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Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1042424 times)  Share 

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vcestudent94

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #240 on: December 02, 2013, 04:53:41 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: ACTL10001 Introduction to Actuarial Studies

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lecture per week and 1 hour tutorial per week.

Assessment:  2 Group Assignments (10% each), A 45 min mid-semester test (10%) and 2 hour Exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled:  No

Past exams available:  No but a specimen exam was given with solutions in the exam period. Also worked solutions to the midsem and assignments was also given which I though was pretty good.

Textbook Recommendation:  An Introduction to Actuarial Studies by Atkinson and Dickson. I didn't buy nor use the textbook.

Lecturer(s): Xueyuan Wu

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 2

Rating: 3.5-4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 84 (H1)

Comments:
So after doing well in Finance 1 in first semester, I was looking for a similar subject but a little more maths inclined. This subject met that description but it is NOTHING like Finance 1. You can't just simply plug in numbers into a formula, you need to understand the formula and know how to derive it from scratch. You will get many different problems to do with annuities, bonds, housing loans, etc. and it is usually easier (I found) to do things by first principles rather than just memorising a template formula and tweaking it to each scenario. A good background in series will help.
You do mortality and life probabilities which is pretty bland in some parts like dealing with mortality tables and populations, and theres a hint of calculus when you find the force of mortality (nothing major, only finding the derivative of basic functions).

Then you do contingencies, which is basically a mixture of financial maths and life probability. Instead of dealing with payments that are certain, what is the present value of payments that are conditional on if a life survives/dies? This is the basis of life insurance. You learn how to calculate the premium for a certain insured sum. This is probably the hardest part of the subject.
Lastly there's a bunch of theory that you need to know about various insurance policies and the roles of actuaries in life and general insurance. This part was beyond horrible. As someone that doesn't intend to become an actuary, I found myself bored and uninterested-but you do need to know them.
I had a good experience with group assignments but the mid semester I found was too long for 45 minutes with NO reading time. The end of year exam was fair however.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 05:13:03 pm by vcestudent94 »

sheepgomoo

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #241 on: December 02, 2013, 07:04:57 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: SOLS10001 Law In Society

Workload:  2x1hr lecture, 1x1hr tute.

Assessment: 1xmid sem research assignment (40%), 1xgroup presentation (10%) [more on this in comments], take home eoy exam (50%). Minimum hurdle of 75% tutorial attendance.

Lectopia Enabled: Yes.

Past exams available:  None.

Textbook Recommendation: Reading pack of all required readings for the subject, which are also available in online pdf version. Probably best to buy the book which costs ~$15 so you can annotate/highlight and save the trouble of printing the readings yourself.

Lecturer(s): Dave McDonald.

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, Semester 2.

Rating: 2/5

Comments: Artsy law. I’m not trying to offend anyone, but I refer to this subject as ‘artsy’ simply because it is so heavily based on subjectivity. It has no direct relation to statutes and their application to specific cases, rather, it analyses the system and explores how it both addresses harm and can be a form of harm.

Lectures/Lecturer: The content you go through in the lectures is generally an overview of the topic you focus on for the week. This is usually linked with a major theme and both are explored concurrently. Dave will go through some situations that link with the theme, and this material is usually expanded upon in tutes. This said, you could probably pass this subject without going to lectures.

Content: The topics covered were interesting, especially controversial contemporary issues such as asylum seekers. It also went through things such as how and why new law is formed (which could then be linked to all of the other topics). It was interesting to realise that some of the topics I thought were very one-sided (such as torture) were not, and in this sense this subject expands on your views and challenges you to see issues from more than one angle. Some of the topics were closely interlinked, and there was a strong emphasis on these links and then how these actually extended throughout the whole course.

Assessments:  1. Group presentation (10%): This is referred to as ‘a written exercise of 500 words due early in the semester’ in the handbook, but the actual assessment is more on the presentation, and isn’t necessarily going to be ‘early in the sem’. Basically people in the tute pick a topic that they’re interested in, and in the corresponding tute after the topic is covered in lectures, two/three people group up and give a presentation. It isn’t hard to get a good mark, as long as you discuss the topic in depth and attempt to engage the audience. 
2. Mid-sem Research Essay (40%): The major piece of assessment. 2000 word essay on a prompt you could pick from a list. You can liken this to a context piece from VCE English. There is no correct contention; rather, you have to critically analyse the topic and explore it in detail through your arguments. We were encouraged to research other sources for ideas, but my tutor said he wouldn’t deduct marks for not using external resources. Referencing is very strictly marked.
3. Exam (50%): Very similar to the research essay in all aspects, except you’re given the prompts at the start of the exam period and have a one week deadline. It was fine to use sources outside of the readings, but I would suggest against it, since time is of the essence. Referencing is again really important. 

Tutes/Readings: Tutorials were good in that they explored ideas more broadly, and there was some new content that wasn’t discussed in lectures. You could reinforce your understanding by participating in the discussions, and the tutor often challenged some of the typical views people had. Some readings were also very interesting, although these weren’t really discussed in tutorials. Hence, although we were told to do the readings before going to tutes, you could probably get off by not doing them. Regardless, if you are someone like me who is stubborn and reads every last prescribed reading, then they are the part of the course that will take up the most time.

Overall: At first, I thought this would be a good breadth to take because I enjoy discussions and controversial ideas, and this indeed was the case, however, the actual assessment of the subject dimmed my enjoyment.
Not only is there no real way to study for this subject, your scores depend strongly on how strict a marker your tutor is, and the marking rubric is bad. Because the content is so subjective and there are only two major assessments, a clear marking scheme is really important, but is missing.
At this stage, I don’t really see the significance of this subject and how the exploration of law and these issues can help, since there are no answers to anything. Basically, what you ‘learn’ is that everything is subjective, and you need to be open-minded. Also not so sure about how useful this ‘knowledge’ would be for the practice of law itself. Or maybe I’m just harsh and arts isn’t for me.
If you are competent in writing deep essays and can reference well, I guess this subject would be good because it has a quite low work-load. You can do well with average effort, but a H1 will require higher exponential effort, imo.
If anyone wants the subject guide or has any further questions, feel free to drop a PM.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2013, 08:41:19 pm by sheepgomoo »

anazergal

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #242 on: December 06, 2013, 01:17:50 am »
+3
Subject Code/Name: LING20006 Syntax

Workload: Contact Hours: 2 x 1 hour lectures and a 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week. Tutorials ran from week 2-12. There were also optional reading groups held amongst the students.

