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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #300 on: July 13, 2015, 03:02:06 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ENG1001 - Engineering design: lighter, faster, stronger

Workload:  1x 2h lecture, 1x 3h practical

Project 1- 18%: This project was my favourite of the two, and was a challenge to work in groups of four to build an 85 cm long bridge that could hold a weight of up to 950g, that was constructed entirely out of spaghetti.Marks were awarded for speed of construction (the fastest team getting full marks in this category, and everyone else being assigned marks based on the ratio of their construction time to the fastest), and the failure load to weight ratio of the bridge (again, marks being given as a ratio like with the construction time), making this project more of a competition. We also had to write a detailed report about our design process, and provide calculations demonstrating where, and at what load the bridge will fail. Marks were distributed so that it is possible to still pass the project on the report section alone (just in case your bridge sucked).

Project 2- 18%: This project was similar to the first, except our task was to modify a meccano style trebuchet so it would consistently knock over a stack of cups from a distance of 4, 8, and a mystery distance in between, again, with marks being awarded based on the ratio between the best team's score, and yours. Like before, documentation and testing data had to be provided, and marks were distributed so that it is possible to pass the project on the documentation alone (just in case your trebuchet sucked)

Tensile test report- 4%: This was a report addressing 6 questions in regards to aluminium sample testing, mainly focussing on basic materials science principals, and the impact of different treatments on the samples. I found it to be pretty dry.

Materials selection report- 4%: This was a report that focussed on selecting the ideal material and dimensions for a bridge of set length that would have to be able to carry a given range of loads, focussing not only on the properties of the potential materials, but also on the cost, ease of manufacture, durability, and environmental impact.

It is worth noting that the above four assessments are all completed in the same group of four, and individual marks for each assessment are scaled by a factor of 0.5-1.1 based on evaluations of you fro by the other group members.

Worksheets- 10%: These were given out and worked through at each lecture, and had to be stamped off by a tutor by the practical the following week. They got progressively more complex as each portion of the unit went on, but were quite straightforward if you did the readings and watched the videos.
Moodle Quizzes- 6%: These were short quizzes given each week that simply made sure we had watched and understood the pre-lecture videos. They were not hard at all.

Exam- 40% (hurdle): Nearly identical to the practice exam. Each of the components (Civil, Materials & Mechanical) were worth the same number of marks. Was similar to the difficulty of the final question from each of the worksheets. If you did the work, it was pretty easy.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  There were two past exams available, one with worked solutions, and one with answers only.

Textbook Recommendation: 
Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics- Hibbeler
Engineering Mechanics: Statics- Hibbeler
Mechanics of materials- Hibbeler

I wouldn't recommend buying any of the textbooks though, because you get all the information you would ever need through the 'youtube lectures', and online readings.

Civil: Lizi Sironic and Bill Wong
Materials: John Forsythe
Mechanical: Kris Ryan

Year & Semester of completion: S1 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: HD

This was a brand new unit this year, and is essentially the sister unit to ENG1002. It combined the old ENG1020 (Civil), ENG1040 (mechanical), and ENG1050 (materials) into one nice package. The unit was very clearly divided into two halves, the first being civil/materials (7 weeks), and mechanical (5 weeks), with each of the two portions operating completely independently of each other in regards to the content, projects, lecturers, and tutors.

The unit has a very different content delivery system to others, in that 25-40 minutes of videos are uploaded to youtube each week, and they are how you learn the content for the subject (you can watch them here if you're keen). Then there are optional readings, and a 0.5% quiz on moodle (you get 3 attempts) to make sure you understand everything. What would traditionally be a lecture in this subject is a 'workshop', essentially, you have 2 hours to do the worksheet with tutors walking around the theatre helping you out.

The Practicals were exactly that. 3 hours a week you could get questions answered by the tutors, and work on your project with your group while completing a set of tasks related to the project.

The main reason the units were redesigned was to make the first level in eng more practical and hands on, and they definitely succeeded with that. Overall, the unit was very well run & planned out. You could easily have completed the unit without physics or specialist maths, as the maths was simply plugging values into a given formula, and there was absolutely no assumed knowledge of physics.

Overall, a great unit. It does a good job of introducing the basics of 3 major engineering disciplines, and does a good job of showing how different engineering disciplines work together in the real world. A word of advice would be to not do ENG1001 and ENG1002 in the same semester, as they are quite intense units, and require more contact hours, study & extra group meetings than the other units.


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #301 on: July 13, 2015, 06:33:44 pm »
Subject Code/Name: FIT2081 - Mobile application development 

Workload:  1 x 2 hour lecture and 1 x 2 hour laboratory

Assessment:  11 x Lab worth 2%, 11 x Quiz worth 2% (top 10 of each count)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, no idea if it has screen capture or not (wtf is screen capture?)

Past exams available:  no. the exams are just the questions taken from the quizzes

Textbook Recommendation: No recommendations, everything you need is in the lecture notes and quizzes

Lecturer(s): Mr Stephen Huxford

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Sem 1

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Pretty good

Just a heads up, these comments aren't structured properly, so soz in advance.
This subject is somewhat interesting. You get taught Java and Android, you spend the first few weeks going over basics (what is a for loop etc.) and then after week 5, you go balls deep with programming computer programs/Android apps.

I did this unit as an elective, because I'm interested in the Android OS and I just wanted to gain some more experience with Java. In saying that, the majority of the students in this class are from the Bachelor of Business Information Systems. One thing that I found interesting is the lack of programming knowledge that the BBIS kids have. They found the most basic programming stuff to be hard (e.g. what is a for loop?) and they didn't really understand any of the code. This resulted in the majority of the BBIS kids receiving lowish marks for the internal labs. So if you're reading this and you're a BBIS kid with limited programming knowledge... pls program more and get a head start!

