, etc).
•   The top 30 common presentations in RACGP (https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/januaryfebruary/common-general-practice-presentations/)
•   ALL of the content covered in the workshops and online modules – often appear on past examinations
•   Motivational interviewing (e.g. smoking and alcohol cessation)

For the rotation-specific assessment, you’ll need to write a 1000 word reflective piece on a patient you’ve seen in clinic.

Mental Health
A hugely important rotation with lots of spare time. Mental illness is incredibly common amongst the population and quite debilitating, so I would encourage you not to dismiss it right away – which a lot of medical students unfortunately do as it’s less concrete than other fields of medicine. It’s an under-resourced field and doesn’t get the appropriate amount of funding given the impact it has on society.

During your rotation you’ll be sent around to many different private clinics, inpatient units and other mental health services (e.g. Crisis Assessment Team). The patient demographics at each service is different. The Crisis Assessment Team, for example, reviews patients they feel are “high-risk” in an outpatient setting. Private clinics admit voluntary patients and refuse to admit involuntary ones, who are sent to public inpatient units. Therefore, those at public inpatient units are usually quite unwell and agitated. It can be quite confronting. You have to remember that these patients are being held against their will (which will frustrate anybody, especially if they don’t think they have a mental illness) and some attempt to abscond. Unfortunately, a lot tend not to improve either – non-compliance rates are higher compared to other fields as many don’t think they’re unwell anyway.

There is a logbook for mental health which will require you to interview patients, but there isn’t much opportunity to as you’ll mainly be relegated to being an observer. Make the most out of these by practising doing a Mental State Examination and then present to your registrar afterwards. If you get the opportunity to interview a patient do it – patients can be much more difficult to build a rapport with in a mental health setting, so this will help you be more comfortable asking difficult questions, using correct language in sensitive topics, and negotiating with patients who you can’t establish a rapport with. 

If you can, attend a Mental Health Tribunal. These are independent hearings that review whether a person should still receive involuntary treatment. The treating team will present their case for involuntary treatment to a lawyer, consultant psychiatrist and community member. Patients may also represent themselves at the hearing, which can at times fracture their relationship with the treating team. No doubt will you be exposed to many interesting ethical dilemmas.

The amount of content in mental health is smaller compared to other rotations. The DSMV contains enough detail to get you through. Focus your studies on:
•   Mood-affective disorders (major depression and bipolar disorder)
•   Anxiety disorders (GAD, OCD)
•   Psychotic disorders
•   Panic disorders

The rotation-specific assessment requires you to write a letter to an imaginary GP updating them on a real patient you’ve seen. Follow the sample letters on MDConnect to have a good idea of how you should formulate your letter.

If you’re keen on a specific project, you can ask any potential supervisor whether they have a research project that is suitable for a medical student. Otherwise, wait for the SONIA database to open in April with a list of available projects. You’ll need to attend interviews with potential supervisors – make sure you come armed with questions about not only the project itself, but the working environment, how much work you’re expected to do, and what support you will receive. After projects have been finalised, you’ll need to submit a draft research proposal followed by your draft literature review. Since your supervisor is the one who assesses these, make sure you email working drafts to them with enough time so they can give you feedback before you submit.   

Major Assessments
There are two written exams in each semester: a WH/CAH, and MH/AC/GP. They usually consist of around 45 MCQs and 6 SAQs worth 20 marks each.

There is not much room for study before both exams. Your exams will be the week after you finish your placements for each semester, so you absolutely cannot leave study for the last minute. Studying and making notes ahead of each rotation will not only lighten your load coming into exams, but you’ll also be able to get more advanced teaching and feedback from your team if you understand what is happening on the ward.
Collaborating with others is a must before your written exams. To minimise your study workload, “divide and conquer” – upload past exam recalls onto a Google document and assign people questions to answer and present at each study session. It’s great for making sure you’re all on the same page, and I found it useful to hear answers that I had never thought of.

For the OSCEs, unfortunately, anything can be examined – even procedures. Start revising the whole year extremely early. Most people will begin to do some form of OSCE practise by August, three whole months before the end-of-year OSCEs. You’ll have two stations per rotation, so don’t neglect   revising material from earlier in the year. Don’t just focus on your rotation-specific histories and examinations, but focus on the communicative stations as well. These can involve medication counselling, explaining a procedure to a patient, answering questions, breaking bad news, explaining results and negotiating a plan with the patient – the list goes on. Cover as many different types of stations as possible, because the medical school will throw you stations you’ve never practised before. It is imperative that you’ve practised enough so that you have a good structure and approach to each different type of OSCE station. As always, practise with others, see what they do differently, and keep refining how you’ll handle the stations. With an unexpected station, it’s important that you fall back to a structure to work your way through, but at the same time don’t misread the stem.

You don’t need to stress too much over the Standardised Case Based Discussion. You’ll be shown a video of an incomplete history that lasts for 4-5 minutes. Then you will tell the examiner what else you would like to ask, what you’d examine for, what investigations you’d like and how you would manage the patient. It’s very similar to a CSL, except you only have 15 minutes. Make sure to spend most time on history, but don’t run out of time. Practise how you will organise your notes from the example video they give you, and that should be enough.

Ending Comments
On our very last day of OSCEs, one of our coordinators congratulated us for finally becoming “pretty much doctors now”. We all scoffed, but it’s great seeing the light at the end of the tunnel…and also dreading the light from the incoming train that is internship. Make sure that you have at least two references for the PMCV match in the next year – my suggestion would be to ask your GP supervisor and a consultant you’ve developed a good rapport with in clinic.

This year was by far the most interesting year of medicine for me – take as many opportunities to help out on the ward as you can, because I found that there was usually more than enough time to study throughout the year. That being said, you can always leave if you find that your time could be better spent doing something else. The end-of-year examinations are a major slog, with your assessments being scattered over two weeks, but you'll finally be able to rejoice as these will be the final examinations in medical school that count towards your Z-score!
« Last Edit: November 16, 2018, 11:25:46 pm by Shenz0r »
2012 ATAR: 99.20
2013-2015: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Microbiology/Immunology: Infections and Immunity) at The University of Melbourne
2016-2019: Doctor of Medicine (MD4) at The University of Melbourne


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #723 on: November 17, 2018, 11:43:59 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10005 - Genetics and The Evolution Of Life

Workload:  2 x 1-hour lectures and 1 x 1-hour tutorial per week; 1 x 2-hour practical every fortnight

Assessment: 4 x Module Tests (20%), 5 x Practicals (25%), 1 x Assignment (5%), Exam (50%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: Yes, but only one

Textbook Recommendation: Same textbook as BIOL10004, however it is not really required for this subject in my opinion.

Lecturer(s): Dawn Gleeson, Hayley Bugeja, Luke Holman, Andrew Drinnan, Theresa Jones

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Semester 2

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Pending


Lectures: The lectures in this subject, are as a whole very interesting. The genetics component taken by Dawn Gleeson is amazing, and gives a great insight into some of the major aspects of this particular topic. This is especially emphasised for those who would like to continue with genetics in their second and third years. Next was a topic on transcription, translation and the genetic techniques used for DNA analysis. This was taken by Hayley Bugeja and was again very interesting, and should be one of the easier topics if you have completed Year 12 VCE Biology, which overlaps greatly with this university subject. The next module of the course was Animal Diversity and was taken by Theresa Jones. She is a very good lecturer, however at times the content can be quite dull, as it is mainly just remembering classifications of animals (kingdom, phylum and species). Furthermore, this part of the course is mainly about memorising a lot of theory so try and learn it as you go, and don't leave it to the end of the semester. Following this we analysed protist, fungi and plant diversity with Andrew Drinnan. For me this was the least interesting topic of the lot; mainly because I have a deep hatred of plant theory. However, similar to animal diversity it is mainly memorisation, with little application available. The last part of the course was Population Genetics, and this was taken by Luke Holman. This part of the course was relatively easy to do, once you understand the reasoning and working out behind it. This is largely maths-based and involves the calculation of allele and genotype frequencies, which can be very dull because of its repetitive nature.

Tutorials: The tutorials in this subject are not a hurdle requirement, but they are helpful, especially if there is a specific part in the lecture you find difficult understanding. In most tutorials you will do a variety of worksheets from a provided problem booklet, whilst in others you will do a wide range of activities to further substantiate your understanding of specific lecture topics. 

Practicals: The practicals in this subject were SO MUCH better, when compared to those of BIOL10004. They are easy to do well in if you prepare well beforehand and utilise the knowledge of your practical demonstrator (during the practical).

Module Tests: One out of the four module tests are done in the tutorial class, whilst the rest are done online and at home. The one completed in the tutorial was the most difficult as you weren't afforded the luxury of having your notes in front of you (which you CAN do when you undertake the other three tests at home). In summary you can do very well if these tests if you prepare well for them, and this is especially appropriate for those you do at home. Even though you can have your notes in front of you for these, I personally would recommend preparing for it well, as it reduces the time needed to search through your notes.

Assignment: The assignment for this subject was again easier when compared to that found in BIOL10004. It involved using a program to undertake an investigation into three main components regarding specific mutants of Drosophila. The aim is to determine whether these are dominant/recessive, autosomal/sex-linked and independently assorting/linked.

Exam: The exam in this subject was more difficult when compared to the one completed in BIOL10004. Although I found the topics in this subject easier some of the questions required lots of application which was quite difficult. It was also a very long exam and I had no time to check over any part of the exam. One caution I would give is to ensure you prepare for an exam that is harder then the practice exam you are given (which seems to be a reoccurring theme for both biology first year subjects).

Concluding Comments: Overall, this subject is very interesting and I highly think it is a great introduction into genetics and evolution. You will especially like this subject if you are pursuing a possible major in genetics (or an associated field). My final tip would be to ensure you prepare beforehand for everything, including practicals, as this results in picking up easy marks (before you even complete the exam).


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #724 on: November 19, 2018, 12:24:11 am »
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10002 Biomolecules and Cells  

3 x 1 hour lecture, 1 hour tutorial (weekly), 2 hour practical (fortnightly)

A 20 minute multiple choice test held mid-semester (5%); work related to practical classes during the semester with a combination of assessment of practical skills within the practical class, completion of 4 or 5 on-line pre-practical tests + written work within the practical not exceeding 500 words + and 4 or 5 short multiple choice tests (25%); completion of 5 Independent Learning Tasks throughout the semester (5%); a written assignment not exceeding 500 words (5%); a 3 hour examination on theory and practical work in the examination period (60%).

Satisfactory completion of practical work is necessary to pass the subject (i.e. an 80% attendance at the practical classes together with a result for the assessed practical work of at least 50%).

Lectopia Enabled:
Yes, with screen capture (they even record the actual lecturers too!)

Past exams available: 
No, but there was a sample exam which had more questions than an actual exam. Solutions were provided. Moreover, there are some additional questions provided for certain topics (a sample MST and questions from Mary Familari on her content were provided).

Textbook Recommendation: 
D Sadava, D M Hillis, H G Heller, M R Berenbaum, Life. 11th Ed. Sinaver/Freeman, 2016 is recommended by the coordinator and lecturers do assign pre-readings, but this really isn’t required. Students who use the textbook mainly do so to reaffirm concepts which were unclear in lectures.

Coordinator: Prof. Dawn Gleeson

W1-3: Prof. Geoff McFadden, Lectures 1-9; Cell Biology.
W4-5, 9-10: Dr Mary Familari, Lectures 10-13, 23-27; Cell signalling, Homeostasis (endocrine & nervous systems), Immune system, Stem cells.   
W5-7: Dr Lisa Godinho, Lectures 14-20; Cardiovascular, Circulatory, Respiratory, and Osmoregulatory systems.
W8: Prof. David Gardner, Lectures 21 & 22; Digestive system
W10-12: Dr Alexandra Harvey, Lectures 28-33; Reproductive system, Development, Animal taxa.

