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Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1185106 times)  Share 

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #135 on: June 29, 2013, 01:53:23 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MULT10011 Introduction to Life, Earth and Universe

Workload:  3 x one hour lectures per week, 1 x three-hour pracs for nine weeks (sometimes the pracs finished early and you might finish after, say, 2 hours)

Assessment:  Ongoing assessment of pracs (totalling 25%), two 20-minute tests during the semester (5% each), a poster (5%) and a 3-hour written examination (60%).

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, four (2009-2012)

Textbook Recommendation:  No required texts; 'Life in the Universe' by Bennett & Shostak is recommended but you'd be better off borrowing it from the library.

Lecturer(s): Rachel Webster (Physics/Astronomy), Stephen Gallagher (Geology) and Geoff McFadden (Biology)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating:  2.5 of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H2A

Comments: As an Arts student who never touched Biology or Physics at school, this subject probably wasn't an ideal one to pick. I was in it primarily for the Astronomy part, which was certainly interesting, but the pracs completely lost me. They lost much of the class too, including the second-year Science and Biomed kids who picked this as an elective.

The subject is split into three parts: Physics/Astronomy, Geology and Biology. The undercurrent of the course, which each of these disciplines address respectively, is life Ė what it is, how it began, requirements for life, the likelihood of finding life on other planets, etc.

The lecturers were fairly good Ė you'd be wise to turn up to Stephen Gallagher's lectures though, as he has quite an explicit dislike of people who don't attend lectures. That being said, he makes the lectures quite enjoyable so it isn't a chore to turn up or anything. His PowerPoint slides are quite minimal when it comes to information, but plenty of resources are provided on the LMS so it isn't too bad. Rachel Webster and Geoff McFadden's slides are more comprehensive.

The Biology part I sensed was relatively easy for those who had studied Biology previously Ė I haven't, so it was quite bit to get my head around. Again, this wasn't so much a problem with the subject itself as with my suitability for it.

I think the biggest problem with this course were the pracs Ė there were nine of them, which ran for three hours. For a breadth subject, it just wasn't worth the contact hours. The pracs weren't terribly well-organised either, and the Physics pracs were simply painful Ė though she tried, the tutor wasn't great at explaining things and what was advertised as 'simple' maths was actually barely comprehensible, at least for me.

The assessment during semester included two separate tests worth 5% (which was somewhat irritating) and a poster worth 5% (extremely irritating), as well as pracs (for the Biology and Physics pracs you completed a hand-out for assessment, whilst for the Geology pracs you completed a short multiple-choice test at the end of each prac). The 3-hour exam was worth 60%, and is definitely do-able if you've gone over past exams properly Ė they tend to repeat many of the questions every year.

Overall the subject was okay Ė though the content was mostly interesting, I just wasn't suited for it, the pracs and assessments were unpleasant, and I would only recommend it as a breadth to students who have some background in Biology and Physics. Otherwise, it's more of a pain than a breadth should be.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 11:49:17 am by Lado »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #136 on: June 29, 2013, 06:56:45 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST10011 Experimental Design and Data Analysis 
Workload:  3 x 1 hour lectures per week, 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week, 1 x 1 hour computer lab session per week following the tutorial
Assessment:  3 hour end of semester exam 80%, weekly online quizzes 10%, assignment 5%, computer test 1 2%, computer test 2 3%
Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with screen capture. However Ray tends to not show the projector screen on the lecture capture as an incentive to actually attend or reward those that do go.
Past exams available:  Three past papers with solutions were given. Revision sets in the back of Ray's reader are mostly old exams.
Textbook Recommendation:  Biostatistics for the Biological and Health Sciences by Triola & Triola. You definitely do not need this book. My heart goes out to those who did accidentally purchase it.  All you need is the reader which is about 300 pages thick from co-op. If you really don't wanna fork out the cash Ray eventually uploads all the chapter text as he's doing the course and everything is on LMS. Recommend saving your valuable time by just purchasing it.
Lecturer(s): Ray Watson
Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 1
Rating:  3.5/5
Your Mark/Grade: H1
Comments: Other than maths for biomedicine this is the other subject that cops a lot of criticism in 1st year biomedicine course. The subject really isnít that bad if you do concentrate and be attentive. I do admit that Ray has a tendency to stutter and stumble a lot and a lot of the lectures you sit there thinking what is he going on about but the most important thing is to sit down after lectures or maybe during the weekend and go through it again. Statistics is one of those things where you do need to look at it about 4 or 5 times before it becomes clear in your head. Ray does take the entire semesterís worth of lectures and I found him to be quite a nice lecturer and seems very approachable in person too. Also he tends to have his microphone volume either turned on low or itís not close enough to his mouth so maybe sitting somewhere near the front will help. Especially with a subject like this sitting at the back allowed me to zone out a lot more and I wouldnít know whatís going on by the end of the lecture. 
Topics we cover include experimental design, data analysis, probability and its applications, probability distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing, comparative inference and regression & correlation. First four topics tend to be fairly easy but this builds on to the crux of the course which is estimation, hypothesis testing and comparative inference. If you donít understand this then thereís a big chance you might fail. Regression and correlation are kind of a standalone topic much like experimental design and itís not too difficult.
I recommend trying to find Sharon Gunnís tutorials since she has the most experience in statistics and sheís very nice too. Sheíll explain things clearer than Ray most of the time. Tutorials are mainly just discussing a few problems Ray has written up and maybe doing some text problems. The computer labs usually follow right after the tutorial and these use the Minitab program. Itís to get you used to using the program since the 2 computer tests and assignment are based on analysing data and answering questions using the computer program and interpreting output. Tutorials and labs arenít compulsory. Tutorial solutions posted up on Friday afternoon every week and computer lab sessions are posted up on LMS when semester commences.
Computer tests and assignment arenít meant to be hard but usually a lot of people struggled with it so make sure you collaborate with friends. With practice exams Ray has given us about 3 of them and you can find heaps on library site with no solutions but I wouldnít recommend it. The revision sets in the back of the reader are old exams. The multiple choice of the old exams are actually put onto the weekly quizzes every Tuesday so itís good practice. For the weekly quizzes you get 3 attempts with your best mark being your final but should be an easy 10%. Try to do the problem sets of all the chapters since they are either old exam questions or similar style with numbers tweaked around etc. Hopefully by the end of the semester youíll see that this subject really is not all that difficult. Memory work is minimal since we get given all the formulas on the summary notes provided in the exam. The subject does get a bit dry but it doesnít mean that it is difficult. Although around 95% of people struggle with the subject there is no reason to since you have plenty of resources available to you. Iíll reiterate that some concepts will be difficult to grasp and it requires you to look over it several times (especially all the power curve stuff and sample size determination etc.). Subject isnít exactly enjoyable but workload isnít really stressful either. You have 3 days to complete the weekly quiz and computer assignments vary from 1-2 weeks.       
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 03:28:22 pm by kaybee94 »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #137 on: July 01, 2013, 10:08:53 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PHYC10005: Physics 1: Fundamentals

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lectures, 1 x 1hour problem solving class (both per week) , 8 x 3 hour lab sessions throughout the semester.

Assessment:  10 weekly problem solving assignments + one written assignment towards the end of semester (totals to 15%), practical work (25%), 3 hour exam (60%). You must pass the practical component to pass the subject.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, but they are slack with using the projector for handwritten solutions of problems

Past exams available:  Yes about 5 with answers. (No complete solutions, nor written explanations provided, just basic answers)

Textbook Recommendation:  R Knight, B Jones and S Field, College Physics: A Strategic Approach, 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley, 2010. I'd say it's pretty essential you get this.

Martin Sevior- mechanics
Chris Chantler- Optics

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 1

Rating:  1/5

Your Mark/Grade:  - (not even sure i'll write it here because I think it's going to be crap)

Edit: 76 (H2A) I guess the subject is scaled a lot? :l


So you've probably heard some things about physics fundamentals being the worst taught subject from a number of students, and what would I say in response to that? LISTEN TO THOSE PEOPLE. They know what they are talking about. I don't even know where to begin on ranting describing the subject, so i'll just have to split it in components.