As for the weekly quizzes, they are really, really weird. Some of the questions aren't even in English and come across as super convoluted. However, I'd say ~70% of the quiz questions and answers are in the lecture notes.

I can't really be bothered to write more, but essentially.. this subject isn't hard at all. If you know basic programming rules/syntax, learning Java and Android won't be hard, meaning you'll do very well in the labs. As for the quizzes, the majority of the questions/answers are taken from the actual lecture slides and aren't that bad... HOWEVER, depending on your tutor, you may get really weird marks (e.g. I wrote the same answers as a friend, copied from the lecture notes; he got full marks, I got 3/4). The quizzes are done in an informal fashion, meaning you get to use your computer and talk to your friends about figuring out the answers.

ALSO, THE EXAM IS THE EXACT SAME AS THE LECTURE QUIZZES. Stephen admits this, and tells everyone to only study the lecture quizzes for the exam.

Tl;dr, program a bit, remember lecture quizzes, get a HD

« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 06:48:47 pm by Hutchoo »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #302 on: July 13, 2015, 06:47:02 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MTH3051 - Introduction to Computational Mathematics

  • 3 x 1 hr Lectures
  • 1 x 2 hr Computer Lab/Tutorial (optional)

  • 5 x Assignments (5 x 6%)
  • Examination (70%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  Yes, one, with solutions

Textbook Recommendation:  The recommended textbook is Getting Started with MATLAB 7 by Rudra Pratap, Oxford Uni Press. Don't bother reading it, I didn't.

  • Dr. Leo Brewin (Weeks 1-6)
  • Dr. Jennifer Flegg (Weeks 7-12)

Year & Semester of completion:  2015, Semester 1

Rating:  1 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade:  Ye not 2 bad given I crammed 12 weeks in 2 days


This unit is OKAY at best. The thing that pissed me off was that the assignments weren't related to the actual unit/exam questions. For example, one of the assignments was literally about converting psuedocode into MATLAB or some other programming language. I ended up doing the majority of my code in Python because Python is cool and MATLAB is gross.

Also, Leo (although a super nice guy) is really, really, REALLY slow with the lectures (e.g. he spent like 20 minutes writing down 1 matrix/figuring out how to find and use the eraser for his iPad). He's a super smart guy, and really down to earth, but he can be slow with his explanations at times.. and that's why I didn't bother going to his lectures.

Jennifer Flegg on the other hand is nothing less than awesome. She really knows her stuff and is amazing at explaining tough concepts. I didn't end up going to any of her lectures either, but from what I saw, she was awesome. Also, if you have a 1 on 1 consultation with her, you won't leave feeling like you've wasted your time.

Now, for the exam. The MCQ are the exact same as every other year, but they might have some different numbers. As for the SA, there is some similarities (e.g. define round off error), but the majority is totally different! I was under the assumption that they were the same, but they aren't, so make sure you understand the concepts in the unit!

All in all, the unit is easy. The majority of people walk into the exam room only needing 30% to pass. The majority of people also walk into the exam room with 2 days of study under their belt. As for me, I was in both categories. I went to like 3 lectures out of the 30 odd lectures (and didn't catch up, even when I was studying for the exam).. did all the assignments (and did well because they aren't hard), and then did 2 days of study and still managed to get a decent mark. Do this unit if you cbf with uni but still want to get a good mark.
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #303 on: July 14, 2015, 12:50:39 am »
Subject Code/Name: ATS1353 - Foundations of modern politics 

Workload:  1 x 2 hour lecture, 1 x 1 hour tutorial.

Assessment: 10% class test (is held around week 4), 10% tutorial attendance & participation, 30% end of semester exam, 50% major essay assignment.

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture.

Past exams available:  No past exams.

Textbook Recommendation:  The textbook was Comparative government and politics: An introduction. I personally found the textbook to be very good and extremely useful as it is very thorough on the topics covered.

Lecturer(s): The main lecturer is Narelle Miragliotta, but she sometimes gets other people from her faculty to perform guest lectures on certain topics related to their fields of study.

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, semester 1.

Rating:  4.5/5.

Your Mark/Grade: 88 HD.

Comments: So I believe this is the first year that this particular subject has ran, so keep in mind that the structure of the unit may change.

 During the first week of the unit, I was kind of worried. The content seemed to be quite dry and not particularly interesting. Thankfully, the unit became much more interesting and involved as it progressed through the semester as you begin to analyse various political themes such as authoritarian government, elections, democracy, different systems of government, etc. If you are at all interested in politics then you are likely to find the content at least interesting.

 The first graded assessment occurs in Week 4 and it is a quiz with 10 short answer questions that must be completed within an hour (or 50 minutes if you are like me and were late because of train delays...) which is worth 10% of the overall unit.  Do not underestimate this quiz. Apparently a lot of people went into it completely unprepared and therefore a lot of people started the semester off terribly by getting <50% on the quiz. To do well on the quiz, simply study the lecture notes and supplementary textbook readings on the topics covered in the first few weeks of the unit; I personally found it pretty straightforward and I barely studied for it at all.

