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August 09, 2020, 09:47:12 am

Author Topic: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings  (Read 509385 times)  Share 

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dutyfree

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #510 on: July 09, 2020, 11:42:54 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: BIO1011 - Biology I

Workload:
1 x 1 hr workshop weekly
1 x 1 hr review seminar weekly
1 x 3 hr practical every fortnight
Approx 1.5-2hr online activities

Assessment:
15% Weekly Moodle quizzes
5% Post-workshop quizzes
30% Lab assessments
50% Examination

DISCLAIMER: Everything was online, including the labs due to Covid-19.
Recorded Lectures: Workshops and review seminars were recorded on top of being streamed on zoom and echo, Labs were only through zoom and not recorded

Past Exams Available: No, Revision super quiz provided – approx. 500 questions
Textbook recommendation: How life works, 2nd Edition – an online copy is provided

Lecturers:
Dr Thomas Hiscox (Unit Coordinator)
Dr Mike McDonald
Prof Craig White
Dr Richard Burke
(s/o to) Dr Callum Vidor (absolute legend <3)
Dr Kelly Merrin
Dr Ben Seyer

Year and semester of completion: 2020, Semester 1
Rating: 5/5
Your mark/Grade: 91 HD

Comments:
Overall impression: I absolutely loved this unit, despite everything being online with zero physical interactions. All assignments were well organised and every change to the structure of the unit as well as weekly summaries were clearly communicated via email. The content is very similar to VCE biology but don’t worry if you haven’t done it, reach out to the coordinator early. I highly recommend attending the weekly drop-in sessions, even if you know the content pretty well, as you can learn a lot from the questions from other students. PASS is also an excellent weekly revision/catching up tool. The teaching staff and the tutors are super nice and highly knowledgeable and if you are having trouble with content, drop some anonymous qs in the forums or book a one on one zoom session with Tom.

Weekly quizzes (15%): Multiple choice, 20qs, 25 minutes, 1 attempt
Weekly quizzes are based on the videos and/or readings given each week. They are open book, and most are relatively straight forward, with some quizzes including application questions. The tricky thing was the time limit and preventing second guessing which, I guess, can only be improved by being confident with your knowledge.

Tip 1: Stay on top of the weekly content. It’s definitely easier to do this at the start of the semester, with your motivation at its peak but you have to keep going! This is where those drop-in sessions come in clutch, usually the same group of people attend, and you can make friends and form a little supportive community.
Tip 2: I hand-wrote all my summary notes weekly (twas two empty pens worth) but experiment with your note taking style, to figure out what works best for you. I tend to copy directly if typing but handwriting forces me to find only the key information and also incorporate mind maps and diagrams into the notes.
Tip 2: Don’t stress about knowing everything in the textbook readings, it tends to go out of scope or a bit too into detail. But make sure, you know all the bullet points listed in the consolidation sheets or the contents in the PASS sheets.

Post-workshop quizzes (5%): approx. 4-6 multiple choice qs but sometimes some had a few short answer questions, unlimited time
These can be a little tough at first glance, well at least for me, due to excessive research on the case studies. But the key to acing these, is watching the workshop, applying the knowledge from the content and once again attending those excellent drop-in sessions to ask about anything you find confusing.

Labs (30%): various activities including worksheets, a test and a lab report
You are allocated to a lab session and a tutor at the start of the semester. Make sure you attend these fortnightly as they are essential to get to know the practical and also to ask the tutor all the confusing questions. I was very lazy with these but prep before each lab is key; read the introduction in the manual and watch the pre-lab seminar to write down any qs you have for the tutors. In terms of the actual lab assessment, they are application style worksheets, usually based on a continuation of the workshop case study. Understanding the given criteria, making sure to fill each box and giving exactly and only what they ask for, will get you that sweet hundred percent.

Exam (50%): 120 multiple choice qs, 2 hrs and 10mins, open book and non-invigilated
The questions were similar to the weekly quizzes, in my opinion, although some were very simple, some were sneaky trick questions. The super quiz (mock exam) should be used to identify which areas, you need to focus your revision study on and not as a memorisation tool. The revision lectures and zooms were invaluable, they went through all the areas students found hard, multiple times. My revision consisted of making mind maps, annotating diagrams/ flowcharts as well as going through the bullet points in the consolidation sheets.