Year & Semester of completion:
2018 Semester 1


Your Mark/Grade:


Overview & Tips:

All in all, this was a very enjoyable subject to take which was also a nice transition from high school to Uni. The content was largely stimulating and the assessments were very accessible to all students. A great thing about this subject is that you can really maximise your score by doing well in your ‘pre-exam’ assessments given this is 40% of your grade.

When planning your timetable, I would suggest placing your tutorials before your practicals - this is because sometimes the tutors give you a few tips about the prac at the start of the tutes. Also, note that the MST for this subject is completed during your tute time, so you may want to be careful when choosing a time for your tute (i.e. morning or afternoon, the start of the week or the end of the week). That said, don’t just choose a time later in the week in the hopes that you’ll hear questions from other students because they make multiple versions of the MST, so you will most likely get a different question set. Therefore, I guess make your choice based on whether you focus better during the morning or afternoon. Furthermore, when choosing a prac time, I would try avoid pracs on Monday - this is because you will not find out the in-prac assessment before the actual prac, so everyone who does it on Monday essentially walks in blind with no knowledge on what is going to be assessed. Sometimes tutors will tell you in your tutes, but generally you will find out from other people who have done it before you (for some pracs it won’t really matter, for others it can make a difference - for instance, the assessment for prac 1 could’ve been completed at home beforehand, so preparing and perfecting your responses here would pretty much guarantee a 6/6).

In regards to doing well in this subject, I would first point out that the main difference between High School and your 1st year BIOL subjects is that there is a much greater focus on rote learning mass amounts of content as opposed to critically thinking about the content. For instance, there were never any application type questions in the MST or exam (at least ones you would find in VCAA papers); instead, questions such as labelling the kidney structure or regurgitating the differences between the innate vs adaptive immune response would be tested. In this sense, I was actually surprised that the difficulty wasn’t necessarily regarding the way questions were asked; the difficulty mainly arises due to the large amount of detailed info you need to know for the assessments (I bold detailed here, since some answers require very intricate details. For example, you may be asked how many grams of sugar there are in a can of coke [this was in our exam lol], or the disease which arises due to a lack of vitamin b - both concepts which are presented in lectures for perhaps less than a minute or so but then show up on exams). Therefore, I’d really recommend keeping up to date with all your lecture content (though I was up to week 5 content in SWOTVAC  :P ), and studying by using heaps of diagrams! Here, what I did was print out unlabelled diagrams (such as a picture on nephron structure, or perhaps the development of a zygote) and then label them and outline any related info (e.g. the structure’s name and function) - this will help a lot for section b of the exam (which I’ll discuss below). Another study tool is to write out paragraphs on processes (i.e. section c practice), which again I’ll discuss below (though I started doing this for BIOL10003).

A final note - in my opinion, completing VCE Biology (units 1-4) is an enormous help for this subject (especially year 11 given the large focus on systems), but is by no means a requirement to get a H1. From my experience, my friends who didn’t do VCE Biol struggled quite a lot in learning all the new jargon in the subject, since a large portion is learned during year 11 and 12 Bio, and sometimes the lecturers don’t really explain what certain terms mean. That said, doing VCE Biol doesn’t guarantee a high mark either - a number of my friends who got above 40 in Biol got low 70s in the subject, so work definitely needs to be placed in this subject for a H1 - this is because although a large portion is taken from VCE Bio, there definitely is a greater level of knowledge needed for concepts which were in VCE (mainly the info was much more advanced for all the systems content) and there were at times completely new concepts (such as cell development and animal taxa).

Lectures :

For us, all lectures started at 8am and ran on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Also, note that because the biomed cohort is increasingly expanding, the lecture rooms are generally over-filled in the first 3 weeks. Therefore, since this will probably be your first lecture at the uni, make sure you’re early and grab a seat! I remember having to sit on the floor for my very first lecture (not a great way to start the semester hahahaha). But as the semester goes by, you’ll see the attendance rate dropping (for me, I stopped watching lectures after week 4... 100% do not recommend).

Geoff, the first lecturer, presented quite basic content on cell biology. His content was similar to the VCE curriculum and concerned prokaryotes, eukaryotes, the plasma membrane, proteins & enzymes, cellular respiration, endosymbiosis, cell division, and carbohydrates & nucleic acids. As a result, the first three weeks were pretty chill since the only new important info was the differences between archaea, bacteria, and eukarya (which appears again in BIOL10003), and content about the specifics of the cytoskeleton. As a lecturer, Geoff was really good, and he showed quite a handful of videos and diagrams in comparison to the other lecturers. Note though that because of this, his slides at times lack info - for instance, he may just have pictures for slides for cellular respiration, but then you can be expected to write a 10 mark essay question on it for the exam in section c. So when reviewing his content, look thoroughly at the diagrams he shows, since you’ll soon find that diagrams are very assessable and often form the basis of those intricate and detailed questions I mentioned earlier.

Next, we had Mary who taught us her first portion of lecture content on tissue types, homeostasis, cellular signalling, and the endocrine system. Imo, this is when the course begins to get a bit more challenging given the appearance of a fair bit of new content, such as learning the different types of tissues (epithelial, muscle, connective, and nervous), and the specifics of certain cellular process such as the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline and the secondary messenger pathway involved. That said, Mary was a very good and enthusiastic lecturer and provided us with study questions as revision for both the MST and the exam.

The third lecturer was Lisa. She presented content on most of the systems, including the cardiovascular, circulatory, respiratory, and osmoregulatory systems. The foundational knowledge was very similar to year 11 Biology, but it was interesting to learn the systems at a much greater level. In my opinion, Lisa was the best lecturer (though I could be bias since I liked her content the most), and it was awesome that she used Poll Ev at the beginning of every lecture to review what we had learned in the previous lecture. As mentioned above, diagrams are SUPER important if you’re looking to do well in her section b questions, since a thorough understanding of what the system looks like is required. For us, we got a question on the osmoregulatory system, but she had sneakily inverted the Loop of Henle, so if a student didn’t know the structure well enough to notice, that would’ve been a solid 5-10% of the exam mark gone.

After Lisa, we had David Gardener who presented two lectures: the former on nutrition and the latter on the digestive system. In my opinion, David was not a very good lecturer since he was largely unenthusiastic and was frankly boring (though not the worst, Alex is coming up). His first lecture was honestly such a mess given the content which was assessable was super unclear - he had tables listing all the vitamins and minerals, and when asked the question “do we need to know this”, he responded “yes, because it’s important for your everyday lifestyle” in the lecture  :-\  (Just to let you know, the only examinable ones were vitamin B, C, and D. You just needed to know if they were water or fat soluble, what they did in the body, and what disease would arise if there was a deficiency of the vitamin). That said, his content on leptin and it’s role in weight gain was extremely interesting. His second lecture on the other hand was much more engaging given the step-up from year 11 bio.

Afterwards, we had Mary again to deliver her second set of lecture content: the nervous system (in two parts), the immune system, and stem cells. The first part of the nervous system was pretty cool since it was entirely new (I guess if you’ve done VCE psych it’d probably be familiar); this concerned concepts such as the different regions of the brain and their functions as well as certain diseases which arise when there are abnormalities in certain regions, and the different phases of sleep. The stem cells lecture was also super fascinating.

Finally, we were punished with Alex who presented content on the reproductive system, cell development, and animal taxa. Personally, I was extremely interested about learning development before we had Alex since the field of IVF has always been fascinating to me; however, Alex really put me off from the concept (that said I still have hope that MCB will re-ignite that passion and will influence me to take the cell and developmental bio major). In my (probably very popular) opinion, she was extremely disengaging and dull - it was almost like she didn’t want to be there. In addition, she would often go on tangents and use terms which were defined later in the slides, which made it so challenging to understand what she was saying (for example, she began her first lecture on fertilisation using terms such as ‘cumulus oophorus’ and ‘zona pellucida’ without explaining their meaning until the end the lecture). Because of this, it takes about 2 to 3 hours to watch one of her lectures on lecture capture given you have to constantly rewind the lecture to note down all the terms and processes she mentions which aren’t addressed on the slides. Also, if you haven’t already heard, animal taxa is the bane of most students’ existence in this subject given how dry the content is (though it’s taught much better in BIOL10003). Luckily I think we had only two multiple choice on it in the exam, and I think they were the exact same multiple choice from the sample exam.

Tutorials :

The tutorials for BIOL10002 consisted of a classroom of about 20 students with one tutor (i.e. the teacher), and were overall quite useful. In the tutes, you will go through a powerpoint slide prepared from the tutor, which covers content from the previous week of lectures as well as associated revision questions. These questions aren’t really exam-style questions, but are designed to help you remember the content. Because I was pretty slack with the subject, I stopped doing the homework questions after week 2 lol, but they seemed quite helpful as a revision tool during the semester (based on a quick skim the day before the exam hahahaha). Most importantly, I found that tutes helped a lot in highlighting what type of content is assessable, especially given the fact that it’s the first Uni exam you will be taking from the transition from VCE. I had Sarah as my tutor, and she was absolutely amazing - because she used to be in charge of marking all the exams in previous years, she would often give us tips on what to study based on what showed up in previous exams (for example, she would mention that in X year, X lecturer briefly mentioned X content but it came up in the MST/exam). In addition, she included a lot of practice section c questions in her tutes, and more importantly emphasised how they mark it.

Practicals :

In total, we completed 6 pracs, as listed below:

Introductory practical - using the microscope: here, we went through setting up a compound (light) microscope and learning how to properly complete biological drawings. This was pretty simple stuff and you most likely would’ve done this in high school, but just note how to complete a biological drawing correctly, since this will be assessed in future pracs in both this subject and BIOL10003 (i.e. know exactly how to write a title, get the magnification, how big a drawing should be, etc.). Note: this prac was not assessed.

Practical 1 - cell structure: here, we stained a plant cell and observed it in a light microscope, we observed the effect of osmosis under the microscope when rhubarb cells were placed in different solute concentrations, and had to prepare a slide of from a living plant cell. For this prac, questions from the booklet about osmosis and a drawing from the living plant cell were assessed for in-prac. Note that the osmosis questions could’ve been completed before the prac.

Practical 2 - cells and tissues: here, we had to identify whether a solution for blood plasma was hypertonic, hypotonic, or isotonic by preparing certain solutions with blood. Next, certain carbohydrate substrates were mixed with yeast to determine which solutions could be metabolised by the yeast. For this prac, a hand-in sheet for the blood activity was assessed for in-prac (from memory, this was about whether you identified the solutions correctly in your experiment and your definitions of hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic).

Practical 3 - heart and lungs: here, we had to observe the texture and volume of a mass of lung tissue in comparison to liver tissue, and then observe a section of lung tissue under the microscope. Next, we had to dissect a heart. For this prac, the in-prac assessment was to correctly identify two parts of the dissected heart and to give a function of a third part (the parts were chosen by the prac demonstrator), as well as a hand-in sheet which was about correctly labelling where gas exchange occurs in a the lung from a microscope cross-section and explaining why (i.e. Fick’s law).

Practical 4 - structure and function of the mammalian digestive system: here, we had to mix a different digestive enzymes with different substrates in various test tubes to identify the digestive enzyme and substrate pair, and what effect the reaction had (i.e. colour change, mass change, etc.) Next, we had to dissect a rat and observe it’s digestive system. For this prac, the in-prac assessment was to correctly identify two parts of the dissected rat’s digestive system and to give a function of a third part (the parts were chosen by the prac demonstrator).