 The major essay assignment is worth 50% of the unit's overall grade and therefore you really need to ensure that you put a lot of effort into it. The topics are released very, very early on in the semester (may have even been during week 1) and it is due in week 9, so you have heaps of time to do it. There are 5 topics that you can choose from and you can approach each of them in a variety of different ways, for example the topic I chose to do was "Are popular elections an indication of a free and fair society?", so you can see that the topic is quite open-ended which makes developing an argument not too difficult. It is very important to have a very strong and clear contention to put forth a compelling argument in the essay. You need to use at least 8 different scholarly references in your essay and it sometimes felt frustratingly difficult to find academic papers that were at all relevant to the topic, so make sure you spend a significant amount of time researching to find solid references. Since the major essay was worth so much of the unit, I would recommend only doing this unit if you have decent writing abilities as otherwise you will probably find writing a good essay quite difficult.

 The exam for this unit was somewhat interesting in that it was done online through moodle (keep in mind that the deadline for doing the exam was very early June, i.e. before the official exam period had started, so you need to make sure you get your study done quite early on.) The exam was structured as 25% multiple choice, 25% short answer, and 50% essay question. The multiple choice was very easy (since you can do the exam on your home computer so you can just google the answers to every question...) The short answer section consisted of 3 questions with a 30 minute time limit and again it was pretty easy since you can use your textbook/internet/notes to help if you aren't very familiar with the topics that pop up (funnily enough I thought I absolutely screwed up this section since one of the questions was kind of confusing, but I think they marked this section fairly generously so I wouldn't worry too much.) The essay section had a choice of I think 5 different topics that you can choose from to type a piece that was at least 700 words long, with an hour time limit. Truth be told, I was really worried that I  had done poorly on the exam and was feeling pretty down after I finished it, but apparently I must have gotten like 97% on it so it seems like it isn't very difficult to do very well on the exam if you put some study in.

 Overall, I felt like this was a good and interesting introductory unit. The time commitment to this unit isn't very demanding (especially if you skip lectures like I did) and the assessment structure is really quite nice. If you have solid writing skills and have an interest in politics then I would highly recommend doing this unit.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 10:58:49 am by extremeftw »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #304 on: July 14, 2015, 01:08:44 am »
Subject Code/Name: ATS1297 - Academic Writing

  • 1 x 1.5 hr lectures
  • 1 x 1.5 hr tutorials

Assessment: 5 x Quizzes worth 20%, 3 writing tasks: 10% Opinion/Position piece, 25% Short practice essay (1500 words), 40% Final essay (2000 words)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available: No exam

Textbook Recommendation:  Jean Brick's "Academic culture: a student's guide to studying at university".

Lecturer(s): Dr Andrew Johnson

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1, 2015

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: D

Guess you can say it's one of those GPA booster units, if you're looking for a unit with low contact hours, no exams and don't mind bullshitting through assignments then this is the unit. Also, It's great for first year students, as we get a feel of what university essays are like. There are weeks where the unit emphasizes on what types of evidence/sources are best to use in your essays, plagiarism, structure, paraphrasing and referencing. Those are honestly the things i found useful in this unit. For our assignments, we focus on the topic of "moral panic". In the first assignment, you write an opinion piece on a topic and if it's an example of a moral panic then you write a revised academic version of the opinion piece, to test if you understand the different elements in the two styles of writing. The short practice essay was in preparation for the final essay in which we were given a topic related to moral panic and had to write with all the elements of a academic essay. The final essay was similar to the short practice essay but the word limit is higher and we had the freedom to choose our own topic. 4 Quizzes were done online about every 2 weeks, they were mostly based on readings and lecture slides, i highly recommend the textbook for quizzes and in class activities, but it's not worth buying imo, so borrow it from the library before a quiz or something. The last quiz was an in class test done in Week 10, much harder than the online quizzes but i found the tutors to be fairly easy markers. The 5% participation grade was said to encourage involvement in class discussions in tutes but honestly, you automatically get a HD for showing up in more than  90% of the tutes. I barely went to any lectures, they weren't too necessary but Andrew was a great lecturer/co-ordinator of unit, understands that we have a lot on our plate late in the semester and extends due dates generously!Overall, a chill unit but didn't enjoy the topic they chose for us for the first 2 assignments and unit can get daunting when you're learning about grammar and punctuation.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 01:32:05 am by ~V »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #305 on: July 21, 2015, 08:52:00 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ATS1353 - Foundations of Modern Politics

Workload:  1 x 2 hour lecture
1 x 1 hour tutorial

Assessment: Major Essay worth 50%
Exam 30%
Tutorial participation (subjective grade determined by tutor) 10%
Class Test 10%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No. Exam done online on Moodle; open book.

Textbook Recommendation:  There are a few prescribed textbook but none of them are compulsory.

Lecturer(s): Dr Narelle Miragliotta

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, Sem 1:

Rating: 3.5/5

Grade: 85/100 HD

Decent subject and introduction to politics. I didn't do Global politics in VCE and didn't struggle at all because this subject is introductory and a little bit simple and perhaps not very intellectually stimulating (fair enough.. it's a first year subject). I say this because, apart from the Major Essay, it focuses more on comparisons, definitions etc. rather than analytical skills.

I think the best part of this subject is the Major Essay and the flexibility. They provide five topic questions and they cover a wide range of areas from federalism vs unitary states to fair elections. It really allowed me to delve into what politics is all about. The exam is conducted on Moodle - it's open book and timed.

Readings were interesting and stimulating - we learned about a wide range of concepts albeit superficially. They included: Political culture, Constitutions, Elections, Types of States (Authoritarian, Fascist, Totalitarian, Liberal Democracy etc.) and I think they will allow a good glimpse into what politics is about. However, what you learn in one week does not overlap with another week so this subject does not focus on one concept in detail (again, fair enough because it's a Foundations-based subject). In saying that, I really understood what *politics is* from this subject - ie. we were taught things like political culture, what a nation-state is and what is inherent within politics (ie. power, authority, legitimacy etc.)

