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Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1223417 times)  Share 

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #300 on: June 19, 2014, 10:18:55 pm »
Subject Code/Name: GENE20001: Principles of Genetics 

Workload: 3 x one hour lectures per week; 1 x one hour problem class per week.

Assessment:  Three online tests/assignments of equal value during semester (30% in total); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (70%).

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Heaps, dating back to 1998. 2009-2013 were uploaded on the LMS, you can find the rest on the UniMelb library past exam page

Textbook Recommendation:  Introduction to Genetic Analysis by Griffith et al. I never even looked through this book.

Weeks 1-3 - Ronald Lee, who lectures on Mendelian Inheritance
Week 4 - Chris Cobbett who lectures on Non-Mendelian Inheritance
Weeks 5-8 - Adrian Andrianopoulos, who lectures on Bacteriophage Genetics
Weeks 9-12 - Phil Batterham, who lectures on Population Genetics
Stephen Hardy takes the problem solving classes.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (99)

Comments: This subject isn't very difficult, it's a nice break from the hectic rote-learning of MCB. It's probably a subject you can cram very easily. Most of the subject revolves around only a few concepts, you don't need to know the fine details. You just need to know "how" to do things. Mendelian Inheritance, which is the first block of the subject, is probably the hardest part. It's easy to convince yourself that you'll be fine because you remember how to do Three-Factor crosses from 1st year genetics, but Ronald likes to write some pretty difficult questions that you DEFINITELY should go through. I was pretty confused for the first two or three weeks. That being said, they are very good practise. Once everything clicks they become simple enough to do because you're always following the same technique. I remember it took me maybe a week to understand translocation/inversion heterozygotes but there was only 2-3 things to really understand about them. So practise up on this block using past exam questions and you'll be sweet. My only criticism about Ronald's lectures is that he talks pretty quietly and it's a bit difficult to listen to what he's saying.

Non-Mendelian Inheritance (i.e maternal inheritance) and bacteriophage genetics are easier to understand but you have more concepts to remember. Alex tends to talk about a lot of things but won't address all of them in his MST or his exam questions. Population Genetics you can breeze through just by looking at lecture slides, although Phil does describe many interesting examples in his lectures (which sometimes admittedly took up half the lecture). That being said, I didn't pay attention to most of his lectures because of this. You also get a formula sheet for the exam, which may look like gibberish but aren't bad because all he'll ask you to do is literally just plug in numbers.

The Problem Solving  Classes are presented by Steven Hardy, who is a wonderful teacher. Make sure you go to these and take down notes because they aren't recorded and the questions can be pretty hard, especially for Ronald's block. Essentially, these classes function as an unrecorded lecture where you just go through problems together in a lecture theatre.

There aren't any practicals in this subject, but you get three MSTs. One for each blocks topic. Revise for these by doing past exam questions, because that's one of the most effective ways in learning for this subject. These MSTs are done as timed tests on the LMS and are open book. They will assess similar skills to what's on the past exam papers. I think you have an hour to do it and there's only like 5-30 questions in each one of them, so it's plenty of time. The tests are open for one week as well, but make sure you do at the university (preferably NOT on UniWireless) because if you lose connection you get locked out of the test and you'll have to email the lecturer. Ronald's and Alex's MSTs were of similar difficulty and weren't too hard. Phil's MST was very short and very easy as well.

You also have some optional online tutorial quizzes as well. These are pretty useful and I highly recommend doing them to reinforce the lecture material. Some of the Problem Solving Classes went through questions taken from these online quizzes too. My only gripe with these quizzes was that you didn't get explanations for why your answer was wrong/right.

Past exam questions are very similar and recycled over the years, so the same sort of questions always pop up. Phil's part of the exam is probably the most similar and the vast majority of his exam questions have been identical over the years. Like, literally exactly the same question and options. Ronald, Chris and Alex's stuff are a little bit different but they still follow the same style. You could easily just cram for this subject just by doing the practise exams. That being said, you should still look over the lecture slides/lecture notes because there's a small portion of the exam which is to do with rote as well (although there is a big emphasis on concepts). The exam is only 53 MCQ questions long and you have 2 hours to do it so there's plenty of time, but each question is weighted multiple marks so make sure you get rid of those careless mistakes.

Overall, a great, relaxing subject that's not very difficult. The coordination in this subject was very good and organised. If you have harder subjects like Anatomy, Physiology, Biochem or MCB etc, you can afford to leave this subject at low priority and still manage well with it. Initially you may find some things quite hard but in the end they're pretty damn simple. Rote-learning isn't the focus, it's all just about understanding the concepts.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 05:37:29 pm by Shenz0r »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #301 on: June 20, 2014, 01:01:41 am »
Subject Code/Name:  Muscle and Exercise Psysiology PHYS30005 

Workload:  3 lecture per weekly basis

Assessment:  2 mid semester test. Assignment and exam.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes with screen recording and voice recording

Past exams available:  no.

Textbook Recommendation:  no too expensive.

Lecturer(s): Many different lecturers

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 - 2014

Rating:  4.5 to 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: Not released yet


Hello my friends. Overall, i very much enjoy this subject. I think subject usually very well taught. lecture material straight forward from previous subjects. I find majorityly very interesting. I think lecturer (name i tihnk is marc) present information fluidly, sometime too much but can understand when i read slide later. He summarise information with dot point well. Sometimes i need to lookup to find more but very rare. I find gordon sometimes speak too quickly and hard to understand. I think he teach well but just not very good method for me. I forget other lecturer name but some lecturer english very bad and i struggle to understand. But slide often clear up for me. I think testing for subject very accurate, sometimes tricky for me so i not do as well. I think usually good to get overall ok mark for assessment. I only get 91.4% average so i disappointing in myself but i think could have done much better for me. I think exam very good because all multi question choice so can still guess even when not know. Some question i unsure. I disappoint in exam preparation because of misprint and question missing in reading time. I hope i do well but i think i spend too much time reading question, only have around 10 min to check my answer. I hope marker is fair, so overall is good.
2009: Math Method (46) Biology (46)
2010: ESL (39) Chinese (47) Chemistry (48) Special Math Method (46)
ATAR: 99.75

2012: Bachelor of Science Melbourne University


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #302 on: June 20, 2014, 12:36:04 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ANAT20006, Principles of Human Structure

Workload:  3 x one hour lectures per week; 4x2h pracs which were run Weeks 4, 8, 9 & 12

Assessment:  ADSL Online Quizzes (10%), 2 x Mid Semester Tests (15% each), 1 x End of Sem Exam (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  No. Doesn't really matter but HSF exams from Biomedicine are similar.

Textbook Recommendation:  -Eizenberg N. Briggs CA et al (2008)-General Anatomy: Principles and Applications-McGraw Hill. I bought this book and it helps for the first 4 weeks which are your "principle" lectures. I also bought Gray's Anatomy but never used it so that was a waste. What I should have bought instead was an Atlas but even that you can pdf.

Lecturer(s): Dr Varsha Pilbrow, Associate Prof. Colin Anderson, Dr. Jason Ivanusic, Dr. Peter Kitchener, Dr. Simon Murray, Dr. Junhua Xiao

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 93 (H1)


Lecture 1: Introduction. Know your terminology. What's a coronal plane? Supine? Pronate? Rotation?
Lecture 2: Human Form & Function. General introduction - just appreciate the lecture. Principles such as the germ layers are covered in more detail in embryology lectures.
Lectures 3-5: Nervous System. This is probably the most hardest part of the course, or second to embryology. To start Anatomy with this was quite daunting and gave me a false perception of how hard Anatomy is. Anatomy gets easier as the semester goes on. Make sure you listen to everything Peter says because his slides are inadequate to get you through. Very interesting content though.
Lectures 6,7,9 - Embryology. I personally found this very difficult as there's a lot of visualisation of folding to explain the embryo development to how we are now. I also think the lecturer screwed up the order of teaching things where we covered processes in later lectures, that actually occurred earlier in life. Probably doesn't make sense to you right now but study somite formation first, and then paraxial mesoderm.
Lecture 8 - Skin. Easy, very basic.
Lecture 10 - Skeletal system. Lots of new terminology here but nothing difficult to wrap your head around. The book aids well!
Lecture 11 - Articular system. Very detailed, important to know. Lots of 'principles' come out here.
Lecture 12 -  Muscles. Easy and interesting.
Lecture 13 - Vascular system. I thought it was easy but make sure you don't ignore the lymphatic system.
Lecture 14 - Vertebral column & back. Excellent. This is 'real' anatomy in my opinion. Simon is a legend but he talks a lot on his slides so make sure you take down what he says. However, his slides have a lot more detail on them than Peter's does so that's good.

Lecture 15 - this is the MST. Examines Lectures 1-13. I got 25/30 where the average was ~21/30. I was pretty disappointed and on reflection, it was't that hard. What will hurt you in this MST is the nervous system. A lot of questions and very difficult. That being said, nothing is off the course so if you study well you should be fine. This MST was an awakening for me and I changed my study habits for the subject, reflected in my MST2 mark.

Lecture 16-20, 21(Easter break), 22: Upper & Lower Limb. Very very interesting. I cannot commend Simon enough - I thought he was a very good lecturer, only surpassed by Junhao Xiao (later). The nerves are the hardest part and it's important that you spend time studying them. Also, yes, you do need to know your dermatomes and myotomes. Simon stresses the myotome rap for upper limb and doesn't really care about lower limb.
Lecture 23: Principles of Viscera. An important yet easy lecture. Jason is a funny guy and his lecture slides are reasonable - not too much content, not too less.
Lecture 24: Upper respiratory tract. Jason does a good job of cramming in a lot of content here. This is much more expanded in 3rd year. He shows a video and keeps it entertaining.

Junhao takes over from here until the last 2 lectures. I think she was the best lecturer. Firstly she had the best slides, extremely clear in what you needed to know accompanied by some great visuals. Secondly, she explicitly states what she needs you to know. Thirdly, her lectures are 40 minutes! Finally, her questions are so easy, it's just enjoyable. I don't really have much more else to say for Lectures 25 onwards because I thought it was very well taught

Lecture 29 is MST 2 covering from Lecture 14-28. I got 29/30 where the average was 24/30. Once again, no content is tested that is not on the lectures. I thought it was too easy to be honest, reflected by the high average. Nothing to worry about in this MST. Study and you will be rewarded.

