Login | Register
Enrol now for our new online tutoring program. Learn from the best tutors. Get amazing results. Learn more.

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

October 31, 2020, 09:51:04 pm

Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1235445 times)  Share 

0 Members and 7 Guests are viewing this topic.


  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 803
  • Respect: +47
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #450 on: June 15, 2015, 02:46:36 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PSYC10003 Mind, Brain & Behaviour 1 

Workload:  3 one hour lectures (totalling 36 hours) and one two hour tutorial (12) a week.
3 hours of research participation (hurdle requirement).
Total Time Commitment: 170 hours time commitment

One three hour multiple choice exam (60%)
Laboratory assignment(s) of not more than 2000 words (40%)
Participation in three hours of research activities and attendance at 80% or more of laboratory classes are hurdle requirements.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No. There were multiple-choice questions for each topic available with answers as well as a list of possible questions for the sensation and perception topic (1/4 of the exam).

Textbook Recommendation: 
There is a whole list of recommended textbooks but you don't need to buy them and it isn't worth it. Just borrow them from the library if you need to.

Dr Simon Cropper (Subject coordinator and takes Sensation and Perception)
Dr Jason Forte (Neuroscience)
Dr Stefan Bode (Learning and Cognition)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (!)


I was extremely excited for this subject having completed VCE psychology and loved it, and I wasn’t disappointed. No prior knowledge was needed but having done further maths in high school definitely helped with the Quantitative Methods, and some of the learning and memory theories in vce psychology were brought up again. Completing these subjects won’t give you an advantage as the majority of the content is new and they go through everything thoroughly.

Lectures: All of the lecturers were really good and they each have their own unique style. The neuroscience lectures (Jason) seem fairly content heavy but when compared to other science subjects, they aren’t that bad and learning about how the brain works is pretty interesting. Simon takes you on a bit of a rollercoaster of sensation and perception and I admit to walking out of one or two of his lectures wondering what the hell I had just learnt- but I enjoyed every second of them! The content is about primarily the visual system and how we interact with the world. He doesn’t use notes in his slides but uploads summaries and his music taste is pretty rad. Learning and cognition (Stefan) was my favourite section. You learn about different learning and memory systems and theories, language (briefly) and then towards the end you delve into consciousness and free will. This section is less science-y and really makes you think and question things that you never have before.

Tutorials: The content in the tutorials isn't gone over in the lectures, so attending them is necessary if you want to do well (plus there’s a 80% attendance hurdle). My tutor was amazing and went through everything in a lot of detail. Some of the classes are a bit odd (supertasters anyone?) but you also go through research methods and quant methods (the maths stuff-don’t worry it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it).

Assessment: Apparently this changes a little from year to year but we had to write two essays. One long one about a sunset, yes you have to sit down and watch a sunset, and a short one that was about the Kaleidoscope Exhibition at the Ian Potter Gallery in Fed square (this one will most likely change). A lot of people found these a bit abstract and out there but I promise if you pay attention in the assignment tutorial then everything will make sense. I found this assignment quite enjoyable but it was hard to work out what we were meant to do. This is the reason why I’m only giving this subject a 4.

Exam: It’s all multiple choice and is split into four sections: Neuroscience, Sensation & Perception, Learning & Cognition and Quantitative Methods. For S&P you have a general idea about what will be on the exam (I mean you even get a list that has the questions in it), and most sections are quite fair.  Though, I will mention that some of the neuroscience questions were on information that was only in the notes and not covered in the lectures.

Final comment: If you are interested in psychology and the mind then definitely make sure you take this! It is a prerequisite if you want to major in psych and if you're not sure then it might be good to take it just to keep your options open. There is so much more to this subject than just sitting the exam and getting a mark, it makes you THINK (especially if you are just learning facts in other subjects).  It isn’t easy but it isn’t extraordinarily difficult and it’s worth it! I should probably add though, that despite me adoring this subject a lot of people didn't.  If you don't like science then you will most likely struggle during the neuroscience section and the assignment is fairly abstract as well as a fair chunk of the content.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:52:49 pm by sjayne »
2015   BSc: psych at unimelb


  • Victorian
  • ATAR Notes Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 3777
  • Sticky. :P
  • Respect: +465
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #451 on: June 17, 2015, 12:38:38 am »
Subject Code/Name: BIOM20001: Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine

Workload: Contact Hours: 99 hours: 6 x 1 hour lectures per week, 1 x 3 hour practicals/CAL per fortnight and 9 x 1 hour tutorials. Total Time Commitment: 340 hours (including non-contact time).

Note: There are four CALs - the biochemistry, cell biology and pathology CALs can be done at university while the genetics CAL is completed at home. Microbiology/immunology involves two 90 minute practical classes held roughly at the same time as your scheduled CAL timeslot (so putting them in other places in your personal timetable won't change anything). The "tutorials" are workshops; essentially lecture slots that the lecturer uses to summarise concepts, expose the cohort to practice questions or extend upon the concepts covered in lectures.

Assessment: 5 x continuous assessment exercises during semester - 10% (2% each); 2 x intra-semester tests during semester - 20% (10% each); 2 x 2 hour examinations during the exam period - 70% (35% each).

The continuous assessment exercises refer to the LMS test that becomes available once the whole cohort has completed the CALs/practicals.

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: The 2013 mid-semester tests were made available to us as revision during the semester. For the final exams, we were supplied with 2010, 2011 and 2013. This might vary from year to year, but 2010 can be found on the university library website. Note that the format of these exams is very different from the current exam format.

Textbook Recommendation:

Prescribed textbook: Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Raff M, Roberts K, Walter P, "Molecular Biology of the Cell", 5th Edition

Recommended textbooks:
  • Nelson D, Cox M, "Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry", 6th edition
  • Griffiths AJF et al., "Introduction to Genetic Analysis", 10th edition
  • Engleberg NC et al., “Schaechter's Mechanisms of Microbial Disease” 4th edition
  • Kumar V et al., 'Robbins Basic Pathology', 8th edition

It might be worth having your hands on a version of the prescribed textbook, although all the lecturers emphasise that only content covered in the lectures is examinable. Hence, I didn't use the textbook that much this year. As to all the recommended textbooks - I didn't even look at them once. However, they're not too difficult to "find" (*cough*) so it might be good to have them there anyway.

Note also that the 6th edition of the prescribed textbook is now available. It doesn't matter which version you have out of these two, the lecturers tried their best to provided references for both.

Dr Terry Mulhern: Lectures 1-17 - Biochemistry
Dr Michael Murray: Lectures 18-22, 27-29 - Genetics
Dr Marnie Blewitt: Lectures 23-24 - Epigenetics
Dr Trent Perry: Lectures 25-26 - Genetics in development
Assoc Prof Robb de Iongh: Lectures 30-35, 38-42 - Cell biology
Assoc Prof Gary Hime: Lectures 36-38 - Cell junctions and the extracellular matrix
Prof Roy Robins-Browne: Lectures 43-48 - Bacteriology
Prof Lorena Brown: Lectures 49-51 - Virology
Dr Odilia Wijburg: Lectures 52-57 - Immunology
Dr Vicki Lawson: Lectures 58-66 - Pathology
Dr Tom Karaggianis: Lectures 67-68 - Neoplasia

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2015

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


As all the other reviews do for this subject, I'll have to start with the inevitable truth - this subject is a very difficult one. This was something I really didn't want to believe or face, but no matter how I tried to see it BIOM20001 made sure I got a good slap in the face about it anyway. I guess the part I find difficult to come to terms with is the fact that I was managing the first six weeks of this subject just fine. I wasn't having any trouble. I wasn't feeling exceptionally overwhelmed by the workload. I had been lulled into a false sense of security, believing that maybe the cohorts gone before us were just exaggerating how difficult it would be, or that it was merely a matter of actually doing your work (first year can allow you to be a bit slack at times). Then week 7 happened, and I never quite got back on my feet again. This subject is a lot of work, although it can definitely be completed without having to drop your study load. That being said, I totally understand why so many people do it now. Yes, you can complete this subject having two others on the side, but you might struggle to really balance yourself. I know that this eventually became a problem for me, although all this might be more a reflection on me than on the subject itself. All I can say is to brace yourselves and be prepared for the upcoming challenge. Compared to first year, I also found myself having to actively memorise a lot more content. I'll also re-iterate, however, that the concepts covered in this subject are not particularly difficult - the challenge merely presents itself through all the content you need to know.

All of that said, this subject is a great opportunity to get a taste of the various majors on offer in third year. There will be sections you love and others you hate, but at least you can actually make an informed decision on what you want to do. This is a luxury Science students miss out on - generally they are forced to have to eliminate options coming straight out of first year, whereas you can systematically work through each one and potentially decide through a process of elimination (which is essentially what I'm doing). So in that sense, I'm grateful for this opportunity. Regardless of how you feel for each individual topic, you'll find that the quality of the teaching staff is generally quite high, which makes this subject more bearable.

In terms of the format, you'll generally have six lectures and a workshop, or seven lectures per week. As I said above, the workshops are essentially lecture slots that the lecturer uses to summarise concepts, expose the cohort to practice questions or extend upon the concepts covered in lectures. Importantly, they're not like the workshops in first year biology, and they're not a waste of time. You should definitely make sure you go over these classes and treat them seriously. Personally, I found the workshops very helpful in clarifying my understanding of the various topics. The lectures are essentially as they are in other subjects. You'll have one every day, and on some days, two, so it is absolutely imperative that you get in the habit of summarising lectures the day that they're conducted. If you wait until the end of the week, you can see yourself falling up to seven lectures behind, which is not an ideal circumstance to be in at all. This subject is sequential and moves fast, and if you haven't properly consolidated the content covered in the previous one, it can be difficult to understand subsequent ones and it can all quickly snowball into one huge problem. This can make things particularly hard at times because students are left very little time to sit with more difficult concepts and understand them before moving on, so I can only hope this may be addressed in some way in the future (perhaps having two lectures on Monday, Wednesday and Friday would be better for that reason, I'm not sure). It is one of the reasons I have not awarded this subject 5/5.

In addition, you'll have a CAL (which stands for computer-assisted learning class) roughly every fortnight, and, towards the end of the semester, two practicals for microbiology in place of a CAL. Given that the genetics CAL is completed at home you essentially only have three of these CAL classes. In these classes you go through a website or program in the computer lab and fill out a worksheet. This is all done individually and at your own pace - if you run out of time the CAL was generally available to do at home afterwards, so it's not a big problem (I only ever finished one CAL on time -.-). In fact, the biochemistry and cell biology CALs could pretty much be completed at home if you really wanted to do that, but the advantage in going in is that staff are available to answer questions you may have. Once all the CAL class groups have had their CAL class, a test on the CAL content becomes available on the LMS. This is generally just a 10 mark multiple choice quiz with a one hour time limit, although this can vary from case to case. I was in the first CAL group which generally meant that the test became available two weeks after I did the CAL, so I was forced to revisit the content before the assessment. If you can, try to get into a later CAL class so you don't have to do this. In general, I did not find the CALs useful, relevant or interesting, and is another reason I am not giving this subject a 5/5. In terms of assessment though, it wasn't too difficult to get most of the 2% for each one, and in a subject like this one, I guess people are happy to do whatever in order to get some extra marks.

From here forth, I'll go through this review analysing each section of the course separately, but be aware the concepts are never really kept in isolation but integrated together. This is important to bear in mind when it comes to assessment. During the semester, make an effort to be aware of the links, and make a mental note of them in the back of your mind. From time to time lecturers would actually pull slides from another part of the course to demonstrate the link, so it's evident a lot of time and effort has been made for integration.

Weeks 1-3: Biochemistry

Your first set of lectures will cover the key concepts of biochemistry and molecular biology, which are taken by Terry Mulhern. The good news is that this is taught significantly better than first year chemistry, and I found it much easier to understand. Personally speaking, it's still not one of my favourite topics to learn about, but at least I was left with a much more positive taste in my mouth compared to first year chemistry. Terry's also a very good and thorough lecturer, although he had the tendency to speak a bit fast at times. I found the content was presented in a manner that was appropriate and for the most part not too difficult to follow. This part of the course covers all the biomacromolecule structures and functions (with a stronger focus on proteins), as well as key reactions of metabolism (glycolysis, Krebs cycle, anaerobic respiration, fermentation, and the electron transport chain) and how these are regulated. Yes, you will need to know all the details of these reactions. As you can probably see, you will need to commit to memory a lot of information. I'm sure you've already heard that you'll need to know the amino acids, including their three letter and single letter codes. I would strongly suggest getting onto this sooner rather than later. Given that I was aware of this before starting this subject, I worked on learning these over the summer holidays so that I already knew them prior to the semester starting. In the end, this proved to be a massive help. I used a flashcard app on my phone to learn them and worked through it from time to time and found that a very effective way to learn them. Metabolism all gets covered in week 3 essentially and it can be challenging to have to try and become familiar with a metabolic pathway in time for the next lecture so that everything made sense. That being said, I found that it wasn't as daunting as I initially thought. The most difficult part of this section is the regulation part, but with time and persistence I found this eventually clicked. Biochemistry is a bit of an odd one, because while you have to spend a lot of time actively memorising content, once it's memorised, it's very easy to understand, and your understanding will hold your memory intact. For example, once you know about the structures of the amino acids, their properties are easy to understand and recognise. Similarly, the metabolic pathways and their regulation actually make a lot of sense. It's essentially the reverse to how it works most of the time, where understanding facilitates remembering.

