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Author Topic: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 1202015 times)  Share 

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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #555 on: June 17, 2016, 11:50:57 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ACCT30001: Financial Accounting Theory

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

Assessment: 1.5hr mid sem test (20%), group assignment (10%), 3hr exam (70%). The handbook says the 10% component is tute participation, but it's actually a group assignment (but a pretty straightforward one – hence worth 10%).

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: None because the content changed this semester, but the first half of the subject had practice qs which were of a similar style to the exam qs.

Textbook Recommendation: For the first half, it was Business Analysis & Valuation: Using Financial Statements, lecture slides pretty much rephrase the content in the textbook. For the second half, the readings were from various textbooks but photocopies of the relevant chapters were posted on LMS, lecture slides along with tute qs cover the content in the chapters. All tute qs are on LMS so it's up to you, if you’re a textbook kinda student then read it, if not you’ll be fine without it.

Lecturer(s): Bo Qin, Matt Pinnuck

Year & Semester of completion: 2016, semester 1

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: Here’s to my 5th accounting subject review. I would like to say my reviews get better and better but that would arguably be a lie. Anyway.

This subject felt like two different subjects. Bo took the first half which was more quantitative and focused on identifying issues in financial statements, ratios and valuation, but note that no formula sheet is provided in the mid sem and exam (this is where Business Finance comes into play – if you still remember those formulas), I still remember the outrage when Bo announced in the lecture there would be no formula sheet haha poor guy (to be fair, there were < 10 formulas). During Bo’s half, you will feel overwhelmed with info because his lectures and tute qs are ridiculously long and convoluted, but when you take a step back at the end of it all, you’ll realise a lot of the content is repetitive and linked, so there’s actually not that much to understand/memorise.

Matt took the second half of the subject and his half puts the ‘theory’ in Financial Accounting Theory. Matt’s half is very qualitative and focuses on addressing info asymmetry through producing financial statements. There is actually a fair bit of content in Matt’s half, which is why it really feels like a separate subject altogether. Matt actually gets through all his lecture slides (unlike Bo) although he talks quite fast so you have to be reasonably switched on, and he's also very funny/enthusiastic which is hilariously great.

I’m not sure how I feel about this subject, my emotions may become clearer once I get my result… The first half felt like Business Finance mixed with IFA/IFA2, the second half felt like ARA minus calculations/journal entries? I know, it's a bit of a poor attempt on my behalf at describing this subject, but it doesn’t really matter how I feel in the scheme of things, the subject is what it is and you have to do it to major in accounting. Here’s a smiley face to end this review on a light note :)
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 11:33:16 am by teexo »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #556 on: June 18, 2016, 11:16:09 am »
Subject Code/Name: MIIM20001: Principles of Microbiology and Immunology  

Workload:  x3 one hour lectures, x2 one and a half-hour practicals (held weeks 11 and 12)

- x12 Weekly Quizzes (10%)
- Mid-Semester Test (20%)
- Post-Practical Quiz Online (2%)
- End of Semester Examination (68%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No past examinations were available. The last lecture was a revision/integration lecture that had sample question types.

Textbook Recommendation:  The prescribed textbooks are Prescott's Microbiology by Willey J, Sherwood L, Woolverton C and Molecular Biology of the Cell, Alberts et al, 6th edn, 2014.

** Personally, I didn't find the textbooks really necessary. The lecture content is sufficient. However, if I were in need of a textbook, Prescott's Microbiology was a great resource.

Lecturer(s): Dr Karena Waller, Associate Professor Jason Mackenzie, Dr Sacha Pidot, Professor Andrew Brooks, Dr Catherine Kennedy and Dr Laura Mackay

Year & Semester of completion: 2016, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (90)


From year 12 I have been very passionate about all things Immunology and Microbiology. My chosen major is Human Structures and Functions, but I wanted to dabble in a little bit of Immunology because I thought it would be an opening experience to something I was quite passionate about. This subject made me realise why I thoroughly enjoyed Immunology and Microbiology.

There are three lectures every week in one-hour time slots. The lectures cover a variety of topics, including:
* History of Immunology and Microbiology
* The secretory pathway in eukaryotic cells.
* Immunology (innate immune response, acquired immune response)
* The Microbial World - Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi
* Mobile DNA elements - nature of microbial DNA, use of mobile DNA elements for horizontal gene transfer, etc.
* Bacteria - Pathogenesis, Toxicity and Antibiotics
* Viruses and Prions
* Recombinant DNA Technology
* Vaccines

Associate Professor Jason Mackenzie - he takes the lectures on the secretory pathway in eukaryotic cells, as well as viruses & prions. Prepare for many examples. The theoretical aspect of viruses is extremely interesting, however, he does digress quite a lot and discuss his own personal accomplishments. There are a lot of examples he expects you to memorise for the purposes of the exam/mid-semester test. My biggest piece of advice would be to learn examples that have been repeated on a regular basis. Otherwise, the content on viruses, prions and the secretory pathway were thoroughly enjoyable.

Dr Laura Mackay: FAVOURITE lecturer! Not only does Dr Laura have a vast knowledge of all things Immunology-related, she also understood we were second year Immunology students and thus made sure every detail was explained thoroughly. Furthermore, her lecture content was the most interesting and relatable to what I know Immunology encompassed. Her lecture content was straightforward, and exam questions were a lot more theoretical based than necessarily just rote learning examples. This made it an enjoyable part of the course to review. Content-wise, the lectures were just extensions from VCE Biology Immunology, where those specific answers you couldn't get to your questions in year 12 are finally going to be answered.

Dr Karena Waller - what I loved about her lectures is that she listed everything in the exact amount of detail we needed to learn about it for the exam. She covered the lecture on the history of Microbiology/Immunology, as well as the introductory lectures into Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi. It was a great way of paving the path for our knowledge of how each of the aforementioned microorganisms function, and in some cases cause disease. Expect to know approximately seven different diseases in detail (e.g. Malaria, Giardiasis, etc.). Once again, the notes she provides for these diseases are more than sufficient for you to know how to answer questions on the exam and mid-semester test.

Dr Sacha Pidot - Dr Sacha covered the content on DNA and genetics/genomics of microorganisms, as well as how mobile DNA elements such as bacteriophages, plasmids and transposons can all be used to transfer DNA between different bacteria. I personally found this to be the least interesting part of the course; however, in saying that, I think the content on mobile DNA elements was quite interesting. Dr Sacha puts up questions during the lectures to sort of test your knowledge. Although these are good to test your knowledge, they're quite easy and majority of the students get the answers right. Dr Sacha is always shocked that we knew the answers to the quizzes. Okay Sacha.. okay.

Dr Catherine Kennedy - Dr Catherine Kennedy took us through an extension of Bacteria, focusing particularly on pathogenesis, toxicity and antibiotics against bacteria. The content on bacteria was thoroughly enjoyable. There is quite a lot to remember for Dr Catherine's lectures, particularly about the different toxins produced by bacteria for pathogenesis, as well as antibiotics that are used against bacteria. Nonetheless, if you prepare for it adequately, it is relatively straightforward.

Associate Prof. Andrew Brooks - he took the lecture on vaccines. I thought the content he gave was quite straightforward, and he elaborates on the fundamentals of vaccines, the different types of vaccines available, etc.


1. Weekly Quizzes: the weekly quizzes are completed online, and often involve completing 6-9 questions (approximately 3 questions per lecture). The questions are usually quite straightforward and the answers can often be derived straight from the lecture notes, so it can be completed open book. You have a time-limit of two hours. An important thing to consider though is that in this quiz, you cannot go back to fix your answers. Once you submit an answer to a question, you cannot go back and change it, so make sure you have properly answered it.

2. Mid-Semester Test: personally, I found the mid-semester test very accessible. I scored 36/40 for it. As long as you revise the lecture content thoroughly, you will be prepared for the examination as it is essentially a lot of rote learning. It is carried out around week 6/7, and there are 40 multiple choice questions to complete.

3. Examination: okay, so the one thing about this subject which for many people is the deal-breaker is the amount of content. I am not going to sugar coat it, there is a LOT. As long as you can keep up to date, and understand the theoretical concepts + specific examples, the examination shouldn't be too difficult. Overall, I didn't find the exam to be too difficult, however, it was important that I remembered specific examples if I wanted to do well.

The exam has three sections: section A (multiple choice), section B (fill-in-the-blanks) and section C (short-answer).

Overall, I found this subject to be very enjoyable. I think if you want to dabble in a bit of Microbiology and Immunology, this is the perfect subject to take. I will be doing MIIM20002, purely because of how much I enjoyed this subject. Definitely worth doing! :)
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 10:24:43 pm by Yacoubb »
2013-2014: VCE
2015-2017: BSc. at University of Melbourne. Majoring in Microbiology & Immunology.
2018: Honours - Restoring immunocompetency in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
2019-2022: Doctor of Medicine (MD) at Deakin University

Completed VCE Biology in 2013 with a study score of 47. Offering tutoring in VCE Biology for 2020 in Geelong region! PM me for more details.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #557 on: June 23, 2016, 05:17:58 am »
Subject Code/Name: MGMT30015 Managing Work and Your Career  

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

Assessment:  30% case analysis (in pairs), 20% career plan (15% marked by tutor, 5% peer assessment), 50% final exam

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  2013, 2015 final can be found in library

Textbook Recommendation:  No prescribed textbook, 2-3 readings assigned each week

Lecturer(s): Stephanie Flanagan

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2016

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


I highly recommend this subject for students who have no clue as to what they want to do for a career, or even those who need better clarity in their career paths. I actually found the best part of the subject to be the weekly personality tests (e.g Big Five, FIRO-B, Holland's, tolerance of ambiguity, political skills, networking). I felt that they were really helpful in painting a bigger picture of the type of person I am and how I can manage myself in my career. The best part is that you get to meet others in the tutorials with completely different career aspirations and see how everyone views career success. Lecture content can get fluffy at times (like most management subjects), and mostly requires common sense, nonetheless the material covered was definitely practical and relevant before going into the working world.

The subject only had one lecturer and one tutor throughout. My cohort was about 70 people and lectures were quite interactive. Stephanie graduated from uni not too long ago. She made sure the lectures were dynamic and engaging, which I had to get used to at first but appreciated later on. We had a guest speaker from SEEK who came to speak about recruitment and selection, but I missed the lecture. The tutor, Kris, was really nice as well. Tutorials were very easy to sit through and interesting at most times. Most of the weeks we did personality tests during the tutorials so it was relaxed.

The assessments were due at week 10 and 12 and it could be quite a pain if left for last minute. The first assessment was a 30% case study analysis done in pairs. We had an ice breaker and other opportunities to speak with each other in tutorial, so get to know your classmates well and find a suitable partner. I had a good partner and we scored an 87. The second assessment was a 20% comprehensive career plan done individually, and it required no referencing whatsoever, just your own opinion. We had to present our draft to our table in the week 11 tutorial (which was mainly to get feedback), and usually three to four others in your table would give you a mark out of a 100 based on a set criteria. An average would be taken from it and that would make up 5% out of the 20. Get good mates you already get along with to be at your table so they won't be too harsh. I got helpful feedback from my table which I took on board for writing my career plan and managed to get a 93 for it (partially thanks to them!).

The 50% final exam was 2 hours and had 3 sections. First section we had to choose 4 out of 7 short answer questions (20 marks). Second section is an essay about career success (15 marks). Third section was a case study with short questions (15 marks). The test was pretty straightforward. I didn't have time to study every theory or concept (I had 3 papers in that week) so I selected specific parts of each lecture to study and it worked for me. Also, you could plan the second section beforehand about career success. This subject had 30 minutes of reading time and you could also annotate, which is plenty of time to read the case and think about every question.