For the most part I found mechanics to be ok in terms of grasping the basic components. However, there were certain topics e.g. Hooke's Law/ conservation of energy that they just DID NOT explain to the level required for the exam.

Optics was a massive let down. Some of the components I had learnt during my vision subject in first year and I think it just shows how a teacher/ lecturer can really influence your perception on the topics at hand. The lecturer would constantly go off tangent to the material asking questions like "So who here wants to be a vet?", "how many of you here think you're going to pass the subject?". (By the way the answer to the second question was that only half or so of the class put up their hand).

For both lecturers, they would constantly be behind in their material. Basically I had tried to self-teach my self with the textbook all semester. Lecture notes were insufficient.


My own demonstrator lacked professionalism on numerous occasions. He would often swear if students did not read the prac manual before the prac began. Of course it is good to read the prac but towards the end of the exam period we do have other priorities. The pracs were ordered horribly and we would often be doing the prac before it was "covered" in the lecture, as a consequence we lost marks.


For me personally not helpful. We never managed to get through more than half of the tutorial questions and some of the questions were just utterly hopeless such as "describe how nasa was able to land their spacecraft safely" etc. etc. (or something along those lines). For the most part it's important to be familar with the questions because ones similar will appear on the exam. Probably best to attend as many tutorials as possible for the fact that apparently they will consider your attendance if you score say 49% and then bump up your mark to a pass. The tutorials made me more confused than I was before attending them.

The exam

I went absolutely terrible in the exam due to studying the wrong concepts. Often you can sort of predict the main topics but it just seemed everything I didn't study adequately appeared such as the human ear, phase shifts etc. I can honestly say though that a lot of the material on there was NOT directly related to lectures e.g. the torque questions/ phase shift questions were significantly harder.

Edit: It's common sense but make sure to include your working for all the questions even if you aren't sure if it's correct!!

The weekly assignments
I'll just redirect you to nubs' post RE the written assignments.

All in all I tried my best for the subject and by the end of it my folder for the subject was massive. The worst part of it all was that the content itself wasn't that bad it's just that the staff did not give it justice. Basically I wouldn't consider the subject unless it's a prerequisite for your future studies (and no that does not include the gamsat, i believe you will be far better off to study it from scratch and not take the subject so that it does not have to contribute to your GPA). I felt as if the subject had a lot of disorder to it e.g. we never even got our mark back for the written assignment at the end of the semester. Think hard before taking this subject, I know I should have.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 12:54:16 pm by El2012 »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #138 on: July 02, 2013, 07:05:25 pm »
Subject Code/Name: UNIB20007 Genetics Health and Society

Workload:  2 x 1 hour lectures a week, 1 x 1 hour tutorial (starts in week 5).

Assessment:  3 x in-semester online tests (MC): 5%, 10% and 10% respectively. 1 x group assignment - construct a Wiki based on a book/movie and present it in a tutorial: 15%. 1 x exam: 60%.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  None, but they provided you with sample questions. The quizzes and tutorial sheets could also be used as revision. It's not really about doing 100 questions for revision, it's just about how well you can construct a response that will address the issue at hand (more on this later).

Textbook Recommendation:  None prescribed.

Lecturer(s): Have many lecturers/speakers for this subject, itís a collaboration of lecturers from different departments giving talks on their take on genetics health and society.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013.

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: As with any subject where there are many lecturers from different departments giving lectures, it will be a subject that many students may feel like there is no direction or cohesion. But on reflection, itís held together and integrated really nicely. Perhaps you will not realise this until later in the year because youíre too busy studying for BIOM20001.

The lecturers are practically all great communicators and are of high status in the community. As many students discovered, as they were spending time during the lectures Googling the lecturer, you are essentially being lectured by super pros in the field. World renowned, often in the media. Fundamental researchers to what we understand today. The big guns.

Starting off with the first few weeks, itís all about nature and nurture. The fundamental biological concepts are introduced, and reproduction is explored. Ideologies are uncovered about what we view the world today in terms of nature and nurture. Twin studies, GWAS and epigenetics were touched on. Remember, this subject isnít all about the details, it emphasises on the concepts. I found this was introduced really well, and the questions that were on the first test corresponding to it was at a level that a large amount of people got H1 on, as once again, it was mainly fundamental details.

The second slot was about personalised medicine, economics, clinical and non-clinical uses of genetic testing. Also, thinking in general about genetic testing with regard to ethics, morals and psychology were undertaken. The test was once again fundamental concepts. Probably on par with the first test in terms of friendliness. Once again, brilliantly taught.

By now, many people have locked in 15% plus minus 1-2%. Then, the course gets fired up to differentiate people.

The final slot was about genetics and the law, paternity fraud, race, visible differences and art/blogging. Once again, good diversity. Many found the law lectures enjoyable. The test for this is quite hard, because it starts to get more specific and the questions more ambiguous. So bulk up is what I am saying.

The tutorials as already mentioned start in week 5; the tutor I had was fantastic. You go through a bunch (4-6 usually) of discussion questions which is often based off a reading or readings that you were provided with earlier and were expected to have read. Because there are relatively few tutorials in total, you cannot afford to miss many.

The Wiki assignment was quite dependent on all members, as most of the time you will all get the same mark (unless someone does no work or a very disproportionate amount of work where they may be separately penalised). There was no guideline as to how much information you could put into it if I am not mistaken. If the group holds together, an H1 should be attainable. There is somewhat an emphasis on creativity.

Alright, by this time I have been relatively positive, with how the lectures, tutorials and overall the subject is great. Let me add to that the pace was just right for me. But there must be things that the subject could change right?
1.   There was easily an emphasis on some lectures (or even portions of lectures) more than others in the testing/examination. You could have studied some lectures that you believed they emphasised on in detail and none of the others and probably do better than the person that did everything but in a bit less detail. Whilst this perhaps is very hard not to do, perhaps some lectures still should have had at least a somewhat more significant contribution to the questions than almost nothing or maybe nothing itself, given that there are relatively few lectures as well (22 direct content lectures, one introduction to the subject, one ties it all up).
2.   Whilst there was nothing significantly wrong with the actual Wiki project itself, the Wiki system that is set for some reason appears to have had many issues, and hence many emails were sent. The mark we got back didnít have any feedback, nor the scores we obtained for each of the criteria.

Overall, if youíre mildly interested in genetics, youíd find this subject interesting. I know I did. It was just an introduction but to get the viewpoints from the many lecturers opened up a new world away from textbook based questions. It was more applicable to real life coming in from all directions. But if youíre the type that prefers more definite answers, or more specific details, or perhaps even want a subject where you know more for sure where it is going and what is expected of you, then maybe this subject isnít for you. You will get tested in the exam with many open ended questions, asking things that may not be clear to you. Just imagine something like*:

Someone just found out their niece had a disease x, what do you think they will make of this? What should they recommend to the niece? What can be done? Etc.
Hard to split students? Perhaps. Do they need to split students? Probably. Just hope for the best in how you'll end up being split.

Please note that this was not a question they actually gave, but is somewhat similar in style. I am not allowed to specify the actual questions because the paper is not lodged in the Baillieu.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 02:12:44 pm by golden »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #139 on: July 02, 2013, 07:32:16 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST20029 Engineering Mathematics

Workload:  3x1 hour lectures, 1 hour tutorial per week.

Assessment:  3 x 5% assignment, 15% mid-semester test, 70% final exam

Lectopia Enabled:  No

Past exams available:  Yes, ~8 from the library if I remember.

Textbook Recommendation:  Don't need to buy any books, just the lecture notes

Lecturer(s): Assoc Prof Marcus Brazil, Dr Christine Mangelsdorf

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating:  3.5-4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 92 [H1]

Comments: As an engineering major, this should be your last required mathematics subject in your Bachelor's course. If you're doing Electrical Engineering, you'll need to take "Probability and Random Models [PaRM]" in fourth year, but that's another issue. The problem with this subject (and why I've given a mathematics subject at 3.5 instead of a 5) is because it's approach is very formulaic and their isn't much creativity with the content. Basically, my friends and I agree that once you've done one problem, you should be able to do all of the same type, given you have the formula sheet and what not. Coming from Calculus 2 and Linear Algebra, this was a little disappointing, which is why I stopped going to lectures around week 2 and just learnt from completely notes on my laptop (queue socially awkward penguin meme right now).

