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August 15, 2020, 05:42:02 pm

Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1207101 times)  Share 

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jasoplum

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #810 on: July 13, 2020, 05:38:26 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: ENEN20002 Earth Processes for Engineering

Workload:  3x1 hour lectures and 1x1 workshop per week. 1 lab session during the semester (changed to video if online).

Assessment:  4 group assessments worth 10% each, 1 lab report worth 10% and exam worth 50%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with lecture capture

Past exams available:  Yes, all exams from 2009 - 2019 were given (for 2020)

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbook used or needed

Lecturer(s): Dr Murray Peel, Mr Giancarlo Bonotto, Dr Samintha Perera

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating:  4/5

Your Mark/Grade: 88 (H1)

Comments:
Note that I took this subject during 2020 where everything's online so it may be a slightly different experience to what others might experience.

Earth Processes is one of those subjects with a general opinion of "meh". It's not too difficult but not too easy either, the content can be either interesting or dry af depending on the person and there's really for many it's just a prereq for civil majors and nothing much more than that. With that said, I feel like overall I enjoyed the subject (may not be the general opinion) but there is a bit to dissect.

CLASSES
Lectures
There are 3 lecturers that you'll go through during the semester, Murray for Water Cycle and Climate/Weather (Weeks 1-5), Giancarlo Solid Earth and Landscaping (Week 6) and Samintha for Soil Mechanics and Characteristics (Weeks 7-11). Murray explains the concepts quite well and generally in good detail. While some do think he is a bit monotone which I can agree with, I feel like it's more the content itself that makes it difficult to be taught in a really pumped and energetic way, more on that later. Giancarlo has a heavier accent which can be difficult to understand at times but brings his own interesting parts as he likes to relate the concepts to real life examples a lot and even to his own projects. His part only goes for a week so it's not focused too much. Samintha which goes for the last 5 weeks has differing opinions, which I'll give my own. She also has a similar problem to Giancarlo with her heavier accent making it difficult to understand at times, and there is also a problem in that many of her online lectures were 1 hour and 30 minutes long (instead of 1). I found this problem to generally be solved by just playing at 1.25x speed as the longer duration was due to her speaking slower than other lecturers. Overall, with some pausing and rewinding sometimes and increased concentration, I feel that much of her explanations are actually quite detailed and made a lot of sense. I transcribed some of what she said for my notes which ended up being very useful and clear for working out concepts, and I think that her lecturers, albeit with some annoyances, were fine. I do think I am in the minority with this however, so keep in mind that you may not have the same opinion as me.

As someone who I think overall enjoyed this subject more than most, I can agree that the lectures and content can be quite dry at times. Learning about rain, rocks and dirt doesn't sound like the most fun thing in the world and I do admit that while uni was still open for the first 3 weeks, I dozed off in some of the in person lectures. What made this subject interesting to me was the application of this content, in engineering examples and modelling etc which you can see when doing the projects (which I'll get to later). The information gained from this subject is actually very useful and is more than just some rote learning.

Workshops
They might be named workshops, but these are basically tutorials. During the in person session, what would happen is just mainly them giving you an intro and then you doing questions on the problem sheet for the hour and them going through near the end of the session. This was changed up once you went online. Instead, they were run by having the worksheet and a video sent out at the beginning of the week. The video would essentially show the tutor going through the worksheet and answering it, and then the timetabled workshop was used as consultation. The worksheet contained questions either using excel for content related to the content learnt, or calculating and theory type more general questions in the later parts of the semester. One thing I will say about the workshops from me doing them online is to make sure you actually do the worksheet questions and complete all of it. Although it sounds fairly easy to skip and in online the consultations generally I did skip, the worksheet itself is very important because everything you do in the projects and assignments directly relate to and sometimes are even straight ripped off the worksheet. On average it took me about 1 and a half to 2 hours to complete each worksheet, but it was definitely worth it because I knew exactly what to do in the assignments afterwards.

CONTENT AND EXAMS
The first topic is focused on Water Cycles, Climate and Weather. The topics are as follows
   ē Climate Systems and General Circulation (Coriolis Effect, Hadley, Polar and Ferrel Cells)
   ē Rainfall and Stochastic Modelling
   ē Radiation, Solar Zenith, Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change
   ē Water Cycle, Catchment Processes and Evapotranspiration
   ē Runoff Processes, Catchment Modelling and Nature of streamflow
This part generally requires a lot of modelling in excel (as you'll see in ASSIGNMENTS) and the content is well what you'd expect. Most of the theory is straightforward although some might be a bit confusing to think about at first (ex. Solar Zenith, Coriolis effect). On the exam, the questions are pretty much recycled from previous years with half of it being theory based while the other half requiring calculation using a catchment model. If you do the past exams and prepare and answer all the questions in detail beforehand (particularly the theory ones), this will be the easiest part of the exam. The most important part is preparing properly. The questions don't change in an online format.

The second topic goes for just a week and is focused on Solid Earth and Landscaping. They are about
   ē Rock types and Earthquakes/Tectonics
   ē Weathering, Erosion and Deposition
   ē Soil and Climate
This is pretty much all theory. On the exam, there'll be a question on it that generally will be the same or similar to previous years.