Lecture 34-35: Back to Jason for female and male reproductive systems. Shows a vasectomy video which got people cringing. Entertaining lecturer with clear slides.
Lecture 36 - Exam Format discussed

So what's the exam like?
-Section A is 20 MCQ on the content NOT covered by MSTs
-Section B is 4x15 mark fill-in-the-blank- questions
-Section C is 4x15 mark 'extended' questions. This is where you write answers to one major question "C1" which has sub parts such as labelling diagrams and defining terms

I'm not sure how to say this but I thought it wasn't too difficult. This is from a previous review from Turtle and I'll just add to it:
The Multi Choice covers the last 3 weeks of the semester, and if you take the time to revise carefully, and memorize all the information in the last few lectures, then you can breeze through the MCQ very quickly. The Multi Selection Section was the hardest in my opinion. It tests you on fine detail, and you need to label diagrams. However, once again, this is all in the lectures, and if you are careful to revise fine points, and practice labeling diagrams, then this section will not be that much trouble. In my opinion, this section rewards those who know their work most. The final section is a Short Answer Section. Everyone hated this section this year, because it contained a question on the borders of the Inguinal Canal. However, if you took the time to memories this, since it had a lecture slide all to itself, then this question wouldn't have given you any trouble. This section could be hard if you didn't do enough revision, because you can't really bluff your way through it.

Section A. When Turtle says 'breeze' (and I did read her review before taking this subject) she literally means 'breeze'. You can finish this section during reading time.
Section B. It does test fine detail so to speak like knowing your types of deep fascia, but it's all stuff that's on the lecture slides. Nothing is extended from the set readings or ADSLs.
Section C. We also had a question on the Inguinal Canal...not sure if it's the exact same one. Once again, if you studied it, free marks. If not, you can't BS anatomy.

Overall...everything examined had been thoroughly explained by lecturers. 

To wrap up,

ADSLs. There are 8 of these 1.25% each. You get unlimited attempts to answer 10 MCQ's online. Free 10%! They do have a worksheet that is for your self-learning. I would do these just because the diagrams may came up and give you good practice for Section C of the exam. Be warned: they are time consuming! Chip away at it.

Practicals. Really interesting and the value really depends on how good your demonstrator is. I had excellent demonstrators and am very grateful for it. It's an oppotunirty to put theoretical lecture content into practice by identifying body parts in reality.

TL;DR. Amazing subject. Well co-ordinated. Well taught. Relatively easy assessment where work is directly proportional to marks.

Feel free to PM me with any specific questions but before you ask why I could take this subject as a Biomedicine student...I'm going on exchange. :)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 10:08:18 am by REBORN »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #303 on: June 20, 2014, 01:40:23 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ENVS10010: Owned Environments

Workload:  1 x 2 hour lectures a week
                  1 x 1 hour tutorial


Northcote Investigation Wiki   ~1000 Words    Week 4      10%
VCAT Tribunal                  ~1500 Words    Week 8      15%
Property Valuation           ~2000 Words       Week 15      20%

Lectopia Enabled:  Audio for each lecture + Slides

Past exams available:  1 past exam (2013), I assume today’s exam will be released too

Textbook Recommendation:  Just 1-3 extra readings to do each week, largely unrelated to assessments but important for the exam

Lecturer(s): Kimberly Winson-Geideman: Head Lecturer

Guest Lecturers

Ole Fryd

Phil Nolan

Brian Davidson

Joe Barrins


Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester One

Rating: 5 Out of 5

Comments: The subject should be called Principles of Property Law/Introduction to Property Law but I guess all the Envs subjects need to be called XYZ Environments. Definitely been the best and most interesting subject I’ve done so far and I would definitely recommend it to everyone else.

Week 1

Week 1 is a basic introduction to property rights and the theory that will underpin the rest of the course. Kimberly will talk about 3 systems throughout the semester, Legal - Social - Economic. Know them because they all connect with each other as you’d expect.

Week 2

Phil Nolan, a charismatic and very interesting lawyer, gives the week 2 lecture about land titles and all the major cases related to property and ownership. As someone who enjoyed Year 12 Politics & Law, this week was probably my favourite and the cases and all the different types of ownership interests were very interesting. Who owns land? How have property rights evolved over time? etc.

I’d argue this is also the most important lecture as the content will keep appearing through the rest of the course, and really forms the core of what the subject is about.

Week 3

Pretty basic lecture about different perspectives of property and ownership (capitalism, communism, traditional societies). Also learning about the explicit and implicit ‘bundle of rights’ that come with owning property.

Week 4

Ole Fryd, another guest lecturer this week to talk about the importance of urban planning. An interesting one that looks at planning in theory and in practice, and the framework that Victoria uses for policy and planning

Week 5

Looking at systems in other countries (UK, USA, NZ, China). Nothing too spectacular but you get some insight as to how terrible the US system is :P

Week 6

This lecture is properly split into two. The first is given by a PhD candidate and she talks about informal settlements and how they have developed over time. Not as dull as it sounds and the stuff about Favelas in Rio de Janeiro was quite good.

Joe Barrins (my tutor) gives the second part of the lecture which is all about the different types of value. Subjective/Objective, Extrinsic/Intrinsic, etc. This was probably one of the best lectures of the semester and Joe is a very engaging lecturer and fantastic tutor.

Week 7

Can’t remember who gave this lecture about Land Economy and Value, but it was a pretty good one. The content gives some background and history into how Melbourne has developed, as well as discussing the five major models of land economy. The theory was very interesting and it’s a shame there was only 1 lecture on this.

Week 8

Land Value. I didn’t actually go to this lecture but the material is extremely important as the 3rd assignment is about giving a property a market valuation. The tutorial that goes with this lecture was also very good, we got to put the theory into practice and find out how to properly valuate property.

Week 9

Brian Davidson gives this lecture, and he is the head lecturer for the 2nd Semester subject, Governing Environments. The subject matter (value of water and markets) was pretty dry but he made it great. If you’re doing Reshaping Environments in Semester 1 alongside this, then you’ll hear some contradicting things about how valuable water is. As expected though, Davidson offers a practical approach whereas Reshaping uses scare tactics to make you think there isn’t a drop of water left…

The lecture also looked at some basic economic principles like supply, demand, equilibrium, price determination, etc. which was just a basic refresher of 2AB.

Week 10

Another set of two fantastic lectures, the first given by Joe again, and the second by a PhD candidate. They both concern Intellectual Property and all the theory that comes with the topic. Joe looks at a few case studies that were (about my umpteenth time saying it) very interesting. Monsanto v Percy Schmeier, Henrietta Lacks, and Metallica v Napster. Again he delivers the lecture in an engaging and exciting manner that makes a potentially boring topic into one of the best.

The second part of the lecture given by Solmaz(?) was about the privacy of data and how technology is evolving rapidly, all that jazz. More detail in the tutorial but it was a good one.

Week 11

My least favourite lecture by a mile… This was something to do with land information systems and geomatics, and to be completely honest I still don’t understand what it was about.

Week 12



The first assessment is in pairs going to Northcote and doing a short, 1000 word investigation on the development of the suburb. Not too bad but it’s done on a wiki which is an awful format to do an investigation, especially when everyone else in the subject can see your work…

Second is a VCAT mock trial style role-play. Won’t go into too much detail but this is just easy marks, the only difficult part is the reflective writing component.

Last assignment is in groups of 4 doing a market valuation of a chosen property in Northcote. Again, won’t go into it too much but it was a pretty good assessment if you had a good group.

Exam today wasn’t too bad, a few too many questions on Week 11 stuff and not enough about Torrens Title :(

Final Thoughts

In summing up, it's the Constitution, it's Mabo, it's justice, it's law, it's the vibe, and, uh ... No, that's it. It's the vibe.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 10:10:32 pm by alondouek »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #304 on: June 20, 2014, 04:01:41 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PSYC20006: Biological Psychology 

Workload:  Two 1 hour lectures per week, one 2 hour tutorial per fortnight.


20%: First half of a laboratory report (Introduction, Aim, Method, Referencing) (1000 words).
20%: Second half of lab report (Title, Abstract, Results, Discussion, Conclusion), as well as improvements to first half (2000 words in total).
60%: Two hour exam, 120 MCQ's.                               

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  No past exams, but there were ~60 MC sample questions available.

Textbook Recommendation:  Carlson, NR. Physiology of Behaviour. 10th Edition.Pearson International. - I personally didn't use it much, the lectures/tutes were all you need.


Jacqueline Anderson: Weeks 1-4, gives an introduction in memory and anatomy of the brain, as well as brain injury.
Stephen Loughnan: Week 5, basic statistics, types of t-tests.
Piers Howe: Weeks 6-8, neuroimaging, EEG, fMRI and TMS.
John Trinder: Weeks 9-12, 'the rest,' such as sleep, emotion, neurons, drug action on neurotransmitters, schizophrenia and depression.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 Semester 1

Rating:  3 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


I went into this subject thinking it was going to be interesting to look into a field that you don't really do in regular biology apart from some lectures on how neurons work (I'd never done psychology before). While it certainly had those interesting moments, they were balanced out with a healthy amount of tedium too. There's certainly a lot to remember, but given that there are only 24 lectures it is much more manageable than other science subjects with 36 (or more like MCB), and much easier to put on the backburner without worrying too much about getting left behind. As for cramming during swotvac, its definitely possible, but the lack of practice material means that you'll have to have notes or something to look over to make sure you know everything.
The first few weeks were buried in terminology, due to the term 'memory' being broken down into various subsections and all the segments of the brain devoted to them. It didn't help that i found the lecturing style of our lecturer to be dull, with a heavy amount of brain anatomy that barely arose in the practice material/exam. An issue that arises here and in the later lectures on neuroimaging is that there are models, theories and studies which you are expected to recall just by the names of the people who conducted them, which can be difficult especially if the same people have done two studies in different years.
The two lectures on statistics were taught very enthusiastically by the lecturer, and you can't help appreciating his efforts to turn statistics into something actually interesting. The content basically boils down to being able to read SPSS (stats program) outputs, p value significance and the types of t-testing. I'd done statistics last year so was able to skim through it, but I think that even for people with no experience in statistics, these lectures would've still been fine and not too difficult.
The lectures on neuroimaging by Piers Howe were given really well, and Piers is a fun lecturer to have. He always made sure that everyone understood and explained points multiple times to make sure, with time to answer questions from the audience(a few students disagreed with this approach and tried to shoot down the person asking the question since they were 'wasting time,' still finished that lecture 5 minutes early anyway). I liked the approach of one lecture to explain the mechanisms of the imaging technique followed by one lecture to showcase studies using the technique, as it helped consolidate the mechanisms you were taught earlier (the above gripe does apply though, its difficult to remember all the details of the study based off the name of the writer).
The last few weeks were far less interesting, and felt like a amalgam of all the other 'stuff' that needed to be taught. It didn't help that the lecturer was pretty monotone and the theater was stuffy, the perfect combination for drowsiness. Apart from some interesting points on emotions, the content was pretty uninteresting, and a large diagram of different drugs and their mechanisms on neurotransmitter function to remember didn't help.

As for the tutorials, I had a nice tutor (Abbie Grace) who made them feel inviting and informal. Most of it was learning content that was complementary to the lecture material and never hard to understand. An exception is the fourth lab on MEG, another neuroimaging technique which probably couldn't fit into the lectures, as it was assessed just as much as the other techniques in the exam. Other than that you need to remember the case studies used in the tutorials (in the form of movies) and the illnesses they suffered.