In the first lecture, the lecturer basically said that your Calculus 2 mark has a large correlation to the way you will perform in MAST20029. This is because ALL of the knowledge from Calculus 2 is extended, so if you, and I quote "just passed Calculus 2, you'll have to put in a lot more work that those who achieved a H1". Another issue with this subject, and why I like the Monash approach to this mathematics subject is that all engineering discipline undertake this course. That means that some mathematics that is more required in Elec Eng, such as complex analysis and fourier transforms, are taught to Civil students who, to the best of my knowledge, would have little use of those techniques. Splitting this class into Mech, Civil, Chem and Elec, Comp, Biomed would be a little better in my opinion, but that's another topic of discussion.

In this course, you'll cover 6 topics:
- Vector Calculus (extension from Calc 2)
- Ordinary Differential Equations (extension from Calc 2)
- Laplace Transforms (new topic)
- Sequences and Series (new topic for those who completed Calc 2 pre-2013)
- Fourier Transforms (new topic)
- Second Order Partial Differential Equations (new topic)

The topic I found people had the most issue was PDEs and Fourier Transforms, both of which are towards the end of the semester. PDEs had around 4 lectures on them, and it was worth 20/120 marks on the exam. Da fuq? All in all, it was an ok subject, however it got very formulaic very quickly and lacked some of the creativity that was found in first year mathematic subjects. 
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #140 on: July 02, 2013, 09:07:50 pm »
Subject Code/Name: SPAN10001 Spanish 1 

Workload:  2 x 1.5 hour tutorial per week, 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week

    2 written assignments (600 words each) during semester [30%](15% each)
    Oral presentation (equivalent to 400 words) during semester [10%]
    Online work (equivalent to 400 words) during semester [10%]
    1 Oral exam (equivalent to 800 words) in week 11 [20%]
    2-hour final written exam (equivalent to 1200 words)during exam period [30%]

Past exams available:  No, though the exams are modelled on the assignments

Textbook Recommendation:  Exploraciones (Blitt/Casas). You do need to buy this textbook new. Part of the assessment predicates itself on having access to the online form of the book!

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, semester 1

Rating:  4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (94)

Comments: Overall, this was a pretty fun subject. The most attractive element of it was the class dynamics. There was a really strong sense of belonging to a class, which is a nice departure from the way science subjects are run if you choose to take this subject as breadth.

Studying Spanish at University level is certainly very different to high school languages. The content was covered much, much more quickly and there wasn't as much time for revising the content. Strictly speaking, there wasn't actually time for revision, rather, skills previously learned were revised in the context of a new skill. This was a particularly refreshing way of doing things, as it allowed the content to be covered quickly and thoroughly.

The assessment was fairly basic. Almost all of it allowed you to use your textbook, save for the exams of course. The online activities were easy, with answers provided so you can put them in on your second attempt anyway (they were mainly there as a home revision exerciseóa useful one too!). The tareas (assignments) were somewhat more challenging, though with the textbook at hand it was relatively easy to attain a good mark. The oral presentation was in English, and so was just a matter of actually getting it done properly. The oral exam and the exam posed the biggest challenge. The oral exam consisted of a role play, an interview component and a description of an artwork. This certainly posed a challenge to most students, though the tutors were quite fair in their marking. As mine remarked "you have only been learning Spanish for ten weeks, we don't expect you to have all that much to say". The exam was exactly like the tareas, but posed quite a challenge because a dictionary wasn't available to students taking the exam. It would be fair to say that it was probably everybody's weakest piece of assessment.

For students who hadn't studied a language before (probably about 50% of everyone), some of the grammar topics were ridiculously complicated. The biggest criticism I have for this subject is how some of the grammar was approached. Everything was explained very technically, with no pauses to explain what any of the terms meant. Even after having taken French to year twelve, I found it really difficult to follow what the tutors were talking about at times in terms of the grammar, as their explanations were very jargonistic. This put a lot of people off-side, including myself at times, and made things necessarily complicated. Another criticism I would have is that the tutors didn't seem particularly interested in developing the lower band, or the middle band of students. They were particularly focused on making the best students better. This certainly turned a lot of people off the subject, and in an area of study that can be made a lot easier with a bit of confidence, this complicated things a lot for some students. The fact that there were 20 classes for Spanish 1 in 2013, but will only be 14 for Spanish 2 does say something!

At the end of the day, Spanish is relatively straight forward. If you want good marks, you have to be committed to the subject but more importantly, committed to learning a language. There is certainly a feeling that learning the language was more important than doing well on exams, which was particularly refreshing! The class size and camaraderie was a highlight, but at certain times, the way things were taught invited justified frustration.

All in all, a good subject, so give it a go!

°Adiůs!  :)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 08:11:16 pm by t-rav »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #141 on: July 03, 2013, 12:42:34 am »
Subject Code/Name: ACCT10001 Accounting Reports and Analysis

Workload:  2hr lecture a week

Assessment:  Group assignment worth 20%, Tute/weekly online tests 10%, Exam 70%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with screen capture

Past exams available:  One sample exam from the summer of 2012, but I'd expect more for the future exams.

Textbook Recommendation:
Accounting: Business Reporting for Decision Making, 4th Edition by Birt et al, 2012.
Recommended for new accounting students, not recommended for VCE accounting students.

Lecturer(s): Hoggan, Dyki, Davern

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, S1

Rating:  2/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


I know Matt Dyki actually browses these boards, so my opinion will be as honest as possible if it is actually used as feedback for improving the current course.

First and foremost, ARA is a very taxing and demanding subject for non-commerce students. This is due to the fact that so much 'assumed' knowledge is required, especially during the first few weeks of financial accounting. Davern and Dyki star as the lecturers for the first weeks of financial accounting, and introduce income statements, balance sheets etc in the matter of weeks. Fundamentally speaking, there needs to be LESS coverage (less topics) but MORE precision (that creates solid understanding) in the consistency of teaching in each of the subjects.

How do you get a H1 in ARA? Don't do the readings, spend your time revising select questions from tutorials, and base your learning of lecture slides. Don't waste your time doing the sample exams. Don't waste your time by taking the weekly quiz seriously (it's worth so little). The rest comes down to luck. Some tutors mark incredibly harshly, where some mark a lot more fairly. Keep in mind that they are in charge for practically 100% of the entire course (assignment is tutor marked, exam is MOSTLY tutor marked, as dyki and hoggan mark 'harder' parts of the exam), so you can definitely bet that luck comes into play, and could cause anywhere from a 5% to ~10% swing in your overall mark.

Lectures were okay, despite the amount of heads I saw nodding off or leaving in the middle of lectures. Hoggan tries to be more engaging, which is commendable due to the dry content associated with management accounting and Dyki, despite looking pissed off the majority of the time, conveys the course material effectively.

Tutorials for this subject are an absolute godsend in comparison to other resources in the subject. The majority of 'learning' and 'applying' will apply in tutorials. The tutor mix for 2013 is exceptional, with most of my mates commending their tutors (one of them noted on a group's assignment "i'm !!!!" in response to its group name: "zyzz"). However, I believe a pinksheet/blue sheet system should replace the current online test system. Weekly online multiple choice tests for this subject were pointless. Not only were they a poor way to enforce understanding (as students could easily cheat their way through with answers for their peers), but the sheer lack of direction in question setting was striking. Lazy assessment, really. Either completely cut the wiley test mark (10%), or introduce two smaller assignments to pinpoint subject areas.

Although I undertook VCE accounting back in 2012, I found ARA to be more time-consuming than VCE accounting, to my surprise. The amount of pointless readings (the textbook acted as a nice haven for me to sleep on) was enormous, and towards the end of the semester, I entirely quit readings and just worked off the lecture slides at my own whim. I strongly suggest future students to only refer to the textbook when in dire need of understanding a concept, as there is a lot of 'filler' material that really should've been pinpointed by the lecturers. The reading guide practically wants you to read the majority of the textbook which is rather unproductive, considering the dry nature of readings.

