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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #270 on: December 05, 2014, 04:14:55 am »
Subject Code/Name: ECC2010 - Intermediate Macroeconomics

2 x 1 hour lectures
1 x 1 hour tutorial

Assessment:  (Outline the various assessments which make up the subject and how much each counts for)
5 % Participation, 15 % Mid-semester test, 80 % Final Exam.
Exam was answer 3 of 6 questions. Questions are long response, with an exam duration of 2 hours (so essentially 3 x 40 minute questions)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with/without screen capture
Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:
Yes, last year’s was available, but without solutions. No sample exam was really required as exam questions are in the same style as the tutorial questions.

Textbook Recommendation: Blanchard & Sheen, Macroeconomics 4e. Not really needed, but there were a couple tutorial questions from the textbook. Also, readings for each topic are provided from the textbook.

Michael White (Semester 2)

Didn’t go to any lectures, but he seems to be quite easy to understand. He goes quite slowly which got quite annoying for me.

Year & Semester of completion:
2014, Semester 2


Your Mark/Grade:


Being a core unit for the Bachelor of Economics course and the Economics major, it has quite a sizeable cohort ~160. The course was divided up into 7 topics:

IS-LM Model (Goods and Financial Markets)
WPS Model (Labour Market)
AD-AS Model
Inflation and Unemployment (Phillips Curve)
Monetary Policy and the RBA
The Global Financial Crisis
Public Debates after GFC, the Australian Case

The first 4 weeks covered the first two topics. These topics are quite important and form a basis for the following topics. The mid-semester test covers the first two topics. The test is quite difficult. My tutor, Li Huang (who was a very good tutor), said that the previous year’s fail rate (I’m assuming that means < 50 %) was around 70 % of the cohort, where as it was ‘only’ around 50 % this year. The mid-semester test was in the same style as the tutorial questions and final exam. The final exam only covers the remaining 5 topics, however, understanding of the first two are very necessary.

And here comes my biggest gripe with the unit: exams test memory of theory more than it tests application of the theory. This is more or less true for the first year unit as well (ECC1100), where you are expected to remember then regurgitate all the information from the lectures. Simply answering the question sometimes isn’t enough. It is expected that you will be able to write everything you know about the topic. The upside of this is that ECC2010 has a reasonable tolerance for cramming. You can get away with relying on memory for a reasonable chuck of the content.

I personally did not enjoy this unit very much, but it certainly has some very interesting content. Doing this unit as a first year student, it is definitely a step up in terms of the complexity in the concepts, but quite doable. It is mainly a amendment to the content taught in ECC1100, which you’ll find out to be largely too simplistic, and is replaced with quite different concepts and intuitions. However, as per the rant above about the assessments, I found it a bit enjoyable.

The lecture slides are a mess. They can get hard to follow without watching the lectures as there is a lot of shorthand notes in them. For example, increase/decrease is simply denoted as and change in as . Most parameters were given by their mathematical notation (eg. interest rate = i, unemployment rate = u, output = Y, etc...)
While it’s easy enough to understand, it gets very messy.

Another thing to note is that solutions to the tutorial questions are not uploaded onto Moodle, so it is up to you to turn up to tutorials. Mind you, they are very helpful, and also worth the 5 %. Also, another very important thing to note is that the unit is run differently between Semester 1 and Semester 2, so YMMV during Semester 1.
2014- Economics at Monash


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #271 on: December 07, 2014, 07:19:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAE3402 - Aerospace design project

Workload:  3 x 1hr lectures, 1 x 2hr tutorial (Optional)

Assessment:  50% Design Project (35% Final Report, 10% Concept Report, 5% Presentation), 50% Final Exam

Recorded Lectures: No

Past exams available:  Yes, dating back to 2009 with solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  Library

Lecturer(s): Prof. Hugh Blackburn

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Sem 2

Rating: fuck you team / 5

Your Mark/Grade: 82 HD

As Jinxi mentioned, all the groups were random, lucky for me I was grouped with a friend which meant that 2/9 people were actually working rather than me solo this project. Long story short, 1 person on the team plagiarised last years work (even the layout was the same...), 1 person afked for the first 6/7 weeks, everyone else was decent/ok/trash, Hugh is an asshole and be prepared to lose sleep the week before its due. If you're doing this unit I suggest doing the high priority things yourself (such as weight analysis, CG calculation and constraint analysis) and don't forget, ITS OK TO CRY SOMETIMES!!
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #272 on: December 07, 2014, 07:43:51 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MAE3405 - Flight vehicle propulsion

Workload:  3 x 1hr lectures, 1 x 2hr tutorial (Optional)

3Laboratory work: 30%
Examination: (3 hours) 70%

Recorded Lectures: No

Past exams available:  Yes, dating back to 2009 with no solution

Textbook Recommendation:  Library

Lecturer(s): Associate Professor Damon Honnery

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Sem 2

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 83 HD

One of the hardest and interesting unit in aerospace engineering, as usual I can't comment much on lectures since I never been but Damon doesn't upload any work example written during lectures and those are really helpful for assignments, in short go to lecture or get someone to take notes. The assignments are biweekly, with questions already uploaded on moodle, most of them are from previous exams so if you can do them, you'll be fine in the final exam. That being said, the questions gets impossibly hard initially but once you get use to the method its simple, every question follows the identical method, which is draw up your engine stages and find temperature and pressure at different stages. There's also 1 lab, which is fairly simple, its all excel work but they don't give you the thermal efficiency equation until much later in the unit which is really stupid imo.
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #273 on: December 08, 2014, 08:45:36 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BMS2042 - Human Genetics

  • 3x 1-hr lectures
  • 1x 3-hr lab or small group session

  • 7x 2.5% labs - 17.5%
  • Mapping project/essay - 10%
  • MST - 12.5%
  • 2x 5% small group sessions - 10%
  • Exam - 50%

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Nope. There was a kind-of sample exam for the SAQ component up on Moodle. Best case scenario would be to do the MasteringGenetics exercises on areas you're uncomfortable with.

Textbook Recommendation: The prescribed textbook is Concepts of Genetics 10th Edition by Klug et al. I didn't get it as I couldn't find an acceptably-priced one. If you struggle with some genetics concepts, then it's probably a good idea to get a copy (which I probably should have done).

  • Dr Saw-Hoon Lim
  • A/Prof Coral Warr
  • Dr Richard Burke
  • Dr Caroline Speed
  • Dr Michelle Dunstone

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 2, 2014

Rating: 3.5-4 out of 5


I have mixed feelings about this unit because I haven't really enjoyed "pure" genetics (that is, basic, not-directly medical/clinical genetics theory) in the past, as might be found in VCE biology or early university biology units (such as BIO1011). This is kind of stupid considering one of my majors will be genetics, but c'est la vie - it's not really my choice due to some silly faculty policies regarding my double degree. Unfortunately, a portion of this unit is - understandably, given it starts as an introductory unit - this sort of genetics, incorporating basic cellular and genotype/phenotype principles such as epistasis, population and quantitative genetics etc. etc. My grades during this early part of semester weren't overly great partially because of my shoddy organisational skills and partially because I wasn't really engaged with the material. However, the second half of the unit is pretty much exactly what I wanted the unit to be: a medical/clinical focus on genetics and its impact on cellular and developmental biology (with a huge emphasis on cancer biology) as well as a bit of genetics-based molecular techniques such as gene knockout and model organisms. I enjoyed the second portion of this unit, especially because the assessment switched from labs in the first half that felt somewhat pointless, to more oral-presentation and group-based work (which is my gig, yo).

As usual, my lecture attendance for this unit was fairly poor and this is probably one of the main reasons that I struggled somewhat with early parts of the unit. Essentially ALL assessment in this unit is derived from lectures (which are then consolidated in labs/SGS's), so if I had my time again I'd go to more of them or been more diligent in staying up-to-date with recordings.