Extra tips:
Join the Facebook group chat if possible.
If you don’t do chem and haven’t done it prior, reach out to the lecturers as there’s a very smol part at the start of the semester.
Check out the unit guide, to plot out an estimate of how the semester will look like in terms of topics and assessments.
Goodluck! :)

« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 01:00:01 pm by dutyfree »
2018: ATaR: 98.8
2019: quarter-life crisis
2020: Bachelor of Science @ Monash Uni

dutyfree

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #511 on: July 09, 2020, 11:54:48 pm »
+7
Subject Code/Name: CHM1011 - Chemistry I

Workload:
2 x 1hr workshops weekly
1 x 3hr lab
1 x 1hr tutorial weekly
Approx 1-1.5hr online activities

Assessment:
10% Weekly pre-workshop quizzes
5% Tutorial assessments 
30% Lab assessments
55% Examination

DISCLAIMER: Everything was online, including the labs due to Covid-19.
Recorded Lectures: Workshops and complementary videos (including a demonstration) for labs were recorded, tutorials and lab discussions with TAs were only through zoom and not recorded

Past exams available: No, 2 mock exams provided
Textbook Recommendation:  Chemistry Blackman et al, 4th Edition – an online copy (2nd ed) is provided

Lecturer(s):
Dr Sara Kyne (Unit Coordinator)
Assoc. Professor Chris Thompson
Dr Toby Bell
Professor Alan Chaffee
Assoc. Professor Katya Pass
Professor Bayden Wood
Assoc. Professor Jie Zhang

Year and semester of completion: 2020, Semester 1
Rating: 3.5/5
Your mark/Grade: 87 HD

Comments:
Overall impression: Personally, I found this unit to be average in enjoyment, perhaps it was due to all the labs being reduced to a short video demonstration or the lack of face to face interaction with the teaching of content. Thinking that doing well in VCE chemistry and my overall chemistry knowledge would suffice for this unit and consequently failing to summarise content each week was a huge shortcoming on my part. Although, the final few topics were very much tied to VCE chemistry, the initial weeks, especially quantum numbers felt intimidating at first glance, though during revision, I found my apprehension to be misplaced. I highly recommend posting on the forums and maximally using the available resources such as attending PASS and perhaps if understanding the topics is still difficult, going to Khan academy and Crash course. 

Pre-workshop quizzes (10%): Multiple choice, 10qs, unlimited time, 2 attempts
I found these relatively easy to full mark, especially given that there are two attempts and if I remember correctly, the second attempt contained the exact same questions. However, they definitely were a pain, some weeks had a ton of pre-workshop content, that you’re likely unfamiliar with. The concepts took me a while to understand, let alone grasping which particular equation applies to which question. Some questions were directly from the internet, so it definitely didn’t hurt to search each qs up, given there’s no time limit. These quizzes were essentially testing condensed pre-readings for the workshops, but I found it so annoying that the recorded workshops simply went over the same concepts with an added few questions and rarely some added content. Though I found these to be boring (the 2x button helped), they are useful in solidifying and applying your knowledge to the problems given. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of never watching the weekly workshops due to the lack of content testing after the pre-workshop quiz.

Labs (30%): includes Pre-lab quizzes (2%): MCQ + SA, out of 5 marks, unlimited time, 2 attempts
Lab reports (3.15-5%): MCQ + SA + discussion and conclusion (350 words), out of 45 marks, unlimited time
Each lab was presented with a video demonstration, discussion slides, a Q&A video and its corresponding pre-lab quiz. The pre-lab quiz tested some key concepts as well as identifying the aim of the experiment and these were relatively easy to full mark, if you understood the concepts and read the corresponding experiment background and outline from the lab manual. The lab reports consisted of two main sections, the first being MCQs and SAs of the overarching concept as well as calculations and excel graphs related to the given results and the second section being a discussion (300words) and a conclusion (50words). Beware! These are due at midday on Monday and as a result of having a HD in the art of procrastination, I used to stay up the entire night, trying to rush these while also wanting solid results.

Tip 1: Try to allocate your lab session with the TA closer to the middle or the end of the week or whenever you are likely to have already completed your pre-reading and pre-lab quiz for that week’s lab. This will give you some time, to check out the qs in the lab report and find out what you need more help with and ask the TA about the difficult areas.
Tip 2: The art of writing perfect discussions and conclusions, is to give exactly what they want (listed above the discussion in bullet points, in the lab assessment. There’s no need to summarise the entire concept or be too wordy, I tend to start with:
1.   If the aim was reached – yes or no – why – link to possible errors (written later) 
2.   The results gained and if possible, the margin of error compared to the literature value in the lab manual
3.   The answers to the dot points, they “recommend writing about” (my TA used to mark us based on these – maybe ask them what their marking structure is during the zoom session)
4.   Errors and improvement – not necessary unless they had a high chance of affecting the results
-   Be direct with your writing as the word limit is sometimes tight and for the conclusion, simply state the aim and if it was accomplished and the accompanied results.

Tutorial assessments (5%): MCQ + SA, 40 minutes, 15-23qs, 1 attempt
These were the typical numerical questions requiring application of the equations and tests the concepts of the previous week (only 3 tutes for 3 corresponding weeks for this semester). I recommend attending the tutorial zoom session each week, they go through the tute sheets and explain the working out for each qs, I got lazy halfway and had to complete all the tutorial sheets during revision. I also encourage attending the PASS sessions and attempting their qs as well, to make sure your knowledge is solidified, during these you can also form separate study groups with peers in the breakout rooms. The PASS website also has a lot of links to videos and additional practice qs if you need it.