The final topic is on Soil Mechanics. The topics are
   ē Soil Characteristics and Classification
   ē Water in Soil
   ē Soil Stresses
   ē Soil Strength
   ē Soil stability and minerology
This part is what I would consider the most difficult part of the subject. There is quite a bit to learn, but overall the difficulty is decent and not too bad. The exception I'd make to this is the soil minerology parts, as out of nowhere a lot of chemistry was referred (which as I don't do chem I was extremely confused). I transcribed and noted down what she explained and used that in the exam. The content you'll get out of this are a mixture of calculations using formulas, drawings with Mohr Circles and general theory. Like I said in the lectures, if you're struggling a bit to understand certain parts, try to just pausing and rewind a bit, maybe even transcribe Samintha's explanation and you'll be fine. On the exam, it will be generally similar to that of previous exams and parts may be the same. However, maybe due to an online format this semester some parts did differ from previous years and there was a controversial question where the rest of the marks all required you to get an initial question correct.

So as you can see, the exam is actually very similar and even mostly the same as previous years. And they don't try to hide this as well, you get the exam from 2009 all the way to 2019 (this is 2020) and revision lectures which show these questions. In exchange though, solutions are NOT provided for any of the exams (understandably). Therefore, studying for this subject's exam is much more straightforward than other subjects. The tips I would give are a couple of things. The first is to go through each of the questions they'll go over during the revision lectures, and answer each of them as well as you can, with the best explanations and answers you can provide, going through lecture slides and lecture capture to do so. The next tip is to just do some past exams IN EXAM TIME, the time for earth processes is actually quite tight and goes fast so make sure you know what you're getting into. And lastly, particularly for those doing it online, make sure you have good lecture notes that you've written and can ctrl + f and refer to. Despite the online situation, the questions are pretty much the same or similar so if you have these notes you'll be in a much better position, particularly if they mix it up (which they did for soil mechanics). I just copy typed what was on the lecture slides during the lectures and occasionally also wrote what the lecturers said if it was important, you may have a different way.

ASSIGNMENTS
During the semester, you'll have 4 group assignments and 1 lab report due, worth 10% each. These are not small assignments, they are genuine fairly large assignments and if you think that it's a lot, you'd be right. This is where the majority of your time will be spent in this subject and it can be a bit difficult and stressful particularly towards the later weeks (I had 3 consecutive assignments due in 3 weeks for just this subject). However, don't start panicking. It is a lot of work, more than other engineering subjects in level 1, but it is doable. Again, it is doable.

The first 2 assignments are based off Murray's content and are all about modelling rainfall and water storage using excel. It is here that you'll really be using your excel skills a lot to model but I wouldn't worry about studying excel beforehand as most of the modelling is generally explained in the workshop videos. Something to note is that although there are marks are based of your excel modelling, most of it is based off the theory, that is the analysis, interpretation and discussion of it and so understanding what the model actually does and explaining it in detail is the focus. Assignments 3 and 4 on the other hand are based off Samintha's content, the soil mechanics topics. Instead of excel, you'll be doing calculations and drawing diagrams (Mohr Circles), but the analysis and discussion are still the important part of it. Note that assignments 2 to 4 are specifically written as a REPORT. That is, with a proper structure of an introduction, methodology etc. If you're not the strongest with report writing, don't worry so was I, but you'll learn to learn to figure it out eventually, it's not as scary as it may seem as long as you know the content and the explanations. From my experience, although the word limit was 1000-2000 words for each assignment, even though it may seem like a lot for my group, we ended up always going over 2000 words and had to spend quite a bit of time shortening it down because of that.

As for the lab report, that is of course also in a report format. For online, instead of actually doing the lab, it was instead recorded as videos for us to watch and the data sent to us. This was both a bad and good thing because while you didn't get to actually experience and do the prac, you knew the data you were getting was going to be correct and the tutor helped explain some of the concepts more as it was through video. The lab report took a decent amount of time but was in line with the time it took for assignments (individually).

The last thing I would like to stress is the HUGE importance of a good group. With Earth Processes, 40% of your mark is automatically based on group work and you'll be working with the same group throughout the entire semester. When you have these large amount of assignments especially, it's really important to have a group that is willing to do work and in sync with each other. I would say make sure you find a good group, but groups for better or worse are automatically allocated. I was lucky that I had gotten allocated good group members, we all put in a lot of effort into the assignment and we could also banter and chat as well. However, to contrast this I had a friend who had the opposite experience. His group members essentially ghosted them for the better part of 3 of the assignments and so he was left to do them all by himself, which trust me, that is not something you would ever want to experience. Other than just luck, the main tips I'd give with this is just to make sure to actively communicate not just over text but have meetings over zoom (or if not 2020 in person as well) fairly often, particularly the week before the assignment is due. It helps a lot with the relationship of the group and is also a lot easier to communicate together than just say through text.

FINAL WORDS
And that's Earth Processes! At first, I felt like the subject was pretty dry and stressful as I did assignment 1. However as I continued on, I started to feel more indifferent about the subject and actually started enjoying it towards the end as well. Out of this, I feel like I got a lot out of it, more than many other subjects. This isn't the most difficult, but it certainly has quite a bit of work and effort required and it isn't an easy subject either. Others may have a different opinion and I feel like the general consensus is that this is a fairly dry and mundane subject but I think it was alright. I gave this a 4/5, but if you get a bad group this would probably reduce to a 2/5. The general opinion I think would be a 3/5. 