Practical 5 - comparative reproduction: here, we had to dissect a rat and a frog and compare it’s reproductive systems. For this prac, the in-prac assessment was to correctly identify two parts of the dissected rat’s (and maybe frog, I can’t really remember) reproductive system and to give a function of a third part (the parts were chosen by the prac demonstrator).

For the BIOL10002 pracs, you complete these in the Redmund Barry labs. Here, I’d say there are about ~120 students in the lab, with each bench holding ~7/8 students on each side. For most pracs you generally work individually, but there are some cases where you work in pairs. In terms of timing, there is a person who announces to the entire group the timeline for the practical, and I found that the bio pracs aren’t that challenging to finish in time (in fact you often finish 15 minutes early). A prac demonstrator will manage your bench and will help you out with any questions you have, and will mark your in-prac assessment. 

For each practical, there is an instruction booklet you receive which details all the associated content, steps to complete the experiment, and some questions which are meant to help with the post-prac tests. For practicals 1-5, each is worth 10 marks, with 1 mark coming from a pre-prac quiz, 6 marks coming from the in-prac assessments (which I’ve listed above), and the remaining 3 marks coming from a post-pracs test. The pre-prac quiz was just an online test with 10 multiple choice; this was untimed and just tested if you read the instruction booklet (i.e. there is nothing to stress about here, all you need to do is have the booklet open with you while you do the quiz and all the answers are in the booklet). To the the 1 mark, you need to get 8 questions out of 10 (tbh this is essentially free marks). The in-prac assessment is generally completed at the end of each prac. I personally found it quite simple to full mark these if you prepared adequately for the pracs; however many people I spoke to found it challenging to get high marks in the prac component. There were two post prac tests - one is completed while you do your MST in your tute; the other one is a timed test completed at the very end of the semester on the LMS. These test both the content from the instruction booklets, and more importantly the results you received from your pracs (particularly the activities you do which aren’t assessed during the in-prac assessment). They are both multiple choice (I think they were both out of 15); the first post-prac test covered the introductory prac, prac 1, and prac 2, while the second covered prac 3 - 5. Apparently doing the questions in the instruction booklets help for these, but I was pretty lazy so I wouldn’t know  :P . Just make sure you have your results and the content with you while you do the tests.

Just something to note about practicals: each practical is 5% of your final mark. I think most students forget this, especially when you compare the time put into doing well in pracs versus the MST or the assignment. If you want to do well, make sure you do well in every prac.


The MST, which is 5% of the final mark, was completed in week 7 and covered Geoff’s and Mary’s content (lectures 1 - 13). This was 15 question multiple choice (I think). For preparation, there is a sample MST with addition questions. In general, the MST forces you to revise the first portion of the course and will give you an indication on how you are going, hence it’s a pretty useful assessment. Overall, it was quite easy to do well in it given the multiple choice weren’t too tricky; I’m pretty sure the average was 11 or 12 out of 15. Just a hint - the lecturers are aware of the overlap between the VCE course and this subject, so they like to test things which are new for all students (therefore expect a few MCs which cover new content). 

The Assignment :

The assignment, which is 5% of the final mark, was due in week 8 and was about temperature change and it’s effect on hormone concentrations. In summary, we were given data for an experiment and we had to present the data in a graph, write up results, and write up a discussion. Although this sounds simple, the average for this assessment was around high 50s to low 60s. This is because they are very strict when marking. Just a few tips: make sure your graph is perfect - essentially, people who had a ‘complicated’ graph not only lost marks in that section, but also lost marks in their results and discussion since every time they referred to the graph they’d lose marks. The difficulty with the results is the word limit - to get around this, change up your sentence structures (don’t write "X increases as Y increases. Z decreases as Y increases”. Instead frame your sentence like “as Y increases, X increases and Z decreases”), connect your units together (e.g. 20mins instead of 20 mins - that way, it’s counted as 1 word instead of 2), and use hyphens with no spaces (20degrees-40degrees instead of 20 degrees - 40 degrees, this cuts 3 words in this case alone). With the discussion, include your data and explain it in full. The final bit to be marked is your reference list - to make sure you do this properly, visit re:cite unimelb.

Independent Learning Tasks :

There were about 5 ILTs: these were an online study tool which went through content, followed by a series of 8 to 10 multiple choice questions on the content. Generally, the ILTs complemented the lecture material, but there were a few which were quite different (such as the one on blood components). The ILTs contributed 5% to the final mark, and are really free marks; they are there just to help you with your revision. That said, don’t be complacent and forget to do them (your tutors will remind you but you’d be surprised by the amount of people that forget to complete them). To get the 5%, you need to average 80% or above over all the ILTs.

The Exam :

The exam, which is 170 marks and contributes 60% to the final mark, is divided into three sections: section a (multiple choice), section b (fill in the blank), and section c (the essay section). To my memory, section a was ~50ish marks and divided into two types of multiple choice: the first handful are 1 markers and are just basic re-call questions, the next bunch are 2 markers and are deemed to be more challenging (though most of them were still pretty simple). Section b was ~70ish marks with ~8 or 9 questions; here, there would either be a paragraph of text with gaps and you would have to fill in the blanks, or there would be diagrams with blank labels and you would have to complete the labels (therefore revising this subject using diagrams will help enormously). The final section was 40 marks, with three questions: question 1 and 2 being 10 marks each, and question 2 being 20 marks. Thankfully, Dawn Gleeson (the coordinator for the subject) will tell you which lecturer wrote which question in your final lecture (which is a summary lecture that goes over the frontiers of biomedical research, exam procedures at unimelb, and other stuff for jaffys). For us, question 1 was written by Geoff, question 2 was written by Alex, and question 3 was a combination of Mary’s and Lisa’s content.

Section A is probably the easiest part of the exam, though as mentioned above, they can test very specific details. The best way to prepare for section c is to write up paragraphs going through processes (e.g. the process of egg or sperm development, the process of cell development, etc.). Although this is an ‘essay’ section, just be able to write about a page or two for the questions. Imo, the hardest part of the exam is probably section b, since some of the options may require very specific knowledge, so don’t stress too much for the section c since you’ll generally be able to write on the topics listed (that said, they may throw in a minor topic to really separate the cohort - they did this with us, but if you studied your lectures properly you would’ve been fine).

In my experience, the exam only covered lecture content, so I wouldn’t bother revising ILT or prac content. In terms of timing, it’s very easy to finish the exam in time; the tutors and lecturers recommend a minute a mark, but since most multiple choice are simple recall, you can finish the multiple choice earlier and spend more time on the section c.

Also, note that the Biol exam is 3 hours long and is always held on the very first day during the exam period.

tl;dr If you work consistently in this subject and appreciate the content you learn, you’ll certainly do very well at the end of they day - good luck!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2018, 12:30:54 pm by mtDNA »

Tutoring by ATAR Notes - learn more!

ATAR: 99.20
Biomedicine (Unimelb): 2018-2020
Doctor of Medicine (Unimelb): 2021-2024


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #725 on: November 19, 2018, 12:52:39 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10003 Genes and Environment  

3 x 1 hour lecture, 1 hour tutorial (weekly), 2 hour practical (fortnightly)

A 20 minute multiple choice test held mid-semester (5%); work related to practical classes during the semester with a combination of assessment of practical skills within the practical class + completion of 4 or 5 on-line pre-practical tests + written work within the practical not exceeding 500 words + and 4 or 5 short multiple choice tests (25%); completion of 5 Independent Learning Tasks throughout the semester (5%); a written assignment not exceeding 500 words (5%); a 3 hour examination on theory and practical work in the examination period (60%).

Satisfactory completion of practical work is necessary to pass the subject (i.e. an 80% attendance at the practical classes together with a result for the assessed practical work of at least 50%).

Lectopia Enabled: 
Yes, with screen capture (they even record the lecturers!)

Past exams available: 
No, but there was a sample exam which had more questions than an actual exam. Solutions were provided. Moreover, there are some additional questions sheets provided for certain topics (a sample MST and questions from Dawn on the genetics component).

Textbook Recommendation: 
D Sadava, D M Hillis, H G Heller, M R Berenbaum, Life. 11th Ed. Sinaver/Freeman, 2016 is recommended by the coordinator, but this really isn’t required. Students who use the textbook mainly do so to reaffirm concepts which were unclear in lectures.

Coordinator: Prof. Dawn Gleeson

W1-2: Dr. Alex Idnurm, Lectures 1-6; Classification & Parasites.
W3-5: Prof. Rob Day, Lectures 7-14; Disease & Transmission, Resistance, Hominin Evolution.
W5-9, 12: Prof Dawn Gleeson, Lectures 15-27, 33-36; Genetics.
W10-11: Dr Patricia Jusuf, Lectures 28-33; Molecular Genetics, Mutations, Gene Editing.

Year & Semester of completion:
2018 Semester 2

Rating:  Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:


Overview & Tips:

Given this subject and BIOL10002 are both coordinated by Dawn, the structure for the assessments are essentially the same (though the content is obviously very different). Undoubtedly, this subject was much harder than BIOL10002, though the content you learn is extremely interesting nonetheless. Like I mentioned in my BIOL10002 review, you really want to maximise your score by doing consistently well in the ‘pre-exam’ assessments - after all, this contributes 40% to your final mark and they are very easy to do well in.

In terms of timetabling, I would again suggest placing your practical time after your tute, though it’s less important in this semester since the tutors rarely gave advice about the pracs. Unlike BIOL10002, the MST was actually conducted in the practical time instead of the tutorial, so you may want to be careful when choosing a time for your practical (i.e. morning or afternoon, the start of the week or the end of the week). That said, don’t just choose a time later in the week in the hopes that you’ll hear questions from other students because they make multiple versions of the MST, so you will most likely get a different question set. Therefore, I guess make your choice based on whether you focus better during the morning or afternoon. Furthermore, when choosing a prac time, I would try avoid pracs on Monday - this is because you will not find out the in-prac assessment before the actual prac, so everyone who does it on Monday essentially walks in blind with no knowledge on what is going to be assessed. Sometimes tutors will tell you in your tutes, but generally you will find out from other people who have done it before you.

To do well in this subject, I would again recommend the same advice I have in my BIOL10002 review - ensure you study consistently in this subject (given there is much more content, it’s even more important to not fall behind), and always use diagrams in your notes. In addition to these tips, I’d also suggest writing pages summarising certain concepts (i.e. section c essays) such as the history of disease, the evolution of resistance, sex determination in human or Drosophila, the process of X-inactivation, etc. This is because there is so much more content to know in this subject, and often certain concepts appear over multiple lectures (such as sex determination and X-inactivation), so summarising these concepts will also help you make links between different lectures. Moreover, do the practice genetics problems from Dawn - this is the main difference between BIOL10002 and BIOL10003, whereby the exam has a larger number of problem-solving questions. Note that Dawn has plenty of questions in her slides, though the questions in the exam, despite being very similar instructor, are much harder in difficulty.

Given a huge amount of content is covered in this subject, VCE Biology doesn’t really confer an advantage anymore - quite a lot of the content will be new, and concepts which overlap with the VCE course (e.g. hominin evolution, pedigrees, transcription/translation) are covered at a much greater level than VCE. Therefore, as mentioned above, it’s extremely important to work consistently in this subject to get a H1 (that said, it’s not overly challenging to catch up if you fall behind - I was up to week 7 lectures in SWOTVAC, and I managed to learn all the content by a few days before the exam).