The lab report assessments on the other hand were more difficult than expected. Our first and third tutorial was mostly devoted to this assessment by teaching us what to include in each section (make sure you listen in these tutorials as the slides are very barebones). However the APA 6th format used in the assessments was never taught and had to be learnt independently and followed exactly (italicise the t in t-test!!). I also feel that the marking scheme used is a bit vague and a little tough (70-80% for a section was 'good' or 'like a really good kind of good' according to our tutor). You definitely had to get everything right to get the higher marks, so don't be discouraged if you get a lower mark than you're used to in these assessments, especially since your inexperienced first effort is weighted just as much as your refined second attempt.

The exam was overall not too bad, and could be finished very quickly. Most of the questions were simply asking if you knew a certain point (except for the first ~40 on the first lecture block as they were written a bit strangely). John Trinder (last lecture block) and Piers (neuroimaging) used questions from the sample questions, which were basically free marks (the former included half of his 20 practice questions in his 30 question block). For neuroimaging, make sure you know the specific spatial and temporal resolutions of each technique (including MEG) as these comparisons showed up heavily in the exam. The statistics questions (10 of them) were fine as long as you understood p-values and types of t-test.

Overall, this subject had its highs and lows. Its not an easy subject by any means (mainly because of the assignments) but the content and the exam is manageable and only having 2 lectures a week makes it feel markedly less stressful. Just make sure you learn everything that shows up in those fewer lectures, because with 120 MCQ's to write, they like to put in things that were mentioned in passing. There are a few moments sprinkled in where you see something and go 'wow, that's really cool!,' and I feel that those with an interest in psychology will take more out of it than I did. Otherwise, its still a decent subject, and I don't regret choosing it.

EDIT: In September for some reason, we were given an email with the grade distributions for the subject. 25% H1's, with roughly 18% for the rest of the grades.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 05:39:12 pm by danza312 »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #305 on: June 20, 2014, 05:15:57 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST10016: Mathematics for Biomedicine

Contact Hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week; 1 x one hour practice class per week
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours

Assessment: Ten written assignments due at weekly intervals throughout the semester amounting to a total of up to 50 pages of written work (25%); an oral presentation due during the semester (5%); and a 3-hour written examination conducted during the examination period (70%).

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: One sample exam is provided at the end of the semester. Suggested solutions are not given.

Textbook Recommendation: There is no textbook for this subject.

Lecturer(s): Assoc Prof Steven Carnie

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


Honestly, I just can't put my finger on this subject and I have no idea how I'm going to get a useful review out of this. Throughout the semester I really couldn't explain how Mathematics for Biomedicine works to my friends and even now I'm struggling to describe it, despite having sat the exam for it and all. It's just a very unique and unusual subject indeed. When I really think about it, there isn't much wrong with this subject but for some reason I don't think I got the most out of it and I can't seem to justify giving this subject a higher rating.

Anyway, I'll try my best to push on with this review. So, Mathematics for Biomedicine hasn't changed a lot from semester 2 last year - the only thing they've decided to try for the first time this year was ask that all VCE Biology students enrol in this subject in semester 1 and for the students with no prior knowledge in Biology to enrol in semester 2. To be honest, I think the only reason they did this was to roughly split the cohort in half and assign the MAST subjects like that, rather than have people randomly enrol (which could potentially lead to a skew). The assumed biological knowledge is minimal and rather simplistic, so I don't think it would have posed too many issues for new Biology students.

In the first lecture you'll be told that this subject is all about the techniques you come across - it's not about memorising or anything like that. It's difficult to get your head around, but that's what the focus of the subject is. Appreciate (and understand) each technique and you will do fine in this subject. On the other hand, if you try to deal with this subject like a VCE Maths subject and try to find common question types (and not focus on the techniques) or the like, it won't work (and that was probably my mistake). For example, making a bound reference, despite being a huge help for me in VCE, failed to work here (you're not allowed to take any notes or a CAS into the exam anyway but I'm explaining this in terms of a study technique). A lot of people say that Maths and a lecture format just don't seem to work very well and after this semester I probably have to agree with this. It's not the ideal scenario but it's the only option and all Maths students are basically in the same boat, so you'll just have to try your best and get used to it.

This will also be emphasised to you once you start the subject but it's important to realise that Mathematics for Biomedicine does not follow down the path of Specialist Mathematics. I'm pretty sure there's only two things that tie in a bit with Specialist Maths, otherwise the subject is really an extension of the Mathematical Methods (CAS) course (albeit in a completely different and new direction). When they looked at the results from semester 2 last year, they found that Specialist Maths students and non Specialist Maths students had the same average, so having Specialist Maths under your belt will confer no significant advantage. To give you an idea of how well the students perform in this subject, the average for semester 2 2013 was 74% overall.

Assoc Prof Steven Carnie designed this course and takes every single lecture over the course of the semester (in semester 2 Dr Anthony Morphett takes the subject). He's definitely not a bad lecturer but for some reason I just couldn't seem to focus very well in this subject. Maybe it was the fact that it would the third lecture in a row, after Biology and Chemistry. The university seems to take quite a bit of pride in the fact that this subject is pretty much unlike any other you'll ever find, which is why there is no textbook for this subject. After the rather significant issues that plagued this subject in its first semester, the department has remained really diligent in asking us for feedback and making sure that the course is not too difficult. The main survey conducted half way through the semester showed that most people found the subject difficult but the lecturer said that this is where the subject should be sitting and that if the university is not challenging us then they are not doing their job. In my opinion, this is fair enough, and the results were consistent with all the other first year Mathematics subjects on offer (apparently last year the major indicator that there was an issue was the fact that MAST10016 was deemed "too difficult" by most students and this was not consistent with the other subjects). Most people had no issue with the pace of the lectures.

The first topic you'll deal with is population genetics, which has a lot to do with and leads on nicely from the probability unit in VCE Mathematical Methods (CAS). As a result, many people weren't keen on it but given that probability was actually my favourite I didn't really mind learning this. I guess I also wanted to explore some of the mathematical concepts only briefly mentioned in the VCE Biology Unit 4 course a little bit more too and I was excited that Maths and Biology could in fact blend together. In the end, it didn't really live up to my expectations, but it wasn't too bad. At first a lot of the stuff is just basic probability techniques from Methods but as you move along you start to pick up some new techniques as well. You will cover the basic modes of inheritance (essentially Punnett squares - without the use of Punnett squares), but also larger population models and how various autosomal and sex-linked allele frequencies evolve over time, and in response to factors such as selection, or random chance in the case of small populations. Then for the next four or so weeks you'll cover systems biology, which deals with reaction mechanisms and enzyme pathways. There is a bigger emphasis on this topic this year in response to students in the past struggling with enzyme kinetics in the second year core subject BIOM20001: Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine. The last couple of weeks deal with infectious disease modelling, which I thought at first would make up the majority of the subject and I was looking forward to learn. Again, it didn't live up to my expectations but it wasn't too bad either. You'll take a look at various models for describing the spread of a disease in a population and the final consequences that can arise depending on various factors including vaccination. Systems biology and infectious disease modelling both use the same sorts of techniques and most people seem to prefer them because the approach is a bit more methodical than population genetics. As a result, most people at the end of the semester feel the least confident on population genetics, so do your best to set a good foundation for yourself in this area.

Each week you'll receive an assignment (there are ten assignments in total) to complete. The assignments are worth 25% of your grade overall (some of the assignments are worth 2% while others are worth 3%). The assignments are generally manageable, although sometimes they threw a hard one at us only because the results amongst the cohort were generally exceptionally high. The good thing is that in order to complete them satisfactorily they force you to go back over the lectures and stay there until you understand the theory, which is great for your understanding. You will be expected to complete them by hand and you will need to not only show all workings out, but explain or justify them and interpret your answers. Most people lose marks in their first few assignments for not doing this enough but eventually everyone figures out what the expectations are. Use the lecture notes as a guide, but if in doubt I suggest writing and explaining too much than too little. Most of my explanations were probably ridiculously long but then again I never really lost marks for bad explanations either. My tutor was pretty big on thorough explanations anyway so it was a good habit to get into. In some of the assignments, you'll be asked to use some programmed Excel spreadsheets (attention Macbook users: the assignments cannot be completed through the Numbers application) or other Java applets, accessible through the LMS, and print out your results. Pay attention during lectures because the lecturer will explain how to use them (it can get pretty confusing otherwise - trust me, I had to learn the hard way :P ). Try to avoid leaving the assignments to the last minute in case you realise you need help or technology fails you. Make sure you submit them with all the required details on time and in the correct assignment box. People lose marks over little things like forgetting their details on print outs and there was an incident this semester where one student got zero for an assignment because she submitted it into the wrong box. You don't want to lose marks that way.

The other main assessment over the course of the semester is to deliver an oral presentation during your tutorial, which is worth 5% of your grade. Some people don't understand the point of this assessment but since I don't mind delivering presentations it wasn't an issue for me. The topics are either biological in nature (i.e. they have nothing to do with Maths whatsoever) or they can ask you to explain a concept or discuss a real-life example and link it back to the concepts covered in the subject. The easier topics are at the start of the semester so get in early (for example I got in with the very first topic which was to select an autosomal disorder and discuss its effects and prevalence - easy stuff). It's not like an English oral presentation where you get rigorously marked on your presentation skills (e.g. voice, eye contact etc.) - as long as you meet the given criteria, give an acceptable presentation (so don't deliver your speech too poorly) and you don't do anything stupid, you will get full marks. Most people in my tutorial got full marks, except for some individuals who did something really silly. For example, one person thought it would be a good idea to write up their whole speech on the whiteboard. Another had to talk about the Fibonacci sequence, expect they didn't know it and they wrote it up on the board wrong - not to mention that they looked completely lost throughout their whole presentation anyway. You're allowed to write on the whiteboard or print out visuals if you want, but you can't use any powerpoint or keynote presentations only because there's probably no computer or projector in the tutorial room. Try your best to address all aspects of the criteria and I assure you that you will be fine.

The tutorials themselves are quite helpful in getting feedback so I suggest going to them. Just like most other MAST subjects, you will be given a tutorial sheet with some questions and you'll get together in small groups and work them out on the whiteboards. This is your main opportunity to ask your tutor any questions or for them to check that you're setting up your answers correctly. Although, as two presentations are given every tutorial, you probably won't finish all the questions, which is a little bit annoying. My tutor was Dr Anthony Morphett and in my opinion he was brilliant. I know you can't find out which tutors are taking which classes during timetabling, but if someone you know ends up in one of his classes, see if you can move into it as well. I lost one tutorial because of Good Friday so I sat in on another tutorial with another tutor who was nowhere near as good.

