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Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1043769 times)  Share 

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djsandals

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #150 on: July 05, 2013, 03:14:36 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: MUSI10025 Writing About Music: Australian Issues

Workload:  1 x 90 minute weekly seminar.

Assessment:  Five assignments totalling 90% (2 x 10%, 1 x 25%, 1 x 5%, 1 x 40%), attendance and participation 10% (I know, right?)

Lectopia Enabled:  Don't think so.

Past exams available:  No exam for this subject woooooo

Textbook Recommendation:  Reader available at bookshop at beginning of semester.

Lecturer(s): Sue Robinson and Shelly Hogan.

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 1.

Rating:  In terms of usefulness, 3/5.  In terms of enjoyment, 1/5.

Your Mark/Grade: H2B (78)

Comments: Considered by almost every music student to be the worst subject in existence, WAM certainly leaves a lot to be desired in terms of...how do I put this...not falling into a coma when in class.

But in all seriousness, the first few weeks teach you important things like how to footnote and do a biblography correctly, as well as how to use sources in the library.  I'd try to focus as much of your attention as possible on these first few weeks (a struggle, I understand) and then you can do what you want in the latter weeks.

The first assignment is writing a 100 word summary of a particular topic.  The writing of the summary is piss-easy, finding the sources can be painful.  Just make sure you pick a topic with a lot of reliable sources and use the ones they expect you to find.

The second assignment involves footnoting.  As I recall it was explained really badly and everyone did badly, so badly that they had to change the marking scheme on it.  Don't be afraid to ask your teacher for help if you're unsure of what to do.

The third assignment is similar to the first one, but longer.

The fourth assignment isn't even an assignment, just a prelim to the final assignment.  You just need to find sources and put them in a bibliography.  Just make sure you pick good sources and format the bibliography correctly.

The fifth assignment is a bit of a bitch, you have to write a 1200 word persuasive essay on an ambiguous topic, but thankfully they're relatively lenient on the marking (I crammed it the day it was due, 200 words below the word count and still got 80%).

This subject isn't really funtaims but it's not a lot of time and effort either, so just grit your teeth and bear it for a semester, it'll be over before you know it.
OFFERING MUSIC THOERY TUTORING/ELECTRIC BASS LESSONS, PM FOR INFO.

2013-2015: Bachelor of Music - Melbourne University

2012:
English - 34 (A+, A, C+)
Methods - 37 (A, B+, A)
Further - 43 (A+, A+, A+)
Music Performance - 41 (A+, A, A+)

2011:
Psych - 36 (A, A, B+)

ATAR: 91.00

djsandals

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #151 on: July 05, 2013, 04:45:45 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: MUSI20008 Music Technology 

Workload:  1 x 1 hour weekly seminar

Assessment:  25% Minor Assessment, 50% Major Assessment, end of semester exam 25%

Lectopia Enabled:  No.

Past exams available:  No.

Textbook Recommendation:  Resources given are more than adequate and list more if needed.

Lecturer(s): David Collins.

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 1.

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (81)

Comments: If you have had more than a passing interest in synthesizers, recording, MIDI or Logic, then this is the subject for you.

The subject covers the history and modern applications of technology in music, such as recording techniques, synthesis and sound waves.

The classes are small, hands on and interesting.  The first assignment involves writing an essay on a piece of music describing the use of music technology in it, the second one involves a range of options for you to demonstrate what you have learned throughout the semester.  They range from using the logic sampler/synthesizer to make unique sounds to putting music to a bit of film.

The handouts given at each seminar are very detailed yet easy to understand, which makes revision for the exam a whole lot easier. 

And for synth fans, there will be a pleasant surprise greeting you at the first seminar :).
OFFERING MUSIC THOERY TUTORING/ELECTRIC BASS LESSONS, PM FOR INFO.

2013-2015: Bachelor of Music - Melbourne University

2012:
English - 34 (A+, A, C+)
Methods - 37 (A, B+, A)
Further - 43 (A+, A+, A+)
Music Performance - 41 (A+, A, A+)

2011:
Psych - 36 (A, A, B+)

ATAR: 91.00

pink0829

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #152 on: July 06, 2013, 01:19:06 am »
+4
Subject Code/Name: CEDB20003: Fundamentals of Cell Biology https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/view/2013/CEDB20003

Workload:  2 x 1hr lectures per week, 8 x 3hr cal modules according the handbook but we had 7 becuase of public holiday

Assessment:  3 tests during the semester which were quite short. The last two were completely multiple choice. Each were worth 10% and the final 2hr exam worth 70%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with screen capture. But the Harold Woodruff Theatre recording is horrible. We had about 2 or 3 lectures that didn't have any screen capture. Just turn up to the lectures, there are only two per week!

Past exams available:  Yes, about 2 (2009 and 2010 I think but I didn't do them). The exam structure is explained in the last lecture.

Textbook Recommendation:  B Alberts, A Johnson, J Lewis, M Raff, K Roberts & P Walter, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 5th edition, Garland Science.- I like the book but you don't need it, the lectures are enough. Most of the images in the lectures are important in understanding concepts so if you don't print out the lectures slides you can always borrow the textbook and take a look at them.

Lecturer(s): Dr Ross Waller - Intro lecture, protein sorting and cytoskeleton structure
                              Dr Jenny Gunnersen - microscopes, cell membranes, cell movement and stuff on neurons
                              A/Prof. Gary Hime - Gene Expression (mainly regulation) and cell cycle regulation
                              A/Prof Robb de Iongh - Signalling pathways (the best part and also a very good lecturer)
                             
Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Sem 1

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 82 (H1)

Comments: The subject is basically all about cells. The structure of cells (the easiest bit), gene expression and how it is regulated, protein transport pathways in the cell, cytoskeleton structure and function, how cells move, mitosis and cell cycle, and cell signalling pathways in cell proliferation and death are topics covered.
This subject was great! The lecturers were pretty good and the subject content was fantastic. This is one of the subjects I think that was easy to get a 100 in. I got 95% for the tests and was expecting to get 100% on the exam but I came in 10 mins into writing time and unfortunately had to go to the toilet twice during the 2 hr. I missed at least 33 marks worth of questions but I was pretty confident that everything I answered was correct so I wasn't really worried and therefore took my time a bit. But I'll tell why later.

So, subject content- To be honest, the content isn't that easy. But I enjoyed it. Which is why I think I did well in them. We started off with basic stuff covered in VCE and first year biology with a few new stuff here and there. But towards the end people found the content like cell signalling difficult to grasp. With those particular topics, you have to be able to look at the big picture before getting to the detail. There is quite a bit of detail covered in this subject which you are expected to know, but if you find it interesting it isn't going to be that hard. My advice is to start early with revision, but don't worry about that because you will be forced to revise and keep up to date thanks to the tests. Believe me, if it weren't for them my SWOT VAC would've been a nightmare. And don't be fooled in to thinking there is less content than other life sciences because of having two lectures per week. There are 8 three hour cals full of stuff that is assessed but more on that later.

Lectures- The lecturers are good and explain everything clearly. I found Jenny and sometimes Ross a bit boring. But they are not unbearable or anything. They all are always willing to answer any questions and are very nice and approachable. When revising lectures I would suggest grouping them in to topics and studying, so that you can see the big picture. I think this is why people actually did not get cell signalling pathways because it was broken up into 5 lectures and so even though Robb gives a little summary at the end of each pathway I knew a couple of people who struggled with seeing how they were connected and all that. I made charts to visualise the pathways, although there were great diagrams used in the lecture from the textbook. It actually helped with revising and made life a lot easier than a bunch of notes. Everything on the lecture is assessable, even the examples they use. Just check with the lecturer if you aren't sure whether you have to know something.

CALs- My favourite part of the week. Each CAL is 3 hrs long. No attendance is taken. You just turn up, log in and do the CAL in the lms. The CALs were very well put together. There was a lot of information to get through in the 3 hours. You have to read pages of information, sometimes watch a couple of videos and answer questions in the CAL and also in the worksheet made available before the CAL. Since the CAL is full of information the worksheets are basically questions provided by the lecturer to give you an idea of what you have to know from the CAL. Answer the questions and take notes from the CAL if you have to. You can always ask questions from the lecturers who attend the CALs. Since attendance isn't recorded many people stopped coming to the CALs. And you can also leave any time you wanted to so some people would turn up but stay for about an hour or two and leave. I don't think people realised this was the best place to ask questions from the lecturers. Its like a consultation time without having to book an appointment or emailing. And the lecturers being so nice would just sit and explain anything you needed to clarify. Its important you understand stuff in the CAL rather than memorise; and I stress this for the last 4 CALs. The reason this subject scored a 4 instead of 5 is because I think the CALs would've been much more interesting if the lecturers interacted more with the students instead of just walking around the class. Since Ross' CALs were sort of prac based (doing a couple of activities online), he did guide us and explain to us what we were doing in certain parts of the CAL. It was really helpful for the CATs (the test in the semester) so I would suggest you go to the CALs.