Exam (55%): 50% multiple choice and 50% long answer qs, 2 hrs and 10mins, open book and non-invigilated
My revision for this exam consisted of redoing the tutorial and PASS sheets, attending the SWOTVAC zoom sessions by the unit and the one by PASS. The mock exams were relatively representative of the exam, but the time limit does creep up on you especially when you’re nervous and some of my peers didn’t complete the exam. There were a couple of qs based on some random workshop video which sort of surprised me in a bad way and I had to reserve some precious time at the end to find (as it was open book), watch and answer the qs based on the video.
Tip 1: kind of a seemingly obvious yet important tip, have a periodic table and a formula sheet printed out and taped in front of your computer during the exam and assessments.
Tip 2: Ask for help! Seek out peers, FB group chats, PASS leaders, tutors, forums and lecturers; a variety of knowledgeable people that usually get paid to help you. I didn’t do this as much and I really should’ve reached out, especially when certain topics took me multiple YouTube videos to understand.
Goodluck!  :)


« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 01:00:37 pm by dutyfree »
2018: ATaR: 98.8
2019: quarter-life crisis
2020: Bachelor of Science @ Monash Uni

dutyfree

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #512 on: July 10, 2020, 12:03:06 am »
+6
Subject Code/Name: SCI1020 – Introduction to Statistical Reasoning

Workload:
3 x 1hr lectures weekly
1 x 2hr applied class weekly

Assessment:
10% Weekly quizzes
10% Weekly workshop sheets
20% Assessments (1: 7.5%, 2: 5%, 3: 7.5%)
60% Examination

DISCLAIMER: Everything was online, due to Covid-19.
Recorded Lectures: All lectures were live streamed as well as recorded, the applied classes were streamed via zoom but not recorded

Past exams available: No, 2 mock exams provided
Textbook Recommendation: The Basic Practice of Statistics, Moore 8th Edition (personally, didn’t really use this)

Lecturer(s):
Dr Soojin Roh (unit coordinator)
Dr Daniel McInnes
And a plethora of TAs
 
Year & Semester of completion: 2020, semester 1.

Rating: 4/5

Your Mark/Grade: 87 HD

Comments:
Overall comments: I found this unit easy but dry. The high rating is due to it being highly structured and the topics being clearly set out with the corresponding lectures (as they’re being uploaded) and worksheets from the very start of the semester. The drawbacks of this unit include not receiving the ideal answers to the worksheets (as they are reused every year), not receiving the ideal answers to the assessments until the revision period and once again, how hard it was to watch the lectures and stay motivated. I only picked this unit as this was to be my mandatory maths unit in my science degree and secondly, as I’m self-diagnosed as being bad at maths (compared to my siblings) and due to reading many reviews, SCI1020 is supposedly the comparatively easiest maths unit (to which, now I agree). I recommend this unit, if you don’t like numbers, like me or if you’re comfortable with statistics/ further and are looking for a WAM booster.

Weekly quizzes (10%): Multiple choice, 10qs, 1 hour, 1 attempt
These were medium in difficulty but definitely possible to full mark especially given the excessive time limit. Most of the questions were directly copied from other American stat exams and since these quizzes were open book, I utilised my research skills well, albeit, I would make sure I understood the topic well, just to make sure I wasn’t too misled by a good mark and terrible understanding. Make sure, you read the stems well and sometimes, for some spice, they change the numbers up compared to the qs available online, so be a bit careful with the calculations.

Weekly worksheet (10%): Short answer mini weekly tests, due approx. two days from the applied class
I got really lucky with my selection of the time slot for the applied class (thank you allocate), getting the Friday applied class meant that as the weekend wasn’t included, my two days was extended to four days, to complete the worksheet. Even this didn’t prevent my ever-anxious brain from procrastinating though, although my tutor was super nice and gave one day extensions. I highly recommend, attending the weekly applied classes as sometimes you can practically finish the entire worksheet just from the tutor explaining each qs and they usually drop heavy hints about the qs they want you to attempt. Overall, the applied classes are a massive tool as although they are sometimes considerably hard to stay awake in, during the second hour, where you are left to your own devices to complete the worksheet, you can ask all your qs to the tutor. Furthermore, if you feel as if you are quite behind, you can email you tutor and/or ask if you can meet before or after the class to understand a concept or why certain answers were marked wrong.

Assessments (20%): Short/long answer, due approx. two weeks after released
These test approx. 4 weeks at once, as there’s usually one stem with several questions following it, corresponding to each week. This is when the lectures come in handy, as sometimes they do the exact same qs from future assignments along with a clear step by step working out, so make sure not to miss out on these lucky eggs. Its relatively easy to do well in these, if you have been consistent with your lectures and worksheets but if you haven’t, there are plenty of online resources such as the supplementary videos and online basic stats courses, that give you a step by step for common qs.