Assessment:

Assignment 1 (25%): This was about analysing a given foreign data set with no translations. Part 1 involved identifying/explaining word classes, sentence structures, and grammatical morphemes, before predicting a new grammatical sentence. Part 2 introduced more sentences, and made us revise our initial analysis and identify/explain possible ambiguities. I personally found this assignment difficult and muddled my way through it. Despite the first two tutorials covering something similar, I had no previous experience with identifying morphemes and the like, and couldn't keep up. Don't be afraid to bombard your tutor with questions though! Mine (Kate Horrack) was a lifesaver. :D

Assignment 2 (25%): This was a four-part assignment about X-bar syntax and the complement/adjunct distinction. We had to distinguish between ambiguous sentences, draw tree diagrams, argue for complements/adjuncts, identify problems/solutions of X-bar theory, and detail any new rules. Phrase structure rules were provided.

Take-home Exam (50%): The exam format differs from year to year, with some involving one question with many structured parts, and others testing a variety of topics. Ours was a bit of both, and touched on complex sentences, grammatical functions, and relative clauses. I was told that this was the last year for Syntax take-home exams, however.

Note: Students could collaborate on the assignments as long as they submitted their own versions, but NOT the final exam.

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: No.

Textbook Recommendation: The textbook was Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction by Kroeger (2005). It held some readings and was used during a few tutorials, but I don't know how essential it ultimately was as I never bought it. :-\ A subject reader was also available from the co-op, but it was never referred to beyond the first two tutorials, materials of which were provided on the LMS anyway. I wouldn't recommend buying this.

Lecturer(s): Peter Hurst

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, Semester 2

Rating: 4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H2A

Comments: I went in with the preconception that Syntax was dull and difficult, but unexpectedly found myself liking it. Both Peter and Kate were enthusiastic, engaging, friendly, and helpful, which I think made the subject less dry and intimidating. Make no mistake though: Syntax is a difficult subject with a heavy workload. I found some areas unbearably technical and struggled a lot, although this was partly compounded by having not taken The Secret Life of Language as well as my own laziness in not keeping up with the readings and tutorial exercises. You don't have to be a native speaker of English to take this subject, but it will be easier if you are. Be prepared for lots of confusion and second-guessing, but remain diligent and you will be rewarded. :)
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 10:04:42 pm by anazergal »

anazergal

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #243 on: December 06, 2013, 02:51:53 am »
+4
Subject Code/Name: LING20003 Second Language Learning and Teaching

Workload: 2 x 1 hour lectures and a 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week. No tutorials in the first and last weeks.

Assessment:

Assignment 1 (20%; 800 words): Collecting a sample of language produced by a beginner/low intermediate second language learner, analysing it for main errors, then explaining them in terms of the topics covered in the subject.

Assignment 2 (40%; 1600 words): Interviewing a classmate about his/her experience of learning a second language, then analysing/explaining possible reasons for his/her perceived success/lack of success by reference to the individual variables covered in this course.

Assignment 3/Take-home Exam (40%; 1600 words): Students could either analyse course materials or observe language classrooms.
Option A: Selecting two course books designed for use in second language classrooms and analysing their approach to the teaching of a specific language skill.
Option B: Observing one language class and discussing the lesson by reference to the language learning theories and teaching-specific language skills covered in the subject.

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: N.A.

Textbook Recommendation: The prescribed textbook was Second Language Theories by Mitchell & Myles (2004), but its content was similar enough to the lectures that you could get by with borrowing it once from the library for the first assignment, and simply reading the relevant LMS readings for the other two. I didn't buy this, and didn't seem to need it.

Lecturer(s): Neomy Storch

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, Semester 2

Rating: 4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H2A

Comments: The subject is exactly what its name suggests. The first 8 weeks covered second language learning based on theories (eg. behaviourism, interlanguage, universal grammar...) and individual factors (ie. age, motivation, aptitude, strategies), and the next 4 weeks covered second language teaching based on approaches (eg. grammar, audiolingualism, tasks...) and skills (eg. listening, reading, speaking, writing). The tutorials involved sharing learning experiences/opinions or completing worksheet exercises in small groups, and did manage to foster some healthy discussion, even debate. The subject is not ~boring~, but also not supremely memorable. It's neither difficult, nor a guaranteed H1. Gosh, I don't really know what to say beyond the obvious!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 10:05:46 pm by anazergal »

gkushagra

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #244 on: December 12, 2013, 11:43:19 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: GENE20002 Genes and Genomes 

Workload:  3 lectures & 1 problem class per week

Assessment:  10% Mid semester test; 15% for 2 online assignments weighted equally; 75% 2hr exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture but not very reliable

Past exams available:  The 2006, 2008 and 2010 exams were available (No answers for 2008, 2010)

Textbook Recommendation:  None

Lecturer(s): Meryl Davis and John Golz

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 2

Rating: 3.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: Definitely one of the easiest science subjects I have done. 3 of the lectures are devoted as revision lectures and the last 2 are not assessed in any way. Other lectures are incredibly boring and in the case of Meryl, extremely slow. John Golz goes through some of the more laboratory aspects of genetics which I found to be difficult and convoluted but he set extremely easy exam questions so nothing to worry about. Meryl's lectures are to do more with DNA repair, replication, transcription, translation, etc. very dry but easy to study for. The lecture slides are among the poorest I not worth much. The first assignment basically involved "reading" an article and answering some questions online within a week. Ctrl+F worked just fine for me. The second set by John was a little harder and requires using the genetics lab for a computer program but can be knocked out within 2-3 hours looking over some lecture notes. The exam is quite a joke. 30% of the questions were recycled and a further 10% were mind numbingly easy. The rest are easily doable with some effort in studying the notes. The best bit is there are only 50 to answer in 2hrs so most people were finished within 45 minutes. I would definitely recommend you do the subject if you are looking for an easy H1 but if you are looking for something interesting/ engaging, this isn't it.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 12:12:58 am by gkushagra »

gkushagra

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #245 on: December 13, 2013, 12:07:25 am »
+3
Subject Code/Name: PHYS20008 Human Physiology

Workload:  3x1 hr lectures a week

Assessment:  5% PRS; 15% CALs; 2 Mid-semester tests  15% each; 50% 2hr exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, lots but they format has now changed.