The problem with such an approach is that an incredible amount of jargon is thrown at students, terms such as: reserves, retained earnings, creditors, debtors, owner's equity which require a very focused effort in order to truly understand each part of each report, in a minimal time frame. When lecturers are asked about a slightly raw concept, students are told to look at the textbook. This is poor teaching, and I realize that Dyki and company want to achieve 'many things in such a short time', but condensing the course into 'bite-sized' sections and LESS actual content, will not only solidify a firm foundation for students, but cut down on subjectivity and discrepancies in marking. Cut out performance evaluation (financial) and perhaps performance reporting (management) and you have yourselves not only a much more concise course, but a more consistent and objective marking scheme to work with.

One of the parts that I heavily disliked about ARA was the enormous focus on judgment/agency theory. This is due to the extreme amount of subjectivity in responses and answers that is exposed in an exam situation for this topic. Despite the fact that Dyki continues to labour on the fact that 'numbers mean nothing', while screaming 'I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU GET' in lectures, and that 'there is no right or wrong answer in accounting', in an exam situation, this spells disaster. I'm sure that if Dyki was reading this, he would see that the answers for Q1 (Agency) for the latest 2013 S1 exam would've be statistically disappointing.

This brings me to what I believe was the worst part of ARA.

The assignment is an absolute joke. Ratio calculation that involves plugging numbers into formulas repetitively? Analysis that is incredibly subjective in nature, that cannot be effectively graded or marked? This may sound like I'm bitching simply because of a poor mark in the assignment, but the fact that SO MANY students complaining about a desired remarking of the assignment that even prompted Dyki to write a full-blown response on the LMS is enough evidence to suggest a scrapping of such an assignment. You simply cannot accurately 'grade' performance evaluation. You said so yourself Dyki, 'there is no right or wrong answer' in accounting, yet select groups were unfairly rewarded with sub-par marks in comparison to less-spectacular groups. I don't care if the average mark was 100/150, everyone should be getting close to full marks if you truly desire students to possess 'complete understanding' of a topic, which frankly speaking, is impossible to grade.

I know a lot of the above may seem like I'm bitching about marks lost and such, but do keep in mind that I (thankfully) scored quite well in ARA. Hope I've provided a honest insight that I'm sure is shared by many of the past students of ARA.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 01:14:19 am by qqla »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #142 on: July 03, 2013, 01:48:56 pm »
BIOL10004: Biology of Cells and Organisms: BIOL10004 Biology of Cells and Organisms

Workload:  35 lectures, 5 practicals (and one additional introductory prac), 5 ILTs and 6 optional workshops. This adds up to about 60 hours of course delivery time.

Assessment:  I'll outline each component of assessment in a little more depth below.

ILTs: A very easily obtained 5% buffer to add to your final mark. You read through all the information the ILT presents and then take a final test on the content. To the best of my knowledge, the ILTs are examinable (but make up a very minor component of the exam), so it might be a good idea to read back over them and try to internalise their key points. The test can be done with the ILT readings/activities open in a separate tab, so you can score well on these (not that it matters, you get the 1% for passing each ILT) simply by looking back at the material covered by each task.

Pracs: Worth a substantial 25% of the final subject mark, it is in your best interests to try and do well in these! The pracs in 2013 involved an introductory (no marks awarded, but sadly this was a hurdle requirement) microscope use prac. It only goes for one hour and is incredibly simple to do well in. You should be made to take an online prelab for this prac; use it to become acquainted with the style of online testing the Biology department uses. The ASSESSED pracs included one on cell structure, one on photosynthesis and leaf structure (isobilateral and dorsiventral leaves are important for some reason, so make sure to not mix them up on the post-prac), water movement in plants (which forms the basis of the 10% assignment), heart and lung structure and function and the analysis of a mouse's digestive system. Please note that first year Biology will allow alternative provisions to be made for those who conscientiously object to dissecting animal remains, though I am unaware of exactly how the department compromises.
Pracs are, on the whole, very slow in pace and often quite dull, though I enjoyed the first, fourth and fifth pracs well enough. Make sure to complete the assessable portion of the prac first; there are always a number of activities set for each prac block and there's never enough time to finish all of them, but as most of them are non-assessable you should be fine ignoring them (though they may come up on the postprac if you're unlucky, you can always read through the prac notes and reason your way through any relevant questions). Prac demonstrators can be kind or harsh with their marking, but if you show that you know your stuff (and listen to what they say in the pre-lab tutorial!) then you probably won't be penalised much. Also, MAKE SURE TO COMPLETE THE PRE- AND POST-PRAC TESTS! Together, they account for 50% of each prac mark, or about 3% of your subject mark, which is -substantial-. The password for the post-prac will be given at the beginning of each practical. If you miss a prac, do NOT get the password for the post-prac off another student and do it to scrounge some marks, as the Biology department is very likely to get mad at you.
Overall, pracs are a rather annoying but fairly easy way to gain marks for these subjects, if you're careful with the post-prac questions and read the prac notes before the prac (something I occasionally failed to do, to my own detriment).

What a load of shit. Worth 10% of your final grade, this is the reason the subject gets 4.5/5; it's dreadfully designed, incredibly harshly marked (and inconsistently too, depending on your tutor), and far too short even for people attempting to be concise. The department have stated they won't be changing the assignment because it gives them such a nice grade distribution, and the staff are too nice to get angry at, so you're stuck with this annoying thing whether you like it or not. Be INCREDIBLY pedantic with your referencing, make sure your spellcheck doesn't change potometer to pedometer (and other similar errors), USE a reference in your introduction even if you don't need to read anything to present the information. Use italics for the name of the plant, say "leafy shoots" and not "leaves", subscript for the 2 in CO2, that kind of thing. If you don't, you will lose marks, and it adds up! I still managed to scrounge 8.25/10, but this assignment ruined many people who thought they'd done fantastically. BE AS ANAL AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY BE, and you might find that you're reasonably successful.

Mid-Semester Test
This test covers all of Rick and most of Andrew's lectures, with the unfortunate side-effect of having fewer easy cell biology questions to answer on the final exam. If you study and complete the provided sample MST, you should be fine. I did a fairly modest amount of study for this and still managed to get a 22/25 (the average was 17 or 18, which is quite high!). Don't exhaust yourself studying for this, but at the same time do make the time to go over all the past lectures, lecture summaries and your own notes. This is a fairly easy way of obtaining 8-10% of your final mark.

I really do have to commend the Biology department for their production of such a fair and rewarding final exam. I'd made a few minor blunders over the semester, and this exam really helped me make up for those (I got about 95% on the exam, and I suspect my dodgy extended response answers were to blame for most of that lost 5%). There are FOUR sections on the exam. Section A is comprised of a number of multiple choice questions which total to give 60/180 marks on the exam. For the most part, if you've studied adequately, these won't be too hard, but may occasionally require you to think about a given problem. There were a few tough ones there to differentiate the students that really paid attention and those who were kind of winging it using their VCE Biology knowledge, so don't get complacent. These are not free marks, and I'd say Section B was far easier to complete.
Sections B and C are both "fill in the blanks" sections, where you pick a number corresponding to a specific word option and fill in the gaps to complete biologically focused sentences and paragraphs, or to accurately label a diagram. Sections B and C can cover pretty much any concept, so be prepared, but there are usually only a few sensible options to choose from for each blank, if it's not completely obvious, so there's lots of room for educated guessing. Mark Elgar's B and C questions are weird in the sense that he prefers to have you form grammatically tidy sentences rather than fill in scientific terms, and Geoff Shaw evidently LOVES sex, but other than that, a very fair component of the exam, and also very heavily weighted. Again, if you studied well, you'll be A-OK (though one or two of the answers may be difficult to get, the VAST majority are quite mainstream in terms of content and shouldn't push you too hard). Section D is the big gamble, but thankfully is only worth 16%. You get NO QUESTION CHOICE, so don't be fooled by the sample exam like much of the cohort (who clearly didn't read the front page :V). They can ask anything they like over these three questions and you need to be able to answer their questions in a logical and coherent manner. There's no way 2013's content will be the same as 2014's, so I won't go into the questions themselves, but PLEASE think about how to clearly write out your answers and make sure you can apply some basic practical skills (there was a prac-style question in the ER worth 10 marks). One thing I will say again; Geoff Shaw LOVES sex. Never before have I written the words "penis", "vagina" and "period" on an exam together, let alone labelled and/or drawn four diagrams of reproductive tracts and systems.
In terms of who sets the fairest questions, Rick's section will make you happy if you put some time into learning his things during the semester, and Andrew's parts were all very fair (though not as easy as Rick's, there wasn't anything to fault and a wide range of topics were examined). Geoff's questions covered a lot of the nitty-gritty details that you wouldn't think would crop up, but they did (alongside many very simple questions, I should add) and so I'd say his exam questions were the most challenging for students. Stephen's were quite easy, though he did try to cause some headaches with less clear-cut questions in Sections B and C. Mark Elgar's questions are very strange, and you will need a decent grasp of English grammar to successfully complete his Section B/C questions, whether or not you remember his examples. On that note, DO learn all his examples, because you WILL need to know them. However, his questions were really very simple if you knew what you were doing.
Really, a very fair exam with few faults or gripes, and I think it did a great job of assessing who knew their shit and who had no clue what was going on.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, but occasionally Geoff Shaw forgot to properly set up the recordings. His lectures are better for voice-based note-taking anyway, so it shouldn't be a problem. That said, I strongly encourage you to go to the lectures as well as watch them/listen to them again on Lectopia.