Exam (60%): Multiple choice, 60qs, 3 hrs, closed book and invigilated (eek)
This MCQ exam was unnecessarily given 3 hours but I’m not complaining as I believe, usually its short answer. It’s quite easy to be ready for the exam but only if you had done adequate preparation. A key tip is to make sure; you have completed the mocks as they are relatively representative of the difficulty of the real thing. Ngl, the fact that this was an invigilated exam made me more nervous than the actual exam content itself, as despite not cheating, I was scared they were tracking my eye movements and if somehow, I perhaps looked suspicious. But regardless, my tips would be to keep up with the weekly content and attend the applied class, watch the lectures live if possible and if not, making sure to watch the recordings. I suggest creating a one note page of a timeline of sort and compiling all the assessment and quiz dates and highlighting whenever a major assessment is due. Emailing my tutor regularly about my work and worksheets as well as consistently contributing in a mostly mute class, helped me create a good relationship with her (s/o to Vladka) and it can definitely be very helpful in tough times with regards to extra help or extensions.
Overall, this unit is neatly presented and despite sometimes being boring, you can perhaps seek motivation from the fact that you can do really well with little effort.
Goodluck!  :)

« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 01:01:06 pm by dutyfree »
2018: ATaR: 98.8
2019: quarter-life crisis
2020: Bachelor of Science @ Monash Uni

dutyfree

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #513 on: July 11, 2020, 04:34:19 pm »
+4
Subject Code/Name: ATS1338 – Language and Communication: sounds and words

Workload: 
2-3 x 1hr Weekly lectures
1 x 1hr Weekly tutorial

Assessment: 
20% Short answer exercise A
20% Critical review
30% Short answer exercise B
30% Examination

DISCLAIMER: Everything was online, due to Covid-19.
Recorded Lectures: All lectures were recorded, the tutorials were streamed via zoom but not recorded

Past exams available:  No, 1 mock exam provided
Textbook Recommendation: For the love of Language, Burridge and Stebbins, 2nd Edition – an online copy is provided

Lecturer(s):
Dr Kathryn Burridge (unit coordinator)
(<3 super kind & understanding + knowledgeable ofc)

Year & Semester of completion: 2020, semester 1.
Rating: 3/5
Your Mark/Grade: 83 HD

Comments:
Overall comments: The rating is a reflection of the unit being interpreted by a person who tried to get away with minimal to a medium level of effort, however, in terms of content, I found this unit super interesting and the lectures really enjoyable to listen to, even if they were watched very last minute, (albeit highly not recommended). Even though I don’t really remember much from VCE, this unit is quite similar to English language and it touches on most sects of linguistics and tries to give you examples of where its applicable in various fields. All the topics were really interesting, I especially enjoyed ‘Language Change’ and ‘Writing Systems & Literacy’. The different lecturers were highly knowledgeable in their specialised topic; however, I wish there were forums to ask them qs regarding their lectures.

Short answer exercise A (20%): 20 marks, 5 short answer qs, given approx. 3-4 weeks
Even though, I didn’t quite perform as well as I could’ve, this assessment can be full marked, if adequate effort and preparation is consistently done. The exercise approximately covers each week with 1-2 qs testing a key topic that was taught. I highly recommend attending the tutorial sessions weekly, however beware, depending on your tutor, be prepared to be put on the spot to answer qs.
Tip 1: Have a look at the provided textbook chapters as they usually have the same questions, just with different examples. Regularly do the textbook readings as well as their corresponding activities as they are actually quite interesting and very helpful with the final exam and the short answer worksheets.

Critical review (20%): 20 marks, given approx. 3-4 weeks
You’re given four articles, each of a different style and topics: Forensic linguistics, Sound symbolism, Australian English and Language & Culture. I selected Australian English, as that was the topic which I had the most exposure to (in VCE Englang). This assessed how you can most accurately and succinctly summarise the key contents of the article (which was essentially a research paper with findings) and then analyse the conclusions of the paper while adding your own interpretation into it. I found this quite difficult, especially given the word limit was approx. 900 and the article had 25+ pages, though I guess they were testing how we can really condense the information to be as direct and informative as possible. The key to doing well in this task, is to:
1.   Select the topic in which you are most proficient at and/or once you have had a skim down, that you think you are interested, to further analyse the topic
2.   Dot down the main ideas or concepts/ hypotheses that the article is discussing
3.   Then branch off these, to summarise how the article gives examples and studies to show the evidence of such concepts – however, keep the summarising to a minimal condensed version, as the tutors really want to see your own interpretation and analysis and not the article’s
4.   Analysis: broadly, what you think of the text and its writing style – one para for positives – perhaps explain they contextualise the concept in each study (by testing on young people/ only males/ only native speakers) and one for negatives: criticisms of their studies eg: participants – were only native speakers/ age/ gender/ ethnicity - and thus why the conclusions cannot be blanketed
5.   Check out the ideal review they provide and make sure you tick all the boxes labelled in that commentary

Short answer exercise B (30%): 20 marks, 5 short answer qs, given approx. 3-4 weeks
The is usually 20%, but due to Corona, it was 30% for my cohort to minimise the percentage for the exam. This task was very similar to the previous short answer task, just a bit more extensive and covered more topics though most were within the branch of Phonetics and Phonology. The lecture material is sufficient to answer all the questions but reading the textbook and going through its activities can give you a better idea of how to approach the final questions with language acquisition and sociolinguistics. If you’re finding any of these assessments difficult, you can book a one on one meeting with your tutor or Kathryn herself, they are super kind and are patient and these drop-ins are very useful, before submitting, just to make sure you are in the right track.