Textbook Recommendation:  Physiology by Silverthorn is recommended. Not necessary as lecture notes are great.

Lecturer(s): Charles Sevigny, Arianne Dantas and Gabriella Farries

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 Semester 2

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Comments: One of the most enjoyable subjects I have done so far. For PRS 5%, you simply need to attend at least 50% of lecturers and answer some multiple choice questions with provided clickers. This helped me commit to going to lectures. The lectures are also great as the slides are excellent and Charles, who lectures 80% of the time is fantastic. Arianne had 2 lectures and Gabby did 2 weeks on kidneys. The lecture notes are also extremely thorough and easy to follow. From week 6 once kidneys are covered, the difficulty definitely ramps up as Charles tries to put the various systems covered together. A bit of memorisation is required but nothing substantial. There are 10 CAL tasks, 1 each week alternating between blogs and "concept checks." The concept checks are based on that week of lectures and can be done progressively over the week and are relatively easy. The blogs involve some question you must discuss with a bunch of people in a group online. I found them to be very annoying and time consuming. The tutors are also not generous with marks but just do the best to make a few constructive suggestions. The first midsem is on neuro and muscles and most people sail through it. The second is much more challenging. Both had their fair share of very tricky questions demanding application of the concepts. The exam has changed this semester to a complete multiple choice format (130 in total) so I found past exams quite useless. Be prepared for many diagrams and very small details to be assessed here. I would definitely suggest managing time well as most people ran out. Again, not easy but interesting and doable nonetheless.

jediwizardspy

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #246 on: December 14, 2013, 03:33:48 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: PHYC20011 Electromagnetism and Optics

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lectures per week; 1 x 1 hour problem-solving class per week; 6 x 3 hour practical classes per semester (every alternate week - these can either be in even-numbered weeks starting in Week 2, or in odd-numbered weeks starting in Week 3 and ending in SWOT Vac)

Assessment:  One assignment covering Optics, and two assignments covering Electromagnetism (5% each); Six laboratory reports (total 20%); One 3 hour examination (65%) - N.B. Passing the practical component (>50%) of the course is a hurdle requirement, as is attending, and submitting a report for, at least 5 out of 6 practicals.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture. However, Rob (Optics) sometimes decided to do his calculations on the whiteboard.

Past exams available:  Yes, from 2009 onwards. However for Electromagnetism, there are exams for 640-245 Electromagnetism and Relativity from 1999 - 2008, and for Optics there are exams for 640-237 Astrophysics and Optics II over the same period since these were the predecessors of the current course. N.B. Do not attempt the exams for the "Advanced" version of 640-245 unless you want a challenge - believe me, you won't!

Textbook Recommendation:  R H Good, Classical Electromagnetism, Saunders - definitely get this one, as Chantler's lecture notes for Electromagnetism are hand-written and arguably not very well organised.
E Hecht, Optics 4th edn, Addison-Wesley - don't bother with this book. Rob's notes for Optics are decent but you probably will need a reference, for which Rob himself recommended. They are available for free here - Chapters 3, 11 and 12 are the relevant sections.

Lecturer(s): Optics - A/Prof. Robert Scholten. Electromagnetism - Prof. Chris Chantler

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2013

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 (I would've given it 5 if not for Chantler's awful notes and Rob's time-wasting through messing up integrals and Fourier transforms on the whiteboard)

Your Mark/Grade: 76

Comments: (General) The tutors are pretty good and are helpful - we had different tutors for each module but there was only one tutor who took all the tutorials. Like all subjects it is advisable to attend tutorials... The practicals are much more interesting than in first-year physics. Pray that you get amiable demonstrators, though, and also that the equipment works; otherwise your time in the lab will be hellish (e.g. the Fourier transform prac and the holograms prac). Nevertheless you get to replicate famous and interesting experiments such as holography, Hall effect, interferometry etc..

(Optics) This module covers Fourier optics, which really is just an exercise in integrals. Indeed most of this module (which is about 4 weeks long) is a maths course, in which we were taught Fourier series and Fourier transforms, with an introduction to the Dirac delta function and convolutions. It really isn't particularly challenging. With these mathematical concepts covered, the applications to Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffaction theory are explored, such as single- and double-slits, as well as circular apertures and regular arrays of finite slits. Finally, there was an introduction to the fascinating realm of spatial filtering. One criticism I do have is that some of this was presented as a plug-in-and-calculate sort of exercise; for example, it was never clearly explained to us precisely WHY the double-slit pattern is a convolution of two infinitesimal slits and a finite slit pattern, but is merely attributed to the array theorem (which is presented without proof or background) - only after studying MAST20030 did I realise that this is due to Green function theory... The assignment for Optics was quite routine, and the exam section on Optics (1/3 of the exam) was quite simple provided that you hadn't forgotten the material that was presented at the start of the semester. As mentioned earlier, Rob had a habit of displaying a sense of incompetence in regards to mathematics, but he was still an effective lecturer.