I did listen to all the lectures during SWOTVAC/exam period and from what I could tell, the quality of the lecturers and the lectures is very good. Concepts are generally well-explained (the only time I went over recordings multiple times was during Richard Burke's Bayes Analysis lectures, which is fair enough in my (heavily defensive) opinion because that shit's pretty tricky the first few times).

Saw-Hoon is an absolute hero and easily one of the kindest people I've met at university - she spent two hours with me about mid-way through semester going over some assessment where I hadn't done too well and basically getting me back on track with the unit. She takes the first few lectures on introductory genetics, and anyone who's had her as a lecturer in BIO1011/1022 will know that she's a superb and engaging lecturer.

I can't comment too much on A/Prof Warr as lecturer as I only (hastily) listened to her lectures during SWOTVAC. However, her explanations were generally very clear and her material is alright - A/Prof Warr dealt with chromosomal aberration/mutation theory (which I enjoyed) and genetic linkage mapping (which I didn't really enjoy). The second part is very important for the gene mapping project (10% of semester marks), so with the benefit of hindsight I would advise anyone taking this unit to attend these lectures and to do so diligently.

Richard Burke is a great lecturer; his lecture series deals with a pretty wide variety of genetic concepts ranging from quantitative genetics and Bayes Analysis to mitochondrial genetic disorders and behavioural genetics. He also takes some lectures in molecular biological genetic techniques such as DNA fingerprinting and profiling, which is pretty interesting. It was towards the latter part of Dr Burke's lectures that I started to enjoy this unit more, because it was moving away from the "fundamentals" of genetics to more involved, specific and practical areas.

The next set of lectures were taken by Dr Caroline Speed and these were easily my favourite in terms of content. Dr Speed as a lecturer wasn't the best I've had (though not even close to the worst for that matter), but that didn't matter because the content itself was really engaging. I really enjoy medical/clinical developmental and cellular biology, and Dr Speed's lectures focus primarily on cancer and the genetic basis of the disease. This series starts with some introductory lectures on tumour suppressor genes (such as APC etc.), chromosomal translocations and fusion genes (e.g. BCR-ABL) and continues with two lectures consist of an in-depth analysis of colon and breast cancer and the genetic principles behind them (including their origins due to mutations to tumour suppressor genes or (proto-)oncogenes). I'd covered some of this in prior and concurrent DEV units - and thoroughly enjoyed it there - and this was also the case in this unit.

Dr Michelle Dunstone takes the final few lectures on modelling diseases in model organisms and transgenics. I liked these lectures, expect that some parts (mainly the transgenics lecture) felt a bit like a methods paper translated into a lecture. Still, this particular lecture series gets a big thumbs-up from me because it deals with model organisms which are heavily relevant to another of my interests - regenerative medicine.

In-Semester Assessment:
In-semester assessment consisted of 7 labs, 1 SGS on cancer biology and 1 SGS-based oral presentation, a gene linkage mapping project and a mid-sem test. The labs were alright, but I struggled (needlessly, in hindsight) with the latter two. Keeping up-to-date with lectures will make all of these fairly easy.

The labs are as follows:
  • Patterns of Inheritance (this one was non-compulsory and acted as a refresher for people who hadn't done any genetics since school (or ever)).
  • Extensions to Mendelian Inheritance
  • Genetic Linkage Mapping
  • Molecular Mapping
  • Meiosis and Aneuploidy
  • Chromosome Rearrangements
  • Population Genetics and Genetic Risk
None are particularly tricky and you work in groups so it's fairly easy to score really well in these. My only real gripe is at the seemingly unending scoring of Drosophila in a couple of the labs. Unlucky me got a vial of 43 flies (most vials were of around 17 flies) to score and I had anaesthetise those fuckers 4 times before I was done. The resulting microscope headache was pretty intense.

The cancer SGS consists of a set of worksheets to be done before class, which are run through in a SGS with a tutor. I enjoyed the theory behind it, but it was ultimately pointless. Everyone came to class with the correct answers and there wasn't really any need for discussion, so the whole thing took less than 45 minutes (instead of the scheduled 3 hours).

The second pseudo-SGS was an group oral presentation on a model organism you'd chosen earlier in semester. My group chose D. rerio - the zebrafish - which is a pretty awesome animal from a biomedical potential perspective. We were given a week to prepare the presentation which was ample time to put together a high-quality presentation. This was great fun for me (though I might be the only person in the university universe who strongly prefers group-work and oral presentation to any other form of assessment lel).

The mid-sem (which took place in week 9 due to the bullshit timing of the mid-sem break) would have been quite simple... if I'd stayed up to date with lectures (you should be noticing a theme at this point). I didn't do particularly well because of this and it would be unfair for me to complain about it because of it. That said, the consensus seemed to be that there really wasn't enough time allocated for it (55 mins for ~13 pages of short-answer questions and a good deal of associated text in the leaders of questions).

The mapping project was annoying because they deliberately gave little instruction or guidance as to how to approach the mapping of your allocated gene. This was compounded by the fact that they expected you to map your gene in a particular way, and even if you got the right answer/map distance for your gene via an alternative method, they took heavy marks off. No me gusta. Hint: USE TRIHYBRID CROSSES or else. This is an assessment that I'd hope is changed in the future. The fact that we were supposed to adapt our results into an essay was also a bit pointless and irritating given that were weren't actually given anything to write about.

I was dreading the exam as it covered the entirety of the (considerably-sized) course. However the fact that I'd taken the time during SWOTVAC/exam period between exams to go through the entire course again in detail really, really helped. The exam format was 60-ish MCQs and then 19 short-answer questions. This is a tad misleading as the final two "short answer" questions are basically an essay/long-response question.

Given that I'd actually studied for once, the exam was pretty good and not the utter thunderbastard I'd expected it to be. I did use the whole allocated 3 hours (including reviewing the MCQs once), and I'm unsure as to whether this is because the exam was really, really hefty (which is true) or because I was still a bit sucky at some of the theory (which may have been true).

Final comments:
Decent unit, but one where it's important not to be blasé about the work or attendance. The key to doing well in this unit is just that - attending the lectures and taking some notes. In terms of quality this is a pretty good unit, though there are some areas that can definitely be massively improved upon.
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 #274 on: December 13, 2014, 06:39:07 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ASP2062 - Introduction to astrophysics 

The subject has changed this year (2014) so I'd thought I'd upload a more updated review for students.

3 x 1hr lectures and a 2hr lab per week


30% - Computer laboratories (Mix of lab and tutorials)
60% - Exam (Must pass to pass the unit)
10% - Mid semester test (Week 7)
There are no assignments in this subject

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture. However some of the lectures use the projector.

Past exams available:  Yes, a single one from a previous year which was really irrelevant since the course changed this year.

Textbook Recommendation: I believe it was an Introduction to Modern Astrophysics 2ed PNIE . I got a pirated version and still didn't use it (if you want it send me a message). It's not necessary at all as the lectures notes cover everything in great detail.