Tau

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #811 on: July 15, 2020, 10:16:56 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: BLAW10001 Principles of Business Law

Workload: 1 weekly lecture, split into multiple recordings (~2 hrs/week), optional discussion board, recorded workshop videos before each assessment task

Assessment: 2 Multiple choice tests (10% each, 40 questions, 1 hour) and 1 Multiple choice exam (80%, 60 questions, 1.5 hours)

Echo360 Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  1 Sample paper for each assessment task, and weekly (optional) quizzes

Textbook Recommendation:  First Principles of Business Laws by Michael Lambiris and Laura Griffin, (Essential, has all the cases and content in it) - was available from the UniMelb library for free this semester

Lecturer(s): Tanya Josev (and Arlen Duke for the workshop videos)

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating:  5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 94 H1

Comments: Give your overall opinion of the subject, lecturers, assessment etc. and a recommendation, plus anything else which you feel is relevant.

I thoroughly enjoyed this subject. The content was interesting, practicable and useful. The overall workload was extremely light, consisting of watching the lectures, and reading the textbook. The multiple choice assessment was definitely a bonus, but, due to the high exam weighting, each question is worth a lot.

The lecturer, Tanya, and the tutor, Will, were both fantastic and always happy to answer student questions. Tanya was extremely clear, and really conveyed her passion for the law through her lectures.

Overall, there is almost nothing to fault about this subject and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an easy, enjoyable, and interesting breadth subject!
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 10:20:42 pm by Tau »
2018: Physics [46 ~ 48], Methods [41 ~ 46]
2019: UMEP Mathematics Extension [First Class Honours (H1)], English [44], Specialist [42 ~ 52], Algorithmics (HESS)
ATAR: 99.50

2020 - Bachelor of Science, The University of Melbourne

Tau

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #812 on: July 15, 2020, 10:42:25 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: FNCE10002 Principles of Finance

Workload: 1 weekly lecture (2 hours), 1 weekly tutorial class (1 hour)

Assessment: 1 Mid-term assignment (14%, Multiple choice), 1 Mid-term exam (23%, Multiple choice), 1 Final exam (63%) (Note: Tutorial participation credit was removed and redistributed due to COVID-19 this semester)

Echo360 Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  Yes, 2 sample exams and 1 sample mid-term

Textbook Recommendation: Introduction to Corporate Finance by Graham. Honestly, I found the textbook mostly useless. Asjeet always insists you read it before watching the lectures, and whilst it's useful to get a rough gist of the material, I found that there were frequently material covered in it that was completely irrelevant, or it was missing substantial amounts of content that were in the lecture slides.

Lecturer(s): Asjeet Lamba

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating: 3/5

Your Mark/Grade: 89 H1

Comments: Overall I'm fairly neutral on this subject, I think that mainly stems from me not finding Finance particularly interesting as opposed to any inherent flaws in the subject.

Lectures
Asjeet is a pretty good lecturer overall, he definitely seems to cares about the students and will often state that he hopes the main thing you take away from the subject is an appreciation and understanding of the role of finance in the world. Sometimes I found his explanations a little unclear, and the occasional tangents were a little absurd (cuckoo clocks!), but his humour and passion were definitely appreciated. However, I did find the 2 hour lectures a bit tiresome, I think they'd be more engaging and less tiresome if they were split into two 1-hour lectures instead.

Tutorials
It's crucial to complete the tutorials each week, and definitely useful to attend the tutorial classes. Many of the questions are past exam questions, so you can also get a feel for the final-exam whilst completing the work.

Mid-term exam and assignment
Fairly straightforward, just pay careful attention to the wording and questions (e.g. annuity due vs ordinary annuity), I got 100% on both the mid-term exam and assignment with not too much work.

Exam
The exam was not too difficult, the harder parts being the conceptional and explanatory questions. The tutorial questions and practice sample exams do a good of preparing you for the exam, so just make sure you're comfortable with them. I did find it helpful being open book so that I could refer back to content to double check my answer.
2018: Physics [46 ~ 48], Methods [41 ~ 46]
2019: UMEP Mathematics Extension [First Class Honours (H1)], English [44], Specialist [42 ~ 52], Algorithmics (HESS)
ATAR: 99.50

2020 - Bachelor of Science, The University of Melbourne

Tau

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #813 on: July 15, 2020, 11:40:57 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: PHYC10001 Physics 1 Advanced

Weekly Workload: ~7 pracs (3 hours), 1 tutorial class (1 hour), 3 lectures (1 hour each)

Assessment: Weekly questions on WileyPlus (15%), ~7 Lab classes and lab reports (25%), Final exam (60%)

Echo360 Enabled:  Yes, but demonstrations were sometimes posted separately or not possible this semester

Past exams available:  Yes, 5 past papers with worked solutions

Textbook Recommendation: Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday and Resnick. This textbook is incredible, definitely worth getting a copy and learning from it. The explanations, diagrams, and examples are super helpful when learning the content .... often more so than the lectures.

Lecturer(s): David Jamieson (1st half) and David Simpson (2nd half)

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating: 1.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: Overall, the issue with this subject wasn't with the content (which could be quite interesting), but with the way the lectures, assessment, tutorial classes and overall faculty administration was handled. I can't speak for the regular Physics 1 stream, but certainly this was quite a disappointing subject, and dampened my enthusiasm for physics.