Overall, I think this unit is essential if you want to do Politics and you won't struggle if you haven't done VCE Politics.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 08:56:47 pm by Zezima. »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #306 on: July 22, 2015, 11:03:55 pm »
Subject Code/Name: LAW1111 - Foundations of Law

Workload: 2 x 1.5 hour "lecture-seminars"

Exam: 50% - not a hurdle task
Court Report 30%
Class Test on theory 20%
Research Task 10%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, only Chief Examiner's lectures recorded
Past exams available:  A lot. But none of them have sample answers so they might as well be useless.

Textbook Recommendation:  You must buy the prescribed compilation/custom-made textbook written by Ross. It is essential and you can't get away without it.

Also, Faculty Notes are amazing and you also definitely need it - they're $15.

Lecturer(s): Jessie Taylor

Year & Semester of completion: Sem 1, 2015

Rating:  4/5

Your Mark/Grade: 71 D

So obviously this is an introductory subject and is compulsory for all students doing the LLB at Monash. I am going to separate this review into four main parts to provide some pointers to avoid making the same mistakes I did: lecturers, workload, effort required and assessments. Since all law students will be doing this subject, I thought some pointers would be helpful!

So not much to say here but to give credit to my lecturer, Jessie Taylor. She is a refugee lawyer and is compassionate; also very knowledgable and passionate about the law. Really pick her if you can. Extremely tough marker though.

I have also heard good stuff about the Chief Examiner, Ross.

There is a lot of reading for this unit, for a first year subject I recond. It ranges from one chapter to excerpts from multiple chapters of the textbook (anywhere between 20 - 60 pages per week) but the slides provided by the lecturers (which are the same for all Streams) are comprehensive and may work as a substitute.

Also, I spent most of my time making chapter notes but if you want to reduce your workload make them succinct! The only time the theory from weeks 1 - 4 or 5 will be tested is on the 20% class test so don't go crazy on the note-making. Reduce your workload by understanding the skills of statutory interpretation which is what will be tested on the exam, and ultimately what counts the most.

I am not exaggerating here, this subject requires a lot of effort despite being only a Foundations subject. Also, take note like all Law subjects it is bell-curved meaning that you will be compared against your cohort and as a result of that, you will be marked very harshly if you don't put in any effort. I was shocked with a 65% on my Court Report because I thought little effort was required.

The Court Report worth 30% is your best shot at gaining a headstart in this subject. They will be testing you on your ability to observe legal processes but most importantly your ability to develop a thesis/argument! Be careful of not doing just an informative/reflective essay!

Class test is quite difficult as well simply because it's multiple choice and the options they give you are quite dodgy. One question I got (and I kid you not) was: what is feminism about? Another question had a whole page of writing on it and you had 1 minute per question!

The exam is a killer. You will be begging for more time because (in 2015 anyway) you had to work through a piece of legislation and write an essay in 2 hours. I had 40 minutes to write the essay and the topics were not disclosed beforehand. Do study for the exam because it's worth a lot.

Overall thoughts
 I think FOL provides a very good foundation to all law students. A lot of Law students dislike it and this sometimes gives it a bad reputation but I think essential skills are learned from this subject. 
The structure of this course lends itself well to an introduction to law as the subject starts off with the basic history of the Australian legal system - ranging from things like Aboriginal law to the impact of British colonisation on Australian law. Then it moves on to practical things like legal philosophy to the court hierachy. 

However, the course, at time, got a bit boring on mundane things like referencing however, do take note of these little things because you will lose marks for not referencing properly throughout. I thought the exam was thrilling (trust me, the adrenaline rush was amazing haha) and this subject I think is a good introduction to law!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 11:12:16 pm by Zezima. »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #307 on: November 10, 2015, 02:27:56 pm »
Subject Code/Name: CHM2990 - Introductory chemical research project

Workload: Varies depending on project and availability (generally, your availability). About 8-10 hours of labwork recommended per week. This could be done all in one day (what most people opt to), the whole week (what I did), or anywhere in-between.

  • Lab work/supervisor mark (30%)
  • Oral presentation (10%) (have heard gossip that this is changing to a poster presentation)
  • Report (60%)

Recorded Lectures: No lectures.

Past exams available: No exam, your group should have some past reports/theses they can show you to help you with writing your report, though.

Textbook Recommendation: None you need to buy - you might find you'll need to borrow a book depending on your project, but it'll probs be so niche there'll be 5 borrowable copies in the library.

Lecturer(s): N/A. The unit coordinator is David Turner, and he'll correspond a bit. Most of your discussion will be between your supervisor and their research group, so your mileage may vary. (My supervisor was David Turner, for comparison)

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 2, 2015

Rating: 7 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBC

Comments: This is the best unit I have ever done. If you read my MTH3241 review, ignore that - that unit was a piece of shit compared to this one. The rest of these comments will be rambling. I hope you like rambling. :P

What I Did:
So, before I begin, a quick outline of what I did:

If you imagine a coordination complex with a metal, it looks something like this:

Now, question - what happens if each of the ligands bridge to another coordination complex? Well, you get something that looks like this:

NOW, what if you bridge that to another complex? And another? And another? Well, you get a polymer! This particular type of polymer is known as a coordination polymer, and so my project revolved around the synthesis and characterisation of a novel coordination polymer.