Past exams available:  One sample exam. The difficulty is similar to that of the actual exam, and the style of questions each lecturer uses is also quite similar. There was one (maybe?) recycled multiple choice question I noticed on the exam itself, worth 2 marks, so don't expect to blitz the exam because you did the sample exam - STUDY THE CONTENT THOROUGHLY and you will mow down the exam. If you don't revise all the lecture content and rely on having done well on practice tests and online assessments the exam will mow you down instead.

Textbook Recommendation:  R B Knox, P Y Ladiges, B K Evans and R Saint, Biology, An Australian Focus 4th Ed, McGraw-Hill, 2009.
The textbook is useful, but don't do what I did and attempt to answer questions from it (if you must, draw the line at short answer) because it'll only make you confused and feel like you don't know any of the content. Probably worth a buy if you're continuing with biology in first year, and especially if you're planning on taking BIOL10001 in the subsequent semester.
The Biology department also publishes a loose leaf subject manual that you MUST buy, new, from the university's Co-op store; all practical assessment is completed and marked (!) in this book, and it contains a plethora of useful worksheets, tutorial sheets and other such things if you feel like completing them (hardly necessary but probably useful!) Binding it is a good idea to avoid it becoming crumpled up paper mess.

Lecturer(s): I'll discuss the lecturers individually below.

Rick Wetherby - Life's Origins and Cell Biology
Friendly lecturer, very clear and well-paced with fairly comprehensive notes and useful lecture summaries (provided on LMS). His voice is fantastic. At the end of his teaching stint he'll email you a list of things to revise for the MST and exam. He seems to love the phrase "no trick questions!". VERY keen on endosymbiosis.

Andrew Drinnan - Respiration, Photosynthesis and Plant Science
Perhaps not favoured by students as people tend to dislike or be averse to plant science, but I quite liked him. To get everything out of his lectures, I strongly suggest going home and listening to what he's saying, then taking notes based on that. He moves a little too fast to write down everything important, but rest assured most of what he says IS important. Fairly interesting, his content was interesting as well, save for respiration (don't kill me, I LIKED plant science). Strangely obsessed with marijuana.

Geoff Shaw - Circulatory and Respiratory Systems, Homeostasis, Reproduction and Animal Development
Sex-obsessed old man who really lights up your day. I doubt I'll forget him in a hurry! Covers perhaps some of the trickiest concepts of the course, and also says many important things that aren't covered by his slides. A joy to listen to; I'm sure you'll get a few laughs out of his course segment even if you find the content dull or challenging.

Stephen Frankenberg - Animals and Their Interactions With Their Environments
Rather slow voice, but this is made up for with fantastic pictures and videos. You can tell Stephen is enthusiastic about the course, but he's a little too socially awkward to bring his enthusiasm out. What he covers is fairly simple if you pay attention in lectures. Don't miss anything - the concepts he covers are easier to understand if you have the whole picture. Strangely endearing man who looks nothing like his lecture slide photograph.

Mark Elgar - Evolutionary Mechanisms, Ecology and Animal Behaviour
Fairly pretentious and stuffy, and maybe a little slow with content delivery, he seemed to be most peoples' least favourite lecturer, but even he wasn't terrible, more mediocre and too preoccupied with his research colleagues. He'll tell you he dislikes assessing specifics, but all his specific examples are assessable and will be assessed, so please learn them! What he teaches is very simple and will likely be a welcome break to an intense semester. He really loves lions (and his colleague Melissa ;) ).

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, Semester One.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (91)

Comments: BIOL10004 was a fantastically well-rounded introduction to, well, the biology of cells and organisms! It covers a wide range of topics concisely and quickly, but in enough depth to give you an appreciation of how organisms function and exist on our planet. If you did VCE Biology and REMEMBER the content (I didn't remember a single thing, so this subject was like learning biology from scratch all over again), most of this subject should be fairly easy to study for, despite the different methods of content delivery. Lecturers were, on the whole, great and good at teaching their content (though Mark is a little pretentious and Stephen a little dry-sounding) and the tutors and demonstrators tried to turn each prac and workshop into something interesting. The course was easy to study for, easy to take notes for, and not terribly boring, either. Workshops are definitely not compulsory, and if you find yourself bored to death, don't go - I went to two, and while those two helped, I was totally fine without them. Pracs can be boring but might be interesting or enjoyable depending on your prac group. I actually made a few friends through pracs, so if you're feeling lonely, try being outgoing during the prac classes and see where it gets you! The staff also seem to care about students despite the incredibly large number of jaffies enrolled in the subject, which does make you feel a little bit more welcome at uni. I don't really know what else to say other than that this subject will reward you academically and personally if you put in the hours, and that if you enjoyed biology in highschool then there's nothing to regret about choosing BIOL10004! If you've never taken biology before or don't remember anything/much from highschool, expect this to be quite content-heavy, but not particularly challenging. Good luck!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 03:56:43 pm by LeviLamp »
VCE: Chemistry | Biology (2011) | English (2011) | Environmental Science | Mathematical Methods CAS

2013-2015: BSc [Zoology] @ UoM | DLang [German - DISCONTINUED]
2016: GDSc [Botany] @ UoM
2017-2018: MSc [Biosciences - Zoology] @ UoM

Summer: BOTA30006

S1: BOTA20001 | EVSC20004 | BOTA30003 | BIOL90001

S2: GEOG20009 | BOTA30002 | BOTA30005 | EVSC20003 | NRMT90002

Subject and major reviews incoming :)


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #143 on: July 03, 2013, 10:20:11 pm »
Subject Code/Name: FNCE10001 Finance 1 

Workload:  2 x 1-hour lectures and a 1-hour tutorial per week

Assessment:  Assignments not exceeding 2000 words (20%) and a 2-hour end-of-semester examination (80%).

Lectopia Enabled:  No (Although might change in the future)

Past exams available:  Many past exams available on the library's website although only one exam's solution is given near exam time.

Textbook Recommendation: Handbook says otherwise, but it is a custom textbook made by the University that is a combination of multiple textbooks. (Don't need it, Lecture notes and Internet are sufficient)

Lecturer(s): Don't know as I never went to a lecture.

Year & Semester of completion:  2013, Semester 1
Rating:  4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (87)

Comments: Well if your an Engineering/Science student looking for a mathsy breadth that eats up hardly any time then this is the one for you. The exam is structured so that roughly half of the marks are for calculation questions and half are theory - so thats 50% "in-the-bag" for competent maths students.

 The other 50% is quite accessible if you pretty much go through the lecture notes week by week, googling any definitions/concepts that you don't understand (the lecture notes are pretty brief-although they might've been expanded upon in the lectures). So if you're not comfortable doing independent study and research then it would probably be better to go to the lectures and tutes.