(Electromagnetism) The lecturer, Chris Chantler, announced at the start of the 8 week module on electromagnetism that this would be the first time that we would be exposed to mathematics in physics. A slight exaggeration, yes, but the intent was clear - this was certainly the most mathematically intensive physics course that I have studied so far. You will need to have mastered the material covered in MAST20009 Vector Calculus PRIOR to starting this subject, otherwise you are doomed - the first lecture involved a tricky triple integral (yes, technically Vector Calculus is a corequisite but those studying it alongside this subject tended to find life tough until the required material had been covered in Vector Calculus). In a very loose sense the material that was covered in Electromagnetism was similar to that in first-year physics, but newer, more difficult (but more sophisticated and elegant) approaches were introduced, such as Maxwell's equations in differential form, the method of images, and the use of the Laplace and Poisson equations. Furthermore, a more complete treatment of electromagnetism in non-conducting media was given, with discussion of dielectrics, paramagnets, diamagnets and ferromagnets as well as Maxwell's equations in such media. Finally, electrodynamics was briefly introduced with a brief discussion of electromagnetic wave theory (to be covered in greater detail in 3rd year). The assignments were rather difficult but certainly manageable, as was the exam - plenty of free marks are on offer merely by memorising/deriving the various forms of Maxwell's equations. Chris Chantler does like to try and be funny, but sometimes it was difficult to glean much understanding from his explanations, while his notes were not exactly of a high standard - it is very wise to purchase the textbook...

(Summary) A very interesting subject, but certainly could have been taught to a higher standard.
2010: Economics [38]
2011: English [42], Mathematical Methods CAS [43]. Specialist Mathematics [40]. Physics [41]. Chemistry [38] (ATAR: 98.65)
2012 - 2014: Bachelor of Science - Mathematical Physics - The University of Melbourne
2015 - 2016: Master of Science (Physics) - Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics - The University of Melbourne

jediwizardspy

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #247 on: December 14, 2013, 04:06:20 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: MAST20022 Group Theory and Linear Algebra

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lectures per week; 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week

Assessment:  Three written assignments (totalling 20%); One 3 hour examination (80%)

Lectopia Enabled:  No. See the Textbook Recommendation for details.

Past exams available:  Yes, there were exams from 1999 onwards. In fact the exams from 1997 - 1999 (with answers) were provided in the course notes as well.

Textbook Recommendation:  None. The course notes were available for purchase from the Co-op Bookshop as well as in PDF form on the LMS. While the lectures weren't recorded, everything the lecturer wrote on the blackboard was scanned and posted on the LMS immediately afterwards, so with these two resources it really wasn't necessary to attend lectures. Indeed I only attended 6 out of 36...

Lecturer(s): A/Prof Craig Hodgson. My main issue with the lecturer was that his monotonous voice made for a very soporific atmosphere which discouraged me from attending most of the lectures. Watch out for the ponytail...

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2013

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 85

Comments: This subject is the first pure maths subject that most students study after the shock of either Accelerated Mathematics 2 or Real Analysis, but most students tended to find that the level of mathematical rigour was considerably lower than in those subjects. As the title suggests, the subject covers advanced linear algebra as well as an introduction to abstract algebra (in this case, fields and then groups). Both Linear Algebra and Group Theory are very important in physics as well as in pure mathematics, and are quite fascinating fields of study.

Topics covered:
  • Fields: Elementary number theory (division, prime numbers, modular arithmetic)
  • Fields: What is a field?
  • Linear Algebra: Review
  • Linear Algebra: Linear transformations and the Jordan Normal Form
  • Linear Algebra: Complex inner product spaces and the Spectral Theorem
  • Group Theory: What is a group?
  • Groups: Permutation groups, matrix groups, cyclic groups
  • Groups: Direct products Cosets, Lagrange's Theorem with applications, RSA Cryptography, isomorphisms
  • Groups: Normal subgroups, quotient groups
  • Groups: Group actions, symmetry groups, Orbits & Stabilisers, Groups actions on groups w/ applications
  • Groups: Groups of Euclidean isometries

Yes, this sounds like a lot of terminology which doesn't exactly sound very exciting, but after a while connections appear between the disparate topics studied and the subject becomes all the better for it. Do be careful, though, as the subject is initially quite easy and slowly increases in difficulty until the later topics in Group Theory are difficult to grasp. The final week, covering Euclidean geometry, is pretty boring and completely useless wrt the exam, but the rest of the course is certainly assessed. The assignments also increased in difficulty as the semester progressed, but were largely manageable (plus we got to make a cube in the 3rd assignment!). The tutorials were of course very useful and certainly my tutor was excellent. My main criticism, though, is of course the pacing of the subject - too much material was left until late in the semester, and at the half way point of the course we hadn't even started Group Theory. This was one of the few weak points of a great subject.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 04:28:17 pm by jediwizardspy »
2010: Economics [38]
2011: English [42], Mathematical Methods CAS [43]. Specialist Mathematics [40]. Physics [41]. Chemistry [38] (ATAR: 98.65)
2012 - 2014: Bachelor of Science - Mathematical Physics - The University of Melbourne
2015 - 2016: Master of Science (Physics) - Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics - The University of Melbourne

jediwizardspy

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #248 on: December 14, 2013, 04:34:12 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: MAST20030 Differential Equations

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lectures per week; 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week

Assessment:  Three written assignments (10% each); One 3 hour examination (70%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture. However, the lecturer does ALL the examples on the board so it is ESSENTIAL to attend lectures and copy them down (or get a friend to do it for you).

Past exams available:  None, since this subject was introduced in 2013. However, the lecturer gave us some sample exam questions which were somewhat representative of the actual exam, and the tutors informed us that much of the course is based on an earlier course 620-232 Mathematical Methods (for which exams were available from the library website).

Textbook Recommendation: None - Printed course notes were available from the Co-op Bookshop.

Lecturer(s): Prof. Barry Hughes

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2013

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 89

Comments: The theory covered in this subject is absolutely fantastic, but there were many teething problems associated with it since it was new for 2013. Chiefly, the subject was considered by many to be too crammed, with the assignments and exam to be too difficult - I strongly suspect that normalisation of the scores was heavily employed in order to achieve the required quota of students passing the subject.