Lectures
David Jamieson is extremely passionate, but will incessantly speak in tangents and sidetrack himself, making the lectures quite hard to follow. His slides are also quite busy and the maths gets skipped through very quickly (not stepped through like in maths subjects); I felt there was a lack of coherency to the flow of the lectures, and it was often hard to discern what was actually examinable or the critical parts of the lecture.

I found David Simpson to be much more calm and methodical, and whose slides were much less busy and more focused, which I appreciated much more. Interestingly, however, some students found the reverse; I suppose it's just a matter of taste in lecture style.

Lab classes and lab reports
This was single-handedly the worst part of the subject, and the most affected by COVID-19. The expected time to completion each week was officially around 3-5 hours (not including the 2 hour Zoom 'lab' class). But, realistically, most students found themselves far exceeding that 'expected completion time' - I dreaded each week's lab report. Much of the lab report was tedious data collection (e.g. measuring 20-40 distances on a screen) and report writing (painful, long, and exhausting). The reports themselves took ages and seemed to be far in excess of what would have been expected had we been on campus. It also didn't help that lab classes started later into semester, and took up heaps of valuable time from other subjects/commitments. Unfortunately, the subject team didn't do much to make it easier, even after complaints from students. Hopefully things improve for next semester.

Problem solving tutorials
These were often meandering and kinda useless. As a result, attendance steadily dropped throughout semester in my group to as low as three students (out of ~18 to begin with). Part of the problem is that there are around 15 large questions per Problem sheet which are not really designed to be covered in a 1 hour class. I think this subject could be better served by extracting the crucial questions and content to be covered in the tutorial class, and splitting the rest off into a dedicated Problem book that can be worked on independently by students (like in Maths subjects). Otherwise, the net effect seems to be that nothing much really gets covered, and it's quite dispiriting.

WileyPlus
These can actually be quite interesting and challenging questions, but there are simply too many per week on top of the other assessment and workload. Also, the interface and accuracy/precision system is abysmal. They were definitely a time-sink each week, but do help in consolidating the content.

Exams
These are really quite difficult, and often incorporate quite challenging questions that are hard to approach in exam circumstances and given exam time constraints. They didn't feel too streamlined though, with many questions on specific topics worth between 20-31 (out of 150), whilst other topics were ignored or given little attention. I feel exams would be better if they had a more even mark distribution, with more - and shorter - questions instead. The exam this year was scaled up slightly (up to 5%).

Overall, I found the workload exceeded what was reasonable (particularly the lab classes) and did not enjoy the way the subject was implemented at all.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2020, 11:43:36 pm by Tau »
2018: Physics [46 ~ 48], Methods [41 ~ 46]
2019: UMEP Mathematics Extension [First Class Honours (H1)], English [44], Specialist [42 ~ 52], Algorithmics (HESS)
ATAR: 99.50

2020 - Bachelor of Science, The University of Melbourne

Tau

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #814 on: July 16, 2020, 12:09:24 am »
+3
Subject Code/Name: MAST20009 Vector Calculus

Workload: 3 lectures/week (~ 1 hour), 1 tutorial class (1 hour)

Assessment: 4 Assignments (5% each), 1 Final exam (80%)

Echo360 Enabled:  Yes, Christine split lectures into smaller chunks and uploaded to LMS at beginning of week

Past exams available:  Yes, 5 past exams with brief answers/working

Textbook Recommendation:  Nothing required (excepting lecture slides), Vector Calculus by Marsden and Tromba is recommended for supplementary reading, but I found Vector Calculus by Colley better.

Lecturer(s): Christine Manglesdorf

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating: 4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 93 H1

Comments:

Lectures
Christine is an excellent lecture; very clear, precise and focused. Her explanations were great, and the subject coordination overall was fantastic. There was quite a bit of hand-holding though (e.g. demonstrating how to evaluate a determinant painstakingly each and every time), but you could just fast-forward through those bits. Clarity and precision is definitely to be preferred over vagueness.

Consulation
This year consultation was moved online via email. You'd send in an email with your questions and working at any time, and Christine would respond and provide guidance/answers as appropriate quite quickly too!. I found these too be really quite useful, and made frequent use of these to ask questions, or just regarding any nuance I came across that wasn't covered in the lectures themselves. I hope this get continued for other subjects next semester.

Tutorials
Tutorials were fantastic! I had Andrei Ratiu, who was amazing and super calm, and would always include extra challenges or teach interesting extended content if there was time at the end of the lesson. The only inconvenience was that it was difficult for those without a stylus/touch screen to be able to collaborate properly in the tutorial given the current circumstances.

Assignments
Honestly I found the assignments to be quite easy, scoring 100% on 3/4 of them. They are generally quite straight-forward applications of the content in the lectures, and often have direct parallels in the lecture notes. If you pay careful attention to the (checking orientation, notation, drawing graphs really carefully), it shouldn't be hard to score well.

Exam
The exams are quite straight forward, and don't seem to change much each year. There are generally no tricky question and no real proof questions (more just 'show that' procedural style questions), just be careful to not make any careless mistakes as usual :). Also, pay attention to notation (e.g. Christine prefers a tilde under vector operators), there are often dedicated marks for correct use of notation, so don't just throw them away! If you have completed the problem book questions and past exams, then the exam shouldn't be any surprise.