Overall, I think this subject could be really helpful or a waste of time depending on what you make of it. Clearly i wanted to make the most out of it as I pay a bomb as an international student, but yea, one of the most helpful subjects in my degree B.Com (Finance & Management).
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 05:16:17 pm by royhw7 »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #558 on: June 23, 2016, 12:46:19 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BLAW20001 Corporate Law 
Workload:  (specify how many lectures, pracs, tutes ect. and their duration)

Assessment:  Tutorial participation 10%, assignment 15%, exam 75%

Lectopia Enabled:  Yep

Past exams available:  We were given 2, but many more can be found on unimelb library site.

Textbook Recommendation: Hanrahan, Ramsay, and Stapledon, Commercial Applications of Company Law (CCH, latest edition). I definitely recommend it, pretty helpful.

Lecturer(s): Helen Anderson

Year & Semester of completion: 2016 Semester 1

Rating:  4.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: Corp law was a pretty interesting subject. Coming into it, I pretty much had no idea what to expect. Blaw really doesn’t provide a foundation of law and the tutors in corp law acknowledged that and pretty much introduced the subject as if it was most students first law subject. A very very high percentage of students doing corp law are obviously commerce students, as the accounting breadth track requires corp law. So in tutes be prepared to deal with a lot of silence from everyone. Anyway I’ll break up my review into lectures, tutorials, assignments, and exam.

So Helen is the lecturer and honestly she’s pretty good. She does quite well for such a dry subject and uses a really good wide range of analogies to help students understand weird concepts and why they are in the legislation. The lectures themselves consist of key points that Helen talks about and provides a greater understanding. For example the lecture might say “Section 198A”, and Helen will then go into the detail about that section and why it’s important. So it’s pretty useful to go to lectures, and not just read slides. I highly recommend writing notes during lectures as these generally are the main points that are examinable. In addition, a lot of the content is found in the textbook. So it’s pretty helpful to either use the textbook readings to reinforce the lecture knowledge, or vice versa. I highly recommend though going through the textbook readings even if they’re a bit time consuming, I found they really help (and especially for getting good marks on the first assignment). Anyway overall the lectures are pretty good, they have the usual 10minute break in the middle as it’s a 2 hour lecture so people often go ask Helen questions or grab a coffee.

Coming into tutorials I was pretty lost. The questions are hard – they usually are past exam questions that have been changed a tiny bit. So don’t been demotivated or anything, just give it shot. The first thing to note is that for every tutorial there is a few set law questions (cases) that require you to provide/structure a response. However require is loosely termed because the tutors do not check your work. Tutorial participation is based solely off of participation in class like raising your hand and answering questions. Therefore while it may not be necessary to do the physical writing, it probably will help you get the tutorial participation marks cause you know your stuff and can answer tutor’s questions. As I said before, this subject is heavily dominated by accounting majors, so I heard that tutorials were often met with dead silence. In that case, it’s pretty easy to get tutorial participation but don’t assume you can just pick it up in week 9-10 and get full marks. Make sure you at least put a little effort to contribute in the early weeks ☺ Tutorials themselves are pretty good. The answers to questions are never posted on LMS or anything, so it’s up to you to take notes that you can reflect on in swotvac for the exam. I had David ‘the babovinator’ Babovic as my tutor and he was pretty damn good. He definitely knew his material and would cite legislation off the top of his head, which stunned the majority of the class. I would definitely recommend him as a tutor, one of the best tutors I’ve had and he generally marks your assignment in a good way and isn’t too harsh. Top bloke is all I have to say about him.

Assignments: So the assignment is a no more than 1500 word response to a proposed case, worth 15% (? Iirc) and due somewhere around week 4-5. As it’s due so early in the semester, it’s pretty easy to gauge what key points are in it as there isn’t really that much content. This is where I would definitely suggest reading the textbook because the textbook kind of links sections together where otherwise you would have had no idea. Helen is also pretty useful as she told us a few things would be present on the assignment in the lectures. Getting good marks on the assignment is a lot about just mentioning the particulars so be pretty exact in what you’re saying.

Exam was pretty well done. It’s an open book exam so you can take in whatever you want. I had a 30page binded book I made full of notes and a table of contents. It was super helpful, much more than the textbook itself could be. As Helen says, “the questions change but the answers pretty much stay the same”. We were provided with 2 recent past exams, and plenty more are available on the unimelb library site so there should be no shortage of exam questions. In addition, a lot of the past exam questions become tutorial questions so if you took notes through those tutes then you’re sitting pretty. During SWOTVAC, there was exam consultation sessions and revision lectures. The revision lectures were just a tutor in a lecture theatre who would answer questions by students so you can’t just rely to go to one of these to revise the whole course. I would suggest going to these even if you don’t have any questions (but make sure you have already done some revision otherwise it will go over your head). Helen answered a past exam question about a day before the actual exam and touched on something I would have never thought of and luck has it something similar appeared on the actual exam. The exam itself was alright…I don’t know lol, I haven’t got my mark back but I felt it went okay.

Anyway that’s it. Corp law was a good subject and I definitely enjoyed it – it is more difficult than blaw that’s for sure but it’s also more interesting. If you can, stay up to date with content because I don’t know how easy it would be to cram this subject.


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #559 on: June 24, 2016, 04:31:47 pm »
Subject Code/Name: FOOD20003 Food Chemistry, Biology and Nutrition

Workload:  1x2hr lecture, 1x1hr lecture, 1x1hr tutorial

Assessment:  1hr Mid semester exam in week6 (20%), 1000 word research research assignment due at the end of semester before SWOTVAC (20%), 2hr final exam (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  None - No practice questions either

Textbook Recommendation:  Understanding Nutrition: Australian and New Zealand edition (2014)  - Encouraged to purchase (One of our lecturers was involved in reviewing the literature), and quite useful coming final exam time. There's like 10 copies in the library, so probably best not to buy it.

Lecturer(s): Dr Ken Ng, Professor(retired) Neil Mann

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2016

Rating:  4.5 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: Anniejoy sums up the subject here. It is indeed very basic Biology and Chemistry, very interesting and extremely applicable! :)

Each week you would have a 2hr lecture with Neil, and a 1hr lecture with Ken, with each of them covering a different topic (a topic usually took 2-3 weeks because of the rotating lectures).
(I personally never went to Ken's lectures because they were at 8am..)


An overview of Nutrition (Lectures 1&3)
Carbohydrates (Lectures 2,4,6)
Digestion&absorption (L3,5)
Protein (you get the point...)
Water soluble vitamins
Water and minerals
Fat soluble vitamins
Energy balance and body composition
Weight management
Diet planning
Dietary fibres

Overall, the lectures were quite easy to go over, and very interesting! The first half of the semester was quite easy to grasp, and the second half a bit more rote learning required (such as all the vitamins/minerals). Overall quite relaxing content wise. If you're planning on studying Human Physiology or Biochemistry, I probably recommend taking them along side this to make it even easier  for you (I personally didn't take Biochem, but I heard it helps).
A reason why I gave it a 4.5/5 was the fact one lecture was 2hours long (I know many subjects have these..but it is quite draining..), and the other lecture being at 8am..
You could tell both lecturers were quite passionate about what they were teaching and very knowledgeable.
Ken's heavy (Malaysian?) accent was sometimes difficult to understand through Lecture capture.
Neil is a retired professor at RMIT who is very concise and exceptionally knowledgeable - he's up there being one of my favourite lecturers.

Personally only went to the very first couple and a few weeks leading up to the end of semester. In these tutorials you would go over pretty cool programs that can help with diet planning etc and also very simple questions from the textbook. Definitely not required to go to these, but it's just a good bonus (lol).

Mid semester exam:
No practice questions for this, and was recommended to do end of chapter review questions in the textbook. These questions were pretty similar to the MST so it wouldn't hurt to do them.
By far the easiest MST i've ever probably taken. It was 1hr long held (4weeks) after the break. It consisted of 60 MC and wasn't too difficult. I believe the average was 80+? and definitely quite manageable to get 90/95% - Saying this only one person did get full marks.
We didn't receive the MST back, but you were able to book an appointment with Ken to see the answers.
Ken mentioned that he would have liked the average to be around 60 and so I am quite certain they will be changing it up in the subsequent years.

Research assignment:
This was a 1000 word assignment about 1 of 4 topics you were able to choose from. You get told briefly about the assignment very early in the year, with actual details coming out around mid sem. It was originally due in week11 however it was pushed back to week12.
One of Ken's lecture slots was also replaced with a guest librarian who would go over how to do literature searches/navigate through the library website and all that good jazz which was very helpful. Overall, this assignment wasn't too bad because of the fact you could only cover so much in 1000 words. They (Neil in particular) reassured us that we wouldn't be able to cover a lot of things in detail with the word limit so you could do really well without getting that in depth with the topic you choose.

The exam was 2hrs and consisted of Section A (45MC) and Section B (8 SA questions) - both sections 60 marks each.
Now because the MST was pretty easy, Ken told us the MC would be more demanding rather than being straight recall questions, and it definitely was - they really required you to know the details quite thoroughly...Some I thought were pretty damn picky, but overall quite fair.
SA questions weren't too difficult and quite simple questions. Questions like 'list', 'define', 'explain', so you do really need to know your stuff to do well.
Down side was I do think the questions could have been worded better. Some seemed very vague and open to interpretation.
Overall, quite a fair exam - more on the easy side.
In preparation for this exam, you weren't given much resources. Only thing you could rely on was the textbook.

Both lecturers were very approachable and helpful when I had questions. Because Neil wasn't like an 'official' unimelb lecturer, he didn't know much about the administrative stuff, so If you have questions about MST, exam and all that good stuff, then Ken was the go-to man. It wasn't the most organised subject ever, but a simple email could solve your worries.
This subject has been one of my favourite so far, and I encourage you consider it if you're interested in health/nutrition.
ATAR: 99.96

B.Sc @ UniMelb
Neuroscience Major



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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #560 on: June 24, 2016, 08:42:24 pm »
Subject Code/Name: EDUC10057 Wellbeing, Motivation and Performance

Workload:  1 x two hour lecture and 1 x one hour tutorial per week

Assessment: 1500 word midterm assignment (35%), 2500 word final assignment (65%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes

Past exams available:  N/A

Textbook Recommendation: Positive Psychology: The Science and Happiness of Flourishing, 2nd edition (2013)

Lecturer(s): Dr Gavin Slemp

Year & Semester of completion: 2016, Semester 1

Rating:  4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1

Going to split my review into two parts:
1- Thoughts on the subject in and of itself
2- Thoughts on the grading system

Wellbeing, Motivation and Performance is, hands down, the most enjoyable subject i've taken in the past 5 years. Yes, it deserves that sort of praise. So why did I give it a 4.5/5 then? The grading system. This, in my opinion, leaves a bit to be desired (but still pretty fair in all honesty).

The subject is based on a new and emerging branch of psychology called positive psychology. It focuses on improving your mental well being through a series of lectures as well as neatly designed assignments to complement your learning. Around halfway through this semester, it was the only subject where I would continue attending lectures, simply because there was so much to get out of them. The practicality of this subject makes it incredibly desirable, as I could feel my own wellbeing levels increasing on a very tangible level every week. It sounds too good to be true, but at the end of completing the subject, I could feel myself adopting a happier and more enthusiastic stance to general events.

Gavin was incredibly knowledgeable and highly recommended as a lecturer. Not only did he know his stuff, but he's also the kind of lecturer that I'd happily sit in a lecture theater for two hours to listen to, not the same can be said for some of the lecturers in my other subjects. Content was discussed very nicely and most were presented with a lot of real-world examples, allowing us to see real-world applications of these theoretical concepts.