Duncan Galloway - Takes Black holes and Stellar structure + Evolution
Daniel Price - Takes Star + Planet formation and Galaxies + Cosmology
Alina Donea - Introduction, the Universe and the Sun
Rosemary Mardling - Dynamics

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 semester 2

Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: HD 89


I attended almost all of the lectures for this subject and made sure to catch up on any I missed. I'd highly recommend attending the lectures as they helped a lot with the tutorial assessment and the lectures will generally get to know you since the attendance was around 15 - 20 students.
I enjoyed all of the lectures for this subject but here is just a few comments:
Duncan Galloway - Always had very well made slides that where easy to follow along with in and out of class. He would sometimes use the projector to do practice questions but always inserted these into the notes before uploading which was very helpful if you didn't want to listen to the recording.
Daniel Price - Came with a prepared book of notes and used the electronic tablet to write them out. This sounds boring but it wasn't.... I promise. He goes into great depth of the concepts to ensure you understand them and gives ample examples to concepts. He also enjoys asking a lot of questions in order to have a discussion and creates animations (on the bus) to show in class.   
Alina Donea - Covers the first topic, if you've done any astronomy this part will be a breeze. Just make sure to know Kepler's laws of by heart! She is also a great lecture but be warned that she does have an accent, it is nothing to strong or annoying but I did attend all her lectures so I'm not sure how it sounds on recording.
Rosemary Mardling - Rosemary likes to use the projector and will upload her slides to moodle. My saving grace for Dynamics was that Rosemary handed out a bound book of notes (on first lecture) that covered everything and had examples with answers. It's not that she is a bad lecturer but she tends to waste time and recover things that we just did the last lecture.   

Computer laboratories
Make up a large portion of the assessment at 30%, they are a generally an even mix of tutorials and prac work. The prac work is very simple, just have to use the Linux code they supply, plug it into Linux and answer questions. The tutorials are very helpful , can not stress enough to make sure you understand the answers to the questions and give them a good shot. They are perfect practice for the mid semester test.
Also forgot to mention that the work done in the 2 hrs isn't due till the start of the next weeks lab and the computer room is generally open to be used if you don't finish. This made it really easy to get the work done and written up well to get high marks.

Mid semester test
Only worth 10% but be warned that it can hurt and goes for approximately 40 minutes. The highest score from my year was a 24/34 (I think it was out of 34 but I could be wrong) and I managed a 21. Only 8 students in the whole cohort passed and with scaling to out of 25 still more than half the students still failed. I think this was due to low preparation levels and bad communication between lectures.   
To prep for the test we where given the previous years test, the only problem was that this tests questions weren't relevant to most of our concepts and consisted of about 12 multi. choice and a few short answers. However when we sat our test it was about 6 pages long and each lecturer (for the content we had covered up to week 7) had supplied at least 5 questions each, only Daniel gave a mix of multi. choice and short answer where as the rest where all just short answer. Not surprised that many didn't finish it considering the amount of questions and there difficulty.
So to prepare for the test look at the derivations and practice questions in the lecture notes. These and some tutorial questions will make up the mid semester test.

Went for 3 hrs and is the only hurdle. The exam itself I found quite doable however it was quite long which I expected due to the amount of questions expected to be done in the 40 mid. semester test. The only structure in the exam was that each lecturer had their own section of questions for the exam. Which was generally 2 - 3 pages, some do a mix of multiple choice and short answer questions. But a lot of the exam was just doing derivations from lectures and questions similar to tutorials.
The best prep I can suggest is the same prep and the mid semester test. Re-do the tutorials and go over all derivations and practice questions in the lecture notes.

Final comments
I really did enjoy this unit and would highly recommend it. However be warned that it has changed structure this year so the lectures are still getting used to things and there won't be many (or none if they don't give you my years exam) exams that are relevant to the material. Remember to properly do tutorial questions and go over the derivations from the lectures and you should be fine!
2012: VCE : Specialist, Methods, Chemistry, Physics, English

2013-2015: Bachelor of Science, Monash University Clayton. Major in Astrophysics and Applied Mathematics


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #275 on: December 17, 2014, 01:52:24 am »
Subject Code/Name: BIO1022 - Biology II

Workload: Fortnightly Labs (3 hours), 2 x 1hr Lectures/week

Assessment: 2.5hr MC Exam (45%), Lab Reports, online quizzes, assessment tasks (55%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: No, although there is a super quiz comprised of a large bank of questions (in excess of a few hundred aprrox.), which can be completed an unlimited amount of times, 100 MC per attempt (solutions provided).

Textbook Recommendation:  A recent change to this course this year was the introduction of an online interactive textbook 'Principles of Biology' by Nature, this is essential as online quizzes (5% of assessment) are accessed through this e-book and the answers are obtained throughout the prescribed readings.

Lecturer(s): Numerous. A lecturer from their respective faculty would present for around 2 weeks according to the present topic.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, semester 2.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 86 HD

Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed the diverse range of content presented in the lectures, it really captured my interest in areas of Biology I was previously unaware about. There's a lot of content to know, this is largely due to how the unit is a prerequisite for a wide range of 2nd year units, in which first year students should all be appropriately prepared for. Overall, the lecturers were passionate, had a high degree of knowledge, and were good presenters. If you're more interested in human biology (physiology, homeostasis, development, immunology) you will probably prefer this unit over BIO1011, although many topics are illustrated and contrasted within through examples of various animals and humans.

Possibly due to how this is the most popular unit at Monash (source: unit coordinator), Labs run on a fortnightly basis. Be early and be prepared for these. At the designated starting time, a pre-lab quiz will commence (4 MC), this will contribute to your overall Lab mark for that week. At the commencement of the Lab, students will have a week to complete an assessment which has various formats. The final week of Labs, consists of group oral presentation session, in which you will present to your bay (16 students) on a designated topic, you will have a powerpoint to assist. Personally speaking, I was dissapointed with some aspects of the Lab component, in particular the variation in how the individual assessment was marked, I felt like I lost a lot more marks than I should have for this. Lab reports are submitted online, a very important tip to keep in my mind (especially because many students work on these past midnight, when its due at 10am the following morning), ensure you follow the correct steps in uploading, saving then clicking 'send for marking'. Some students missed the final step in this process, in which no sympathy is given and received no marks for their work. Keep this in mind!

Overall, I would definitely recommend this unit. I found it to be much more engaging, diverse and interesting than 3,4 VCE Biology. I would love to continue studying many areas that were covered in this BIO1011 & 22 but unfortunately in second year its important to narrow your scope. My personal favourite topic covered in this unit was a 2 week course of hormones, reproduction and developmental biology, the lecturer was great too. Remember to study everything covered in this course, don't just concentrate on the areas you think are the most challenging, everything is equally weighted. It occurred to myself and others, that arguably the more challenging topics had the most easiest exam questions! Stay on top of your lecture content, and use many resources to assist your understanding. This unit is rather demanding in my opinion.

There are also optional PASS sessions, this is a peer assisted weekly study session hosted by a high achieving second year student. Great way to meet others and share knowledge around in a collaborative manner. Would recommend attending these.
2014: Bachelor of Science @ Monash Uni, Clayton.
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #276 on: December 20, 2014, 04:05:47 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH3020 - Complex analysis and integral transforms

Workload: 3X1 hour lectures per week, 1 hour of practice tutorial class per week. A fairly involved problem set each week - I would highly recommend completing them all if you want a distinction or above.

Assessment:  3 10% assignments (Fairly easy if you keep up to date), 3 3.3% in class tests going for 25 mins each (very straight forward if you stay up to date)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, all lectures are recorded. For integral transforms, Paul's handwritten work is recorded live on the overhead. For complex analysis, lecture slides are on the overhead and the old fashion projector is used by Greg for writing. These are uploaded to moodle and so you can listen to the audio recordings and follow the slides if you need.

Past exams available:  2 available on Moodle, 1 with comprehensive worked solutions.

Textbook Recommendation:  Schaums Outlines for Laplace Transforms (Can be taken into exam with highlighting allowed), and Saff and Snider introduction to complex analysis for scientists and engineers (Optional, but I would recommend if you want to consolidate lectures further, it's very relevant to the lectures)

Lecturer(s): Greg Markowsky - Complex Analysis (Solid lecturer, I never found his explanations difficult to comprehend and kept me engaged), Paul Cally - Integral Transforms (Also a solid lecturer, great explanations and loved telling stories ever now and then and making funny remarks to keep us engaged).