The tutorial questions and solutions are posted on the LMS so I was able miss every tutorial (I didn't want to look like a fool in front of all the commerce kids). This allowed me to pretty much do all of the tutorial sheets during exam period and check where I went wrong in calculation questions. They also provided comprehensive answers to common theory questions that come up in exams, so I suggest understanding *cough*memorising*cough* most of them.

The 2 assignments are due around mid April and mid May and they are available on the LMS so you have a while to complete them. They don't require much of the actual content to complete, just independent research and knowing how to reference properly-although beware: they will be more lenient for referencing in the first assignment than the second (I'm saying this because I referenced the same way for both assignments although only lost marks for the second one) so better take some time to learn it.
So over all a very good breadth subject (or non-breadth if your in commerce) would have given it a 5/5 if it was recorded. The content starts off a bit dry and confusing with "introductions" to things like Financial Institutions and Financial Markets but it gets more interesting when you reach things like Bonds, Foreign Exchange Markets and Shares.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 10:50:21 pm by vcestudent94 »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #144 on: July 04, 2013, 12:15:21 am »
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10004 Biology of Cells and Organisms

- 3 one hour lectures per week,
- 5 two hour practicals
- 1 one hour tutorial or workshop per week (not compulsory)
- 5 prelabs, 5 postlabs and 5 ILTs, supposedly 36 hours worth (in reality much less)

- Mid-Semester Test (10%); 45 minute, multiple choice
- 5 Practical Task (25% total); each practical worth 5%, a mark out of 10 is given, 1 possible mark for getting 50% on a prepractical, 4 possible        marks for for 4 questions in a post-practical exam and a mark out of 5 given for work you do within the practical (you can figure exactly what gets you 5 marks from the practical workbook)
- Written Report Relating to one of the Practicals (10%); maximum 1000 words, detailed criteria is given
- Independent Learning Tasks ILTs (5%); 5 online tests on the LMS without time pressure worth 1% each, getting 50% on a test gets you that 1%, if you get less than 50% you get another try
- End of Semester Exam (50%); 3 hours, covers everything top to bottom although borad, exam consisted of 40 multiple choice questions, filling in the blank questions, and three 10 mark extended responses making up a total of 180 marks; almost no practical is assessed in the exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  One Exam Provided on LMS Before SWOTVAC, they attribute providing only one exam to content changing every year (I don't buy it).

Textbook Recommendation:  Prescribed text is 'R B Knox, P Y Ladiges, B K Evans and R Saint, Biology, An Australian Focus 4th Ed, McGraw-Hill, 2009'. It really isn't necessary, there is enough supplementary information on the web. However a practical booklet has to be purchased from the co-op book shop.

Lecturer(s): Rick Wetherbee, Andrew Drinnan, Geoff Shaw, Stephen Frankenberg, Mark Elgar

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5 of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (87)


Recommendations (this are just things that worked for me)
1) Download every single lecture onto you computer from lectopia if possible and watch each lecture more than once. If you don't feel like going to a lecture thats completely fine, happens to everyone, just make sure you watch the lectopia version.
2) Place little significane on the notes given by the lecturer as it is way to general, make you own notes mainly from watching repeats of the lecture. Dont use a computer (preferably not ipad either) to take notes, its bad for recall.
3) For some (or most) of the stuff you just have to sit down (or pace if you are like me) and repeat and repeat until its memorised. This is be done to some capacity near exam time.
4) If you dont understand a concept try kahnacademy.org first then the textbook, especially for anything to do with respiration and photosynthesis.
5) Tutorials/ workshops are a waste of time, they sometimes even star giving additional material that will never be examined. The questions done are from the practical/ tutorial booklet which you can just do at home. There is also a really bad staff to student ratio for this subject. Time is better spent doing your own notes and revising or sleeping.
6) Me and a LOT of other people tend to forget about prelabs, postlabs and ILTs, not just for biology, but for chemistry, physics etc aswell. So I recommend making a checklist that you fill in every week, so there is no way you miss them.

First 8 lectures were done be Rick Wetherbee and covered basic cellular biology, specifically prokaryotic/ eukaryotic cells, mitosis/ meiosis, macromolecules (i.e. lipids etc.). Rick's lectures almost exclusive featured in the mid semester exams, which consisted of 25 multiple choice questions. So really knowing the 3 most important points from each lecture was enough to get anybody full marks. Almost everyone found this surprisingly easy, I think average was around 75%. Rick's lecture content and delivery are as good as its going to get in biology.

The next 9 lectures were done by Andrew Drinan and covered a bit of cellular biology, but mostly plant biology. This included, respiration, photosynthesis, plant nutrition, water and solute use/ xylem and phloem, plant hormones, plant reproduction, plant defence and plant growth and development. These series of lectures was the most content heavy and focused mostly on relatively arbitrary memorizations, in other words lack of conceptual flow. The content was also quite tedious. Attendance fell of dramatically over the course of his lectures (not because of Andrew but rather the content).

The next 7 lectures were done by Geoff Shaw and covered some basic animal and human physiology, including cardiovascular system, pulmonary system, homeostasis, nervous system, endocrine system and his specialty the reproductive system. Geoff tried to take a different approach to lecturing, he moved (ran) about the lecture theatre trying to get the audience involved - asking questions etc. Some people really liked him, but personally I felt it was a bit too distracting. His ability to explain concepts was lacking and some stuff he went over too fast. This section by far had the most interesting concept, but the delivery wasn't great.

The next 5 lectures were done by Stephen Frankenberg and was a continuation from Geoff's animal physiology lectures.The digestive system, nutrition, regulation of bodily fluids (including excretory system), thermal regulation and defences were covered by Steven. Steven exemplified the monotone standing in one place and reading from the slide technique of lecturing and frankly he was my favourite lecturer. The way he presented the material resonated with me and absorption was relatively easy. He presented the material in a logical manner and it is an established fact that if new material is introduced in a logical manner their is greater probability to recall.

The last 6 lectures were presented by Mark Elgar. He covered the topic of evolution in his first three lectures and animal behaviour in the next three. The content I though was very interesting, especially the platera of examples/ case studies he gave. His style of lecturing was pretty solid. However his voice was sort of annoying and he seems to be a angry man (best not to have conversations during his lectures). Mark's section was not extensively examined in the final examination, in fact I did not attend or watch his last two lectures (not recommending this).

Practical and Written Report
The problem with any practical for any subject is the people marking it. People will get slightly different marks depending on the marker. For the postprac test which is almost half the marks make sure you listen to the instructor when they are speaking as some answers are given from their talks. I missed some marks from not listening. For the report following the criteria to the letter (like its a piece of legislation and you are a lawyer) and you will get a damm near perfect mark or the report.

The Midsemester Test and Final Exam
The midsemester test is relatively easy and going to each lecture and being active for the duration of the lecture is enough to get a person close to full marks if not full marks. Even if you don't know one of the answers its pretty easy to guess. However, succes in the MST is by no stretch of imagination guaranteed success for the final exam. The final exam starts with 20 one mark multiple choice following by 20 two mark multiple choice. Then it goes through a series of about around 10 passages each on a different topic consisting of fill in the blank type question. The last section is somewhat of a extended response as mentioned previously. The entire exam does cover almost everything, so you really have to know everything to get yourself a good score. However the extended response section can only have so many topics - as the topic has to be major and from at least two different lectures. It will also likely test concept rather than memory (i.e. transpiration-cohesion theory or homeostasis or respiration over listing defences of plants or nutrion requirements for animals).

This subject is made great by the inherent nature of its content. Not matter how bad or unsuited for you the lecturer or system is there is a certain threshold which the subject can't go below simply due to the content. For this to apply though you have to love the subject.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #145 on: July 04, 2013, 08:26:22 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ENVS10006 Mapping Environments

Workload:  2x 1 hour lectures and 1x 3 hour practical class

Assessment:  5x Group Assignments (15%) and Online Quiz (25%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  No exam

Textbook Recommendation:  None

Lecturer(s): Cliff Ogleby

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 86

Comments: This is the greatest subject at the uni if you don't worry about wasting your money. There is basically no content in the subject, and there's no point in watching or reading lectures, let alone attending them for the sake of doing well in the subject. You can learn the content you need for the online quiz in a good hour or two on the day. It is worthwhile going if you have an interest, the lecturer is funny and charismatic; but you aren't missing anything otherwise.