Like BIOL10002, the lectures annoyingly start at 8am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Alex, the first lecturer, presented content on biological classification & taxonomy, viruses, viroids, prokaryotes, fungi, medical mycology, and parasitic protists. You’ll find that his content is very dense, and at times knowing what content is assessable can be confusing. To let you know, Alex puts a lot of specific names of species in his lectures, but your really ‘just' need to know about Corynebacterium diptheriae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, mycobacterium leprae, streptomycin griseus, microsporidia, Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cryptococcus gattii, Gardia lamblia, Trichomonas vaginalis, Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Balantidium coli, Entamoeba histolytica, Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium, and Cryptosporidium (that said, there are plenty more he goes through, some of which may be important such as the bacterial diversity including actinomycetes, spirochetes, etc. though I don’t recall there being questions on these). It can be quite daunting to memorise all of these names, though I found printing pictures of the species and annotating them with the relevant information really helped. Thankfully, there is an ILT on the parasitic protists, which also helps in memorising those.

Next, we had Rob who covered the history of disease, classification of animal parasites, parasite strategies, resistance, origins of new epidemics, parasite control, and human evolution. Like Alex’s content, the stuff Rob teaches is extremely dry given most of it is just rote learning, though as mentioned above, diagrams are an enormous help, particularly if you are a visual learner. His first lecture on the history of disease will sound pretty fluffy and flowery given the lack of ’science’, though don’t discredit this content - apparently this lecture has formed the basis of section c questions in the past, so do treat this seriously (imo, when you actually learn it properly it becomes very interesting). Next, there is classifications - unlike BIOL10002, the taxa content is taught much better. You will be expected to know Plathelminthes (including Trematoda and Cestoidea), Nematodes, and Arthropoda (including Hexapoda and Arachnida). You will also need to know that Wuchereria bancrofti as an example of a nematode, Schistosoma as an example of a trematode, and Trichinella spiralis as an additional example of a nematode (then more superficially, tape worms being cestoidea). Although this is largely boring, his following content on parasite strategies (excluding the parasite life cycles) and evolution for resistance is really interesting. He then covers origins of new epidemics - a thing to really focus on is the epidemic & rate of infection graph, as well as the formulas  slope = r x N, where r = P x C x D (he has tested this in previous exams as the section c). In regards to human evolution, unfortunately you’re gonna have to know all the names again and features of each species - for us, I would say this formed about 10 to 15% of our exam, so don’t just learn this superficially (rip me lol); take the time to learn all the details (specific cranial capacities, what each primate looks like, when each structural change occurred, where the species existed, etc.).

The third lecturer was Dawn. She presented content on mendelian genetics, including histone modification & epigenetic effects, DNA replication, extensions to Mendel (e.g. pleiotropy), sex determination in different species, X inactivation, gene interaction, blood groups (now with the bombay phenotype, secretor locus, and MN locus), and finally linkage (including 3 markers). Thankfully, Dawn is an absolutely amazing lecturer and her content is really interesting. As mentioned above, always do the questions she puts in her slides because they generally are exam-style questions. Also, note that Dawn often omits pictures and diagrams from the slides she puts up on the LMS, though they are often assessable. In addition, she will often go through many diseases with you, though you’re not expected to know them all - at the end of the semester, she’ll put a document on the LMS outlining which diseases you need to know (if I remember, there was about 17-25) and the specific information about them that was examinable.

After Dawn, we had Patricia who presented lectures on gene expression and regulation, mutations and examples of disease, and gene editing. Her content, although being a slight extension to the VCE course, was mostly similar and therefore it was pretty simple to power through some of her lecture content. Just note that transcription, RNA processing, and translation, go into a lot more depth, and that you will be expected to know about the specifics of the genetic causes and effects behind the diseases resulting from mutations.

Finally, Dawn came back to teach us more epigenetics (essentially genetic imprinting and Knudson’s two hit model for cancer development), variation within a population (i.e.e STRs, SNPs, VNTRs, etc.), and population genetics (essentially the simple maths you learn in maths for biomed with allele frequencies).


In the tutes, you will go through a powerpoint slide prepared from the tutor which covers content from the previous week of lectures, as well as associated revision questions. These questions aren’t really exam-style questions, but are designed to help you remember the content. I personally found these tutes to be a lot less helpful than the tutes in BIOL10002, though I would that that’s because Sally (my tutor) never really discussed tips for the exam, almost always struggled to finish the powerpoint in time, and wasn’t very clear with her explanations. That said, they still help slightly by highlighting what type of content is assessable (e.g. being able to actually identify a Tasier from a picture, or an old world monkey to a new world monkey).


In total, we completed 7 practicals, as listed below:

Introductory practical 1 - prokaryotes & eukaryotes: here, we prepared a bioassay with fungi and bacteria to determine effective antibacterials and antifungals respectively, and we performed a serial dilution. Note: this prac was not assessed.

Practical 1 - pathogen diversity: here, we observed the bacterial growth from our serial dilution, observed gram staining of three different species of bacteria, observed the growth of bioassays with bacteria and fungi, and observed slides of various protists and animal parasites. For this practical, there was a timed multiple choice test done at the end of the practical which counted for the in-prac assessment. From memory, this was based on calculations with the serial dilution, and a few multiple choice on the bioassays.

Practical 2 - ectoparasites & transmission: here, we viewed slides of a mosquito, fleas, lice, and a tick. Next, we had a series of case studies where we had to deduce the parasite and disease from the symptoms and information provided, so it felt like we were (extremely experienced) doctors for the day hahahaha. For this practical, the drawing of the tick and your ability to correctly diagnose the patients in the case study were assessed for in-prac. Note that for the case study activity, you had to research 10 parasites and the diseases they cause in order to be able to complete this activity accurately. That said, one of the patients had was infected with a parasite which wasn’t on the list of parasites we had to research; instead it was from our lectures  :-\ . For this prac, I remember the average was extremely low (some benches scored no more than 1 or 2/6 for the in-prac assessment).

Introductory practical 2 - chromosomes, cell replication, and auxotrophs: here, we had to prepare a slide and view chromosomes from it under a light microscope, and prepare some auxotrophs with bacteria. Note: this prac was not assessed.

Practical 3 - DNA, a gene, and an Auxotroph: here, we extracted DNA from E. coli, observed the mode of inheritance for a certain trait, and observe the results of the auxotrophs prepared in the introductory practical. For this practical, your ability to extract the DNA successfully and a drawing of meiosis and independent assortment of the gene of interest (GAI1) was assessed for in-prac. In this case, your meiosis drawing, which was in the instruction booklet, could be completed prior to commencing the practical.

Practical 4 - chromosomes, sex linkage, and transformation: here, we transformed bacteria with the pGLO plasmid, prepared a slide of specific cells to observe mitosis occurring, and chloroformed Drosophila to determine the mode of inheritance for eye colour. The process of chloroforming was actually super fun, though note the flies will begin to wake up soon if you’re not quick (my lab partner needed help so I left my bench for a solid amount of time, so when I got back to my seat I saw all my flies singling around on my bench... the meme below perfectly represents my reaction). For this practical, your drawing for observing mitosis in your prepared slide and the correct phenotyping and determination of the mode of inheritance for the eye colour locus was assessed for in-prac.

Practical 5 - gel electrophoresis and transformation: here, we completed a gel electrophoresis with a gene locus mixed with multiple restriction enzymes and then plotted a standard curve showing the results. Next, we observed the results from the pGLO plasmid transformation, and then observe gene linkage in a plant species, followed by observing gene interaction in a fungal species. Fir this practical your plotting of the standard curve and the correct identification of genotypes and phenotypes for the gene interaction in the fungal species was assessed for the in-prac.

In my opinion, the practicals for BIOL10003 were much more challenging and time-consuming than the practicals for BIOL10002, but that said, you can still do very well in them and you gain more skills from these pracs (you’ll realise all the memes about pipetting bois are so accurate after doing this subject). Again, there were two post-prac tests: one covered the intro prac, pracs 1 and 2 and was completed with the MST in the lab, while the next covered pracs 3-5 and was completed on the LMS as an online timed multiple choice quiz at the end of the semester. Note that for the second post prac, there were so many chi squared tests, so be prepared for that.

As I mentioned in my BIOL10002 review: each practical is 5% of your final mark. I think most students forget this, especially when you compare the time put into doing well in pracs versus the MST or the assignment. If you want to do well, make sure you do well in every prac.


The MST, which is 5% of the final mark, was completed in week 5 and covered Alex's and the first portion of Rob's content on parasites (lectures 1 - 12). This was 15 question multiple choice (I think). For preparation, there is a sample MST with addition questions. In general, the MST forces you to revise the first portion of the course and will give you an indication on how you are going, hence it’s a pretty useful assessment. Overall, this MST proved to be much more challenging than the MST completed in semester 1 given most of the content isn’t covered in the VCE course and relies heavily on brute memorisation; I’m pretty sure the average was 3.3/5. That said, you’ll be perfectly fine if you know all the intricate details from the lectures, as well as specific details about the species mentioned in lectures. In my experience, the majority of questions were given to Rob, so definitely make sure you know his content quite well.

The Assignment:

The assignment, which is 5% of the final mark, was due in week 9 and was much easier than the assignment in BIOL10002. The first part (Part A) involved using a program to undertake an investigation into three mutant traits in Drosophila. The aim was to determine whether these traits are dominant/recessive, autosomal/sex-linked, and recessive lethal/dominant lethal/not lethal. Part A was 40 marks, and as mentioned above, it really was extremely simple to do well in this assessment given you included all the relevant information. The second part (Part B) was an absolute joke; it was 10 marks (i.e. 2% of your final mark) and just required you to give feedback on the assessment, so essentially you could either get 10/10, 5/10 (if you partially completed the feedback by skipped the written part), or 0/10 (by forgetting to do the feedback). Part B just took 5 minutes to do. Overall, this assignment was really time-consuming (par a that is), but super easy to do well in.


There were about 6 ILTs. Generally, the ILTs complemented the lecture material, and were personally really helpful, especially for gene linkage and protist parasites. The ILTs contributed 5% to the final mark, and are really free marks; they are there just to help you with your revision. That said, don’t be complacent and forget to do them (your tutors will remind you but you’d be surprised by the amount of people that forget to complete them). To get the 5%, you need to average 80% or above over all the ILTs.

The Exam:

The exam, which is 180 marks and contributes 60% to the final mark, is divided into three sections: section a (multiple choice), section b (fill in the blank), and section c (the essay section). To my memory, section a was ~70ish marks and divided into two types of multiple choice: the first handful are 1 markers and were more or less re-call questions, the next bunch were 2 markers and are deemed to be more challenging. Section b was ~60ish marks with ~8 questions; here, there would either be a paragraph of text with gaps and you would have to fill in the blanks (generally calculation based such as population genetics or genetics problems such as blood typing or pedigrees), or there would be diagrams with blank labels and you would have to complete the labels (therefore revising this subject using diagrams will help enormously). The final section was 30 marks, with three questions: question 1, 2, and 3 were all 10 marks each. Thankfully, Dawn will tell you which lecturer wrote which question in your final lecture. For us, question 1 was written by Rob, while question 2 and 3 were written by Dawn. She also tells you which lecturers write which questions on the section b.