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 2, 2014

Rating:  5 out of 5

Comments: A really enjoyable unit, challenging however but very rewarding. If you attend all lectures (Which I highly recommend, theres no reason not too, both lectures are great and explain things clearly), complete all problem sets and read through the textbook and Schaums Outlines then you're set for a great mark in this unit.

This unit is technically a pure & applied one, although I'd say its largely just applied. There was 6 questions on the exam and only 1 was a 'pure/proof' style, the rest were simple calculation/evaluation style questions. That being said however, there are a lot of proof questions in the problem sets for the complec analysis part, in fact they are mostly proof questions, and in the lectures there will be a lot of detail in explaining why and how certain theorems and results are derived. That is to say if your a pure guy and worried this will be a boring unit I think you'll find that it has more than enough to keep you interested, and if you an applied guy, while some of the detailed proofs in lectures and tutorials may scare or even bore you, have no fear because the exam will mostly be applied style questions. Also the Integral transforms section is entirely applied, there are no proofs here only application - but this only makes about 1/3 of the course.

The topics covered in Complex Analysis are:
  • Introductory complex numbers and revision of complex algebra (Revision of Specialist maths/MTH1020 complex numbers), all very easy stuff.
  • Complex functions, analytic functions (Functions whose domain is differentiable and defined) and elementary functions (eg. Cos, Cosh, Log etc) with complex variables. Again straight forward - Log is a little tricker in the complex case.
  • Complex Integration - Line/Contour Integrals (similar to real case but the parameterisation is in the complex plane so we use real numbers (Instead of i unit vector) for x direction and imaginary numbers (Instead of j unit vector) for the y direction.
  • Cauchy's Integral Formula and Theorem - Basically neat results of complex analysis related to integration
  • Sequences & Series in the complex case - Taylor series and the more general Laurent Series
  • The Residue Theorem - The most powerful tool in complex analysis, essentially is a super easy way of integrating any complex valued function.
  • Real Integrals using the Residue Theorem - Many integrals that can't be evaluated or are very difficult to evaluate in the real case can be done using complex analysis and the Residue Theorem very neatly.
  • Harmonic Functions and their Applications - This will be some fun for the pure guys.

The topics covered in Integral Transforms are:

  • The Laplace Transform and its properties - Transforms a function of, say, variable t (call it t-space) into a new function of variable s (s-space) which is often a simpler function.
  • The Inverse Laplace Transform - Various techniques of going from the transformed space (s-space) to the original space (t-space). Often involves simplifying then reading the answers from a table.
  • Applications of the Laplace Transform - See how they are highly effective at solving ODE's and certain PDE's as well as some special classes of integral and difference equations.
  • The Fourier Transform and Inverse Transform - Does the exact same thing as the Laplace Transform (transforms a function of t into another function of s, which is often simpler), its just a different integral transform and is applicable in different circumstances.
  • Applications of the Fourier Transform - The Fourier Transform is very good at solving PDE's over the whole real line.
  • The Complex Inversion Formula - This is the most difficult thing you learn in the course, but probably the most interesting. In order to calculate an Inverse Laplace Transform purely by mathematical means (Not reading off a table), you have to use Complex Analysis. It brings everything together quite nicely.
2011:|Further Math (34)|
2012:|Methods CAS (35)|Physics (38)|Specialist Math (35)|English (33)|
2012 ATAR: |91.45|

2013 - 2017: |Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering & Science @ Monash, Clayton|


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #277 on: January 04, 2015, 11:27:14 pm »
Subject Code/Name: SCI1020

Workload: Weekly workshops (2 hours) and 3 lectures once per week.

60% Exam, 10% weekly quiz (take best 10 out of 12), 10% weekly workshop questions, 20% assignments (2 x 5% and 1 x 10%).

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Yes, 2 will be provided. They are almost exactly the exam.

Textbook Recommendation: Forgot what it's called, but you will need it for your work shops and for your exam prep.

Lecturer(s): Dr Dianne Atkinson.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, semester 2.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 95 HD

Comments: If you are a science student, it is mandatory that you complete a first year maths unit to be able to graduate. Many students in science are not good at maths, and are advised to take this unit. Why do I say this? This unit is piss easy maths. When I mean piss easy, I really mean it. You learn how to draw a linear graph. That easy. I'm fairly decent at maths, and I admittedly took it because I knew it was easy, which meant that I had to put in shit all effort.

Lets put it this way, its really easy to do shit, and really easy to do well. For the former, this will happen if you dont do the work, and for the latter, this will happen if you are consistently diligent at completing your assignments to a high standard. If you want to get an HD, take this unit and do all the homework, assignments well. When I mean well, I mean starting 2 weeks before and taking 1 hour of your day for 2 weeks to complete it. Go to Dianne's room and ask for help if you dont know what to do, she is really helpful. REALLY helpful ;). Also, do the quizzes, they are pretty easy and if you study for it before hand you are probably going to get 8-9 out of 10. Which will average out as 85%.

Its the easiest math unit at Monash. But dont be fooled, there is a lot of work in it. Easy, but a lot.


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #278 on: February 15, 2015, 01:47:47 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CHM3990 - Chemistry project

  • Variable - Usually 6-8 hours of lab work per week. Depends on your project
  • You'll also want to start writing your mini-thesis half way through semester, adding an hour or two per week. Gets more hectic later on
  • Oral presentation (15 minutes): 10%
  • Final report (15 page limit): 60%
  • Lab work: 30%

Recorded Lectures:  N/A

Past exams available:  Past sample reports may be available

Textbook Recommendation:  Depends on what project you're working on

Lecturer(s): N/A but I worked under Dr. Andreas Stasch and Dr. Lea Fohlmeister

Year & Semester of completion: 2014 Semester 2

Rating:  6/5

Your Mark/Grade: 86 HD


What is a research unit about?

This unit is designed to give undergraduates a go at real research that goes on in labs. It is aimed at applying your knowledge rather than simply listening to lectures and doing exams.

It is a great way to see what research is like, whether or not you want to continue with it in the future.

Not everyone will like it. A friend or two of mine who did it decided chemistry research isn't for them and won't be doing Honours etc. However, it is worth a try.

What did I do?

My project title was "Synthesis and Reactivity of Novel Phosphinoamide Group I Complexes". I made phosphinoamide complexes using various Group I metals. Then, I tested their reactivity against other ligands such as azobenzene, ketones, ketenes, imines, azides, nitries, etc. It was sort of like trial and error, but someone needs to do it to see if they portray unusual behaviour! Used the standard NMR to see what products I had but I also got my crystals sent off to the Synchrotron to be analysed! Probably the most exciting part of the project, to get a concrete structure of what happened in the test tube. And oh boy were there some wacky results.

So what is research like?

At the start, it is scary. Of course it is scary. You're doing real science. You're using dangerous equipment and chemicals. You're scared that if you screw up, you'll be sent to a dungeon where failed scientists are kept.

You'll soon realise that your supervisors are always around to help you. They'll guide you through all the things you'll do for at least 2 weeks. Then you'll get the hang of it and be absolutely fine! My supervisor worked on the bench beside me and was always open to stupid questions, not always related to chemistry.

I was very lucky to have a good group though. On the rare occasion, you might not have a good group (research this before you get into a group!). My friend had a not-so-good group and hated the whole experience.


The final report has a page limit of 15 pages, excluding bibliography and experimental section. This isn't too daunting, you'll realise at the end of semester. However, be prepared to have whole chunks of text crossed out by your supervisor and then feel like a waste of oxygen. However, mine left extremely helpful comments. Eternally glad.