The group assignments are not the pinnacle of complexity nor of difficulty. It involves writing a maybe 1000-2000 word report about some mapping activity, going into depth on topics such as the materials and equipment used in the prac, any acknowledgements and any problems your group encountered. Note that these fortnightly assessments are worth 15%, and that is one report per group. The practical tasks themselves are fairly fun in the sense that you can go and do stuff, whether doing some physical surveying or just making a map. These tasks usually take a good hour or so (less for some of the entirely electronic ones) to complete and you are given the six hours of prac classes to finish them. That means that the rest of the practical class is spent screwing around, with many people playing games on their laptops; pro-active groups can easily complete the report in that time. Well, that is if you turn up. Generally people will arrive between 5 minutes to 2 and a half hours late to the classes. There is an online group appraisal system where you can punish the group members for not pulling their weight, but it's not like there is much weight to pull.

As I mentioned before, there is an online quiz on the last teaching week. You put your name down for a time and go in and do it. It consists of 50 very short and easy questions; as long as you're familiar with the nomenclature and have a general idea of what's going on (you'll learn everything you need to know doing the pracs anyway), the quiz will not cause any strife. You get an hour but you realistically only need about ten to fifteen minutes to complete it. If you are so inclined, you don't need to do it (it's not a hurdle requirement).

All in all this subject works out very well. For those with a genuine interest in mapping and related fields, it is a fun and interesting subject where you get to play around with some equipment at your own pace, and for those less interested - you don't have to do anything. The staff are great, really approachable and friendly, and have a real interest in the field so you can talk to them for ages.

If you don't know what subject to do, do this.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 08:31:18 pm by ShiCarnt »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #146 on: July 04, 2013, 09:32:25 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BCMB20005: Techniques In Molecular Science 

Workload:  12 lectures, 8 pracs, 11 tutes. Each prac takes up to 3 hours each week except the last one, spanning up to 9 hours over 3 weeks.

Assessment:  Reports, "homework experimental records", assignment (50%), 40 min midsem (5%), practical exam (10%), 2 hour theory exam (35%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  Yes, 3-4

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbooks, although you need to buy a lab manual online through the LMS and collect them before the pracs start.

Lecturer(s): Amber Willem Jones, Alana Mitchell, Mike Griffin

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating:  4.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 75/H2A

Comments: I figured we needed a new review for this subject as according to my tutor (who's aware of some of the going ons at uni), the curriculum for this year has undergone some changes under Amber's lead. Anyway, this is a practical subject that must be completed if one wishes to major in Biochemistry or Pathology, and is rather well coordinated. Before you continue, I'll admit that I rarely go to the lectures or tutes, but don't judge me  ::)


Just your standard 1 hour lectures per week in the Microbiology theater. Most of them concern the principles of the labwork to be done during that week (Or an assignment such as the pH Biosciences one, will come back to it later) and are mostly given by Amber. There are a few that were given by other lecturers who are more specialized in those areas, such as Alana Mitchell for enzyme kinetics and Mike Griffin for Proteomics. If you miss the lectures, there's no biggie as they are not hard to catch up to and comprehend. Contrary to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, you do not need to know the full details of "examples" such as the GLUT proteins, but only the principles and techniques involved in the different processes such as DNA cloning, sequencing, or proteomics. There's a list labelling stuff you need to know at the end of most lectures as well, so that's quite handy.


Weekly 3 hour pracs in the afternoon from Monday to Thursday. So first part: pre-prac. Before going to a prac, make sure you complete the experimental records and read the prac beforehand and finish the pre-lab questions for the prac you're attending as you attend. Also, don't be late! If you're 5 minutes late, you get marks taken off your participation score; if you're more than 15 minutes late, you won't be permitted to enter as they can't be bothered going over the stuff again. Also bring your experimental record/homework questions you completed for the last prac in as well. You'll also need to bring the lab manual, goggles, a lab coat, and wear closed shoes.

After you've handed in stuff at the beginning, everybody in your group (A bunch of 8-12 ppl) will have a pre-lab discussion before starting things. Try to participate in these, as you actually get marks off if you don't, as well as being incompetent with the procedure or equipment. (There's a rubric for participation on the LMS btw). The pracs aren't too hard to do but try not to mess things up, especially during the report pracs. You'll get a partner that you have to work with 3 hours every week, so get along. You'll also have a post-lab discussion before you leave, and once again, participate.

You'll need to write reports for some of the pracs; mine concern restriction mapping, enzyme kinetics, and protein purification. They count for a large percent of your grade, so do well in them! (One could count as 7% or even 12%) There'll be a LMS rubric to guide you as well as the lab manual, so it shouldn't be too hard to do well in them if you put in the time. And as always, they are submitted via Turnitin 5 pm one week after the prac. The grades should be released exactly one week after.

I initially feared the thought of 3 hour pracs every week, but it wasn't bad as I expected. Though DNA and gel electrophoresis were argurably the bane of the subject, the protein pracs were rather interesting and insightful. The demonstrators I got were also quite kind (Kim and Stella, in case any of you get lucky :D) and helpful especially during small talk for prac report stuff. Preparing myself for each session wasn't a hassle either.


1 hour tutes every week in the Medical building. Mostly add-on stuff to the lecture content such as practice questions, as well as stuff like analyzing scientific papers, although you don't really need the latter at this level. Amber herself said that you wouldn't need to know it now, but for people thinking of doing Advanced Techniques (Level 3). I only went to 2 of them and made it through. On one week there will be no tute but the midsem instead.

Other Assessments

The assignment is avaliable to you from the start but was to be completed by Week 7. It's a little tricky, but not hard after you read the information packet that came along with it.

The midsem was done sometime during Weeks 4-5, this mostly concerns the concepts of the earlier lectures as well as calculations involving stuff such as stoichiometry and the Beer-Lambert law. I went without much preparation on the numbers part and messed it up bad. 30% of the people failed it, but if you practice the early tutes' questions then you'll be fine

The prac exam isn't anything much. It's simply you having to carry out an experimental procedure that you've done before, but this time you analyze and give the results to the demonstrators for assessment. You'll be told the topic before, so you should familiarize yourself with the method once you do know. This semester's was on enzyme kinetics

The theory exam itself concerns mostly theoretical principles and a little bit of calculation such as on protein purity and fractional charge. You've got 2 hours to complete 4 separate sections (Roughly: Analyzing a paper, theoretical short answer questions, multiple choice, and diagrams + theory). There were a load of questions this semester, and I only finished seconds after the clock. Make sure you look at the "What you need to know/expected of you" parts of the lectures and study those well. Drawing diagrams might also be expected of you.

All in all a well-coordinated subject. I only have complaints about the fact that the midsem's content was one that was not really needed during the course of the subject as much as others. If you love labwork and macromolecules, this is the subject for you. I do recommend doing this concurrently with Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The content only lightly overlaps each other (lac operon, enzymes), but they complement each other quite well, and I find it much easier to comprehend stuff from one that's been covered upon in the other.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #147 on: July 04, 2013, 10:15:53 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ECON10004 Introductory Microeconomics

Workload: 2 1-hour lectures a week and 1 1-hour tutorial per week

Assessment:  10% tutorial participation, 5% MST, 10% Assignment 1, 15% Assignment 2, 60% End of semester exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  Yes, there were 4 (2012-2009). Do them, they help!

Textbook Recommendation:  "Principles of Microeconomics" by Gans, King and Mankin is definitely necessary. It's also good to clear up on certain topics (such as the firm theory, which I found a little difficult)

"Microeconomics: Case studies and applications" by Jeff Borland.  Read this in the first week, but then never touched it again. It was actually a pretty interesting book but I don't think it was worth spending time and money on.

Lecturer(s): Gareth James

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (81)

As someone who never touched any economics, this subject was actually very interesting and at most parts enjoyable. If you've done economics in year 12, I'm pretty sure there are parts that you will already be familiar with, but nevertheless, in my case I didn't feel disadvantaged in any way.