For practice, you will also be provided with an exercise sheet at the end of every week. Unfortunately, this means that you won't be able to really consolidate the information you learnt on Monday until the weekend - something I struggled with a lot - and you'll have to go back and re-learn some of the content again before having a go at the questions. For those of you taking this subject in semester 2, my advice is to find someone who did the subject in semester 1 and ask them to save their exercise sheets for you, so that you can work through the questions straight after the lecture and consolidate your knowledge properly. The questions are designed to be challenging; some of them will also ask you to use technology while others will ask you to derive a concept which was deemed too difficult to cover during lecture time. Even though the things that use technology obviously won't be feasible in the exam, don't skip over them as they tend to highlight an important aspect of a concept, which may help you understand or could even be useful in an assessment. The exam is designed to have more accessible questions than those on the exercise sheets so don't stress out if you can't do them all. However, they're still worth doing since they can help you understand some topics better, or they will force you like the assignments to go back over the lecture notes again. If you can do most of the exercise sheet questions by the end of the semester, you should be feeling confident for your exam.

A lot of the time you spend your lectures going through theory or working through a lengthy derivation and unfortunately hardly any time is dedicated to going through example questions. To be honest, I think this is why I found it so difficult to concentrate and engage with the lectures - it's incredibly easy to lose sight of it all. A lot of the techniques feel cumbersome and a little bit as if they're not real Mathematics. While you should do your best to understand them, you're not expected to perform any derivations (other than verifying a solution, which isn't too difficult) on the exam; generally speaking, the summary notes provided on the tutorial sheets are sufficient enough to get by. As a result, you're often left wondering what on earth an exam question would look like (well, at least until you receive your sample exam at the end of the semester anyway). The assignment questions are more interested in dealing with small intricacies in the course in great depth, the tutorial questions are kept on the simple side and the exercise sheets are quite difficult, and none of them are like the questions on the exam (you'll understand as soon as you see the types of questions you get asked on each sheet). I hope that this will be addressed in future semesters - either going through more examples (and how to go about setting out your answers) during lectures, providing sample questions at the end of lectures, or maybe even a mid-semester test just to get exposed to some exam questions and see how much you really understand.

The final three hour exam is worth 70% of your overall grade and in my case was fairly similar in difficulty to the sample exam provided. Most people found it pretty fair, with no major issues. You're only allowed a scientific calculator on the approved list of calculators (provided for you at the start of the semester) into the exam - if you want to use another one you will need to get specific approval for it.

This subject isn't a bad one - the staff are competent and very organised, there are plenty of additional resources to support your learning and the assessment is pretty fair - but at the same time it can also be challenging to figure out where you're going over the course of the semester. In the end, it won't be too bad but I hope that something might be done to address this in the future. That's all I can think of for now but if you have any further questions please feel free to ask. Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 03:57:45 pm by Stick »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #306 on: June 20, 2014, 06:14:37 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MUSI10017 - Guitar Cultures and Practice 

Workload: 1 x 1 hour lecture per week. 1 x 2 hour tutorial per week

Assessment:  1 x 500 word essay (15%), 1 x 1000 word essay (25%), Practical guitar test (30%), Listening test (30%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, WITHOUT screen capture

Past exams available:  No

Textbook Recommendation:  You get given all that you need (except a guitar duhh)

Lecturer(s): Ken, Adam and some other guy

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 - semester 1

Rating:  4/5

Your Mark/Grade: 88


So I shall try do this in quite detail since it's the first review of the subject. And firstly, you definitely can do this subject if you haven't played guitar at all and still do well.

Lectures each week are pointless and you do not need to attend them as their content is never actually assessed (will get to that later). If you do go, basically, he talks about a different genre each week. He goes through the history, the major influences, some notable pieces. Rarely is there any actual detail on musical theory components of the individual styles unless there is something really unique or prominent in that style (eg: rasgueado in flamenco, slides and bends in blues).  The guitar styles are, blues, flamenco, country, choro, british folk, american folk and some others that I can't remember. The lectures are recorded but only the audio. This was the first year that it was recorded and I don't know if it will continue. Within the lectures they also present what is called the prescribed listening and talk a bit about it (more of this later) however in the lecture capture, these parts have to be cut out for copyright issues.
As I said, history and why this style emerged is the predominating content of the lecture. Boringgggggggggggg  :P
Additionally there are the tutes. Essentially you play guitar for 2 hours. You get a booklet at the start of the semester with many pieces, some scales which are specific for each genre. Each tute then is focused around playing those pieces in the tute. The pieces are very simple pieces so don't be deterred if you don't play guitar.
That is a quick run down of content but for more detail just email the coordinator.

Each week, through the LMS you can access the prescribed reading (lol prescribed). The use of this is ONLY for essays and is NOT assessed in anything else besides the essays. For the essays, you are given a choice of around 10ish topics(1 for each genre). An example of these is something like, "describe the influence ____ guitarist had on _____ genres" or "Compare and contrast the two techniques of guitarists ____ and ____". Pretty much ALL that you need to write the essay is in the prescribed reading, however, to get a high grade mark you also need to reference other sources. These sources are generally given to you by your tutor (Grove and Oxford are the two online ones you want if you can't be bothered going to the actual library). While the essays don't take you long to write, the sourcing of the info definitely takes a while to do. HOT tip for extra marks on the essay is to follow all the instructions on here. Especially the general presentation stuff and sorting your bibliography alphabetically. Stuff like that, while not necessary is the difference between an 80 something and a 90 something.  Additionally, you can not source the lectures. Hence why I say lectures are predominantly useless. The only thing that is relatively helpful is the prescribed listening stuff but even that is fine without lectures (I didn't go to 90% of lectures).

What is the prescribed listening you ask? Each week, you get given 4 pieces to listen to (making 40 or so in total) and a bunch of info about the song. The listening test assesses you on these pieces. In the listening test you all sit in the lecture theatre and they play the first one minute of 20 out of the 40  songs in a random order. You get the minute it is playing and an additonal minute of silence to write down the era (to the decade), the genre(choro, flamenco, etc) and 3 things about the song ( it uses open G tuning, this song set the standard for this genre, this song uses ____ to do ____). It sounds a lot harder than it is, because often you can just be like 'oh i heard some slides and pull offs, i'll just write that down and bam there's a mark. You can cram for it in a couple of days, but it is very painful and not advised. Seriously, I speak from experience, don't do what I did.... Best way to prep for it is to download the songs (using a schneaky chrome app) and then put them on shuffle and just keep testing yourself by writing down the answers you would have to put in the test. Additionally, I recommend learning week by week and just progressively adding the next week to your playlist shuffle.

The last form of assessment is ofcourse the practical exam. This is where I want to say don't be deterred if you don't play guitar. The array of songs they give you to play range from very basic to slightly more complicated but still reasonably basic. If you have never played guitar at all, you WILL have to work to do well but judging from others in my tute class, they picked it up pretty quickly. I have been playing the guitar for 3ish years very casually and I could essentially play most pieces when I first saw the piece. You don't need to know musical notation at all, it's all done through guitar tablature. A basic knowledge of the difference between the different symbols in terms of how many beats they represent would be helpful, though they teach you that anyway. An experienced player doing the subject is not marked down because he/she chose an easy subject(so they say) and nor are they marked up for doing a more difficult song. That said, where's the fun in doing something that's not actually a challenge! ;D
In the guitar practical, you have to perform 3 scales, 1 warmup piece and 3 songs. I have heard from other people that did the subject both semesters that they think the guitar practical isn't harshly assessed at all. My guess is something similar, I think as long as you played the song through to the end without going 'oh shit let me do that bit again,' and as long as your rhythm is right I don't think they really mind if you make a couple of mistakes as long as you just keep playing through them.

I think that is about it.

Overall, great subject, a nice lvl 1 GPA booster for those who play guitar or a nice opportunity for those that have maybe learned a couple of chords but have never really gotten around to learning. For those people(the learned a couple of chords but nothing fancy at all people) I strongly recommend the subject if you have an interest in it, it will really develop your skills as a guitarist if you take it seriously. For those who have a year or so experience, I can't say I enjoyed the subject enough that it was worth the grand and GPA boost. I could have achieved what I did this semester simply with the book and self practice, and the essay assessment and listening test was boring to study for. Though tutes were still great fun (Except for the first one).

PM me for any questions
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 09:10:21 am by bubbles21 »
2012-14: Bachelor of Biomedicine @ UniMelb

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #307 on: June 20, 2014, 10:07:28 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BLAW20001: Corporate Law

Workload:  1x 2-hr lecture, 1x 1-hr tutorial

Assessment:  25% Assignment, 75% Exams

Lectopia Enabled: Yes (only Audio)

Past exams available:  Yes, past exams included in the reading guide; Tute questions also past exam questions!

Textbook Recommendation:  Commercial Applications of Company Law - need to buy

Lecturer(s): Helen Anderson

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 Semester 1

Rating:  5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 85 (H1)


All lecture notes are uploaded before the start of the semester; print them out and bind them like a book! Really convenient

Overall, this subject has been handled really, really well. Helen is, by far, one of the most organised subject coordinators in Melbourne Uni (at least in my opinion). Plus, she really really teaches well. The tutors for the subject are very well coordinated. So far, this has been one of my best subject experiences.

In terms of lectures, as said, one 2 hour lectures per week. Some lectures are more dense than the others, but all in all, Helen pretty much provides all necessary information we need to learn about the topic. She even gives glimpses of the Corporations Act 2001 on austlii every now and then. She's quite annoyed by little chatter so expect some "quiet there lady at the middle" statements from time to time. Content-wise, kinda dry...especially when it comes to directors' duties, share capital maintenance, and corporate contratcs. But it is to be expected given that it is a business law subject.

Compared to Tax Law (which I have done before doing Corp Law), I found Corp Law much harder to get around with because there are huge chunks of topics that are always bunched together, and when it comes to legal questions, it's much trickier to answer Corp Law questions than Tax Law ones. But I digress. All in all, despite the dryness of the content, the lectures are not boring. Helen gives discussions on interesting case laws and provides situational examples to complicated topics that are really helpful in learning the content, so make sure to do the pre-lecture reading (makes life much easier) and attend all lectures (listening to audio recordings just won't do). Note that there are only 10 weeks of actual content; Week 8 lecture serves as a mid-semester revision lecture (a.k.a. wake-up call for those still 'asleep', and Week 12 lecture serves as the revision lecture.

In tutorials, you talk about approaches on how to deal with legal cases. Some people who do Corp Law have no experience whatsoever in writing for legal cases (because PBL doesn't teach students to do that....) so there's gonna be an introduction to IRAC and legal writing which definitely helps. There are also helpful information about "Legal Writing for Non-Law Students" in the reading guide. The good thing about tutorials is that tutors aim to try to make things easier to understand (as I said, Corp Law questions are quite tricky) by drawing diagrams of corporate relationships, who's a director and who's the outsider, etc. Attend all tutorials and answer pre-tute work so (1) you don't get lost and you at least know what the tutor's talking about, and (2) you get a feel of the type of legal questions are gonna be asked in the assignment and the exam.