Exam (30%): 30 marks, short answer, multiple choice and long answer, 2 hours, open book
This exam would most likely comprise of all short answer qs, closed book, written test if not for Corona, so disclaimer! (for future readers). I found this exam to be quite difficult but doable. The time limit was a bit constraining on me as I tend to write too much and overcompensate (just in case), but overall it tests nearly all the key topics touched during the semester whether it’s through a single MCQ or a whole paragraph answer. In terms of preparation, make sure you keep highly organised notes under the weekly topics and dot down and are aware of key terms – their definitions but most importantly, how to apply and identify processes such as the various word formations: compounding, blending etc., all the ‘-nyms’: synonymy, hyponymy etc. and phonological processes: epenthesis, assimilation etc.
Tip: Print out the IPA sheet and ensure, you know how to read it and identify sounds by their articulation, initiation and phonation (vibrating chords/or not)
This is a very enjoyable subject, regardless of if you have or haven’t done English language; it shows a really good look at linguistics and shows how it can be applicable in nearly every field.
Goodluck!  :)

« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 01:01:23 pm by dutyfree »
2018: ATaR: 98.8
2019: quarter-life crisis
2020: Bachelor of Science @ Monash Uni

Springyboy

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #514 on: July 26, 2020, 04:53:11 pm »
+1
Subject Code/Name: BFC3540 - Modelling in finance

Workload: 
1 x 2hr computer lab each week
1 x 1hr pre-recorded lecture per week (Not necesary but does help to explain the theory better)

Assessment:
Note that this has changed from Winter Semester 2020 onwards, so please only use this as a rough guide.

Weekly Excel Spreadsheet Assignments - 20%. These were relatively straightforward, as videos were provided on how to do these. They were just using basic Excel functions, so you were guaranteed to get near perfect marks for these. 5 spreadsheets were completed, and the best 4 out of 5 were taken into your marks worth 5% each.

Weekly VBA Spreadsheet Assignment - 20% . Again similar structure to above, but this time implemented using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). These were much harder than the Excel spreadsheets, but were far more relevant as the final assessment was only completed using VBA. Again, the best 4 out of 5 VBA spreadsheets were taken into your overall mark

Laboratory Exercise - 10%. In weeks 4,6,8 & 10, when you attended your tutorial you spent the first 45 minutes to an hour working on a tutorial exercise. The first half usually started in a Zoom breakout room in groups where you planned the task whilst being given a rough guide of what the task will be. The second half was the individual component where you worked on your own to try and finish the task. You could only get help from those in your Zoom breakout room, but you could not share your screen or anything to get help. These were not too bad, but the first laboratory exercise was implemented poorly, as it was done all on your own in a very tight time window. This is unlikely to be offered again, so if laboratory exercises are offered they will probably be following the structure above.

Laboratory Participation/Attendance - 10%. As long as you turned up to your tutorial, you were guaranteed this 10%. I had Josh as my tutor for the first half of classes, before he went to London to complete his PhD. He was replaced by Michael or Trav who is an absolute legend. Out of all the tutors in the banking & finance faculty these days, Trav has to be the most helpful, friendly and concise explainer of the content at hand. Definitely get him as a tutor, he will make your life much easier in any of the subjects he takes, particularly this, BFX3355 (Property Investment) & BFC3340 (Derivatives 2).

Final Assessment Task - 40%. This was the first time a final assessment task was implemented in this unit. Paul who is also the Chief Examiner has been trying to get rid of a final exam, and that was achieved this semester. It was hoped to replace the final exam with just more in-semester work and no final assessment. But due to COVID, the final assessment task was implemented as a quick fix to an exam. This consisted of two parts. The first part was you turned up to your tutorial in week 11 & were placed in your own individual Zoom breakout room. Whilst in that breakout room, you were working on the other 30% that being a spreadsheet using VBA only. Then your tutor would pop in and visit each student in the class individually, and ask a bunch of questions related to the VBA content. If you knew what you were doing, then you would get close to full marks.
The other 30% as said above was a combined spreadsheet taking into account all parts of the unit. This was tricky to do at first, but you were given 1.5 weeks to complete it which was heaps of time if you knew what you were doing.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No exam from S1 2020 onwards

Textbook Recommendation: 

Financial Modeling by Simon Benninga is recommended, but is only useful as extra reading. Not really necessary.