The only reason I gave this subject 4.5 instead of 5 is that I felt there was much scope and content that could have been covered in greater depth and rigour than were (e.g. TNB frames, flowlines, conservative vector fields...). Vector Calculus just felt like an extension of Calc 2 (or UMEP), and wasn't really that difficult. Overall, it was an extremely enjoyable and well-taught maths subject.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 12:11:09 am by Tau »
2018: Physics [46 ~ 48], Methods [41 ~ 46]
2019: UMEP Mathematics Extension [First Class Honours (H1)], English [44], Specialist [42 ~ 52], Algorithmics (HESS)
ATAR: 99.50

2020 - Bachelor of Science, The University of Melbourne

honlyu

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #815 on: July 18, 2020, 09:24:35 am »
+1
Subject Code/Name: ACTL20001 Introductory Financial Mathematics

Workload: two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour tutorial per week

Assessment: Individual assignments: 2x15%=30%, Final exam: 70%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, including tutorials as well

Past exams available: One practice exam with solutions was provided

Textbook Recommendation: Compound Interest and its Applications, Fitzherbert and Pitt, 2013

Lecturer(s): Ping Chen

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 99

Comments:
* Due to COVID-19, most of the classes this semester were online. Hence my comments may not be indicative of the delivery of this subject in post-COVID era.

In my opinion, IFM is at the same level as intro actuarial in terms of difficulty. Whatís more, roughly a third of the topics in IFM have already been taught in intro actuarial. So it really disappoints me as I was expecting much more of a subject with Ďfinancial mathsí in its title.

Lectures:
Ping is one of the most dedicated lecturers Iíve ever seen. She usually released both recordings for a week on monday or even during the weekend before. And she even kept posting recordings in the week when all teaching activities were suspended as the campus was moving online (this was probably for accreditation purposes though). Ping is also incredibly responsive. I sent her queries a few times and she replied to me on the same day or even within a few hours every time.

In terms of lecture contents, all definitions were clearly stated and all formulae derived. Added to that all you need for the exam are already put in lecture slides. Ping would also supply some tables for illustration purposes when it came to complicated topics, especially those where multiple similar formulae were introduced. Despite all these merits, this subject actually managed to drive me away from actuarial studies. At first look it may seem that weíve learned a lot of stuff in IFM but, at the end of the day, they are basically variations of cash flow calculations. In terms of maths taught in this subject, Iíd say thereís barely any, if at all.

Overall the delivery of lectures deserve a solid 5/5 but the actual contents of lectures do not hold much appeal to me.

Tutorials:
I went to the first tutorial and didnít attend tutorials anymore knowing that they would be recorded. In fact, I donít even think thereís a point in watching tutorial recordings when detailed solutions to tutorial sheets are provided in a timely manner.

Assignments:
The two assignments consisted mostly of straightforward calculation-based questions, which you can easily get right by avoiding careless mistakes. Other questions required a bit more of writing, including for example analyzing the suitability of a modelling process and providing suggestions on property purchase. These are also rather simple, all you have to do is to imitate the answers provided in tutorials or conduct some basic research on some government websites. And on top of the simplicity of assignment questions, marking was also very generous. I reckon if one puts in decent effort they should get close to full marks on assignments.

Exam:
As a part of the changes to actuarial accreditation, the syllabus of IFM was modified in 2020 (btw it was titled Financial Mathematics 1 in the past). The consequence is then that we only had one practice exam and no past exams were available. But fortunately some extra question sets were provided in addition to tutorial sheets (I highly recommend doing these extra questions or at least taking a look at the trickier ones).

The exam was originally scheduled to be 2 hours long. In the last week, however, Ping announced that the exam would last 3.5 hours (including reading and scanning) and that the amount of questions would stay the same. Based on my experience in the exam, I honestly donít think this was true (so did everyone I know doing this subject). But still, three hours and a half was long enough for me to double check all my answers. In terms of difficulty, Iíd say all questions were pretty much generic and the hardest part was to press the same figures on the calculator as what you wrote. What made the exam really easy was that it was open-book (thanks to that I didnít have to memorise all those hideous formulae), which was kinda surprising given that this subject was linked to actuarial accreditation. After the exam I thought scale-down was right on its way, especially after I heard of a few tragedies in some other subjects. Luckily it turned out that it wasnít.


honlyu

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #816 on: July 18, 2020, 09:25:40 am »
+1
Subject Code/Name: MAST20004 Probability

Workload: 3 one-hour lectures, 1 one-hour practice class, and 1 one- hour computer laboratory class per week

Assessment: Four written assignments: 4x5%=20%, Final exam: 80%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available: All past exam papers from 2009 to 2019 are available, with answers provided

Textbook Recommendation: Saeed Ghahramani.  Fundamentals of Probability with Stochastic Processes, 3rd Edition.  Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2005

Lecturer(s): Mark Fackrell & Sophie Hautphenne

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 98

Comments:
* Due to COVID-19, most of the classes this semester were online. Hence my comments may not be indicative of the delivery of this subject in post-COVID era.

Probability is a content-heavy but not-so-difficult subject. At a glance it seems that youíre gonna be inundated with overwhelmingly many concepts and formulae. But when it comes to actually solving problems, this subject doesnít really demand much in-depth thinking.