CATs/ tests- worth 30%, these are mainly based on the CALs. Only a couple of multiple choice questions of CAT 2 and 3 were from the lectures. CAT 1 had short answer as well as MCQ and did cover a fair bit of the lectures, so my suggestion is study both the lectures and CALs. They are very short tests and are done in the CAL time slot for that week. The lectures and CALs that will be assessed is given by the lecturer so make sure you study those particular ones. Like I said, CALs are mainly tested here, so going to the CALs would be a good idea. I managed to get 100% for 2 of my CATs and I attribute it to lecturers clarifying stuff in the CAL (esp. Ross). And also be prepared to know a bit of detail from the CAL. I'm really not sure how many CALs there will be next year (we had only 7 but I think there are 8 ) so I can't really give you an indication of what details you might have to know because the amount of detail you have to know varied for each CAL. Its best to ask the lecturer in the CAL. Since the CALs are spread out during the semester, it helps you keep up to date. I know they are not worth much but put some effort into the CATs because they are quite easy if you have studied, not many trick questions and helpful when revising for the exam because you've covered about 50-60% of the content already.

Speaking of the Exam- I had the worst exam experience so far in my undergraduate degree and I still managed to get a H1 without having to do any special exam. The reason for this was because of the exam structure. I have copied and pasted the following from the lms:
'This 2 hour exam will cover all material presented during semester in CALs and Lectures.  It consists of 3 parts (A, B, C).
Part A (30 min) comprises 20 multiple choice questions (1.5 mark each). All questions should be answered.
Part B (40 min) has 4 questions worth 10 marks each and will directly test material presented in lectures and CALs.  All 4 questions should be answered.
Part C (50 min) provides a choice of 2 questions from 3 options. Each question is worth 25 marks.  These questions will focus on how well you have understood key concepts and whether you can integrate information from different aspects of the subject.  The questions often have a problem-solving aspect to them, whereby you need to outline how a dynamic process or mechanism operates or how to investigate cellular functions and processes.'
So Part A had 5 questions from each lecturer and wasn't too hard or time consuming. In Part B each lecturer contributed one question and some questions were broken up into parts. I didn't have time to finish my answer for one of these questions. And I couldn't do a question in Part C. Which is where I screwed up. I want to kick myself for not starting with part C, because I might have had a chance in finishing the exam. Anyway the first two sections are straight-forward but with extended response, I would suggest breaking the question up into parts and answering them in that order For example one question would be: What requires...? Describe the process... Suggest 3.... and list its features. I would the answer the question by first underlining 'what', 'describe' 'suggest" and 'list' and in the answer space -->
what- (answer here)
describe- (answer here) etc.
Some questions were in parts, but there are other questions where you are expected prose- like answers even though our exam didn't have any. So make sure you give enough detail for 25 marks. Remember to answer the question and don't waste your time writing too much. Robb goes through how to answer the part C and some tips in the last lecture, so pay attention to that.
In summary: good lecturers, the subject content is not too hard and I enjoyed it a lot (but it depends on the person), make sure you are up to date, make the most of CALs, CATs are pretty easy to score on so studying for the exam is no big deal  8)
« Last Edit: July 06, 2013, 01:21:49 am by pink0829 »

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #153 on: July 06, 2013, 03:00:34 am »
+4
Subject Code/Name: Biology of Cells and Organisms 

Workload: 
3x1 hour lectures per week. 5 ILTs, 6 pracs (one introductory/not assessed)

Assessment:
midsemester test (10%) the test is made up of 25 multiple choice questions and only covered 14 lectures for us so was easy to score well in. You don't find out what you got wrong though which is fairly annoying.
prac work (25%). Each prac is marked out of 10, with 1 mark from the preprac test (multiple choice. you get the mark if you score over 50%), 5 marks being from in prac work, and 4 marks being from a post prac test (4 mc questions, 1 mark for every question answered correctly. there is a time limit). Pre and post prac tests tend to be easy marks. It’s fairly easy to leak some marks in pracs, but as long as you are clear with what you’re saying, (especially with graph labels) you should be fine.
ILTS (5%) The test is multiple choice, you get the mark if you pass. There's a little online activity/tute thing for each ILT that has all the relevant information for the test.
Written assignment (10%)  Very easy way to leak marks if you’re not careful, but if you are, it’s an easy way to get marks also. I lost two half marks out of 20, one for referencing (I said the book was published in Sydney instead or North Ryde), and one for a graph label. They expect you to me more clear with this than on actual pracs. I know a lot of people who lost a ton of marks for lack of clarity though. There's a 500 word limit but they don't mind an awful lot if you go over by a little, as long as everything you say is concise and relevant/you don’t go waffling on about things.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  There was a set of sample questions, but no past exams.

Textbook Recommendation:  “R B Knox, P Y Ladiges, B K Evans and R Saint, Biology, An Australian Focus 4th Ed, McGraw-Hill, 2009” I used the textbook at the start of the semester (when I was a hardworking, conscientious jaffy), but you really don’t need it to do well in the subject. Many of the topics covered in the subject aren’t even in the textbook, but it’s good to read if you’re interested in learning things in more depth than lectures. You WILL need the book for the assignment, but you can find it in the biomed library.
There’s also a lab book from the co-op that you will need to buy. You’ll also need to buy microscope slides and a labcoat and shoes that cover the front and back of your foot if you haven’t any (that means no ballet flats for girls)

Lecturer(s): Rick Wetherbee, Andrew Drinnan, Geoff Shaw, Stephen Frankenberg, Mark Elgar.
To be honest I found the lecturers pretty dry to listen to. Rick spends all day talking about endosymbiosis and winning nobel prizes, but puts in a fair effort to make sure you know exactly what you need to for the exam. His slides are good, and have most of the content on them, you don’t need to take down too many notes, and can probably learn straight off them if you wished. A lot of his content is revision from VCE. He also has a funny accent. I can still hear him saying “teeming with life!!”
Andrew Drinnan talks about a lot about marijuana and alcohol to try and build rapport/fit in with the cool kids. He covers a LOT of content in his lectures. He also provides lecture summaries for every lecture (found on the LMS) which is nice because he covers a LOT of content in his lectures. I found I needed to take down a lot of notes for his lectures as he says a lot of stuff that aren’t on the slides which are mostly just pictures.
Geoff Shaw seems to be the most popular lecturer by far, but I was not a fan/didn’t really get his humour. I didn’t actually go to any of his lectures though, so maybe it just didn’t come through the lecture capture. He spends a lot of time trying to be funny/handing out chocolate frogs and not enough explaining biology. His lectures have quite a few of the more confusing topics, and I don’t think he did a great job explaining them. I felt like I needed to do external reading/wiking/animation watching etc to understand them. His lecture slides I didn’t find very good either and he doesn’t really explain a lot of what’s on them. He does provide revision worksheets for every lecture which was nice.
Steven Frankenburg sounded a little shy. His lecture slides are in depth and he spends most of the time in lectures just reading off them. You can prolly get away with just the slides, but I watched all his lectures at 1.8x speed, and then reread over the slides. He, like Geoff Shaw also provides revision worksheets.
Mark Elgar seemed to be quite unpopular. I see why, but I didn’t mind him personally. He gets very irate at people for talking and will stop the lecture to glare at people/make remarks about their rudeness, which is kind of awkward and a waste of time. He also talks painfully slowly; I think going to the actual lectures would have driven me insane. But the examples he talks about I found quite interesting, and I watched his lectures at 2.5x speed so the slowness wasn’t an issue. It also meant I could cover each of his lectures in less than half an hour. 8D

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, sem1

Rating:  3 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (91)

Comments: This was probably the least enjoyable subjects for me this year. The lectures I found really dry and studying (for me at least) involved memorising giant chunks of information during swotac/the week before the midsemester test AND THEN FORGETTING ALL OF IT THE NEXT DAY. 8’D Which felt like a complete waste of time to me.
Two of the pracs involve dissections (a heart and a mouse) which I didn’t do for ethical reasons. Dawn Gleeson, the subject coordinator is a sweetheart and was incredibly understanding, and had alternatives set up for me. Though the assessment for the alternatives seemed a bit unfair. For the heart one, I was given a video to watch of a heart dissection and a set of questions, some of which were on things that had not been covered at all (a baby can be born with a hole in its heart, what does this mean, where is the hole usually located and what effects does this have on the baby? wut. ಠ_ಠ). For the rat dissection, I was given pictures of a dissected rat (the same ones as in the lab book) and asked to do the same questions as the rest of the class, including drawing the digestive system. The pictures provided were all pretty bad and you couldn’t really see half of the organs, they were all kind of a big red blob on the screen. I pretty much drew out exactly what I saw, and received a terrible mark for it because the positioning/layout of the organs was bad, despite that being due to the bad pictures they provided. But I mean, fair enough. Imean I didn’t get a better mark because I wasn’t able to answer the questions well because I chose not to do the prac so okay. Oh, and also in pracs, you’re given seat numbers where you must sit, so even if you coordinate classes with friends, chances are you be sitting anywhere near each other.
The exam was pretty doable. Most of it is fill in the blank type questions, and they provide you with a giant list of words so you don’t really need to be familiar with the terminology. Usually seeing it written down is enough to trigger your memory. Our exam had an oddly large amount of content on reproduction though. Which seemed to have caught quite a lot of people off guard. XD I didn’t even learn the reproductive system cause the slides were all filled with pictures of cut up frogs and mice and made me sad. (clearly in the right course/doing the right subjects;;; ). It also had no question on endosymbiosis (!!!!!!) which I’m sure made many people lose bets.
Apart from that, I found the subject pretty easy to do decently in. I found myself behind in 16 lectures at one stage, which is pretty much half the course (I went to one or two of Andrew Drinnan’s lectures, and none of Geoff Shaw or Steven Frankenburg’s. I also missed the first of Mark’s). Had huge shock when I saw Steven for the first time in the revision lecture, I was expecting him to have no hair like on his slide cover pages!! XD) but catching up wasn’t too bad. It did involve a ton of cramming and watching lectures sped up during swotvac though. So even if you find yourself REALLY behind in the subject, don’t even think about giving up. NOT THAT I’M ENCOURAGING CRAMMING GUYS.