Lecturer(s): Paul Lajbcygier - Unfortunately due to COVID, I only met Paul once in person. He seemed like a pretty nice guy, but was mostly distant for the semester as all lectures became pre-recorded after week 2. In week 1, 3-12, only lecture recordings from S2 2019 for the master's equivalent unit were provided, which weren't really that necessary. Basically just try and go to as many computer labs as you can, as lectures are no longer important.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5

Comments:
Firstly have a look at bobbyz0r's review here as not much has changed in terms of structure since 2016 and now.
This is probably the most practical subject offered in the finance department at Clayton campus. VBA is a really nice way to piece together all of the knowledge covered in the past in finance.
Unfortunately, because of COVID the assessment structure was a bit of a mess this semester. This led to the final marks being scaled down, which is the first time I have ever encountered that in my entire degree.
However, despite that it is a really valuable subject. Even if you do not have any programming knowledge, I would still recommend taking this as an elective for a finance major as part of a commerce degree. It is a great way to wrap up a finance major, as it blends together all the knowledge covered in subjects such as corporate finance & derivatives.
That being said, the learning curve is quite steep to start off with. Make sure you look at some VBA videos before doing this subject, as the VBA coding is a bit in-depth. But once you get the hang of things, it is not the hardest subject at all. I am pretty confident that a large proportion of the cohort scored a high distinction, so if you can do this definitely take it.

Computer Labs - Each week there was a 2hr computer lab covering revision of concepts from the pre-recorded lectures. Please try and attend as many computer labs as possible, they'll make you think about whether your code is correct and how you can improve it. In weeks that you are not doing a tutorial exercise however, they are pretty chill, so don't stress if you get bored in them as the tutors try and go at a slower pace to some people's background knowledge to ensure that everyone understands what's going on at the same level.

Overall, the difficulty of this is equivalent to some of my level 2 finance units. This is the most relevant and practical level 3 finance unit, so do take it whilst you can. Although the assessment structure will probably be harder in semester 2, I would recommend this for anyone looking to go into a quantitative financial background, as the VBA knowledge will help you get a leg-up on the rest of your peers.

Springyboy

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #515 on: July 26, 2020, 07:09:14 pm »
+1
Subject Code/Name: ETC3510 - Modelling In Finance and Insurance 

Workload:
3 x 1hr lectures per week
1 x 2hr applied class per week

Assessment: 

10 x 1% Homework Tasks - Each week from weeks 3 to 12, you completed a short homework task before uploading them on to Moodle. These were not too difficult, and were mainly just rehashing the lecture notes. There were some weird questions though, but fair marking meant that the penalties for not understanding the content fully was quite lenient.

2 x 15% Assignments - The 2 assignments comprised short-answer questions designed to extend your knowledge of the content. The first assignment made more sense than the second, but both did have quite a few curveballs in place. Try and start these as early as possible, as you only have around 2 weeks to complete them from when they are first released on Moodle. These are then uploaded to Moodle and submitted as a PDF or JPG file, compared to the past when they were placed in a submission box on campus, due to everyone being online. Again, the marking was very lenient, so you should be alright if you can understand most of the content.

Final Exam - 60% This was an invigilated exam done from your home using the eassessment platform and Monash eVigiliation. It consisted of 20 multiple choice questions over 3hrs. That may seem like a lot of time for 20 multiple choice, but a lot of them were very confusing at first sight, so it helped having so much time to go over each of the questions. That being said, I was still able to check over most of them a number of times before submitting. These mainly examined variations of definitions from the lecture slides, so were not excessively difficult. Like in the past, you are allowed to bring in 1 A4 double-sided sheet of handwritten notes, so try and make those notes as detailed as possible, and have as many of the key definitions from the lecture slides on them. For this semester, you were only allowed to write out solved problems from the lecture slides, not from assignments or homework solutions, so there aren't many problems to work with that can go on your cheat sheet. That being said, there was still plenty of relevant things that were able to be put on, so referring to them really helped as it enabled me to maximise my mark on the exam due to having so many formulae to be able to refer to. The exam was closed book as in the past, so again there are not too many complex calculations, you just to remember basic log laws such as log(1) = 0 and you should be good to go.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  3 sample exams were available with solutions on Moodle. However, this semester the exam switched to 20 multiple choice questions, instead of in the past being just short answer questions. Therefore, the exams provided are only useful for extra revision material, and are not the type of questions you'd expect to see on the exam

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbooks are needed, the lecture notes are concise and relying on them should be enough.

Lecturer(s):

Professor Fima Klebaner (Chief Examiner & Unit Coordinator) - Covered the first 6 weeks of content covering Brownian Motion, Martingales & Random Walks. Fima is a brilliant lecturer. Even in the online format, he still managed to make the lectures engaging, and was always willing to explain tricky problems in consultation afterwards. I really appreciated the lectures with Fima, he is the main expert in the field of stochastic calculus, so definitely try and take this unit when he's lecturing it (semester 1 usually).
Dr Ivan Guo - Covered the second half of the course on change of measure, binomial model & Black-Scholes. Ivan was always on point with his explanations, and made the maths far simpler by listening to him. He also wrote the majority of the exam, so if you were to listen to 1 lecturer for the whole of semester, it would be Ivan as he has designed the entire course structure to follow.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Comments:

Firstly, this does not apply anymore. ETC3510 and MTH3251 are now taught as one unit, with the same lecturers, same content and same assessments. The only reason you would normally take ETC3510 would be for actuarial exemptions or for an econometrics major as part of a commerce degree.