Section A is probably the hardest part of the exam imo; this is because not only do you need to know really specific details, but you will have to do quite complicated genetics problems which are really time-consuming (imo much more challenging than the ones from the sample questions), so it’s really easy to lose marks there if you’re unable to correctly do the problem. For section c, Dawn’s questions were broken into smaller mini questions. Generally one of her questions will be a genetics problem (e.g. linkage, gene interaction, hypothesis and chi squared testing, etc.) while the other is based on theory in genetics (e.g. source of variation, X inactivation, sex determination processes, etc.). Imo, her questions were very accessible to most students. The question from Rob is generally the hard one; in our year, he gave us one on hominin evolution which required very specific information, so it was certainly a differentiator for the cohort.

In my experience, the exam only covered lecture content, so I wouldn’t bother revising ILT or prac content. In terms of timing, I found it quite challenging to finish the exam in time, particularly with all the genetic problems in the exam. Overall, I found that lots of the content which were assessed in the MST didn’t really show up much in the exam, so definitely focus on week 5 to 12 content when studying for the exam. Also, note that the Biol exam is 3 hours long and is always held on the very first day during the exam period.

tl;dr If you do all the genetics problems, work consistently in this subject, and appreciate the content you learn, you’ll certainly do very well at the end of they day - good luck!

« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 07:18:14 pm by mtDNA »

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #726 on: November 21, 2018, 11:55:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BCMB30010 Advanced Techniques in Molecular science

Workload:  1x 1 hr lecture, 1 x 5 hr practical, 1x 1 hr tute

-10% lab participation assessed throughout the 12 weeks
-36% lab notebooks (Exp1 - 8%, Exp2 - 17%, Exp3 - 6%, Exp4 - 5%)
-4% bioinformatics worksheets
-20% Exp1 report
-20% Student group presentations
-10% MCQ + calculation final exam (45min)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with/without screen capture etc.

Past exams available:  Yes, two past papers available

Textbook Recommendation: 
Keith Wilson and John Walker, Principles and Techniques of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2010, 7th Ed) Cambridge University Press
(Not necessary, all is provided on LMS and Leon will explain everything.)

Dr Leon Helfenbaum and A. Prof Nicholas Williamson

Year & Semester of completion: 2018, Sem 2

Rating:  4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


As one can pretty much guess from the assessment, there is a lot of work to be done in this subject. In writing this review, I hope I don't scare anyone when I provide my views of this subject. It is daunting and anyone who went through 2nd year BCMB20005 would know how much work there is in the assessment and perhaps you could say that it's much more in comparison. Right from week 1, me and a friend commented 'why does it feel like it's week 12?' It's one of the hurdles of the biochemistry and molecular biology major and I have to say - if you have survived those 12 weeks regardless of what grade you have, well done and give yourself a pat on the back because this was a rollercoaster of a ride.

This is held once a week in person, unlike 2nd year. However, you could just watch the lecture recordings if you don't feel like coming. Generally, most students don't attend and this really comes back to what's your best learning style. The content at times is a mix of sometimes too much and sometimes a rehash of 2nd year techniques lectures. We go through details into DNA technology and protein purification methods. Nick will spend 3 weeks lecturing us on mass spectrometry techniques. Just like 2nd year techniques, the lectures themselves mostly don't have any relevance to the pracs themselves. These lectures are standard but I will give my opinions on this later in the assessment.

The tutorials are held once a week as one class in a lecture hall. The tutorials went thru the lecture material to prepare you for the final assessment and go thru what is expected in the presentations and reports. The tutorials had better attendance compared to the lectures and imo i think you'll find much benefit going for them because they make you engaged with the content.

This is the crux of the subject. Now you may ask - what are we going to do in 5 hours? Well the 5 hours isn't spent completely in the lab. About 30 mins would be spent having lunch while another 30 mins could be spent going thru a pre-practical lecture given by Leon. However, I will say that it's likely that you will go home late past the expected 5 hours for the 1st few weeks. This is because the lab work is a lot especially for the 1st few weeks. Throughout the 12 weeks, 1 experiment is completed in about 4 weeks. Now you may be wondering - how do we complete 4 experiments in 12 weeks if it takes up that much time? Simple. You need to multitask. Within 1 practical session, you'll find yourself moving to and fro from 1 experiment to another. At one point, you may be busy prepping your PCR reaction and within the next minute, you'll be getting ready to purify a protein. It gets confusing at times keeping track of the details of each experiment. I agree that it may feel daunting for the 1st 3 weeks but keep calm and push through. It will be worth it all. At times, Leon may stress you but the key is to just focus on your work. Just like 2nd year, your class participation matters and it's assessed in the same way. Remember to work well with your partner for the next 12 weeks :)

Do take note that sometime you'll have to come 1 or 2 days after your pracs to do additional lab work. This may be the 2nd phase of the experiment for that week and you'll arrange a time with your demonstrator to do it. Before I forget, mistakes in the prac can be extremely damaging to you and maybe your lab partner. Mistakes can be detrimental to the class results but that's not an issue because you simply need to explain it in the lab notebook. However, you may be asked to come another day to repeat your experiment. I've went through that and it was humiliating but I think it was good because it taught you what the real world can be like.

Lab notebooks
Now these lab notebooks replace the reports that those doing 2nd year techniques would have seen. However, the important difference in these notebooks is that you don't have to be as detailed. The expectations on what to include in the notebook is written in the lab book. However, if you do feel like it's necessary feel free to include. These notebooks are mainly to get a feel on what is expected if you were working in a lab. It's used to document what were the aims, methods, results and the conclusions of your experiment u just conducted. They're kept as a precursor to the formal report for the scientist to keep track of. However, one major complaint is that the expectations of the notebook are way too much. I find myself doing these notebooks almost everyday of the semester. At times, they were vague and made it difficult to interpret what is expected. These lab notebooks count for about 36% of the overall grade so try to protect them at all times.

Bioinformatics sheets
These are pretty much the ILTs that you see in 1st year. They're provided in order for you to be familiar with the bioinformatics software you'll be using in the practical classes. They count for very little and it's very difficult to fail them. As a result, they'll be changed and become a hurdle requirement instead.

Now the report is 2500 words and it was due right after the break. Technically, one would argue we had plenty of time to work on this. However, this can be challenging when you still need to work on other experiments and familiarise with what's going to happen in your 5 hour prac that week. Especially since week 5-6 are probably the busier portions of the prac. In addition, you'll most likely be multitasking with your other 3rd year science/biomed subjects. And the difficulty is reflected in the grade distribution where the average was about 13/20. Now the report isn't your standard 2nd year techniques report but is a hybrid of both that and a journal article. My advice is try to ask Leon for guidance and talk about it more with your lab group.

Preparations for the presentations started at around before the start of the break. Before the break, you'll need to submit a summary answer sheet answering a few questions. The questions are generally straightforward and count for 2%. Your group will consist of 5 people and each person is expected to speak for about 3 mins each to describe the major findings of the paper chosen by a supervisor from the BCMB dept in Bio21 assigned to you. The presentation will be held on your final prac in week 12 and on that same day, you'll be expected to write a 1000 word summary to describe the paper individually. The summary is about 8% while your presentation will count for about 10%. Your meeting with your supervisor will generally be held during the last hour of your prac for the 1st 2 weeks. Afterwards, you and your group will need to arrange a time to meet. My advice is to ask for help as much as you can from your supervisor because they know the paper really well. Ask them for guidance as to whether the organisation of the presentation sounds good. If you're good with presentations, you'll probably find this a cake walk but remember to look after your own teammates.

Final exam
Now this is the bane of the subject. What makes this painful is that the last 10% given by this exam may actually be important in attaining a H1. As I said, the report average is pretty poor and there are very little people that can make it to 16 and above. Because there are multiple little assessments done in this subject, the penalties will accumulate and it may affect your overall grade. This exam itself is a beast of its own even if it has changed to mainly MCQs. Within that 45 mins, you will find yourself pressed for time. If you've taken PHYS20008, you'll know what that feels like. The difficulty is reflected by how our same cohort scored an average of 5/10% in sem 1. Perhaps what makes it more painful to study is that everything covered in the exam has almost nothing to do with the prac and is focused on the lecture material that most people don't attend. Throughout the 12 weeks, there is no mention of the lecture material in pracs which makes it difficult to revise.

Final thoughts
This is a challenging subject and this was one of the subjects that nearly brought me to tears. However, I must say that this is necessary. It teaches you that life can be pretty bad and that there may be a lot of expectations from you when you enter the work force. This subject is a must for anyone seeking work in a lab for honours or masters. The practical experience you obtain is so valuable and I doubt there is a subject that can rival the expectations wanted. I would even recommend this subject to those who seek entry into health professional jobs because these are likely the expectations you will be asked to satisfy. It is hard but it will build you up to be a stronger person. My advice for this subject is to stay close to your lab group and meet them daily to discuss things in your lab notebook. It's tough so it's comforting to have friends to look out for you and to aid you in this trial. If anyone has questions, feel free to PM me :)

« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 11:28:23 am by dddknight »
BSci @ Unimelb (2016-2018)
Year I: BCMB20002 BIOL10004 BIOL10005 CHEM10009 HPSC10001 MAST10010 PHYC10005 UNIB10006
Year II: ANAT20006 BCMB20002 BCMB20003 CLAS10004 FOOD20003 MUSI20150 PHRM20001 PHYS20008
Year III: BCMB30001 BCMB30002 BCMB30004 BCMB30010 NEUR30002 NEUR30003 PSYC10003 SCIE20001


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #727 on: November 22, 2018, 09:41:31 am »
Subject Code/Name: CVEN30009 Structural Theory and Design 1

Workload: 1x two-hour lecture, 1x one-hour lecture, 1x one-hour tutorial per week, 2 single lab class in weeks 9 and 11.

3x "Home Lab" Group Assignments (5% each)
2x Design (Group) Assignment (10% and 5%)
3 hour exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled: Yes

Past exams available: Yes, and fully worked solutions are provided dating back to 2010.

Textbook Recommendation: None

Lecturer(s): Dr Ryan Hoult, Dr Philip Christopher, and Dr Abdallah Ghazlan.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2018.

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

One of the most well-organised subjects I have taken. There is a logical progression of the lectures where the main focus is to develop the skills required to complete the design assignments. Consequently, the lecture slides outline the methodology required to complete the two major assignments. The content was, at times, difficult to understand. However, this content was easy to learn via practice in the form of working on the design assignments and attending and completing tutorial questions. The subject draws on information learnt in Eng Mech and a little from Eng Materials. There is a lot of content to get your head around, especially as they have reduced the number of formulae on the formula sheet, so practicing questions without referring to notes during SWOTVAC is essential to ensure that you can write down all the formulae required.

There were three main themes for the lectures, presented by each of the lecturers. Ryan taught the first few lectures which were mainly revision in addition to a novel method of calculating deflection of beams (you'll need this for the exam!). Later in the semester, he returned to teach deflection of indeterminate beams which was finicky at first, but interesting to learn. Phillip taught the section required for the design assignments, the content may feel overwhelming, but once you start chipping away at the design assignment, you should be fine. Abdallah took the final, and arguably the hardest, series of lectures. These involved new concepts but were supplemented with tutorial questions which came with complete solutions. Note, during the semester, there is ample consultation time with all the lectures which is worthwhile to attend. Abdallah was responsible for the discussion board this semester, which we all found to be invaluable as you could post your question and would often receive quick replies.

Unfortunately, I didn't attend as many tutes as I should have this semester, but from what friends have said, some tutors were better at explaining things than others. Luckily, all the solutions are provided soon after the tunes are released. Note that some small formulae are taught in tutes and NOT IN LECTURES, that are required for some calculations in the design assignment.