There is an oral presentation too. Our cohort was big so we had two separate sessions. You give it in front of the other students and their lab teams. It wasn't too bad, in hindsight. If anyone wants my presentation (which I was thoroughly proud of :3 ) I can provide on demand. The question grilling section can be tough though. I couldn't answer Phil Andrew's questions :(

Be diligent in your labwork, be tidy, record everything in your book, ask questions and you'll get the 30% free.

Final words

Should you do a research unit? If you have the goal of doing Honours, PhD etc, then definitely. I've done two of these and feel very confident going into Honours now.
Should you do it just to see how it is? Yes! Firstly, most people get HD for this unit. It is just a fact. Usually people enjoy what they work on and put in good effort. Secondly, it is a great experience. You'll be working with people at the cutting edge of science. You'll hear about the life of scientists, whether they're at the Synchrotron at 4am or at conference for 4 days in a row, or how the Faculty won't repair their machines. It is interesting. But yea. Do it. :)

Be sure to check out the review on CHM2990 for more rambling. There was a lot more I could've said but it has been about 4 months now!


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #279 on: February 15, 2015, 02:19:42 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ATS1835 - Time, Self, and Mind (Summer Unit)

Workload:  2 x Weekly lectures (accessed via MULO if you're taking the subject via distance)
1 x Weekly tutes (there are no tutes for summer units, but you'll have one tute a week if you do it during the regular semester).

5% Assessment Task (2 or 3 questions).
10% Assessment Task (2 or 3 questions).
15% Assessment Task (2 or 3 questions).
30% Essay task.
40% Exam.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  There's a sample exam, more on that in the 'comments' section.

Textbook Recommendation:  ATS1835 Reader. Absolutely necessary.

Lecturer(s): I think Paul Silva or Sam Butchart take the lectures. I'm not sure - I listened to two lectures and Paul/Sam took one each out of the ones I listened to. They probably share it each semester. I know Paul has been doing it the last few semesters from talking to him in Ethics class.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014-2015 Summer semester.

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Dunno yet.


So, the exam is pretty generous. It's 20 multiple choice questions, and 2 short answer questions. The multi choice section is worth 40%, and each short answer question is worth 30%.

There's a sample exam where they give you 15 multi-choice questions (something like 12 of which appeared on the actual exam), and they give you like 12 short-answer questions, 3 of which are guaranteed to appear on the exam, and 2 of which you're supposed to answer.

So essentially, if you're taking this unit as a first year and you keep up with your readings, the exam should be really easy. If you're taking this as a third year philosophy student, you'll be able to cram it over a weekend because a lot of the concepts have already cropped up in other units.

The unit is split into five sections: time travel, logic, the 'mind', the 'self', and 'knowledge. So basically, the unit is made up of logic, metaphysics and epistemology. I already took a unit on logic, but if you haven't done that unit, that section might take a bit to grasp and would recommend reading twice and taking notes on it, just because it's hard to feel how 'definitive' it is when you just read through it. Otherwise, all the other sections raised pretty cool conceptual questions.

As far as being a summer unit - the support was pretty good. The staff are pretty good with email responses and normally have a really quick turnaround, and your assessments get marked insanely fast, too. Also, when taking the unit by distance, you get a chance to nominate what mark you'd like up to a distinction, and if you achieve lower than that mark you get a 'reattempt' after reading feedback, which means that you can essentially guarantee yourself at least a distinction if you focus on the unit.

It kind of went by in a bit of a blur over summer and so my mind is really scattered - if you have any questions about the unit feel free to message me so I can make additions to this section and give a more comprehensive review.
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #280 on: February 22, 2015, 08:06:54 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ATS1873 – Introduction to International Relations

Workload:  1 2hr Lecture, 1 1hr Tute

  • Assignment 1 (The Causes of War) – This is a diagnostic assessment more than anything else, to figure out any weaknesses in your writing before the major essay. The main lecturer for this unit, Ben Wellings, is something of a European history expert - in fact, in week two I was watching The Project and got a shock when I saw him being interviewed for the then upcoming centenary of World War I. He wrote up this first assignment to be relevent to the upcoming anniversary, and it felt more like a history assignment than anything else. It was very opinion based, as a sound argument for either side of the question could be made (which of the causes of war - chance occurrences and war-conducive mechanisms - was most significant in bringing about conflict in 1914), but I suppose that's the point of a diagnostic essay. It was a little dull, and seemed very different to every other in-semester assessment piece, but once I realised how central conflict is to the study of IR, it made a lot more sense.
  • Assignment 2 (Research exercises 1 & 2) – This is (literally) a free 10%. As in, Ben and my tutor both emphasised that there was no trick to this, just answer the questions and you will get 100%. All you have to do is fill in your details, list some sources you may or may not use for your essay, describe a contention that you may or may not end up using, and sketch an essay plan.
  • Assignment 3 (Essay) – You get to choose from 6 topics which each relate to topics from previous weeks. It’s 1500 words and fairly straightforward – I picked the question on humanitarian intervention because it intersected perfectly with Human Rights Theory 2. The questions were: “Has the nature of war changed since 1945, and if so how?”, “How has asylum seeker policy affected Australo-Indonesian relations since 1999?”, “How might the operation of the global political economy affect men and women differently?” “Does humanitarian intervention protect human rights?” “Should every nation have its own state?” “What is global about ‘global terrorism’?”
  • Exam – This was pretty bad. All told, I didn’t do terrible on it, but information about the exam was very poorly communicated. It was fairly clear that the tutors weren’t totally sure how to explain what to study for without giving away the game, and sometimes the information on moodle contradicted the information taken from tutes and lectures. This was Ben’s first time administering the unit, and he was trying to restructure and improve the exam to balance the quantity of IR theory knowledge and IR practice knowledge. I had a study group that went over all the information we had relating to the exam and we built a little study document out of it – none of us were totally clear on what we ought to be studying, and the exam was pretty different to our expectations. A lot of the confusion came from the lack of clarity on what the distinction between “IR as a theory” and “IR as a discipline” was. I was a bit resentful to it, but I learnt a lot about IR theory coming up to the exam, and I suppose if I was at any disadvantage, so was everybody else.

Recorded Lectures:  Yep, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yeah, dating back to the '90s, I believe, but they look nothing like the exam from 2014 onwards.

Textbook Recommendation:  You need to get your hands on a copy of “An Introduction to International Relations”, Devetak et al., 2nd edition.

Lecturer(s): Dr. Ben Wellings, with guest lecturers Dr. Remy Davison, Dr. Anne McNevin and Dr. Swati Parashar.

Year & Semester of completion: 2014, Semester 2

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 79


A few things have changed just since 2013 (mostly in terms of assessment), and since this is now a first semester unit and jaffys will be piling in soon, I thought I might as well write up a second opinion review on Intro to IR.

This is your standard “big picture” first year unit. Each week touches on a different topic in International Relations, ranging from poverty, refugees and humanitarian intervention, to global governance, human rights, globalisation and international political economy, to critical and prescriptive theories of International Relations, and back around to war, arms control, terrorism and security studies.