Terry mainly used his workshops to clear up any confusion about the questions he would pose at the end of these lectures, or would expose us to practice multiple choice questions which we would answer on quickpoll. This turned out to be very helpful for the assessments, so I would make every effort to attempt questions and go to (or watch) the workshops.

The CAL for this part of the course involved reading an experimental procedure and answering questions. The content doesn't really tie in with the course that well and beyond the CAL test the content never really came up again. Technically all CAL, practical and workshop content is examinable but not in this case.

I'll just put a note at the end that GAMSAT pretty much co-incides with metabolism, which can make this excruciatingly difficult if you're in this boat. To be honest, I don't know if I could've coped if I also had the GAMSAT to contend with. Anyway, bear this in mind, and go in with a game plan.

Weeks 4-6: Genetics

Ahh, genetics... my safe haven. For me genetics is not the most interesting aspect of biology, but it comes to me easy, and the whole discipline really is about understanding the concepts in favour of knowing all the little details. Michael Murray takes the bulk of the lectures in this block and he will emphasise to you that actually understanding what is presented to you in lectures is far more important than knowing some random tiny detail that would otherwise be fair game in pretty much any other section of the course. For this reason, I really liked this part of the course as it was a nice change from the rest of what the course seems to focus on. The lectures predominantly focus on gene expression and cancer, although some time is also dedicated to advances made in genetics research. Again, the content was presented in a clear and appropriate manner. In addition, Marnie Blewitt takes two lectures on epigenetics and Trent Perry takes two lectures on genetics in development. I personally love epigenetics so I found those lectures very interesting. Marnie has the tendency to speak quite fast but she was very professional - if you need to definitely rewatch her lectures again. However, at the time I found Trent's lecture content a bit confusing. In the end though, it's not terribly complicated and with a bit of persistence you will get it. Given that it's only a couple of lectures it never makes up a large portion of the assessment anyway.

All the lecturers provide practice questions at the end of their lectures, which are generally gone over at the start of the next lecture (if applicable) but may be addressed in workshops if they caused particular problems. However, I found the workshops slightly less useful for this section. Unlike in other sections, the lecturers relied on students suggesting concepts to re-cover. In theory this should work but most students didn't seem to have that many problems so the classes sort of went to waste.

The CAL for this section ties into the course slightly better compared to biochemistry, although it was still a bit detached. It involved using a program to deduce a particular genetic outcome. At least you do this one at home. In terms of further assessment, the content never really came up again either.

Weeks 6-8: Cell biology

The next part of the course is cell biology, taken by Robb de Iongh, with cell junctions and extracellular matrix covered by Gary Hime. Pretty much everything in the course can be linked to the concepts covered in this section, which makes sense given the title of the subject and the fact that the lecturer for this section is also the subject's co-ordinator. At the end of first year I thought this would be the section that I'd end up pursuing further but in the end I actually found cell biology the least enjoyable part. It probably had more to do with the rote-learning and the way you have to think to learn the information than anything else. Nonetheless, I personally found this section difficult - understandably things went a bit downhill for me here. You'll learn a lot about cell processes, structures and signalling pathways which I don't think I appreciated in the end because of the fast, demanding pace of the lectures. Robb and Gary like to merely put diagrams of the processes, and given how I was feeling at the time I decided I'd cut and paste them into my book. If there was one mistake I had made in this subject, it was this. There is a reason why they choose to present the content in this way - it's the easiest way to convey the information, and the diagrams are pretty much self-explanatory. Additionally, knowing the diagrams proves very helpful in the assessment. If I had taken the time to actually draw out all the diagrams, I would have understood all the content very quickly. In the end, my shortcut pretty much backfired and I spent most of my time needlessly confused. That being said, I think some areas were still confusing to me in general so I think this also just highlighted a weak point.

Robb uses the workshop in this section to explore cancer in greater depth, even though you learn about it heaps in lectures. However, he makes the effort to integrate his own concepts as well as the concepts of others, and this is extremely handy for the assessment. You're asked to read a scientific article on cancer prior to attending, although only a handful seemed to do it. You could probably get away with not reading it, but if you have the time, why not have a read of it anyway?

A positive is that the CAL pretty much ties in perfectly with the lectures. While it merely involves reading a website and filling in a worksheet, it's probably a good way to further consolidate your knowledge in another learning format. I'd suggest that this CAL would be good for exam revision too, given its relevance to the course.

Weeks 8-10: Infection and immunity

This part of the course is spread fairly evenly between bacteriology, taken by Roy Robins-Browne, virology, taken by Lorena Brown, and immunology, taken by Odilia Wijburg. Roy's section is first up, and you'll spend time learning about bacterial structure and virulence, as well as mechanisms to combat bacterial infection. As other reviews have warned, Roy likes to tell a lot of stories, which can make their way into examinable content, so don't just sit there thinking that they're irrelevant (which, in all fairness, is easy to do because they don't come across as particularly important) but make every effort to jot down the key message of each one, as well as any additional bacterial species he happens to mention. While we still received a number of these stories this year, thankfully feedback from previous cohorts had been heard and Roy showed a lot of restraint when it came to the assessment - none of his stories or extra bacteria actually came up anywhere. However, there's never any guarantee, so don't take the chance. We then moved onto having just three lectures on virus structure/virulence and antiviral mechanisms with Lorena. Lorena's officially my favourite lecturer now. She was so nice and also an amazing lecturer. She doesn't quite go into the same level of specifics as Roy, but it's important to take note of the key examples. The microbiology lectures are then followed up by a week of immunology lectures with Odilia. Odilia's slides are amongst the best I've seen at university - they are incredibly well laid out and pretty much contain all the information that you need. Hence, it might seem like she's reading off the slides, but it's so much easier to compile all the information compared to other lecturers who seem to mention a lot of important stuff that's not written down (and hence easy to miss). I guess it's evident the microbiology and immunology department is very thorough in their teaching, backing up the positive words I hear from others taking MIIM subjects. Anyway, Odilia does contain a few so-called "slides of death" which you'll need to commit to memory as well - if you haven't gotten the picture by now, you'll probably come to see that learning the amino acids will become the least of your problems in this subject compared to the content you need to memorise in all the other sections. :P I also liked Odilia's workshop for this section, where we went through practice multiple choice questions together.

Instead of a CAL you actually have two practical classes for microbiology in the Peter Doherty institute. Given that there are no other practicals in this subject, and that most of the other subjects students tend to take alongside this subject don't have practicals either, it was quite a nice change to be back in the laboratory again. In these classes you go through a real case study to try and figure out the cause of an infection. Relax - they're nothing like first year: you won't be traumatised by having to do a tonne of stuff in a short period of time or face poor marks. The sessions are not jam-packed as they are in first year, and at the end of each session the demonstrator takes the time to go through all the answers on the worksheet. Additionally, there's no in-practical assessment either - the assessment is the same as it is for the other CALs. For your benefit, the department also puts up some practice questions for you to do, which was really nice of them. Hence, I found that I was actually able to appreciate what was going on for once. It may be a good idea to be familiar with the bacteria you come across in these classes only because Roy might wish to exploit them in assessment.

As you can see, I enjoyed this section for a number of reasons. The teaching standard was exceptionally high, and the content was appropriately balanced between memory and understanding. Additionally, while there was a lot to memorise there weren't any pathways to remember, which, for me, was a plus. ;)

Weeks 11-12: Pathology

The last section of this course is pathology, taken by Vicki Lawson. Given that there's only 11 lectures dedicated to this section, some felt this part of the course came across as rushed and disjointed, and many found it to be the most difficult area to learn. Contrastingly, I think this proved to be my favourite part of the course. Vicki does tend to talk quite fast so reviewing the lectures again might be necessary, but she makes the effort to emphasise the need to sit down and think about how the concepts relate to one another, and I really liked her as a lecturer anyway. I also personally found the content just seemed to click and make a lot of sense. Perhaps part of the reason why I enjoyed this section so much was because the link to medicine is, for once, extremely explicit. That being said, it probably wasn't my strongest area either (weird, I know). Here you'll spend a lot of time on immunopathology (i.e. injury, inflammation, would healing and hypersensitivity), so there's a nice link to Odilia's content. The final two lectures of this subject are taken by Tom Karaggianis, who formalises a lot of the concepts you've already learnt about neoplasia (cancer). Pretty much nothing covered in his lectures was new, but again the reinforcement proves helpful for the assessment. Vicki's workshop was run in a similar fashion to Odilia's.

The CAL for this section also ties in with lecture content quite well as it's essentially a summary of Vicki's lectures. However, as it is not a website but rather a program, you must complete this CAL at the computer lab. Don't make the mistake that many made and not turn up, and then have to try and find another time when the computer lab was free, and find the program on the computer, to work through the worksheet.


Given the relatively high failure rates of previous years, the staff have made an effort to try and simplify the assessment and make it more manageable, and this showed in this year's assessment.

In addition to CAL tests, your other mid-semester assessments are two mid-semester tests, held in weeks 6 and 11. Both tests contain 30 multiple choice questions to be completed in 30 minutes. These are generally not hard if you've made the effort to do the work properly and review the content. Many of the questions require you to recall information, but I felt enough questions also required a more solid understanding of the concepts taught. Some sections managed to do this particularly well - off the top of my head I'd say biochemistry and immunology tended to do this quite effectively. Most people know that this subject is difficult, so many (including myself) invested more time studying for these this year compared to first year biology. This showed in my results - I did significantly better in my tests this year, despite the extra difficulty of this subject. Test 1 covers biochemistry and genetics, and test 2 covers cell biology and infection and immunity. Generally, cohorts tend to do better in test 1 compared to test 2; this probably has to do with the fact that you generally get the mid-semester break to study properly for test 1, which is not a luxury you get for test 2. However, for some weird reason, our cohort did much better on test 2. I personally got the same result for both tests and found them both similar in difficulty (although I felt less prepared for test 2). For each test you'll get a review lecture where you actually receive (collective) feedback on how the test was conducted, and questions answered correctly by less than 50% of the cohort are gone over again. I really appreciated the effort that was put into these review classes.

Your very last lecture covers exam information and is worth paying attention to. No doubt you're aware that BIOM20001 has two exams - exam A, which consists of 80 multiple choice questions and 40 marks of fill in the blank questions; and exam B, which consists of integrated short answer questions. In the last lecture you will be told which topics are to be integrated for which questions in exam B. This is where that mental list you've been compiling over the course of the semester comes in handy. During SWOTVAC, it's a really good idea to sit down and make a list of all the concepts that could possibly be integrated, and for larger concepts (e.g. cancer) you may wish to write some summary notes that actually tie in all the information from the whole course. You should be able to predict what sorts of concepts will come up in your exam B.

Exam A was never really a concern for me given that it was multiple choice and fill in the blank, but previous cohorts had reported that it was difficult to complete on time. This wasn't the case this year. Most found this exam comparable to the difficulty and style of the mid-semester tests and was therefore considered manageable. Since pathology is not covered in a mid-semester test, there are more pathology questions in the multiple choice section, but these were fairly similar in style to the questions Vicki asked in her CAL.

Exam B is the exam that scares most people. It's your first ever short answer exam for biology at university, and it seems like an absolute nightmare given all the detail you're expected to know. However, in the end it wasn't actually that bad. The practice exams that you'll receive mainly consist of long answer questions rather than short answer questions, and so while they are worth doing for practice, they are not representative of what the actual exam is like. In terms of structure (as well as the focus of questions), exam B is much like the short answer section of the VCE Biology exam. The sections are integrated in the sense that they all relate to a particular concept, but generally each individual question only really required knowledge from one part of the course. Note that you will be expected to draw diagrams for many of the questions - so make the effort to learn them! They don't have to be perfect but try to ensure they are somewhat representative of the concept if you can. The focus of the exam is also not what you'd expect - it's not so much splurging down all the details you can think of for a particular concept; rather it's about finding connections between concepts and being able to make inferences and apply knowledge to various observations. Hence, I really enjoyed this exam, because if you actually deeply understood all the concepts, you were sweet. That being said, it's also difficult to know how you went because none of the answers were really explicit either. In previous years it also seemed many people failed to finish, but this year I think most people managed to get everything done just in time. I personally finished with a handful of minutes remaining. Definitely work at a brisk pace.