Gareth James was the lecturer for this subject, and I found him to be pretty good, however I never showed up to lectures after week 1 because I thought it was more productive to download the lecture at home and listen to it with 2x the speed, because he tends to speak pretty slowly. Nearing the exams and at the review lecture, he went over certain concepts (price discrimination, tariffs and import quotas) which were actually on the exam, so I would definitely attend/listen to the review lecture because he gives a good indication of what is to be expected.

Tutorials were a good way to brush up on concepts and do practice questions. It varies from tutor to tutor, but mine was very strict with the whole "10% participation and attendance thing", so make sure you actively participate in discussions and answer questions in order to easily gain that 10%. Your tutors also mark your assignments.

The assignments were probably the downfall of this subject. Assignment 1 was all about reading real-life articles related to economics and answering questions by applying what you have learnt. I found the articles to be vague and unclear, so I kind of bombed that assignment (I got ~60%). For assignment 1 I recommend discussing the questions with friends (just not copying obviously lol, thats what my tutor said...) The second assignment was more easier I found, and it is worth more. The important thing is to choose something individual, because you get marked on creativity.

The MST was worth 5% and was quite easy. There were practice tests provided which gave good preparation.

The exam was lengthy in my opinion, so don't take your time too much. However, it was quite fair, there were no surprises, everything there was covered in the lectures. Some people say this subject is an easy H1, but I don't agree 100%. There were easy parts in this subject (game theory was the most enjoyable imo) but there were also tricky parts that took me a while to wrap my head around them (firm theory). There is an online tutor that answers questions, and this was VERY helpful. I highly recommend using this as he answered questions very well, and sometimes gave slight hints for assignment questions (not too much obviously).

This is a good breadth subject, and I definitely recommend it, and if you really enjoy it, you can even go on to do macroeconomics.
2013-2015: BBiomed @ UoM


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #148 on: July 05, 2013, 03:37:25 am »
Subject Code/Name: ANCW20019: Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

Workload: 1x 1.5 hour lecture per week, 1x 1 hour tute per week.

Assessment: Written essay (2500 words) worth 50% due somewhere mid semester, final exam (40%), and 10% from tutorial attendance.

Lectopia Enabled:  No.

Past exams available: Not sure. We were given a list of the final exam questions though so there is no need for past exam papers.

Textbook Recommendation: The readings for the tutorials are all from "Ancient Rome: From the Early Republic to the Assassination of Julius Caesar" but the book itself isn't strictly needed. It can be a useful secondary source for the essay though.

Lecturer(s): Frederik Vervaet

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, semester 1.

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (82)

Comments: After the census date passed I pretty much thought I screwed up choosing this subject. Having never done a history subject before, it seemed to me that there was a hell of a lot of stuff to remember (dates/names/places etc). Everything went better than expected though. The lectures are not recorded so I went to every single one. In retrospect, there was not much point given the format of the exam. The tutorials are once a week and contribute to 10% of your final grade so you should make sure to attend. At the end of each tute you have to hand in an attendance sheet with whatever notes you wrote for that session. I just wrote random stuff he said to other people's questions/skimmed the book beforehand. These tutes involve a round the table discussion of something you found interesting from the current week's lecture or readings. I.e. if you skim the lecture notes or the readings beforehand you can easily find something to talk about without having really done either. This also means the book itself is not necessary although it is useful for the essay. The readings are from the book but the tutes are a Q&A by the student to the teacher so you don't need to know the answers to anything at all.

The written essay was new and exciting, worth 50%. On the plus side, it used to be like 3500 words. On the downside I was unused to the format. Before I forget, it's important to read the course syllabus. It lists the due dates of everything but also tells you how to write the essay and some tips on citation etc (Fred doesn't tell you to start writing your essay/explain it, it's expected that you've read the syllabus and thus already know the details of the essay). The essay involves choosing between a pair of like 10-12 people and then comparing them in a "Parallel Lives" (Plutarch) manner. You can compare their virtues (fides, virtus etc) or their upbringing, political strategies etc. Alternatively you can discuss a specific theme from the Ancient Rome book (in which case you'll have to buy the book) such as women in Rome, slavery, religion etc. Citation isn't too bad. Fred gave us like four sample essays from previous students who did well. Since I had no clue how to write a history essay I picked the ones that were similar to my topic and copied the format and also their citation style. One thing is to use at least 3 secondary sources. I only used one and lost marks for that. Also for the virtues don't only focus on similar types of virtues. I chose virtues mostly to do with military which lost me marks (no religion etc). If you need primary sources there are plenty of free translations on the web.

The exam is worth 40%. What's wonderful about the exam is that 10% is essentially guaranteed (although pretty sure I messed up lol). This 10% involves a blank map of the Mediterranean and a list of 10 cities/rivers/places that you have to locate and label. You can google the maps (ancient Rome) or just look through the lecture notes (which is what I suggest). This is a good buffer if you didn't do so well on the essay. The other 30% is an essay. Prior to the exam you will be given two lists of 10 questions. One set consists of period specific questions and the other set is broader, involving how something affected Rome in the long term. This is good for people who prefer to focus on one topic or like getting a general idea of things. Out of these 20 questions, one question from each set will be chosen for the exam. If you only focus on one set you can ignore the other 10 questions entirely. If you have a good memory you can cram without having gone to any of the lectures. I suggest you still attend some though because certain things in the lecture notes may seem vague. Reading the readings for the tutes is completely unnecessary unless you're genuinely interested in them. Far too detailed for the exam. Note that the essay cannot exceed 3 pages or it won't be read.

Frederick himself is an excellent lecturer. You can tell he is genuinely enthusiastic about his subject. He is also the sole lecturer/tutor so getting your essays back might take a while. The lack of lecture capture kinda sucked but one lecture a week isn't that hard to attend unless you had a late night out. Overall this is a pretty good breadth subject and provided you put in some effort getting a decent grade shouldn't be too hard.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2016, 09:27:35 pm by literally lauren »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #149 on: July 05, 2013, 02:49:28 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MUSI10023 Music Language 1: The Diatonic World

Workload:  2 x 1 hour weekly lectures, 1 x 1 hour weekly tute.

Assessment:  10 weekly assignments totalling 70% (they begin at 5% a week and go up 1% every fortnight, ie first two are worth 5, next two are worth 6 etc.), one hour listening test at end of semester (10%) and a one hour exam at the end of semester (20%).

Lectopia Enabled:  I think so, but I never used it.

Past exams available:  No, but the exam is similar to assignments you are given.

Textbook Recommendation:  Recommended text: Harmony and Voice Leading.  You can get by without buying this but it helps if you do, it pretty much covers everything you'll need to learn so can be helpful if you want to do some extra reading etc.

Lecturer(s): Elliot Gyger.

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 1.

Rating:  4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H2B (74)

Comments: Basically covers the theory behind western music from the medieval to classical periods.  Includes study of counterpoint/4-part harmony/voice leading (if you've done any AMEB theory this should mostly be a breeze). 

Assignment tasks include an analysis of a piece (easier but less interesting) every other week, and a composition task every 2nd week (harder but more fun).  The first few will have you tearing your hair out but, the deeper you go into the subject the easier it gets.

The end of semester listening test involves you sitting in the lecture theatre and being played 10 works.  The first 9 are from a list of 30+ works given to you at the beginning of semester/available on the LMS.  You need to identify the period, composer, work and movement.  Given that some of these go for over 10 minutes and aren't necessarily played from the beginning it definitely pays to get started on this early.  The final work will be something you are not expected to know, and you have to guess the period and make some musical observations about the piece.

The end of semester exam is fairly straightforward: an analysis of a piece and you have to harmonise a chorale (about 6 bars) in 4-part harmony. 

My advice to those doing this subject is DO NOT overlook the listening test.  No one studies for it and ends up doing really badly because the lecturers and tutors don't make a big deal about it, but that 10% can be really important.   Do a bit of listening every week to stay on top of it.

2013-2015: Bachelor of Music - Melbourne University

English - 34 (A+, A, C+)
Methods - 37 (A, B+, A)
Further - 43 (A+, A+, A+)
Music Performance - 41 (A+, A, A+)

Psych - 36 (A, A, B+)

ATAR: 91.00