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #154 on: July 06, 2013, 03:01:54 am »
+6
Subject Code/Name: Mast10008: Accelerated Mathematics 1

Workload:  4x 1hr lectures per week. 1 back to back tute and matlab session a week (1hr each)

Assessment:  3 online assignments (6%), 3 written assignment (9%), matlab test(5%), exam (80%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, a whole bunch of them. As well as a ton of “typical exam questions”

Textbook Recommendation:  “Elementary Linear Algebra, Applications Version (H. Anton and C. Rorres), 10th edn, Wiley, 2010” I used it at first since learning from textbooks is what I’d always done in high school, it didn’t take me long to realise how inefficient it was. Definitely don’t think buying this is necessary. If you feel like you need to look something up, there’s a ton of copies in erc (most are older editions, but it doesn’t matter). There’s more questions in it as well, but chances are you won’t find yourself short on questions, Paul gives out a yellow book full of questions at the start of the semester. (This question booklet is also on the LMS in case you lose it. Don’t eagerly print it before the first lecture unless you want to waste a ton of paper and ink).

Lecturer(s): Paul Norbury.

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, sem1.

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H2A (79)

Comments: This was my favourite subject this semester, hands down. I never really liked math in high school because I just rote learned everything and never really understood what was going on, and only JUST had the spesh score to get into the subject. But this subject made me really enjoy math which took my by complete surprise. It’s not an easy subject. You will find that you’ll need to put time into it if you want to understand it. But for me at least, doing this subject was really rewarding as I felt like I was actually learning and understanding math for the first time.
The subject is mostly linear algebra, though you also touch on a couple of topics from calc2 and also get a little taste of mathematical proofs. Paul Norbury is a fantastic lecturer. He’s insanely smart and often just talks about things hardly anyone understands. You can get by (and obtain great scores) without understanding half of what he says, but if you re-watch lectures and make an effort to understand everything he talks about, you can actually learn so much and gain such an appreciation of what’s going on.
I also found lectures incredibly entertaining. Paul regularly does some pretty amazing shit in his lectures like working out the square root of ridiculous numbers in his head up to two decimal places in seconds. But more usefully, he likes to try and make you think about things you thought you knew in different ways, which as far as I’m concerned, is pretty cool. Thought you know how to count? Don’t be so sure. And if squaring a number means you multiply it by itself, and cubing it means you multiply it by itself three times, then what happens if you take a number to the power of root two? And even more oddly, what happens if you make the power a complex number? ._____. He also says some fairly abstract stuff that I found quite interesting. Like how you could find the angle between the weights of rocks in trucks if you wanted to and believed it existed.
It also feels like he spends half the lectures trolling us. He’ll say stuff like “the most important thing I want you to take away from this lecture is that 1+1=0” or draw smiley faces or stick figures everywhere to explain concepts so we walk away with a page of mindfucky math notes that look like they came out of a primary school students scrapbook. XD
Amusing lectures aside, the subject itself is pretty good. Although the math that Paul covers in lectures is pretty tough, the actual assessment is not too bad. The online assignments you get three shots at each, and they count your highest mark, so it’s not difficult to get full marks there. The written ones tend to be more challenging and harder to score so well in, and depending on your tutor, you can lose a lot of marks for poor setting out. But they do it so that you learn how to set out things in a way that makes sense, and usually if they take marks off, it is because you’ve said something wrong/unclearly, even if it’s really minor. (though I had a friend who lost a mark because his ∈ looked like an f, which seemed a bit harsh to me)
The matlab sessions are designed to give you a glimpse into the applications of linear algebra. They were pretty confusing though and I think the bulk of people in my session struggled following what was going on. Also because I had a Monday session, more often than not, what we did in matlabs hadn’t been covered in lectures yet, so that wasn’t helpful. But the actual test again, is doable. Paul puts a practise test on the LMS and the actual test is essentially the same thing with different values (This is to prevent people who find out the questions and take the test later in the week from being at a huge advantaged), though there are a couple of add-ons and the “programming” question will be different.
Of course, the bulk of the marks lie in the exam which is worth 80% which is pretty daunting, and quite annoying if you balls up the exam (as I did, woo for housemates fighting at 5am). But don’t be too worried, the exam is made very accessible, with the exception of a couple of marks to separate out the high end of the cohort. The majority of the questions are easier than those that you do in tutes as well. You’re also provided with a ton of exams and exam type questions to do, and if you’ve been going okay with your assignments and what not, you should happily find that you can do most of the questions. (Unless it’s the 2011 paper you’re doing, that paper had a whole ton of ridiculous questions that stumped everyone I spoke to). They also tend to have a fair few “free mark” type questions to prevent people from failing.
So if you’re thinking of taking the subject, but are a little put off because it  sounds hard/you don’t think you’re fantastic at math/you’re scared it’s impossible to do well (as I was), don’t be and just take the damn subject. It’s so much fun, and if you want to, you can take away a lot from it. I’m seriously so, so glad I picked this instead calc2 + linear algebra. And don’t worry if you’re lost in lectures, they’re recorded for a reason.
Also, first lecture ever, I stuck up my hand and asked what the fail rate was and Paul said it was lower than all of the other first year math subjects, so no need to worry, everything will be fine! :P

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #155 on: July 06, 2013, 03:04:01 am »
+5
Subject Code/Name: CHEM10003 Chemistry 1 

Workload:  3x1hr lectures per week, 6 pracs, 3 ILTs

Assessment:  Midsemester test (5%), Prac work (20%), exam (75%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, a ton.

Textbook Recommendation:  Don’t buy the textbooks. If you don’t like your money, feel free to donate it to me instead. :) I tried looking at Zumdahl a couple of times for topics I found difficult, but it left me even more confused. =.=;;  They do have extra questions though if you’re eager to do more work. You *may* like to get a molecular modelling kit for organic chem if you struggle to visualise some of the molecules, but for $60, I don’t think it’s worth it. Just grab a bunch of pens and awkwardly try to hold them into a shape that vaguely represents what you want. :’D For pracs you will need to get the prac book (some demonstrators will also insist that you write reports in a duplicate notebook, most won’t). You’ll also need a labcoat, safety glasses and shoes that cover your entire foot if you haven’t any (preferably without heels, unless you’re me and don’t mind having the OH&S guys get mad at you every time). I bought the tute book as well which isn’t completely necessary, but it does have questions that you may like to do.

Lecturer(s): Mark Rizzacassa, Uta Willie, Gus Grey Weale, Brendan Abrahams

Year & Semester of completion: 2012, semester 1

Rating:  4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (91)

Comments: This was a fairly enjoyable subject. The pracs were pretty easy to score very highly in, and are pretty much completely unrelated to what you do in lectures. There tends to be quite a lot to cover in the three hour blocks, and I was almost always pressed for time, but if you want, you can write up half of it at home (my demonstrator actually recommended this) which will pretty much eradicate any time problems. You also get to do some pretty cool shit in pracs, including making super shiny crystals (which my demonstrator wouldn’t let me keep :C ), and playing with liquid nitrogen (!!). There was also a preprac test to do online before every prac, which you needed to score above a certain mark on to be allowed to even go to the prac. Which was annoying because chemcal sucks. I had to do one of these tests like three times before I passed. =_____=;;

As for lectures, organic chem was taught really brilliantly; Mark Rizzacassa is an amazing lecturer and explains everything ridiculously well. He was also engaging, and has a good balance of humour and chemistry in his lectures. I don’t feel like there was too much chemistry to learn in the organic chem part of this subject though, it was mostly just nomenclature. It is important for you to be able to visualise molecules though. If you can’t, build some models with a modelling kit. (I think there may be some in the chemistry building you can play with). Infrared spectroscopy and NMR he went over pretty quickly, but we do it in much more detail in VCE anyways so it shouldn’t be a problem. He also writes a fair bit in his lectures, so you do need to go to or watch his lectures.

Prof Abrahams lectured for a bunch of lectures at the end of the semester. He wasn’t nearly as engaging as rizzacassa, but was just as wonderful if not better at explaining things. He covered a whole heap of stuff, including acids and bases (which was almost the same as VCE) and structures of solids, which I personally found really difficult to visualise, even after looking at models. The questions they ask for that topic are pretty straight forward though, and if you know the idea of what’s going on, not being able to see the exact lattices in your head won’t kill you. He also perfectly explained periodic trends, how to draw lewis structures, a tiny bit on molecular orbital theory, and there were a couple of lectures on some other bit and pieces also. His slides are brilliant also, and you can just learn everything off them, but I watched all his lectures at 1.8x speed anyways because I think it’d be silly to miss his great teaching.
Uta and Gus on the other hand I felt handled their topics quite poorly. Even now I still have no clue whatsoever what was going on in thermodynamics/entropy. Uta spent all her lectures trying to be funny and doing no chemistry/doing very lazy chemistry/not explaining things properly/not even going over half of what was on her slides. “Oh you can just read this at home, now sit while I make some more jokes”. =.= Thankfully, a bulk of what she taught came straight out of VCE (pretty much everything except thermodynamics). Gus had the unfortunate task of trying to teach a bunch of first years entropy, a topic that I imagine you need much more than six lectures on to get a semi-decent grasp of. He tried to make it easier to understand by simplifying it, but I did not see how I was meant to learn chemistry from listening to him flipping coins and watching videos backwards… His notes too I found were pretty unhelpful. In the end, I ended up just memorising a couple of formulas for entropy (and for some of enthalpy also actually) that I didn’t know the origins of (Gus was pretty much like “I’m not gonna explain where this comes from, just trust me that it works”) which was slightly annoying and most definitely not a good way to “learn”, but at this level, I don’t think much more can be done. From asking around/begging people to explain to me what was going on, and having no one know, I’m pretty sure this is what everyone else did also.