In prior years I believe the assignment was optional and only weighed 15% (that means if you opt to NOT to the assignment, the exam becomes 100% of your final grade). Now, they made sure everyone does the assignment and increased the weighting to 25% of the final grade. The assignment is relatively easy. The scope is from the first four weeks of lecture, and maximum word count is strictly 1,200. In our case there were three questions, and it not only tests you of the substance, but also of the form of your answer. It shouldn't strictly follow IRAC (I don't usually follow the IRAC) but it should at least neatly present the issue, identify applicable statutory and case laws, apply it to the case facts, and present a conclusion. Some people find it difficult to obtain good marks for this assignment because they fail to identify the issue correctly.

The exam is open book. It's a 2-hour exam with 30 minutes reading time (previously 3 hours) with just three questions (2 medium-sized cases and 1 long case). Pretty easy and very doable if you've exerted lots of effort in revising. Tips:
1) Make good summaries. Summaries that you can actually refer to in times of panic.
2) Make notes that are easy to understand. Even though it's an open book exam, it is very difficult to rely on the textbook for notes especially in a time-attack situation (you can probably refer to the legislation section at the back part of the book if it's not in your summary, but the content? difficult). Again, the need for a well-written summary is critical.
3) Answer ALL past exam questions. Re-do ALL tutorial questions. Have a look back at the assignment question and solution. Start revising in Week 11. Go to Helen's consultation the day before the exam (very critical and helpful indeed!). These suggestions will definitely help you 'master' the art of writing for legal cases and help you, in a way, to remember your notes, legislations, and cases that you'll need in answering the question (so you can save precious time by not referring to your notes every now and then).

As you can see, this subject is not that bad. It's just really effort-intensive. This subject is required for Accounting students for CA/CPA Accreditation  :P Also, this is a good 'preview' of studying law if you want to do JD.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 05:09:38 pm by jtvg »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #308 on: June 20, 2014, 10:44:07 pm »
Subject Code/Name: GEOM30009 Imaging the Environment 

Workload:  1x2 hour hour lecture (actually went for about 1:15 on avg.) and 1x2 hour practical computer lab class

Assessment:  4 assignments worth 10% each, 3 hour exam worth 60%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, 3 under the format

Textbook Recommendation:  Nein

Lecturer(s): Joe Leach

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 1, 2014

Rating:  2.75 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

TL;DR: Great coursework, poor delivery of content.

This has the makings of a really interesting and valuable subject for geomatics, engineering and breadth students interested in the huge field of remote sensing. However, this semester it was poorly organised and executed by the staff.

As mentioned, it focuses on remote sensing, and you will broadly look at topics including image interpretation, planetary remote sensing, geological and environmental imaging, image display and rectification, and techniques of satellite and aerial imaging. None of this is particularly complicated as this subject does not even approach the math that underlies most of these concepts, just introduces the concepts itself. Not a lot of new material is really introduced if you have already done GEOM subjects in first and second year, so its a very, very incremental subject and doesn't require too much effort to understand the content.

The lectures themselves are a bit dull. As mentioned, a lot of the content rehashes or slightly expands on what other GEOM subjects have already covered, so its really about consolidation rather than any real challenge. Joe speaks extremely slowly, and I found you can basically speed a lecture recording up by about 1.7x without missing a beat. The slides themselves aren't particularly well constructed; they are basically just a series of scanned images with very little text. In some cases, the lecture material is quite dated and in need of a complete revamp. Joe also never seems to respond to emails, and it wasn't until week 7 (and presumably 10s or 100s of emails) that the link to the current year's lecture recordings was provided.

But that said, the strength of this subject is the hand-on practicals and assignments. Unlike many other geomatics subjects, Imaging doesn't have fieldwork pracs, rather it has computer lab pracs. All of the assignments are heavily completed within the pracs, and Joe, the lecturer, turns up to introduce all the assignments.

The assignments involve read-world applications of the things you learn in the lectures. The first is probably the easiest assignment you will ever do at Uni, as it basically involves describing what you see in a set of images. That's it. The difficulty picks up a bit with the second assignment, where you have to do a crater count using satellite imagery of Mars to discern its age. Then you move onto image processing, as with assignment 3 you use band selection and image stretching to display the Port Phillip bay area in a range of spectral configurations. You then delve into the imagery and discern how features change under different configurations. Assignment 4 involves doing more complicated band ratios and algorithms for essentially the same task (i.e. identifying land use patterns). Below is an example of the sort of results that this yields.

Full-IR Composite of Port Phillip Bay

NDVI Vegetation Index of New York, Philadelphia and Surrounds

None of these assignments are at all complicated or particularly difficult if you know how to use a computer. However, the results themselves must be accompanied by fairly detailed and lengthy editions of your bog-standard scientific reports, with aim, method, results, discussion and the like. Anyone who has done Mapping Environments will be well versed in this, but as all these are individual assignments rather than group assignments it can end up being a lot of work. Additionally, you are asked to address a lot of topics and "think laterally" (I hate that term) in these discussions and there is no stringent word limit. In one assignment, I ended up with over 4000 words.

So from here stems my major complaint of the subject: assignments should be worth a greater percentage of the final mark. They are a lot of work, they truly reflect your understanding of the content, and they are by far the defining feature of the subject. I'd have them worth 15% each at the very least, and maybe even 20%, with a 2 hour exam being introduced to cover the remaining % of assessment.

And while I'd hope it's atypical of the subject normally, the lone tutor, Victoria (who many that have done other GEOM subjects would likely be familiar with), had major IT issues which hugely delayed the release of marks and feedback. I got my first assignment back 6 weeks after submission, second assignment back 7 weeks after submission, third assignment back 5 weeks after submission, and am still waiting on the last assignment (this is on the day after the exam). IT issues are rarely an acceptable excuse to get an extension for an assignment, so it should be the same for marking them.

This also illustrates that this subject is understaffed, and this is detrimental to its quality. The budget is very tight in the geomatics and engineering departments, but this subject needs more than a single tutor for a cohort of roughly 150 students. Each of these students submits 4 assignments of roughly 1500-2500 words each, leaving a single tutor to mark 600 assignments over the semester, which is frankly insane.

However, this review is probably redundant already, as Joe is retiring at the end of the semester and the subject is due for an overhaul/reworking. As I said, with the right tweaks this could be a really good subject. The assignments are enjoyable and valuable, the content is minimal in its exclusively but adds a certain amount of depth to its students knowledge of the field and, as with all geomatics subjects, the pracs and tutorials are very well run (I'd say this department probably has the best tutors I've come – much, much better than general engineering subjects anyway).

All in all I gave it a very indecisive 2.75/5, but with some minor improvements it could easily be a 4/5.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 01:57:40 am by chysim »
UoM | Bachelor of Environments (Civil Systems): 2012-2014 | Master of Engineering (Civil): 2015-2016 |

Feel free to shoot me a PM pertaining to getting to M.Eng through the Environments course, or the Envs/Eng courses in general.

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #309 on: June 20, 2014, 10:47:40 pm »
Subject Code/Name: GENE20001 Principles of Genetics

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial each week

Assessment: Three MSTs each worth 10%, 2 hour exam during the exam period 70%

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, a stack of them from previous years. More than you'd ever need, but no answers of course.

Textbook Recommendation:  Introductio to Genetic Analysis (Griffiths). Not need in the slightest.


Ronald Lee (2-9) on Mendelian Inheritance
Chris Cobbett (10-12) on Non-Mendelian Inheritance
Alex Andrianopolous (13-22) on Bacterial, Viral and Special Eukaryotic (fungal) Genetics
Phil Batterham (22-35) on Population Genetics

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating:  3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 80 (H1)

Comments: If you're looking for an easy selective, this truly is it. It's easy to the point that I suspect some people do badly because they took it for granted and did no work (I suspect that's what will happen to me—was written before I got my mark). The concepts are not difficult and the questions are very straight forward. You're also not expected to know tiny little details. Everything is a principle, everything has a purpose. This fact is actually great because it makes the subject feel like it is testing your thinking and testing your ability to science, rather than just seeing how much useless information you can spit up.

Mendelian Inheritance
The first part of the course deals with Mendelian inheritance. As indicated above, this is taught by Ronald Lee. Undoubtedly, this is the most difficult part of the course. For what reason, I'm not entirely sure. It is true that the content you learn in this part of the course does present its challenges, but what truly does make this section difficult is the lecturing. One of my friends remarked to me that they walked into the lectures feeling like they knew a concept and walked out of the lecture feeling like they'd unlearned it. Ronald is enthusiastic and spends a lot of time answering students e-mails, which are both commendable attributes, but at the same time he is completely incapable of explaining anything he teaches. I have never seen a cohort so disappointed and frustrated with the quality of teaching.

With that out of mind, Mendelian inheritance essentially expands on what we've already learned in Biol the previous year. The majority of this part of the course deals with the three point cross. In first year biol, the three point cross is presented in a simple form, where the genes are autosomal, are definitely linked and not under any form of epistatic influence. Mendelian inheritance presents some of those factors and how they can be dealt with when trying to map genes.

The MST that dealt with this section and non-Mendelian inheritance was particularly challenging, though with that said most students did quite well. My biggest gripe with it was that there was a multiple choice question worth five marks. So even if you knew 95% of the process, you still stood to lose 100% of the marks and quite a chunk of your score for that MST. From memory, those 5 marks translated to about 1-2% of your overall score, which is a reasonable chunk for one question.

If Drosophila and linkage mapping get you going, you'll enjoy this part of the course.

Non-Mendelian Inheritance
This is a very minor part of the course and only appears in a couple of questions on the exam. It is also the easiest part of the course. It takes a basic look at how mitochondria and chloroplasts genetics works and what the inheritance patterns look like for these organelles. Maternal effect inheritance is also explained, which is actually pretty interesting. There are some gene products that are inserted into an organism during early development by the mother. This means that the phenotype of that organism isn't dependent upon its own genome, but rather, that of its mother.

Bacterial, Viral and Special Eukaryotic Genetics
This is Alex Andrianopolous' part of the course. It's a pity he comes in after Ronald and Chris, because he's great. Sadly, a lot of students have given up on lectures for this subject by that point and Alex probably doesn't pull the crowds and attention that he really deserves. He explains things really well and navigates what are really quite some difficult topics really well.