This subject is conducted at a very high standard, although that doesn't mean it doesn't have its drawbacks. It's not very difficult concept-wise, but with such a high workload it can often seem overwhelming and get the better of you. When picking other subjects, I implore you to choose wisely, because this subject requires a large time investment - easily two subject's worth, if not more. Not that this is a standardised unit of measurement, but to indicate to you the size of this course, I used up eight exercise books for this subject, compared to three in subjects with a normal load (so you can sort of see this subject is actually more than the workload of two normal subjects, if you get what I mean). If you can find a way to make things work though, you'll find that you'll be absolutely fine, because the staff go to great lengths to try and make the journey as smooth as it can possibly be for you. Be prepared for the challenge, and embrace it - ultimately this subject is tough but as everyone says it's worth it in the end. Other than that, I think that's all I've got to say. Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 04:18:29 pm by Stick »
2017-2020: Doctor of Medicine - The University of Melbourne
2014-2016: Bachelor of Biomedicine - The University of Melbourne


  • Victorian
  • Part of the furniture
  • *****
  • Posts: 1875
  • Respect: +408
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #452 on: June 17, 2015, 03:58:13 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MIIM30011: Medical Microbiology: Bacteriology

Workload:  3 lectures per week.

Assessment:  Weekle quizzes worth 5%. Two MSTs of 40 MCQ each, worth 40% together. The exam goes for 2 hours and is weighted 55%. It has 12 MCQs, 26 marks of fill in the blanks, and 6 questions (each worth 10 marks) for short answer.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  No past exams, but some lecturers will put up some revision questions on the end of their slides. You can also use your old weekly quizzes for more revision.

Textbook Recommendation:  Bacterial Pathogenesis: a Molecular Approach by Wilson et al. I never even had a look at it.

Lecturer(s): A lot.
O. Wijburg
R. Strugnell
E. Hartland
R. Robins-Browne
T. Stinear
H. Newton
J. Denholm
J. Rood

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (91)

Comments: Are you good at memorising? If you have a poor memory, then this subject is going to be very hard for you. Even if you're good at memorising things, it's still quite a bit to swallow. I'd have to say that this was probably only just as packed as M2M. If you're studying this with MIIM30002, you can expect some overlap but there's not too much - you're learning about how bacteria cause disease in this subject. In essence, you learn about pathogenesis, treatment and diagnosis for many different types of infections. There's a lot of detail in this subject; be prepared to name many acronyms and

Odilia begins with an overview of the immune system and how it responds to bacterial infection. Not so difficult here. Following this you move onto bacterial genetics with Richard, where you learn how bacteria regulate their genes and how they can exchange them. There's also a few lectures on using molecular Koch's postulates to identify virulence factors in bacteria. After this, the subject begins to become a lot more interesting - you begin to learn how bacteria adhere, colonise, invade, survive, and spread between cells in detail. This block of lectures is centred around learning from many examples so it's easy to confuse things from one bacteria with another. Liz lectures for this block and is probably one of the most clearest lecturers I've ever had - even though what she's teaching is just more memory work I felt that this section was probably one of the easiest to memorise. Her last two lectures are on secretion systems and that should wrap up the first half of the course. This will be assessed in MST1.

The latter half of the course has more focus on specific infections. Anyway, next up, it's time for Roy's stories. If you haven't had Roy before, make sure you dictate everything he says because any word that comes out of his mouth is examinable. And be prepared for him to make you answer questions in the middle of a lecture (never sit at the back of the theatre, lol). You get a number of lectures in diagnostic microbiology, antibiotics, E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These lectures should be familiar to you if you've done MCB and the 2nd year microbes subject, especially the ones for E. coli. Roy didn't end up finishing his lectures on antibiotics so we weren't taught about testing for susceptibility, which was a bummer though.

Following this, Tim talks about Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium ulcerans and Staphlycoccus aureus infections. What's unique in these lectures is that he links them with bacterial genomics. First, you'll get a lecture on how they sequence the bacterial genome, and then throughout the lectures on infection he'll integrate them with some applied genomics (for example, using phylogenomics to determine if the same bacteria is spreading through different communities, or how VISA mutants form in hospitals). You also get a lecture on TB epidemiology by Justin. That makes up the content for MST2.

You then move onto Coxiella, Rickettsia and Chlamydia infections with Nicole. Odilia presents a pretty straightforward lecture on vaccines and the course ends with Julian lecturing on Clostridium infections.

Moving onto assessment, the weekly quizzes on the LMS should be free marks for you. All of the questions are pretty easy and if you have your notes out while you're doing it you should be getting close to full marks all the time. The MSTs are also pretty decent too - the average was around 32/39 for the first MST and 30/39 for the second. If you've done the work they should do well. You also get a detailed email that shows you what areas you went wrong in during your MSTs so that's helpful in knowing where your weak points are. You'll get a revision lecture a few days before each MST which is pretty much just a Q&A so bring any questions that are nagging you.

All in all, this is a very interesting subject but if you're not prepared to commit things to memory, then you're going to suffer. It's an excellent subject to do in conjunction with Immunology - it's not the best thing if you're doing something like Anatomy or Physiology. This course involves a lot of cell biology and molecular detail - you're learning about bacteria, after all!

TL;DR: True to its name, you're going to be learning about bacteria in the context of medicine. Therefore, expect to store in a ton of detail. It's best to study this when learning Immunology to get an insight into both sides of infectious disease!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 12:38:11 pm by Shenz0r »
2012 ATAR: 99.20
2013-2015: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Microbiology/Immunology: Infections and Immunity) at The University of Melbourne
2016-2019: Doctor of Medicine (MD4) at The University of Melbourne


  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 676
  • Respect: +53
  • School Grad Year: 2017
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #453 on: June 17, 2015, 05:53:09 pm »
Subject Code: MAST10006: Calculus 2

Workload:  3 x one hour lectures, 1 x one hour tutorial per week

Assessment:  4 x assignments every 2-3 weeks (20%; 5% each)
                         1 x three hour exam (80%)

Lectopia Enabled: No

Past Exams available: 2013 Semester 1&2 + 2014 Semester 1&2 exams are posted on LMS with solutions at the end of semester.
Plenty more on the exam library if you want more (just remember Sequences and Series won't be on them + no solutions)

Textbook Recommendations:
Prescribed: You need to purchase the lecture slides/coursebook from the Co-Op shop
Recommended:  - Hass, Weir, Thomas, Adams and Essex, Calculus 1 & 2, custom published text, Pearson, 2010.
               - Hass, Weir, Thomas, University Calculus Early Transcendentals, 2nd edition, 2012
- Prof. John Sader
- Dr. Christine Mangelsdorf
- Dr. Bill Holmes
- Dr. Anita Ponsaing

Year & Semester of Completion: 2015, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: Not Yet Received


This was an incredibly fun subject to take! The aim of this subject was to cover a broad range of topics without much depth to them. So really all that's required of you is to remember the formulas and know when/how/where to plug in the numbers. People who get a study score of 29 or more in Specialist Maths 3/4 can enrol in this subject in Semester 1.

I was blessed to have Professor John Sader as the lecturer in my stream, and I really recommend him to everyone taking Calc 2. He is incredibly enthusiastic and engaging, so learning the content can be quite fun with him as your lecturer. Be aware that he can go quite fast though (sometimes we finished lectures 10-15 minutes early) so if he's going too quick give him a heads up, even if one person is lost he'll go over it again for you. Just remember to be considerate towards others; you don't want to put the lecture on hold for everyone else because you keep asking questions. He also often spends a few minutes at the end of lectures to let you ask questions as well, but the time/opportunity to ask questions is often short because the line gets long very quickly and he'll need to leave to let the next lecturer into the theatre. Generally all you do in these lectures is go through a bit of theory and then straight into worked examples that you copy down into your lecture slides. Most of the time they weren't difficult to follow along, Calc 2 is about as difficult (or maybe even easier) than Spesh imo. You start off with Limits and then move on to Sequences&Series which I didn't really like. My favourite topics were probably First+Second Order Differential Equations because these were straightforward to do and had various real life applications to them which made them interesting. There's no textbook required in this subject, all you need is the lecture notes which you buy at the co-op store and you'll be given Problem Sheets on your first lecture. At the end of every week the subject co-ordinator will post on LMS which questions you should be able to do. The recommended textbook is something you should go to if you want another source of information or additional problems to do if you completed the ones in the problem sheets.

Okay so these assignments were probably the worst thing about Calc2. They were damn hard. Sometimes I didn't even know how to read the equations that were in the questions. Fortunately I formed a study group with some other Biomed kids and we often discussed the assignments together so it made doing them less stressful. Try not to do them the weekend before they're due because you'll probably need more time to think through them. You get them roughly every 2 weeks so they mostly cover content from those previous two weeks although every now and then you'll need to refer to content from before that. My advice would be to do them the Monday they're handed out. Sit down, think about the question and what formulas you can use to get to the final answer. They mostly only assess you on things you learnt in the last two weeks so you should get yourself on the right track eventually. Try to form study groups as well because you can help each other out and it'll make finishing them a lot easier. Personally I think their contribution to our final mark was weighted way too low considering how difficult they were which can be a good and a bad thing. Good in that if you're struggling with them it won't be too detrimental to your grade, and bad because I feel like I should've been awarded more for the work I put into them. Oh well. There's only like 2-4 questions on each assignment anyway.Showing your working out is a huge factor in these assignments, so make sure you justify every step as required and use correct notation.

In tutorials you get into groups of 2-4 and you try to work through a problem sheet on the whiteboard together. The tutor will come around to see how you're going and it's a good opportunity for you to ask anything if you are struggling. The questions are always on the topics covered the previous week except for week 1 when it's just revision of Spesh. These were a pretty good opportunity to make friends and to revise content so I would strongly advise going to them. The tutorial questions themselves are uploaded onto LMS but the solutions are handed out at the end of the tutorial so if you want them you have to go (unless you can nick them off a friend). You're not actually required to go to these tutorials but tutors still take attendance. I overheard that it's because if you failed but were very close to passing, they'll look at your attendance in tutes and try to lift your grade a little bit to help you reach the Pass mark.

The exam is 3 hours long and is, unfortunately, worth 80% of your mark. So it's basically the only assessment that counts and determines if you pass or not.  Personally I wish it was worth less, 60-70% would be reasonable with maybe an MST but it's really not that hard. You can often predict what questions will be on them based off what was asked the previous semesters. There's normally about 10 questions that extend from a-d and can be worth anywhere between 8-19 marks. The questions aren't particularly hard, the difficult part is having to remember like 100 formulas and worked examples from the lectures off the top of your head since you only get one formula sheet, and you can't bring any summary sheets or calculators. Questions are often very similar to that of the problem sheets so make sure you do all of them thoroughly and follow up with any questions at the consultation hours. If you're not well prepared for the exam then you'll struggle to complete all questions on time. Students who prepare thoroughly and know exactly what to do as soon as they see the question + can work through it quickly will most likely fully complete the exam. So to perform well on the exam do the past exams ASAP (they're uploaded onto the LMS in like week 11) and to go over all the problem sheets as soon as possible.

This semester they trialled 'Video Consultation' and 'Supplementary Videos' which is basically a very Khan Academy-esque method of learning for you to do at home. The problem is there were only like 2 videos uploaded over the entire semester so maybe they just stopped trying because the cohort was unresponsive to this. In the supplementary videos a professor just goes over several questions and explains how to do them. This semester the video tackled a question on continuity that ended up being on the exam so I'd recommend just watching them anyway. A little bit of revision can't hurt :)

A very fun subject to take if you enjoyed Methods and/or Spesh. The content isn't too difficult to wrap your head around and can be quite fun at times. Assignments can be hard but get started on them early, exhaust all your options and eventually(hopefully) you'll find yourself on the right track to getting the final answer. Exam is worth a huge portion of your mark so if you want to do well prepare as soon as possible. Going over exams, problem sheets and tutorial sheets (in that order) should be enough for you to prepare. The key is to get started early since there's a lot to remember. John Sader is a brilliant lecturer and I heard Christine is too (but I'm sure they all are ;)).
« Last Edit: June 21, 2015, 01:32:05 am by Mieow »
ATAR: 97.10
2013-2014: English Language | Chemistry | Biology | Methods | Specialist | Japanese SL
2015-2017: B. Biomedicine @ Melbourne University


  • Victorian
  • Trendsetter
  • **
  • Posts: 105
  • Respect: +58
  • School Grad Year: 2011
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #454 on: June 19, 2015, 06:51:34 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CVEN90049 Structural Theory and Design 2

Workload: 1x two-hour lecture, 1x one-hour lecture, 1x one-hour tutorial per week, and a couple of optional computer labs spaced through the semester

3x Individual Assignments (5% each)
GUNT Lab Sheet (5%)
Design (Group) Assignment (10%)
3 hour exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled: Yes

Past exams available: Yes, and fully worked solutions are provided dating back to 2011 (amazing)

Textbook Recommendation: No textbooks, but you'll need to download and print two Standards that are to be used in the open-book exam:
AS3600-2009 - Concrete Structures
HB48 - Steel Design Handbook

These can be printed out at Officeworks for about $45 all up including covers and coil binding (which you want as the space on an exam table is notoriously small)

Lecturer(s): Elisa Lumantarna (most of the lectures) and Massoud Sofi

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015.