The midsemester test was something like 12 multiple choice questions on organic chem. It was a little annoying to do because it was online (and timed), and with organic chem especially, it’s nice to be able to draw on the paper/put marks on the molecule so that I don’t lose count of things. If I had been prepared, I would probably have printed the test, done it on the printout, and then filled the answers in online. Regardless, it’s again is pretty easy to do quite well on, and of course, since you’re doing it online, you have access to all your notes/google/whatever.
Tutes I barely went to because I was way too behind during the semester to know what was happening in them, but of the ones I did attend, I didn’t find them that useful/thought they were a pretty big waste of time. Depending on your tutor, you either sit in tables and work on questions, and then the tutor tells you the answers for them all, or the tutor stands up the top and just does all the questions on a take and you copy the solutions. I do think the tute questions were worth doing though, and I did them all in the last few weeks/swotvac, which was a good thing for me because it meant I could check my answers with ones that they post on the LMS at the end of the semester. If you’re keeping up to date, and want to do the tute questions, you probably will have to go to the tutes, because otherwise you won’t have any way to know if you’ve answered them correctly or not, unless you can get answers of a friend who does go or something like that.

I think I might be odd in thinking this but, Chemcal was something that I actually found quite helpful as well. It has the most annoying soft keyboard in the world which will actually drive you insane, and rounds everything off too soon so marks your correct answers wrong half the time, but if you have the will to deal with it, I found it had some good questions. It also rewards you with really bad puns/terrible encouragement pictures if you get everything in a little section correct.  Also before every activity, it has little explanation which was good for summarising what was in lectures. Unfortunately. it doesn’t have very much on thermodynamics/entropy (the two topics that people seem to struggle with most OTL).

For those interested in cramming. I don’t recommend it, but definitely think that it’s possible to cram for this subject. Just make sure you do prepracs and submit the ILTs. I was a pretty slack student/had a lot going on with life this semester and stopped going to lectures/learning the content pretty much as soon as Uta started teaching (I went to one of her lectures) and did not start again until a little after Prof. Abrahams started teaching which I think was something like week 9. During swotvac, they appoint tutors to hang around the chem building, and you can ask them questions. I pretty much had one *try* explain to me all of entropy at once, though I didn’t really get what he was saying;;;; Prof. Abrahams also came along to a couple which was really nice, and he always had a ton of students asking him questions. Gus came to quite a few of them too because everyone hates entropy. Don’t leave it too late into swotvac though, cause a ton of students will be there with questions near the end of the week.

As for the exam, if you’ve done a couple of practise exams, you’ll realise that they’re all almost exactly the same. It’s not VCE anymore, they’re not there to trick you, or to painfully separate people. They just want to test to see if you know what they want you to know. So have a look at a couple of papers, see what you need to know, and make sure you know it all. Oh BUT, you don’t get a fucking periodic table. o_____o I cannot possibly imagine their reasoning behind not providing one. I figure knowing where things are should eventually come naturally, but forcing us all to memorise where elements are, and having students who understand concepts fine not be able to answer questions because they can’t remember the order of two elements in a question about size or something is just annoying. Also there’s no conversion chart, and you will need to know the conversion between things like nano and pico and milli and whatever. So learn that also. I was lucky enough to guess the right factor on the exam. XD;;

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #156 on: July 06, 2013, 03:08:40 am »
+4
Subject Code/Name: FINA10036 The Body: Facts and Fictions

Workload:  1x3hr block every week

Assessment:  1000 word essay (25%) folio (75%)

Lectopia Enabled:  no

Past exams available:  no exam

Textbook Recommendation:  None.

Lecturer(s): Bill, Peter, Sharron

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, semester 1

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (83)

Comments: If you’re looking for an easy breadth, look no further, this is the one.
I’ve always liked drawing people, and have been wanting to do life drawing for ages, but never had the chance to. So when I read about this subject in the handbook I knew I wanted to take it. You go to a three hour block every week which can be a variety of different things. We had two three hour lectures, both of which I understood nothing in. One was on “drawing in the expanded field” whatever that means, the other on “postmodernism” (no clue either). I’m quite sure less than 20% of the group came to the second lecture. So yeah, you can definitely miss these if you want.

Drawing wise, this subject seems to be geared towards creating “contemporary” art. I don’t know if it was just Bill who ran my group (the group is split into three smaller ones for workshops), but we were encouraged to do all kinds of wacky things when drawing such as drawing something that someone else touches (with their eyes closed) and describes to you, or drawing with a giant stick taped to our arm to you can’t bend your arm/would have less control over what you’re doing or picking a random item and drawing the model by tracing the item or drawing over other peoples work and questioning who owns the final piece etc. Pretty much crazy “profound” arty stuff with deeper inner meaning that I really did not get, but even so a lot of fun. XD We were also encouraged to try drawing on LSD/other hallucinogens on multiple occasions;;;; I did not and still managed to get a H1 though!!  :) ;) :D ;D :o ??? ::) :-* :'(

Workshops with a model generally had a little less direction, we’d all just stand with our easels and drew however we felt like and Bill would walk around and make comments, give feedback, tell you what you could fix, etc. He seemed a little opposed to more “traditional/classical” drawing techniques though, which was a bit annoying for people like me.
There were also a couple collage workshops, where we’d swap tutors and then two “group tutes” where we were required to bring ALL our work and stick it up on the walls and we’d all walk around in a group and comment on peoples work and then go to the other groups and look at what they did. If you chose to draw every pose as I did, be prepared to die carrying all this paper to Southbank. Even more so if you have a bunch of classes beforehand and bonus points if one of those classes is a prac. My rolled up pile of drawings was so big I ended up putting it in a coat hanger because I could not find an elastic band big enough to hold it in!

As far as workload goes, it can be as little or as much as you want it to be. Bill regularly says that everyone generally tends to do quite well, and if you look like you’re engaging with the subject, you’re likely to get above 80. Outside of what we draw in class, we’re required to produce a “visual journal” to turn in along with what we do in workshops, and it can be filled with pretty much anything: drawings, text, photos, seriously anything you wanted. As it’s been a busy year for me, I haven’t had the time to draw much outside of class, so I just brought in a couple of old sketchbooks;; I was actually highly tempted to turn in my doodle filled math book (hey, vectors and quadric surfaces can look artistic, right?), but thought that might have been pushing it. I know a lot of people in my group with no previous work to show made the entire thing in a couple of days. So pretty much, if you like to draw, you might put countless hours into a folio, but because you wanted to and not really for the subject, and if you don’t really like drawing, you can whip something up in a couple of hours and turn it in for assessment. And chances are, either way you’ll do well since either they can tell that you’ve put in effort or you’ve handed in a bunch of smears that are expressive and emotional and fit exactly what the markers like.
There’s also an essay. Writing it was painful. Thankfully they changed it from 1500 words to 1000, prolly so they wouldn’t need to mark so much;;; But still. Painful. There’s a reading list as well that you can read if you want. But all the books on it are pretty ridiculous. The one I borrowed had a part about how when drawing, the extending of the arm and hand away from the body corresponds to the gesture that a baby makes during its exploration process when it’s first separated from its mother… (really?REALLY?)  Needless to say, what I turned in was a load of crap. :) Oh and you get the topics at the start of the semester. Do yourself a favour and don’t leave it until between exams to start it as I did. Especially when you still haven’t learned part of the content for your actual non-breadth subjects. OTL

So pretty much, if you like to draw, definitely consider taking this, chances are you’ll enjoy it. And if you don’t but want something bludgy, go ahead and take it as well, pretty much everyone else in the subject is in the same boat. It’s art, no one cares in the slightest about your skill level. No matter what you produce, someone will come up with some kind of meaning to give to it, regardless of whether or not you intended for it to be there. So just run with it. It’s absolutely a subject that you can bullshit your entire way through, so much more so than I expected.

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #157 on: July 06, 2013, 06:14:22 pm »
+6
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, lots.

Textbook Recommendation:  No required texts,  'Life in the Universe' by Bennett & Shostak is recommended but as a Biomedicine student, you don't need it. Probably worth getting (there is a torrent for it) for an Arts student

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

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating:  4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 90 H1

Comments: So, I figured I would give a bit of a contrasting opinion as a 2nd year Biomedicine student, hence this review. So firstly, for any science student doing this subject, it should be a breeze. But for Arts students with minimal science background (just to year 10), I can understand how difficult this subject could be and maybe its worth having a look at the past exams and assessing the difficulty from there. That said, I'm going to cater this review for mostly Science students.