And just for completeness, here's a 2D coordination polymer (you can get them in 1, 2 or 3 dimensions):

What Did I Do?/What Might You Do?
So, this varies from project to project, but the best part of the unit is that you'll get to develop your lab skills - whether they be synthetic or analytical skills. This is in particular to analytical techniques you don't get to do in undergrad - I can very easily run IRs now, set up reflux stuff, weighing is super easy (and no longer seems annoying!) and I've even got to run NMRs and done some crystallography at the synchrotron! (take THAT DisaFear. :P )

Wasn't it SCARY??? :'(
Ehhhh. Yes, it is a little scary when you're filling in your safety stuff at the start, and one of the MSDS simply lists "fatal if inhaled", as opposed to the usual "might cause cancer" or what have you. But the excitement so easily takes over that you don't notice. Plus, the chem people at Monash are generally nice, helpful people, and that makes things SO much easier.

10/10, would recommend. Do it. Happy to be PMed about picking supervisors and stuff if you want someone to chat to/you're super excited by everything and nobody is willing to share in the excitement with you.
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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 #308 on: November 12, 2015, 08:15:42 pm »
Subject Code/Name: ETC3410 – Applied Econometrics
Workload: Two 1-hour lectures and a 2-hour comp lab/tute

Assessment:  Two assignments worth 20% each, and 60% exam (2 hour). No group assignments.
Recorded Lectures:  No

Past exams available:  Yes, most available from Monash Library online. Sample questions for some topics also provided

Textbook Recommendation:  Don’t need one.

Jun Sung Kim for the first half covering Binary Choice Models, Endogeneity and IV Estimation. Seems like a nice guy, but lectures can be a bit hard to follow at times.

John Stapleton for second half covering system of equations and panel data models (time series). He also doubles as the tutor for the whole semester. Excellent lecturer/tutor. Easy to understand for me, and less boring in general.

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, Semester 2

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: TBA

Pretty decent unit. Decent amount of content without being too much. Doesn’t take too much work to stay on top of the content. Gives the impression that it is extremely useful if you plan to do any research in economics (such as honours) as you learn how limited OLS taught in ETC2410 is. Highly recommended to any considering research.
Highly recommend attending the tutorials, even though participation is not required (attendance is taken though). The lectures are not as necessary, and ended up going to about half of them. The lecture slides are very comprehensive, so no textbook is required. The lectures are not recorded.

Tutorials are split roughly 50/50 between tute work (maths on the whiteboard and theory discussion) and using STATA on the computers. The computer tutes are quite basic, but can be quite boring. All you do is replicate results by following instructions. John will talk for about 45 minutes going through how to get the results. Takes no more than 20 minutes to replicate the results. You will need to know how to use STATA as it is required for both assignments. The tutes can be ahead of the lectures at times, so you won’t be at much of a disadvantage by not attending lectures. In fact, as John is also the lecturer for half of the unit, I found that I learnt much more from the tutes than the lectures.

With regards to the assignments, they are quite straightforward. In my opinion, they are easier than the ones from ETC2410. Not too time consuming. The assignment from Jun for the first four topics is very easy, and shouldn’t take more than 6 hours to complete. John’s is a bit more challenging, but probably still easier than the second assignment from ETC2410 in my opinion.
In terms of the content covered, it is mainly going through the estimators used in econometrics. Gone is the days of OLS for a lot of the models used. Where ETC2410 mainly goes through how to calculate marginal effects, derivation of OLS, etc.., ETC3410 goes through the different estimators used in different cases.

Topic 1: Basic Theory and Revision (Asymptotic Theory)
Topic 2: Binary Choice Models (modelling dependent variables which are binary such as employment using linear probability, logit and probit models)
Topic 3: Endogeneity Bias (consequences of having an endogenous regressor)
Topic 4: IV Estimation (using instrumental variables when an endogenous regressor is present – SIV and GIV, 2SLS/two-stage least squares)
Topic 5: System of Equations (estimating multiple equations in one model)
Topic 6: Pooled OLS
Topic 7: Static Panel Data Models (Fixed Effects and Random Effects Estimators)
Topic 8: Dynamic Panel Data Models (Anderson-Hsiao, GMM, Arellano-Bond and Blundell-Bond)

Although the unit is called “Applied” Econometrics, the lectures cover a lot of the derivation and theory. After completing the exam, I can say that, while knowing the derivation and theory of how the estimators work is necessary, the bulk of the assessment is on how it would affect models when applied. So while it doesn’t seem very “applied” in the lectures, the assignments and the exam is mainly concentrated on hypothesis testing and interpretation of models (about 70/30 split between applied and theory).
In terms of the maths skills required, ETC2440 is helpful (another of John's units), but isn't necessary.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 08:26:14 am by bobbyz0r »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #309 on: November 12, 2015, 11:54:50 pm »
Subject Code/Name: BMS2052 - Microbes in health and disease

Workload:  3x1hour lectures and a 3 hour lab for 6 weeks and 2 hour tute for 6 weeks 

Assessment:  Theory examination (40%), Practical examination (25%), Mid-semester test (10%) and laboratory and tutorial assessments (25%)

Recorded Lectures:  Yes, with screen capture

Past exams available:  No. There are no practice exams or practice questions provided

Textbook Recommendation:  Don't need any

Lecturer(s): Too many to recall

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, Semester 2

Rating: 3.8 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: N/A

Comments: As an overall this unit is pretty good. There are certain things however that do need more careful attention.

The unit has a total of 32 lectures which span a wide array of topics. The first 9 lectures cover the fundamentals of Microbiology and Virology, there's an emphasis on bacterial characteristics, how they're classified and what exactly makes certain bacteria "pathogenic". At the end of these core lectures you will see a bit of Virology but this is quite basic and expands only a little further than what you would have already been exposed to in first year biology.