Topics covered:
  • Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs)
  • Matrix methods for ODEs
  • Fourier Series
  • Laplace Transforms and their applications to Initial Value Problems (IVPs)
  • Introduction to Partial Differential Equations (PDEs)
  • Series solutions (Eigenfunctions) of PDEs in 2 variables
  • Higher dimensional eigenfunctions
  • Fourier Transforms and their applications to Boundary Value Problems (BVPs)
  • Solution of PDEs through Laplace and Fourier Transforms
  • Green function solutions of BVPs (ODE only)

Perhaps only topics 1, 3, 4 and 5 could be considered to be somewhat easy, and that too only after many examples were covered. It would be fair to say that the rest of the course constituted some of the toughest material covered by most of us students up to this point in our mathematical studies. This was not helped by the somewhat old-fashioned attitudes of the lecturer towards the teaching of the subject. While I would still recommend taking this subject over Engineering Mathematics (for Engineering students only), I would suggest that applied maths and physics students who take this subject should be wary - this is not for the faint-hearted.
2010: Economics [38]
2011: English [42], Mathematical Methods CAS [43]. Specialist Mathematics [40]. Physics [41]. Chemistry [38] (ATAR: 98.65)
2012 - 2014: Bachelor of Science - Mathematical Physics - The University of Melbourne
2015 - 2016: Master of Science (Physics) - Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics - The University of Melbourne

qqla

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #249 on: December 25, 2013, 12:53:25 pm »
+7
Back with a few more commerce subject reviews to wrap up 2013. Removed my marks for this semester's reviews so lecturers don't go snooping around, instead, they should be using that time to improve the courses that they teach.

Subject Code/Name: Introductory Financial Accounting ACCT10002

Textbook Recommendation:  ACCT 10002 Introductory Financial Accounting, 2013, Cusack, McGraw Hill Publishers.
Good for the struggling and new, but I only probably used around two pages of the entire book. Essentially is 3 textbooks glued together and isn't well organised.

Year & Semester of completion: 2013, S2

Rating:  2.5/5

Comments:

Pretty pissed off since I just finished a lengthy review for IFA which gets wiped while I was posting. Anyway, here's a lazy recollection of a few ideas I had in my review.

IFA is taxing for the fresh accounting student. Even if you're someone coming off VCE accounting with the mentality of 'oh dw this will be ez', there is still quite a fair bit of ground that is covered. It is remarkably easy to taper off during the first few weeks of the semester and end up wishing you studied with a bit more finesse for the exam (I know I did!).

IFA lectures and tutorials are good, but not great. Cusack's desire to trend away from traditional double-entry accounting is commendable, and I found the 'newer' parts of the course to be the most engaging (carbon accounting and integrated reporting). However, the lecture illustrations are not tailored to the course well enough, very often will you be greeted with a financial statement with $ figures that are both difficult to evaluate and use in calculations, because they are really.. all over the place. Why do so many people fail IFA or achieve subpar results? The course fails to effectively align 'what is being taught' to 'what actually NEEDS to learnt'. The drought of focused, quality questions only amplifies this problem.

The fundamental flaw of IFA, and what causes students to tumble and fail is the poorly written pre-exam questions/tutorial questions. It is very evident that some of these questions have just been recycled from outdated course designs, and the degree of ambiguity is unforgivable. Practical questions are the essential step in consolidation of skills and concepts. IFA hasn't failed in the quantity department (armed with the LMS, it's an accountant's wet dream with questions), but its lack of attention to detail and 'good question writing' trickles down into poor student performance. I found myself flocking towards the solutions because I just did not know what was going on (due to an important detail missing, or something ambiguous like weird date hopping).

The exam is difficult not so much with regards to question difficulty (although it is a bit on the difficult, although fair side), instead it is the amount of the course that is crammed into the 3 hours that is the major worry. Tie this in with no practice exams, and subpar pre-exam questions that provide very little guidance in regards to expectations for the exam, spells a recipe for disaster. The lack of opportunity for students to have a concentrated 'crack' or 'burst' in swotvac only causes more and more students to come out of the exam with tears and a sore ass.

The aim of IFA should be to create good foundation skills and act as a stepping stone from those who have just finished ARA. However, poor course design and a questionable exam is IFA's downfall, which is really a shame in comparison to its strong resource network.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 12:55:46 pm by qqla »

qqla

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #250 on: December 25, 2013, 02:37:01 pm »
+8
Subject Code/Name: ACCT10003 Accounting Processes and Analysis

Assessment: Two assignments: Individual (5%), Group (15%), Tute participation (10%), Hurdle exam (70%)

Past exams available:  Sample exam, and also, one question is pre-released!!! (think it's worth about 15% of the exam so study up)

Textbook Recommendation:  Accounting Information Systems: Understanding Business Processes. Considine

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 S2

Rating:  3.5/5

Comments:

APA is as dry as eating a kilo of weetbix without milk. The entire semester revolves around getting comfortable with this 'toolkit' of skills, and being able to evaluate and understand process documentations, with regards to the Reliability umbrella and its three information goal counterparts: Validity, Accuracy and Completeness.

Lectures were... hard to sit through, however, I enjoyed the lectures on information risk and corporate governance which unfortunately only lasted for like a week or two. International fraud scandals (eg. yakuza and Olympus) were quite a read for assignment 1, but not explored through thoroughly after the respective lecture, which was disappointing. After a few weeks, it will become inherent to you that control plans and such are the absolute backbone for the subject, and that if you ace them, (know how to read them, analyse them etc) you'll be set. Everything else is rather secondary, and less important.

Tutorials are better, and the 10% participation mark should be a free 10%, granted that you're keen enough to prepare even a little bit of bs for each tutorial. Tutorials are where the real learning starts.