 Like the other review said. The subject is split into 3 parts or 4 depending on how you look at it. I want to talk about this in detail, so here goes. You start off with 6 lectures of astronomy; how the universe began, synthesis of elements, the synthesis of stars, synthesis of a galaxy, synthesis of solar system and synthesis of planets. The lectures give a VERY BASIC idea of how they formed and do not be fooled into thinking they go into a great deal of detail. If you have come purely for these topics (as i did), I do not recommend the subject, you can easily download the textbook and probably find all the info to satisfy your burning curiosity in there.

Next Geology, probably my most hated area. 9 lectures in total, which are essentially a chronological story of earth and the important details that happened in each period (eg: oceans forming, atmosphere forming, prokaryotes, eukaryotes, dinosaurs etc etc). There are also a lecture or so on climate change. The reason why it is my most hated is because the lecturer, while brilliantly entertaining, has shocking lecture notes and I never feel as if I know what it is I'm supposed to know. That said he does release a summary of his lectures at the end of the semester which is way over the top in the level of detail that you need to know.

Next we get to Biology(about 9 lectures again), brilliantly taught by Geoff McFadden, who is an absolute champ. That said i didn't turn up to 80% of them since I already knew the content from biology. Any first year Biology student shouldn't even have to turn up to the lectures(as they are just prokaryotes, eukaryotes, organelles, energy, natural selection etc, all basic stuff) except the last 3 or 4. The last 3 or so are the really really interesting ones, which are on how life might have arisen from a bunch of organic molecules. That said, you could easily learn it on your own (just look up RNA world hypothesis).

Next we have another 6 lectures on Life elsewhere in the universe(on mars etc). While this was interesting, the basic story of these lectures were "we are really really far away from other planets and so it's really really hard to figure out if they have life..." Essentially you learn a bunch of techniques used to detect life/planets/stars elsewhere in the galaxy.

Briefly about the Pracs, the tutors will always tell you the answer and so you really should be getting 70+ on them if you just attend, ask questions and complete the questions. While i agree the physics pracs, which total about 1/3 of them, were stupid, I think this was more a fault of the horrid tutor I had than anything. The geology pracs were actually really helpful and interesting (you basically just looked at cool looking rocks  ;D

To all science students, it should be an easy H1. I did minimal work in comparison to my biomed subjects, in addition to being retarded at geology, and still got a 90.
Arts students, it will be a lot of work, that said, i think a basis of science is so important for everyone to have so i would actively encourage you to do this subject.
For any other info, refer to the other review.
Personally, For ME(not necessarily you) this was a waste of a subject and i would rather have done something where I didn't already know 1/3 of the content, like PHYC10008, which looks awesome. That said, I did learn a lot from the subject that I would never have known else wise.
I give it a 4 out of 5 because of the physics pracs and the geology lectures.
PM me for any questions. :)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2013, 12:44:24 pm by bubbles21 »
2012-14: Bachelor of Biomedicine @ UniMelb

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #158 on: July 07, 2013, 01:52:25 pm »
+8
Subject Code/Name: HPSC20021 Critical Reasoning

Workload:  1x 2 hour seminar and 2x 1 hour seminar - ** the seminars are exactly the same as tutes so don't think of it as being lectures.

Assessment:  Ignore the handbook. This is what it comprises of, unfortunately I don't know the exact percentages as they never told us. I'll go into detail about what these are later
Homework tasks - essentially one a week, comprises about 10% probably
MLM(Mastery Learning Milestones) - probably about another 10% (are also a hurdle)
Main assignment draft - 5% probably
Main assignment - 25% probably
Exams - 50%
Again all of these are rough guesses.

Lectopia Enabled:  No, no recording at all

Past exams available:  Not really, though you can easily find similar questions online by just looking up Logical reasoning questions.

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbook, they provide an online one which is part of the homework tasks.

Lecturer(s): Ashley Barnett and Neil Thomason

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, semester 1

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 92 H1

Comments: First of all, I'd like to prelude that this has been my most enjoyable subject to date, and it's been relatively easy.
What even is critical reasoning? It is essentially, the ability to figure out if an argument is reasonable or not. The type of questions you'll be asked in the exam are basically the same as the LSAT LOGICAL reasoning questions.(not the analytical ones)

Personally I have found this subject to develop my reasoning to a much greater degree than I had before, and I  thought I was pretty good at logical reasoning before. Coming out of this subject, you become naturally attuned to picking out holes in peoples arguments, the flaws and the assumptions needed for their conclusion to be true. It was because of this new skill I have, that I rate this subject 5/5 (it was also quite easy and fun)

Okay so onto what you actually do in the subject...

The whole subject is centered around this argument mapping program(which is free), and you essentially learn how to map more and more complex arguments in this program in the first 6 weeks. This is pretty laborious and easy, and so the first 6 weeks are pretty cruisy. The idea with these 6 weeks is you learn to understand the structure of an arguments (well atleast that's what i got out of it) and also to form a foundation of  the stuff you do in the last 6 weeks. The last 6 weeks being the part where you start assessing other peoples arguments, making your own arguments.

Assessment:
The homework is essentially mapping arguments based on what you learnt in the seminar things and is easy to do, if you get it wrong, he emails and ask you to do it again and again until you get it right. So basically full marks for that
The MLMs are essentially tests based off the homework and you need to get 90%+ on them. However you have unlimited attempts, and no penalty for not getting above 90%. So another full marks for that.
The main assignment is the most time consuming thing and requires a fair bit of effort. The assignment is to map your own argument of your choice and to make it as persuasive as possible. A lot of people for example chose, people should be vegetarians and then had to map a big argument as to why that is true, including objections to some of their arguments and then subsequent rebuttals.

The exam:
Okay, so this was the weirdest part of the whole subject. The first 3 seminar/tute things of the whole subject were exams. One in each seminar. Then, in the exam period you do the same exams (same format atleast) so they can compare how you were before the subject and how good you are now. So yeah, you have 3 exams... then again, you can't prepare for the exams, it all depends on if you do the work in the semester.

Just briefly on the seminars, there are like 10 people in them, and the main tutor guy, Ashley Barnett, is awesome. He's absolutely hilarious and is brilliant at explaining things. The seminars are not in a lecture type format, its more like tutes, lots of discussion and questions.

So just to reiterate, there are no essays or anything, just a lot of mapping arguments. According to Ash, the people who did it in the summer semester didn't do so well so maybe its not worth doing over the summer...
PM me if you have any questions.
I think I've covered everything...
« Last Edit: November 23, 2014, 09:56:22 pm by alondouek »
2012-14: Bachelor of Biomedicine @ UniMelb

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #159 on: July 07, 2013, 04:54:01 pm »
+5
Subject Code/Name: PHYC10005 Physics 1: Fundamentals

Workload:
- 3 one hour lectures per week
- 8 three hour practicals scattered thorough out the semester; each practical has a pre-lab (approximate 20 minutes) associated with it
- 1 one hour tutorial per week (not compulsory)
- 1 assignment per week (minus the first two weeks) - will take approximately one hour.

Assessment:
- 8 Practicals (25%)
- 10 Online Weekly Assignments (10%)
- 1 Task for Written Submission (5%)
- End of Semester 3 Hour Exam (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, 5 exams provided. With solutions to all, but not full explanations.

Textbook Recommendation: 
- R Knight, B Jones and S Field, College Physics: A Strategic Approach, 2nd edition, Addison-Wesley, 2010. (MUST)
- Practical Manual Available from the Co-Op (PDF Available on LMS, but I would recommend that you buy it)

Lecturer(s): Martin Sevior, Christopher Chantler

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, Semester 1

Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (88)

Comments: I know this will be the fourth review, but I just want to hammer in the point.
Recommendations (what worked for me)
1) BUY OR AQUIRE THE BOOK (very very very important)
2) Read every word in chapters 1 through 10 and chapters 14 through 19 chronologically as the semester progresses.
3) In every subchapter there are problems they work through - do every single one of them and make your you understand the idea.
4) At the end of each chapter there are plenty of questions (try to do at least 50% of those question) - if the asnwer for a question is not in the back, its on google.
5) Do all the tutorial questions (posted on LMS)
6) As final exam time gets near (4 to 5 weeks prior to SWOTVAC) start doing all the past exams.
7) A couple of formulas are not given in the formula sheet and some formula are given, but in forms that I didn't like (e.g. doppler effect and lens equation) - make a formula sheet of all formula that are not on the formula sheet
8) Don't go to tutorials (elaborated below), use the time productively
9) Lecture notes are useless, don't use them as your notes. Notes are not really necessary, but if you want some make them yourself.
10) Use khanacademy.org if the textbook doesn't not explain a particular concept well. Then try other websites.
Note that I got (equivalent to) a study score of 29 in high school physics, which is a very poor mark. So I think my strategy did work.

Lectures
The first half of the course is on particle physics and is given by Martin Sevoir. It covers kinematics, dynamics of one dimensional motion, two dimensional motion and rotational motion, orbits/ gravity, elasticity, momentum/ impulse and energy/ work. I went to the first 9 lectures. Chapters 1 through 10 of Knight's textbook. They started of easy and understandable, but progressively worse. Eventually I stopped going to the lectures altogether. It wasn't anything personal with Dr. Sevoir, but rather his style didn't resonate with me and as I understand lots of other people as well. However I suspect with most other people stopped going to the lectures they weren't doing much to compensate and that is where a lot of frustration for people started.

Unfornately Chris Chantler was much worse. He spoke to fast, didn't explain concept and had a strange interpretation of audience participation. I went to a couple of his lectures, tried to watch a few more, but it didn't work out. As I understand he is quite a good physicist, but I think his capabilities supersedes that of physics fundamental students. His lectures covered simple harmonic motion, wave mechanics, sound, light as a wave, light as a particle and optical instruments (application of properties of light).