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

TL;DR: A well taught subject that is a bit too voluminous for it’s own good.

I could almost copy and paste my review of Structural Theory and Design 1 into here and it wouldn’t be much different. ST&D2 has the same staff, covers essentially the same content, but steps up the level of time you’ll need to commit to get a good mark (which was already high in ST&D1).

The subject is split into 4 parts: in the first 4 weeks you’ll cover the structural design of concrete beams, slabs and columns; the next four are on steel beams and columns; and the last 4 are on some fairly novel methods for finding bending moment and shear force diagrams (i.e. the direct stiffness and virtual work methods). If you’ve done ST&D1 (which basically everyone heading into this subject will have), you’ll have already done some preliminary stuff on the steel and concrete sections. ST&D2 steps this up a notch, with modification factors in place of some of the assumptions made in the earlier subject as well as some stuff on the detailing of reinforcement and connections.

Elisa Lumantarna is the primary lecturer here again and is once again really good. While the subject matter for ST&D isn’t too hard per se, it can get intricate at times, and she has a good knack for simplifying the complexity of some of the topics.

But the issue with this subject is that it all happens at a really fast pace. With three hours of lecturers a week that all introduce new content, as well as lengthy tute sheets and lots of laborious assignments, things can get over the top. Each of the elements would be fine in isolation, but, as the assignments naturally lag the coursework, being caught up in the content of the past few weeks really inhibits your chance of learning the content of the current week. It means that you’re almost always behind by the very design of the subject. Not a great feeling, especially with similar things happening in other subjects.

To fix this I’d try to reign in the three weeks it took to teach the direct stiffness stuff (bring it down to two), and use week 8 as a revision week. This is when the design assignment (mentioned below) is in full swing, which makes it really hard to take in new stuff while trying to apply what you have just learnt to a major project.

As mentioned above, the assignments for this subject are pretty involved and take up quite a lot of time. That isn’t to say they are bad, however; they force you to engage with and reify some of the content being taught, and they’re not too difficult once you get your head around them (which can take a while). Again, with this subject, it’s volume more than anything that makes it difficult.

As with ST&D1, there is a major “design assignment,” this time involving the design of a multi-storey carpark using both concrete and steel members, as well as drawing up the details in AutoCAD. Though it can be completed in groups of up to 6 people (self-chosen, which is nice), it is still a pretty massive undertaking and can be somewhat life-consuming if you leave it till the last couple of days. But like ST&D1, it’s nice to come out of a subject having done a “landmark” piece of work that you can hang your hat on. That said, it should be worth more than 10% for the amount of work it entails, even with a 4-6 person group.

As I did with ST&D1, I stopped going to tutes in about week 5. It’s not because they weren’t useful; the level of teaching here is a bit better and more engaging than ST&D1. The main reason I stopped going is because I got behind. As the tutes cover the content that is taught in that same week (i.e. stuff being taught in a Monday lecture is the tute material for Wednesday (this usually lags by a week for most subjects)), if you’re not up to date with the lectures – which I really wasn’t in any meaningful way until the end of SWOTVAC – there is no point going to the tute.

Thankfully, fully worked solutions are provided at the end of each week on the LMS, which is really appreciated and should be standard among all subjects (looking at you, Maths and Stats Department).

One of the best things about this subject is that it provides full solutions to past papers dating back to 2011 (again, this should really be a standard at the uni). This means that you can really get a good feel for what is examinable, and should be able to set yourself up pretty well.

This year’s exam was really tough though. Consensus was that it was way too long. Usually I finish exams well within the allotted time (or at least with a few minutes to spare), but this time I didn’t get to finish everything despite writing non-stop for the full 3 hours, without taking a second to check anything. Generally, they are quite lenient markers in this subject (they purport to be more interested in the method than the bottom line), so I still think I’ll do alright, but I don’t think whoever wrote the exam anticipated its arduousness (that actually is a word btw).

One thing I’d add to the assessment of this subject is a slight focus on the “theory” side of Structural Theory and Design. The assessment is basically all quantitative, and – as you have the Steel and Concrete standards to follow – you can probably do okay without really comprehending what you are doing. Some more qualitative and theoretical questions might prompt a less superficial understanding and would be a nice break from the 3 hour numerical bombardment that embodies the current exam format.

This is a subject that is very indicative of the “step up” that Masters entails. I probably put more work into this one than I did in any subject of undergrad, and definitely more than any other subject this semester. But I think I might be in the minority in that I enjoy these subjects. Lots of people struggle with the content – which is understandable as it does get a bit intricate and convoluted at times – but if you have a pretty good handle on it and put the work in you will get rewarded with solid marks. And I find that if a subject is well taught and the assessment/marking is fair, then your performance is entirely in your hands. That’s all you can really ask for IMO.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 03:36:42 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.


  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 772
  • Respect: +101
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #455 on: June 21, 2015, 12:17:24 am »
Subject Code/Name: PHRM30008 Drugs: From Discovery to Market 

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lecture weekly; 1 x 1 hour tutorial every three weeks (during lecture slot 3)

Assessment:  Four assignments (15% - 2.5, 5, 5, 2.5% resp.), mid semester test (15%), final exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes

Textbook Recommendation: Don't need any book.

Lecturer(s): Gary Anderson
                    James Ziogas
                    Michael Lew
                    Alastair Stewart
                    Sarah-Jane Beavitt
                    Tony Hughes
                    Ross Bathgate
                    Dan Hoyer
                    Guillaume Lessene

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2015

Rating:  0.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: It's probably going to be really bad


Going to pretty much reiterate what T-Rav said. It's without a doubt the worst subject I've ever taken in uni.

Coming from PHRM20001, I had extremely high expectations/esteem/respect for the Pharmacology department and was at many points considering switching to a Pharmacology major from my Neuroscience/Physiology major.

As T-rav said, the content wasn't too difficult and it wasn't dry - in fact, some parts were actually extremely interesting (i.e. Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics, Kinases, Enzymes etc, and GPCRs).

The real problem I have with this subject is the assessments and the lack of organisation with this subject.

Assessments were definitely hit and miss -
Whe first 3 assignments (case studies) we had were extremely interesting, we had to read a bunch of "state of the art" journal papers on the class of drugs which would be used to treat Chronic asthma, Cystic Fibrosis and also the Hepatitis C Virus . The content here was good but the problem was that they split the assignments into a "draft" (generally worth 1/5 of the 2.5% or 5%) and a final report (usually due a week or 2 later worth the remainder mark).
In theory this should be great since we have a draft where we can play around with various styles of writing and then get feedback on our draft to do nothing short of excellent for the final! WRONG - instead of getting the case study instructions/information 1 week prior to the due date, we'd often get them 2-3 days before the due date - and I know it's probably not a big deal to fuss over 2.5% but when we're in 3rd year trying to not destroy our GPA even further and thus prioritize 30% mid sems over this, it's a big deal.
To add to this, we didn't get any feedback for the drafts before the due date so we were pretty much left in the dark for the assignments.

The 4th assignment was a "exam preparation" task where we had to answer a "typical question" you'd get in the exam. So it was due on the last day of semester which is fine and theoretically, since we had 1 week of SWOTVAC we could expect to get feedback for this so that we could optimise our chances in the final exam!! However, even though it was due 29th of May - as of 20th June, I still have not gotten feedback for this task which in theory should have given me/everyone else the edge for the exam.

MST - was total bs - 4 X 10 mark questions in 40 minutes which is 1/2 the time we'd have on average compared to the final exam (6 questions in 120 minutes). I guess the absurd assessment  speaks for itself when >30% failed and the average was ~55%. Interestingly the coordinator said that the distribution of the scores was just where he'd expect and want them to be which means that we're all actually so screwed unless there is going to be some scaling involved.

Final Exam - don't really know what to say for this tbh - the stuff which I was expecting to come up didn't come up, and the stuff which came up I wasn't well prepared for. I guess it comes down to luck on what comes up since a lot of the content isn't assessed S:

Another bit of a rant about the weird assessment - we had 15% for a 40 mark MST, and 70% for a 60 mark Final exam which is all SAQ not MCQ. This means the even if you had 100% for the Assignments (which isn't very likely)/ and you had say an above average MST mark (60% or so) - you'd have 15+9 = 24 marks / 30 potential marks

Thus to H1, you'd need 56%/70% on the exam which means you need 48 marks/60 on the exam. I'd say this isn't impossible but it's definitely not easy and especially when the marking seems so stringent (20 information bits for 10 marks) and variable - some lecturers want X, others want XYZABC, and most of the time when you email them, they'll say some generic stuff like "all content is examinable".

In closing, content not bad, assessment is horrible and the organisation and coordination of this subject is nothing short of a disaster. I haven't met anyone who did PHRM30008 who genuinely enjoyed the subject + thought the assessment was good + thought the staff were well organised. T-Rav wasn't bsing about it - I'd wager that 99%+ of the cohort felt the same way about the assessment + organisation of the subject.
PS - don't take this subject unless you need it for a Pharm major especially if you want to have a good GPA (mine's probably going to fall hard unless there's some ridiculously insane scaling or standardisation involved)

If I were to go back in time, I wouldn't have spent my level 3 subject slot on this subject.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2015, 12:26:26 am by ChickenCh0wM1en »
BSc (2015), MD1 (2016)
Tutoring in 2016: http://www.tutorfinder.com.au/tutors/detail.php?TutorID=78301
Chuck a PM if interested :)

Available for tutoring on the summer holidays for university subjects or VCe.
Also tutoring for the Melbourne uni MMIs (medical/physiotherapy interviews)

Please don't PM me for lecture slides or recordings. I don't have them anymore.


  • ATAR Notes Lecturer
  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 855
  • Respect: +110
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #456 on: June 21, 2015, 12:59:31 pm »
Subject Code/Name: COMP20007 Design of Algorithms

Workload: 2x 1h lecture, 1x 2h workshop (half theory, half coding)

10% - Programming Assignment 1
10% - Mid-semester test in lecture
20% - Programming Assignment 2
60% - 2h exam in exam period

Lectopia Enabled:  Yep! Recordings and slides are great

Past exams available:  Yes, 2013 and 2014 with solutions (so 2015 too i guess if you do it in 2016)

Textbook Recommendation:
Not required, slides are enough, but Dasgupta’s ‘algorithms’ covered most of the stuff in the course, and is pretty good. There's also MIT's 'Introduction to Algorithms' (and their opencourseware subject of the same name, which I did watch all the lectures from), which cover the material in a lot more depth than required for this subject.

Lecturer(s): Andrew Turpin (with two guest lectures, from Alistair Moffat and Mathias Petri)

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating: 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: 95 (H1)


Great subject, if you actually had fun in first year algorithms it’s totally worth doing this subject even though it covers slightly more/harder stuff than the second semester equivalent ‘Algorithms and Data Structures’. I personally found it all really interesting! I was also the student rep for this subject.

The assignments are a fair bit of work to understand and then actually code up, and basically no time is spent on writing C code in lectures it’s all assumed from first year. This caught the whole cohort off guard in the first assignment which assumed a lot of C skill that people hadn’t used in a while, and there wasn’t much help available.

That said, the subject isn’t about C code or any code really, it’s about the algorithms and all mid semester test/exam questions that require code just want pseudocode english descriptions of what you would do. This allows us to go into detail on some of the most foundational data structures and algorithms in computer science like graph algorithms and balanced tree data structures. We also covered some very interesting computing topics in the second half of the course including compression theory, greedy algorithms, dynamic programming and NP-Completeness. Fun!

The exam stepped up from past years, which Andrew told me after it was finished, because ’too many H1’s’ in previous two years. So that was a surprise but it was still a completely accessible exam that tested us fairly on the stuff we had studied. No big surprises.
EDIT: Now that marks are back it looks like I got 73/80 on the exam (assuming no scaling) which is probably fair even though I was aiming for full marks sadface.