The tutorials adopted a more hands-on approach, allowing us to practice what we've learned during the lectures in person. It was a very welcoming atmosphere and definitely did not need the compulsory attendance for me to turn up.

Here lies my sole complaint (which i guess isn't even a fault of the subject co-ordinators themselves, but rather my own fault). I found the grading on the assignments to be highly subjective (as expected), not very rewarding of effort (probably should be expected) and a very tough criteria for a high H1 (and again, probably could've foreseen this). Despite spending more time on this subject than any other subject (again, quality > quantity I guess), I felt grades didn't quite reflect effort here (which is, I guess, something i've taken for granted throughout high school).

In short, if you're doing this subject for a WAM boost, don't take it. If you're thinking of taking this for all the amazing things that you can learn, then definitely do so. You only get out how much you put in :)


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #561 on: June 25, 2016, 02:52:15 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BIOM30002: Biomedicine: Molecule to Malady

- Contact hours: three 1-hour lectures per week plus two 1-hour tutorials per semester.
- Total time commitment: 170 hours

A word on the tutorials: the handbook is a bit misleading. Essentially, this subject relies on having six lectures for each of the six modules, so the tutorial timeslot has been timetabled in to account for any loss of lessons, whether that be due to a public holiday or in allowance of a lecturer going overtime. Most weeks, the tutorial timeslot seemed to run for one reason or another: there was one non-examinable tutorial, but otherwise these were used for module summaries, mid-semester test reviews or sometimes a patient interview. Note that the tutorial time may actually be assigned to deliver a lecture with another one of the timetabled lecture timeslots being designated for tutorial purposes.

In any case, you will have 36 lectures for this subject.

Assessment: 2 x 45min intra-semester tests (20% each) around weeks 6 and 10; 3 hr written examination in the final examination period (60%).

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: No. However, questions are available for revision. At the end of each week feedback quizzes are released, delivering some fairly basic but important questions to review the week's content. Prior to the mid-semester tests and the exam, multiple choice quizzes containing previous year's questions are provided. This year for the first time a handful of short answer questions were also released in order to prepare for the exam. You should get adequate practice through these.

Textbook Recommendation: None. It is anticipated that students will access standard reference texts on anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry & molecular biology, microbiology & immunology, pharmacology and clinical medicine. Key references and review articles will be provided via the LMS.

The review articles are provided due to the fact that there is no textbook for this subject. I never read them, so they are not directly examinable.

To supplement any areas of uncertainty, a frequently asked questions page is put up on the LMS with lecturers providing detailed responses to student questions. I often found these contained superfluous information that was beyond the scope of the course, so use them as you see fit.


Co-ordinators (do not provide lectures but are responsible for the co-ordination of the subject):
- Mrs Helen Cain
- Assoc Prof Fred Hollande
- Prof Dick Strugnell

I think we saw Fred and Dick at the very first lecture and that was it, so I'm pretty sure they do a lot of work behind the scenes. You'll see Helen every lecture though; she sits through each lecture to ensure all the guest lecturers know what they're doing and also as a means of quality control. She's probably the person to contact if you have any problems.


Module 1: Pandemics
- Prof Sharon Lewin: HIV (3 lectures)
- Prof James Beeson: malaria pathogenesis (2 lectures)
- Dr Rick Ataide: malaria treatment (1 lecture)
- Dr Justin Denholm: ethics in pandemics (non-examinable tutorial)

Module 2: Muscular dystrophy
- Prof Monique Ryan: review of muscle physiology (1 lecture)
- Dr Eppie Yiu: muscular dystrophy (5 lectures)

Module 3: B cells and associated diseases
- Prof David Tarlinton (6 lectures)

Module 4: Cystic fibrosis
- Prof Sylvia Metcalfe: clinical genetics of cystic fibrosis (3 lectures)
- Dr Joanne Harrison: clinical presentation and management of cystic fibrosis (3 lectures)

Module 5: Neurodegeneration
- Prof Malcolm Horne: introduction to neurodegeneration (1 lecture)
- Prof Roberto Cappai: Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (5 lectures)

Module 6: Rheumatoid arthritis
- Dr John Moi: clinical presentation and management of rheumatoid arthritis (4 lectures)
- Dr Nicole Walsh: molecular basis of synovial and bone pathology in rheumatoid arthritis (2 lectures)

Some of these are clinicians while others are researchers. Regardless, you will be exposed to a variety of very interesting and unique insights to each of these topics throughout the semester.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2016

Rating: 4.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


This is probably my favourite Biomedicine core subject to date (and most likely for the entire degree, given how the reviews for BIOM30001 Frontiers in Biomedicine read). It's the first subject where you start to get a bit of a clinical feel to the world of biomedicine. This is achieved through the patient interviews (a highlight of the subject) but also in the nature of the content, which spends a lot of time on clinical presentation and management. Given that many in the course are aspiring for clinical pathways, I think a lot of people really enjoyed it.

A lot of people like to draw comparisons with this subject and BIOM20001 Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine; personally, I preferred this subject because as a 12.5 credit point subject the workload felt a lot more manageable. I'd also say the general concepts are much easier in this subject; this is supported by the fact that this subject had lower fail rates than BIOM20001 for both mid-semester tests (only about 4% of people failed in each case, compared to about 10% for our cohort in BIOM20001). However, doing well is a lot more difficult. Personally, based on my performance in assessments, my marks fell and I'm not confident on the H1, and the proportion of students attaining H1 in this subject is much lower compared to other second and third year biomedical science subjects (it hovers around 30% compared to 40%+). This is because the assessment is of an incredibly high quality (i.e. a lot of effort is put in to creating good distractors in the multiple choice assessments), but also, due to the nature of the content. In BIOM20001 the concepts are, in my opinion, more involved and difficult, and you have to put more work into understanding them, but once you know it, there are no surprises. In comparison, in this subject it's really easy for the concepts to just make sense (for example is easy to generalise that the proximal limb muscles are implicated in Duchenne muscular dystrophy) so you kind of accept them as having been memorised, only to realise in the assessment that they're really trying to focus on the small details (like the exact progression of specific muscles and comparing and contrasting which muscles are involved in different diseases). It's difficult to say how to manage this other than to review regularly. I think most people's marks fell in one way or another.

With co-ordination by Helen, this subject was always going to be extremely well run. The deduction of half a point in my score is simply me being picky about a couple of bumps along the way in regards to timetabling, clashes and one particular module which didn't exactly go to plan this year (I won't say it out of respect for the staff involved). Assessments had to be moved to early morning timeslots because many of the third year biomedical subjects (stupidly, in my opinion) clashed their assessments at the same time, making things rather difficult for us. I kind of wish subject timetabling would be better run at the university's end, because my timetable was pretty horrendous this semester. This subject had a lot of early morning and late afternoon lectures for us; it was frustrating but at the same time when you have doctors working in the field I guess you have to allow for their day jobs. Otherwise, despite the fact that so many new and different lecturers come in, the subject felt really cohesive and well-organised.

The patient interviews were definitely the best part of this subject. They were either run in tutorial timeslots or were designated time in one of the six core lectures for each module. Every module except B cell diseases had a patient interview. These were generally non-examinable although sometimes they clarified your understanding in one way or another. I found it to be a really good reminder of why I was sitting in the lecture theatre working through my degree. I commend the co-ordinators for bringing this initiative into this subject.

I'll spend a bit of time talking about some of the details of each module so that you get a bit of a feel for what they're like. From what I can gather, these six modules have been the same for the entire life of the subject, although their order and the content that is covered changes from year to year (evident in previous subject reviews which seem to describe a different order and also different topics or focus points and from different staff). In all cases, the six lectures are really spent going through the "molecule to malady" concept - understanding why the patient presents the way they do through the underlying molecular pathology, and then using this to guide management principles and devise possible future therapies. The focus this year seemed to be a lot more on the treatment side of things compared to last year, where the subject appeared to deal more with the molecular pathology. For this reason, just be careful if you have any old resources (I mention this because with the lecture capture problems this year we had some old recordings put up, but a lot of them came across as irrelevant to 2016). However, it should be noted that some modules are more "clinical" than others (pandemics, muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis) while others have a stronger research focus (B cell diseases and neurodegeneration), with rheumatoid arthritis probably sitting somewhere in the middle, in my opinion.

There's a fair amount of discussion as to whether any majors will assist in studies of BIOM30002 due to overlap of subject content. There seems to be a general consensus that microbiology/immunology and pathology students had a particularly advantageous background; the postulate about pathology makes sense to me (although I hear the core subject isn't so great), but I'm not so sure about microbiology/immunology. A lot of the diseases dealt with do involve inflammation, so there may be a slight advantage, but otherwise I felt that different majors lent themselves to different modules. As a neuroscience major, there was overlap between my major subjects and neurodegeneration, which, for me, made that module a lot easier (many others thought it was the worst module or the most difficult). I also felt I understood muscular dystrophy a bit better, although the physiology students were probably even more familiar than I would've been. Pandemics and B cell diseases obviously lend themselves well to microbiology/immunology students; rheumatoid arthritis would as well although this had a lot of anatomy in it so I think anatomy students would have liked it as well. Cystic fibrosis did have a genetics basis to it but in my eyes it was a bit of an all-rounder. None of this is obviously important; you shouldn't go basing your major and subject selection around trying to complement this subject but I just include it as food for thought.

In terms of how the modules are assessed, the first mid-semester test assesses modules 1 and 2 and the second mid-semester test assesses modules 3 and 4. Each mid-semester test was 45 minutes plus 5 minutes reading time; they had 40 marks from multiple choice questions (20 per module) and were worth 20% of your grade each. As I said earlier, these tests were very high quality and therefore frustratingly difficult. Make sure you know your content well, review regularly and consult the resources for practice. Just as an aside, Helen was an absolute boss this semester, having the results for the first mid-semester test uploaded the very same day we sat it. She will also take you through the general cohort performance in a review lecture, although the subject refrains from discussing the specifics of each question. To help you out, you will receive an email with a breakdown of your marks, which can help guide your study afterwards.

The exam is worth 60% of your grade - it is a 3 hour exam this time (a contrast to most of your exams these days) and has two sections. Section A is essentially the equivalent of a third mid-semester test - 20 multiple choice questions for module 5 and 20 for module 6. Section B is the dreaded short answer section. Here, you pick four modules out of the six to respond to a group of questions in specially-prepared script books. The total marks for one module is 20, so this section is worth 80 marks overall. The 20 marks are split in half such that there is a 'part A' and 'part B' to each module, and within each part there will be a handful of questions to make up the 10 marks total for each part. Unlike BIOM20001, these are proper short answer questions in that they were more open and less targeted (i.e. many of the questions came across as quite general - perhaps a good example would be "describe how you would manage a boy with muscular dystrophy in the clinic" (6 marks)) and I felt you had to write a lot more in response. I guess that means there's also more onus on you to know your detail so that you can show off to the examiners what you know, although it's easy to forget things given the lack of guidance. This style of question exposes my weakness and probably explains why the number of students attaining H1 is a bit lower than usual. I personally aimed to write a well-rounded complete response, incorporating any relevant details I knew in order to try and gain as many marks as possible. The exam is 120 marks total, so in terms of time per mark the assessment is theoretically less time-pressured than the mid-semester tests, but short answer questions do eat up your time. In the end, I only just finished and that involved me completing the multiple choice questions in only 30 minutes. A fair number of people didn't complete the exam on time. I hope I explained the format well - I have a feeling I haven't, but don't stress because it will be explained to you sometime in a lecture. To sum up, the multiple choice component of the exam is worth 20% of your grade, while the short answer section is worth 40%.