Tutorials
The tutorials were less helpful than the lectures. We sat on a table and tried to solve some questions. After which the 'tutor' (a physics graduate student) would solve it on the board. My particular tutor seemed to solve the questions in the strangest ways, very unhelpful. The attendance went downhill pretty fast. All in all I went to about 5 tutorials.

Practicals
My Mark: 94%
Each practical is out of 14. 4 marks given for 4 online pre-lab questions. 10 marks given by the demonstrator. By a great stroke of luck after my first practical the demonstrator changed. This was a very helpful situation because the worst thing in the course is the practicals. Firstly there are way too many of them - 8. Bio has 5 and chem has 6, physics fundamentals has far too many. Secondly they are very hard, especially the last few. Everyone just stares at each other blankly when trying to answer the questions. I would recommend trying to attempt the questions before going to lab.

Weekly Assessments
My Mark: 89%
This was outsourced to a company called "Mastering Physics," who provide online physics tests for a lot of American universities. They have some good content so I would recommend looking them up. The tests were pretty fair in my opinion. A lot of people got greater than 100%. There are hints available on the question page. My problem was I forgot one of the tests and nearly forgot a couple more. They are due usually by 11:00 pm every Friday so make sure you do before. They can take an hour or so.

Task for Written Submission
My Mark: 78%
This consisted of 4 questions to be answered qualitatively. For us it was from Marin's section. I would say write the first thing that come to your head, don't stress to much. Don't write too many words (500 words for 4 questions should be fine). It will be some sort of application question.

Final Exam
My Mark: 86% (reverse calculated)
I thought the final exam was quite fair. It was out of 180 marks (1 mark per minute). Consisted of about 20 questions (9 or so marks each), 10 question from Martin's section and 10 questions from Chris' section. It covers almost everything top to bottom. The questions were not particularly hard. 3 hours is sufficient to complete it. There will definitely be a projectile motion questions and there definitely will be a dynamics questions, every single past paper had it. Those are pretty easy to practise for, knowing that. The pattern of the exams reamins the same, so I would say get used to the format used in the past papers. In fact there was a repeat for one for one fo the questions.

For GAMSAT Takers
This is pretty comprehensive and surprisingly coherent with the topics assessed in GAMSAT, except the chapters Electricity and Magnetism are not covered in this course. This is as good as it will get for a physics course for the GAMSAT (minus electricity and magnetism). They even throw in a bit of application, such as ears, eyes and ultrasound. Not a bad option if you have never done physics and require it for the GAMSAT.

Overall Comments
This subject can turn out to be a nightmare. There are something done quite poorly, like number and type of practicals and style of lecturing. However with this subject if you put in the hours you will receive the marks. If you cruise through the semester you will end up with at least 80% in the practical/ assignment part of the course. Getting 80% in the exam means losing a maximum of 30 marks, that three full questions. So H1 is completely possible if you follow my recommended steps. Lastly don't do this subject if Physics has no use to you, so if it is not a prerequisite or you don't need it for the GAMSAT, I would recommend staying away from it.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 07:54:16 am by mc1316 »

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #160 on: July 07, 2013, 05:36:45 pm »
+13
Subject Code/Name: ENGR20004 Engineering Mechanics

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

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

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

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

Textbook Recommendation:  I didn't buy any books, although I heard that they are extremely good if you are rusty on solid mechanics or introductory physics. I reckon that the lecture notes provided are sufficient however.

Lecturer(s): Dr David Ackland and Professor Joe Klewicki

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 100 [H1]

Comments: Ok, Engineering Mechanics, where do I start? Considering this is a core subject for Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering, this is definitely a fundamental course which teaches you the basis of dynamics and solid mechanics. Given that the last class in Semester 2, 2012 had a fail rate of ~35-40% (from what I've heard), this isn't a class to screw around with. So, let's begin.

ENGR20004 is split into two six week topics. The first major topic is Statics and Introductory Solid Mechanics. The first two lectures cover all the Mechanics material from ESD2 again, things like moments/torques, method of joints and what not. This shouldn't be an issue for most students, however, some Environment students come into ENGR20004 after doing ENVS10003: Constructing Environments so I have no idea what they cover. It should be noted that pre-reqs for Environments students has changed to ENVS10009: Structural Environments post-2013 because many students from the BEnvs degree struggled with the material of ENGR20004 without a solid physics background. Again, just what I've heard, but I can understand that this subject would be heaps more difficult if I didn't do Physics 1.

Workshops are a mixture of assignment work, tutorial questions and experiments. When there is an assignment due, the first hour of the workshop is dedicated to tutorial style questions, and the last hour is dedicated to assignment work with your group. Make sure you choose your group wisely, as you are stuck with them the entire semester. Some of the assignments had practical components, such as using weights to experimentally measure shear force and bending moments in beams, and using an Instron Compression Machine to measure the yield strength and other qualities of 3 materials through compression failure (this was quite cool!). These are also done in the workshop's 2nd hour where applicable.

The Statics portion of the class covered topics such as:
Shear Force / Bending Moment diagrams
Stress and strain (shear, normal, bending) 
Poisson's ratio and superposition
Axial loading and thermal stress
Torsion, twisting, power transmission
Flexure, Combined Loadings
Elastic Curves and Deflections

I especially found that the first 4 weeks of Statics was pretty ok, and then the difficultly ramped up in the last 2 weeks. Nothing that is not overly manageable, but the content did take a swing to the "da fuq" side in my mind for a bit. Most of the material hasn't been seen before (except E = FL/Ad from Year 12 Physics) so you want to make sure you're solid with all of the material after each week. It is incredibly easy to fall behind in tutorial questions so make SURE you do them at home. There is no way you can complete all of the tutorial questions in 1 hour. The mid-semester for Statics was quite straight forward to be honest. My advice is to make sure you can do bending moment and shear force diagrams well, as they are built upon in towards the latter end of the Statics section.

The Dynamics portion of the class covered:
Motion in Rectangular, Polar and N-T coordinates
Constrained and Relative Motion
Particle Kinetics, Work and Energy
Linear Impulse and Momentum
Angular Impulse and Momentum
Impact and Coefficient of Restitution
Equations of Motion and Vibrational Response
Forced Vibration
Rigid Body Motion, Absolute Motion analysis, Relative velocity
Instantaneous centres, relative velocity equation, relative acceleration equation
General Planar Motion

If you had completed Physics 1 with a decent grade, most of this stuff (first 3-4 weeks) should have been seen before, at the very least. The topics are built upon and expanding from first year mechanics, with harder and more ambiguous questions being asked. The difficult topics in my mind were the last 2 weeks again: rigid body motion and general planar motion. Holy shit was this stuff hard on the tutorial questions. Make sure you do all of them, or at least attempt all of them. If I was going to be completely honest, I couldn't complete 75% of the last tutorial sheet because of it's difficulty.

My general advice for this class is to NOT FALL BEHIND. Make sure you do each of the tutorial questions and keep onto of the assignments (which aren't easy) every week. All in all, ENGR20004 was a very fun class, with interesting topics in my opinion. Now, I've just got to choose between Electrical and Mechanical Engineering as a Masters specialisation...
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vox nihili

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #161 on: July 07, 2013, 06:37:44 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: BIOL10002 Biomolecules and Cells 

Workload: 3 x 1 hour lecture, 1 hour tutorial fortnightly, 2 hour practical fortnightly, 1 hour workshop fortnightly

Assessment:  (copied from handbook) A 45 minute multiple choice test held mid-semester (10%); work in practical classes during the semester including assessment of practical skills and written work not exceeding 1000 words (30%); completion of 5 Independent Learning Tasks throughout the semester (5%); a written assignment not exceeding 500 words (5%); a 3hr examination on theory and practical work in the examination period (50%).

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, withscreen capture. Though the lectures probably are worth going to, even at 8am!

Past exams available:  No past exams. A sample exam was provided, though it wasn't particularly good.

Textbook Recommendation: Life 10th ed, Sadava et al. Personally, I didn't find it particularly useful. The lecture notes are generally sufficient, and realistically, google is a treasure trove of information. It's also recommended that you buy a biology dictionary. For twenty bucks, this is a good investment. I used it much more than the text.

Lecturer(s): Botany: Geoff McFadden. Zoology: David Gardner, Stephen Frankenberg, Matthew Digby, Laura Parry

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2013

Rating: 3.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (91)

Comments:

Practicals

Most people I spoke to found the practical very useful as a way to revise and confirm the lecture content. I can't say that they were particularly fun or stimulating, though they were certainly worthwhile. Everything feels a little more relevant when you're actually doing it in a practical class. Some of the practicals in particular were really good. Personally, I liked the components of the practicals looking at tissue samples. In terms of assessment though, the practicals were a bit annoying. There was a lot of inconsistency between the tutors in how hard, or how "not so hard", they would mark work. What was also frustrating is that there wasn't really a clear definition of what they would like to see or where marks would come from. This was my experience with the assessment, though it should be said that some tutors were a lot more proactive about their discussion of the practical tasks. Mine, however, looked at the work, shook her head and gave a mark.
Make sure that you've prepared yourself for the practicals a few days early. Quite often the stuff is related to the last lecture (particularly if you do it on a Monday like I did), so it's definitely worthwhile preparing properly. Don't forget to do the preprac test, and don't be too cocky with it. You only have to get over 50% to get your marks, but if you're an idiot like I was with one of them—you may not quite make that! There's also a post-prac test that actually makes up the bulk of your marks, so don't forget to do that either. It's timed, though, four questions in ten minutes will give you plenty of opportunity to look up the answers in your prac or the text.
One particular bonus with the pracs is that you're given a seat number, and so you're forced—no matter how anti-social you may be—to get to know the people no your table, which can be a lot of fun!
Lastly, if you're not a big fan of blood and guts, you'll need to supply your own gloves for dissections, as the labs don't have them. The demonstrators seem to take delight in the look on everyone's faces when they say there are no gloves—and rightly so, it can be pretty bloody funny!

