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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #180 on: January 26, 2014, 03:30:00 pm »
Subject Code/Name: LAW4160 - Negotiation and Mediation Law 406

Summer semester intensive: scheduled for 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday (1 week), but in reality we finished around 3pm every day.

  • 30% reflective journal
  • 10% attendance and participation
  • 30% final negotiation roleplay with lecturer present (mark entirely depends on how you conducted the negotiation, the strategies/methods you used etc., the result you get is irrelevant)
  • 30% simulated negotiations with classmates during classes without lecturer present (lecturer not present, mark entirely depends on the result you get for your assigned party in the negotiation, so it does depend on how stubborn/passive etc. your assigned negotiation partners are)

Recorded Lectures:
No. Negotiation is a practical thing anyway so if you don't plan to show up to class then don't bother taking the subject, you won't learn anything.

Past exams available:
No exam, you get the scenario/facts for your simulated negotiations in advance.

Textbook Recommendation:
Pre-reading: Fisher and Ury, Getting to Yes - Negotiating an Agreement Without Giving In - you can find this online for free if you Google it, and it's a really useful and very easy-to-read summary of a lot of the skills you'll be learning.

There is also a course book with relevant excerpts from a range of textbooks on negotiation/mediation, which you are expected to purchase. I would buy it because it's a handy resource not just for this subject but also for life in general.

Tom Harber (summer and winter semesters)
Dr Sandy Caspi-Sable (semester 1 and 2)

Year & Semester of completion:
Summer semester B, 2014

Rating: 10 out of 5, shut up I'm admin and I say this rating is possible

Lecturer: Tom is a negotiation/mediation skills consultant. He used to be a lawyer for Allens, then went to Harvard to get an MBA which included studies in negotiation (basically he is incredibly smart). All of the skills and theories we learned came from Harvard; all our handouts were branded with the Harvard Business School logo etc., so (IMO) you would be learning some of the best skills out there. Tom is highly engaging, knowledgeable and funny. You'll have a good time with him.

I don't know what Sandy is like as a lecturer, but we did watch a video where she was mediating a negotiation and it was clear that she very much knew her stuff.

Subject: I've enjoyed subjects before, yes, but I never thought I'd actually have FUN at law school. But here we are and I will gladly eat my hat. This is a great subject, not just for conducting negotiations in future (which you will have to do in almost any industry you decide to go into, including legal - most legal disputes do not actually go to litigation), but also just generally in real life. Cashier won't let you return your item 1 day after the return period? Negotiation skills! Internet company being stubborn dicks again? Negotiation skills! Boyfriend won't see a girly movie with you? NEGOTIATION. SKILLS.

You will learn not only negotiation, but also basic game theory, economics, psychology and there's even a neurobiology bit about the brain and amygdala and emotions or something like that, which I'm sure would have been interesting if I had any idea what any of it meant.

Make sure to start applying for this subject at least 1 or 2 semesters before you graduate, because it is highly popular and you might not get in the first time. For example, there were 42 spots in my class and, according to Tom, 94 people on the waiting list. (NB: those graduating sooner will take precedence, then the rest will depend on what you write on your application, your transcript has nothing to do with whether you'll get in so don't worry about that.)

My only slight criticism is regarding the 30% worth of in-class simulated negotiations. Basically, you got a general summary of the facts, then a confidential summary of facts applicable to your side (e.g. what the party you are representing wants out of the negotiation, what they are willing to concede on etc.). The most desirable outcomes are assigned the most points and the least, 0 points. This points system is also confidential to you (so your opposing party can't exploit the points your party is willing to concede on, and vice versa).

I totally understand that time constraints make it impossible for the lecturer to sit through and assess every single group, and therefore it naturally has to be results-oriented. But I found the outcome also depended a lot on who you are assigned with. For example, in one negotiation the opposite party refused to budge on something which could have benefited BOTH of us (i.e. we BOTH would have gotten more points if he'd backed off, which was really bloody annoying when I found out later). In the 6-party negotiation, another party and I wasted like 15 minutes engaging in a battle of wills arguing over a point on which neither of us was willing to concede, which must have really pissed off the remaining 4 members who were very willing to compromise on everything else (lol my bad, in my defence my party was the veto-holding party and without this concession I wouldn't have been allowed to agree to any agreement).

Anyway, tl;dr highly recommend this subject it's great and you should apply for it ASAP.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 01:05:01 am by alondouek »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #181 on: March 01, 2014, 11:54:27 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CHM2990 - Introductory chemical research project

  • Depends on the project you choose really...say 7-10 hours of lab work per week
  • Lab work: 30%
  • Oral presentation: 10%
  • Written report: 60%

Recorded Lectures:  No lectures for this unit

Past exams available: No exams for this unit

Textbook Recommendation:  No textbook for this unit

Lecturer(s): No lecturer for this unit. However, I worked under:
  • Dr. Gregory Knowles (supervisor)
  • Professor Alan Chaffee (group leader)
  • Professor Douglas MacFarlane (group leader)

Year & Semester of completion: 2013/2014 Summer Semester

Rating:  6/5

Your Mark/Grade: 82 HD


This is going to be really long. So hold onto your horses.

What is this unit about?

This unit is about research. It allows undergraduates the chance to try out their hand at one of the research projects available from the Chemistry Honours Handbook. It is a great way to see what research is like, see if you'll want to do it in the future or not.

Basically, you go through the handbook. If there is a project you like, you contact the person associated with it and if they're interested in taking you on, then bam, you're a researcher part of their group working on stuff that no one has worked on before!

I had the privilege of being in a 'joint-project' between two groups. I worked on a project in collaboration between Professor Alan Chaffee's group and Professor Douglas MacFarlane's group.

Is it scary?

Oh yea. During the first 3-4 days when you start out, sure you'll be questioning if you are worthy, as a second/third year student, of undertaking  'real' research. But you are worthy! I was scared everything I touched would break, but I only managed to break one beaker over 2 months :)

The people are there to help. Everyone is so so so friendly. You will use equipment you've never used before, equipment that could take up whole rooms by themselves. But your supervisor will show you, and you will get the hang of it.

What did I work on?

My project involved the capture of carbon dioxide using mesoporous silicas infiltrated with amine-functional ionic liquids. Ionic liquids have the ability to form carbamates with carbon dioxide, meaning you can have carbon dioxide adsorb to the ionic liquid at certain conditions (temperature/pressure) and then have it desorb at other conditions, to safely store the carbon dioxide while regenerating the adsorbent. This was to be developed especially for carbon dioxide capture from post-combustion waste gas from places like coal-fired power generators.

There was a lot of paper work to fill out initially. All the usual safety stuff.

After all that was covered, straight to the synthesis. I had to make 18 samples; made them 3 at a time, each sample taking around 2-3 days to make. If nothing else, this unit will make you very confident in your lab work in future years. I have so much experience now, it feels great. Got to use vacuum ovens, rotary evaporation units, thermogravimetric analysis units, pycnometers and lots of other cool stuff. I had a lab which I shared with two other people.

After making the samples, they were characterised using techniques like Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Helium pycnometry and Nitrogen adsorption/desorption. Then, we tested the materials for their carbon capture capacity.

Life is good. You can take breaks whenever you want. It's just like you're working, without the pay. Leave a sample to stir or sonicate for a while...if it needs one hour and you have no other samples to prepare, bam, you have a break :) and there's all the facilities you need like a microwave, fridge, hot water, coffee, etc. I had a bit of office space to myself too, shared with Honours/PhD students in our research group, but I  never used it because they all had keys and I didn't so it was locked all the time - embarrassing to always ask them to open the door.

I loved every bit of this unit. You get to meet some amazing people around the faculty. You get to see how cool instruments work. You get to see all the mechanics of a lab, like how they change gas cylinders, how to use the liquid nitrogen tanks, how to order new glassware. You overhear conversations where people are talking about how their paper is about to be published, or how their results look good, etc. It's such a friendly atmosphere.

Yea, I could keep going on about how great it was, because it was!


The oral presentation was quite scary. I had to present in front of 20 odd scientists for 10 minutes...even though I'm usually decent at presentations, I stammered a lot in that. Be prepared for questions...if this is what conferences are like, haha...

The report was 13-14 pages long, ~3300 words. There are samples on the Moodle page. Don't leave it to the last minute :P

Lab work should be easy marks. Just work diligently, keep your lab tidy, etc. Label stuff properly, keep clear records. When you are making 18 samples, accidents in naming can occur. One white powder looks the same as another white powder :P

Final words

If you are interested in research, definitely do it. It is an amazing experience. The professors are very adept at explaining concepts, if you're worried that you won't understand what's going on, it won't be that way. I remember, we had a group lunch once to say farewell to a German researcher. The professor, while explaining some chemistry to me, pulled out a pen, took a napkin off the table and started drawing diagrams. Everyone is there to help! So don't be afraid :)

If you have any questions regarding the unit, feel free to contact me. Or maybe if you want to read my crappy report.

« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 08:15:06 pm by DisaFear »

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #182 on: March 02, 2014, 01:59:48 am »
Subject Code/Name: SPHPM Summer Research Scholarship

  • Officially 4 weeks, 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday.
  • Your project may be extended by your supervisor and the school.