If you're thinking strategically, you might notice that you may not have to study each module for the exam, and that is indeed correct. In any case, you must learn the last two modules as they will be assessed in the multiple choice section. Otherwise, you can choose how you feel like tackling section B of the exam. In all honesty, it really depends on the person and also how your exam timetable falls. I had a week between my previous exam and this one, so I chose to study for five modules. I personally didn't enjoy B cell diseases at all, so after the mid-semester test I had immediately decided to let it go by the wayside. My favourite modules were muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and neurodegeneration, so I was definitely going to do those (and I did) but I was a bit torn between pandemics and rheumatoid arthritis. I had to study rheumatoid arthritis anyway, but as I'll discuss later I'd say objectively it was the most difficult module; hence I thought studying pandemics might be a good idea as a backup (and it indeed was, as I thought the questions were especially accessible for this module this year). I would probably not recommend only studying four modules as this leaves you with no backup in case you don't like the set of questions; and for me studying for all six modules didn't seem like the most effective use of my time. In the end it's all up to you.

Since I was too lazy to actually write out responses in preparation for this exam, instead I came up with a question bank of about 10-15 questions per module as I was working through them, and then brainstormed and planned out my answers to them during SWOTVAC. I personally felt this worked quite well as I was able to test my recall and make corrections and fill in any gaps in my answer, but it also allowed me to pull various concepts together in the highly likely chance that the questions that I had made were different to the ones on the exam. In any case, you will need to work on recall as recognition of a correct response is a technique that probably only works for multiple choice questions (maybe a smaller and more guided short answer question).

Now a brief discussion on the content of each module. Our first module this year was pandemics - HIV and malaria. I really enjoyed Sharon's HIV lectures and I thought she was a good lecturer. There's a lot of content to work through but I felt she did a good job of getting us through it and giving us a different perspective to the HIV pandemic (as you'd know you inevitably come across HIV in one way or another but I felt the perspective in BIOM30002 was unique). I was less keen on malaria but I think it was easier conceptually. In both cases there was a really big focus on the treatment side of things.

Muscular dystrophy has to take it out as being my favourite module largely out of the lecturing by Eppie. The opening lecture by Monique is simply revising your understanding and is not worth exploring in much detail as Eppie's content is the crux of this module. As a clinical neurologist at the Royal Children's Hospital, I absolutely loved her approach the the module. She does speak rather quickly but I thought the slides were thorough and comprehensive, and she explains the content very well.

As I said earlier, I did not enjoy B cell diseases. I think I've started to realise that perhaps immunology just isn't my thing - this module obviously had a lot of immunology in it. My microbiology/immunology friends thought this module was the easiest, but I just found it dry and very difficult to get on top of. I think I found it a bit difficult to figure out what to know. This was exacerbated by the strong research side to this module rather than a clinical focus in the other modules. In the end it's not impossible but after the mid-semester test I was happy to let this module go.

Cystic fibrosis was my second favourite module and in my opinion it was run in a very similar light to muscular dystrophy, with clinical physicians spending a lot of time on the clinical aspect of the disease. Having had Sylvia from UNIB20007 Genetics, Health and Society I knew that when she told us a particular slide was important, she was going to examine it, and this turned out to be the exact case in both the mid-semester test and the exam. Both lecturers worked through their content thoroughly and at an appropriate pace, and again I thought the slides were sufficiently comprehensive.

I was already familiar with some of the neurodegeneration content as a student taking the neuroscience major, although this subject delved into a lot more detail. Rather fortuitously, I happened to be learning about Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (albeit much more briefly) in NEUR30003 Principles of Neuroscience and NEUR30002 Neurophysiology: Neurons and Circuits at the same time this module began. I'm not sure if that had been organised deliberately or not, but it was definitely a help in all three subjects. Like much of neuroscience, much still needs to be learnt in this area, making it frustrating for students when there are so many grey areas. I was personally used to it, and I also don't mind working with uncertainty in biomedical science, so this didn't phase me, but I know a lot of people didn't enjoy it for that reason. There's not much point talking about Malcolm's introductory lecture other than to say that it provides a bit of a structural framework for tackling the other five lectures given by Roberto. Otherwise, I thought Roberto handled the topics very well, in spite of the lack of concrete understanding. Note that this module includes an "interactive" lecture on treatment for Alzheimer's disease in which you are asked to read a journal article and then propose, using your knowledge of the molecular basis of the disease, some ways that scientists could target a therapeutic. I personally thought this lecture "failed" in its intent, although other people like it, so go figure. The slides were made available after the lecture so my recommendation would be to wait until that point and then watch the lecture as per usual.

Rheumatoid arthritis, in my most objective opinion, had the most difficult content, but I have to say that I didn't mind it (which I guess is something, given it's a mix of immunology and also anatomy - two weaker points for me). John speaks very fast and almost sounds like he's memorised the slides, and given they are a bit brief, you may have to re-watch parts to make sure you can write down everything he says. Nicole worked much slower and her slides were far more comprehensive, although there was a lot more content and conceptual difficulty that needed to be worked through. I'd probably say this module had the greatest workload associated with it compared to the others.

To summarise, I'd say that this is the sort of subject that could really make you stressed and get the better of you if you really focus on trying to score that perfect H1. I think the best way to approach it is to appreciate the journey, because this subject is incredibly unique in it's approach and it's very well-organised. I know that's easier said than done with applications for other pathways looming. Most people seem to experience a slump in their marks, so I'm not sure if accepting that as a likely outcome is a good idea. I feel I gained a really interesting perspective on the world of biomedical science as a result of this subject; it reminded me why I was here and it's started to confirm in me that this is indeed the path I want to go down. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me. Enjoy the subject for what it's worth, and good luck with the assessment! :)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 06:01:12 pm by Stick »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #562 on: June 26, 2016, 04:42:43 pm »
Subject Code/Name: NEUR30003: Principles of Neuroscience

- Contact hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week (total contact hours: 36)
- Total time commitment: 170hrs

Assessment: A 50 minute mid-semester examination (30%), and a 2 hour examination (70%) in the examination period.

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: No. However, two sample tests are provided during the semester - one for the mid-semester test and one for the exam (although the sample exam is smaller than the actual one). At the end of each week, a set of 'study group questions' are released for consolidation of content, and these can be used for revision.

Textbook Recommendation: Purves et al. Neuroscience 5th edition, 2012 Sinauer.

It's a textbook used for many of the neuroscience subjects so it may come in handy (and it's not too difficult to find *cough*). I didn't really use it much though.

- Dr Jenny Gunnersen: development of the nervous system (1 lecture)
- Prof Joel Bornstein: gustation and olfaction; neural control of digestion; learning and memory (4 lectures)
- Prof Erica Fletcher: visual system (2 lectures)
- Prof Janet Keast: autonomic nervous system; sex, steroids and the nervous system (3 lectures)
- Dr Jason Ivanusic: pain (1 lecture)
- Dr Elisa Hill: autism (1 lecture)
- Dr Peter Kitchener (co-ordinator): everything else - too much to list (21 lectures)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2016

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


In this case, I better start off my review by saying that my rating of this subject may be a bit misleading. When I rate subjects, I try to do so objectively, largely by evaluating the staff, co-ordination and assessment. In this respect, this subject could use some work, although I have a feeling these problems are borne out of the fact that Peter is left to manage this subject largely on his own - quite demanding given enrolments are typically over 700 students. However, on a more subjective level, I really enjoyed this subject and its content, so in all honesty I didn't think taking it was indeed that painful.

This subject is a core for the neuroscience major, but can also be taken to fulfil the anatomy and physiology majors. It also attracts a number of students from other disciplines who have decided to take NEUR30003 as a selective or breadth, which is quite feasible given the only official prerequisite is first year studies in biology. Hence, this is a subject that endeavours to cater for a variety of abilities and interests, and while I feel it does a pretty good job at is, some (probably those from a science/biomedicine background) may be left feeling that the subject failed to properly delve into the detail that they would have liked. Personally, I wasn't bothered by this at all - in fact, I think I appreciated that in many respects this subject felt a bit lighter and less "biomedical" than my other subjects and I liked how it delved into a number of interesting areas that I don't think I would otherwise have been exposed to. In all honesty though, I have a feeling some of the non-biomedical science students would have struggled initially. I would recommend at least having studies in second year physiology under your belt (otherwise you won't fully appreciate how the action potential works - it's kind of assumed that you understand it in this subject, because we then go on applying it in various cases), and second year anatomy would probably be useful as well (in terms of being able to understand how the nervous system is organised - again, it seems to be assumed that you know this).

Before proceeding, it might be worth addressing that this subject (as well as the neuroscience major in general) isn't for everyone. I think the subjects suit a very particular type of student: someone who prefers understanding broad and complex concepts over memorising slabs of (small) details, and is willing to explore and entertain concepts that aren't yet fully elucidated or are quite grey. Many find themselves frustrated or disenfranchised because it can be difficult to know what is expected of you, and probably regret taking this subject by the end of it all. In some respects, it is a bit unusual that this subject is one that can be used to complete the anatomy major, because it's essentially the polar opposite to a typical anatomy subject (and I think the true anatomy students who were looking for subjects similar to their core subjects are the ones who feel the least positive about this subject). If you're looking for something a bit different, then this subject is for you. Physiologists shouldn't encounter too many problems with NEUR30003, although I'd pre-warn that the concepts to be understood in this subject are more abstract than those found in a typical physiology subject.

In terms of approaching this subject, it can be difficult at times. Personally, I think Peter lectured better in this subject than he did in second year anatomy. His slides were a bit more comprehensive (although you may still wish to write quite a bit of what he says down) and he was somehow able to guide us in a fairly structured way through some very "unstructured" topics. Ultimately, he's in his element here. However, you probably have to study for NEUR30003 a little differently. I don't think acting like a scribe is the solution to being able to answer everything. For much of the subject, I'd actually recommend sitting back and just listening to what he has to say about the topics (especially the more abstract ones). When you approach it in this more relaxed way, this is when the subject really comes into its own. I almost felt like each lecture was a small documentary on the mind, how it worked and what we still have to discover.

For the most part, the lecturing team (mainly Peter, but also a few others) did their job well. Perhaps a few lecturers could improve (I won't name them); on the whole, the teaching was adequate but it was nothing exceptional. Lectures were generally framed not with key ideas but rather a bit of a timeline of where we going to go into the lecture - in general, we started off with the introductory concepts and delved into those before exploring the more abstract parts and the parts we didn't yet know for sure. The first half of the subject (prior to the mid-semester test) deals predominantly with sensory and motor processes, although there's a bunch of more introductory type lectures at the start (this subject is a bit slow to get off its feet). This is the part the majority of the more pure science/biomedicine students enjoyed the most, as it's not terribly different from any other sort of biomedical subject (albeit with a strong physiology flavour). After the mid-semester test, the subject almost becomes psychological, dealing with topics such as learning, memory and emotions, as well as very abstract concepts such as how social interactions affect our cognition, how we are yet to fully understand consciousness, and even how we have the ability to think in abstract terms (lol, you can see how complex this subject gets in its thinking :P ). I found these topics fascinating, but a number of students seemed to prefer the first part of the course simply because the content is more concrete and therefore easier to learn and revise. This is the part where it's probably more important to sit back, listen and think than it is to be a mindless scribe for 50 minutes. A rather unusual aside - the LMS page for this subject has a weird layout and I didn't like it. lol.