Would I recommend this unit for someone with an actuarial background? Yes because although there is a steep learning curve, it is still a maths unit at its core so it is taught far better than some of the other level 3 ETC math units. Ivan and Fima have taught this course for over 10 years, so they are very well-versed in the content. Fima has written a number of books on it, which are the industry standard for anyone in the stochastic calculus field, so it is worth the opportunity to take this unit if you can, even as MTH3251.

Applied Classes - The applied classes were pretty standard. There was tutorial classes posted on Moodle, and each week your tutor would go through the solutions to those classes. The questions were much trickier than both the assignments and the exam, so do not be stressed if you get lost halfway through a derivation. Also, the tutorial classes this semester were recorded due to them being on Zoom, so you can always rewatch them later if you're stuck on something. I had Jeremy as my tutor, and he was excellent in his explanations. I appreciated having someone who could clearly show his derivations step by step through each problem. Both Jeremy and Kaustav are amazing tutors, and both are taking the subject next semester, so if you do take this or MTH3251 (Financial Mathematics) next semester do try and get one of them as your tutor.

That being said, the transition to online format was a bit rough. There was only 1 consultation hour per week with lecturers, and no consultation hours with tutors. There is the Mathematics Learning Centre, which if you do not know is extra help for any math subject. However, I went once and the tutor on hand had not taken this subject in a while, so was a bit lost on the content. Therefore, putting in extra hours to really understand the content is critical to doing well. There are only around 30 students who take the ETC version of this subject, and 95% of them are for actuarial exemptions. But if you're a maths student looking for something in the financial realm of mathematics to take, do take this.
The content is not extremely difficult, but does take a while to wrap your head around if you are from a non-mathematics background. Once that is done though, you can expect a relatively decent mark, as the assessments are only designed to push you to a pretty standard math level.

Springyboy

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #516 on: July 26, 2020, 11:19:20 pm »
+1
Subject Code/Name: BFC3170 - Management of financial intermediaries

Workload:
1x 2hr lecture per week
1 x 1hr tutorial per week

Assessment:

Note that this is only relevant to 2020. In normal years there is a 15% group assignment, which was replaced with quizzes this semester

Mid-semester test: 25% Delivered as a Moodle quiz, the mid-sem consisted of 15 multiple choice questions and 4 short answer questions. Most of these were similar to the quiz questions delivered in the semester, and the short-answer questions were only theory based. Given that, the MST was not excessively difficult, and due to it being open book was also able to be relatively easily completed in the timeframe given (1hr 10 mins including reading time). This made it preferable compared to doing it in-person, so having the opportunity to do it online took a lot of stress away

Online Test 1 & 2 - 15%. These were two online quizzes run on Moodle. They were each open on a Thursday, one in week 5 the other in week 10. Between 7am and 7pm you had 1 attempt to take each of these quizzes on Moodle. Both quizzes were fully multiple choice. This made them easy and difficult, as although multiple choice does give you the answer, the questions were phrased in a way that tricked me quite a number of times. This led to most of the cohort being tricked in Online Quiz 1, which was revised for quiz 2, meaning most of the cohort did far better in quiz 2. That being said, this is special to the 2020 calendar, so for next year I expect these quizzes to be replaced with a group assignment, as only that would be a far more demanding assessment compared to the quizzes.

Exam - 60%. Again run as a Moodle quiz, the exam consisted of 40 multiple choice questions and 4 short answer questions. It mainly covered topics from the second half of the semester. Due to it being a Moodle quiz, like the mid-semester test, I did not feel pressed for time, as being in an online format made the timeframe far more manageable for me. The short-answer questions did stray a bit beyond lecture content, but as long as you have the textbook accessible in some form you'll do fine.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No exams provided at all. Not as relevant anyways this semester as the exam was a Moodle quiz, but very difficult to obtain exams for this subject usually.

Textbook Recommendation: 
Financial Institutions Management, A Risk Management Approach 4th edition by Lange et al. is the prescribed textbook for the subject. You definitely need to have the textbook in some shape or form, as it is where tutorial questions for each week are assigned from. No copies of these questions are provided on Moodle, so if you want to keep up with coursework, you need to have access to the book. It also helps with understanding the content, as the explanations in the textbook are far more detailed and well-versed compared to the lecture slides. A PDF copy is available through ProQuest here, which is enough to follow the material on a regular basis.

Lecturer(s):

Hassan Naqvi - Also chief examiner and unit coordinator. Hassan took all 12 lectures, and although he was late to every one of them he more than made up for it in the delivery of the content. Despite speaking to an empty lecture room each week, his explanations were on point and made sense considering the content taught. He also frequently ran overtime, and always recorded extra supplements which were uploaded to Moodle within 1 week of the lecture running. Hassan has plenty of experience in terms of lecturing the content, and it showed, as he always went beyond the lecture slides to provide comprehensive explanations for students.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Comments:

When you hear the word management of financial intermediaries I guess you think that this is a very content driven subject. It is, which can get a bit dry, but I appreciated how relevant the content is to working in a bank or large financial institution. Some of the regulations, such as Basel capital regulations are pertinent in today's economy, so it is a good idea to take this unit if you imagine yourself working in a big bank, insurance fund or superannuation fund, as all of these firms need to adhere to requirements taught in this unit.