With regards to readings, I don't know anyone that sat through reading the textbook, but if you're really keen for that H1, it's there for you to rote-learn some of the areas that aren't fleshed out very specifically during tutorials and lectures. I didn't use it for the entire semester, rather read random wikipedia clippings (which actually proved quite useful).

Assignments are well written, in its attempt to trigger a sincere appreciation for the subject, but don't expect a good result if you crammed the night before. Marking is quite harsh, and you're penalised for having a foreign interpretation to what's universally accepted, which is a bit sad.

APA's exam is a well balanced mix of just the right amount of theory and practical, questions are designed to boggle rote-learners, and reward conceptional learners.

There's really not much to APA. Theory questions are rather subjective, so if you have a educated crack at the question, grounded with sensible evidence, you'll score well. Practical is covered to an exceptional level in tutes, but don't expect to be able to cram the entire course in swotvac, even if you rocked up to tutes, because what you 'thought' you learnt in tutes will seem foreign.

How to do well in this subject:

1. Rock up to tutorials and prepare a little for them.
2. Attend lectures at your discretion.
3. Make sure you know what's going on, and don't fall too far behind (learning new stuff gets harder as everything starts to progressively become assumed knowledge)
4. Know your controls (lecturer goes on about not rote learning, but a degree of rote learning is required, as they're looking for 'their perfect answer', so there isn't much leeway to go off on your accord)

That's pretty much all there is to it. APA isn't a bad subject, but it is very, very ordinary. It just doesn't tickle you into feeling like you're learning something that'll have a rewarding impact on your life.

APA vs 1kg of dry weetbix?

I'd probably pick the weetbix.

qqla

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #251 on: December 26, 2013, 12:45:56 pm »
+6
Subject Code/Name: ECON10003 Introductory Macroeconomics

Textbook Recommendation:  Principles of Macroeconomics, Bernanke, Olekalns. I didn't buy this textbook throughout the semester, but from what I've heard, it's supposed to complement the lengthy lecture slides well.

Lecturer(s): Graham Richards

Year & Semester of completion: 2013 S2

Rating:  3.5/5

Comments:

Macroeconomics is a bit of a mixed bag. For those equipped with VCE economics, there are many familiar economic issues such as exchange rates, inflation and unemployment which are tackled from scratch in intro macro. However, gone are the days of lengthy paragraphs where you're allowed to demonstrate appreciation for theory. Instead, you're greeted with graph after graph, which I guess acts as the best prelude and introduction to university economics: the application of economic models.

There is a fair bit of ground that is covered in the 12 weeks, more so than your intro micro counterparts from semester 1. I'd say the material is 'harder' to learn, there is a bit more 'devotion' required in scoring well. Graham is a knowledgeable lecturer, but has a bit of a temper, which became known to me in a lecture recording where he starts raging at the front row for not shutting up lol. He's a tad on the racist side as well, often dropping a witty comment about the prevalence of international students in the theatre, or playing some chinese pop before lectures.

Graham's lecture slides are long, and I mean, 50 slides for 50 minutes long. Redundant slides that could've been omitted were strikingly prevalent. So don't completely read into every single one of his slides as gospel, there is A LOT that isn't covered during the exam (weeks!) which is used up as build-up for a major topic (eg. sector model). The entire 24 lectures are plenty enough to warrant their own textbook, so you'll be fine if you pass on the textbook, but don't forget to SKIM THE SLIDES, or else you're just wasting your time.

Tutorials were okay, but following the trend of intro micro, pink sheets still reign supreme over blue sheets by quite the margin, in terms of their usefulness for exam revision.

A tip for the lazy, get your shit together before the mid-point of the semester. The concepts start to progressively pile up on each other, and implied knowledge from previous weeks and lectures will be your downfall if you slack off. I learnt this the hard way, and my mark suffered quite a bit because of this. Even if you just have a skim through the lecture slides and have half an eye open during tutes, it's a lot better than having a naked slate into swotvac. Macro is probably the hardest subject to catch up on if you're flying solo, but also one of the easiest, given you put even the slightest bit of weekly work into it.

The exam is very, very recycled, and make sure you get a hold of them asap, and study the solutions religiously. Questions are marked quite harshly, every single step is scrutinised, so if you have the answering technique that mimics the solutions, you'll be set for high marks.

Macro doesn't quite live up to its expectations, set by its micro brother in semester 1 and effectively turned me off for pursuing an economics major.  But that's not really the subject's fault, it really isn't too bad if you have your way with graphs and the practical side of things.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 12:53:27 pm by qqla »

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #252 on: December 26, 2013, 06:04:51 pm »
+4

Subject Code/Name: Chemistry 2 

Workload: Contact Hours: Summer semester: 5 x one hour lectures per week, 6 x three-hour practical activities per week, 2 x one-hour tutorial/workshop sessions per week, 6 hours of computer aided learning during semester, 8 hours of independent learning tasks during semester. Semester 2: 3 x one hour lectures per week, 6 x 3 hours of practical activities during semester, 1 x one-hour tutorial/workshop sessions per week, 6 hours of computer aided learning during semester, 8 hours of independent learning tasks during semester.

Assessment:  A 30-minute on-line mid-semester test (5%); ongoing assessment of practical work (20%); a 3-hour written examination in the examination period (75%). Satisfactory completion of practical work is necessary to pass the subject. Independent learning tasks need to be completed in order to pass the subject.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes + screen capture, with the exception of Quantum Mechanics.

Past exams available:  Yes, many + sample exam. 

Textbook Recommendation: 

·   S S Zumdahl and D J DeCoste Chemical Principles 7th Ed, Cengage Learning 2013.
·   J McMurry, Organic Chemistry 8th Ed, Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, 2012.

I believe they're increasing in price and if you're strong in chemistry and can share with someone, do it. I personally needed to refer to the textbooks often, though. Both were invaluable in explaining concepts through simple and  organized communication.

However, the molecular model kit is completely useless.

Lecturer(s): Richard O'Hair, Carl Schiesser, Trevor Smith, Michelle Something, Paul O'Donnell?