The resources provided to support your learning are really important to your success in this subject. At the end of each week, a set of 'study group questions' are released containing multiple choice questions (of a style similar to those found in the formal assessments), conceptual short answer questions and non-examinable discussion questions. Given there are so many students in this subject, organising formal tutorials or workshops is simply too difficult, so Peter's aim is for us to get ourselves into small groups and work through these materials ourselves (and we could contact him if we wanted something clarified, although no official solutions were released). While I didn't mind this, for someone looking for extra support this could be a bit of a downfall in this subject. The multiple choice questions were extremely helpful, as were the conceptual short answer questions for revision (although all of the assessments are multiple choice - yay for me lol). The non-examinable discussion questions were also very interesting, but could be a distraction for those who purely want to focus on practicing for assessments. Additionally, Peter provides on the LMS a set of key point summaries for each of his lectures. I forgot about these until prior to the mid-semester test, but my advice is to make sure you look and take note of these (and I'll explain why a bit later). The study group questions are probably the best way to consolidate the week's knowledge and gauge the expectations on you, but unfortunately for us this semester Peter was running behind on getting these questions ready for us, so they were often late and/or poorly written. You can also book in a time to consult with Peter if you are very stuck, although I'm not too sure how many people did this.

In preparation for the mid-semester test and the exam, Peter prepared a short mock-test which we could complete and then he would go through it in a review lecture. These were fairly similar to the study group questions in terms of style and difficulty, although the conceptual short answer questions and non-examinable discussion questions were replaced with extended matching questions. You'll come to realise that Peter is not out to trick you (e.g. he never asks you to pick the incorrect response) but otherwise he spends a lot of time writing very high quality questions (and this applies to the formal assessments as well). Due to the nature of this subject, options which are complete nonsense can sound viable if you don't know your stuff well enough. Overall, these sessions were very helpful.

The mid-semester test assesses the first half of the lectures and is worth a massive 30% of your grade. It consists of about 40 multiple choice/extended matching questions. For a strong result overall, you are essentially obliged to perform well in both the mid-semester test and the exam. While I thought the test was pretty fair, the cohort results aren't exactly exceptional; a strong bell curve is the outcome, and in the past three years only about 20% of students earn a H1. I think this reflects that many students fail to approach this subject properly more than it reflects any sort of difficulty. While there are some details to be recalled, recognition of a correct response should be more than sufficient; otherwise, it's really important to actually understand the material. Somewhat annoyingly, there is no official 'revision period' for this mid-semester test - even the lecture before the mid-semester test is examinable, although Peter does try to make it a bit lighter. Additionally, there was a small amount of content which I'm not convinced we covered during the lectures - in fact, I'm sure of it because Peter was surprised when some people got a question on multiple sclerosis wrong as he thought it was common knowledge (in all fairness the question would've been very basic for a science/biomedicine student but perhaps a student from outside the discipline wouldn't have known it). Obviously there's not much you can do about this, but it's part of the reason why I recommend having some background studies in physiology or anatomy. My biggest piece of advice would be to consult Peter's key point summaries - I found that they consolidated very well some of the more abstract concepts in this subject, and gave the exact specifics that you needed to know.

In comparison, the general consensus was that the exam was more fair, although I feel this may be the result of people finally figuring out what was expected of them. While it is worth 70% of your grade and two hours in duration, there are only 80 marks of multiple choice/extended matching questions on offer, so this assessment should in no way be pressured for time. There is a slightly greater weighting to content not assessed in the first mid-semester test.

In summary, this is the type of subject that you'll probably either love or hate. I loved it, but I'm the type of person that prefers to understand concepts than memorise details (although there is some of the latter too). Hence, for me anyway, this subject was a bit lighter, in contact hours (yay) but also workload. If you prefer working with concrete facts and not so much with application, this probably isn't the subject for you. I think Peter needs to be given more support to run this subject by the department of Anatomy and Neuroscience; Peter is a very busy person and while he does get by, I feel like the students needlessly suffer a bit as a consequence of some loose co-ordination and assessment. An added bonus: this subject deliberately overlaps with NEUR30002 Neurophysiology: Neurons and Circuits (although you look at the same topics - and in the same order - from different perspectives) so revision becomes a lot easier, especially when the assessments are timetabled together (like this year). If you have any further questions or queries, please feel free to contact me. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy this subject for what it is, and good luck! :)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 06:02:10 pm by Stick »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #563 on: June 26, 2016, 06:33:51 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ECOM20001: Introductory Econometrics 

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

- Tutorial Attendance and participation (doing the pre-tutes), 5%
- Two assignments due approx. week 8 and week 12, 20% (10% each)
- Optional mid-semester test, 10% or 0%
- End of semester exam, 65% or 75%

If you decide not to do the mid-sem, the final exam is worth 75%. If you complete the mid-semester test, the mid-sem and final exam are worth 10% and 65%, or 0% and 75% respectively, whichever gives the higher mark.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, from 2012 onwards with past exam solutions

Textbook Recommendation: 
- Principles of Econometrics, fourth edition, by Hill, Griffiths and Lim.
- Using EViews for Principles of Econometrics, fourth edition, by Griffiths, Hill and Lim.

Textbook not really needed. Require access to Eviews software to complete assignments, though all FBE computers already have it installed.

Lecturer(s): Joe Hirschberg

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2016

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Comments: I was initially reluctant to take a 2nd year commerce subject as breadth since I feared it would be a bit too much outside my comfort zone, but in the end I thought it was a fairly interesting subject for the most part, and was a great way to further my own statistical reasoning skills. Joe is a good lecturer who clearly knows his stuff and delivers the content well. The subject is also supplemented with a whole bunch of useful resources, including past exams and review questions, Eviews tutorial videos and the online tutor. If I did have to complain about something, it's that the assignments took a looooong time to get marked.

The subject is almost entirely about regression with a short snippet on time series towards the end of the subject. Here's a general overview off the top of my head:
- Lectures 1-8: Revision of some stats and calculus, introduction to simple linear regression, properties of the OLS estimators, interval estimation, prediction, hypothesis testing.
- Lectures 10-16: Extensions and modifications to the simple linear regression model, including changes in functional form, multiple regression and dummy variables.
- Lectures 17-21: Issues that arise when OLS assumptions aren't satisfied or when an inadequate model specification is used. Goes over stuff like multicollinearity, heteroskedasticity etc. including how to test for these and possible solutions to eliminate bias and maximise efficiency of estimators.
- Lecture 22-23: Introduction to time series, touching on autoregressive models, stationarity and nonstationarity, and cointegration.

Keep in mind that you will be required to understand a bunch of derivations and do mathematical proofs. You should be familiar with summation notation and good at algebraic manipulation, but the calculus is otherwise fairly basic, think year 11 math methods level.

Also, even though the mid-sem is optional, it is absolutely in your best interests to do it. Doing the mid-sem can never make your final grade lower, but it can act as a small buffer if you don't do all that well in the exam, which in my opinion tends to be harder than the mid-sem and assignments. This year's mid-sem was fully multiple choice and assessed only 6 lectures so it was fairly easy to do well in.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 06:35:50 pm by squidgee123 »


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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #564 on: June 27, 2016, 05:01:29 pm »
Subject Code/Name: NEUR30002: Neurophysiology: Neurons and Circuits

- Contact hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week (total contact hours: 36)
- Total time commitment: 170 hours

Assessment: 2 x mid-semester assessments (25% each); 1 x two hour end of semester exam (50%).

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: No. However, a sample mid-semester test was provided for the first mid-semester test.

Textbook Recommendation: Purves etc al., Neuroscience, 5 th edition, 2012: Sinauer Associates

It's a textbook used for many of the neuroscience subjects so it may come in handy (and it's not too difficult to find *cough*). I didn't really use it much though.

- Prof Andrew Allen: action potential; autonomic nervous system (12 lectures)
- Prof Joel Bornstein: sensation; measurement of neuronal activity; the post-synaptic density; enteric nervous system (10 lectures)
- Assoc Prof Graham Barrett: metabotropic receptors; presynaptic processes and maintenance of neurons; neural plasticity (8 lectures)
- Prof Ann Turnley: injury to and repair of the nervous system (3 lectures)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2016

Rating: 3.5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


Again, like my review for NEUR30003 Principles of Neuroscience, I'll preface this review by saying that my rating for this subject could be a bit misleading. I enjoyed taking this subject for its content, but some of the teaching/co-ordination and assessment approaches need to be looked at because they could use some improvement.

Compared to NEUR30003, NEUR30002 is a more true of a physiology subject in that we study physiology within the context of neuroscience. It is a core subject of the neuroscience major and can also be completed to supplement the requirements for the physiology major (and perhaps anatomy too... I can't remember). The content in this subject, while analogous to NEUR30003, is definitely more concrete and specific, so it tends to be the preferred subject content-wise out of the two neuroscience core subjects (my preference was for NEUR30003 though). Whereas NEUR30003 keeps the investigation of the nervous system at a more systems level (and above), this subject investigates neuroscience at the cellular, synaptic and biochemical level. In a sense, this subject seems to encompass a variety of biomedical disciplines - while not overwhelming, there is a fair amount of biochemistry involved as well as some other disciplines. As a physiology subject, doing well means that you have to understand the content, although in NEUR30002 you need to be on top of your details as well (it's one of those subjects where knowing the details goes on to facilitate building your understanding). Once you get to that point, you'll see that the assessment is primarily concerned with testing your understanding. Overall, NEUR30003 and NEUR30002 complement each other nicely, and I recommend taking them both together: not only does it make revision easier, but sometimes you'll prefer the explanation given in one subject over the other, which is a bonus.

I noticed when checking the handbook that this subject has no formal prerequisites, but I'd say that you should definitely have one of the recommended subjects completed. NEUR30002 is even less forgiving than NEUR30003, especially given the level of detail we delve into. Things like the physiology of the action potential are assumed knowledge and we spend a fair bit of time investigating further detail than the content covered in second year.

Some general thoughts about the teaching: it was good - adequate but not outstanding. Some work could definitely be done in this area - a very common problem this year was lecturers taking too long to go through their lectures, running so far overtime that lecture recordings cut off. We even had a couple of lectures cut because some lecturers fell so far behind. Otherwise, the notes and explanations were generally adequate. A common theme in this subject is investigating scientific data in order to obtain some sort of physiological key message; this means that some slides simply have unusual-looking graphs on them. You can either write down everything the lecturer says, or listen and try to understand the graph (afterwards the graph can be self-explanatory). I did a combination of the two - learning the key message alone is probably insufficient as it doesn't really show any understanding, so I did my best to at least understand the rationale behind the experimental data. In a sense I'm glad we did this given that there are no practicals in neuroscience.

Supporting resources are a bit scarce for this subject, with no tutorials or workshops, and minimal practice questions offered throughout the semester. We got some practice tests for the first mid-semester test (with solutions) but not the second one for the some reason, nor did we get anything in preparation for the exam. In the end I didn't think it was a very big deal, although I'd say that having the resources prior to the first mid-semester test was particularly useful in terms of gauging what the expectation was. In general, I'd say that assessments could have delved into more detail than they did, which I guess is a beneficial thing (for me anyway) and shows that the focus really is on understanding rather than recall.