Overall, this was my favourite subject this year because of the interesting and intuitive content covered. Recommended if you enjoyed the first year subjects and were curious the whole time about what else you can do to solve computing problems!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 12:19:54 pm by silverpixeli »
ATAR 99.80 :: Methods [50] | Physics [50+Premier's] | Specialist [47] | Software [48] | English [42] | Legal [39 '12]
+ Australian Student Prize

ATAR Notes Specialist/Methods/Physics Lecturer
ATAR Notes Specialist Maths Webinar Presenter


  • ATAR Notes Lecturer
  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 855
  • Respect: +110
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #457 on: June 21, 2015, 02:29:28 pm »
Subject Code/Name: PHYC20009 Thermal and Classical Physics

Workload: 3x 1h lecture, 1x 1h tutorial, 1x 3h lab (every second week)

5% - Mid semester test on thermal physics
5% - Thermal physics assignment
5% - Classical physics assignment (the classical section of the previous year’s exam)
20% - Lab reports, prelabs and performance
65% - 3h exam in exam period, (roughly 35:30 thermal to classical ratio)

Lectopia Enabled: Yep! Recordings which capture the thermal slides, but classical has no slides. Also all derivations were done on a whiteboard (for some reason they decide not to use a document camera despite Jamieson routinely complaining about whiteboard lighting in one of the theatres). The classical lecture recordings are therefore purely audio but Melatos covers the provided lecture notes basically verbatim so you can follow along from home.

Past exams available: Yes, 2009-2014 but no solutions. I recommend having a Facebook group like we did where the cohort collaboratively solves most problems and reaches some consensus on answers.

Textbook Recommendation:
Highly recommend the Thermal Textbook D.V.Schroeder’s ‘Introduction to Thermodynamics’ because it’s awesome and actually teaches you the material, unlike the lectures.
Also there’s a lot of overlap with the first half or so of MIT’s propulsion course which has an  online textbook (some symbol conventions may vary)
I didn’t get a chance to read the thermodynamics sections of the Feynman Lectures on Physics but I wish I had. I’m trying to read them from start to finish though and thermodynamics is near the end of the first volume.

Classical: no need for a textbook if you spend the time with Melatos' notes, but they do assume a lot so maybe you'll wanna try the Feynman Lectures sections on Rotation and Principle of Least Action.
Melatos also recommends two classical physics texts, one by Landau and one by Goldstein, but they're quite terse mathematically and cover material at a depth beyond what's needed for this subject.

Lecturer(s): David Jamieson for Thermal and Andrew Melatos for Classical

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating: 2/5

Mark/Grade: Somehow, 94 (H1)


I was pretty disappointed with how thermal was taught because the concepts we cover are all pretty intuitive and easy to explain to someone, but Jamieson is not very good at employing these intuitive explanations and prefers to dash through many concepts without actually saying much of substance about any of them. The amount of material seems small because not much is mentioned in lectures but he's actually packing in a shitload of complex concepts for students to go slave over in their own time.

This is why at the end of the semester some of my friends still had misconceptions about some of the very important fundamentals which I cleared up in the first chapter of the textbook. Indeed, the textbook is your friend here if you’re after understanding in this subject, otherwise I recommend you prepare really well for the tutes and take advantage of the tutorial time to ask the stellar tutors for help on any questions you’re stuck on.

For classical physics, abandon all notions of F=ma and motion from high school --- we approach mechanics from a far more theoretical perspective. This was taught far better than thermal, because Melatos is both enthusiastic and competent in communicating the concepts, but the classical material is really involved and the questions are much more conceptually and mathematically demanding than thermal! and unfortunately he assumes a lot of the cohort and could stand to make his lectures more accessible by just explaining each assumption as he goes. For example, I spent the whole semester thinking Physicists were playing some giant practical joke on me by using the word 'unity', not knowing that they could have just been saying 'one'. Like, "c is a constant of order unity" (how long does it take to explain that the first time it appears in the notes!?).

Other things that are assumed include a good understanding of Rotations from first year, good understanding of Simple Harmonic Oscillators with damping and driving forces even though it isn't covered in first year physics (it's in calc 2 where they don't teach you any physics interpretation of it) and lots and lots of calculus including total and partial derivatives (calc 2/vector calc) and many uses of the multivariable chain rule and the vector product rules (vector calc).

Melatos' lecture notes themselves are quite good once you spend the time to digest them, and the pacing is much more appropriate than thermal. But, it takes way more time to digest each concept. It's super important to sort out all the concepts he introduces and step through the derivations, understanding each step and each symbol. The derivations may not be as important for the exam as the results but stepping through them is important in making sure you know what’s what in classical physics.
Like the previous review, there is a point where all the classical stuff kinda clicks and you get the point of approaching mechanics in this super formal and complex manner. It lets you work some really cool examples and if you put in the work, you can truly appreciate what you’re doing.

labs and assessment
The labs were similar to first year labs except you get to take your book home to finish the report, and then it’s due the next afternoon. This is a pain if your lab is on Thursday and you don’t have any other reason to travel to campus on Friday, so think about this when timetabling. If you also take Quantum Mechanics and Special Rel and the same time, register for the same lab time slot in both, you will have labs in alternating weeks (starting week 1!). If you are only doing thermal, like me, you may start in week 1 or week 2 depending on whether you’re randomly placed in the odd week group or the even week group.

The labs are also pretty long and to get it all written AND completed in the 3 hours is a bit steep, especially if you want high marks like I did. But, they’re only every second week so it’s not too bad. Unfortunately, the labs were highly unrelated to the content and this made them seem like a big time commitment for relatively little return, as it was such an isolated part of the subject.

The assessment was alright, the mid semester test was a breeze if you were up to date and knew your definitions. The thermal assignment was a joke, it was a series of research questions that were very poorly worded and we didn't really get enough information to know what was required for the marks (and the 6 question assignment was out of 300, with no allocation within questions). The classical assignment was, like in previous years, the classical section of the previous year's exam. This was more rushed than the thermal assignment but it was also a lot clearer what we had to do to get the marks.
The exam was fair and my last ditch effort to master the subject paid off because I was assessed on a lot of what I worked hard to understand in the few days before the exam. Hopefully this is reflected in my mark when its released.

Overall, this was my least favourite subject this semester for some of the above reasons, and also because it took so much more time to get by than any subject I have ever studied. When you add the hours I spent cleaning up the mess Jamieson made of thermal, the hours I spent trying to make sense of classical, and the hours I spent preparing for and writing up labs, it really wasn't worth it for me: the material was rewarding and interesting when you finally get it but not worth the amount of time it took to get there, which is a real shame because I think it could have been made far better organised and far more accessible if the lecturers tried.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 10:32:19 am by silverpixeli »
ATAR 99.80 :: Methods [50] | Physics [50+Premier's] | Specialist [47] | Software [48] | English [42] | Legal [39 '12]
+ Australian Student Prize

ATAR Notes Specialist/Methods/Physics Lecturer
ATAR Notes Specialist Maths Webinar Presenter


  • ATAR Notes Lecturer
  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 855
  • Respect: +110
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #458 on: June 21, 2015, 03:02:44 pm »
Subject Code/Name: EDUC20080 School Experience as Breadth

Workload: across semester: 10x 1h seminar, plus a full day weekend class near the start of semester, plus 40 hours placement in a primary/secondary school (~6 full school days)

60% - Reflective Academic Essays due throughout semester:
 - Professional Teacher Identity
 - Observation topic from placement
 - Teaching/learning activity
 - Classroom challenge
40% - Final Essay on an Education Issue, free choice, due in exam period
Hurdle - complete 40h of placement, achieve 80% attendance at seminars, and run one of the seminars on some education topic (in a group)

Lecturer(s): Rannah Hetherington and Malcolm Cocking for the science stream, but not sure about the arts/maths/language streams.

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating: 5/5

Mark/Grade: 98 (H1)


This was a really cool breadth subject! There was basically no content to learn it was all about discussion and stuff so that was hugely relaxing. Placement was a bit of a time commitment but it was worth it and I got to see what school was like from the perspective of a teacher, rather than a student. I was lucky to have a placement that was close-ish to where I live and a placement teacher who had a timetable that suited my uni timetable perfectly.

The essays were also a huge time sink with the research and reading you have to do and this was foreign, coming from science and maths subjects and not having written essays since VCE english (not that they were anything like academic essays back then! referencing and stuff was completely new) but i was rewarded for my efforts with great marks and hopefully will also be rewarded for my effort on the final essay.

You get quite a bit of freedom with what to write which means you can chose things you are interested in and that keeps it kinda fun.

I highly recommend this subject to anyone who has ever considered teaching, I’m really glad I took it and it was a fantastic breadth subject!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 10:32:57 am by silverpixeli »
ATAR 99.80 :: Methods [50] | Physics [50+Premier's] | Specialist [47] | Software [48] | English [42] | Legal [39 '12]
+ Australian Student Prize

ATAR Notes Specialist/Methods/Physics Lecturer
ATAR Notes Specialist Maths Webinar Presenter


  • Victorian
  • Trailblazer
  • *
  • Posts: 31
  • Respect: +7
  • School Grad Year: 2013
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #459 on: June 22, 2015, 05:11:27 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ACCT20001: Cost Management 

Workload: 1 x 2hr lecture and 1 x 1hr tutorial a week

Assessment: 1hr mid sem test (20%), tutorial participation (10%), 3hr exam (70%)

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: They posted three with solutions on LMS

Textbook Recommendation: Management and cost accounting 5th edition, sadly most of the tute questions are in the textbook so you will need it, but the book itself in terms of the content is not very useful as some topics are taught a bit differently and simpler than the way the book teaches it, the subject is a bit messy like that but I'll explain more later...

Lecturer(s): Sujay Nair

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, semester 1

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: Very much unlike the other accounting subjects I have previously reviewed here, I was not a fan of this subject. The subject is quite messy as I alluded to earlier, and I will now tell you why.

The problem is in the tutorial questions that are set from the textbook. These questions are usually ridiculously complicated, to the point that my tutor would only have time to work out and explain in detail one or two of the qs in the tute while many of my friends' tutors would simply flick through the answers of every question with very brief explanations, not exactly ideal ways to learn. While you can access these answers on LMS at the end of the week, the problem lies in the fact that tutors are really pedantic when checking whether you've completed the tute work and giving you tute marks for it, so you'd end up losing tute marks because the questions were too hard to actually finish.

I would say the textbook and tutes are linked together, whilst the lectures are linked with the exam. The book and tutes are like an extension to what you really need to know, they basically overcomplicate the subject and make it seem harder than it actually is. You will see once you get the practice exams, and even when you get the practice mid sem tests, that the questions you've done in tutes are harder than what you'll be assessed on. All you really need to be ready for the exam is to be able to do the practice exam qs and understand the examples taught in lectures as well as memorise definitions and advantages/disadvantages etc. I should also quickly mention that the mid sem test is 30 multiple choice qs, and the exam is all short answer.

The lecturer Sujay is not a bad lecturer, but his lectures are basically him summarising what is on his lecture slides, he explains things quickly and not in detail so unless you've already read and understood the content on his slides before listening to the lecture, you might get lost quite easily as it takes time to realise how he calculates certain things, where he got the numbers for it, which numbers he used etc. Lecture topics were basically learning different methods of allocating indirect costs, breaking even, budgeting, costing and pricing decisions.

I would highly not recommend this subject unless of course if you're doing an Accounting major (like me), in which case you have to take the subject. In my experience anyone who's not doing Commerce and chooses to do Accounting subjects as breadth end up regretting it but in saying that, if you're keen to take on the subject don't let me stop you because it will teach you things that are useful, especially if you were to open or run a business that sells goods.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 05:13:37 pm by teexo »


  • Victorian
  • ATAR Notes Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 3777
  • Sticky. :P
  • Respect: +465
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #460 on: June 22, 2015, 05:30:48 pm »
Subject Code/Name: GENE20001: Principles of Genetics

Workload: Contact Hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week; 1 x one hour problem class per week.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment 170 hours

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: For lectures yes, with screen capture. However, the problem solving classes are NOT recorded.

Past exams available: Yes, all the way back to 1998 when the records begin if you're that way inclined. ;) The most relevant papers (2009-2013) were provided on the LMS. However, none of the exams come with solutions. The 2007 exam was converted into an online exam so that we could receive feedback.

Textbook Recommendation: A J Griffiths et al, Introduction to Genetic Analysis, 10th Ed. W H Freeman and Co.

You don't really need it - it explains the genetic basis behind the concepts you learn at the molecular level, but this is not the focus of this subject. It's usually a required textbook of other genetics subjects though so it may prove useful to have a copy on hand anyway (it's not hard to find *cough*).