Assignments 1, 2, and 3 were group assignments with the same group (so, choose your friends wisely!). Assignment 1 wasn't too difficult. Assignments 2 and 3 required a lot more work and a significant report, I would recommend getting started on these as soon as possible. As assignment 3 is a spin off of assignment 2, it should be slightly easier to complete. The last two assignments are based off simple one hour labs where you just collect data. [Note that this semester, most people were surprisingly given around 100% for assignment 2 and 3, which surprised me because there were a lot of numerical calculations so they obviously didn't check your figures when the marked it, but rather just made sure each section was present.]

The feedback given for the assignments is minimal. would recommend going to see them in consultation time if you wan't more feedback.

The past exams were a major part of my revision, this prepared me for the exam except for the fact that this semester's exam was fairly different to previous years. Some advice: don't simply rely on past exams haha. From reading the other reviews, this seems to have been the case for 2017 as well, so I would imagine that they are trying to introduce more complexity into the exams.

This is a really solid subject. As I've said, it's well taught, well coordinated, and well constructed. That said, it is also a tough subject. There is lots of content and lots of assignments, so you really need to keep up during semester to avoid the requirement for an enormous cram session in SWOTVAC.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #728 on: November 22, 2018, 10:09:20 am »
Subject: CVEN30010 Systems Modelling and Design

Contact Hours: 2x 1 hour lectures; 1x lab near beginning of semester; 2hr computer workshops almost every week; 2hr tute every second week

(Massive) Design Project 50%
Reflective Journal associated with Design Project 5%
1x Lab Report Week 6, 5%
2 Hour Exam 40%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, about six, no solutions provided. See google doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1y6oMPlwOYQeHzBp_ZE7ak54-jvNCXVH1vz1XO8P5SLo/edit?usp=sharing
Using unimelb email, you should be able to access this

Textbook Recommendation:  None. Readings provided in lecture. Make sure you do these as they're examinable

Lecturer(s): Prof Stephan Matthai and Mr Amir Orangi

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2018

Rating:  2.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: Not yet released

Summary: Probably the worst taught subject I have taken. By week 12, very few of us had any idea of what was expected for the exam. Lecturers are long and rambly as well as confusing. Workshops were good.

Each week consisted of two lectures, one taught by Amir, the other taught by Stephan. Amir taught the soil hydraulics section, whilst Stephan taught more theoretical content in relation to numerical modelling and the basics of designing computer models. Amir's content drew on stuff learnt in Earth Processes whilst applying this knowledge to more complex applications of seepage. His lectures were punctuated with examples that he would work through. Often his handwritten notes were not captured by lecture capture, so I would recommend attending the lectures if you can. His lectures were very interactive, often asking the students if they knew the answers but not being too forceful. Make sure you follow any instruction from Amir to do 'homework' or 'research this yourself' as this content that he directs you to research could, and was, examined.

Stephen's lectures were fairly dry and content heavy. His slides were packed with information. Luckily for the exam, you get an A4 page of notes/cheat sheet. Most of us just copied all of Stephan's content onto this sheet. Oftentimes, the content was difficult to understand as it was our first introduction to the nitty-gritty of designing computer models. It was often difficult to discern what was in fact examinable.

Some of Stephan's lectures were replaced by guest lecturers which were interesting. However, only one guest lecture's content was examinable on the exam.

These were invaluable as we were required to learn a new software, GeoStudio, and these workshops began with step by step instruction of how to use the program. This was essential as GeoStudio was required for major sections of the design project. Note, there are only a few computer labs at uni which offer this program, so google 'melb uni software computers geostudio' and this should link to an excel file that tells you which labs have the program. Often, it was challenging to find a computer lab that was empty when you needed it to complete the first stage of the assignment. Furthermore, if you download the student version of the software, it seems that it is not backwards compatible with the full version at uni. Also, you can download a free 30 day trial of the full version which I recommend you download in WEEK EIGHT or NINE, rather than at the beginning of the semester because it will be much more helpful later on.
The workshops were taken by Abbas, who was really helpful in answering all questions and helping out with simple problems encountered with the new software.

These were run in big classes with two tutors. Most tutes ran through info required for the design project. The tutors were generally helpful, but because so many students are in need of them, it was often easier getting the people sitting at your table to help.

The lab entailed one or two hours of work. It wasn't challenging especially because you worked in groups of six. Make sure you take down all the measurements as you do not have another chance to get them. The lab report questions were not overly complicated, but required a bit of work. You'll need to revise Particle Size Distribution stuff for a small bit of the report.

Design Project
The most fun and stressful part of the subject. This assessed previous knowledge as well as all the GeoStudio stuff. It was interesting to construct a design report, however as it was our first one, formatting errors contributed to loss of marks. There's A LOT of work required, so make sure you start in week one, and every time you complete the calculations, make sure you're writing the report as well.

This was the worst part of the subject. It was difficult to understand what part of Stephan's lectures would be examinable. Reading over past exams, the questions were often just asking you to memorise and restate stuff mentioned in lectures. In my exam, 2018, there were a few questions that were not testing our knowledge, but rather whether we had happened to copy the information onto out cheat sheet which is a stupid method of examination. The exam was two hours, but it seemed as though three hours worth of content had been put into the exam.

Good Luck !


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #729 on: November 22, 2018, 01:35:43 pm »
Subject Code/Name: LING10001 The Secret Life of Language  

Workload:  2x1 hour lectures per week, 1x1 hour tutorial per week (excluding week 1)

Assessment: x3 problem solving assignments (morphology and syntax, semantics, phonetics and phonology, respectively) totalling 50% of marks, and a 2 hour exam worth 50% at the end of the semester.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with lecture capture

Past exams available:  One sample exam

Textbook Recommendation:  An Introduction to Language by Fromkin et al is prescribed. There are several editions of this textbook, which cover more or less the same content. Therefore, to save yourself a hefty fee at the Co-op, I’d strongly recommend that you either borrow the book from the library, or use the online e-book. While the textbook often goes into more detail than the lectures, I still found it helpful to complete the weekly readings. Even if the book fails to explicitly impart insightful knowledge, it helped me substantially for the curveball assignment questions.

The subject manual, however, is an absolute necessity. The style of exercises mimicked what students could expect in the assignments and the exam. After a particular topic had been completed in the lectures, Barbara would then release the relevant manual answers. 

Lecturer(s): Barbara Kelly, and a handful of guest lecturers.

Year & Semester of completion: 2018, semester 2

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


This subject was coordinated superbly. Before every lecture, Barbara would upload a copy of the slides to the LMS, which provided students with the opportunity to get an initial idea of what could be expected. Given the amount of content covered in a single lecture, this made sure I didn’t get too lost. In relation to the content itself, there is a wide breadth of topics offered. These included morphology, syntax, language diversity, the brain and language, semantics, phonetics, phonology, historical linguistics and first and second language acquisition. While some of these were conceptually challenging, the mini practical tasks in the lectures helped to relieve confusion. In addition to this, the tutorials were spent working on the exercises in the manual. This time is extremely beneficial. My tutor would give students about 5-10 minutes to solve a problem on their table, and then report back to the class, where we would solve the exercise collectively. In this way, everyone had the ability to contribute, make errors and learn from these, and listen to the questions and feedback of others.

Unfortunately, not all topics were assessed on the final exam or assignments. Therefore, I will cover the main topics in my explanation below.


This essentially studies the formation of words, and their internal structure. For lovers of meaning, this was a fascinating unit- especially when languages other than English were studied. For example, kiqeht’al translates to ‘we recognise them’. The fun part is, you are assessed on your ability to decode these words from a data set, and determine what each of the morphemes represent.


Syntax examines how strings of words come together in a sentence. Tree diagrams will become very familiar during this topic. While these are discussed in the lectures, and are elaborated on further during the tutorials, I felt that my grasp on trees wasn’t complete. But then I discovered Evan Ashworth on Youtube, who explained these (and many other areas of linguistics) extremely well. He takes nothing forgranted, and will take the time to carefully articulate the reasons behind each of his steps. Highly recommended!


Centred around meaning, I maintain that this unit was the most ambiguous of them all. You will learn some mindboggling things, such as how not all synonyms are ‘real’ synonyms. You will also learn what is implied or entailed in speech, and why there are a myriad of categories for antonyms. My best piece of advice for the relevant assignment would be to explain, explain, explain. Cover all bases and you can’t really go wrong. If you don’t, the tutors will deduct some easy marks.


The study of sounds. As tree diagrams are linked to syntax, the IPA chart is linked to phonetics. Perhaps the biggest downfall of this subject was the misleading information given to students before the exam. Students were told that an IPA chart would be provided in the exam, and that learning it was not necessary. Yes, an IPA chart was provided- but the fundamental categories were blank. Therefore, it is essential that you learn the manners and place of articulation well.


Phonology is a natural extension of phonetics. Students will study how there are rules governing the types of sounds that a single letter can produce. For example, when we say ‘s’, we only have the mental conception of the sound ‘s’. In reality, we may be producing a ‘z’ sound, depending on the types of sounds surrounding that final ‘s’. Compare ‘bags’ and ‘bugs’. Without a firm knowledge of why and how this happens, the assignment will prove difficult.

Historical Linguistics:

This topic studies why language changes, why words change, and why sounds do. But what is essential for this area, is that you memorise the common, natural sound changes. For example, what happens to a voiceless stop when it is surrounded by vowels. The lenition chart provided in the lecture slides is a bible for this. So, learn it well. While many students tended to discount this topic as a prominent exam contender, do not treat it as such. Barbara likes to insert pockets of historical linguistic knowledge in the exam to see who was paying attention.

Overall :

On the whole, this is a fun subject for anyone interested in language. It challenges, excites and inspires  :)
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 07:15:43 pm by clarke54321 »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #730 on: November 22, 2018, 03:04:22 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BLAW10002 Free Speech and Media Law 

Workload:  1x2 hour lecture per week, 1x1.5 hour tutorial per week

Assessment: x1 assignment totalling 30%, a 2 hour exam worth 60% at the end of the semester, and a 10% attendance and participation mark.

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with lecture capture

Past exams available: Yes, 2017

Textbook Recommendation: There is a subject reader available at the Co-op, which amalgamates all of the relevant readings. However, Jason will also upload each of the weekly readings to the LMS; meaning the reader isn’t a necessity. I personally found it more convenient to print the weekly material off the LMS, instead of lagging around a heavy reader.

Lecturer(s): Jason Bosland

Year & Semester of completion: 2018, semester 2

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


Free Speech and Media Law provides students with an excellent opportunity to gauge their interest in law, and whether they will pursue the Juris Doctor after their undergraduate. While it cannot be denied that the reading is heavy and the content is often perplexing, there is a great reward when students can finally appreciate a particular area of law. The topics covered include, the rationales of free speech (as a foundation), defamation, sub-judice contempt, suppression orders, journalist sources, privacy, racial vilification, and technology in the digital age. Although Jason is an engaging lecturer, and often details these areas well enough, I had to work especially hard to grasp a topic in its entirety. So, in addition to the readings, I often found it helpful to locate academic articles through Discovery or go and visit my tutor for consults. Perhaps the extra effort required to do well in this subject is the dividing factor between students who enjoyed the subject and those that regretted this choice.


Covering the topic of defamation, this 1500 word assignment requires students to respond to a fictional case study. This assignment relies upon students having a sound knowledge of defamation fundamentals in Australian law. Therefore, you must understand the elements of a cause of action (identification, publication and defamatory meaning), the defences available in a claim (the variant qualified privileges, fair comment, truth justification, innocent dissemination), and how Australian defamation law compares to American law.