This section of the course also involves a lot of mapping. Essentially, you're setting out to map bacterial chromosomes in this section. It's hard to explain quickly, but it's a fairly interesting part of the course. You can use bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria) to work out the location of genes on bacterial chromosomes in much the same way you'd map a Drosophila. What I've just described is using transduction. There's also quite a bit about bacteriophage genetics, and you do need to remember certain facts about bacteriophage themselves. So you'll need to know the difference between a T4 bacteriophage and a λ bacteriophage. More specifically, you'll need to know how much DNA they can package in their head and how they do their replication and packaging. You also need to know some details about their capacity for lysogeny. This is a bit of memory work, but again, it actually does reply quite well to the principles. There's also a little bit of talk about fungal genetics, but I was so far past caring about this subject by that point I really can't add anything about it.

The MST for this section of Principles is relatively simple, though it must be said that it does provide a couple of challenges. By following the lectures carefully, you really can't go wrong. There are only so many ways you can skin a cat!

Population Genetics
Phil Batterham takes this part of the course. He's quite well renowned as a "science communicator" and has a role in the Uni working on that sort of thing (Provost's Fellow for Student Experience). I was honestly surprised when I found that out, because personally I found him to be fairly bland and found his explanations quite difficult to follow. Population genetics is not a difficult part of the course. It essentially deals with predicting changes of allele frequencies in a gene pool over time. This part of genetics I find absolutely fascinating, personally. The major issue with population genetics in Principles was that they teach it "without maths". Phil never derives any of the formulae or tries to explain the maths behind them. Without providing any proof for the formulae, it can be very difficult to appreciate how they work and what their importance is. It's kind of like being given 25 pieces to a 100 piece puzzle. Sure, you'll get some information out of it, but you'll never get the picture you're looking for. This was exceptionally frustrating particularly after taking Maths for Biomed with Anthony Morphett, in which we focused on population genetics for quite some time. It was a much more satisfying approach—perhaps they should consider giving Morph a call!

The MST for this was beautiful. It was the last piece of assessment I did all semester (other than an exam) and I left it until after my last class. Best. Decision. Ever. It took no more than five of the 60 minutes allocated and was the easiest test I'd done. I spent the whole hour (no shit) checking it because I thought it was too easy. These weren't only my feelings either, I should point out. Everyone found it unbelievably simple.

Bottom line: a good easy subject for a selective. The assessment is bullshit. It shouldn't be an MCQ only subject and this makes it unbelievably unfair. When a lucky guess can be worth 2% of your mark, you know there's something major wrong with the assessment. Lecturing is pretty poor, save for Alex, but this subject will never stress you with the workload so it's probably worth it. Also a prereq for a major in Genetics, if you swing that way.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 04:42:45 pm by Mr. T-Rav »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #310 on: June 21, 2014, 12:43:50 am »
Subject Code/Name: PSYC30016 - Social and Emotional Development

Workload:  2 x 1 hour lectures and 1 lab class/tutorial on alternate weeks (for us, it was weeks 2,3,5,8 & 11)

Assessment: One lab report of 2000 words (worth 40%),  2 hour exam (of 100 MCQs) during the exam period (worth 60%). Lab class attendance is hurdle and you can miss only 1 lab class throughout the semester without a medical certificate/documentation

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: No, but we were given practice Qs

Prescribed Textbook: Social & Personality Development (David R Shaffer, 6th Edition) (unlike other psych subjects, we used this textbook quite a bit. The subject content is basically derived from the chapters of the textbook and I thought the book was really good at elaborating on concepts/studies and written in a way that was easy to understand LOL).

Lecturer(s): Dr. Heidi Gazelle (takes all the lectures except for those covered by Professor Nick Allen - he takes the lectures on evolution/behavioural genetics, emotions, temperament and attachment theory).
Having done Developmental Psychology (PSYC20008) in 2nd year will be beneficial (as a lot of concepts are repeated/elaborated upon) but it's not essential (definitely NOT a pre-req).

Lecture topics covered (across 24 lectures):
History and Themes of Child Development, Research Methods and Designs, Peer Acceptance, Theories of Child Development (Freud, Behavioural Genetics, Evolution, Erickson, Behaviourism, Social Learning), Emotions and Temperament, Self-Concept, Attachment Theory & Influences on Attachment, Self Development, Social Cognition, Achievement Motivation & Influences on Achievement, Sex Differences in Development, Androgeny and Sexuality, Theories of Aggression & its Influences, Altruism and Prosocial Behaviour, Moral Development, Family & familial variations, Schooling, Friends, and Media Integration in Child Development. All topics are focused mainly on infant and child development into adolescence :)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (86)

Comments: This was my last psych-elective subject and I really enjoyed it! It's not a very "science-y" psych subject and so the content is straightforward that you can think about in the context of real life child behaviour and development. Basically, if you think the development of emotional and social capabilities in children is interesting, then this subject is for you! I've mentioned the topics covered in lectures above, and it seems like a lot (which in psych subjects is normal LOL) but actually it's 2x 1-hour lectures per week so that's why the content is expanded out into 24 lectures :) This subject is a bit content-heavy (though the content itself is not too difficult and is actually super interesting if you're into this field of psych).

The assessment for this subject is a lab report and MCQ-based exam. The exam is 100 MCQs in 2 hours (but you should be able to finish well before that :) ). The lab report involved us getting acquainted with the PIOS (Peer Interaction Observation System) and using results from SPSS to form our own research Q and rationale about one of the peer observational codes (and a corresponding peer response). So each student would've most likely had a different research Q. I chose to do mine on child aggression and  passive/active exclusion by peers. For the lab report, try to make your intro and discussion sections elaborate and avoid putting it unnecessary 'general' information about child development (you only have 2000 words and no 10% leeway). Also in your discussion, try justifying or explaining your results in terms of typical child development concepts for that age group (e.g. our study had mainly 3 year olds iirc and so you could make links to absence of Theory of Mind or poor emotional self regulation etc depending on what your results were and whether they were significant or not).

The exam was basically assessing our knowledge of content from lectures and textbook readings. It was all MCQs (unlike 2nd year Dev Psych where we had MCQs and short answer essay style Qs). If you had a fairly good understanding of all the lectures (and revised/crammed to some extent in swotvac like me haha) you would manage fine in the exam :D Although a lot of studies were covered in this subject, don't worry about memorising each and every name and matching it to the correct study, because there weren't any Qs like that in the exam :) I thought the exam was fair; it did have some Qs which I found a bit difficult and some 'applying knowledge' to a scenario Qs but other than that I thought the Qs were a good representation of lecture content :)

So if you're interested in learning about how different influences (e.g. attachment, emotional regulation, temperament, sex, family, parenting styles, media, aggression etc) shape the normal (or sometimes abnormal) emotional, social and personality development of children (starting from infancy) then you might really enjoy this subject :D
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 04:14:20 pm by yearningforsimplicity »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #311 on: June 21, 2014, 02:51:59 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PATH30001 Mechanisms of Human Disease

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lecture per week

Assessment:  2 x 1 hour multiple choice tests in semester (45 questions) worth 20% each. 1 x 3 hour exam worth 60%.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  No. Although I highly recommend searching up “Pathology” in the past exams site. Look for subject codes 531-3xx. Some questions are still relevant for the syllabus.

Textbook Recommendation:  Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease(Kumar V. et al.). It is stated that this textbook is compulsory in the first lecture and that wider reading is expected. Honestly, I would recommend having access to the book because I found it really helpful to clarify some of the ambiguous lecture slides. Many of the lectures are just summarised versions of the textbook so it is perhaps faster to go through the book than to Google.

Lecturer(s): A whole bunch. Here they are if you’re really interested.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester 1

Rating:  2.5 of 5


I really felt like there wasn’t well-coordinated. There are quite a few lecturers in their subject and they all kind of go about doing their own thing. This really became evident in the midsemester tests because a set of questions that were supposed to be on the first test came up on the second test instead (of course, these questions did not end up counting to the final mark). Although, I may also be biased because I also completed Molecules to Malady at the same time, which was brilliantly coordinated by Helen Cain and really well-structured in my opinion. I also never received replies regarding some questions I emailed to the coordinator.

Be prepared for a lot of ROTE learning. This is not a subject where you can look at a complex diagram or table and say “Oh, they wouldn’t expect us to remember that”. From the words of the coordinator himself, the multiple choice questions are testing us on little details. Probably the only thing that didn’t really come up was the specific percentage numbers related to epidemiology although it still may be required to identify certain trends (eg. is a disease more prevalent in males or females?).

Vicki Lawson was my favourite lecturer, just because I feel like her slides and her presentation is the most concise and you wouldn’t really feel like you need additional material asides from what is provided in her lecture notes. The questions she asks are usually quite fair as long as you have studied her lecture notes.

The final exam was 3 hours, consisting of 34 MCQs, 12 short answer questions and 2 essay-style questions. The MCQs are examined over all topics, unlike some other subjects which only examine MCQs based off lectures not already tested on midsemester tests. The short answer questions were worth 3 marks each and included questions like “List 3 things”, “Describe”, “Compare 3 points” and fill in the blanks. I didn’t enjoy the fill in the blanks because there was no word bank and sometimes it’s difficult to really understand what they are looking for specifically.

There were 2 essay questions to answer. With each essay, there were 4 choices available. We were given the general topics of the choices (not the actual question obviously). Our first essay topic was: injury, inflammation, healing and immunopathology. Our second essay topic was: central nervous system, renal injury, genetics and cancer. I recommend just coming up with your own essay question related to these topics and practising on that. For instance, “pneumonia vs ARDS”, “Crohn’s vs UC”, “Discuss the mediators and process of inflammation”, etc.

Oh. I really dislike lecturers that upload lecture slides where there is one powerpoint slide in portrait mode per page. Ugh. Prepare yourself for that. (Just a rant)

Overall, I didn’t really enjoy this subject, just because I felt overwhelmed at times with the amount of information and the vagueness of the lecture slides. If it wasn’t for the crossover between my other subjects (Principles of Immunology and Molecules to Malady), I felt like I would have really struggled. I definitely wouldn't pick this subject if you want something easy with a low workload. Having said that, I’m sure this subject is completely soft compared to what you have to learn in Medicine so maybe it might be a way to get a small taste of learning about a bunch of different diseases.
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #312 on: June 22, 2014, 06:28:38 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ITAL10001: Italian 3 (also ITAL20007: Italian 3)

The two subject codes relate to whether you're taking the subject as a first year or a second year (or more accurately as a level 1 or a level 2 subject - this may be important for breadth reasons).

Contact Hours: 4 hours. 1 x 2-hour seminar and 1 x 1-hour seminar per week. 1 x 1-hour tutorial per week.
- The two hour seminar is your language class, with a focus on reading and writing about a particular topic or theme. The one hour seminar is your grammar class, focussing solely on learning and consolidating grammar points. The tutorial is your conversation class, obviously focussing on developing your speaking and listening skills.
Total Time Commitment: 8 hours per week, including 4 hours of class time. Total 96 hours.


Under university protocol the assessment needs to be unique for each subject code, even if the subjects themselves are essentially the same. You will notice that the only difference in assessment is that second year students also need to fill out an online reflective diary over the course of the semester.