Ronald Lee: Lectures 1-6, 9 - Mendelian genetics
Hayley Bugeja: Lectures 7-8 - Mendelian genetics (chromosomal inversions and gene interaction)
Chris Cobbett: Lectures 10-12 - Extrachromosomal genetics
Alex Andrianopoulos: Lectures 13-22 - Bacteriophage, bacterial and special eukaryote genetics
Phil Batterham: Lectures 23-35 - Population genetics
Stephen Hardy - Problem solving class teacher

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2015

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


Prior to sitting down and writing this review I was going to give this subject a very high rating, but then when I thought about it more carefully I realised there's a number of things that could be improved in this subject. Evidently, you can probably guess that I enjoyed taking the subject anyway and would still recommend it to others if genetics is your thing.

As students of science (I mean this in the generic sense), particularly in the field of biology, it can often get frustrating when it seems like we're merely encouraged to commit details to memory without ever having to think about them too much. This is why I like genetics, because that philosophy goes straight out the window. The whole discipline centres itself on understanding the key concepts, and, in many cases, using them to apply your knowledge and solve problems. The latter is particularly true of this subject, so it was a real nice change from all my other subjects this semester. It is true that this subject has a relatively light workload and is "easy" compared to most other biology subjects at second year level, but this isn't the subject for you if you have an aversion to digging out a calculator and working stuff out. The maths isn't at all difficult or complex, but if it isn't your thing then it's not going to be a particularly fun ride. If you're not deterred, then I would highly recommend taking this subject if you're looking for something to complement more demanding subjects (as a Biomedicine student BIOM20001 comes to mind). The great thing about this subject is that it starts off somewhat difficult but actually continues to get easier over the course of the semester. So, you can devote a bit more time to this subject when it needs it at the start of the semester while your other subjects are still warming up, and then let it take a bit of a back seat later on. Additionally, if you did first year biology as breadth and are looking for a way to continue that further, I'd say this subject would be a suitable choice. This subject is a prerequisite for both Science and Biomedicine students for the genetics major.

Anyway, onwards with the review. You're probably wondering how I can enjoy a subject so much yet give it a rating that doesn't quite seem to fit that sort of attitude. It comes down to a fundamental flaw regarding the lectures. This subject is a problem-based subject. All the assessment requires problem solving. Yet chances are you wouldn't pick it if you had the lecture notes before you right now. An overwhelmingly large amount of time is spent covering the genetics at the more detailed molecular level (and this is consolidated by the readings from the textbook) yet essentially none of that is really assessed. This is particularly true of the Mendelian genetics section which you initially start off with. It's all very interesting but sadly rather irrelevant in the end. Not to suggest it's a shame the focus is on problem solving, that side of genetics also interests me. It's more the disparity between what is taught and what is assessed. Hence, the most important classes in this subject are actually the problem solving classes. I'll go into more details about these later on but I felt I needed to address this major point first. There are other reasons here and there for the reduced rating, but this is the main one.

Onto the actual lectures themselves. The first three weeks of the course cover Mendelian genetics is mainly taken by Ronald Lee (Hayley Bugeja filled in for two lectures). This is the part of the course that relates and builds on the genetics knowledge you learnt in first year. I found the concepts relatively interesting but as mentioned before this is the section where not enough time is spent explaining problem solving techniques (although they do go through some examples). It's the most difficult part of the course for this reason, but by SWOTVAC it had all come together rather nicely.

Week 4 is taken by Chris Cobbett, who covers extrachromosomal genetics such as mitochondria, chloroplasts, plasmids, cytoplasmic inheritance/maternal inheritance and maternal effect. Given this goes largely ignored in first year and so is new, I found this part quite interesting. The concepts and problems are also generally quite simple. Since there's only three lectures dedicated to these topics they only ever make up a small number of questions on the mid-semester test or exam.

The next three weeks or so covers more new concepts - bacteriophage, bacterial and special eukaryote genetics - and is taken by the subject's co-ordinator, Alex Andrianopoulos. Alex is a great lecturer and the content we covered here was actually my favourite part of the course. This section feels a bit more conceptual with an ever so slightly reduced focus on problem solving, so it's a good change of pace for those who prefer to be more grounded in theoretical understanding.

Approximately the last five weeks is focussed around population genetics and is taken by Phil Batterham. Phil's also a good lecturer, but understandably most (including myself) find population genetics rather dry and boring which can make the lectures a bit painful to endure at times. A significant portion (but not all) of this topic relates to the content covered in weeks 1-6 of MAST10016 so Biomedicine students who took that subject may feel more familiar and comfortable with these areas. However, this subject looks at things from the biological perspective rather than the mathematical perspective, so there's less emphasis on the mathematical models and their derivations. This may be a drawback for some who want the complete picture, but to compensate a document is put up on the LMS covering the derivation of the key formulae you will be using. I think I preferred looking through the biological lens and hence didn't mind the seemingly lacking mathematical basis (I can tell you I never looked at that document LOL). For Science students, most of these concepts will be new, although it's the easiest part of the course so it definitely shouldn't cause any concerns here.

Each week in addition to the three lectures you'll also have a problem solving class, taken by Stephen Hardy. This is where you actually cover the problem solving side of the concepts you learn in lectures, and it is absolutely crucial that you attend these as none of them are recorded. I often felt that these were the classes that mattered most for the exam, which is perhaps not the way it should be given we also have 35 actual lectures. Stephen will generally go through some past exam questions or write up his own questions to demonstrate particular ideas that may not have been explicitly conveyed during lecture time (and this can be annoying because it makes you wonder what else you've missed because the lecturers have failed to get it across). While Stephen is a great teacher and the problem solving classes were useful, I'm not a fan of their format - instead of running many proper tutorials with small groups, the subject opts for four larger problem solving class sessions held in lecture theatres. Most seemed to think that there could have been a greater benefit in having more intimate class sizes and more direct interaction with the teacher. Personally, I found the class difficult to follow from time to time due to the "one size fits all" nature Stephen has to adopt in order to make these classes work, as well as the confusion of having so many other students around me. Additionally, it was encouraged we have a look at (and attempt, if we were keen) the problems to be covered in the class, which are put up on the LMS. However, I was in the first session and often they were not put up until after I had left home in the morning, which meant I usually never even had the chance to print them off, let alone look at them! These shortcomings of the problem solving class are further reasons for the reduced rating of this subject.

For further practice and revision, the staff make available a set of "online tutorial" questions over the course of the semester. For those of you who have taken problem based subjects before, you might know the difficulty of learning concepts without actually getting any chance to consolidate and practice them until much later on, so I guess that's what the purpose of these questions are. These are usually not in the style of exam or mid-semester test questions though; they really are more designed for you to get the hang of the concepts covered. A handful of these questions happen to be covered in the problem solving classes as well. Feedback is provided, although sometimes you would get "correct, but there may be more correct answers" when required to select a number of options from a list. This is a bit deceiving though because it actually meant you chose all of the right options. You can also work through the practice exam questions, although these questions are also rather distinct to the style of questions on the mid-semester test. Importantly, however, there are no solutions for these exams. I can appreciate the reasons for this, but it ultimately means there's no way to know for sure that you're doing things right. A few times over the course of the semester a massive "awakening" would occur amongst the cohort when some bright spark would figure out that we'd all been doing a particular type of question wrong all along. In many instances though, the only time you realised you might be doing something wrong would be when you got your results for the mid-semester test, or when you did the 2007 exam for practice.

Now, onto the semester's assessment. All of it (including the exam, for that matter) is multiple choice, for those of you who like it that way. ;) I'm generally a fan of multiple choice (I find it easier) but the questions are not all worth 1 mark each (in fact, rarely were there ever 1 mark questions). This means that your answer will be all or nothing, which can be particularly damaging if you make an error in an eight mark question (which popped up on this year's exam). Hence, I actually have some mixed feelings about this approach, as I'd like to see students rewarded for at least knowing the concept and having some correct workings. In the problem solving classes there's also a bit of a focus on correct notation, but ultimately it's irrelevant because you're never given the chance to show your workings anyway (although I guess it can help in terms of clarity). There are three mid-semester tests over the course of the semester, each worth 10%. The first one covers all of Ronald and Hayley's material, the second one covers Chris' material and most of Alex's material and the third one covers most of Phil's material. These are all multiple choice and conducted on the LMS over the course of three days with a time limit usually of one hour. None of these were particularly difficult with adequate practice and preparation (Phil's test in particular should be quite easy to do) and I don't think I was ever pushed for time.

The final exam is two hours in duration and is worth 70% of your grade. It consists of 120 marks worth of multiple choice questions. I found this year's exam slightly different to all the other past exams, but there were still enough recycled questions on there anyway. You should be able to complete this exam with plenty of time to spare (I finished with 45 minutes remaining), so pace yourself and don't rush because you might make an unfortunate and costly mistake. When you go through practice problems, it seems like a lot of them take up a lot of space for workings, but in the exam you don't get given any additional room - you just get the space near the question. Hence, you need to get clever about how you work stuff out - it might be worth practicing this over the course of the semester as you work through the past exam questions. One thing that I often found though was that I couldn't do the genetics all in my head; I did need to put stuff down. However, I found that there was usually enough space to work out the questions in the exam. This should also be telling you that you mightn't need to write too much down in order to figure out a seemingly difficult question. To emphasise the focus of this subject, only about 10 marks were dedicated to specific detail (and to be honest it wasn't even that specific). The irony is that for one of the questions I struggled to remember the answer anyway due to the fact that I was dedicating the memory side of my brain to other subjects. :P I guess don't completely ignore the detail, but don't waste your time fussing over it either, because you certainly won't be rewarded for it. You are permitted a scientific calculator in the exam.


I've outlined a number of problems in my review, but given that the focus was so different to all my other subjects I really enjoyed it anyway. This subject isn't very hard and at times you may wonder how they can get away with it being that way when you have so much revision material to work with, but I think it's because you rarely know how you're travelling until you actually get to an assessment. Hence, I don't actually think the overall cohort result is alarmingly high so as to cause concern for the department. The content is for the most part interesting and taught fairly well and the workload is lighter, making it an appropriate subject to choose strategically if you've got bigger problems on your plate. That's all for now, but feel free to ask me further questions. Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 02:19:38 pm by Stick »
2017-2020: Doctor of Medicine - The University of Melbourne
2014-2016: Bachelor of Biomedicine - The University of Melbourne


  • Victorian
  • ATAR Notes Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 3777
  • Sticky. :P
  • Respect: +465
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #461 on: June 23, 2015, 11:18:07 pm »
Subject Code/Name: UNIB20007: Genetics, Health, and Society

Workload: Contact Hours: 36 hours: 12 weeks of two 1-hour lectures per week (24hrs) plus one 1-hour small group discussion or workshop per week (12hrs).
Total Time Commitment: 170 hours

Note: This semester the tutorials started in week 6 and ran until week 12.

  • Three online multiple choice quizzes; first quiz worth 5%, second and third worth 10% each. Quizzes evenly spread throughout the semester (25%)
  • A wiki and class presentation (small group work) of 10-15 minutes duration on an allocated topic, presented toward the end of the semester (15%)
  • Final written examination (2 hrs), during the examination period (60%)

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture. Note however that many of the guest lecturers appeared unfamiliar with the lecture recording system and when help was not provided audio or visuals may not have been captured. Hence, lecture attendance would be recommended.

Past exams available: No, but other revision material is provided.

Textbook Recommendation: Reading and reference material will be provided by lecturers or tutors at the commencement of each theme.

Lecturer(s) and course outline:

Nature, nurture and societal health
A/Prof Dawn Gleeson: Lecture 2 - Human reproduction & Lecture 4 - Disease susceptibility
A/Prof Alison Trainer: Lecture 3 - The human genome; Lecture 8 - Clinical uses of genetic testing & Lecture 10 - Public health economics of genetic testing (in conjunction with Prof Danny Liew)
Prof John Hopper: Lecture 5 - Twin studies
Dr Natalie Thorne: Lecture 6 - Clinical bioinformatics
A/Prof John Craig: Lecture 7 - Epigenetics
Prof Patrick Kwan: Lecture 9 - Phamacogenetics, pharmacogenomics and personalised medicine
Prof Danny Liew: Lecture 10 - Public health economics of genetic testing (in conjunction with A/Prof Alison Trainer)

Genetics and reading the future: self and human populations; law, art, media and sport; visible and invisible differences
Prof Sylvia Metcalfe: Lecture 11 - Non-clinical uses of genetic testing
Dr Jan Hodgson: Lecture 12 - Psychological and social aspects of genetic testing (in conjunction with Dr Melody Menezes); Lectures 21 & 22 - Psychology of appearance
Dr Melody Menezes: Lecture 12 - Psychological and social aspects of genetic testing (in conjunction with Dr Jan Hodgson)
A/Prof Leslie Cannold: Lecture 13 - Identity and paternity fraud
A/Prof Emma Kowal: Lecture 14 - Race science
Prof Loane Skene: Lecture 15 - Forensics and paternity; Lecture 17 - Ownership of DNA; Lecture 18 - Sharing of genetic information; Lecture 19 - Genetic discrimination; Lecture 23 - Genetics and sport (in conjunction with Prof Kathryn North)
Dr Ainsley Newson: Lecture 16 - Ethics of genetic testing
Prof Ingrid Winship: Lecture 20 - Genetics, art and media
Prof Kathryn North: Lecture 23 - Genetics and sport (in conjunction with Prof Loane Skene)

Evidently, this subject has a lot to do with genetic testing and its applications, and is run quite closely with the genetic counselling staff at the university.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2015

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


I initially picked this subject because I thought it would be easy and thus manageable alongside some very demanding units. However, to my surprise, I found it to be eye-opening and fascinating, and, dare I say it, my favourite subject this semester.