Assessment: There is no official, graded assessment, but there are certain conditions that you need to meet:
  • Professional conduct
  • Attendance to project-related stuff, e.g. meetings, data collection, paper-writing etc.
  • Attendance to scholarship program-related activities

Recorded Lectures: N/A

Past exams available: N/A

Textbook Recommendation: There are no textbooks - given that this isn't a unit - but get ready to read a boatload of journal articles!

Lecturer(s): N/A

Year & Semester of completion: Summer 2013-2014

Rating: 5/5 at least!

Your Mark/Grade: N/A


A bit about SPHPM

So it's not technically a unit, but it is offered by Monash and it is an amazing learning experience so I thought I might write up a review of the SPHPM Summer Research Scholarship. SPHPM is the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine under the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science. It is located at Monash's Alfred hospital campus, and contains a number of departments including the DEPM (Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine) and the DOFM (Department of Forensic Medicine) amongst others. As well as being right in the hospital premises, it's also right next door to the Burnet Institute, Baker IDI and AMREP so it really is a central hub for medical research.

There isn't any undergrad representation at SPHPM, which consists of Honours, Masters and PhD students, as well as post-docs and full-time researchers. This gave those of us who were part of the program the opportunity of working in a research centre devoted to everything postgraduate and beyond.

Applying for the program:

Like all other Summer and Winter research scholarships offered by Monash, you need to apply during the relevant period. Make sure to check the Monash website for the specific dates. Also like many of these scholarships, there is paid remuneration for your time spend on the scholarship program.

N.B. that as I write this, the program is offered only to those in MBBS, BBiomedSc and BHSc. I doubt they'd expand it to other degrees like BSc or BA in future, but you never know!

The application process for this was fairly straightforward:
  • I sent in the initial application, listing my details, my units studied and why I thought I should be offered a place in the program.
  • Later - after the teaching period had finished but before exams were finished - I was invited to an interview with a member of staff at SPHPM. I don't think they'd like me to give too much away about this, but the general gist of the questions were my interest in public health, why I thought it was important at different levels and other similar things.

If you are successful in both of these, the program coordinator will email you with your research topic and supervisor prior to the start of the program.

The program itself

Unlike many other vacation research scholarships offered by Monash, the SPHPM program offers a group experience because you're in constant contact with the other people in the program, e.g. there are several tours that you'll go on as a group (I'll elaborate on these shortly), and you'll (hopefully) end up hanging around with these people almost every day by going out to lunch or just seeing each other around the office. Also, it's likely that you'll be sharing a research unit with another person on the program, but you'll probably be working on individual projects. The people who did the program with me were all lovely, friendly, incredibly intelligent people and I made a lot of friends - it's hard not to when you're working with these people all day, every day!

As mentioned above, the program itself is divided into two parts; as well as working on a research project, there are also other activities run for all the scholars by the program coordinators. For us, these activities were the following:
  • Paramedic training and simulation session
  • Endnote and MEDLINE session at the AMREP Ian Potter Library
  • BMedSci Honours Seminar
  • Visit to the Heart Foundation
  • SPHPM Awards Night
  • Group morning tea/project discussion
  • Visit to the ICU/ED
  • End of program lunch
  • A couple others that I can't remember right now :P

These were all really fun, exciting and informative, and it really helped everyone connect with each other. It can be a bit intimidating working at SPHPM with the amount of incredible and fascinating research going on at any one time, so it was great to have a group of friendly people around to experience the program with (and to complain about the workload to :P).

The research side of the project varies in its specifics depending on your project and supervisor, but the constant is that it's intense. You'll most likely be writing A LOT, be it an abstract, a lit review, parts of the research team's primary paper - you name it. Expect to be at the computer typing a lot; this isn't lab-based research but you'll be doing a lot of data collection and interpretation. This might not sound so great but it is very engaging and it sets you up not only for any research-based stuff you might do in future, but also for scientific practice in later years uni, especially units like SCI2010/2015 if you ever happen to take one of those.

My personal project (simply stated) looked at the causes and effects of various delays in the diagnosis and treatment of NSCLC (non-small cell lung carcinoma), a type of lung cancer. It was really interesting to learn so much about one particular condition and how prevalent it is. At the moment (i.e. I am procrastinating as I write this), I'm writing a literature review and contributing to the research team's primary paper. I'm hoping to submit the lit review for publication soon (I should really get back to work hahaha), and tbh I'm really proud of the effort I've put into my work at SPHPM - I know the same goes for all the other participants in the Summer research program as well. It was a wonderful experience overall, and it gave me a taste of what medical research is really like; I definitely want to do more in this general field.

Highly, highly recommended for those students looking to go into medical research at some point, or even just those interested in public health and medical science.
Majoring in Genetics and Developmental Biology

2012 ATAR: 96.55
English [48] Biology [40]

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #183 on: March 05, 2014, 09:28:24 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH2132 - Nature and Beauty of Mathematics

Workload:  Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour support class per week

Assessment:  I think there were 6 assessments spread out across the semester each weighing the same.

Recorded Lectures:  No

Past exams available:  Not when I did it. We were given exam preparation materials.

Textbook Recommendation:  Each topic gets handed out relevant materials, no textbook necessary.

Lecturer(s): Dr Burhard Polster

Year & Semester of completion: 2010, it was also coded MTH1122

Rating: 6 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 68

Comments: This is a very interesting unit which places mathematics in a more artsy perspective (probably designed for art students whose maths is not their strong point haha). Philosophical topics surrounding maths are raised but lightly delved in so don't be put off by that, the assignments are fairly easy but more importantly the material is interesting. Talks about the Golden Ratio all the way to the shape of the universe and mobius strip explained so that layman can understand. Some of the later assignments can get a little tricky but just ask Burkard (he urges you this thru out he entire semester) and he is happy to explain with all too many hints.

Exam: I thought the exam was a bit harder than the assessments he gave us and there was quite a lot to cover for the time given. I'm pretty lazy tho but if you put in some effort this is almost a guaranteed HD

Bottom line: This is a piss easy subject that has a low mathematical component and is great for filling up electives while undertaking your course.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 09:31:06 pm by alondouek »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #184 on: March 05, 2014, 10:19:38 pm »
Subject Code/Name ATS1347: Music Ensemble (Also known as ATS1347/ATS1348/ATS2800/ATS2801; the unit codes refer to the same subject, labelled for different semester/year)

Workload:  2 hours every Monday from 2pm to 4pm in the Music Auditorium

Assessment:  The music ensemble is an umbrella term for the choir or orchestra. You choose one or the other obviously depending on whether you want to sing in the choir or play an instrument in an orchestra.

The assessment is basically having attendance every week and turning up to live performances that are usually held in the city or the surrounding suburbs or at Monash. The no. of live performances really depend on the unit coordinator, so it could be 3-4 performances, or even just 1. When there was only one performance, we did a very short aural pitch test where you basically just hum in the same key as the piano. Possibly the easiest assessment ever, given you have relative pitch.

I've only done the choir so I can't comment on the orchestra but I'm sure it's very similar.

Recorded Lectures:  N/A

Past exams available:  N/A

Textbook Recommendation:  You are given the music sheet for each music piece.

Lecturer(s): I've had Frank Dobbs twice now but there seems to be a new conductor this semester for 2014, didn't get his name...

Year & Semester of completion: ATS1348 in 2012, ATS2801 in 2013.

Rating: 10 out of 5, oh yeh

Your Mark/Grade: 90 for ATS1348, 90 for ATS2801

Comments: This subject is a walk in the park IF you have a musical background, can sing with relative pitch and can read music notes. Actually reading music notes isn't even necessary if you have very good ears and good control over your voice. Just stand next to someone who can read and you'll be right. But still, reading music should be something all musicians know.
Frank Dobbs was a great conductor, a man with character and excitement about him.

Bottom line: Guaranteed HD for those with a musical background or relative pitch.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 10:23:24 pm by alondouek »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #185 on: March 28, 2014, 08:09:28 pm »
Subject code/name: LAW7011 - Copyright
Please note that this is a JD/LLM elective*. However, LAW5146 - Intellectual property I: Copyright and designs also covers copyright law. LAW5146 has more of an emphasis on designs though.

Intensive lectures (9am to 4pm for five days), no tutorials

Research assignment (3,750 words): 50%
Take-home exam (3,750 words): 50%

Recorded Lectures: No

Past exams available: No

Textbook Recommendation:
N/A; we got a folder full of the major cases for free, and additional cases/other readings were uploaded to Moodle.
Optional: hard copy of Copyright Act. I would recommend it if you can afford it because the CA is rather confusing and it might help you visualise its structure if you actually have it in front of you.