The unit starts off with a look at what present day International Relations consists of (remember kids: International Relations is the study of international relations). You get a very broad overview of the four subdivisions of IR: “Foreign Policy Analysis”, “International Security Studies”, “Global Governance” and “International Political Economy”, each of which is available to study as a second and third year unit. You’re also provided with an equally broad overview of the most prominent theories in IR: realism, liberalism and constructivism, as well as the critical turn (Marxist, Feminist and Postmodern perspectives on contemporary IR issues). The present historical context of IR is then introduced by way of showing what era we’ve just emerged from – Cold War bipolarity (two great powers: the US and Russia) - contrasted with 21st century unipolarity (one great power: the US). If you’re not interested in the Cold War, I would suggest getting yourself interested in it ASAP, because it is absolutely pivotal to all contemporary discussions in IR. History has always bored me, and I’ve always been crap at geography. But just like a good historian needs to have good geographic intuition (think of a country -> have a good idea about what countries border it), a good IR student needs to have good historical intuition (think of a point in history -> have a good idea of what was going on around that time, and where), because IR is a social science - meaning it’s not really a science, but it likes to dress up like one. Your experiment is the entirety of world history, all evidence for this subject comes from the past, and considering everything from the ancient Greeks to the Libyan intervention is fair game, the more knowledge of history you have, the more compelling an argument you can make - in an essay, in a tute or in a pub argument. The Cold War was utterly unprecedented in world history, and seemed to defy the expectations of conventional accounts of international relations. The way it ended in 1991 was even more exotic and theoretically inexplicable as an historical event. The study of IR has had to adapt to these occurrences with new theories and accounts of the way the world is. So it will pay to give it your full attention early in the unit, because it won't seem too important at a first encounter.

From here on out, as above, the unit just meanders through the academic environment of modern IR scholarship. You get a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things, just enough for you to figure out what turns you on and what doesn’t. If you were keen on the weeks on human rights, IPE and security studies, well, good news! You can study them all in much more depth in later years. And if you found the weeks on development or globalisation boring, you neve have to study them again. Unless they’re a cornerstone. In which case, it sucks to be you. Indonesia also came up a fair bit, particularly in tutes, which was actually quite interesting as a repeat case study in diplomacy, refugees and terrorism.

The last week comes back with a somewhat more comprehensive re-introduction to IR theory, the idea presumably being that you’ll appreciate it more having spent 12 weeks being exposed to nearly everything there is to be studied. It was a good way to round off the unit, seeing as how the only absolutely necessary retained knowledge for future units are the tools of analysis in IR  ::)

The unit didn’t suffer too badly from any administrative or organisational faults, and they were, in fact, so minor that only a stressed out pre-exams student would have taken note of them. It can only run more smoothly in 2015 and beyond, so in that sense I certainly think this is a good unit.

That said, I don’t know if I’d recommend this unit to someone looking for an elective that will give them a keener perspective on the way the world around them works. The two Contemporary Worlds units do a good job at that. I loved this unit, but I also love this subject. This is more of a unit tailored for someone looking to major in IR. So in that sense I suppose I’m not really recommending it to anyone but people looking already to major in IR – and if you are majoring in IR, this is a gateway unit. So I guess I’m not recommending it to anyone at all lmao
« Last Edit: July 15, 2015, 04:46:31 pm by achre »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #281 on: May 23, 2015, 08:02:35 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CHM2911 - Synthetic Chemistry

  • 3*1 hour lectures
  • 1*4 hour lab (usually only takes around 3 hours)
  • 1*1 hour tutorial

  • Lab reports (30%)
  • In-tutorial tests (4*2.5%=10%, one for each topic)
  • Online Activities (OLAs) (2*5%=10%, one for organic, one for inorganic)
  • Examination (50%)

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available: Yes, two mock exams were provided.

Textbook Recommendation: There's 4 recommended texts. I borrowed them all from the library, and I don't even remember what they were called. *Definitely* not needed unless you plan on going on further into organic chemistry (even then, only the main one was recommended by Kellie, who lectures CHM3922). The textbook for inorganic was not commented on.

Lecturer(s): Where there's two lecturers, the first lecturer is the one I had.
  • Kellie Tuck (Organic Chemistry I)
  • Philip Chan/Brenden Wilkinson (Organic Chemistry II)
  • Tina Overton (Coordination Chemistry)
  • Tina Overton/Cameron Jones (Organometallic Chemistry)

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 84 HD

Comments: Before I begin this review, I'd like it noted that the unit is currently undergoing a lot of changes. Even if you take the unit next year, a lot of what I've written might be changed.

This unit is a fairly standard chemistry unit, and required if you plan on majoring in Chemistry (whilst not specifically stated in the handbook, you *have* to do CHM2911 to be able to do enough third units for a major. This doesn't reflect on CHM2922, though). Essentially, it looks at two forms of synthesis - synthesis with organic reagents, and synthesis with inorganic reagents. The tests are nice and chill, and done in groups. The OLAs are quite different, and this year our first one was an informal lab report (i.e, 7 questions and a conclusion) which helped you learn how to use chem draw (a software to draw molecules and display them in 3D), the second one being the use of peerwise, which is a website based around writing and answering questions on a given topic. The first OLA required drawing molecules given by the demonstrator, and the second required you to write x amount of questions, answer y amount of questions and give feedback on z amount of questions. Both were fairly easy, given you put some effort into it.

Organic Chemistry I
This topic was, essentially, a refresher of the first half of CHM1022/1052, with a couple extra things. You're reminded of functional groups, resonance, carbocation stability, how to draw mechanisms and hybridisation, as well as further going through NMR, looking at some more complicated molecules (this essentially just means looking beyond the "n+1" rule, and instead considering coupling and coupling constants). After that, you go over some common mechanisms, which is all the new content offered by this topic.

The labs are very nice for this topic - it's essentially the only topic with 3 labs (the rest only have 2), as there's an NMR workshop which correlates directly with content from the second lecture. Granted, the NMR workshop is quite general, and was useful in topic 1, 2 and 4 labs. The second prac was a simple one in that you had to analyse the components of a drug "panacetin" and decide if it was safe to put on the market, which taught a lot of separation techniques. The third prac was quite a mess, but it was easy-going in that there wasn't a lot to do. It also taught the use of gas chromatography.

All in all, this topic is a nice, slow, introduction that I enjoyed (but I may be biased because Kellie is an AMAZING lecturer), which is quite unfortunate given what follows...

Organic Chemistry II
This topic is absolutely crazy. And by absolutely crazy, I'm currently looking at the lecture notes to figure out what we actually DID, because I just remember it as an onslaught of mechanisms. Thankfully, Phil was a very level-headed lecturer, and managed to take us through nice and slowly and did a fairly good job of making sense of it. The real difficulty is the notes - assumedly, Brenden wrote the notes the best he could, but it is an awful topic to have to write them for. To honestly do well in this section of the unit, you'll need to be proactive. Figure out *exactly* what's being taught that lecture before you go in, and make sure to keep an eye on it, because otherwise you *will* get lost in the many, many mechanisms.

Thankfully, the labs aren't as crazy. Sure, the mechanisms suck, but all the pracs are quite well known, and so simply googling the mechanism you're after will give it to you. Also, in all the labs the demonstrators will give you quite a bit of hints towards what the mechanisms are (particularly if you did the labs before covering the content, like I did). I don't remember much of them (since these were the first labs I did), however I don't remember them being particularly hard. (minus the first one just not working for me, and both the demonstrator and lab tech had no idea why. It was kinda funny, tbh)

Coordination Chemistry
This topic was quite similar to CHM1022/1052, as with the first topic. Also like the first topic, it essentially focuses on what make a compound stable, but this time with a focus on metal complexes. Fan favourites such as crystal field theory return, but unlike last time which was essentially just learning how to name these complexes and what CFT for octahedral complexes was, we dive quite a bit deeper. The topic is a lot really fast, but unlike in topic 2, Tina has laid out the full topic quite systematically, and you can tell very easily what you're covering at the time, and after that figure out how it correlates with previous topics. This section is definitely the best taught, so if you hate the unit after about topic 2, hold out for this part.

The labs were also absolutely amazing - very easy, very dealable, and I finished both in about 2 hours (which is *insane* given the labs are booked for 4). In fact, the first lab me and my partner stuffed up our titration (meaning we had to start from scratch), and *still* finished incredibly early. The first of these labs was a simple "we're going to bond our metal to glycine and see what happens", with no real goal other than just swapping some ligands. The second one there was an actual focus on making a complex, though, and examining the differences between this complex and its cis-isomer.