That being said, the content can be a bit dry due to all the regulation being taught. However, it is not excessively difficult, so is a good subject to take in semester 1, especially if you are looking for a finance related job in the future. Topics covered included liquidity & liability management, capital adequacy requirements, interest rate risk, off balance sheet risk, loan risks & securitisation risks. All of these are critical for any large financial institution, so to have this in your notebook will help significantly in working in the finance field in the future.

Tutorials - These were standard finance tutorials, running for 1 hr each week. The tutor would just go over tutorial questions posted on Moodle. The questions were that short that they usually ran for less than 1 hour. However, they were useful in going over tricky concepts that were covered in the lectures in minimal detail.

Hassan is also very generous and helpful, so it was great to have him teaching the content, as he set a course structure that was very fair and relevant to bank regulation today. Due to this, I would recommend this subject if you are looking for something that will help lead to a career in bank management. Having knowledge of bank risks under your sleeve will ensure that you can find strategies to help mitigate these risks, as you have already been taught about them in the past.

Springyboy

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #517 on: July 26, 2020, 11:55:49 pm »
+3
Subject Code/Name: ETC3550 - Applied forecasting 

Workload: 
2 x 1hr lectures per week
1 x 1.5 hr computer laboratory per week

Assessment: 

Weekly assignments - 20%. Each week you are given a short assignment to do. Normally there would be 10 short assignments, each worth 2%. But this semester was a little different, with there being 8 assignments, 2 being worth 4% and the remainder worth 2%. Usually, these did not take too long to complete, but occasionally they could be slightly confusing. Particularly when it came to mathematical derivations, make sure you know all the content being taught and can apply it to ensure you get full marks in the in-semester assignments.

Retail Forecasting Project - 20%. This was mainly just taking everything you learnt in the unit and applying it to a real dataset. Each student was given a random dataset based on their student ID. This was taken from the ABS data on retail trade. From there you applied methods in class to forecast future sales, and then wrote that up in a neat report in R. This was not too hard to complete, but there are many tiny details that you can miss if you do not fully the rubric properly, such as graph labelling and selecting parameters for various tests. Make sure you check over every part of your project before you submit, as there are intricate details that you could be caught out on.

Exam - 60%. This was delivered as a Moodle Quiz for the first time. It followed the same structure as previous exams, but included some coding in R, with students being required to paste output into Moodle. Due to this, 3.5hrs + 10 mins reading time was allocated to ensure that everyone had enough time to write down answers and upload them, or copy code in R into Moodle. This was difficult to fully implement, and tough marking also meant that grades were lower than expected overall. Despite this, the exam was relatively achievable, due to it being open-book, but it did still present some challenges such as minor technical difficulties.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, past 5 years of exams provided with solutions

Textbook Recommendation:  Forecasting: Principles and Practice - 3rd edition is the prescribed textbook and is a must for the unit. Luckily, it is available fully online here, but make sure you have access to it before the start of each class.

Lecturer(s):
Professor Rob Hyndman - Rob is amazing. Please try and do this unit if you can. The amount of resources he has for this unit is astonishing. Rob has been teaching forecasting at Monash for over 15 years, and it shows. He has developed nearly all of the forecasting methods used, and they make understanding the content far easier when you are taught by someone who wrote everything being used in the subject.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5

Comments:

This has got to be the most well-run subject at Monash. Rob has so many resources at hand that you are unlikely to be lost for help when you are undertaking this subject.
The main advice I would give is have some background in R and RStudio before you take this subject. The subject uses R and RStudio regularly to replicate methods taught in the lectures. So, having some background in that will come in handy, as you will be comfortable with working in R on a regular basis.

Computer Laboratories - These were standard except that they were run on Zoom due to 2020 circumstances. You mainly worked on problems assigned each work, most often in Zoom breakout rooms to maximise discussion between students. The problems ranged from being relatively straightforward to somewhat difficult, particularly in the mathematical components. That being said, detailed solutions were provided to the problems, so they did make sense after going through the solutions. Make sure you go through them before the exam, as it will help with getting a deeper understanding of R coding and interpretation of real-life datasets. I had Sayani as my tutor who was excellent, but Rob has such a vast calibre of PhD students that all of them are amazing in their own right.

Other than that, this is a really fun and interesting unit to take. Rob has developed a perfect university course based on his own research, that when learning the unit you really feel like you are experiencing the brains behind all forecasting methods used at Monash. Plus the unit is that well recognised that there is an award here that awards a US$100 prize, a Certificate of Achievement, and one year’s free membership of the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF) to the highest scoring student in the subject. So, if you do well enough, you become an automatic member of the IIF, which is amazing as it translates work done in university into practice.
Do not miss out on the opportunity to take this unit if you can, you will not regret taking it.