Lecturer(s): Assoc Prof David Lindsay

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The unit
I remember looking up the unit evaluation and the only comment was "Unit was intellectually stimulating", and I remember saying to enwiabe that this was almost definitely lawyer-speak for "shit's bloody hard yo". And I was right, and why didn't I discontinue and finish my law degree with easy electives like a normal person? sobs quietly

Aaaaanyway, so copyright law can get quite complex. There were top tier lawyers in my class and even they found it confusing at times! There is a LOT of content to get through, meaning that a lot of it was skipped through fairly quickly due to time constraints, which leaves you to work it out yourself at home. The difficulty also comes from the fact that copyright law can get very philosophical/meta/policy-based - there is almost never a firm answer - it's always "a question of fact and degree" (as a law student that phrase should terrify you)

That said, I found this subject extremely fascinating (when I could understand it). I've heard people criticise it for being way too technical and theoretical, but in my opinion it is very applicable to real life - especially if you are interested in the arts or sciences. The importance of copyright law to innovation and cultural development is undeniable.

For me, the most interesting part was seeing how copyright law adapts to and moulds itself in line with technological developments. For example, computer games can only be protected as "films", because at the time the Act was drafted obviously computer games didn't exist. And, my essay topic was on whether computer-generated works could be protected which, given how much more advanced AI is becoming, is only going to be more and more relevant. I was also fascinated by the intersection between copyright law, designs law and the boundary-pushing tendencies of modern art (is a urinal classified as a sculpture and therefore protected by copyright? What about a well-designed and very beautiful yacht?)

If you're looking for an easy D/HD, stay away unless you're the second coming of Michael Kirby, but if you're looking for a challenge - or "intellectual stimulation" - definitely give it a shot.

The lecturer
(David Lindsay takes Intellectual Property I as well, interchangeably with Rebecca Giblin.)

From what I've heard talking to people, you either hate David or you love him. He's extremely knowledgeable, funny and a very kind man who will take all your stupid questions seriously so you never feel embarrassed. I think the problem some people might have with his teaching style is that his explanations sometimes complicate rather than clarify the matter, just because he's such a walking encyclopedia about copyright/internet/broadcasting law that he'll explain a difficult concept by bombarding you with 10 other difficult concepts. Occasionally his "explanations" give me a headache haha. But emphasis on "occasionally"!

*For LLB students: the reason I'm taking a couple of postgrad units is thanks to the Master of Laws Elective Program for undergraduate students, whereby you can take up to two electives from the JD or LLM course. You will study at Monash's city law chambers for JD students, which is right next to the County Court and is seriously so much prettier than Clayton. The classes are much smaller - 15 to 20 maximum - which means it's a lot more interactive. Some of the postgrad lecturers are really great and have amazing credentials. I also found that a lot of my classmates were older students who had already had years of experience in various fields and so could make really interesting contributions to class discussions - some of them were international or top tier Australian lawyers, for example. I highly recommend you take up this opportunity if you have the chance!
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 10:38:02 pm by ninwa »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #186 on: June 09, 2014, 12:18:51 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MED3051 - Medicine and Surgery 1

Workload: per week: varies between sites, you're expected to stay between 7-8am (former for surgery, latter for medicine) to 4-5pm each day giving a total of ~50 contact hours per week, whether you stay that whole time depends on how you study and what you want to get out of being on the wards. Each site usually has lectures on Wednesday and it varies between sites how many lectures there are.

Assessment: 70% Mini Case Records (MCRs - two formative and two summative in this unit), 30% Evidence Based Clinical Practice "Therapy" Task, attendance (80% hurdle), completion of online pathology quizzes (14 in all - hurdle), complete submission of portfolio (hurdle), formative end of semester exam (non-hurdle or hurdle depending on site) .

Recorded Lectures: No.

Past exams available: No, the Faculty has now published a document with threats to expel students from the course if they are caught compiling past questions or distributing or using past compilations. All past compilations have been removed from the MUMUS site. Many EMQ/MCQ books can substitute for official exams though.

Textbook Recommendation:
  • At a Glance - Medicine - Davey*
  • Clinical Examination A Systematic Guide 7th - O'Connor and Talley
  • Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine 22nd - Colledge, Ralston, Penman and Walker*
  • Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 18th - Fauci, Hanser, Jameson, Kasper, Longo and Loscalzo*
  • Kumar and Clark's Clinical Medicine 8th - Clark and Kumar*
  • Netter's Clinical Anatomy 2nd - Hansen
  • Oxford American Handbook of Clinical Examination and Practical Skills 1st - Burns, Korn and Whyte
  • Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine 9th - Baldwin, Longmore, Wallin and Wilkinson
  • The ECG Made Easy 7th - Hampton
  • Toronto Notes 2012 - Klostranec and Kolin*
  • Underwood's General and Systematic Pathology 5th - Cross and Underwood
*Pick one depending on how keen or lazy you are

I'd also recommend utilising UpToDate as much as possible.

Lecturer(s): Many, depending on the series of lecture (reproductive, haematology, neurology, psychiatry, pharmacology, pathology, etc.)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 5/5

This unit is something completely new! I'll keep this general given that every student will have their own unique experience depending on their site, their rotations, their group, and how keen they are to get what they can out of it.

Basically the sites Monash have are (I may be missing some!):
- Central: Alfred, Cabrini, Peninsula
- Monash (formerly "Southern"): Monash Medical Center, Dandenong, Casey
- Eastern: Box Hill, Maroondah, Angliss
- A bunch of rural sites such as Bendigo, Mildura, Bairnsdale, Traralgon, etc

It is completely randomised as to which hospital/site you get (other than the choice of rural vs metro sites), no more preferences!

Each site has their ups and downs in terms of a balance between practical skills and teaching and it's probably not up to me to make a comment on this, but the feedback I get back form peers is that the clinical years (so far) are SO MUCH better than the preclinical ones, and I'd agree with that 100% percent. Each student will have their own medical (gen med, oncology, cardio, neuro, rheum, etc) and surgical (gen surg, neurosurg, cardiothoracics, bariatric, vascular, etc.) rotations depending on luck and where they are placed.

The gist of a day on either surg or med plays out like this:
  • Ward round starts at 7-8am depending on your team, this may be with a big team (think Alfred, MMC, etc.) or a small team led by a registrar (think Angliss, Casey, etc). Med students can write the ward notes, they may be asked questions by the consultant or registrar, they may be asked to see the patient later and report the case back to someone, etc. Always good to try and be /helpful/ (getting the patient files in advance, having a look at the obs, etc.) because they'll like you more and you'll probably get to do more things as a consequence.
  • After the ward round there will be an allocation of tasks (more-so in medical rotations), if you're in the good books with the team you may be asked to do a few tasks such as "cannulate the gentlemen in Beds 3, 14 and 25 for us, and we'll need bloods from Bed 13, 15 and 17, oh and also if you could chase up 17's GP and get them to fax over her lung function tests that'd be great". Simple stuff and they'll love you if you can help out plus practical skills are so exciting!
  • Your tasks can span the whole day depending on the urgency, usually try and get your cannulas and bloods done ASAP. Throughout the day you may have tutes (more details later) and have the opportunity to clerk patients (basically take a history, perform an examination and report back to a senior on the ward) and go into surgeries (obviously only in surgical rotations, you may get to scrub up and assist with suturing and whatnot depending on the surgery).
  • Repeat.

So I mentioned a few practical skills above. The new ones to clinical years include: cannulation (putting in a "drip"/"bung"), venipuncture  (taking bloods), urinary catheters, rectal examinations, injections, performing lung function tests, and some unofficial ones that your team might teach you such as taking arterial blood gases, taking blood cultures, and so forth. You also may be able to help out and learn about more complex procedures such as ascitic taps, pleural drains and lumbar punctures. Some sites it may be very difficult to get any practice but in other sites you may be able to do a few of each practical skill a day (think smaller hospitals). The practical skills I mentioned (the "official ones) are important to do because you need to mark them off in a "logbook", a small book which has a list of skills which need to be done including histories and exams from all systems and a bunch of practical skills as aforementioned. This needs to be handed in as talked about later.

To further your skills, and if you're on a good basis with your team, is to get involved with doing admissions, ie. admitting patients to the ward or to the hospital (sneak into ED!). I've had the opportunity to do this a few times both supervised and unsupervised and it's a really great learning experience. If you ever get a chance be sure to put your hand up first and take it!

In terms of tutes, there are may kinds and the amount of them depends on your site. Medical and surgical bedside tutes are commonplace, here you have a small group and a consultant and as the name suggests, you have a tute at a patient's bedside learning about their condition and examining them. Other tutes include PBLs, specialty tutes, practical skills tutes, clinical skills tutes, epidemiology tutes, law and ethics tutes, etc etc. Some sites have an attendance that includes these tutes, others do not.

Another thing I want to touch on are a few of the assessments:
  • MCRs: These are basically mini-OSCEs. Either a history or an examination on a patient where you're getting marked by a senior doctor such as a registrar or consultant. They count for a lot of the year and are a really good place to put your clerking of patients into practice to show off your skills and demonstrate your clinical knowledge (they'll ask you questions wither throughout or afterwards).
  • ECBP task: This is a very similar task to the epidemiology assignment from Year II. Personally, not the most exciting task out there.
  • Portfolio: This is a bit of a pain, it's a checklist of things you have to submit at the end of the semester: group assessments (such a any PBLs your group may take), feedback sheets you get marked off by your seniors so that the Faculty knows you actually come to ward rounds, the EBCP assignment and the logbook.