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2013.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: I'll tell you over my dead body (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧*:・゚✧

Comments:
   ·  Despite my ongoing, bloodthirsty battle with chemistry as a science, Chemistry 2 is the most well-taught subject I've encountered at UoM.

   ·  The practicals are run smoothly and quite interesting, although  to beat a dead horse, it is unreasonable to obtain a high yield when synthesizing products.

   ·  Dedicate a disproportionate time to the practicals as they are a rare chance to add to your mark outside the exam; filter your product thrice, and for organic reactions write most of your lab report before the session begins.

  ·  With the exception of one, the lecturers are fantastic at delivering this abstract and complex subject.

  ·  It's imperative to begin revising the content well before the exam; the longer the period of time you repeat the information, the greater it consolidates.  Richard and Carl are the first lecturers, and you should be revising their content through Trevor, Michelle and Paul's lectures.

  ·  Trevor arrives third, and teaches quantum mechanics over a fortnight. There is a consensus that he teaches an intangible subject in  an intangible manner. His style won't be kind to you if you haven't done VCE or tertiary level physics. He states that he only wants you to understand the basic idea of his topics. Based off the exam questions, you should instead learn them all off by heart. Utilize the textbook and tutors, and don't feel alone in your plight.

  ·  Michelle is a welcome relief and a skilled captivator. It is often stated kinetics is the easiest portion of subject. I found it the second most difficult; it seemed straight-forward until we began manipulating equations and applying them to practical examples which require theoretical knowledge. Bzzzzzzzzzttt. Textbook.

  ·  Paul's section is my absolute favourite and personally the easiest, although he did exceed himself in the difficulty of the exam questions this year; don't let him fall wayside. Much of the qualitative information such as that pertaining to batteries and global crises is not examinable. He only enjoys exhibiting the bigger picture and connecting the dots between equations and the force of the universe. Fun guy.

  ·  My main revision tool was chemCAL. It cannot be overrated; chemCAL is a rare opportunity to play an active part in manipulating a very internal, mental subject. It's interactive and largely up-to-date, with only a smattering of errors and repetition.

  ·  I'd strongly recommend Chemistry 2 to those who would like to be involved in science long-term. It isn't fair to state that chemistry classes have always dragged my overall score down; rather, it has been my ineptitude during them. However, I allowed my inability during Chemistry 2 to molest my GPA in lieu of taking a second biology class because it's invaluable. Chemistry is who we are and I understand brand new aspects of both other classes and reality itself due to this class. It can't be avoided due to the subject's fail rate, and is an imperative foundation in pursuing a scientific career.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #253 on: February 11, 2014, 07:55:45 pm »
+8
Subject Code/Name: ENGR10003 Engineering Systems Design 2

Workload: I'm doing it in the summer semester right now but in a usual semester it would be 3 one-hour lectures and 1 three-hour workshop per wk

Assessment: group assignments, in class tests after every topic, online pre workshop quizzes due the night before the workshop, certain projects during workshops (practice questions which you do together at the start aren't accessed but they pop up on exams) and peer wise (this interactive thing where you have to make up 2 questions and answer 30. sounds dumb, but it's actually quite useful since the lecturers put up some of these questions on the exam for multiple choice)

Lectopia Enabled: yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: 2- from 2010 and 2011. NO SOLUTIONS.  you either have to find out through asking friends, tutors/lecturers or through an online discussion thread

Textbook Recommendation: don't buy any of the textbooks. the lecture notes are sufficient.

Lecturer(s): gavin buskes (digital systems), adrian something (programming) & eric poon(mechanics)

Year & Semester of completion: summer 2014- exam is next week

Rating: 4.8 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 85 H1

Comments: This is by far one of the best level 1 subjects. The assignments are EXTREMELY CHALLENGING, even the smartest of the smartest will find them difficult, which is why you do them in groups. You will be using the computer for most of this subject (even mechanics) so be prepared. Also, do the workshop questions BEFORE the actual workshop because the tutors tend to go through them really fast and don't give you a chance to actually attempt the questions in class. The workshops are 3 hours but most of the time you can leave one hour early because the projects usually don't take that long..  use this time to ask the tutors questions (better than asking the lecturers imo because there usually isn't a long line).

Digital systems:
The best component of this subject (also my favorite). The lecturer was such a good explainer and posted up lecture notes and working out on the lms so you could just relax and listen during the lectures without worrying about having to note anything down. This requires the most "maths" out of the other two. The first 2 assignments were pretty decent.. the last one was really hard. But if you have a smart person in your group, it's all good. You get to chose your group members for this part, but for programming and mechanics they are chosen for you.  This topic has no PHYSICS at all.. coming into this i thought we were going to have to learn about boring resistors and diodes like but nope.. you learn about binary numbers, bolean algebra, logic gates...very mathematical and fun.. but its not like boring calculus/spesh.. i can't really explain it but you will see:)

Programming:
There really is no point attending the lectures for these, even if the lecturer is good (ours wasn't) because you simply can not be taught programming no matter how hard you try to listen. My suggestion is  download matlab beforehand. Doing the workshop and assignment questions will be sufficient enough for you to ace this component. (note that the exam questions are never actually this tough, so don;t get scared if you can't answer most of them). The first assignment was hard, the last two were alright  (BEWARE THAT THESE ASSIGNMENTS ARE EXTREMELY LONGGGGGGG). This topic is one of those where you just have to have the brains to work the problems out... you can't really "learn" how to do these types of algotihmic questions. i now have complete respect for those in computer science/software engineering... just wow... how do you guys do this?! in my opinion they are smarter than doctors.

Mechanics:
This lecturer was alright, but his lecture notes had millions of silly errors which confuses A LOT OF PEOPLE. You will have to use a lot of matlab for this part since this takes place after programming unlike digital systems where you use no matlab. So beware ... MATLAB MATLAB MATLAB...although you do get to draw on diagrams as well :). The assignments were consistently even in terms of difficulty (unlike the other two which had easy assignment and hard assignment.. these ones were all above average hard).  If you liked structures and materials in yr11/12.. you will like this (spring constants, trusses, static equilibrium etc). The last week is based on eular's method which= calculus.