You then get a set of 9 lectures which cover vaccinations, molecular techniques and immunology. Six of these lectures are specifically devoted to Immunology, 3 will cover innate immunity and another 3 will cover adaptive immunity. Here's the thing, these lectures are almost identical to what you learn in IMM2021 so if you're trying to pick electives IMM2021 wouldn't be such a bad idea because it makes approaching this part of the course a lot easier.

There are 4 lectures on epidemiology and antimicrobial agents, these are pretty basic and the former is just a reiteration of BMS1042. The antimicrobial lectures were fantastic and this is the first time in the BMS course where you get a real taste of drug design (this is backed up in the end of BMS2062 in which you cover rational drug design).

Lastly, you get 9 lectures in which you cover parasitic functions, clostridial infections, fungal infections and Helicobacter pylori. The parasitic lectures were not too interested and you focus mainly on 3 types of parasites with not a lot of depth; these lectures felt a bit odd and were probably the ones I enjoyed the least throughout the course (although they were delivered very well). The clostridial and H. pyrlori lectures are great and you learn a lot more about pathogenesis and biochemistry comes into play a lot because you will be learning how secretion systems work and how toxins have an effect on a cellular level. The fungal lectures were again great because you learnt about various fungi but this was backed with how fungal infections are treated.

Overall I would have to say my favourite lectures were the ones revolving around Virology and Antimicrobials. All of the lectures were delivered well and I really don't see any issues here. The lecturers were all nice and approachable and replied promptly to emails regarding lectures.

The course is split up such that you get 6 weeks of tutorials and 6 weeks of labs, depending on which stream  you may have labs in the first 6 weeks or in the last 6 weeks. Personally I found the labs to be hectic and I really didn't gain a wealth of knowledge as I was expecting. The labs felt rushed and you were often conducting 2-3 experiments at the any one time. When looking at samples under the microscope you often felt rushed due to time constraints and the labs usually lasted the full 3 hours or went overtime. Despite this you get exposed to some cool types of media that you can use to differentiate certain organisms. The labs are just 6 weeks of learning how to plate things properly, obtain pure cultures and tests to employ when identifying certain organisms. Although it felt rushed, in retrospect if sets you up pretty well for 3rd Microbiology/Immunology.

Comparatively, the tutes were very well organised and you often finished in 40-80 minutes. My tutor was fantastic (and from what I heard from other students all the tutors were good) and really knew how to explain some of the more complicated topics in a really easy-to-understand way. In tutes you will mainly be consolidating what you learnt in lectures and an emphasis is placed on learning about the techniques we employ when identifying particular microbes. You learn about Elek's test, the Nagler test and a few others.

25% of your unit mark comes from the tute and labs. This is where the problems in the unit are; 5% of your lab marks come from two 2.5% lab tests that ask you short questions on the techniques you use. Often these tests asked some obscure questions and there was a large discrepancy in the difficult levels among different sessions, i.e. some groups got very easy tests while other groups got harder tests. Another 5% of your mark comes from what your demonstrator thinks of your ability in the lab, this is standard and these are accessible marks for anyone, as long as you paid attention in the labs! 10% of your mark comes from a lab report, this is report  had a huge discrepancy in marking and unfortunately it wasn't very clear what was expected and even adhering to the guidelines you were set didn't guarantee a good score as it was basically a case of "does the tutor like the report or not". Given this I'd highly suggest doing the practice report to gauge what your tutor expects of you.

Another 5% of your mark comes from 2x2.5% tests in your tutes. These are quite straight-forward and all of the assessable content is given through the tute anyway.

Mid-semester test
This was your standard Microbiology/Immunology MST. It was pretty pushy for time and unfortunately you get 0 sample questions. The MST covers the first 18 lectures and the questions were quite fair. All in all the MST was okay if you had studied and made sure you really understand the foundations of the course it okay. 

Theory examination 
The theory exam is worth 40% and is comprised of over a hundred MCQs for which you had 2 hours. This was one of the more difficult Biomed exams I've had to sit. There was A LOT of content covered, some topics had more specific focus than others but the exam certainly went into some nuances of the course. I don't think the textbook is necessary for the exam but I definitely think in order to perform well in this exam it's important you understand the specifics of every lecture. You get no sample questions provided, which again raises another slight issue as the format was quite ambiguous until I actually sat in the exam. I'd suggest maybe getting a study group and making questions yourself, this is one of the units in which you can definitely do that.

Practical exam
This is worth 25% and it's based off the lab and tute content. I have to say this exam was quite straight forward and although you get two hours most people left after an hour. As long as you have a basic understanding of the molecular techniques used in the lab and the different tests we employ to identify certain bacteria and viruses, then this exam is straight-forward.

Overall Comments
A fairly enjoyable unit in terms of content but 6 labs and 6 tutes did feel a bit unnecessary and this could have been cut down on. There was some problems with the assessments but hopefully these get weeded out soon enough. For all the Biomed students you have to take this unit so no choice there! I would however recommend brushing over the basic characteristics of bacteria and viruses over the winter break so that the foundations of the unit will not seem as overwhelming.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 02:54:11 pm by EspoirTron »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #310 on: November 13, 2015, 02:59:32 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MEC2405 - Thermodynamics

Workload:  1x2 and 1 hour lectures and 7 tutorials and 3 labs.

Exam - 70% (Hurdle next year)
Mid semester test - 10%
3 Labs 5% in total
7 tutorials 5% in total
Recorded Lectures:  No, the reason behind this is to increase the amount of attendance and it's been very successful and helpful.

Past exams available:  Plenty of past exams are available and no solutions are provided.