Organometallic Chemistry
This topic is it - the joining of all that is good and pure in the world of chemistry (ehhh, not really). Essentially, this unit just focuses on the special case of when your metal complex is coordinated to organic ligands (more specifically, metal-carbon bonds). The first lecture is essentially all about defining the topic, though, because organometallic concepts can be readily applied to ligands that aren't organic (eg, PX3), but there are some organic ligands that we don't consider (eg, ethylenediamine). This unit is essentially just focused on the specific reactions that organometallic compounds undergo, as well as judging stability by the 18 electron rule. There's also a point on "hapticity", as some ligands can delocalise their pi-electrons to bond at multiple sites (and hence donate more electrons to the metal centre). After this, there's a big look at the use of organometallic compounds for catalysis, as this is was a major contributor to research in the area.

These labs weren't as nice as those for coordination chemistry, but still quite good. The first lab was fairly standard, although you learned a new technique in column chromatography which was kinda weird (also fairly sure it gave me super bogus results because I didn't know what I was doing, but eh), and the second one consisted of about 1.5 hours sitting around waiting for the reaction to happen. Both labs finished in about 2.5 hours, really stressing how much of the second lab was spent on sitting around doing nothing.

Overall, a very good unit, and even if you only want a minor in chem, I suggest taking it (unless you have a special calling for another two units or something, like a friend of mine who's majoring in geo. He suggests taking water and analytical chem as opposed to synthesis)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 07:02:27 pm by EulerFan101 »
Currently Undertaking: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Supramolecular Photochemistry (things that don't bond but they do and glow pretty colours)

Previous Study:
Bachelor of Science Advanced (Research) - Monash University, majoring in Mathematical Statistics and Chemistry
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #282 on: May 23, 2015, 10:40:37 pm »
Subject Code/Name: SCI2015 - Scientific Practice and Communication

  • 1*2 hour lecture (which is advertised as 2 one hour lectures, but more on that later)
  • 1*2 hour workshop

  • Research Project (50%) (broken up into 5 parts): proposal (5%), annotated bibliography (5%), draft (0%), poster presentation (10%), literature review (30%)
  • Interview with a Scientist (0%)
  • Peer Review (5%)
  • Journal Club (5%)
  • Blog (10%)
  • Examination (30%)

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: No, but there are some online quizzes which seem similar enough.

Textbook Recommendation: There's a couple of recommended books which, after a quick look through, contain essentially no similarities whatsoever to the lecture content.

  • Roslyn Gleadow (SCI2010 Lecturer)
  • Melissa Honeydew (SCI2015 Tutor)

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 83 HD

Comments: There is no way to put this nicely - I hated this unit. There are a lot of things in it that, IMHO, just don't hold up, and need refinements. Not to say that the content isn't valid, it just needs a look through by some other scientists. I will note that most of my issues with this unit are extremely micromanaging, but there is one massive one, which you need to be aware of before you take this unit:

It is run by the school of biological sciences. In fact, let me write it again:

SCI2015 (and SCI2010), the only core science unit, is run by the school of biological sciences. I don't mean this in a sense of "the unit has to go somewhere, so that's where it goes". I mean this in a sense of almost all examples relate to biology (with *some*, and I mean very few because I saw 1 maths example, 0 physics, 1 geoscience, maybe 2 chemistry [both of which I don't remember, but I swear they were there...], and 1 psychology, from other disciplines), the lecturer is from the school of biological sciences, all of the tutors are from the school of biological sciences, and also I basically did not understand any of the analogies because they assumed I knew what biology is (note: the last time I formally studied biology was in year 7). On top of this, according to their pseudoscience model, things like maths, theoretical physics and all things quantum (including atomic models) aren't science, and the only ethical issue we'll ever see is when it relates to animals or humans. This is really the *BIGGEST* downfall of the unit.

Otherwise, the unit can be re-classified as "common sense for scientists". You'll most likely learn something new throughout the unit, but if you've done a fair bit of science (as opposed to just "I liked this in high school, let's see where I can go with it", which is certainly a valid path) expect to be able to count the new things on one hand.

The unit can be broken into three themes, which you study alongside the SCI2010 cohort, so feel free to check one of those reviews for that part. The first theme is scientific practice/communication - how do we "do" science, and how should this be communicated? Including the review process of sciencetific writing. The second theme is pseudoscience - what is science, what isn't science and what makes this science good or bad? Not much to it, really. The final theme is ethics, which is just about what kind of testing is ethical and what kind of testing isn't. Importantly, Ros likes to say that each lecture is separate (despite being in one 2 hour block), however the one time I had to miss a lecture (due to having a mid-sem at the same time), the lecture afterwards constantly referenced the lecture beforehand. So, beware of that.

Also new to this year, every fourth week, the SCI2010 cohort had an online test, and the SCI2015 cohort got to hear from scientists in what they do now. Week 4 we heard from a climate scientist at Monash talk about global warming, week 8 we heard from a geneticist (I think... could've been any profession >.>;), also from Monash, about dengue fever. Next week (as I'm writing this in week 11), though, we will be hearing from someone who works at Catalyst. So, there are a few non-Monash picks among the mix (having said that, I got something great from both of the other presenters).

Now, for the part that makes this unit special - the "advanced".

Essentially, the only real difference between the two, is the assessment. The material in both units is dry, but the assessments in SCI2015 is 50x better. The first assignment, the lit review, is common to both. But, in SCI2015, you get to pick your topic (whereas the topics in SCI2010 are chosen from a batch of last semester's SCI2015 group), and spend more time on it (and it's understandably worth more as a result). This is a really good thing, because our lit review is a little more broken up mark-wise, but also the only part of the unit worth doing. My advice: don't pick a maths or physics project, because no one will understand it since most science students hate physics/maths (quite upsettedly...), but also because your tutor probably won't understand it. (granted, Mel actually is the most amazing tutor ever, and made an extra effort to make those who picked maths/physics topics more welcome in the group) As an example, I love statistics and would've done my lit review on Markov processes in a second, but chose to do metal-organic frameworks (chemistry topic) because I knew it was the only way for anyone to understand me.

Topics aside, the lit review can be broken down into 5 parts - the first is the proposal, where you present your broad topic to the class. Your annotated bibliography, which you narrow down your topic, write an introduction about it, and comment on 4 articles you'll later include in your review. Your draft, which should be close to the completed product. The draft isn't marked, but is used for assignment 3, so you have to submit it. Your poster, which you once again present to the class, but this is after you've done quite a bit of research, so your now presenting the results of your research as opposed to introducing it to everyone. And then, finally, the actual lit review.

The rest of your assignments are - of course - much smaller. The second is an "interview with a scientist". Basically, find a scientist, ask them what they do for a living, then tell your workshop about them. They can work anywhere, they just need to be currently in research - my group interviewed one of the pharmaceutical researchers at Parkville campus, another group interviewed a PhD graduate who is now teaching at a high school (but looking to enter academia).

The third assignment is a "peer review" - this time, you'll write a peer review based on the lit review draft given by one of your peers. You'll also get the feedback from whoever got your draft, which you can then incorporate in your review, so it's a very good system. Your draft won't be marked, but you are assessed on who good your peer review is.

The fourth assignment is "journal club" - basically, you find an article, and then present its findings to the class. You should pick one that's both fun for you, understandable by everyone else, but also funny in its own way. For example, I picked the "mean time until absorption for the asymmetric gambler's ruin problem with ties allowed". It sounds really "blegh", but it's an article that takes a simple game (which I did play with my class), and figures out how long, on average, you'll play the game until it stops. It's super fun for me, really playing with some cool stochastic processes, understandable by everyone (which says A LOT considering it's a maths paper), particularly when I found links to how it can be used to model cancer cells, but also funny in its own way (I mean, c'mon, it's an article about gambling.)