Lectures:
In the first few weeks where lectures were still in-person, there were two streams taught by Mark and Sophie respectively. After all subjects moved online they started giving lectures on an alternate basis (i.e. they taught every other week).

Both lecturers had a bit of accent but I believe it wonít take you more than a week to get used to it. At the end of the day, accents donít really matter as they managed to clearly explain every single topic.

The only downside of lectures is the proofs. As Probability does not have Real Analysis as its prerequisite, some of the proofs in lectures were not 100% rigorous and I wasnít particularly comfortable with that. So be alert if youíre doing these two subjects in the same semester.

Tutorials:
This is the first subject ever in which I have never attended a single tutorial or lab. I asked at the start of the semester those who had done Probability before if tutorials and labs were helpful. Every one of them gave pretty much the same reply, and then my tutor never got to see me in class. So thereís really nothing I can say about tutorials or labs.

*It doesnít necessarily mean, however, that I could easily handle all tutorial and lab questions on my own. In fact, there were a few times when I got a bit confused and asked my fellow students for help.

Assignments:
Out of consideration for those who struggled to follow the course due to the COVID situation (probably), the assignments this semester were incredibly easy (I took a look at last semís assignments and they were by all means way harder). In one of the assignments the average mark was 18/19! This was a bit frustrating as there was basically nothing to learn from these assignments.

*Just as an aside, I'd like to recommend the problem sheet to those who wish to extend their understanding or practice their problem-solving skills. It may be a bit outdated and some of its questions have lost relevance, but if you take a bit of time to examine the questions you can definitely sift out those worth doing.

Exam:
The single best material for exam preparation is the past exams. So far Probability is the only subject I know that provides as many as 10 past exams with solutions (some of which are brief though). You donít necessarily need to finish them all, in my mind 2 or 3 from recent years should suffice. For the rest you can quickly go through all the questions and pick out the tricky ones to do. In the meantime, you may find it helpful to spend some time polishing your answers to the types of questions that appear frequently across all years.

The specification of this semesterís final exam differed from past yearsí in that: A. Two cheat sheets were allowed instead of one (I honestly donít know why, thereís enough space on a single cheat sheet), B. There was an extra 15 minutes to allow for technical issues (which doesnít make any difference if youíve been working hard enough).

The exam paper was not well written. There were two or three typos, which got corrected very late in the exam. Added to that the corrections were made in zoom chat so I doubt if everyone actually saw them before the exam ended. Fortunately apart from the typos the exam was rather fair, with almost all questions being generic.

honlyu

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #817 on: July 18, 2020, 09:28:11 am »
+2
Subject Code/Name: PHYC20016 Elements of Quantum Computing

Workload: two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour lab per week

Assessment: Two assignments: 2x20%=40%, Final exam: 60%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: Obviously no since 2020 is the first year this subject is offered. But there is a set of practice questions provided.

Textbook Recommendation: No

Lecturer(s): Prof. Lloyd Hollenberg, Dr. Charles Hill, Dr. Muhammad Usman, Dr. Casey Myers, Prof. Udaya Parampalli, Dr. Nitin Yadev (Dr. Thomas Quella and Prof. Carsten Murawski were also in the staff team but didnít give lectures)

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 87

Comments:
* Due to COVID-19, most of the classes this semester were online. Hence my comments may not be indicative of the delivery of this subject in post-COVID era.

Elements of Quantum Computing is a newly introduced subject in 2020, so I guess Iím the first one to post a review of it.

I have strong mixed feelings about this subject. On the one hand, I really appreciate the joint effort of the lecturers from four different departments to start such an initiative to systematically introduce quantum computing to undergrads. On the other hand, the actual delivery of lectures was not that systematic. I wouldnít say this subject was disorganized, but it was by no means well coordinated.

Lectures:
There were 23 lectures in total (one less than scheduled because of COVID) and they were co-taught by six lecturers from physics, maths, computing, and finance departments. Usually I donít talk about the syllabus in my subject review since such info can be easily accessed online. But obviously this subject is an exception. Below is a rough outline of topics:
1. Basic knowledge about quantum computing (e.g. quantum circuit, measurement and operators)
2. Quantum algorithms: Deutsch-Josza algorithm, Simonís algorithm, Shorís algorithm, Quantum key distribution, Groverís algorithm, Quantum phase estimation, Quantum Fourier transform, Quantum approximate optimization algorithm, Quantum Machine learning
3. Applications of quantum algorithms in various fields including cryptography, option pricing, portfolio optimization etc.

A major downside of this subject is that all concepts were not clearly explained. Moreover, sometimes a formula or method would be thrown into your face out of nowhere without any illustrations. What makes matters worse was the lack of study materials online, which made self-study particularly hard. I remember there were a few times when I got really confused as to how a result was obtained and thought that I must have missed something. When I googled it the only resource I could find was some research papers which were absolutely not for beginners. Finally it turned out that we were supposed to take the result for granted without knowing the derivation.

In terms of maths involved Iíd say itís next to none.
The only thing youíll need is just some elementary knowledge of matrix operations and basic arithmetic skills. All the heavy machinery would have already been done for you.