Textbook Recommendation:  Thermodynamics: an engineering approach by Yunus Cengel. Purchase the book! This unit examines a lot of conceptual understandings and you need to be constantly reading the book.

Lecturer(s): Daniel Mitchell

Year & Semester of completion: 2015, Semester 2

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 70 - D

Comments:  I will be doing a lot of comparison between the aero version of this unit as I failed that unit last year. After switching my degree to mechanical engineering I had to do this unit. The unit is taught  by Meng Woo from the Chemical Engineering department in first semester, who also teaches the aero version. I won't comment on him here but if you ask me you should take this unit in second semester rather than first semester as there is a huge difference between Daniel and Meng. Daniel explains the conceptions very well that thermodynamics has been my favourite unit this semester and I appreciate the physics behind it very well now. The aero version doesn't dive into the heart of thermodynamics which is the second law so that makes the first law useless anyway. And this even makes things worse in the third year as aerodynamics II feels very dry without the complete understanding of the second law.


We had a 2 hour and an hour lectures in total. The one hour lecture was in 8:00 AM and there was no recording for it. This was deliberate to encourage the amount of attendance. The 2 hour lecture was more on conceptual understanding and the one hour was on solving questions. The lectures were delivered very well by Daniel. He was so enthusiastic and made sure we understood the topics by interactive learning. These topics include the zeroth, first and second law. There was a heavy emphasis on the second law as this was the foundation of the conceptual part of this unit. Applications of these laws such as gas and vapour-steam engines/cycles were presented too. 

Combustion Lecture

Yes, you've heard it right. Combustion lecture. Get some popcorn and take your seat. This will be fun. In the last lecture of w12, Daniel will demonstrate a series of combustions of various fuels. The most crazy one was the shush bottle where he combusted methanol in a big water battle (19L). Ok no more spoilers. And safety was number one priority here so don't worry.


In these 3 hour tutorials, you'll work on a set of problems. Again, I have to compare this with the aero version. Daniel made sure that everyone actually uses his methodology of solving questions which is tedious but the correct way of solving thermo questions. The aero version was a mess. There was no emphasis on it whatsoever. At the end of the session, you'll get marked on your solutions. These questions get very tedious so you need to start early.


There were 3 labs in this unit.
1- Refrigeration cycle lab
2- Stirling engine lab
3- Petrol and diesel engine lab

You have 2 days to submit a page of report after completing the lab. It is easily manageable except for the refrigeration cycle lab which was a bit tedious.

Mid Semester Test

This test was held in week 8. It consisted of 3 main questions and its subparts. The last question was on entirely on the second law of thermodynamics. It is essentially free marks if you know your stuff. However, please don't underestimate the second law as it is always counterintuitive at the beginning.

Overall, this unit was fun. I thought thermo was going to be very painful for the second time. With consistent working and reading, this unit is very manageable and fun.

Don't take this unit in first semester

« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 10:02:08 am by BigAl »
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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #311 on: November 20, 2015, 12:40:52 am »
Subject Code/Name: ECC1000 - Principles of Microeconomics 

Workload:  12x2 hour Lectures, 12x1 hour tutes

Assessment:  10% APLIA weekly tests,  20% Multiple Choice Exam , 10% Tute Participation, 60% exam
Note:  If you score higher on the end of year exam, the mid semester exam score will be redundant. That is, if you score higher on the end of year exam, it is worth 80% of your total mark as opposed to only 60%

Recorded Lectures:  Yes.

Past exams available: No

Textbook Recommendation:  Principles of Microeconomics 6th Edition.

Lecturer(s): Stephen King (first sem), Philip Grossman (second sem)

Year & Semester of completion: 2015 Semester 1

Rating:  5/5

Your Mark/Grade: HD

Comments: Great subject. Stephen King is such a good lecturer. I've only ever heard good things about him, if you do this unit in semester 1, he's guaranteed to pass you. However his exams are slightly more difficult. I stopped using the prescribed textbook and just used his lecture notes and videos explaining the content on his YouTube channel. He knows his stuff inside and out, and his videos explain the content amazingly well.
My recommended way of learning content would be to watch the relevant YouTube video explaining the content + note taking, attend lecture + note taking, refer to textbook if needed for extra detail or diagrams, do APLIA quiz, repeat.


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #312 on: November 21, 2015, 11:29:02 pm »
Subject Code/Name: MED4190 - Specialty clinical practices

Workload: per week: varies between rotations and sites
- Paediatrics (perspective from MMC and Casey): get there at 8.30am for ward rounds and you can probably leave at around 2pm
- Women's health (perspective from Angliss): depends what you're doing, days can be long (including night shifts for delivering babies!), days can start early (for surgery), days can be short; highly variable
- Psychiatry (perspective from MMC and Kingston): get there at 8.30am for ward rounds and you can probably leave at around 12pm
- General practice: expected to do two full days of GP a week, there is 9-5 teaching two days a week, and one day off

- Paediatrics: tutor assessments (11%), written case report (4.6%), oral case report (4.6%), contemporary issues in health group oral presentation (2.8%), logbook tasks (hurdle)
- Women's health: written case report (4.6%), oral case report (4.6%), observed clinical encounters (2.2% x 5), contemporary issues in health group oral presentation (2.8%), logbook tasks (hurdle)
- Psychiatry: written case report (23%)
- General practice: chronic disease assignment (23%)
- Other: attendance of 80% for all rotations (hurdle), evidence-based clinical practice quizzes (1% x 8 ) and forum posts (hurdle), health services management forum posts (hurdle, semester 1), health economics forum posts (hurdle, semester 2)

Recorded Lectures: No.