The fifth assignment, the one you'll keep forgetting is there until you do it, is the blog. In the blog, you have to make posts about the lecture content, and expand on it. I made posts about what ethics means for a computer scientist (based, obviously, on the lack of non-living-things ethics presented in lectures), the parallel postulate (a maths problem, based on a comment in lectures about how you always need two premises before making a theory [in this case, FIVE premises were needed before any comment could be made]), why MatPat from game theory is the best scientist (relating to communication and pseudoscience, exploring how "non-conventional" science doesn't mean "psuedoscience") and similar topics. It's also made a good outlet, my year has discovered, to really point out the pitfalls in some of the content in the unit (the first post and comments on the last post pointing out some of the inconsistencies in the unit).

The final verdict?
If you've never done any science before, but want to know how science works, SCI2010 is a good unit, but this one isn't for you.
If you know anything about science and don't have to do this unit, avoid it like the plague.
If you *have* to do this or SCI2010 (aka, are studying science), pick this unit - both suck, but this one has a much better assessment structure, and your main point of contact (the tutor, aka Mel) is absolutely fantastic.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 07:01:53 pm by EulerFan101 »
Currently Undertaking: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Supramolecular Photochemistry (things that don't bond but they do and glow pretty colours)

Previous Study:
Bachelor of Science Advanced (Research) - Monash University, majoring in Mathematical Statistics and Chemistry
Something in VCE, shit was too long ago to remember


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #283 on: June 01, 2015, 12:03:00 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH2025 - Linear Algebra (Advanced)

  • 3*1hr lecture
  • 1*2hr tutorial
  • 1*1hr workshop

  • Assignments (20%)
  • Tests (10%)
  • Examination (70%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, 2 for 2021 and 1 for 2025.

Textbook Recommendation:  Some book by Anton and Torres. You definitely don't need it.

Lecturer(s): Tim Garoni

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 81 HD

Comments: This is the first time the unit run, so we could be seeing some massive changes in future years. The unit itself runs very similarly to 2021 content, and so feel free to look through those reviews as well. Importantly, this unit doesn't run like the advanced equivalents 2015 and 1035 where you learn a bunch of new content to support what you're currently doing - instead, 2021 teases some proofs and information, and then 2025 properly goes through them. So, if you're interested in pure maths, 2025 is the unit for you. Unfortunately, the content done in 2025 doesn't extend to applications, but they're of course still assessable since you're also doing 2021.

As for 2021 material, it's fairly standard, really. I'm not going to go into it, just look at other reviews/the handbook - I don't really have anything to add. However, a lot of people *do* say that the unit is "quite pure". I disagree - the unit is certainly rigorous, and is most likely the first rigorous maths unit you will take, but a lot of the stuff covered is quite general, and anything that's very "pure maths" (such as inner products or eigenspaces) is offset by an application of some sort, and this unit is very good in that it dabbles in everything. You see some applications in discrete maths, solving DEs, and even some statistics stuff.

The 2025 material essentially just goes through all the proofs you missed in 2021, with only two new additions in content. You learn about some group theory (just for fun, I guess? Essentially to show that matrix multiplication forms a group), and more importantly permutation matrices, Leibniz formula for calculating determinants and dual spaces. The last three bits are used to make their own little additions (show some nice things about them, how they work, etc.), but are required for some of the proofs missed in 2021. You are of course expected to use these by themselves, but otherwise they're just tag-along to make everything more rigorous.

Tl;dr, this is just like MTH2021, but with more rigour.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 07:02:43 pm by EulerFan101 »
Currently Undertaking: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Supramolecular Photochemistry (things that don't bond but they do and glow pretty colours)

Previous Study:
Bachelor of Science Advanced (Research) - Monash University, majoring in Mathematical Statistics and Chemistry
Something in VCE, shit was too long ago to remember


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #284 on: June 01, 2015, 01:01:16 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH3241 - Random Processes in the Sciences and Engineering

  • 3*1hr lectures
  • 1*2hr tutorial

  • Homework Sheets (best 8/10 only) (12% all up)
  • Assignments (3*4%)
  • Mid-semester Test (6%)
  • Examination (70%)

Recorded Lectures: Yes, with screen capture and blackboard recording

Past exams available: Yes, 2 plus another Kais goes through.

Textbook Recommendation: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, more than nothing. They're all silly (as Kais will outline fairly quickly).

Lecturer(s): Kais Hamza

Year & Semester of completion:

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 85 HD

Comments: This is my favourite unit I've done so far - even better than MTH2232 for those who read that review. Before I go over each section, though, I will mention that the unit isn't quite named appropriately - it *is* a unit on stochastic processes, but little attention is made to applications in the sciences or engineering. A couple sections mention them (namely continuous-time Markov Chains and Branching Processes) and sometimes a modelling question comes up, but otherwise you don't see it much. Now, for the section-by-section review:

1. Stochastic Processes
This is a rather funnily titled topic since the whole unit is based in stochastic processes - but, eh. In particular, the topic focuses on Bernoulli processes and Poisson processes, and then the general arrival process. Not really too much to say if you don't know about arrival processes, so let's move on:

2. Discrete-Time Markov Chains
Now, we get into the bulk of the unit - I say "bulk", because with the exception of Martingales (topic 6, last week), everything from here on out are Markov Processes. The first of these is the discrete-time Markov chain, which you may or may not have seen in VCE methods. Essentially, assume someone sits on a graph, and moves between vertices with a probability p_{ij}, which is the probability of moving from "state" i to "state" j. From here, you look into how to decompose these graphs into several states, and then what happens in the long-term of the process.

3. Continuous-time Markov Chains
This is simply the continuous time analogue of the above topic, and the transition is quite nice. The discrete case assumes that after some time t, a step is made - and if no step is made, then a self-transition occurs. Instead of checking the state every t period of time (say, each day), the continuous analogue instead says that a step is made after some exponentially distributed amount of time. This then creates a few more things to play with, and then the long-term distribution is considered. Interestingly, all continuous-time Markov chains have a "steady-state distribution", even though not all discrete-time chains do. MLEs (Maximum Likelihood Estimators) also make a brief appearance at the end, for practically no reason whatsoever (they were in our last assignment, though).

4. Branching Processes
Now we see Kais' excuse to teach us about probability generating functions. The branching process seems a bit strange at first, and even now is slightly wedged in, but it still has the Markov property and is quite fun. This is possibly my favourite of the 6 topics, and is introduced through some history of "how long does it take for a family name to disappear?" You consider the idea of if something can disappear forever (that is, the probability of "ultimate extinction"), and then the mean time until this "ultimate extinction".

5. Simple Random Walks
Aaaaand we're back to Markov jump processes. This is essentially just like discrete Markov chains, but instead of a finite amount of states, it's now an infinite amount of states. Not much new, really - but instead of steady-state distributions, you instead look at the probability of "infinitely returning" to one place, since you can't have a steady-state because you can always move forwards and backwards to infinity. Moving on.

6. Martingales
If you plan on doing MTH3251 whilst doing MTH3241/or have already done it, this section will be quite easy for you. Otherwise, it's just an introduction to Martingales, nothing too crazy, just how to make something a Martingale and some properties of them (also the definition to what a Martingale is, obviously)

In summary, fantastic unit - even if you don't want to pursue statistics, definitely do it if you can fit it and don't know what else to do.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 07:02:58 pm by EulerFan101 »
Currently Undertaking: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Supramolecular Photochemistry (things that don't bond but they do and glow pretty colours)

Previous Study:
Bachelor of Science Advanced (Research) - Monash University, majoring in Mathematical Statistics and Chemistry
Something in VCE, shit was too long ago to remember