When I walked in for my first lecture, I saw the theatre absolutely full with Biomedicine and Science students, who, like me, were probably after something with a light workload and the chance of a more easy H1. The first four weeks of this subject are quite biological in nature, and in some respects overlap significantly with the more straightforward genetics aspects of BIOL10003/BIOL10005. For students who have done either of these subjects, none of this will be particularly difficult; this is probably the reason why so many pick this subject. I thought it would be those weeks that would end up turning out to be the best, but it's actually the last eight weeks that take everything to a whole new level. They prove to be incredibly interesting and thought provoking lectures, and are the actual highlight of taking this subject. I wouldn't say this subject is a complete walk in the park for a high result, but the workload is lighter (appropriate for a breadth subject) and the concepts generally quite simple, especially if you have some prior biology or genetics knowledge. BIOL10003/BIOL10005 are not pre-requisites but they are recommended and I'd probably say you'd find it much more difficult (and probably too demanding for a breadth subject) if you didn't have either of those up your sleeve.

This subject made me see genetics in a completely different way and it made me start to appreciate the significance of what I was learning for the real world. In a sense, I think this subject will prove to be more useful than any other biomedical science subject I'll take in my undergraduate degree. This might sound drastic, but I would strongly urge anyone thinking of going into any sort of clinical health profession (not just genetic counselling or clinical genetics) to do this subject. Additionally, this subject would probably improve invaluable for anyone perhaps looking at sitting an MMI for a graduate-entry health course. I know that some of the questions that were posed in this subject were extremely similar to MMI questions that I have had to do, and some of the other background information would have helped significantly in tackling other questions.

Anyway, onwards with the review. As I've said, the course sort of has two facets to it: a more biological side, covered in the first four or so weeks; and then a more societal viewpoint, which is the focus of the last eight weeks. As others have pointed out, this isn't the subject for you if you don't like open-ended questions and having to really think about the answers. Generally I would consider myself someone who prefers concepts to be more concrete or black-and-white, but I felt in this subject that I always had plenty on my mind and plenty to discuss and share. I've always been an individual who has appreciated the minds of those who are able to think in this sort of way but have never felt like it's been something I've proven good at myself. This subject changed that for me, partly due to the fact that it does provide a little bit more structure to work with (and you probably don't need to write as much), and partly because the content resonated with me on a deeper level. I really engaged and connected with this subject. For those of you who have done first year biology and are looking for a manageable level 2 breadth, I would recommend this subject partly because of the overlap, but be prepared to answer questions where there is no real correct response. Don't let it scare you though.

Onto the lectures themselves. Despite the fact that it seems like a new lecturer comes in for every lesson, the subject has been excellently co-ordinated and the topics are arranged in a very logical order. Hence, despite the worst fears of some in a subject like this, the lectures do not come across as disjointed. However, you might not appreciate this at the time - it all made a lot of sense later on when I finally got around to revising this subject during SWOTVAC. The drawback with this format is that you're inevitably going to have some lecturers that are better than others - that's just life. This subject had some of the best lectures I've ever had at university but also some of the worst. Luckily nothing proves to be too difficult but it can cause a few headaches along the way. Additionally, as each lecturer knows they only essentially have the one timeslot, some move through at full throttle which can make things even more confusing. At times, lecturers would simply omit slides if they ran out of time, although I imagine in a subject like this where they're all coming from everywhere, the assessment has been prepared well in advance so I'd still make the effort to learn them. I'd encourage the lecturers to perhaps cut back on the content in future years if they are to take the subject again - it's better to cover less and do it appropriately than rush through it for the sake of it and leave students confused. This is the only reason I have given this subject a 4 instead of a 5/5. As I said, the lecturers come from everywhere - some are full-time University of Melbourne staff - from a number of different departments, some are clinicians working at various places in the Parkville precinct, some are staff from other universities, and some are other professionals out in the working world. In addition, some lecturers would actually invite guest speakers to talk about their own personal experiences of some of the concepts that we have learnt. Again, it was very interesting and insightful, and I learnt a lot from what they had to share with us. You really do get a truly unique perspective on the topics at hand as a result.

For the first 5 weeks there were no tutorial classes, meaning the subject only had two contact hours per week. This is a bonus for students looking for a subject with a low time commitment. In week 6 the tutorials started. These are another fantastic part of this subject and I would highly recommend attending them purely out of interest (attendance is marked but not compulsory, and it doesn't contribute to assessment). Basically a scenario or dilemma with a set of questions would get uploaded prior to each tutorial, along with a small amount of readings that would help you better contextualise the issue. The class itself involved a round table discussion of the questions posed in said scenario or dilemma with the tutor. It seemed like many people in my class didn't do their readings but it still worked out OK (they usually only took me around 15 minutes though, so I don't know why people didn't do them). I guess I enjoyed this class because the others (and myself) were willing to share our thoughts and ideas with everyone else. It's probably not worth attending this class if you have no intention of contributing to the discussion or putting any ideas out there (or not listening to them). My tutor was a recently graduated genetic counsellor so it was really interesting to hear her perspective and insight on her personal experiences of many of the matters that came before us in the lectures and tutorials. As an added bonus, most of these classes finished 15-20 minutes early.

In week 11, the traditional tutorial was replaced with a visit to the campus' Ian Potter Museum of Art. This was the first year in which it had been done, and was an excellent idea. It was evident the co-ordinators (Ingrid and Patrick) had taken the time to sit down with the museum's curator to actually go through the purpose and objectives of this subject, and as a result it was clear she had taken a lot of time to familiarise herself with what we were learning. Hence, when we got there, we knew she was very knowledgable and had made a lot of effort in selecting the artwork and tying in its relevance to the key principles of the course. Again, I'm someone who's always appreciated the more creative side but have never been very good at it myself. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the visit and got heaps out of observing and brainstorming the artworks together. Not related to the review, but I'd also recommend taking a visit to the museum anyway if that's your thing - it's free and open every day except Monday.

As you can probably see, a lot of this subject revolves around having a good grasp on the key concepts and not getting too pre-occupied on the details. It's necessary to know some of the specifics that they present, but it's not like your standard second year biology subject. Hence, this is a subject where you need to think and think quite deeply. You're going to be exposed to a variety of different scenarios of which perhaps only a few are directly addressed in the lectures. Otherwise, it's up to you to come up with an appropriate answer that reflects the key principles of this subject. Don't expect any spoon-feeding, and don't expect to rote-learn your way to success. The tutorials should help in getting a grasp of what's expected of you and can provide good practice on what to do for some of the assessment tasks.

During the semester three multiple choice mid-semester tests are completed on the LMS under a time limit of one hour. To make things a bit more difficult, no backtracking is allowed (this usually means you won't be spending the whole hour on the test). Test 1 covers lectures 1-6 and is worth 5% of your grade, test 2 covers lectures 7-12 and is worth 10% of your grade and test 3 covers lectures 13-24 and is also worth 10% of your grade. I found tests 1 and 2 relatively straightforward but test 3 was where things started to get a bit ambiguous and tricky. Read questions carefully and take caution if you choose to look up the answers in the lecture notes. A H1 should be attainable for all of these though if you have been paying attention.

Additionally, there is a group assignment to be completed in the second half of the semester. Now, like many, reading the words "group assignment" is enough to ensue feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. However, I'll say this - remember that most of the cohort consists of Biomedicine and Science students, who are generally hard-working and are aiming for high results in order to be competitive for graduate-entry courses. Perhaps this is a generalisation which is not appropriate to make, but in my experience, as well as the experiences of others, the group assignment was generally not too bad - everyone seemed to pull their weight and do the work. It is worth 15% of your grade and involves watching a film or reading a book and then creating a wiki page and a 10-15 minute presentation for the class. Given the apparent advantage in having a film, groups presenting films present their work in their week 10 tutorial while those with books get an additional two weeks and present their work in week 12. My group consisted of two other second year Biomedicine students and a Commerce student and we got The Black Balloon, a film about a boy with autism. When we got to the first tutorial and were asked to get into groups and decide on a text, us four all seemed to latch onto each other rather quickly and we all were extremely keen to do this film. It turned out later there was a reason why - all of us have a family member with the condition. It was beautiful, and it meant that we were all really eager to take the opportunity to do this assignment. Generally each text had four questions that needed to be answered, so most groups (including ours) opted for each member answering one question. There's no word limit to work with so simply discuss the concepts for as long as you need to in order to feel you've covered all the necessities. This means there will probably be some questions that require less work than others, but it still works out that everyone puts in roughly the same amount of effort. You then compile your answers on the wiki page and then work together on the layout and visual side of things (you can include images, videos etc.). You then must take all that information and tweak it slightly so it becomes a creative presentation you can deliver to you class. The key word here is creative - you can't just do a typical presentation, as creativity is one of the criteria you need to address. You will be given some examples to work with - our group opted for a talk show format which worked out well and meant we didn't need to change our original work too much. Other groups seemed to put in less work in comparison, but I'd say for the sake of the class to try and make things interesting. You will be given a marking rubric and successful past assignments as guidance throughout the assignment period. The final marks were on the whole quite high for this task.

The final exam has 120 marks and is of two hours duration, worth 60% of your grade. It consists of three sections. Section A is multiple choice involving 20 questions, each worth 1.5 marks. These generally relate to the content covered in the first four weeks. Section B is an integrated question involving a scenario that allows all the aspects of the course to be fleshed out. These are broken down into smaller questions (approximately 5 marks each) - in total this section is worth 30 marks. An example of such a question appears in the lecture notes of lectures 1 and 24. Section C involves selecting five questions from a bank of nine. This section is worth 60 marks (12 marks per question). Some questions were broken down into smaller parts, while others were not. As others have said, this exam can be difficult to complete on time (I only just finished) but I didn't think it was terribly hard. I completed the multiple choice questions in reading time and so was able to make up time before moving on to section B, only to lose it and end up back on time for section C. Sections A and B were very manageable but for me section C was a bit difficult. The questions in this section just involve you explaining some of the concepts presented to you in the lectures, but for some questions it felt like you could write a lot whereas for others it seemed like there was less to say. For the latter two sections, I felt like I had plenty to discuss, but remember to keep it in perspective - you need to try and finish the exam. Ultimately, it's hard to know how you've gone for a subject like this but I felt reasonably happy upon completing my exam.

For revision, the mid-semester tests are re-opened and you can get feedback to determine which questions you got wrong. Additionally, a practice section B question is made available during the semester which you can give to your tutor for feedback. A handful of lecturers provided some scenarios at the end of their lecture notes and others provided multiple choice questions. Some examples of section B and C responses are also put up on the LMS for your reference, and you may wish to use the questions as practice as well. The tutorial questions are also rather similar in style to a section B question. I felt like doing all of these, in addition to briefly combing through the lecture notes, put me in good stead for the exam. Hence, it's not a big deal that no past exam is available, as there is sufficient material for you to work with.


This subject was a massive eye-opener and made me realise just how much the knowledge that I'm currently gaining is going to impact on society. If you have a background in biology and are looking for a breadth subject with a more manageable workload, I can highly recommend this subject. However, be prepared to face challenging ethical dilemmas and come up with answers to them on your own. It seems off-putting but when the content is this interesting I found it came to me relatively easily. That's all I've got to say for now, but feel free to ask me any questions. Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 04:19:19 pm by Stick »
2017-2020: Doctor of Medicine - The University of Melbourne
2014-2016: Bachelor of Biomedicine - The University of Melbourne


  • Victorian
  • Trendsetter
  • **
  • Posts: 105
  • Respect: +58
  • School Grad Year: 2011
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #462 on: June 25, 2015, 01:56:12 am »
Subject Code/Name: CVEN90044 Engineering Site Characterisation

Workload: 1x two-hour lecture and 1x one-hour lecture per week, 4x 3 hour practicals spaced throughout the semester, a 1 hour labs/tutorials in each of the non-practical weeks (so 8 in total)

3x Online Quizzes and Assignments (5% each)
Individual GIS Assignment (5%)
4x Group Reports (30% total)
2 hour exam (50%)

Lectopia Enabled: Yes

Past exams available: No, only one sample paper is provided (without answers)

Textbook Recommendation: You’ll be given an electronic version of a Geotechnical Site Investigation manual, but nothing needs to be actually purchased.