All the assessments in NEUR30002 (like in NEUR30003) are multiple choice/extended matching questions (yay lol). The two mid-semester tests are each worth 25% of your grade and are about 40 minutes in duration. Annoyingly, in this subject reading time is 'built in' to the assessment time, meaning that whatever time is printed on the front of the booklet is the total amount of time that you get (i.e. our assessments were actually 35 minutes + 5 minutes reading time). This isn't explained very well, and a lot of people were caught off-guard in the first mid-semester test. We were similarly told that our exam was 2 hours including reading time (i.e. 1 hour and 45 minutes + 15 minutes reading time) - I thought this was unusual because it'd be difficult to enforce in the exam hall when every other exam works to 2 hours + 15 minutes reading time, and of course I was right (so students were confused even more). The co-ordinators of NEUR30002 need to bring their reading time protocols in line with the rest of the university. While I didn't think the first mid-semester test was at all difficult, the residual uncertainty of the expectations along with the strong time pressure to get the assessment done on time meant that the cohort as a whole did very poorly. Additionally, this year the computer system marked the tests incorrectly. This subject has a habit of allowing for multiple options to be selected for a given extended matching question, or sometimes they want you to pick them all out and the order in which you fill it in is up to you (this happened in both tests and in the exam). However, I'm pretty sure the computer system was programmed with only one combination of answers, and marked other correct combinations as incorrect. This was only picked up on after students requested to see their answers for feedback purposes. In all honesty, it's a bit concerning and you have to wonder if this is something that perhaps happens more often than we think. In contrast, the second mid-semester test was particularly straightforward, despite the content perhaps being slightly less concrete. The first mid-semester test was held in week 5 and assessed lectures 1-9 on the action potential, sensation and measurement of neuronal activity, while the second mid-semester test was held in week 9 and assessed lectures 10-21 on metabotropic receptors, presynaptic processes and neuronal maintenance, the post-synaptic density and some of the autonomic nervous system lectures. Given their high weighting, a strong result overall requires good performance in both tests.

The final exam is worth 50% of your grade and is of the same format as the two mid-semester tests (albeit longer). There was no extra weighting towards content not assessed in the two mid-semester tests. Overall, I thought the exam was fair and did its job at testing understanding as well as recognition of some important details. If you do particularly well on your mid-semester tests you won't need an exceptional result in order to net the H1.

Overall, the content in this subject is very interesting but it's all let down by rather poor co-ordination. The content was taught well but it could be improved. Assessments were generally fair and did their job but were not of a particularly high quality. While I was able to manage with relatively few resources, some extra support for struggling students wouldn't go astray either. In the end, I think most students do very well in this subject but it doesn't necessarily feel like it's an easy journey to get there. Personally, I found myself using knowledge from NEUR30003 to supplement what was going on in NEUR30002, not the other way around. While this review perhaps doesn't read as well as it could, if you enjoyed your studies in second year neurophysiology, you will probably enjoy this subject due to the content and the way that it is assessed. That's all I have to say for now, but please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Otherwise, good luck!
« Last Edit: July 01, 2016, 03:08:49 pm by Stick »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #565 on: June 27, 2016, 10:43:17 pm »
Subject Code/Name: JAPN10003/20013/30007 - Japanese 5

Workload:  one x 1 hour lecture, two x 1.5 hour tutorials

• Written work in Japanese, 600 words due throughout semester (15%)
• Oral assessment due mid-semester (10%)
• A cultural discovery project/reflective essay due towards the end of semester (15%)
• An oral presentation due end of semester (10% )
• A 2 hour written examination due during examination period (50%)

80% compulsory attendance

Lectopia Enabled: Yes

Past exams available:  None

Textbook Recommendation:
Oka, Mayumi et al. (2009) Tobira: Gateway to advanced Japanese learning (Prescribed)

Lecturer(s): Dr Jun Ohashi

Year & Semester of completion: 2016, Semester 1

Rating: 2/5

Your Mark/Grade: Not Yet Received

So if you are fresh out of VCE 3/4 Japanese and thinking about continuing Japanese at a tertiary level then this is likely where the placement test is going to put you.

Overall, I didn't exactly hate the subject but it leaves MUCH to be desired. My biggest gripe is that Japanese 5 is way too dependent on reading, which I heard from others seems to be a complaint across the board for most languages at UoM at this level. I don't know if this is how Japanese is run at levels 1-4 but I find this unacceptable and impractical. 80% of the work you do in this subject simply revolves around reading a text from the Tobira textbook and then trying to understand what it is saying. It gets ridiculously repetitive and boring when this is all you do in the 1.5 hour tutorials - it was common to see just about all the students starting to zone out and playing on their phones while other students were reading out the text or when the tutor was trying to go over reading comprehension sentences. I get that reading skills are important but I would have preferred an approach akin to VCE i.e. a balance of listening/speaking/reading/writing. In the whole semester I feel like there were only about 5 sessions where students could engage in spontaneous Japanese speaking practice in class. So yeah, if you're not a big fan of reading practice then you probably won't enjoy Japanese at this level lol.

Kanji is a huge step up as well. You learn the Kanji that is given to you by Tobira, and you'll be expected to learn about 30-40 new Kanji every fortnight. There's no test or anything to force you to learn this so if you procrastinate Kanji until swotvac you're pretty f***ed. Thankfully, the faculty upload Kanji practice sheets, exercise sheets, grammar sheets and answers to aid you in your studies so I guess this is where the subject earned one of its points out of 2. The second point comes from the staff. They are absolutely brilliant, very enthusiastic and are only too happy to help you with Japanese.

Lectures aren't all that interesting imo. You spend the hour listening to Dr. Ohashi discuss some cultural stuff relevant to the chapter you are studying from the textbook (this semester they were speech styles, technology, food, sport, religion and pop culture). It is conducted 95% in Japanese so it's nice exposure and immersion to natural Japanese speech but a lot of the stuff flew past me during the lectures (maybe that was my fault). In the final 10 minutes or so he'll play a video from the Tobira website and you'll have a very short 4 T/F question sheet to fill out as you watch the video. This also serves as attendance so you'll have to attend at least 80% of these lectures.

Assessment was not too bad. It's pretty clear what is expected of you and you have enough resources available to do well. I just wish that we had more opportunity to write more pieces throughout the semester rather than literally only doing it twice and only for the sake of assessment. This brings me back to the earlier point about how Japanese at this level should still push us to practice reading AND writing/speaking/listening skills in class.

Exam is very straightforward and nothing like the VCE exam. There are T/F questions, MCQ questions, fill-in-the-blanks, writing the furigana to select Kanji and vice versa, and a short ~150-200 ji piece in response to a prompt. Annoyingly, there was LOTS of Kanji in the exam this year that were not prescribed in the textbook so expect to see Kanji that you have never learnt/seen before in the exam.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 10:47:32 pm by Mieow »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #566 on: June 28, 2016, 09:02:39 am »
Subject Code/Name: MUSI20149 MUSIC PSYCHOLOGY 

Workload:  One 2 hour lecture per week, that is all (24 contact hours).

Assessment: Ten weekly quizzes (40%) and an end of semester assignment (60%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No sample assignments given

Textbook Recommendation: There is a textbook Rickard, N. & McFerran, K. (2011). Lifelong Engagement with Music: Benefits for Mental Health and Well-Being. Melbourne: Nova Publishers. But it is seriously not needed, readings are suffice

Lecturer(s): Dr Grace Thompson is the head coordinator and gives some of the key lectures, apart from that you have several different guest lecturers across the 12 weeks

Year & Semester of completion: 2016, Semester 1

Rating: 5/5

Your Average Mark: H1


Are you looking for that ‘’easy H1 subject’’ with light workload that seems to be a bludge for the whole semester? Well music psychology offers you each of these aspects so do it now!

This was by far the easiest and most relaxed subject I have done in my entire degree so far. My last review for another breadth subject (critical thinking) I spoke about how that subject had rather difficult content, a massive workload and was very stressful throughout the year – music psychology was the complete opposite.


As chickenchowmien said in his review some of the lectures are very interesting whilst some are extremely boring. I do not think any of the content I had learnt throughout the semester will help me for the future but some of the content is extremely interesting (e.g. how music impacts identity and development, how music can change the brain, how music impacts mood and music’s overall function and purpose in our society). I think you will especially enjoy this subject if you are both a listener to music with good taste in a specific genre and also play an instrument.


Dr Grace Thompson is AMAZING. I emailed her once during the semester and about three times during exam period (for the assignment) and she seriously replies within one day and writes you ESSAYS in an attempt to help out. She will spoon feed you in order to help out on your assignment and other queries. She is probably the nicest, most informative coordinator I have ever had. She is a very nice person as well and is one of those coordinators who are really motivated and determined to make sure their students do well in the subject.


You have ten quizzes. You need to get 100% in at least eight of them to get the full 40% of the subject. There are four questions, no time limit, about 1.5 days to complete the quiz by.

The first quiz I scored ¾ and it took me two hours to complete (lol). I panicked bad but then the next 8 quizzes took me less than 30 minutes (some took like 5 minutes to do) and all the answers were directly from either the lecture slides or readings. I did not bother to do the last quiz (got 0/0) because I had already gotten 4/4 for at least 8 of them.

Note: I had initially written another paragraph on how I completed these quizzes but I have deleted it. I’ll just say that cross checking the answers to the quizzes may be of help as everyone gets the same questions ;).

Thus far four people have told me their final marks for this subject and we all got the 40% for the quizzes.


I found the assignment rather chilled and laid back (mostly because I started very early and had done several readings prior to my preparation). I started about 2.5 weeks early (I was lucky to have all my exams very late in the exam period, hence was able to start the assignment early).

Our topic was not too complicated – how music impacts emotions and cognitions. For the first week it was very light work, just reading and planning and the last 1.5 weeks is where I did most of my work, finished my drafts, finished all my readings and research, wrote up a good copy etc).

All you really have to do is intertwine the literature taught in this subject with your own reflections (personal experiences) and produce a coherent 2000 word essay. You don’t even have to cover all the lectures from the course! If I recall correctly I used literature from five of the twelve lectures presented. ALSO, make sure most of your literature is from readings outside to what they have taught. I had about twelve references in my essay and to be honest this was not that hard because there is HEAPS of academic information regarding these topics and I found the content really interesting so read through the readings very quickly.

I also found it helpful to brainstorm some ideas with a friend during the assignment and also proof read each other’s work to give feedback on each other’s structure, content, expression etc. So group work for this subject can be beneficial.

With scores, I received a 79 in the assignment. Out of the four people who have told me their scores the lowest was 84 so we all got at least H2A for the assignment.

Just some tips for the assignment:
- Make sure you have MORE literature than reflections. The reflection bit is easy, to distinguish students you will need to have better literature
- Follow the criteria carefully. Grace gives out very clear and specific details to what she wants
- Email Grace if help is needed, if she is like how she was this semester she will literally write you essays to help out. In other subjects I’ve seriously had coordinators responding to me with one sentence answers – Grace is rare and so helpful
- Doing the readings throughout the semester rather than cramming during SWOTVAC is very helpful

PM me for more information! ☺
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 12:31:26 am by Rod »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #567 on: June 28, 2016, 04:30:00 pm »
Subject Code/Name: LING20011: Grammar of English

- Contact hours: 34 hours - 2 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week. There are no tutorials in the first and last weeks of semester.
- Total time commitment: 170 hours

Assessment: Tutorial exercises ( 8 ) throughout semester [10%]; problem sets ( 2 ) mid-semester and end of semester [50%]; final exam [40%].

Lectopia Enabled: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Yes. One is made available on the LMS (with solutions) but there were an additional eight on the university library website (with no solutions). Most of these could be used effectively for revision.

Textbook Recommendation: Student's Introduction to English Grammar, Huddleston & Pullum, 2005 Cambridge University Press

I bought it knowing this subject had an open book exam and read it out of obligation due to the fact that I had never studied linguistics before. Overall, I'm not convinced this textbook is necessary. I'd recommend purchasing a hard copy second hand. You may also be able to get the textbook online *cough*.

- Dr Peter Hurst (he also took some of the tutorials)
- Tutor: Dr Hyejeong Kim

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Your Mark/Grade: H1


I've taken a number of subjects which I've really enjoyed at university, many of which have been run to an extremely high standard. However, even with the top subjects I've taken, I've always been picky and managed to find some fault or point of improvement. I leave my breadth reviews for last and in the time since finishing my exams and getting around to writing this, I've honestly been wracking my brain trying to think of something that possibly detracted from my experience in this subject. In the end, I could come up with nothing - hence this is the first subject I'll be awarding a perfect rating of 5/5.