  • Three take home assignments (250 words each) in weeks 4, 8 and 11 [30%] - amended from the handbook entry
  • Attendance and participation in class activities throughout semester [10%]
  • 1.5 hour written test mid-semester [20%]
  • 2 hour written exam during the examination period [40%] - amended from the handbook entry
This subject has the following hurdle requirements: Regular participation in tutorials is required with a minimum of 75% attendance. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day and in-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

  • Three take home assignments (250 words each) in weeks 4, 8 and 11 [30%] - amended from the handbook entry
  • Attendance and participation in class activities in conjunction with regular contribution to an online reflective diary throughout the semester [10%] - amended from the handbook entry
  • 1.5 hour written test mid-semester [20%]
  • 2 hour written exam during the examination period [40%] - amended from the handbook entry
This subject has the following hurdle requirements: Regular participation in tutorials is required with a minimum of 75% attendance. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day and in-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Lectopia Enabled: No, as there are no lectures in the subject. Grammar slides will be made available on the LMS after each grammar class.

Past exams available: No.

Textbook Recommendation:
  • Da Capo, 7th Edition. Antonio Morena and Donatella Melucci, Annamaria Moneti and Graziana Lazzarini 2011
  • Da Capo, student activities manual. Silvia Abbiati and Julia Cozzarelli 2011
  • Collins Italian Dictionary & Grammar
You will also need to purchase a subject reader which will be used throughout the semester.

The textbook is absolutely essential as you will be working through it over the course of the semester. The student activities manual is not necessary, but you have to buy the textbook and the workbook together so you'll end up buying that too. The student activities manual is not used in class but can be used as revision. Given the lack of revision material for this subject, I'd recommend using this book over the course of the semester anyway.

Obviously you don't necessarily have to have the Collins bilingual dictionary - any will suffice. I use the Garzanti bilingual dictionary, recommended by my teachers at high school since the Italians tend to do a better job at translating English than we do translating Italian :P. It's a really expensive dictionary but since I've used it a lot over an extended period of time, I've got my use out of it. While it's an amazing dictionary, it's probably not worth it if you're studying Italian only in the short term. You're not allowed to use a dictionary in the mid-semester test or the exam, only the take-home assignments. The use of an online translator is strictly prohibited and may result in the cancellation of your enrolment at the university.


As I said, there are no lectures in this subject but the following staff members take one language group* each:
  • Prof John Hajek
  • Elisabetta Ferrari
  • Renata Berto
* Note: The two seminar classes are streamed together. When preparing a timetable, make sure you look at the repeats - if the repeat number is the same, the classes are linked. Conversation classes are not linked.

Conversation class teacher:
  • Agnese Bresin
Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating: 4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


Since there are no Italian reviews on this forum, I'm going to do my best to be as detailed and comprehensive as possible, not only about this subject but also from what I have gathered from Italian 1-4 as a whole. It seems that they read a lot like T. Rav's Spanish 1-4 reviews (which is a good thing). I'll see if I can get Edward21 to write about his experiences in Italian 5 and what Italian 5-10 is like (although from what I've heard it was also like T. Rav's experience with Spanish 5 - not a good thing :P ).

Anyway, this was definitely my favourite subject this semester. I absolutely loved taking it and I recommend beginner/intermediate Italian to everyone. The staff are outstanding, the assessment structure is light and accessible and it is very user-friendly as a breadth subject. If you're looking for a subject that's both incredibly useful and easy to get an H1 in (and there aren't too many that fit both of these categories), then Italian 1-4 is for you.

So Italian 3 is obviously a bit of an awkward entry point for a first year student but it had to be my entry point since I studied Italian up until the end of Year 11 at school. Italian 1 is designed for students with no prior experience studying Italian (or they studied it until the end of Year 9 at the latest), while Italian 5 is the main entry point for students who have completed Italian in Year 12. Hence, I fitted exactly in the middle and Italian 3 was where I belonged. Most of the cohort as a result consists of second year students (yes, just because there's two subject codes doesn't mean they're run independently) but I really didn't mind. They were all pretty nice and welcoming to me so in the end it didn't phase me at all. Italian 3 is a bit of a mixed bag actually when it comes to the student build-up: there's second year students who did Italian 1 and Italian 2 in first year, there's first year students like myself who have some prior experience learning Italian but do not have sufficient knowledge to cope with Italian 5 (for example one girl had never studied the language at school before but went on exchange to Italy for two years), there's Arts students who intend to major or minor in the subject, there's students from basically every other degree taking the subject as breadth, there's students taking the subject as part of the Diploma of Languages and there's even a few mature-aged entry students!

As a result, you have people of all sorts of abilities and with varying strengths and weaknesses in the subject. The staff are aware of this and so the course structure often involves people bouncing things off each other and learning in a holistic manner like that. One of my only negatives with this subject is when someone who's particularly strong in Italian takes over a little bit too much and hogs discussion, somewhat discouraging less confident members of the class from contributing. Although, the staff do try their best to make sure that everyone gets a turn and that no one is left out. A placement test has been devised for determining language entry points but it isn't foolproof and I think there may have been a couple of members of my class who should have enrolled in either higher or lower levels (mainly higher levels though). This is another small negative I have, only because those individuals are not only clearly playing the system but ruin the experience for the rest of us a little bit. Ultimately this isn't the fault of the staff but rather due to selfish students. To anyone reading this contemplating enrolling in Italian 3 knowing they belong in a higher level (because they know they won't be able to get away with Italian 1), if the consequence of having your enrolment cancelled isn't enough, I challenge you to be honest and do what's right, not just for yourself but for everyone else. However, I do want to emphasise that this wasn't a major issue, so don't let this deter you from taking the subject. 

Anyway, onwards with the review. To give you an idea of what you cover in Italian 3 and whether it is the right level for you, here is a list of the major grammar points we learnt:
  • Revision of the presente indicativo (present tense)
  • Revision of the imperfetto (imperfect tense)
  • Revision of the passato prossimo (present perfect tense)
  • Distinguishing when to use the imperfetto or passato prossimo
  • Interrogativi (interrogative questions)
  • Pronomi personali di oggetto diretto (direct object pronouns)
  • Negativi (negative phrases)
  • Pronomi personali di oggetto indiretto (indirect object pronouns)
  • The verb piacere (to like or to be pleasing to)
  • Verbi riflessivi e reciproci (reflexive and reciprocal verbs)
  • Futuro (the futuro semplice - simple future - and futuro anteriore - anterior future - tenses)
  • Condizionale (the condizionale presente - present conditional - and condizionale passato - past conditional - tenses)
  • The modal verbs potere (to be able to), dovere (to have to) and volere (to want)
  • Congiuntivo (the congiuntivo presente - present subjunctive - and congiuntivo passato - past subjunctive - tenses)
This is roughly the grammar points that you normally cover in Year 10 and Year 11 Italian (Italian 1-2 at university covers Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 Italian). In addition to this list you will be expected to learn smaller grammar points in your own time using the Da Capo textbook. You will find that you've probably come into contact with most of these smaller points before, hence why they are not given any direct attention in class or in the assessments (that being said all grammar points will play their part in the assessment tasks anyway). Personally, I had come into contact with most of these before but having had a whole year without studying Italian, I felt as if I was learning some of these for the first time. It's amazing just how more intricately you will explore even some of the more simple grammar points at university. It helped me a lot in improving my language. Provided that nothing there is unfamiliar or that you know absolutely everything on that list, then Italian 3 is the right entry point for you.

I must admit that it took me quite a while to get used to this subject and initially I was afraid that I had made the wrong choice. Many of the second year students looked the same as well. One major change from previous Italian study is that conversation in English is kept to a minimum - whether it is the teacher explaining a concept or giving out an instruction or a student needing to ask a question about a topic (or even just a general request like going to the toilet), the language used is Italian. This sounds logical but it threw me at first because speaking and listening are my worst skills. Fortunately I gained a lot from being thrown in the "deep" end and I'm thankful for it, as are most of the other members of my class. Give this subject until the census date and I'm sure that you will probably have changed your mind about it, for the better.

In a sense, perhaps one of the reasons why I enjoyed this subject so much was that it wasn't that different from a normal high school class, with the exception of all the bullshit that normally plagues LOTE classes. In your two hour language classes, you will primary use your subject reader to complete various activities and learn more about life in Italy. You may read excerpts from texts and even watch a film - it will all be in Italian but if you don't understand anything at any point do not hesitate to ask and the teacher will be more than happy to explain it to you in English (this goes for everything actually). This is important because these texts come up in the assessments, so you need to understand them. Even if you feel uncomfortable, don't be afraid to speak up - it's not worth suffering later in what should be a fairly straightforward assessment. In the one hour grammar class, the teacher mainly provides a short slideshow on a grammar point and asks you to complete some activities from Da Capo either in class or for homework. I personally liked the textbook because it explained the grammar in black and white and is devoid of all the crap that high school LOTE textbooks are usually full of but perhaps it wasn't as user-friendly for the more creatively-minded students. It's an American textbook so sometimes it will say something confusing like "in Italy they write the date differently" (it's the same format as here, but in the US they have a different system) which can sometimes throw you at first, but overall I thought it was pretty effective.

My highlight of every week was the conversation class. The philosophy of the Italian staff is that speaking and listening assessments are counter-intuitive to the development of those skills, as they put you under pressure and make you nervous. Instead, they want to nurture those skills in a more relaxed environment without assessment. As speaking and listening skills were the two very things I needed to work on the most, I found this system did wonders for me. Not to mention that they were always just genuinely incredibly fun classes. You will be given some sort of stimulus (perhaps an activity, a song, a small clip etc.) and you basically just spend the hour talking to the people on your table in Italian. I don't think it gets more relaxing than that at university. :P Unfortunately, the negative I have here is that sometimes we just weren't given enough time to talk to each other. Sometimes technology would fail us (not the fault of the department) but sometimes they would try to shove in too many activities in that hour and by the time we got through the stimulus material we would only have 10-15 minutes discussion time. I hope they try to pack in less activities in the future, or perhaps consider extending the duration of the conversation class to 90 minutes.  The only assessment relating to this class is attendance - you need to attend at least 75% of the classes and actively participate in them to get awarded 10% to your grade. You don't even need to be perfect in your participation to get the 10% - as long as you have a go, it's OK. I know some people don't like being marked on participation but if you're studying a language (and are serious about it), particularly at beginner or intermediate level, you need to get as much practice in as possible. This is essentially free marks awarded to you for developing your own skills. Definitely nothing to scoff at.