Now with so many differences between sites and hospitals and student experiences, a fair question to ask is: "how do they examine this theory later?". The simple answer: "The Matrix". It's a huge table of conditions, a total of OVER 250 conditions that are examinable. If it sounds scary and daunting, it's because it damn well is.

Just at the end I feel I should mention some of the areas of clinical medicine which are often overlooked by all the exciting things. It's important to remember that you're in hospitals and that people are sick. Some sicker than others, and some of your patients may pass away whilst you are there. We get taught about this sort of thing during preclinical years but it's something completely different to experience it in real life. It's hard to deal with, and if you need some help with it seek assistance from your seniors, they'll always have a handy word or two. Here's something I wrote about this on Med Students Online, copied here for convenience:
My introduction to clinical years
Not sure how to feel, but my first few weeks on the wards have been interesting. Being on an oncology rotation first-up I can't say I didn't expect it (I certainly did), but I don't think any amount of pre-contemplation prepared me for the real deal: when a patient passes away in front of your eyes.

Now in the "predictable" pre-clinical environment I wasn't really phased emotionally by much, the Aussie notion of "grin and bear it" was really the way to get through. Everything was simply just theory and more facts to understand and remember. As morbid as it might sound, I even had no issues with cadavers, as it was all part of this "learning environment" and dissections were very much academic and not at all patient-orientated.

On the wards and in clinics, it's a different ball-game altogether. Being a medical student here isn't all about the exams and the textbooks, it's about being part of the healthcare team and learning from their expertise so you can be the best that you can be. I have a great and supportive team, and being their junior is an exciting privilege, however being part of the team is only a minor aspect in comparison to what the team actually does: manage patients.

From Day 1, it was confronting. I have never seen so much suffering, so much pain, so many tears. From the pre-clin years I guess one could say I was disillusioned by what some doctors have to deal with, I didn't think some things could be "that" tough in real life. What if the patient doesn't want to undergo the advised treatment? What if the patient's treatment options are at an end and they're looking to you as to what is next? What if things are far worse than the patient had hoped for? What if a patient you have seen for weeks unexpectedly passes away?

As only a student I guess I don't have to have answers to those questions, but there's always that feeling that I should? It's tough, when reality hits that doctors have limitations from all areas whether that be from their patient's decisions, from treatment options, from financial stand-points, and the list goes on. We learnt about this, but it doesn't come close at all to seeing it in real life - patients do make decisions and do pass away and sometimes there is nothing we can do about it.

So early onto my clinical experience, it's been a roller-coaster taking this all in. Learning with how to approach different situations has been very helpful, from what I gather it's like desensitising yourself from the patient in an emotional sense. Having said that, one of my greatest fears is being one of those people who don't say "John, the fellow with <x> in Bed 14, needs some fluids" but instead say "Bed 14 needs some fluids". I'd hate to lose the personallness (is that a word?) of it all - it's my greatest fear and I have seen in it on the wards and I don't like it at all.

This beings me back to the patient passing away in front of me last week. That patient was in pain, they had multi-organ failure, mets from their primary cancer, and suspected infection. There was part of me that hoped they would pass away as they would be in a much better place, but there was also part of me that wanted them to keep fighting it all. When it happened though, when they passed away, I was just lost. I felt bad, almost wanted to cry, not sure what to do. We couldn't save them. Did I care too much? Am I just "weak" as a person? Is this just me being a novice medical student?

I guess it's all about finding that professional balance between being too affected and not being affected at all. I want to care, but I don't want to care "too much" as I think that'll hurt me and I won't be able to function to my best, if that makes sense.

Hopefully that balance comes with time.

Thanks for reading, sorry about this slightly depressing blog post (my first) and I'm betting there are some incoherent lines in there - was just typing my mood and thoughts.

Having said that, it's always a great feeling seeing one of your sicker patients get discharged cancer-free or in fine health, you don't get a feeling like that anywhere else and it's one of the best feelings I've ever had. It's even better if you took up an opportunity and did an admission on that patient, you can see them from admission to discharge and it's really rewarding to see the health system at work!

As with my reviews of the previous MBBS units, I think it's really important to get involved with the course outside of the teaching periods too. I'd highly recommend getting involved in inter-year study groups (teaching in Year 2/3, learning from Year 3/4) and getting involved in the social events such as the "Half Way Party" which was a pretty sweet night ;)

All-in-all, a very exciting unit. Being on the wards has been amazing and no amount of money would persuade me to go back to the Clayton campus for days of lectures. I've kept it general because everyone has a unique experience with how clinical years play out for them but if you have any specific questions feel free to PM me (please only PM me if you're already in the Monash MBBS, it's far too keen otherwise -_-).
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 12:53:01 pm by pi »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #187 on: June 09, 2014, 09:49:36 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ETC1000 - Business and Economic Statistics

Workload: Weekly 1.5hr lecture and 1.5 hour computer lab (starting in week 2 and ending in week 11)

Assessment: 30% Lab quizzes, 70% Exam

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, 12 exams including solutions

Textbook Recommendation:  No compulsory textbooks

Lecturer(s): Brett Inder - he's a really laid back, friendly guy who's really good at explaining the concepts, not to mention that he's been teaching the unit for quite a while so he's VERY familiar with it.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  3 out of 5

When I first started this unit, I HATED it, but once I gave it a chance I actually quite like it! Although not advised, I ended up doing a lot of learning for this unit during SWOTVAC and to be honest, it's pretty easy to pick up all the concepts in such a small timeframe so don't panic if you get to that stage, although just don't do that to make your life easier haha :P You can score well in this unit if you put in the work. So it's really important to keep up to date and understand everything as you go because (especially with the last few topics) you need to understand the past topics' content in order to be able to successfully get through the rest of the topics.

In terms of workload, this subject is really good if you're looking for something that doesn't take up much time. All you really need to do every week is watch the YouTube lectures for the week (which go through the slides anyway), watch the live lecture (i.e. the lectures conducted at uni) and do the lab homework.

Lectures: To be honest, I didn't physically attend a single lecture (only because the time was too inconvenient for me).. I watched most online, but it got to a point where I stopped watching the live lectures. Only because Brett made YouTube video lectures for each topic which were SO useful, so definitely don't skip those. The videos are pretty much Brett talking through the powerpoint slides for the relevant week's lectures. The live lectures were more application of the content, so honestly, don't miss those either. I definitely wish I didn't, because although they got boring at times, the knowledge would've been pretty useful come exam time.

Computer Labs: Most of the lab quizzes were usually able to be finished in 30 mins-1 hour, but took longer to complete in the last few weeks. The labs were a really good way of applying all the excel processes and procedures, and were generally not too hard to get through. It's recommended that you complete the homework (not compulsory) prior to the week's lab, because the homework pretty much contains step-by-step instructions that really come in handy when doing the lab quizzes.

Exam: A two-hour, non-calc exam. It wasn't too bad considering the fact that there's a plethora of past exams WITH solutions available to you, on top of revision during week 12 (going through exams). Even though maths is required in the exam, you pretty much just need to show working to get the marks, not the actual answer (since there's no calculators allowed). If you do as many past exams as you can and know your content, you should be fine for the exam. Keep in mind that in order to pass this unit, you must score at least 40% on the exam.
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #188 on: June 09, 2014, 11:34:28 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH1035- Techniques for modelling (advanced) 

Workload:  3 x 1 hour lectures, 1 hour tutorials and 2 hour workshops

Assessment:  3 x 10% Assignments, 10% Test and 60% exam (although I vaguely remember hearing this was set to change next year)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes

Past exams available:  No, but they did release a sample

Textbook Recommendation:  Don't need a textbook

Lecturer(s): Burkard Polster (essentially the best lecturer you will have in the existence of anything!) and Simon Teague (Who is pretty great too)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating: 4.5/5

Comments:Initially I found this unit extremely daunting, in the 1035 workshops we almost immediately began working on cartesian tensors (which confused the hell out of me for months and have really only begun to understand them today!).
The workload for this unit is fairly consistently high, so expect to be doing plenty of practice questions, readings and such to gain a thorough understanding.

In saying that, the lecturer Burkard Polster is insanely good at explaining concepts in a very visual and layman's way which really makes all the coursework much more manageable to tackle. Prepare to watch him with a whole bunch of lightsabers too...(He also likes to juggle them sometimes ;) ) Anyway back on topic, Simon taught us for the 1035 workshops and also had us for tutorials. Although he's usually late for them 8am workshop starts (=death), he has a real passion for the subjects and has millions of exam type questions if you want any extra stuff to do!

The assignments themselves aren't too bad (just really long and tedious). My main tip for them would be make friends in the unit and see if you can work together and collaborate answers (I do mean WORK TOGETHER not copy each others answers, but let's be honest, that will probably happen too). The test was fairly simple, pretty easy marks as long as you know your stuff!

Overall, if you love maths, pick this unit. But you will need to be dedicated and consistent to keep up to date and do well!