I've always been interested in languages but had never had much exposure to linguistics before, and it was my hope that I would be able to study something linguistics-related for breadth before the completion of my undergraduate degree. Unfortunately I hadn't had the chance to do it any sooner, and it was unlikely that I was going to be able to work the foundation subject LING10001 The Secret Life of Language into my study plan. I was therefore delighted when I stumbled across this subject and saw that it did not have any prerequisites or any recommended background knowledge (most of the second year linguistics subjects have no prerequisites but recommend having taken LING10001, and having spoken with people who have done these subjects without LING10001 they are usually very difficult to complete without having that foundation knowledge). I would say that LING20011 is a suitable level 2 entry point into linguistics for those who may have missed the first boat such as myself, although it's predominantly an introduction to syntax and is not terribly useful if you intend to study other areas of linguistics. However, I think it was a little bit more difficult (not too difficult) for myself with no prior linguistics knowledge compared to someone who had done LING10001. Luckily, I have two languages under my belt, and with one being a Romance language and the other a Germanic language, they both turned out to be extremely helpful and somewhat made up for any disadvantage I may have had. I'd probably recommend having some background into language or linguistics prior to entering this subject. For anyone whose first language is not English, fear not: overall the subject does not advantage native speakers over non-native speakers. To clarify, native speakers may be advantaged by having native speaker intuition, but otherwise non-native speakers came across as stronger at actually understanding the grammar, something many of us native speakers wouldn't have studied with English before.

I have to say, going into this subject, I thought that we would be learning the ins and outs of formal English grammar in the stereotypical way one hears about it (what would be referred to as a "prescriptive" approach by anyone in the field). However, I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, most of the course seems to challenge our notions of "rules" for a language, and instead focuses on how different parts of speech can function in different but defined ways depending on the context (i.e. a "descriptive" approach). I would tell anyone who may think this subject sounds boring to think again, because by the end of it I have a newly found appreciation for the complexity and sophistication of the English language. I should point out that this subject is rather unique so consulting resources on the internet for help is a bad idea because you will probably be told the wrong information (or in many cases, complete nonsense).

Despite this, the subject is predominantly application and problem-solving, although not quite to the extent of, say, LING20006 Syntax, would be. We don't really deal with foreign data sets or anything of that nature, but rather we learn how to properly describe the mechanics behind the English language. For anyone concerned about whether this subject is a bit too "open" for them, I'd say a solid 80% of the questions had only one possible answer to them. However, there is that 20% where there could be some ambiguity and it would be up to you to decide on an answer and then justify it. For anyone in Biomedicine, I'd have to say that this subject felt a lot like MAST10016 Mathematics for Biomedicine, in terms of content, approach and assessment. As an aside, it would probably be worth me mentioning that you should take LING20011 before LING20006, because LING20011 is essentially "baby syntax".

The lectures were taken by Peter this year, who stepped into the role very well. He delivered his lectures with confidence and his notes were comprehensive. I found myself writing anything he said that wasn't on the slides down out of habit for what Biomedicine subjects are like, but eventually I figured out (with the stares of other students wondering what on earth I was doing) that this wasn't really necessary. Most of the time, if you need to write something down, it will be for clarification purposes, or an example sentence Peter wishes to analyse. I should probably note that there are some times Peter writes a sentence on the whiteboard for analysis, which won't show up on the lecture recording, although he always read the sentence out and would explain what he was doing so a lot of the time you could figure out what was going on if you didn't actually attend the lecture. Nonetheless, I think this is the subject where it's better to attend the lectures (and I have to say, the timetable for this subject was extremely friendly). Hyejeong used to sit in on the lectures predominantly as a means of quality control.

This subject initially moves a bit slowly but really ramps up in terms of difficulty by about weeks 3 and 4. Initially you do a bit of a crash course of the foundations in case you didn't do LING10001 (although you only cover the relevant bits). My advice beyond then is to stick it out because in weeks 5-7 you delve deeper into these topics and eventually they start to make sense. Once you get over that, the rest of the subject is manageable. The key message is that you really need to get used to distinguishing form from function. Adjectives are an example of a form (or part of speech) and you may have learnt these as words that describe nouns, but in reality that's not all they do (and other parts of speech are capable of describing nouns). Hence, meshing "adjective" with "words that describe a noun" in your mind is a really bad idea, so do your best to undo what you thought to be common truths and really try to grasp the distinction between form and function. Once you understand this, the subject becomes incredibly easier, particularly at the end when you're looking at the role of subordinate clauses. Generally, this subject is predominantly associated with syntax, although morphology at the level of the word is also considered. Peter tries to avoid semantics but there are some topics where it inevitably comes into play (e.g. clause types or thematic variants) - where necessary do try to avoid it yourself because it's not very powerful in this subject. Thankfully, weeks 7 and 12 were dedicated to review lectures, reducing the workload. Having only two lectures a week, the workload is a tad lighter but for me it wasn't really that much lighter than my core Biomedicine/Science subjects (although this may be due to the fact that I had never studied linguistics before). Having chosen languages as a breadth (or sometimes not doing a breadth but instead another science subject) this didn't bother me because I generally don't choose subjects based on their workload, but I appreciate that this may be a consideration for some of you. I made sure I spent a lot of time ensuring that I was on top of the content - linguistics is a discipline where you're constantly building on your knowledge, so if you don't understand something and just move on, it only gets worse.

Peter happened to be my tutorial class' tutor so I never actually had Hyejeong myself and I can't comment on what she's like (other than the fact that she sometimes put together some explanatory slideshows for the tutorials). Peter was a great lecturer but arguably an even better tutor. He was always very helpful and was willing to assist anyone having trouble, no matter how much difficulty that person would be facing. The tutorials were used predominantly to review the tutorial exercises released after the second lecture each week. We were called upon to share answers, which can be a bit daunting but it's the best way for everyone to get feedback from their progress and learn from others. The exercises themselves were great at helping us consolidate the theory and get a glimpse into the types of questions we would be asked on an assessment. Initially most people found these difficult but eventually with Peter's guidance and extra practice you'll find the ropes. There are no tutorials in the first and last week of the semester, and for two of the weeks the tutorial exercises were not assessed (we just had to turn up to the tutorial class with the questions completed so that we could go through them together). From memory, these weeks were week 2 (i.e. the first tutorial - this obviously made sense as it ensured everyone got a chance to figure out what we had to do) and week 7, the week Peter and Hyejeong had to mark the first assignment. Once the tutorial exercises are released, you have just shy of a week to complete them and submit them into the subject's assignment box (the deadline is generally a couple of hours before the first lecture of the week). The tutors check them but don't correct them (you do this together in the tutorials) and you are marked not on how well they are completed but rather your attempt. Making an attempt at all of the questions gave you full marks, regardless of how much of it was correct or not. If you didn't understand a question, you were expected to explain what was confusing you and hence why you were unable to tackle the question. If you don't understand something, my advice would be to make an attempt anyway and then follow up any questions you have with your tutor, rather than trying to explain why you couldn't answer a question. I thought this type of assessment was a great way to get students to consolidate content without undue pressure and also figure out where their weaknesses are so that they could be addressed, and additionally made for a good proxy of attendance and participation (I think you needed to attend at least 75% of the tutorial classes). In general, the tutorial exercises could take anywhere from half an hour to several hours to complete, depending on how difficult the concepts were. There are some weeks where the tutorial exercises are longer than others. It is easy to get full marks for this part of the assessment and indeed most people do - sometimes people lost marks for obviously rushing their work. A set of formal solutions were released after all the tutorial classes had been completed. These tasks total up to make 10% of your grade.

My biggest concern taking this subject with Peter taking over would be that the assessment would become really difficult and perhaps jeopardise my overall mark (anyone who took LING20006 in 2015 would know that this indeed happened when Peter took over). The two assignments, worth 25% of your grade each, were indeed tricky. While similar in style, they were obviously more difficult than the tutorial exercises and seemed to pick out little intricacies of the course to really see who was on top of the material. Thankfully, you get two weeks to work on them before submitting them online and you are able to make as many resubmissions as you like. Additionally, you didn't have to wait to start the assignments because they always covered content which we had finished learning. My advice would be to make a first attempt as soon as possible so that you can figure out where the tricky bits are, and then give yourself time over the rest of the two weeks to keep thinking about the assignment and fix up any mistakes you may have made (and it will surprise you how often you realise you may have done something wrong - it used to happen to me at the weirdest times lol). I found that this allowed me to submit the assignments with confidence. Thankfully, the staff were very helpful with the assignments if we were stuck: they often answered direct questions for us; I preferred to construct similar (but simpler) sentences and ask Peter for help in order to make sure I was understanding the concept correctly. Remember to justify your answers where possible - there were a few times in both assignments where I came to the wrong answer but my justification meant that I was able to retain most of the marks. After the assignments were marked a formal set of solutions were released. Given that these were assessments that didn't have to be completed in exam conditions I tried really hard on these assignments in order to do well. If you submit all your tutorial exercises and do well on your assignments, you don't have to do very well on your exam in order to get a H1.

The final exam is two hours in duration and is worth 40% of your grade. Compared to the assignments, I found the exam much easier - maybe only a little bit more difficult than the tutorial work. In my opinion, there weren't too many surprises either, and I thought the exam could be completed comfortably on time (personally, I probably would've finished much earlier than I did if I hadn't sustained a minor injury to my writing arm on the day of the exam). A lot of the questions involve the analysis of a provided text, which Peter released for us 24 hours in advance. I would recommend being familiar with the text just so that you don't have to read it for the first time during reading time. There are plenty of resources available in this subject in order to prepare for the exam, so there is no reason why one couldn't do well. Linguistics subjects tend to hold their exams late in the exam period; this was true for this semester and gave me more than a week between my previous exam and this one to revise the material. Additionally, the exam is open book - you are allowed to take in whatever you want in this exam as long as it's on paper (yes, that means you are allowed more than one book if you wish). You will absolutely need to take in a dictionary (a must for this subject in general - native speakers, get used to using it more often) and most people opt to take the textbook in as well. I typed my notes for this semester and had them bound, so I took those in too. I also took in a thesaurus because I sometimes found it useful to substitute synonyms in order to figure out an answer. Having the tutorial exercises, assignments and past exams, with their solutions, can also be helpful in case a similar question comes up on the exam (and there was one question which had been used in a previous exam). This subject is not about memorising details, although there are some things you would want to know or at least have ready for consultation (I had an appendix of important tables in the last few pages of my notes). Having a whole slab of material is not going to save you if you don't know your stuff, but I did find myself consulting my things from time to time in the exam just to make sure I knew what a term meant or to ensure I was answering a question as I should.

To summarise, while the subject's workload wasn't particularly light for a breadth, it's a good entry point into linguistics. I really enjoyed my time taking this subject and it has confirmed that languages and linguistics (particularly the grammar/syntax side of things) is something I still have an interest in. Peter and I really got along out of the fact that he also studied Science (physics major) as an undergraduate student and worked as a software engineer before realising his passion for linguistics. There's a part of me that's not sure whether or not I'm a linguistics person too, although I'd say my focus in biomedical science is justified out of the fact that I found myself a bit more out of my comfort zone in linguistics. In terms of the staff, co-ordination, supporting resources and assessment, there really is nothing I can fault. Enrolments for this subject exceeded 100 for the first time this year and if the subject continues in the same way I don't see why even more students wouldn't enrol. A quick shout out to literally lauren who wooed me over in taking this subject and helping me out from time to time when I was stuck - I certainly did not regret it. That's all I have to say for now, but if there's anything you'd like to ask me feel free to send me a message. Otherwise, good luck! :)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2016, 06:02:36 pm by Stick »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #568 on: June 28, 2016, 08:29:32 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAST20009 Vector Calculus

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

Assessment: 4 assignments throughout semester (5% each), end of semester exam (80%)

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, but the lecturer alternates between using two document cameras AND occasionally using the blackboard, so if you watch lecture recordings you'll only see 50% of the actual lecture.