In my opinion the other assessments for this subject were all very fair, not over-demanding and easy to score well in. There are three take-home assignments to be completed over the course of the semester, totalling 30% of your grade. They will relate to the topics and grammar points you have been covering in your language and grammar classes and are never more than about 300 words in length. They would take me a couple of hours to do only because I wanted to do them as accurately as possible - in the mid-semester test and exam I was expected to write responses of similar length in about half an hour, which I still found quite manageable, so you could theoretically pump them out in a lot less time with no issues. In addition you will also sit a 90 minute mid-semester test worth 20% of your grade the week before the mid-semester break, covering all the language topics and grammar points covered thus far. Initially I was really nervous about this test (most of the mid-semester tests I had to sit for other subjects were worth very little in comparison) but in the end most of us found it to be quite accessible. Most of us also completely overestimated the time constraint on it - I finished it half way and most members of the class left quite early that day. You won't be permitted a dictionary but the language is purposefully kept on the simple side so you should not have any issues in that regard. The mid-semester test has a vocabulary section (15 marks where you write 50-60 words about a provided image), a comprehension section (20 marks where you answer in Italian - you never answer anything in English in this subject - some questions relating to a given passage), a grammar section (35 marks) and an essay section (30 marks where you write a 150-200 word passage in response to one of several possible topics). You will be provided with a mock mid-semester test to help you along, which is very similar in structure to the actual mid-semester test. Just remember to take your time - you'll have plenty of it - and you'll manage just fine. The vast majority of the class (even the weaker students who are relying on translators to get by) manage to get a H1 for all the assessments, which is quite a shock when you see all the corrections that have been made. Perhaps they're very lenient markers. It explains why Italian has been so popular as a breadth subject with so many people in the past, even if people are not really that good at it. :P

The two hour exam is worth 40% of your overall mark and is exactly the same format as the mid-semester test. Despite the extra half hour, it isn't any longer than the mid-semester test, and does not assess anything that the mid-semester test already covered. This made things a breeze when it came to revision since I only had to go over five weeks of content. In addition, I knew that I could go super slow and still finish it on time. Some people walked out in as little as 30 minutes - I finished about half an hour early this time and made sure I checked over everything for the remaining time as usual. Again, there's no dictionary allowed but you shouldn't have any trouble with the vocabulary.

My teacher for the semester was Elisabetta Ferrari, who was nothing short of amazing. I've heard great things about all the other Italian staff as well, although it seems the general consensus that Elisabetta is the best teacher and the most reasonable marker. She was born in Italy and Italian is her first language so ultimately I felt we were getting the real deal in terms of language use while we were in her classes. In fact, she was so popular that she has decided to take on all Italian 4 classes next semester! I absolutely cannot wait. Agnese Bresin took all conversation classes and was also outstanding. Again, she is born in Italy and helped us to develop really genuine language skills, albeit in a really fun and engaging way. She's returning to Italy next semester so a new conversation class teacher will be taking over.

So if you cannot already tell, I absolutely loved this subject and I'm so keen for everyone else to experience it. Never before have I felt so passionate studying Italian and I can't wait to get back into it next semester. That's all I can think of for now, but I really hope I've given you an insight into this great subject. If you have any questions regarding Italian at all, please do not hesitate to ask me. In bocca al lupo! (Good luck! :P )
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 05:51:44 pm by Stick »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #313 on: June 23, 2014, 03:46:24 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ACCT30002: Enterprise Performance Management

Workload: For a given week, 1x 1.5-hr Lecture and 1x 1.5-hr Workshop.

Assessment:  70% hurdle exam, 12% Group Assignment, 10% Mid-semester test, 8% Workshop Participation

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  1 set of sample exam case studies and 1 past exam will be given. Past exams available on the archives are those back in 2001/2, some questions are still worth trying, some are useless.

Textbook Recommendation:  No recommended textbook. Optional textbooks include Management and Cost Accounting (5e) (Bhimani et al.) used in Cost Management or Management Accounting (2e) (Eldenburg, et al.). No need to buy if you don't have them, you can just borrow from the library.

Lecturer(s): Albie Brooks

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 Semester 1

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 86 (H1)


EPM revolves around management accounting, management control systems, and performance management. The only prerequisite of EPM is ACCT20001: Cost Management. NO, you won't be revisiting the *ughhh* computations and calculations we did in Cost, but we will see some cost concepts every now and then, like flexible budgets, activity-based costing, variance analysis, relevant cost decisions, etc. Overall, this subject was handled well by Albie, who is very experienced in teaching management accounting subjects. As you can see in the workload, lectures and workshops are equally as important in a student's learning process of the course.

In this subject, workshops are devoted mostly to case studies. Case studies are about 5-10 pages long, and shouldn't be too hard to read. It is best to have a knowledge of what the case is all about, and perhaps some notes here and there, before actually going to the workshops. Albie and the other tutors do not give out answers to the workshop case studies (they only give minor workshop follow-up notes) perhaps in the hopes that students come to workshops. I can say that these case studies in workshops are very critical for your success in the mid-semester test and the final exam, so attend all workshops and participate in group discussions. Note that what you learn in the workshop is basically what the members of the class contribute to discussions - Albie does not put in extra information beyond what the class talked about; it's like a collaborative learning experience instead of a teacher-student learning experience. But it shouldn't stop you from having fun, because EPM workshops are just very interactive - a good way to make friends :)

Lectures are just 1.5 hours instead of the usual 2. Lectures in EPM are sometimes just like large-scale workshops - very interactive as well, there will be some sort of case studies/lecture illustrations which are just like the case studies discussed in workshops. IMO, Albie is a good lecturer and I learned a lot from him (because I listen!). Attend all lectures and religiously take notes, and I assure you will never have to constantly replay the lecture recordings in SWOTVAC - the annotated notes are enough.

Weeks 1 and 2 are mainly concerned about the organisation, structure, strategy, and the different management control system tools that are used to influence the behaviour and attitudes of employees to achieve strategic goals. This portion of the EPM is just like the twin sister of OB (MGMT20001) - very similar concepts, one just comes from the management perspective, and the other, the accounting perspective. Week 3 would encompass financial performance measures, like ROI, Residual Income, and the Economic Value Added (EVA) measure, and a discussion of how they are dysfunctional in organisations. Week 4 would discuss Transfer Pricing, Transfer Pricing Policies, and the issue of goal congruence and inter-divisional conflicts. Week 5 is all about the Balanced Scorecard (arguably the most fun topic of all!) while Week 6 is on structuring rewards and incentives systems (looking at using cash/equity bonuses etc to dis-incentivise employee mishbehaviour...hehe). Week 7 would be on external market analysis, Week 8 on budgeting, Week 9 on strategic capital investment decisions, and Week 10 on risk management. Overall, very interesting set of topics and they're actually quite fun and easy to study. But no, it's not easy.

The midsem test on Week 6 is on topics 1 to 3 and it involves a mid-length case study (the case study is given beforehand to be studied, but the questions are obviously kept secret). It's quite easy to get good marks ONLY if you really devote yourself into the case study, try to study the combinations of questions that might be asked about the case, and make notes! This way, you'll actually spend precious time actually answering the questions and NOT re-reading the case.

The group assignment is a full-length case study that your group has to deal with. The assignment is relatively simple (ours was 3 questions, max 1,500 words, from topics 5 and 6, including one research question). If your group is able to scrutinise and dissect the different elements of the case study and answer the questions concisely but comprehensively, your group will have no problem getting a good mark. There's also a bonus question which is definitely fun to do (be creative!!!), not to mention a grade-saver.

The final exam involves 4 to 5 questions, which, of course, are all short- to mid-length case studies. The exam is a hurdle, so passing the subject means passing the exam first. Again, the exam is very doable ONLY if you really devote yourself into studying past exam questions and the sample case studies. Practice, practice, practice is the key. The exam is not designed to surprise people, so consistently doing workshop cases and lecture illustrations, knowing the subject content by heart, constantly doing practice exams, etc. will definitely help ensure a pass at the very least.

This accounting subject is unique in that it is less involved with computations and financial transactions (I only used the calculator in the exam to find out how many minutes I should spend on a question LOL) but more on case studies and situational applications. Have fun in doing EPM, because I did! :)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 05:08:37 pm by jtvg »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #314 on: June 23, 2014, 06:54:18 pm »
Subject Code/Name: FNCE10001 Finance 1

Workload:  2 lectures (1 hour each) and 1 tutorial (1 hour) per week.

Assessment:  Exam (80%) and 2 case study assignments (10% each)

Lectopia Enabled:  No

Past exams available:  There are a very large number of past papers to go through, however be aware that the semester 1 and 2 exams are written in a very different style to one another. So although the content is generally similar, the style of some papers may not be applicable to you.

Textbook Recommendation:  The prescribed text is Financial Institutions and Markets (B Hunt and C Terry), (6th edn), Thomson, Australia, 2011. However, you should not purchase this book as I found it was only good as a reference in my assignments. The lecture notes and tutes are more than enough to do extremely well in the class.

Lecturer(s): Dr. Sturla Fjesme and Dr. Carsten Murawski (Semester 1).

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester 1.

Rating:  1/5

Your Mark/Grade: Not yet received.

In terms of my overall impressions of the course, if you are looking for a relatively easy breadth subject then you can probably get away with this one. I would say that if you go to the tutorials and actually do the problems you will most certainly be primed for a H1. However, I've given the course a low score since the content can be extremely dry (ie. learning definitions and lists related to markets or institutions are very common).

Lectures: Overall, the lecturers were great. Sturla and Carsten explain the content very clearly with additional examples, however if you really don't want to go to the lectures you would likely be totally fine since the notes essentially explain themselves.

Content of the course: Over the first few weeks, you will be covering the basic definitions and concepts of financial markets and institutions. Financial mathematics (which is covered in basically 1 lecture) actually constitutes around 50% of the final exam as the concepts will be reused again in several areas down the track so be aware of that, however the maths is extremely simple. Following this, you will cover the major market types (money, bond, share, foreign exchange). In terms of how interesting the course is, this is an introductory course that really deals with the basics of finance so it can get very dry.

Assessment: Be aware that the subject is basically a HUGE MEMORY TEST, ESPECIALLY FOR THE EXAM. You will need to learn many definitions  and lists pertaining to a market/institution/security etc., and because this is an introductory class, past exam questions will pop up time and time again, so you may feel like you are simply regurgitating facts. It should also be noted that the exam is a hurdle requirement.

As for the assignments, these were probably the only saving grace for this subject in terms of keeping my interest as they tended to be more open ended than the tutorial questions. Just be aware that you should be referencing correctly in the assignments to avoid losing marks.

Recommendation: In terms of recommendations, I would suggest this subject only if you are looking for a relatively easy breadth subject to ease the pressure in later years. Of course, if you are a Commerce undergrad you will be taking this subject most likely. As for tips for doing well in the class, try to at least keep up with the tutorial questions and the lecture notes. I wouldn't say going to the tutes is absolutely necessary unless you have a great tutor and you could well not even go to a lecture and do great as long as you read through the notes.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 06:56:56 pm by Groudon »
VCE: Graduated 2011, ATAR 98.60
2012-2014: Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Chemical Systems (UniMelb)