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #189 on: June 09, 2014, 11:52:40 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ECC2000 - Intermediate Microeconomics

Workload:  One 2-hour lecture + one 1-hour tute = 3 hours

  • Midsem: 30%
  • Exam: 70%

Recorded Lectures:


Past exams available:
The past exams on the database are from 15 years ago, and no longer particularly relevant. We were given a sample exam though.

Textbook Recommendation:

Pyndick, Robert S, and Daniel L Rubinfeld: Microeconomics. Seventh or Eighth Edition, Pearson.

I'd say worth it if you donít have to buy it new from the bookstore. The questions at the end of the chapters are pretty useful for revision and are pretty similar to the exam style questions. Buy it second hand/eBay though - $200 from the bookstore is way too much. Solutions and the textbook can be found somewhere that shall remain nameless as well ;)


Yinhua Mai.

Year & Semester of completion:

2014 Semester 1

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:

The course is broken up into three main sections Ė Consumer theory, producer theory, and analysis of market structure/competitive strategy.

Consumer theory is all about maximising utility given an individualís preferences for various goods, the relative prices of the goods and a budget constraint.  This involves indifference curves, budget constraints, marginal rate of substituting, normal goods, giffen goods and Engel curves. The general gist of a question on this topic would be youíre given a utility function, say U(x,y)=20x^(2/3)y^(1/3), the prices of good y and good x, and the consumers budget. Youíre then asked to find the utility maximising combination of goods. Then follow up questions on price changes, income changes et cetera. You also get the classic social surplus and elasticities, price floors and the like.

Producer theory is almost exactly the same as consumer theory. You have labour and capital as factors of production, and each has a given cost. You have some production function telling you how much output can be produced from some combination of capital and Labour. You then need to find the cost minimising ratio of capital and labour to produce a given output. Instead of indifference curves you have isoquants, and instead of budget constraints you have isocost curves. Essentially the same principles apply as in consumer theory. You also revisit the cost curves from first year, but again with actual equations.

Market structures is when the course gets a lot more interesting though. You analyse profit maximising output under various models. You get perfect competition and monopoly like in ECC1000, but this time you have numbers, equations and differentiation. But the best part of the course for me was oligopolistic competition. Various equilibrium settings and output decision models, price discrimination, collusion, competition, and a bit of game theory. This part of the course follows on from producer theory.

I didnít really like the unit at first to be honest. It was basically a rehash of ECC1000, with the lectures moving very slowly (a whole hour on what a demand curve is). While the basics are important in economics, it was just a bit slow and dry.

However after the first few weeks, and we started on cost curves and market structures, it started to grow on me a bit more. I found learning the actual content to be easier from youtube/textbook than the lectures. At this point Yin started to run though examples in the lectures which made them more worthwhile.

Tutes are pretty standard, just go over the 3-4 questions that were set that week. However due to the length of each question you rarely get though all of them.

The mid-sem covers consumer and producer theory. Mostly multiple choice with a short answer chucked on the end. You need to know a few definitions though.

The exam was pretty good I thought. 6 Questions, of which you answer 4. However each of them are pretty involved, which lots of re-arranging and substituting into equations. And then changing one variable, doing the whole process again and seeing what has changed. Doing all of the tute questions and the questions from the textbook will be enough for you to prepare. You donít really need to know definitions as much as the mid-sem, so just know how to approach each type of question and you should be right. Also lots of algebra and partial differentiation. Nothing too crazy, but you should be comfortable with derivatives and solving linear equations.

TL;DR Starts off pretty slow and not particularly interesting, but gets a bit better as the unit progresses. Think ECC1000, but with algebra, differentiation and a few extra topics thrown in.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 07:52:33 pm by Reckoner »

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #190 on: June 10, 2014, 02:01:45 am »
Subject Code/Name: ETC1000 -  Business and Economics Statistics

Workload:  1 x 1.5 hour lecture, 1 x 1.5 hour lab (will probably only take you 20-60 minutes).

Assessment: 30% Weekly computer labs - 10 labs, out of which only your top 8 results are taken into account. 70% - Exam.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture. Also on YouTube, I believe.

Past exams available: All exams (both semesters) since 2008 are available, with solutions released in the final week of the semester. Some of the content has been cut in recent years, so don't panic if something looks entirely unfamiliar.

Textbook Recommendation:  No prescribed textbook. Australasian Business Statistics is "highly recommended", with readings highlighted, but I don't know if it's actually any good. You probably won't need it.

Lecturer(s): Brett Inder. Lectures are very slow, and most people feel that they are unnecessary. Some of the examples used in the lectures though might pop up on the exam - so make sure that you grab the live lecture notes (they're on moodle) and read through them. If you're unclear about anything, it might be worth watching the lecture.

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  2 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: HD

Comments: This unit was not particularly enjoyable. As a forewarning, it is basically about the interpretation of statistical outputs by Excel, given businessy examples. The actual mathematical concepts are not at the forefront of the unit, although they are touched on, and some level of understanding might be occasionally required. Some statistical business concepts (mostly GDP, real vs nominal value of money) are covered. So that's what's meant by 'business statistics'. In some ways, there are some parallels with Further Maths. There is certainly a lot of overlap in the content, with the first half of the unit being the Core section of Further.

The way this unit is organised as follows: Initially, the content is delivered through YouTube videos, which are supposed to accompany PowerPoint notes. In reality, the notes do not cover most of the things that are in the video, or might not make sense without them. I would like to take this opportunity to commend you if you manage to actually watch the videos. This is then followed by a live lecture, which I commented on above. It partly re-teaches the content again, but mostly is concerned with interpreting some given data on a particular topic (some of them are actually quite interesting!) using Excel. The latter is much more succinctly covered by the live lecture notes, which will save you a lot of time should you decide not to turn up (and let's be honest, who actually ends up watching the lectures online?)

You are given weekly homework. It is basically a walkthrough of how to get the statistical output through Excel, and how to interpret it. Do it. It links directly to the following week's computer lab, and perhaps apart from the last few weeks of the semester, it is all you need to know for the lab. It gets trickier later on, and some conceptual understanding may be required.

So as might have become apparent to you already, many aspects of this unit are quite duplicitous. At some point, you will likely stop coming to the lectures (though you probably would have anyway), and perhaps also stop watching the YouTube lectures. That's okay. Just keep up with the homework.

So, come Week 11 (this unit has two weeks of revision), and the realisation hits that it's really just all about the exam. You might not even really have an idea of what's going on in this unit. That's fine. Why? Because the majority of the exam is entirely formulaic. And the previous 10 exams are all on Moodle. Do previous years' ones, check the answers. Or maybe even just check the answers, depending on how confident you are. Knowing what's on the exams, and how they mark them, is basically how you will pick-up the vast majority of marks in this unit. This is how it's very much like Further. Don't have a 'hat' over your dependent variable in the equation? Docked a mark. Didn't write "on average" when interpreting a coefficient? Docked a mark. Week 11 and 12 lectures are devoted entirely to going through those exams. You would do yourself an immense injustice if you missed out on them. They are all recorded, so just make sure you watch them.

So basically - read the live lecture notes, do the homework, make sure you do well on the labs, and past exams.

A note on consultation - you don't contact the lecturer, nor your lab supervisor. There is a walk-in consultation period, which I believe the chief tutor does (never been). There is also an email address specific for the unit, but I don't think you're supposed to ask questions there.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 07:59:21 am by Polonomial »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #191 on: June 10, 2014, 02:56:31 pm »
Subject Code/Name: SCI2015 - Scientific Practice and Communication (Advanced)

  • 1x 2 hour lecture
  • 1x 2 hour tutorial

  • Exam: 30%
  • Workshop participation and activities: 20%; consisting of an interview with a researcher (0%), a journal club presentation (5%), a peer review report (5%) and workshop participation and blog posting (10%)
  • Major project: 50%; consisting of a research proposal (5%), an annotated bibliography (5%), a literature review draft (0% but needed to complete the peer review and final lit review), a conference poster (10%) and a final literature view (30%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, but the past papers are under SCI2010 (you sit the same exam). There are several on the database, with the 2004 exam under "SCI2010: How Science Works" and 2005-2009 under "SCI2010: Practice and Application of Science". The 2011 exam was also provided on Moodle.

Textbook Recommendation: You don't need anything.

Lecturer(s): A/Prof. Roslyn Gleadow

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: HD

Comments: This unit is a bit of a mixed bag. It (or SCI2010) is a compulsory unit in the Bachelor of Science; SCI2010 is the standard unit that most people take, while SCI2015 is the "advanced" version for students doing the BSc Advanced (Research) or other degrees - such as BSc double degrees or standard BSc - by invitation if your results are good enough.

The content of this unit is pretty interesting; it's got a lot to do with how science works, how it can go wrong, and how you should conduct yourself as a researcher. Topics range from the history and origins of science, to scientific ethics, to pseudoscience, to career development and others. I only went to one lecture, but it was fun and interesting given that you're passionate about science. The highlight of the lecture series - and the only lecture I attended - was a magician/illusionist who was brought in for a performance during the pseudoscience section.