Past exams available:  Yes, 2013-2015, both semesters so a total of 6, with solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  Required: Partial lecture notes (only available in print) Recommended: Marsden and Tromba - Vector Calculus. To be honest, the lecture notes and prescribed exercises are more than sufficient to ensure coverage of the course content. As for the textbook, that's useful for proofs of theorems/formulae (sadly omitted at large from the subject), but you can definitely use any other vector calculus book such as Paul's Math Notes or other ones available free online (ask Google)

Lecturer(s): A/Prof. Andrei Ratiu (such a nice lecturer)

Year & Semester of completion: 2016 Sem 1

Rating: 4 Out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: H1 (91)

Comments: As I've seen in other reviews, this subject is commonly seen as the 'maths methods' of university maths at Melbourne, and rightly so. Whilst the concepts and mathematical tools introduced are a lot of fun (basically generalising all of single variable calculus to multiple variables and then some), I felt like I was having a whole bunch of formulas, methods and definitions stuffed down my throat, with minimal justification. And when there was 'justification', it was usually geometric/visual/intuitive and not rigorous.

This subject nicely relates to physics (a very high proportion of the students taking this subject are intending physics majors, presumably with the rest being mathematics majors), and many of the concepts introduced (such as line integrals, surface integrals) are related to physics concepts (work, flux). Hence, having some physics background (say VCE Physics) is nice to have, and makes lectures a little more lively and interesting. Then again, if you're doing this subject, you're likely doing some physics too.

In my case, I took this subject in my first semester of first year (having done UMEP Maths with my VCE). However, as I've heard, the UMEP course is different in 2016 which means students don't have to 'jump' AM2, so I won't say much about the gap (I think stolenclay's review does sufficient justice)

What was different this year from previous years was the lecturer - A/Prof. Andrei Ratiu, lecturing this subject for the first time. From the outset, Andrei was an excellent lecturer, and made the lectures worth attending, despite the course being at-times dry in terms of content. Andrei explained and demonstrated the concepts very well (albeit visually, but then I happen to be a proof pedant so don't mind me :P), often using computer demonstrations to help us visualise things.

edit: I forgot to mention, Andrei's sense of humour is at times nothing short of charming ;)

The prescribed materials comprise of partial lecture notes and a problem booklet. The partial lecture notes are quite essential for the lectures, as the lecturer usually doesn't do any writing - he just covers solutions with a piece of paper initially and gradually uncovers the solutions step-by-step with explanation. Students seem to have developed two approaches to doing the example problems that we went through in lectures:
  • Copy the worked solutions from the document camera verbatim and not do any computation
  • Not look or listen to the document camera/lecturer and work out the question on their own, then compare with the final answer on document camera

Usually, the latter is the more beneficial method. However, the former is suitable when you have become lost and just want to get down the solution for later study (as was the case when we did Taylor polynomials!)

The problems sheet comprehensively covers the types of questions which can be asked on the exam and on assignments, and I'd say doing all the questions is a must for every student. The vast majority (if not all) of the questions are not hard in the problem-solving sense, although they can get very computationally involved. For those who have a good grasp of the concepts, the main source of mistakes are simple algebra and arithmetic errors.

The assignments were very well set and fairly marked, and I believe that, putting in the requisite amount of time and attention, you can get a fairly good contribution to your mark without too much difficulty.

The exam itself was a bit of a wet blanket, definitely harder than 2015 and 2013 in my opinion. Conceptually, there was nothing difficult with the exam, most of the questions were the routine type. What was hard (and what consequently tripped me up on the exam) was that the questions were computationally difficult. Having been lulled into a false sense of security (by the 2015 sem 2 exam that most students (including myself) had left till the night before the exam), my anticipation of a similar 2016 exam were likely the cause of some below-expected performance on the exam.

Overall, I definitely did enjoy this subject, although I do lament the lack of proof and rigour (and have bad memories of the exam haha)
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 10:07:07 pm by zsteve »
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Re: University of Melbourne - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #569 on: June 29, 2016, 12:29:49 am »
Subject Code/Name: ZOOLS20004 Australian Wildlife Biology

Workload:  24 lectures in total (1 hour each), a couple of films, about six 3 hour practicals.

Assessment:  Mid-semester test worth 10%, two reports; one worth 15% and the other 10%, practical book/log book worth 15% and finally the end of semester exam worth 50%.

Lectopia Enabled:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Several OLD past exams with no answers (but were helpful – see exam for reasons why).

Textbook Recommendation: None

Lecturer(s): Kath Handasyde and various lectures and guest lecturers. Kath takes about half of them.

Year & Semester of completion: 2016, Semester 1

Rating:  3.9/5

Your mark/grade: H1


I chose to do this subject after doing Flora and Fauna during first year. This was partly revision of flora and fauna and also an extension to it, so it is advantageous if you do FF during first year before you do animal wildlife. Overall I really enjoyed this subject (content wise) but it is probably the last zoology/botany subject that I will do as I hear it ramps up a bit after this.


There are 24 lectures in total and a couple of films. All of them are fairly straightforward and not too difficult to understand. It isn’t content overload nor is it conceptually difficult.

The only lectures that were bad were; lecture 2 (Kimberly lecture), lecture 18 (rodents) … in these lectures it was pretty much information overload. A couple of inexperienced student/guest lecturers presented them and they were really not that good. The rodent lecturer just blabbered out heaps and heaps and heaps of rodents while the Kimberly lecturer kept going on about his trip to the Kimberly and what they did. Luckily, there wasn’t a single rodent or Kimberly question in the exam (yay) so I think Kathy realized that we suffered during these lectures. However, there was one MCQ in the mid-sem about the Kimberly although it was very straightforward.

The other lectures were amazing, if you are a FF student the first couple about reptiles and amphibians will bore you (as it is merely revision) but once you pass about lecture 9-10 it’s all an extension to FF. I personally loved the lectures based on ecophysiology (e.g. koalas, platypus),  I LOVED everything about birds (from the different mating systems to why the white winged choughs steal babies for cooperative breeding), and my favorite lecture in the entire series was the macropod lecture where we got to learn about embryonic diapause and also the energy saving hopping motion kangaroos have which defies the laws of physics :D.

Ultimately, there is a fair bit of rote learning but if you find the subject as interesting as I did it should not be hard to rote it all.

Mid-semester test:

I received 8/10 and the average was about 7-7.5/10, so it was relatively straightforward. I got this shifty monophyletic/paraphyletic question wrong as well as this question about the history of birds or something (which we did not learn about!). I think it was there just to separate us. Apart from that some of the questions are seriously 5-second questions and the rest are not too bad if you have revised well. The first 12 lectures are tested in the mid-semester test.

Report 1:

You will have to do a report comparing the bird fauna diversity in The Royal Botanic Gardens and Studley Park. I did terribly – 9/15 RAW scaled to 10/15, so really I have nothing to say and no tips. The only comment is that this was HARD, after this report all my confidence for this subject went down the drain. The highest mark was 12/15 RAW iirc scaled to 13/15 (yeah she scaled all our reports by 1 mark because it was so harshly marked). I don’t know what I did wrong but maybe should have spent more time on it. Just know that THIS assessment is the hardest in the entire subject and this is the ‘’seperator’’ that will separate the best students from the rest.

Report 2:

After getting shattered by the first report I managed to get 8/10 for the second, which was much easier than the first. Rather than writing a full academic report all you have to do in this one is answer a couple of questions using data gathered in one of your practicals (black swan practical – swan census). Once you have all the data sorted out (there are heaps, make sure you are familiar with excel) the questions should all be a breeze. Despite this, I still managed to lose two marks, and once again I think this was because it was harshly marked. I lost one mark for not showing the male to female sex ratio in the ‘’correct notation’’ and another mark for making my graph scales too large, I mean, seriously?

Practical book:

This was our savior IMO, I got 15/15 for the practical book and so many other people did as well. I think a lot of people complained especially after the first report so Kathy was kind of entitled to mark them easily. Or maybe everyone just did really well!

So tips for smashing the practical book;
- Make sure you are UP TO DATE, after every workshop you will need to have annotated drawings of some of the animals you see and also attach a worksheet onto your prac folder. The questions in the worksheets are simple. As for the drawings, how good do they have to be? I’ll be serious now but I was crapping myself when I heard that we had to draw animals in this subject because I cannot draw. If I still had my prac book I would have probably uploaded some of the images but unfortunately Kathy still has my prac book. My birds look like triangles, my seals look like large bananas and I somehow managed to make cute penguins look like ugly monsters. Point is, you do not have to be an artist to get full marks in the prac book. I am the worst drawer ever and I still got 15/15. As long as it kind of looks like the animal you should be fine.
- The annotations of the drawing are very important. Make sure you indicate several physical features of the animal and functions of those features, common name, scientific name, make the drawing big. Underneath the drawing I would have about 5-6 dot points about some facts about the animal, habitat, what it was doing (behavior), interactions with other animals, etc.
- Make sure at the start of each prac you have the date, location, weather, time period

As well as the practical book you will need to do four hours of your own observations
- Do it separately on a notepad, you can buy this from coop
- Write your name, department, address, mobile number on the front cover. Write all the abbreviations you will use in the note pad in the back cover (e.g. ‘’WH = water habitat’’
- For every single observation of an animal make sure you write the date, location, time, weather, animal common and scientific name
- I barely did any drawings just dot point notes
- Notes were similar to the practical book, dot points about observations of the animal – what are they doing? Why do you think they are doing this? Breeding systems, habitat, interactions with other animals etc.


The exam was worth 50%. 15 minutes reading time, 120 minutes writing time, 13 questions, 50 marks. Heck yea! What does this mean? TAKE YOUR TIME. You have an ETERNITY of time to complete this exam!

I think I got about 45/50 for the exam. Unlike all the other averages I have put up this one is going to be a complete guess - but I reckon the average exam mark would have been at least in the high 30s or maybe even 40. After taking my time writing fully fleshed out, detailed coherent paragraphed answers to each of the questions, I finished about 40 minutes early. Once I walked out of the exam I felt as if there was not a single question I had answered incorrectly, and most people I spoke to after the exam felt the same way. The exam was very, very fair. If you look at it this way – its just 24 lectures worth of content, 13 questions worth 50 marks in 135 minutes (including reading time) – it really does not look too hard. You are not pressured for time at all and there are no trick questions or ‘’dog’’ questions, everything on the exam was covered extensively in the lectures. There were some repeat questions from previous past exams and the rest were new, but even though these questions were unseen as mentioned we covered them inside out throughout the lectures. Some examples of the questions in the exam were some stuff on bioacoustics, comparing ecophysiology of a couple of mammals, zoonoses, lots of stuff about koalas, threatening processes to freshwater fishes, treaties of Antartica and so on. The only dodgy question in the exam was probably this monophyletic/paraphyletic one because this was covered poorly in the lectures. But really if you get through a textbook or something its relatively simple; monophyletic is where a common ancestor includes ALL of its descendants and paraphyletic is where the common ancestor does not include all of its descendants. The lecturer gives exactly THREE examples of a paraphyletic group and you needed to know them all AND understand why they were paraphyletic to answer the question. Bit dodgy because was not covered well but again not an impossible question.

I’m sorry this review was so long, usually mine are all short. Hope it is of good use and PM me for more information.

MODERATOR ACTION: fixed formatting :)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2016, 05:59:15 pm by Mr. T-Rav »
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