Tutorials and Workshops

If you're feeling nostalgic and want to revisit your primary school days, the tutorials and workshops provide a good opportunity to do so. It should be noted first off that not all the tutorials and workshops were the same. There was one particular tutor who apparently ran a ripper workshop, alas, it wasn't mine. Most classes find themselves spending the tutorials doing worksheets, whilst the tutor skims around the room asking people if they have any questions. It is a good opportunity to ask your tutor some questions, though this time is seldom used for that. The tutorials certainly felt like a waste of time. After the first workshop, attendance dropped off dramatically...and continued to do so. The workshops were much the same as the tutorials. They consisted of doing worksheets and playing card games. At the end, the tutor would go through the answers. For most this was a pointless exercise as they had given up on the worksheet half an hour before.

ILTs

You need to complete the ILTs for 5% of your mark. Thus, they're worthwhile. As an exercise they are also worthwhile. It's a good idea to have your notes ready and have a bit of an idea about the content of the ILT before you start it, so as to get the most out of it.

Lectures

The quality of the lectures really depended on the lecturer. These are really frustrating to get right (from the lecturer's perspective) as the best lectures are the ones with the least writing, but the best lecture notes for revision are the ones with the most writing.

Personally, I found Geoff McFadden's lectures the best. This was probably a mixture of the fact that his topics were by far the easiest (particularly for those who have done Biol before) and that he was truly a fantastic lecturer. For someone who is so well regarded in his field, it was incredible to see how passionate he was about teaching and how well he could do it. Geoff's lecturing style was very different to the rest as well. He used a lot of videos and a lot of diagrams, where the others tended towards a lot of writing on their slides.

David Gardner was another highlight. He was a bit all over the place sometimes, though he was certainly in his element when he wasn't just reading from his slides. When he allowed himself to talk by just having pictures up there, he was incredibly insightful and easy to follow. Right near the end of semester, when everything was getting a bit ugly, he gave a lecture on Animals in Biomedicine. Perfect timing for it. It wasn't particularly intense, but I think it went a way to remind everyone why they've chosen Biomedicine...so props to David for that.

Matthew Digby was probably the most excited about being there. He really tried to get to know people and seemed to delight in the opportunity to lecture. He wasn't the most well spoken lecturer and he got lost some of the time, but he made up for that with his enthusiasm. If he hadn't explained something well, he'd always make sure to revisit it in the next lecture. When people sent him e-mails to ask questions, he'd always make sure to address the things that kept popping up in the next lecture. I think everyone really appreciate the effort he was putting into teaching the course, and all in all he actually did a fantastic job of it.

Laura Parry took quite a number of the lectures, and wasn't particularly well received by most people. She started her first lecture by ranting about how she doesn't like people talking during her lectures, and well, that just about set the mood for the rest of her lectures. She also constantly reminded us that "I write your exam, so if I miss out on things because you're talking, bad luck". Another really annoying thing of hers was that she would show incomplete diagrams and incomplete text in her lecture slides, and encouraged us all to "fill in the gaps". Personally, I never printed off lecture slides as I think it's an utter waste of time, so that was particularly annoying when I went home to revise from them off my computer. Furthermore, nobody listened to her because they were spending all of their time frantically filling in the spaces in the notes. For someone who demanded everyone's attention, this was an odd way to achieve that. Laura did start each lecture with exam questions which was particularly handy though!

Last but not least was Stephen Frankenberg. He was extremely monotonous and boring, though he wasn't a particularly bad lecturer if you made the effort to follow what he was saying. Personally, I appreciated his honesty. He really clearly outlined what he expected us to know and told us when things were a bit over the top. He seemed to get that the room was full of stressheads, so that was helpful. He was also particularly funny in the revision lecture, so those who went enjoyed that I think!

Hints

Biology is one of those beautiful subjects wherein actually understanding the content leads to good marks. Unlike Chemistry, or maths, or physics and many of the other sciences, there really is no trick to doing the questions. There's no special method, no special formula. If you know your stuff, you'll get a good mark. How you do in this subject will be about how much you manage to remember and how well you can regurgitate that.

If you keep notes, keep up with the lectures and revisit your notes every so often, you should be absolutely fine. Don't fret about doing sample exams and sample questions, because it is unlikely that you'll get any surprises there. Being able to communicate the major ideas, and appreciate the science behind them.
When you're going through things, always look to connect the dots. This is essential in doing well in Biology. There are so many facts, so many terms and just so god damned much to remember in Biology, so if you can connect the dots, find the similarities, this will cut your work down a hell of a lot. Examples are also fantastic. Remembering the science in context is also particularly helpful. In a lot of cases, the examples given on the lectures will also pop up in the questions, so it is worthwhile noting them! In fact, some of the questions asked about details of the examples themselves—so there's a worthwhile hint!

Any questions, chuck me a message!
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #162 on: July 07, 2013, 08:03:27 pm »
+9
Subject Code/Name: COMP20005 Engineering Computation

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

Assessment:  10% Assignment 1, 20% Assignment 2, 10% mid-semester held in Week 6, 60% Final Exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture (thank god).

Past exams available:  Only one available in Week 12. Solutions provided in SWOTVAC.

Textbook Recommendation:  Alistair wrote the book and runs the course. The book is absolutely vital to doing well in this course. Please buy it.

Lecturer(s): Alistair Moffat

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating:  5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 89 [H1]

Comments: Given my experiences with programming and computing, I came into this subject dreading the whole concept of it. Surprisingly enough, this turned out to be a fantastic subject that really does introduce you to the language of C and by the end of the course, you should be competent enough to tackle some harder engineering-esque questions that you may face as an Electrical, Mechanical or a Biomedical Engineering major.

This subject is run completely from the textbook. I don't believe that you can learn programming by listening to lectures, and as such, I only went to those ones in Week 12 for the Exam revision, and I watched the rest online while practising programming. This course starts you from the absolute basic of computer programming, assuming no knowledge of any language. However, most students here came from ENGR10003: Engineering Systems Design 2, and as such, should have some MATLAB skill. You learn the topics of selection, functions, arrays, structures and how to effectively analyze a problem and use abstraction to simplify the task.

The assignments in the class are time-consuming. Not that they take ages to code up, (Ass1 was ~320 lines, and Ass2 was ~600 lines of code for me), but the thought process behind what's going on does take a couple of hours, if not days to wrap your head around. Please don't leave this to the last minute, you will have a hard time cramming code. Also note that you cannot copy code from any person in the course. All submissions are cross-referenced against each other and he does catch people.

Make sure you practise programming every week. Coding is not something you can pick up without practise, and many of the students here have never properly programmed anything in their life. Practise makes perfect, and because you did buy the book, you should complete all of the chapter questions there because he only assigns a few for each workshop. On that note, workshops basically run like ENGR20004 - Engineering Mechanics. The first hour you are in the room next to the computer lab and get into groups of 3 to 4. You then discuss problems within the group and the head tutor asks a member of your group to explain some reasoning behind a fragment of code to the class. The second hour is you practising coding on a computer in the EDS6 labs. While these are not compulsory (to the best of my knowledge) you should turn up because practising programming with other people and letting others check over what you are doing with the best way of learning.

The exam this semester was so insanely hard. I was talking to mates out front who are all on 37-40/40 for the semester pre-exam and we all agreed that we got wrecked by it. Alistair posted a practise exam in Week 12 which was sooooo much easier and lulled most people into a false sense of security. He noted that the exam was difficult and that the raw marks were adjusted upwards to reflect that difficulty on the LMS page post-exam. So, that's good for all you Sem 2 COMP20005ers, because the exam will definitely be easier for you.

That being said, while I didn't go to many lectures and watched them online (timetable was so bad that I had to wait 3 hours each time for the only lecture stream of the class) I felt that I should have gone more often because Alistair was a fantastic lecture that was genuinely enthusiastic about programming. He's motto "PROGRAMMING IS FUN" was so ingrained into us that it actually made me realise that programming is quite fun and the thought process and methodology behind tackling a problem is part of the fun of solving it. Also, writing done "programming is fun" on your assignments gave you an extra 0.5 marks if you lost it on something stupid in the Stage 1 Marking. So make sure you do that.

All in all, this was a great class which I highly recommend to all engineering students. Mechanicals: you have to do it sometime before graduating from your M.Eng, why not in 2nd year where there aren't as many interesting classes? Electricals: You need to do this as a co-req for Signals and Systems, so take it in 2nd year. Softwares: It's a core requirement if you want to do M.Eng(Software). So no choice.
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #163 on: July 08, 2013, 07:35:36 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: FREN10006/20001/30003 French 5 

Workload:  2 x 2 hr Tutorials per week

Assessment:  Two written tests - 15% each (the second test is replaced with a 500 word reflection task in English for those enrolled in 20001 or 30003), a debate in a small group- 20%, an exposé (oral presentation on a topic related to studies) in pairs - 20%, a final exam - 30%

Lectopia Enabled:  N/A as there are only tutorials

Past exams available:  No

Textbook Recommendation:  La guerre sans nom - Patrick Rotman et Bertrand Tavernier, Mai 68 raconté à ceux qui ne l'ont pas vécu - Patrick Rotman.