Mahdi Disfani – Geotechnical
Cliff Ogelby – Surveying
Massoud Sofi – Wind and Earthquake Loading (and fire risk)
Graham Moore – Cross-Boundary Pollution

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015

Rating: 3.25/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

TL;DR: The value of this subject is bolstered by its practical work and the relative simplicity of the assignments, but you’ll also notice the word “basic” a lot through this review. Ultimately the content is pretty dry and mundane.

So this subject is a bit of a amalgamation of a bunch of fields of engineering and project management that culminate in site characterisation. Obviously, the content taught here is highly applicable to work in the field as a professional engineer, and – though it does straddle the boundary at times – it never reaches the point where the content is so common sensical that building a subject around this stuff seems superfluous (which was the main problem with Risk Analysis, a subject I did (and reviewed) last year).

The main topics covered, all from a site characterisation perspective, are:
  • (Very) basic geology and cartography
  • Geotechnical site characterisation and in situ testing (this is the main focus of the subject)
  • Basic surveying (mainly levelling)
  • Wind and earthquake loading
  • Cross-boundary pollution (e.g. noise)
  • Heritage

The main lecturer for the subject was Mahdi Disfani, as he covered the geotechnical component, which accounts for the first 6-7 weeks of the 12-week course. This was his first time teaching the subject (and first semester at the UoM), and – though he is a good guy – he wasn’t a great lecturer for this subject. However, I don’t think this is really his fault, as his lecturing style was fine and he does seem to know his stuff. The main issue is that the teaching materials and content were completely unchanged from previous years, which meant that Mahdi was using someone else’s slides. This led to times when he didn’t fully explain everything on the slides, skipped over stuff, or sometimes spent too much time emphasising things that weren’t of particularly relevant to the assessment or objectives of the subject. I managed to track down last years lecture recordings, where the subject’s coordinator, Guillermo Narsilio, was the lecture. These lectures seemed far more comprehensive and a lot more consistent with what was on the slides.

So to fix this, I hope Mahdi – if he is going to continue to be the lecturer for this subject – builds his own slides, or at least revises the current ones in such a way to better shape them for his style of lecturing.

Most students will know the other lecturers from other subjects. Cliff Ogelby will be familiar to anyone who did either Mapping Environments or Surveying and Mapping (see my review for the latter here), and his slides and approach is essentially unchanged from those subjects, though the scope is obviously far narrower. Massoud Sofi, who runs through the AS1170 standards for wind loading and earthquake loading, is one of the staff for the Structural Theory and Design subjects (reviews for those here and here) and High Rise (review for that upcoming).

Overall, the lectures are fine, but never anything to write home about. Despite being dull at times (there is a lecture literally titled “boring,” for instance), they are generally adequate at teaching the content, but they never reach that level of “wow, that was a really good lecture.”

The fact that there is an assignment that covers almost every topic taught is probably the best thing about the design of this subject. However, the trade-off with this comprehensive approach is that they are all very simple and not particularly challenging.

Most of them involve getting out in the field and completing some practical activities, with a very basic site visit report after going to Yarra Bend Park, a report on ground penetrating radar and seismic testing after a on-campus prac, and a basic topographic levelling exercise and report. All of the pracs were very well run and well conceived, and each report is completed in randomly allocated groups of 3-4 people. None of these assignments ever reach the complexity or amount of work where group dynamics should become a huge issue. So, in that sense, it’s a good chance to meet some people.

But this lack of complexity results in a kind of banality. Your hand is held quite tightly throughout the entire process and they don’t require any deep level of research or critical thinking. Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice to have subject where the stress is minimal and the assignments are straightforward for a change, but it’d be more valuable if the assignments were a little more mentally stimulating and freewheeling.

There was also a basic assignment on wind loading (which was, again, really straightforward and an easy 5%) and a couple of online quizzes within the first half of the semester, the first very simple, the other a little convoluted but still easy enough.

And there were also two computer-based assignments: the first, which was completed individually, was on basic GIS applications; the second, completed in groups, was on noise propagation, which integrated a bit of MATLAB coding. Again, your hand was held throughout these assignments, as they essentially required students to follow a set of step-by-step directions.

Tutes were up and down. The geotechnical site investigation tute sheets were a complete joke because they are archaically written and provided neither codified sets of questions nor directly assessable answers. Even worse, the tutors had access to a full suite of worked solutions (though, as I said, the questions were kind of wishy-washy so I don’t know what form the answers took) but they weren’t made available to students, which seems absurd on quite a few levels. I have no idea who designed these but they are very much in need of a revamp, preferably by filing them in the incinerator and coming up with something completely new.

The other tutes – one on levelling, one on cross-boundary pollution and another on cultural heritage – were all quite good and the level of teaching was high.

But overall, this subject is in need of some new and improved tutorial materials that fall more inline with the content of the lectures and that provide a better indication of what is examinable.

So, as I mentioned in the assessment section, only one example paper was provided and no solutions were offered (though some crowd-sourced solutions have been posted on the non-official facebook site). To me, this always appears lazy. It means the examiners can put the same questions on an exam year-in year-out and get away with it, and it seems as if that’s what they do, as this year’s exam had a couple of repeat questions from the sample paper and no doubt from previous semesters.

The exam, however, was quite fair and manageable. And though it did ask a couple of esoteric and overly specific questions (e.g. asking for specific Australian Standard numbers that would have been covered on one slide in one lecture for a good 5 seconds), it generally did what an exam should do, requiring students to have a pretty high level of understanding of the content overall. No complaints about that.

If I had to describe this subject in one word, that word would be “inoffensive.” The content is fairly simple, the teaching methods are fine, and the assessment should never cause you to break a sweat if you’ve managed to make it this far in your academic career. It does a good job to integrate some practicality into what can sometimes be an overly theoretical approach at the UoM, and this is something that the subject can hang its hat on. But when a subject doesn’t offer any sort of challenge or provide any really interesting or inspiring content, I can’t give it much more than a 3.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2015, 03:36:18 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.


  • Victorian
  • Forum Obsessive
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
  • Respect: +33
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #463 on: June 27, 2015, 12:26:59 am »
Subject Code/Name: MAST20004 Probability

Workload: 3 x 1 hour lectures per week, 2 x 1 tutorials per week (one in class tutorial followed by a computer lab session)

4 Assignments due in weeks 3, 6, 9 and 12 (20%)
3 hour exam (80%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, but only what the lecturer writes down on blank pages is shown, not the slides themselves.

Past exams available:  Yes, 5 exams with solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  Don't know the textbook, don't think it's necessary to have

Lecturer(s): Nathan Ross

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, Semester 1

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 75(H2A)


This subject is a nice introduction to probability and its applications. If you really enjoyed probability in VCE, you may very well enjoy this subject too. However most of the people who took this subject took it because it was compulsory for them. It was very well run, there were no issues at all apart from a few lectures not being recorded.

In all honesty, if you're quite confident in your mathematical ability, you could afford to slack off in the first few weeks of the subject as the content isn't too challenging. As stated in a previous review, the content starts to ramp up around Negative Binomial, week 5. Things can get pretty confusing and if you're not up to date then lectures can seem much more challenging than they are, and there is no real point in going to tutorials. The content starts to slow down at generating functions and the last few weeks are pretty easy-going.

Nathan Ross is a good lecturer. I thought he explained concepts very well and encouraged a different way of thinking when approaching problems. However, at times I feel that much of what he says isn't very relevant to the tutorials, which can make them very difficult to solve on their own. This isn't necessary a criticism, but perhaps something they could improve upon in future years. I recommend going to the lectures as they you'll be able to see both the notes written by Nathan and the slides, whereas at home you'll only be able to see the notes, however lectures can be placed at bad times (e.g 4:15 Fridays this year), so you can easily fall into the habit of not going to them. I felt that I absorbed much more when I was there in person than by watching them at home.

The class tutorials were okay. Just your standard maths tutorial where you stand around with others solving problems on the boards. If you're not keeping up to date with the lectures, the tutorial problems can be too hard to solve while in class, or at least each one would be very time consuming. I recommend to have a go at solving them before the tutorial so that you can make decent progress with your group. Also check out the video consultations for select questions if you're stuck, Robert Maillardet is very good at explaining the thought process that is needed to solving problems.

I thought the computer lab tutorials were very interesting. They involved looking at some practical applications of probability in MATLAB, combining the methods learnt in lectures with the tutorial problems. There was no assessment during the semester on these computer lab tutorials, which I really think is a shame, as the content was very interesting and it only encouraged people to bum around in these tutes. Working in groups is the best way to get the most out of these tutorials.

There were four, evenly spaced out assignments, each worth 5% each of your total mark. Each comprised of a few questions, with each question having a few parts. Similar to other maths subjects, only some of the questions are marked. While assignment 1 was very easy, the remaining 3 had challenging parts to them and I found it really helpful to discuss and solve the problem with friends.

Yeah...the exam...A fairly challenging one, that really makes you think for the entirety of the three hours. This is not something you easily cram, but rather rewards you for the amount of work you put in throughout the semester. Questions very much resemble assignment questions in style, with usually the last part of the last few questions being quite hard. You're allowed one A4 double-sided "cheat sheet" into the exam, which was really useful since there are a large number of formulae, distributions, rules that would otherwise need remembering. It also helps to put in some past exam/tutorial/assignment questions on your sheet (if you have any space) to help you answer some of the trickier questions.

Overall, this was a good subject. How much you enjoy this subject will most likely depend on whether you like probability in the first place. So if you are one of those people, and looking for a 2nd year maths which does not contain much proof, this is the subject for you.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 06:16:28 pm by notveryasian »
2014-2017: Bcom (Economics/Finance), Dip Maths (Discrete Maths and Operations Research) at Unimelb


  • No exam discussion
  • Forum Obsessive
  • *
  • Posts: 301
  • Respect: +12
  • School Grad Year: 2014
Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #464 on: June 27, 2015, 09:32:51 am »
Subject Code/Name: ECON10005 Quantitative Methods 1 

Workload:  Two weekly 1hour lectures and one weekly 1hour tutorial.

3 Assignments throughout the semester due in weeks 5, 8 and 11. Each worth 10%.
End of semester exam worth 70%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:No. We were given sample exam questions in week 11 however.

Textbook Recommendation:  Business Statistics (shit I'll update this with the proper version and stuff). Can highly recommend! Without it I believe I would have struggled.

Lecturer(s): Jonathon Thong

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating:  4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:  H1

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

The fabled QM1! I believe when I completed it, it was Jonathon's first time running the subject. As such we received no past exams and everyone was pretty clueless when it came to exam time.

Anyway, I didn't technically enjoy the subject (I don't believe anyone does...) but I really enjoyed the last few weeks of the course where it all came together and I, among other students, had sudden realisations of what everything meant. Jonathon speaks in a sophisticated tone from the get-go, it might take a while to get used to but you can tell he prepares for the lectures and generally knows his stuff (you'd hope so haha). It began looking at presenting data; bar charts in particular, with a focus on not misrepresenting data. The first few weeks I can describe as Further Maths in year 12 - pretty short and sweet data presentation with a look at some regression analysis that doesn't prove too hard. I have to say though, Jonathon did a pretty good job grabbing my attention in those weeks (however it did fade, woops) but I believe he is really a quality lecturer.

The course begins to delve into confidence limits and our interpretation of what they mean. It is soooo crucial to understand how they work and what they do! By now you would've had 1 assignment with a focus on data and maybe a tad bit of proofs but for our cohort, it wasn't overly difficult. For these assignments you're allowed to be in a group of 4 from your tutorial, be careful who you choose! For the first assignment our group split it up evenly and overall we just stuffed up a lot, from then on out I made a pact to do the assignments by myself and then compare with the groups work. Not only is it incredibly helpful for your understanding but it definitely improved our scores.

By the end of the semester, you should understand how to perform hypothesis tests and their significance. It all really comes together in a nice little package and despite maybe some backlash from our other students, Jonathon did well in running the subject.

The exam was incredibly well made and sort of suited how people approached the subject. QM1 is mandatory for all commerce students, with very few other students doing it because of its reputation. TBH I had a small amount of fun :)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 09:20:05 pm by myanacondadont »