Assessment is pretty good too; the exam is worth 10% less in SCI2015 than in SCI2010 (which is nice :P), because you have more formative presentation-based assessments leading up to your final literature review. The other major bonus of SCI2015 is that you get to pick your literature review topic, which essentially makes writing the final paper a lot less painful. There are 5 assignments that make up the in-semester assessment:

  • Assignment 1 - Major Research Project
    • 1a - Research proposal: This is worth 5% of your semester mark; it involves A) generating a 100-word specifically-worded research proposal on a topic of your choice, which you'll write your lit review on eventually and B) Present your proposal to the class. A big part of this unit is presentation, so you should make sure that you can design attractive visual aids as well as present eloquently.
    • 1b - Annotated bibliography: This is worth 5%. You need to choose 4 articles related to your topic and generate an annotated bibliography on it. An annotated bibliography is a paper that consists of summaries of journal articles and additional critical evaluation of these articles.
    • 1c - Literature review draft: This is a formative assessment, but you need to complete it to be able to complete Assignment 3 and Assignment 1e. It's exactly what it sounds like; you need to generate a draft of your literature review. It's okay if you haven't done much, but you do need to have something to turn in so that you can take part in the peer review assignment and turn in your final lit review.
    • 1d - Conference poster presentation: This is worth 10% of your semester mark. You need to make a detailed conference poster for presentation, which will be presented to the tutorial group and any guests who are there for whatever reason. It's quite a lot of fun, as people circulate around the room and listen to mini lecture-style presentations.
    • 1e - Final literature review: This is worth 30% of your overall semester mark. A word of advice; don't leave this to the last minute unless you want some major stress! This assignment is a big one; it's only about 3000 words for SCI2015 students, but all the referencing and citation management take up quite a lot of time. Make sure you know how to use a journal search engine such as MEDLINE or Scopus, and that you're familiar with a citation manager such as Endnote (which you can get free from the university). I wrote my literature review of the efficacy and patient/hospital-related factors of performing decompressive craniectomy on traumatic brain injury patients (if you're interested I can send you a copy :P).

      Another benefit of doing SCI2015 is that you can choose your preferred journal of submission (N.B. you don't actually need to submit your paper to a journal, but I'll write a bit about that later), and therefore you can kinda choose your referencing style as dictated by the style guide in the journal you choose. As well as this, the assessors are a bit more lenient in terms of word count and number of references. SCI2015 is basically a lot more independent than SCI2010, some people (myself included) prefer this, but it might not be for everyone.

      One final point is that you have the option (assuming your work is of a high enough quality) to submit your paper - following stylistic adaptations as required - to the journal Reinvention - a Journal of Undergraduate Research.
  • Assignment 2 - Interview with a researcher: Basically you pick an academic (I think the rule was they had to at least be working on a PhD), make a time to interview them, then make a powerpoint about the interview and present it to the class. As I mentioned, this unit is pretty heavily presentation-based, so if you're not a confident presenter when you start this unit, you probably will be by the time it's done. This assignment is formative, but there's no reason not to do it, so yeah.
  • Assignment 3 - Journal Club: You and another person pick a journal article, summarise it and present it to the tute class for about 10-15 minutes, then take questions. This is worth 10% so take it seriously, but the assignment is broad so you can take any article so long as it's from a peer-reviewed article. My tute partner and I did our presentation on "Were James Bond’s drinks shaken because of alcohol induced tremor?", published in the British Medical Journal in 2013, which was pretty funny :)
  • Assignment 4 - Peer review report: Remember when you had to submit Assignment 1c (the draft lit review)? Well following that you'll receive someone else's draft, which you need to annotate and then write a letter to the "editor" detailing your recommended changes. You'll also receive an annotated version and one of these letters of your draft, analysed by another student.
  • Assignment 5 - Workshop participation and blogs: Workshop/tutorial participation is exactly with what it sounds like, and the blog posting is done on Moodle in a specialised area. You need to submit at least 5 blog posts over the semester (you'll only be graded on 5), and they're judged on both quality and the fact that you've done them so don't half-arse it. Both of these together are worth 10%.

The exam is really, really quite simple if you've done a couple of past exams. It consists of 2 parts, A) being 40 MCQs based on lecture/tute material and B) Written responses (short and long) based on various areas of the course (pseudoscience, communication, ethics etc.). Most of the MCQs are taken from recent past exams, so I'd advise you work through them and it'll be a breeze. The written responses are a little bit harder, but if you understand what you're talking about - as well as specific examples of things like scientific misconduct and research fraud) - then you won't have an issues whatsoever.

All in all, this is a really interesting unit, and I recommend it to anyone interested in science and scientific practice (aside from the fact that you don't really have a choice if you're doing a BSc :P).
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 04:17:01 am by alondouek »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #192 on: June 10, 2014, 03:41:33 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MEC2402 - Engineering Design I

Workload:  2*1 hr Lectures (Workshops), 3 hr Comp Lab, 2 hr Tutorial

Assessment: Note: This changes year to year.
 - Online quizzes before each Lecture: 8%
 - Worksheets each lecture: 8%
 - Weekly CAD Tasks (x8): 8%
 - CAD Exam: 6%
 - Warman Prelim Submission: 10%
 - Warman Competition Results: 12%
 - Warman Final Submission: 18 %
 - Exam: 30%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, Most exams bar one back to 2006, only the last year or two were indicative of the actual exam.

Textbook Recommendation:
1. Field, B. Introduction to Engineering Design (any edition)
2. SAA/Inst of Engineers, Australia: Engineering Drawing Handbook, SAA HB7, 1993.
The former is a must have, you'll use it a lot, the latter you'll use too but not as much. You can bring both into the exam with you so they're worth getting.

Lecturer(s): Scott Wordley

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 2014

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Pending

There are a lot of aspects to Design I which I'll try and go over individually, but in short Design I will take most of your time throughout the semester, it's a workload heavy unit (especially the Warman Competition), but you gain a lot of experience and get a lot out of it.

Flipped Classroom Model
I'll start off with the way lectures were run. This year was the first year that the Engineering Faculty have tried the flipped classroom model, and it make be used for other units in the future if they think it was beneficial this semester. Basically, there are small videos put up before each lecture, ranging from 10 minutes to say about 40 minutes, which you watch and learn about the content and theory side of things. Before the lecture, which is now called a Workshop, you would then complete an online quiz about the videos, they're quite easy and are there to make sure you've watched the videos beforehand. Then in the Workshop (lecture), you come in and as a lecture and/or with your Warman Competition group (more on that later), you work through the worksheet, getting tips and help from the lecturer and tutors at the same time. These are then marked in the tutorial the week later. Overall, I think this was a good way to go, at least for design. It's one of those units where the lectures would be quite dry if it were run like a normal unit, but having the workshops allowed you to put into practice and try things out, while having the lecturers and tutors there to guide you along. It seems to fit the unit particularly well.

This really does deserve the capitals above. It will really take up a lot of your time and effort outside of uni. The Warman Design and Build competition is a competition in which teams from across the country design and build a robot like device to navigate a certain course and achieve certain goals. The track and objective changes year to year, and for design a campus competition is run just for the unit. The winners of the competition go on to represent Monash at the National Finals.

This year, we didn't get to pick our teams. Normally it's in teams of, but the difficulty of the competition was ramped up this year, as most teams found it too easy to navigate the course at the national finals. As a result for the campus competition, we had teams of 8, but unlike most years had to build two devices. To give you an idea of what kinds of things you'll have to do, here is the National Competition from the year before:
There are three stages to the competition, the Preliminary submission in which you create a design and work out what goals you want to achieve, along with some drawing, the actual competition where you are judged on your runs, and the final submission which mostly includes engineering drawings done through CAD.

For our year, we had to transport "e-waste", which was a payload of rice, the mass of which we nominated (minimum 200g), around a barrier and then over a bar at a set height, which again we nominated (in 10 cm increments, maximum being 120 cm). The design brief for your year will be along the same format as ours: http://www.ncedaust.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/Warman%2014%20v1_1_1.pdf
The scoring formula was fairly complicated (under R45) and it set teams on two paths to maximise their score. You could either go for maximising the height with the minimum payload mass or maximising the mass with the smallest height. This was a design decision that had to be made early, with most teams going for the former option, which would include a lifting mechanism and somehow counterbalancing it, keeping in mind that the larger the mass of the system, the more your score decreased. So as with engineering, it was a balancing act, making compromises. Our team initially went for a height based system, attempted to go over the largest height of 120 cm. I should also note, as with most years, there is a limit on the size of your device, most years it has to fit in a 40x40x40cm cube. We had to have two devices, one had to be purely mechanical, no batteries, no electronics, no nothing. The device that started had to start in the 40cm cubic envelope and could finish at whatever size while the device that finished could start as large as it wanted to but had to fit in the 40cm cube at the end of the run. This meant there had to be a large extension compared to the base size, and ultimately meant a lot of devices were unstable at high heights.