Given that no sample is provided by the faculty, or even a rough outline, structure caused me havoc in this assignment. While tutors will introduce you to the traditional legal IRAC method (issue, rule, application and conclusion), this was only done verbally. Naturally, this conflicts with the whole point of the IRAC method, which applies to written language. Ultimately, however, I just decided to adhere to my instincts, and categorise the material as I desired. As I received a H1 in this assignment, it obviously didn’t turn out too poorly. Just ensure that you are thorough with the detail- be rigorous with your case law/statute law footnotes, get straight to the point, and ensure that you are consistently entwining the law with the context of the case.

In relation to referencing, it is advised that students follow the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. However, be aware that you don’t need to follow it to the letter. I thought I had to do this, and drove myself crazy trying to hunt down relevant page numbers for case law that is 200+ years old. Hint: these pages don’t exist online. So, just mimic the examples on the assignment sheet. 

Just finally, do try and plan this assignment well. You need to be astute to the details to determine plausible imputations. I spent a week just outlining everything I would write. This made the writing process much easier, and meant that I wouldn’t find a major disaster mid-writing, which would set me back.


Jason treats the lecture in week 12 as a revision lecture. And what I discovered (as I had anticipated) in the exam, was that his explanation of each area is targeted at the exam prompt. Thus, it is critical that you pay attention to the direction of his discussion, and where he is particularly pensive.

In the exam you will write 2 essays. Given that the exam is open book, and you are thus given the opportunity to bring in pre-prepared essays, I would strongly recommend that you determine your two topics weeks in advance of the exam. As I discovered after the first assignment, the standard is ridiculously high in law subjects. So, to contend with the competition, it is key that revision is taken seriously.

As some kind of framework for revision, I used the prompts from 2017. I deconstructed these and worked through relevant evidence from readings, potential interpretations and more importantly, how I would put this all together. Above all, clarity is needed. Some tutors even told me to put headings above each new argument. Shock horror. This would have been a sin in VCE English or Literature. Also, the lecturer seems to be big on the stylistic choice of ‘firstly, secondly, thirdly’ in introductions. At the crux, they are just stressing the importance of establishing a clean argument. And doing this prior to the exam, will be very helpful! The restricted timeframe and usual exam pressure won’t foster an insightful thesis statement.


Choose this subject if you have an interest in the way the media and free speech interact in a legal context. Going into this subject, I was apprehensive about whether or not I was vehement enough to have an opinion on this type of subject matter. But the more I learnt, the more comfortable I felt voicing my opinion in tutes and on the page. 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2018, 03:08:52 pm by clarke54321 »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #731 on: November 22, 2018, 05:00:58 pm »
Subject Code/Name: GERM10002/GERM20005 German 4 

Workload:  2x1 seminars per week, 1x2 hour seminar per week

Assessment: x1 writing test totalling 20%, x2 listening tests totalling 10%, x1 reading test totalling 15%, x1 oral assessment totalling 5%, and a final examination worth 50%. This will differ slightly for second year students, who are required to submit x3 200 word journals throughout the semester worth 10%, collectively.

Lectopia Enabled: NA

Past exams available: No, but a work sheet with exam ‘indications’ was provided.

Textbook Recommendation: Essential German Grammar is required. This book provides some excellent grammar exercises, which are often employed when a new concept is being introduced. Nifty grammar tables are also contained within.
Lecturer(s): NA

Year & Semester of completion: 2018, semester 2

Rating: 4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


After almost enrolling in German 6, I am glad that I gave myself the opportunity to revisit some fundamental elements of the German language in German 4. This subject covers anything from relative pronouns, the passive voice, adjectival nouns to the imperative. Both tutors were charismatic individuals, who sought to instil their knowledge of the language in students at every stage. The subject becomes increasingly interesting after the film, The Comedian Harmonists, is introduced. This becomes the focus of most tutes after week 5, where cultural elements pertaining to the Weimar Republic and WWII are explored. Owing to the novel vocabulary/ideas this topic provoked, the grammar exercises became substantially more exciting.

Fortunately, the class sizes were appropriate, and fostered an environment, where students felt comfortable exchanging German. Some of the tutors like to nit-pick work as they roam around the classroom. While this sometimes becomes irritating, it is nice to have insight from native Germans, who are willing to share their thoughts on what is or is not typical German. 

Writing Test:

There wasn’t much direction given for this test. And so, when I first saw the test, I was surprised that students weren’t asked to write a composition of some sort. While there was the opportunity to write your own sentences, most of it was ‘fill in the gap’ style. That was one of my main issues with this subject. I do not believe that competency can be assessed via this style. Regardless, if you have worked hard to understand the relevant grammar leading up to the test, you should be fine.

Listening Tests:

The first test was in the form of multiple choice. It was a very accessible test, which saw the average hover somewhere around 90-95%. A vocabulary list is provided on the LMS to assist with the more challenging words and phrases. While memorisation of this list wouldn’t necessarily ensure that you would pick the correct answer, I found the list helpful for enhancing my own vocabulary. You never know when the words/phrases will come in handy (source: the reading test vocabulary sheet helped me add a new dimension to my essay in the exam).

The second test took the form of ‘fill in the gaps’, and was slightly more challenging than the first test. It relied more on students’ holistic knowledge of German vocabulary (ie. which gender does noun X have).

Reading Test:

The reading test was centred on the Comedian Harmonists. Again, it was in the form of multiple choice. The text was fairly demanding, and necessitated a ‘global’ understanding of the piece. That is, you must be able to pick up on the implications to determine the correct option. Although my result was fine, I was surprised with the tutor’s rationale behind one of the options. But nevertheless, some things are simply subjective.

After the test, it is handy to use the material (based on the Comedian Harmonists) to strengthen your text-specific vocabulary. This is particularly helpful for the oral examination.

Oral Exam:

While this is only worth 5% (regrettably), it is worth preparing for this thoroughly, in light of the exam. Prior to the exam, students will receive a list of potential questions. Only 2-3 will be picked during the actual assessment. In my opinion, the assessment was slightly unconventional. It consisted of yourself and a partner both sitting before the tutor, who would ask each student different questions. It seemed to add to intimidation, as each student would be comparing their own responses against their partner’s.

Final Exam:

The exam was fair. It covered almost every grammatical concept we had covered over the semester, and asked students to write a composition at the end. If anything, silly mistakes under exam pressure will be the only factor weakening your score.


Like I mentioned above, I am glad I took German 4. The concepts are explained extremely well, with enough examples and time for adequate consolidation. In conjunction with the enthusiasm of the teaching staff, this subject has encouraged me to study German further at university.
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #732 on: November 23, 2018, 02:59:56 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CVEN90050 Geotechnical Engineering

Workload:  1x 1-hour weekly lecture, 1x 2-hour weekly lecture, 1x 1-hour weeklyish tutorial and 2x practicals

2 online assessments (5% each)
2 lab reports (14% and 7%)
Retaining wall design group project (10%)
3-hour end of semester exam (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  Yes, no solutions

Textbook Recommendation:  None, lecture notes are sufficient

Lecturer(s): Mahdi Disfani, ARUP geotechnical team and various other guest/industry lecturers

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Semester 1

Rating: 3.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Didn't see a review of this subject so hopefully this brief review is useful to those who will take this subject in the future.

Lectures and Tutorials
Mahdi covered revision on the soil mechanics component of Earth Processes and Systems Modelling and Design in the first week. Revision was quite brief so if you feel there is a gap in your knowledge its best to take out your soil mechanics notes from previous studies and start revising. But to be honest, as long as you know how to calculate total and effective vertical stress in soil, you'll be more than prepared to tackle the content in this subject.

Mahdi then covered consolidation and geotechnical strength in weeks 2-6. A lot of the content for these components should feel familiar if you took Earth Processes for Engineering. All in all, I think Mahdi did a good job in explaining the concepts and there was an adequate amount of examples presented in the lectures to help you understand the content.

Weeks 7-10 covered lateral earth pressure and retaining walls. Mahdi decided to bring in ARUP's geotechnical team to teach these components of the course. I felt like the quality of lectures varied greatly. The MSE section was covered very well with slides relevant to the tutorial problems and a lecturer easy to follow. But other sections were at times either too fast paced, slow paced or confusing. I believe the problem is that a lot of the slides were adopted from previous years rather than being written by the lecturer themselves. Furthermore, it didn't help that there were discrepancies between what was presented in lectures and tutorials.

The last two weeks covered compaction, pavement design and liquefaction. I felt that the content was quite rushed and didn't get much out of it. In regards to the exam, as long as you know how to design a pavement using a design chart and know what numbers to plug into the liquefaction related equations you'll probably be fine.

I can't speak too much about the tutorials since I only attended one of them. As per usual, tutorial problems and solutions are posted on the LMS.

My main gripe with this subject is how the teaching staff refuses to answer any questions in regards to assessments. Don't expect much help from the discussion board. This subject made me realize how great the structural teaching team is in providing assistance.

However, if you know what you're doing, then you'll be able to get through the assessments without much problem.

The quizzes were give away marks, as long as you're up-to-date with the lecture content and tutorial problems it shouldn't be too difficult.
The lab practicals weren't particularly difficult, my only gripe was the vagueness in what was expected from students.
The group design project was quite time consuming so I recommend finding a group of mates you work well with.

The 2018 exam tested literally everything covered in the course . When I say everything, I mean everything. If 2018's exam is indicative of future exams, make sure you go through all the content covered in assignments, tutorials and lectures in preparation for the final exam. Since you aren't given a formula sheet, try to memorize or at the very least be able to derive formulas that were covered in the course.

My best advice for preparing for the exam is to not tunnel into working through tutorial questions exclusively but to go through the lecture notes and assignments as well.

A good subject that gives you an introduction into consolidation, geotechnical strength, retaining wall design, pavement design and liquefaction but was hampered by the mixed quality in guest/industry lectures and lack of assistance. Furthermore, it wasn't clearly communicated to students what was expected of them in the final exam.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #733 on: December 04, 2018, 01:34:22 am »
Subject Code/Name: MAST10008 Accelerated Mathematics 1

Every week:
> 4 hours of lectures (2 hours + 1 hour + 1 hour lectures)
> 1 hour practice class
> 1 hour computer laboratory class

> 6 written assignments (15% total, equally weighted)
> MATLAB Test (5%)
> Examination (80%)

Lectopia Enabled:
Yes, with document camera capture.

Past exams available:
Yes, 10 available (2009 to 2018) plus many MAST10007 Linear Algebra exams (see comments for explanation).

Textbook Recommendation:
Elementary Linear Algebra: Applications Version, 11th Edition (Howard Anton & Chris Rorres) is a great textbook for reading and selected questions, but is not required. You are given a problem booklet, the lecture notes, the practice class sheets and the computer laboratory sheets, which is more than enough study material.

Dr. Alexandru Ghitza

Year & Semester of completion:
2018 Semester 1

4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:
First Class Honours (H1)

Important Notes: MAST10008 Accelerated Mathematics 1 is the first of two subjects in the first year accelerated mathematics stream. Taking both MAST10008 Accelerated Mathematics 1 and MAST10009 Accelerated Mathematics 2 is equivalent to taking the three subjects MAST10006 Calculus 2, MAST10007 Linear Algebra and MAST20026 Real Analysis. MAST10008 Accelerated Mathematics 1 covers all of MAST10007 Linear Algebra, and selected parts of MAST20026 Real Analysis and MAST10006 Calculus 2 (where the rest is covered in MAST10009 Accelerated Mathematics 2). The accelerated mathematics stream requires a minimum raw score of 38 in VCE Specialist Mathematics, or equivalent (roughly, top 13%).