Labs:
My strategy for attending labs was to attempt questions on the lab sheet first and wait until the end of week when solutions were released. And then Iíd attend next weekís lab if I had any queries or skip it if I could figure everything out on my own. In fact, in most weeks the lab sheet questions were so simple that there was no need for labs at all. Added to that questions posted in the discussion board would usually be answered within a day. So attending labs wasnít that necessary.

Assignments:
The first assignment was a breeze. I reckon they deliberately made it easy for us who had just made a foray into quantum computing. The second assignment was a real pain in the neck and this was mainly due to a 6-mark question on programming real quantum computers on IBM platform. We had to struggle all by ourselves since literally nothing was said in lectures about how real quantum computers worked. I spent a whole day on this question and wrote some nonsense which even I myself couldnít understand. According to the solutions later released, the lecturers didnít actually expect much from us. This was further evidenced by their lenient marking.

Exam:
Well first of all there were no past exam papers as this subject has no past. One practice exam with solutions was made available, which was not that helpful because most questions were overly straightforward. To be honest I was thinking revision was necessary if weíd be tested on such simple questions in an open-book exam (still I did a thorough revision as I had plenty of time for exam preparation)

The exam was, for want of a best word, weird. About two thirds of exam questions were in a similar vein to those in the practice exam and were thus effortless. Nonetheless, the other third was wildly beyond my expectation: There was one question which I didnít even understand what it was asking; there was another question which I could barely even get started on. I counted after the exam that I left almost 20 marks (out of 100) unanswered, a record high (others were not even close). And so I was expecting a low H1, but I got 87 as my final mark. I guess either the marking or scaling was generous, or both.


honlyu

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #818 on: July 18, 2020, 09:33:03 am »
+2
Subject Code/Name: MAST30021 Complex Analysis

Workload: three 1-hour lectures (much longer this semester, will explain later) and one 1-hour practical per week

Assessment: Four written assignments: 4x5%=20%, Final exam: 80%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available: All past exam papers from 2016 to 2019 are available, with NO answers provided

Textbook Recommendation: None

Lecturer(s): Michael Wheeler

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Semester 1

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 99

Comments:
* Due to COVID-19, most of the classes this semester were online. Hence my comments may not be indicative of the delivery of this subject in post-COVID era.

This is the first level 3 maths subject Iíve done (in fact I havenít done any level 2 maths either if AM2 doesnít count as one), so there was quite a leap in difficulty for me. As a result my journey at the beginning of the semester wasnít rather smooth (I reckon this was partly because I hadnít done Vector Calculus and Differential Equations before, where some topics in Complex Analysis were already touched on).  As the subject went deeper and deeper into the complex realm, however, the topics seemed more connected and my understanding solidified. So donít panic if you feel lost in the first few weeks. Just try your best to follow along. As far as Iím concerned, the connections between some topics wonít manifest themselves until the later half of the subject. Whatís more, some seemingly bizarre proof techniques would become commonplace as you approach the end of the semester. Some proofs, when you first encounter them, may seem like they rely on one miracle after another. But I assure you, if you take some time to summarise and categorise all the proof techniques used, you should easily note some general rules.

A word of caution: It is true that the applications of some theorems in Complex Analysis bear a striking resemblance to those of their real versions. It is also true that linking complex concepts to corresponding real ones can be conducive to intuitive understanding. But sometimes disasters can strike if one blurs the boundary between complex and real analysis (this is hard to explain but it does pose a risk). The best advice I can give is that: You can compare definitions and theorems in this subject with similar ones in real analysis if this helps with your learning. It is nevertheless not a wise idea to assume that any concepts in the scope of real numbers can be extended to the complex plane unless youíve actually been taught so in the course.

Lectures:
Michael was an articulate lecturer and his explanations were always flawless. A downside is that he speaks quite slowly, but that was compensated by extended lecture duration (at least 1 hour, the longest was over 1.5 hours if I recall). As a result we were actually able to dig deeper into some topics than in normal semesters (according to Michael himself).

The only thing I donít like about lectures is that we only finished 28 out of all 34 scheduled lectures. Excluding the week when the entire uni broke down, we should have had 31 lectures. However Michael decided to further cut the number of lectures as Ďmany students were falling behindí. Fortunately from the discussion board it seems that Michael is planning to upload last yearís recordings of lecture 29 to 34 (hopefully I can get my hands on them as soon as possible).

A major highlight of this semesterís Complex Analysis is the three 2-hour revision sessions, which can be a huge help if you feel that you havenít had a good grasp of some topics. Thereís no guarantee, however, that there would be revision sessions of similar lengths in future semesters.

Tutorials:
To be honest I no longer attended tutorials since week 3, with the main reason being that the pace in online tutorials was incredibly slow. Added to that Michael would post detailed solutions on canvas. Despite the fact that only the solutions to the first four problem sheets were released in time, most questions were either proof-heavy or solvable using Wolfram and so there shouldnít be an urgent need for solutions.

NB: If youíre doing this subject in-person, donít expect any posted solutions from the lecturer. Solutions in this semester were provided on the basis of the low quality of online tutorials. In the past they had never been available.

Assignments:
More than half of the assignment questions were rather straightforward. If you have understood the lectures well you wouldnít get stuck on them. A few questions required some in-depth thinking and thereís no guarantee that you can solve them. It is also noteworthy that even those easy, straight questions could require ponderous computation.