A lot of teams, as did we, went for a scissor lifting mechanism, some went for a telescoping air system to lift the mass, while others didn't lift at all, but put a large mass over the 30 cm bar. We had to CAD up our initial design, and if your design is the same as your initial design by the time the competition comes around, then you're doing something wrong. There will be a lot of changes in the design process, as you realise certain things just won't work, or that you won't be able to put certain parts together since you may have not allowed for access to screw something up. You and your team will have to fund the build and all the materials for the competition. Most years teams get away with $100-$400, since our year was a bit more complicated, we set our budget at $400 initially, which was $50 per person. By the end of the competition we had spent close to $800, and a fair few other teams had too. We weren't the highest spending team, with one hitting close to $1200 (a lot of that in burnt chips, but I'll get to that later). You'll ending up making a lot of trips to Bunnings and/or Masters, throughout the competition we would have racked up a fair few laps around the places. You don't get a workshop for the competition either, so you need to make use of the limited tools you have, which restricts what you can do a fair bit. WD-40 and Duck tape will be your best friend though!

For the first time, we were provided with "Arduino kits", which were basically electronics kits with an Arduino controller (the brain of your robot), a motor controller (since the arduino can't handle the current or voltage needed to drive any decent motors, the one provided matched with the rover that was purchased), a voltmeter and an assortment of wires and other things. At the end of the semester you have to return this kit, and anything that you break or damage you will have to pay for. This is partly the reason one team spent so much, they blew up or so chips, which at $20-40 each starts adding up. The coding for the arduino takes a bit of getting used to at first, but isn't too bad.
The Arduino with the motor controller in the backgroung, connected to the rover.

Keeping within the rules of the competition, you have to either buy parts or make them from scratch without professional help. Most teams bought a rover chassis for their electronic device:  http://www.pololu.com/product/1551
The rover
The teams who didn't had a lot of trouble getting their device to go in a straight line, you need that consistency in your runs. The rover chassis helped with this, and since it has encoders (something that reads the wheel rotation and sends it back to the arduino chip), you can control how far you want it to go via the number of wheel rotations. Without this you can only set it to power the wheels for a certain amount of time, and as your batteries drain down this changes every run, you end up chasing your own tail and never reaching it. Also, rechargeable batteries are a good idea, we did buy some but had a problem with the connections and as a result didn't end up using them. Another team used mecanum wheels, which would allow them to drive sideways, in practice it didn't quite go completely sideways, which is why you shouldn't expect everything to work as you would think it will.

The one main thing idea for the Warman Competition is to start early, I cannot stress this enough. If you can, order locally. We had ordered specific motors which had to come from Perth, the first time they sent the wrong motors and we had to get them to resend them, which put us back a week. The second time we received one of the correct motors and one of the wrong motors, which put us back another week. At this stage it was too late to change the coupling mechanism and we couldn't adapt motors from Jaycar locally. As a result this meant despite spending a lot of money on scissors lifts and getting them to work well, we had to redesign the whole device to move from a height-based system to a mass based-system the day before our competition. This meant that our device was not optimised, and was a lot minute job to bring it all together. We worked on it, rebuilding it from 10am in the morning to about 8-9 pm, with minimal breaks.

There is a track in the Engineering Building to test on, the earlier you get onto it, the better. We were one of the first few teams testing, and at our first and second tests the only team on the track at the time. As a result we got a lot done, didn't have to wait for other teams to have a go. In the week or two leading up to the competition, the track will get insanely busy, imaging around 10 teams (there was about 28 in our year) trying to get their testing done on the same track at the same time. Sometimes you could be waiting up to 30 minutes between runs, just to make minor adjustments. The night before the competition, don't be surprised if you have to pull an all nighter and work your ass off at the last minute. A few from my team were there, testing for about 4 hours, at around 2am my laptop battery died. We had forgotten that the code doesn't save to the arduino when you upload it, so we lost those 4 hours of code and testing. So make sure you save the damn code regularly! At that point the others gave up and went home. If we had left it in that situation, then our team would have gotten zero for the runs. I stayed there working on our device on my own throughout the night and early morning, along with 4-5 other teams pulling the all nighter as well (being up that long with no sleep you make a few new friends :P) Since we didn't know if our device B would be functional at the time or not, we lowered our goals and just got device A set up to transfer the payload without turning. In the end I broke my record of hours staying awake straight, 32 hours straight, with 30 of those being at uni. It's quite weird to see the sun rise through the windows at the end of the engineering building.

During the competition you get two runs, the score system dependent on the runs changes each year. For us it was meant to be your best run plus half the other run, but ended up just being the score from your best run. Our first run went well, and our second had a bit of a problem and ended up being a zero run score. A lot of teams that were going for the 120 cm bar, had achieved it in practice and got it on video, but ended up with two zero run scores on the day, (one device did really well, but drove off the end of the track). You either seemed to score really high or get a zero (or close to it). The second run, teams improved a bit, and since there was a lot of zero, they decided to be lenient on the scoring and give some of the score for the run in certain cases. This was only due to the difficulty of our competition this year. This again, is where consistency comes into play, you need to be able to reproduce the results on he day when it matters (much like the real world I guess, in Motorsport there's no point in being fastest on a test day if you can't pull it off on raceday). We ended up being ranked right in the middle of the pack, there were a few teams that made it to the end zone.

We initially got 2.8/10, but had our score bumped up to 8/10 due to the issues we encountered and what we showed would have been possible. Normally this doesn't happen, but since a lot of teams put a hell of a lot of effort into the comp and then got some low scores, they allowed us to do this for this year. Don't expect it to happen every year. We also had to keep a moodle log of the project, to show who was contributing and have ideas floating around. A lot of people spoke on fb, which you would then have to copy the conversations over to moodle. They may change the way this is done next year. There is also a peer-assessment component to the whole project, where you rate group members on what they contributed. This is then used to scale the marks of team members, where you can get anywhere from a 0.3 to a 1.1. It's a good idea, but you will still get some slack team members who don't care about the grade they get.

After all of this you will then have to do a big report on the competition, and use some of the CAD of your device to make proper engineering detailed drawings and assembly drawings. This has an individual component and a group work component. Try not to leave this to the last minute either. The submission was due at 1am, but we encountered problems with the computers in the Engineering Comp Labs, and so weren't ready at that time. We ended up going back to one of our team members house at 2am to use his computer (since it could handle just about anything), didn't get home until 4.30 am that morning. You get to make use of the New Horizons building computer labs for the tutorials, we were unlucky, being one of two teams that couldn't fit and so had to do our tutes in the computer lab, (more on the CAD sides of things later).

I should also point out, if you join the FSAE team (Monash Motorsports) or the UAS team (http://www.monashuas.org/ - Builds autonomous planes) then you won't have to do the Warman Competition, but will have your work based around what you do in those teams. They're good teams to join, Monash Motorsports is currently ranked 2nd worldwide (they were first a few months ago!), while the UAS team do a lot more of the aero side of things. I know a fair few mates in UAS, and they do learn a lot more through the team.

Overall, you do learn a hell of a lot from the Warman Competition, but have to sacrifice a lot of energy, time (and money) for it.

CAD and Solidworks
Through the tutes, you learn a bit about using the CAD (Computer Aided Design) program Solidworks, basically making parts and assemblies in a 3d computer environment. You can get a student copy of Solidworks through Monash, which you will be told how to do at the start of the semester. It really is a useful tool, allows you to see some problems before you make the part, which ultimately saves time and money. It simplifies doing engineering drawings, once you have the part cadded up it is a few clicks here and there. I really enjoyed working with Solidworks, but it can have a step learning curve at times. It also takes a decent amount of computing power to run mid-large parts and assemblies. At times the Engineering Computer Lab computers may crash on you or lag like there's no tomorrow (and they're not that bad computers). The computers in the New-Horizons design labs are a lot faster, it may take 30-60 seconds to load Solidworks in the comp labs, where as the New Horizons labs takes about 2-3 seconds.

Towards the end of the semester you'll sit a 3 hr CSWA CAD Exam, which is a computer test designed to see how well you can use Solidworks. You're given a few drawings of parts or assemblies and then have to make them, then you're asked something about the part which you have. So like what is the center of mass or the moment of inertia around a particular axis, which you get from the tools in Solidworks. If you're made the part right you should get the right answer, otherwise it'll be completely off. You need 70% to pass the exam, worth 6% of the unit. A fair few people were getting around 65-69%, from memory we had around 1-4 fail. At the end of it if you do pass you get a CSWA certification which you can put on your resume.
E.g. One of the CAD Tasks we had to do

For us, the in semester work was worth 70%, so the majority of us had passed before we had even sat the exam (it's a nice feeling). The proportional of marks changes each year, but it should be around there. The Exam will be mostly on Detailed Drawings, Assembly Drawings to the Australian Standard AS1100, Casting and Manufacturing Methods. If anything, Detailed drawings will be the most important topic for the exam, so make sure you learn that properly. While it's quite easy to get some marks on these, it's really easy to lose marks on them as well. Small, simple things that you overlook will cost you marks, not putting a border around the drawing, not including the projection system in the Title Block, over-dimensioning the drawing or using too many views to represent something that can be done in less views. You'll need to know how to do this later in industry though, so it's good practice.