Lecturer(s): Various.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2013

Rating:  4/5

Comments: Overall, I really enjoyed this subject and it pushed me to improve and become more confident in my French. For me, it was rather time consuming during the semester as there was always homework to complete (including reading sections from the texts) and assessments coming up. I would not call French 5 an "easy" subject, if you're not a fluent speaker it may require a fair amount of work in order to keep up and to do well on the assessments. For these reasons, I would not recommend this subject to those looking for something "easy" or with a light workload. However, if you enjoy French, it's a really interesting and rewarding subject.

This year we studied the Algerian War in the first half of the semester. As a science student whose last experience with history was Classical Studies (Ancient Greece) in year 11, this was a challenge to get my head around as some of the circumstances of the war were (in my opinion) quite complicated. However, we were given extra resources on the lms we could look at to aid in our understanding. In the second half of the semester we studied the events of May 1968 in France including the protests by university students. I found this topic very engaging and preferred it to the Algerian War as I found it easier to understand and more relatable.

In terms of difficulty, the assessments ranged from average to challenging. I found some of the topics we were given to discuss quite complex and a big step up from those encountered in VCE and in French 3 and 4. I most enjoyed the exposé as it allowed me to get to know another class member and the research we did aided greatly in my understanding of the class work. All the work we did in class was great preparation for the assessments and there was plenty of opportunity to practise.

I hope this review helps anyone interested in doing French 5 and gives them a taste of what the subject is like :) I would definitely recommend it for anyone who has enjoyed learning French in the past and is eager to improve and learn about more complex topics.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 07:37:19 pm by claireb »

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #164 on: July 08, 2013, 07:45:52 pm »
+9
Subject Code/Name: MIIM30011 Medical Microbiology: Bacteriology

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lectures per week

Assessment:  Online Weekly Quizzes (10%), MCQ Mid Semester Test (20%), MCQ/Written Exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.  Dick and Roy tend to start lecturing before the recording begins sometimes.

Past exams available:  None given.  Some lecturers gave some practice written questions at the end of their lecture series.
Most of the lectures also included some learning objectives so you roughly knew what you had to understand.

Textbook Recommendation:  The textbook for this subject (Bacterial Pathogenesis: a Molecular Approach) is pretty useless.  It only covers the first half of the course and even then, a lot of the lecture diagrams are often taken from elsewhere such as journals.  I think I used the textbook once because the lecturer explained an experiment poorly.  All you will need the textbook for is clarifying minor points.  The lectures are self contained and all of the assessment is taken from the lecture content only.  Either find an online copy or borrow it from the library.  It is certainly not worth buying, especially because microbiology is a rapidly moving field and I think a lot of the content in the book is already outdated.

Lecturer(s): Elizabeth Hartland, Roy Robins-Browne, Dick Strugnell, Odilia Wijburg, Tim Stinear & a few guest lecturers.

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 95 H1

Comments: I will begin by saying that this was probably my favourite subject for the semester.  The subject was very well coordinated and for the most part, the lecture content was interesting.  Moreover, I felt that the subject did indeed live up to its name, with a lot of the content being related back to health and medicine.

As this is a lecture-based subject, it is relatively straight forward.  The weekly quizzes however are kind of annoying.   They are free marks though so I guess this is a good thing.  Sometimes though, the questions on these quizzes IMO were poorly written and had mistakes in them or they were very subjective, especially the true-false questions. (e.g. Salmonella Typhi has a virtually identical genome to Salmonella Typhimurium. True of false?).  Thankfully, this did not extend to the MCQs in the test or exam, which were a lot clearer.

In terms of lecturers in this subject, the stand-outs were Liz and Roy.
Liz is a very good lecturer.  She is clear and to the point, often finishing her lectures early.  She was also happy for people to go and see her to go over some practice questions she gave out, although I never took up the offer.

Roy was my total favourite but I know there are some who don't like him.  I think because I had him last year I knew what to expect.
He tells lots of stories and always keeps it interesting.  His notes are very brief though so you need to write down a lot of content.
His exam questions are relatively easy and just test the stuff which he talks about.

Dick was okay as a lecturer and explained things well most of the time, although he would always start early and sometimes wrote stuff on the board which was annoying.  Thankfully he writes good exam questions.  Odilia and Tim were my least favourite.  Odilia is very nice but was often too brief with her explanations.  Tim is basically just obsessed with genomics and writes really bad exam questions.

In terms of content, this subject starts off at a moderate-high level and this pace seems consistent throughout most of the semester.
There is a lot of content to remember in this subject and it is easy to confuse things so you need to take care both when learning things and also when answering the exam.  The whole subject is basically centered around learning from examples.  Everything is explained using examples, so you need to know them all.

Initially, you begin learning about bacterial structures and virulence determinants at a superficial level.
Then you hone in on specific bacteria and learn the precise molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis and how different bacteria persist (e.g. pili, adhesins, toxins, effectors etc.).  Here you cover the three main niches where bacteria can survive (extracellular, vacuole or lysosome) and learn more examples.  There is a fair bit of cell biology involved in this part of the course.  This lecture series ends with two rather boring lectures on the various secretion systems used by bacteria to export proteins either into host cells or onto their surface.

Following this, you move into more experimental genetics type content looking at things such as how bacterial genes are regulated (e.g. lac operon, sigma factors, slip-strand mis-repair, two-component systems etc.).  This then leads into learning various means of measuring gene expression, identifying virulence genes and touching on how genes are exchanged between bacteria.
In this part, you also learn about the host factors which influence infection and there is also a lecture on microbiota.

My absolute favourite part of the course then follows, which is antibiotics.  Here you learn the mechanism of action of certain groups of antibiotics and then the mechanisms of resistance which bacteria have evolved.  The major groups which we covered were beta-lactams and aminoglycosides, although some others were mentioned more briefly.  Again, you learn about how genetic exchange leads to resistance which is useful because it was explained ordinarily the first time.  You also cover some basic laboratory experiments used to determine antimicrobial susceptibility for different isolates.

There were also some more general lectures about vaccination, diagnostic microbiology and genomics.
The vaccination lecture is mostly about non-protein antigens and conjugate vaccines, which is pretty straight forward because it should have been taught at second year.  The genomics lectures are boring but okay if you have done genetics in the past, although Tim Stinear is obsessed with genomics and spends more time telling stories and going through case studies than he does actually explaining genomic principles.  I enjoyed the diagnostics lectures.  A lot of the content covered in these lectures will have already been taught in second year.  You go through microscopy, staining, antigen capture assays, PCR, microarrays, biochemical tests and serology.

Following this, the course moves into looking at specific genera of bacteria.
Each lecturer likes to put their own twist onto the content which they cover, but you invariably learn virulence determinants, pathogenesis and symptoms.  Then depending on the lecturer, you may cover different aspects of the organism such genomics, lab diagnosis, treatment etc.  The bacteria which were covered this year were Clostridia, Mycobacteria, E. coli, Rickettsiae, Coxiella, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococci and Salmonellae.  There are many more examples of bacteria such as Shigella, Vibrio cholerae and Corynebacterium diphtheriae which are covered earlier on in the course.

The final exam is pretty fair.  The MCQs are mostly weighted to the second half of the course because this was not covered in the MST, although there still are some MCQs from the first part of the course on the exam as well.  The MCQs make up one-third of the exam and the written component makes up two-thirds.  There were 5 (20 mark) questions in the written part of the exam, from which you choose 4 to write on.  Each question is broken down into part a and b, which are worth 10 marks each.  There then may or may not be further sub-parts depending on the question.  The important point to note is that part a and b can be completely unrelated in terms of content, therefore, as you have to answer an entire question, you have to study all of the lecture content because different content can be mixed together within the one question.

Doing well on the exam hinges on manging your time properly.  Use the reading time to answer as many MCQs as possible.  I'd recommend spending at least ~100 mins of exam time on the written questions, substantially more than the recommended 80 mins.  One thing which always seems to come up in the written questions is secretion systems, so make sure that you learn these well, including examples.  The 2013 exam had an entire 10 mark question on drawing a concept map about genomics.  It looked awful and this was part of the question which I skipped.  The genomics lecturer went on and on about concept maps so I guess it wasn't unexpected.  Unlike me, it might be worth practicing some.  There was also an annoying question about vaccines which didn't really make sense, so learn this content well so you will have something to write about should it arise again. :)

All in all, this is a fairly enjoyable subject if you like microbiology.  The important part of succeeding in this subject, aside from memorising all of the content, is to be able to integrate all of the content and relate it back to basic principles of disease.  For example, in a lecture towards the end, you may be taught that an effector is a Type III secreted protein.  Therefore, in a question about that bacterium on the exam, you would be expected to explain not only the effector, but also the secretion system by which the protein is exported.  You should then also be able to explain how it contributes to infection/persistence/damage by the pathogen.
The coordinator puts up the basic aims of what you should understand from the entire subject, so keep these in mind when answering exam questions because it is important to keep on topic! :)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 08:14:43 pm by stonecold »
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