Marking for assignments wasnít particularly harsh, but not lenient either. I put in quite a lot of effort but still lost 2 marks in total (yes thatís more than the mark I lost in this subject, thanks to scaling).

Exam:
This semester is the first time ever the exam is in open-book form. We were allowed to use as many handwritten notes as we wished (printed notes were not allowed, which was unfair to those taking electronic notes). And the only allowed printed materials were lecture slides. In consequence, unlike in past exams, statements of theorems and proofs from lectures would no longer be asked.

In terms of exam preparation, Iíd say tutorial sheets should take priority over anything else, followed by past exams and then assignments. In fact I ranked assignments before past exams in my own revision thinking that the difficulty or complexity of open-book exam questions would be comparable to that of assignments.

The exam proved me wrong. The questions werenít particularly hard and, unlike what I was expecting, I didnít get stuck on any question. I even had half an hour left after I finished the exam to check all my answers (the exam itself was definitely harder than past yearsí, what made them not so challenging was the fact that we had our notes at hand). Unfortunately, nothing could stop me from making careless mistakes. But when I realised that, it was already too late. By a rough calculation, I reckoned that the highest I could get was 95. And it turned out that my final mark was scaled to 99, a huge surprise.




ganksau

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #819 on: July 24, 2020, 05:49:07 pm »
+1
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10008: Introductory Biology: Life's Machinery

Workload:  3x Lectures/week, 1 Prac/Workshop stream, each in alternating weeks and 1 tute/week

Assessment:  6x module tests throughout the semester 15%, 5x Prac/workshop tasks 25% (prac attendance is also a hurdle), Written report based on one of the pracs 10%, final exam 50% (passing exam also hurdle)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  New subject, so no past exams, but some practice questions were offered.

Textbook Recommendation:  Knox , et.al , Biology, An Australian Focus 5th Ed, but you don't need it! Don't waste your money.

Lecturer(s):

A/Prof. Alex Johnson

He took the first module which is meant to be an introductory "What is life?" sort of thing. He talked about the origins of life, prokaryotes, eukaryotes, DNA replication and the molecules of life. I thought he did okay with what he could. He was obviously very knowledgeable but since this is an intro class he did his best to "dumb things down" for us. Unfortunately, I think he went a bit too far because I felt we lacked proper explanations for things (however this is a recurring issue throughout the whole subject, see the comments section, not just with him). It would be interesting to see him teach a higher level subject on the topics he researches (biotechnology in plants).

Prof Ute Roessner and Dr. Heroen Verbruggen

They took the second module together, talking about transcription and translation, energy transformations, glycolysis and the formation of ATP and photosynthesis. This was my second least favourite module. They tackled such complicated processes and so many of them, in only 2 weeks, so you can imagine how much they had to dumb things down. It was also very hard to understand what we needed to know for the exam. Especially with Ute's lectures. And even so, I preferred her over Veroen. Veroen just seemed inexperienced in lecturing. Watching his lectures (which were all online cause COVID anyway), it felt like a nervous kid giving a presentation. Not seeing his face didn't make this better either. He would often stutter and struggle with how to explain things in a simple enough manner to us. I felt a bit sorry for him

Dr Jen Fox and Dr John Golz

They took the 3rd and the best module. John is imo the best lecturer in this subject and my 1 point out of five go to him and Jen Fox (but mostly to him). John took animal and plant physiology, and homeostasis and Jen took human physiology. They were really good at explaining things at the right level, although to be fair they did get a lot more time than the others.

Prof Alex Adrianopolous

He took the genetics module. He was that lecturer that you probably would like very much as a person, but not particularly as a teacher. The main issue with this module was that we didn't get to see exam style questions being answered. Alex would often give us questions and just tell us to do them as homework without providing much guidance. Most of those questions were also so much harder than the small examples he would give us, so when it came down to practicing exam questions, the genetics ones left me feeling very deflated. I had to pretty much self-study this whole module by myself with online videos and task sheets to be able to even begin to understand what the exam questions asked.

Dr Alex Idnurm

He took the last module on challenges life faces and how evolution works, disease in both animals and plants and cancer. This was an ok module. The first half was a bit confusing and all over the place, but the disease and cancer bit was interesting.

Year & Semester of completion: 2020 Sem 1

Rating:  1 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 74

Comments: Like I said in the "Lecturers" bit, the main issue with this subject is that it tried to do too much in too little time. It's meant to be a subject for people with 0 prior experience in biology, but it did not come across like that at all. They basically used the exact same slides (the lecturers admitted it) as BIOL10009, the intermediate biology equivalent. Another big miss for me is that they made it all so....boring. Im a biochem major so I'm supposed to find this stuff interesting, but the plant physiology taught by John was more interesting to me than the biochem bit explained by Ute. They basically stripped the subject of all the interesting bits for the sake of simplification. 3rd major issue: hard to study for. So unclear what is wanted from us.

I also had the disadvantage of taking this during COVID and they transitioned online in the worst possible manner. The pracs turned into bad quality videos and 2 small quizzes per prac which had questions that seemed to have nothing in common with the prac.
They also put each of us in a dozen canvas groups and sent us a gazillion emails almost every day making us hunt for needed info like a needle in a hay stack, which made me miss 2 deadlines.
Overall this was just a headache of a subject. I just wanted to get done with it. Would it be better during a normal semester? Probably. But my advice would be to go in with low expectations.