EDIT: I'll put the images in spoilers to make the post not as long
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 03:49:53 pm by b^3 »
2012-2016: Aerospace Engineering/Science (Double Major in Applied Mathematics - Monash Uni)

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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #193 on: June 11, 2014, 08:57:56 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH1035 Techniques for Modelling (Advanced)

Workload:  3x1 hour lectures, 1x1 hour tutes and 1x2 hour workshops (however, from next year Simon wants to change this to two hour tutes. This is already in place for MTH2015, which is the follow-on unit)

Assessment:  3 assignments, all 10%. 1 "mid semester test" worth 10%, you'll do it in about week 10 (yeah, 10/12 is about half-way) and finally the exam which was worth 60%. However, this exam will change to 70% from next year (as it will in all maths units. So glad I decided to do a double major...) Note: All assignments and the mid-sem test are material from MTH1030, and 80% of your exam is material from MTH1030. Only 20% of your exam is material from MTH1035.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture for the lectures. Without for the workshops, however Simon will post up the boards, so you can see what was written anyway.

Past exams available:  No, however a sample exam was made available to us.

Textbook Recommendation:  Kutler's linear algebra book, which is mentioned in the notes. It's absolutely FREE. I never used it, but hey, could be good? Also stewart's early transcendental's. I glanced through it, looks alright, not necessary though. It's also available from the library. I have heard it's necessary for MTH2015/MTH2010 if you plan to continue on to that, though, so it's up to you.

Lecturer(s): MTH1035 has two sections - MTH1030 material and MTH1035 material. MTH1030 material is taught in lecturers, my MTH1030 lecturer was Burkard Polster. Famous for being a mathemagician, juggling and lecturing with lightsabers. The MTH1035 lecturer is Simon Teague - famous for always having a coke zero with him (yes, this does include in his 8 am lectures). Burkard is amazing - I don't think it's possible to hate him. Simon's not as well loved, but I quite liked him. Preferences are preferences, so eh.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester 1. Don't let the unit code or the MTH1030 parallels fool you - MTH1035 is ONLY offered in semester 1.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 87 HD

Comments: Before you sign up for this subject, realise this: you are not good at maths. In all seriousness though, the biggest thing I learnt in this unit is that what you got in year 12 does not reflect how you will do at uni. Throughout the year, I was doing much better than people who did way better than me in year 12. If you struggle, this is normal, don't worry - this unit is very different. So, onto the actual course:

Linear Algebra
You start off with brief revision of year twelve - what's a vector, what can you do with a vector. Then you move on to some more things, including the cross-product. You'll look at vector spaces in R^n, even though you'll only do most of your calculations in R^3 and then just do some conceptual things in R^n. After you do this stuff, you'll look at how to make lines and planes, and this stuff is quite possibly the most annoying things you'll ever work with. You'll follow this with systems of linear equations, which is actually just extensions on methods stuff, believe it or not. Next is simple matrix stuff - arithmetic, determinants, inverses, that fun stuff, followed by using matrices to form linear transformations on vectors. You'll then move onto subspaces (generally focusing on R^4 for some reason...) and finally eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Those are funny words, and you won't know what they are until much later, don't worry about that. None of any of this is particularly hard if you do the tute sheets, so do the tute sheets, you'll be fine.

The only stuff you do in 1035 that really sticks out in this section is quaternions and tensors - neither of which ACTUALLY make sense. Simon will tell you which of these are on your exam, so when he tells you, do some reading and do the questions he gives you, and hopefully you'll pick up marks. If you do well on the assignments (which you should), you should be fine.

When I say calculus, it's not calculus like you think calculus from high school. In fact, the elementary functions you remember from high school only really come up in the last week and a half.

You start off thinking about limits - how to compute some basic limits, some more annoying limits, and just sort of what a limit is. In the 1035 workshops, you'll also look at the epsilon-delta definition of a limit. Next up is determinate and indeterminate forms, and how we find an indeterminate form using L'Hopital's Rule. Then, you move on to sequences and series - yes, they're a thing. :P First you find how to work with sequences, then the more important series. You'll learn how to work with some general types - like telescoping, geometric, harmonic, etc. You'll learn how to find if a series converges, diverges, and a bunch of other things. This then leads into one of the bigger types of power series - Taylor series, and its special partner Maclaurin series. This stuff is actually really cool, and can be used to prove Euler's identity (which is how I chose my name :P). After all this series stuff, you finally move on to integration. You'll learn integration by parts, finishing up your integrating techniques repertoire. Then, you'll learn a few more DE solving techniques - seperation of variables, the integrating factor and using eigenvalues to solve second order homogenous DEs, and that's the course.

Not really anything special in 1035 - Simon will tell you what's in the exam for 1035, just expect something hard, and hope you can do it when you get to the exam. I can tell you that for our calculus question, not very many could...
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 05:47:03 pm by EulerFan101 »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #194 on: June 12, 2014, 11:10:30 pm »
Subject Code/Name: LAW2101 - Contract A

Workload: 2 x 1.5 hour lectures per week, 1 hour tutorial per week from week 6-11 (attendance isn't compulsory)

Assessment: 20% Optional written assignment and 80% Exam, OR 100% exam (for those who opt against optional assignment) 

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, chief examiner's lectures are recorded with screen capture.

Past exams available:  Yes, 2011-13 plus a few more older ones

Textbook Recommendation:
  • Principles book: Jeannie Paterson, Andrew Robertson and Arlen Duke, Principles of Contract Law (Lawbook Co/Thomson Reuters, 4th edition, 2012)
  • Case book: Jeannie Paterson, Andrew Robertson and Arlen Duke, Contract: Cases and Materials (Lawbook Co/Thomson Reuters, 12th edition, 2012)
  • You DEFINITELY need both, and they're to be use for both Contract A and Contract B
Lecturer(s): There are different lecturers for each stream and it usually differs slightly every year. Five streams this year: Jennifer Paneth (my lecturer), Emmanuel Laryea (chief examiner), Rowena Cantley-Smith, Lisa Di Marco, Sirko Harder

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2014

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Overall, Contract A has been okay. Being most law students' first proper law unit, it's a bit overwhelming and you'll feel pretty lost for a while towards the beginning. The content itself was mostly quite interesting, although there were weeks where it was extremely dull. This unit covers the following topics:
  • Elements of a contract: Agreement (Offer and Acceptance of contract), Consideration, Intention to Create Legal Relations, Certainty
  • Formalities of contract formation
  • Capacity to enter into a contract
  • Contract terms: Express terms and Implied terms
  • Estoppel
  • Privity
  • Consumer contracts (Unfair Contract Terms and Consumer Guarantees as per Australian Consumer Law)
I can't really 'recommend' this unit since it's compulsory, but thought I'd review it anyway because I know I was definitely looking for subject reviews on this unit when I started uni. So yes, regardless of whether you like it or not, you kinda have to suck it up because it's one of the 'Priestley 11' law units (i.e. it's compulsory so you can't escape it!). Also, there's a second part that you do in Semester 2 (Contract B), for which this is a prerequisite so make sure you pass! :P

DEFINITELY do attend lectures. At times, contracts gets kind of dry but trust me, it's so much more beneficial that you don't turn lazy and just force yourself to attend, because your future self in week 12 + SWOTVAC will really, really thank you (I say this from experience). You could listen to them online but you're probably going to get lazy. Just make your life easier and attend them.

Also, the lectures really come in handy in helping you understand the cases and how they reflect legal principles because this can be difficult at time, so don't miss your lectures!!

It doesn't really matter who your lecturer is, although it IS important that you attend the lectures for YOUR stream, because you need to know what YOUR lecturer wants. I remember stressing because I really wanted to ensure I had the chief examiner, but it honestly doesn't matter. My lecturer, Paneth, was really helpful and she provided a lot of information for us. She'd go through revision questions at the end of each topic and this was SO useful; something you won't get from trying to self-learn the slides at home.

Tutes aren't compulsory so obviously not a lot of people attended. I only attended a few myself and I really regretted it because the tutes were pretty much going through different questions that covered each topic, with the last week's tute being a run-through of a past exam. The tutors are very knowledgeable as well and provide a lot of handy tips so even though you don't have to, I'd recommend that you do go out of your way to attend. It'll be really helpful in the end, because you'll find that you know what you're doing and you've already applied your knowledge through problem questions. Not to mention you can ask for feedback on questions as well.

The exam is out of 100 and goes for 2 hours, plus 30 minutes noting/highlighting at the beginning. Honestly, it's like a race. In order to satisfy the marks you're pretty much writing as fast as you can until the exam finishes. What you should really practice is issue-spotting, which is why the tutes are useful, because you get practice at this and feedback as well. This was the first time they did it for Contract A, but they also had a 20-mark case question. Here, you're pretty much regurgitating the facts, issues and judgments of a select case, chosen out of 100+ odd cases (which, yes, you're expected to have studied/memorized, along with their related principles).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 10:06:10 am by vashappenin »
2013: English, Maths Methods, Further Maths, Legal Studies, HHD, Psychology
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