Another warning is that you don't get solutions for the assignments you do and when they are marked the tutors are extremely vague and don't bother to put any comments (just these weird dashes) so you won't know where you went wrong. After you get your assignments back, i suggest you approach the tutors IMMEDIATELY. Having no solutions for a lot of things really pissed me off because sometimes i really can't be bothered asking. This subject gives you a really good insight on engineering.. well electrical, software, mechanical and civil engineering...i didn't see anything related to chemical. If you find this subject enjoyable, then engineering is for you.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2014, 08:45:43 pm by Inside Out »

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #254 on: February 13, 2014, 08:00:41 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: SPAN20020 Intensive Intermediate Spanish 

This review will also apply to the content of Spanish 3 and Spanish 4

Workload:  8 x 2 hour tutorials per week

Assessment: 25% Mid Term exam (grammar exercises, vocab exercises, small composition at the end)
                     25% Final exam (grammar exercises, vocab exercises, small composition at the end)
                     2 x 15% written exercises (informal letter)
                     2 x 10% más ejercicios (exercises you have to complete each night, as well as do an autocorrección)

Lectopia Enabled:  No

Past exams available:  Nada

Textbook Recommendation:  Aula 3 Internacional (2006), a monolingual dictionary may also be helpful as well as a grammar book though Google is sufficient for both as well.

Tutors: Eli Bryer
            Eva González García
            Alicia Martínez Marco
            Sivlia Yang (doesn't teach Spanish 3 nor Spanish 4)

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, summer

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 94 (H1)

Comments: It's all in the title really: intensive. This subject is nothing short of it.

This is a really, really difficult subject. 16 hours of Spanish a week and an absolute shit tonne of homework will leave you stressed, tired and half-dead by the end of the course. Each day you cover a week's work (normal year terms) of content and are expected to do about 4 pages of grammar exercises in addition to, of course, revising the content and doing assignments in between. This is a really large workload and will test even the most diligent of students. So big piece of advice, of course, is that you do need to go to every class and do need to keep on top of the homework. Try to keep your commitments down as much as possible, particularly during the week.

BUT (and it is a big but), the difficulty of this subject is balanced with good organisation, fantastic tutors and a real sense of achievement after each day.

At the start of semester, you're given a really clear syllabus of the course. What you do does not deviate from that syllabus at all. This is particularly helpful, of course, if you miss a day. What has been covered in class we'll certainly be there. This means that everything sets itself up really nice. You always know what's coming, you always know what to revise. In addition to that, the tutors always post any extra worksheets we've done, along with answers, on the LMS and always post supplementary material about stuff we've learned as well. Perhaps the only thing to fault them on with organisation is that there was no assessment rubric, or really any indication, for the written tasks during the semester. This was a bit of a pain in the arse, as it meant that the first was a lot of guess work. With that said, the marking was very clear and the tutors happily entered into discussions about any marking or any issues we were having with assessment or the content.

The tutors were absolutely brilliant for this subject. They have a very different approach to teaching and very distinct personalities as well, which makes it very interesting. Furthermore, they also come from different parts of the Spanish speaking world, so it's nice to experience a bit of that at home (particularly if you've never had the opportunity to travel like me!). We, in particular, had Eva a lot because Alicia was away for the first few weeks. She's from the Basque country, so she's a wealth of information about Spanish culture. She's also posts un montón of content on the LMS and would have to be the most scarily organised teacher I've had. Eli learned Spanish in Perú, but is a fellow Aussie. She's a brilliant teacher as well and has an incredible knowledge of Latin American culture and the Spanish language. I was constantly surprised by just how much she knew; so that was kind of a nice boost to see someone who started off in a similar place to us speaking Spanish so well. If you've done beginners Spanish, you'll have had Silvia before. She tends to leave the buzzer behind in Intensive, so that's a bit of a change. She is just as she always is, an absolute hoot. Always willing to help and brings so many sheets and resources in that I suspect that she's probably half the reason the Amazón is disappearing! Alicia we only had a few times, but she too was a hoot. She's Valencian, so again a very different accent and culture, and teaches is a very different manner to the others. She was always good for a laugh and was a brilliant teacher, particularly for your speaking. If you wanted to learn to speak Spanish, hers was the class to be in. At the end of the day, it ended up being a group of tutors who complimented each other perfectly with cultural knowledge, accent and style of teaching. Really couldn't have asked for a better group.

Intensive courses are hard, but they are quite a good way to give yourself a bit of space in the uni year. If you're prepared to really put your head down for five weeks, you will be able to get a whole year of underloading. As far as I'm concerned, that's definitely worth it. Moreover, I feel like the Spanish course would have been really slow during the year. Sure, that sounds fantastic (well for me it certainly does!), but at least with this course you're left with an enormous sense of achievement. When you're taking massive leaps in your writing, grammar and speaking each week, you often feel really proud of how you're doing. The classes are also, supposedly, composed of high achieving students. Personally, I don't really think this is the case. What you will get are students that are a hell of a lot more committed than usual, save for a couple who aren't and who will inevitably fail.

Before I wrap up, marks wise this may damage you. I think for the majority of the class it made quite a dent in the marks they'd normally get. Personally, the opposite happened—though I would caution that this is definitely not the norm (perhaps because I'm a little bit weird, hey?). What it will do for your marks during the year probably makes it worth it, as well as the fact that if you're doing a DipLang (I'm not), you can finish with the rest of your Bachelor cohort :)

Pues, yo creo que eso es todo. Si tenéis preguntas, mandadme un correo electrónico. Por poco me olvido decir que los profes siempre hablan en español, bueno casi todo el tiempo. Cuando hagan este curso, os divertiréis mucho. ¡Os recomiendo que tomen esta clase! :)

« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 08:28:59 am by Mr. T-Rav »
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