This was, by far, my favourite subject that semester and is a great way to introduce strong maths students into the world of university maths. Unlike secondary school, you are not protected here by omitting difficult concepts. In university you are taught maths rigorously and Alex is very careful to cover everything. Further, content is also covered very quickly even with the extra lecture each week, so it will be very important that you stay on top of things and are studying regularly. There is a fair chance you won't understand some difficult concepts upon first presentation, and so it is also important you follow up with questions during consultation times, reread notes, do practice questions, etc.

I think the lectures were amazing. Alex delivers them very well. However, given the pace of the subject, it means losing focus during a lecture is very unforgiving since you will probably not catch up. You are given the notes to the week's lectures on the weekend. You should print these and annotate them as Alex does.

Practice Classes (Tutorials):
Tutorials were my favourite classes. You are given a problems sheet which you work through in small groups of 2-3 on whiteboards. The solutions are then given to you at the end of the class. You should also use these classes to ask questions about content you do not completely understand. Your tutors are your friends!

Computer Laboratory Classes:
Here, like the practice classes, you are given a booklet to work through on your own where you complete tasks to build up your knowledge of MATLAB. The only reason I don't give this subject a 5 out of 5 is that sometimes, this class can be a bit boring if you have previous experience in programming.

In week 12, you will take a short 45-minute test on MATLAB. The questions there are designed to test your ability to use technology to solve simple Linear Algebra questions.

All assignments are handwritten (as of 2019 since 2018 presented with technical issues with online assignments, and so Alex gave up on it). Generally there are a wide range of questions - some are very accessible and there will always be one question to separate out the cohort. It's important to realise that assignment questions are not the same as exam questions, and so it's important that you do not start assignments the night before they are due. The questions are not necessarily straight forward and trust me, Alex generally designs questions to make you think and ponder for sometimes many hours before making any sort of progress.

Worth 80%, this assessment is the most important of them all. You have no calculator and no notes - just a pen and some script books, and 3 hours to yourself. The exam is fairly straight forward if you have done the work prior to it. But even with poor preparation, you are not doomed. The exam is always designed so that it is easy to pass, but hard to score well in. There are enough questions there that are accessible and easy to make progress on. But, there are equally many questions that will really test your ability and push you to think.

Overall, I think the accelerated stream is generally a hit or miss for most people. You will either like it or dislike it - there is not much in between. However, if you put in the effort, I believe the subject is very enjoyable.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 12:07:51 pm by dantraicos »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #734 on: December 05, 2018, 05:03:05 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BCMB30001 Protein Structure and Function 

Workload:  3x 1hr lectures, 1x 1hr tutorial (sometimes), 1 computer practical session

Assessment: 5% computer tutorial worksheet, 20% assignment, 2x 10% MSTs, 55% final exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture etc.

Past exams available:  Yes. Plenty

Textbook Recommendation:  Mike Williamson “How proteins work?” 2012 Garland Science (A pretty good book for certain sections of the course)

Lecturer(s): Paul Gooley, Mike Griffin, Danny Hatters, Isabelle Rouiller and Gavin Reid

Year & Semester of completion: 2018 Sem 2

Rating:  3.8 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Let me first say that the review given by vox nihili is pretty good already. I write this review just because there have been slight changes in the course in terms of who's lecturing and the assessment. As the previous review pointed out, each module has its own seperate distinct elements that don't connect with each other too well. Having gone through functional genomics, you'd think that this subject would be manageable but this subject is a beast on its own. The content of each lecture is pretty hard to grasp so don't feel too sad if you didn't understand it when you left the lecture. In fact, don't be too sad if you don't even attend the lectures. When I attended the lectures in week 10, there were less than 10 students coming in a class of about 100. This subject expands on the content covered in the 1st few weeks of 2nd yr biochem covered by Paul (in 1st sem) and Terry (in 2nd Sem). This includes the primary, secondary, tertiary structures of proteins and all the beta hairpins and folding principles covered. It's a tough subject and I feel it's necessary to go through each lecturer just as vox nihili has. However, you do get a sense of special knowledge as mentioned and it's nice to see the various techniques used to study proteins. It's also noteworthy that I felt knowledge of chemistry (Equilibrium including Gibbs and kinetics principles) and a bit of physics helped in doing this subject.

Paul - So nothing has really changed much from what the previous reviewer has stated. Paul is an NMR expert and it can be pretty hard to understand the principles of NMR. However that's okay. My advice is to not get too bogged down by the principles but focus more on how to interpret the results of NMR data. In my opinion, it felt Paul was a bit too intellectual in his lectures and it was hard to really grasp what he was saying. Sometimes, you should really just read his slides first and then think about what he's saying. It also helps if you try and find the actual published paper he uses in lectures to understand the results. My final advice to those doing this subject is NMR cannot determine structure by itself. You need some structure template to work with in order to gain information about the structure dynamics. This section was hard to follow but it's amazing what we can really do to understand proteins.

Mike - Most of my friends found that he was pretty dry to listen to. His focus was mainly on structures found by X-ray crystallography and SAXs as well as principles on enzymes. A bit of physics would be useful as he goes through constructive and destructive interference using X-rays on proteins. Perhaps what makes Mike's content hard is that the 3 topics mentioned above don't have much link with one another making it hard to review.

Danny - Danny focuses mainly on folding principles and how we can observe them through FRET and stopped flow experiments. If you've went through molecular analysis of cell function, you'll see that this is an expansion of the content. As mentioned, Danny is more focused on seeing whether you can apply these concepts into biological experiments which is great. He wants you to apply knowledge and not simply regurgitate. In doing his exam questions, they feel like questions that you would see in the lab subject. He's one of the nicest lectures out of all of them and you can tell that he does his best in giving you the best learning experience.

Isabelle - Unfortunately, this was the year Terry was replaced. Now this is good and bad. This was good because we wouldn't have to go through his really difficult exam questions and this was bad because we didn't get to see his fun lectures. Isabelle is an expert in cryo-EM and it makes sense to include her because this is one of the leading technologies now used to visualise proteins. However, what makes her lectures poor, and I have nothing against it, is that her french accent was strong and made the lectures difficult to follow. BUT! You can tell from her lecturing style that she tries her best to educate. This is shown by how detailed her slides are and everytime the lectures ended early, she would always give time to go through her review questions and provide answers to them. While I didn't attend her tutorial (and i wish I did), she apparently used Legos in order to try and build structures of proteins and I really wish I came for that! Her content went focused on cryo-EM, structures of motor proteins like dynein and kinesin as well as signalling proteins (huge advantage if u did BCMB30004).

Gavin - Now Gavin is apparently one of the leading experts in Mass Spectrometry in Australia. Unfortunately, his lectures were not great. The flow of his lectures were so poorly connected making it hard to follow. In addition, if you were watching him on lecture capture, he doesn't use the pointer as with other lecturers making it difficult to follow. The saving grace of Gavin is that his questions are basically the same every year so there is really no surprise when you do his questions in the exam.

Now each lecturer has their flaws but in my opinion, when you sit down and stop complaining, you'll see that the techniques used to study proteins are pretty amazing. It highlights how much we've really progressed with biochemistry and the papers each lecturer have highlighted have shown us what we've been able to determine. And it's pretty cool. While the content of this subject is hard to grasp, I think it's so much better than what you've learnt in functional genomics. It's a special knowledge that informs you what have we done to understand biology and it is really the foundations of drug design.

Tutorials- Honestly, I felt like these were sort of a waste of time and didn't attend most of them. Perhaps the most necessary tutorial to attend was the PyMol tutorial because it gives you the necessary skills necessary for the assignments. The tutorials given by Paul were pretty helpful in getting your mind thinking about how NMR works and what questions to expect. Danny does hold an interactive session on a paper where you'll input answers on your phone. I honestly wish the tutorials would switch to this direction. If I'm not wrong, some tutorials did involve people working in groups (not too sure) and it may be helpful for those who enjoy that.

Computer lab - In comparison to BCMB30002, this was poorly conducted. During the prac, no effort was made to use the microphone or the main computer. So we were pretty much left to do our own thing based on written instructions and we could ask Paul and Mike for help if needed. The focus of the assignment was to get used to PyMol and write figure legends. Honestly the latter wasn't an issue because these are the same figure legends you would write in 2nd year techniques. There were issues imo in understanding questions but you could just ask help from Paul. The assessment isn't too strict and you would get at least 4/5 for this assessment.

Assignment - The assignment is a bit more straightforward in this subject and you'll be asked to answer a few questions. Each lecturer has their own assignment with their own set of questions. You'll be asked to use PyMol to create a figure they want and write a figure legend. Honestly, it's hard to say whether this was an easy assignment or not. I remembered overthinking a lot for this assignment and found it a pain because Gavin made our questions so vague. Perhaps what helped most was that piazza was setup so we could ask questions to clarify with one another the meaning of some questions. In terms of grade dist, me and my friends did very well so I can't really say whether this was easy or not.

MSTs - Honestly, I find these tests a huge pain and they were also held on the day of my Adv tech pracs. The MCQs were written in such a way that penalized you so harshly. Those who have done PHYS20008 would know how this feels. You'd be given a series of statements and you'd be asked to choose the option with the correct combination of statements. It's a huge pain because there were moments I was penalized for missing 1 fact out of the 4. I could not score a H1 for either MST because of this. The good thing about these MSTs is that they each only contribute 10% so managing a pass doesn't create too much damage. Consider these MSTs like concept checks to see whether you're progressing and catching up with the content. They don't really measure how well you do in this subject. Oh and there is no SAQ section anymore.

Exams - This has been changed to 2 hours. It comprises of both an MCQ and SAQ section. Our exam was held in the 1st week of the exam period. It was a real pain because we only had 2 weeks to go through Gavin's poor lectures and review everything that we went through already. Initially, the preparation may feel like a pain especially when you have to go learn some intricate details but I think what helps in this preparation the most are the past exam papers given in the library. You'll see that the questions given are somewhat similar and it gives you an idea what each lecturer wants to ask. Surprisingly, I didn't really have an issue with time just like BCMB30002. Some people did so I may not be the best example. All of the questions are very fair here unlike the MSTs. My advice is writing more does not always equate to more marks. You may just be wasting time and losing marks in other sections. Just be relevant. To be honest, I feel like they should've included questions where they would ask which techniques would be appropriate to probe certain experimental questions. It would be the best way to examine if you really understand what each technique can do.

Overall, the subject is hard. If you're doing advanced techniques in molecular science, you pretty much will have a tough sem. Definitely hard but the content is pretty interesting to learn. In entering a BCMB major, I always wanted to see chemistry being applied in biological contexts. While I didn't get to see too much of that, this subject was closest thing to it. It was great seeing principles of equilibrium, spontaneity and polarity being applied to understand proteins. I don't give this subject a too high rating because I feel like the content can be disengaging for so many people in this subject. One could sense this when you compare lecture attendance on the 1st day to last day. Unfortunately, it's a must for those wanting to do a BCMB major which is very restricting. As I said with Adv Techniques, if you managed to go through this subject and appreciated everything taught, give yourself a pat on the back, you survived what i think is the 2nd hardest subject of Biochemistry.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2018, 05:13:58 pm by dddknight »
BSci @ Unimelb (2016-2018)
Year I: BCMB20002 BIOL10004 BIOL10005 CHEM10009 HPSC10001 MAST10010 PHYC10005 UNIB10006
Year II: ANAT20006 BCMB20002 BCMB20003 CLAS10004 FOOD20003 MUSI20150 PHRM20001 PHYS20008
Year III: BCMB30001 BCMB30002 BCMB30004 BCMB30010 NEUR30002 NEUR30003 PSYC10003 SCIE20001