Past exams available: N/A, exams fall under MED4200, but I'll be discussing some exam study in this review too

Textbook and Website Recommendation:
- Clinical Paediatrics for Post Graduate Examinations 3rd - Stephenson, Thomas and Wallace
- Illustrated Textbook of Paediatrics 4th -  Graham and Lissauer
- Jones' Clinical Paediatric Surgery 7th - Beasley, Hutson, King, O'Brien and Teague
- Toronto Notes 2015 31st - Hall and Premji
- http://www.health.vic.gov.au/neonatalhandbook/conditions/
- http://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/
- http://muppits.mumus.org/clinical-cases/
- http://www.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/content/handbook10-home
- http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/Inhaler_technique_videos_for_HPs.aspx
- http://www.asthmahandbook.org.au/

Women's health:
- Gynaecology by Ten Teachers 19th - Monga
- Lectures in Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women's Health 1st - Kovacs
- Obstetrics by Ten Teachers 19th - Baker and Kenny
- Practice OSCEs in Obstetrics and Gynaecology - McNeilage, Vollenhoven and Weston
- Toronto Notes 2015 31st - Hall and Premji
- https://system.prompt.org.au/login.aspx
- http://geekymedics.com/how-to-read-a-ctg/
- https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-professionals/clinical-resources/clinical-guidelines-gps/
- http://medilinks.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/instruments-used-in-gynecology-and.html
- http://www.menopause.org.au/health-professionals/management

- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th - American Psychiatric Association
- DSM-5 Guidebook - Black and Grant
- Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry – Behavioral Sciences - Clinical Psychiatry 11th - Ruiz, Sadock and Sadock
- Toronto Notes 2015 31st - Hall and Premji
- https://masteringpsychiatry.wordpress.com/ (there is a textbook in here too which is excellent)
- http://www.trickcyclists.co.uk/
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBF6D1605733BAACB

General practice:
- Clinical Examination A Systematic Guide 7th - O'Connor and Talley
- Clinical Orthopaedic Examination 5th - McRae
- Eye Emergency Manual 1st - NSW Department of Health
- Murtagh's General Practice 5th - Murtagh
- OphthoBook 1st - Root
- The ECG Made Easy 7th - Hampton
- Toronto Notes 2015 31st - Hall and Premji
- http://www.racgp.org.au/your-practice/guidelines/redbook/
- http://www.dermnetnz.org/
- http://elearning.dermcoll.asn.au/login/index.php
- http://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/
- http://www.ranzco.edu/index.php/ophthalmology-and-eye-health/eye-conditions-information
- http://www.ophthobook.com/ or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSfq-96NwFRpmEZXxI7WIEw
- http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/
- http://copdx.org.au/copd-x-plan/
- http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/palliativecare/health_professionals/symptom_management_guidelines
- http://www.eyeandear.org.au/page/Health_Professionals/Education_and_Training/Lecture_series/

I'd also recommend utilising UpToDate, eTG, and http://radiopaedia.org/ as much as possible.

Lecturer(s): Many, depending on the series of lecture

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 and 2, 2015

Rating: 5/5

This is a very challenging year and unit. It is essentially one big unit divided into four topics: paediatrics, women's health (obstetrics and gynaecology), psychiatry, and general practice. 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 (psychiatry), Cabrini (paediatrics), Peninsula (paediatrics, women's health, psychiatry)
- Monash: Monash Medical Center (paediatrics, women's health, psychiatry), Dandenong (paediatrics, women's health,psychiatry), Casey (paediatrics, women's health,psychiatry)
- Eastern: Box Hill (paediatrics, women's health), Maroondah (paediatrics, psychiatry), Angliss (paediatrics, women's health)
- A bunch of rural sites such as Bendigo, Mildura, Bairnsdale, Traralgon, etc
- Hundreds of GPs, although the teaching home base is in Notting Hill

Basically how rotations are allocated is that after giving preferences, the cohort is divided into three groups: metro, rural, Peninsula. Metro students have access to rotations in all metro hospitals other than Peninsula, rural students have access to rotations in the rural hospitals, and Peninsula students are at Peninsula for the year. I was a metro student who had rotations at MMC, Angliss, and Casey. 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 for each site, but I think I was pretty lucky in getting good rotations.

The year is divided into two 18 week semesters, followed by one week SWOTVAC and then 5 exams in 5 days (more on that hell-hole in my MED4200 review!). Each semester you do two rotations, either paediatrics and women's health, or psychiatry and GP, each of 9 weeks duration. Some people may be in multiple hospitals during a rotation (especially psychiatry at MMC, or metro paediatrics), others might be at just the one (more-so in women's health), really depends.

From the outset, I want to make it clear that this unit is bloody hard work and it's really important to study smart and keep on top of your study to make sure you don't fall behind. This sounds obvious, but this unit has a lot of assignments and Moodle tasks, and if you get caught up in them then it's very easy to lose track of your study. Personally, I made notes for my rotation before it started, and then added to them once I was in the rotation. So how my study went:
- Summer holidays: make paediatrics notes, also decided to make notes on ophthalmology, dermatology, and ENT because I knew GP was my last rotation and I wanted to ease off pressure as it was so close to exams
- Paediatrics: refine paediatrics notes, make women's health notes
- Women's health: refine women's health notes, make psychiatry notes
- Mid-year holiday: refine all notes thus far and start to revise third year material for MED4200
- Psychiatry: refine psychiatry notes, make general practice notes, continue revising third year material
- General practice: refine general practice notes, revise all notes from this and last year
- SWOTVAC: cram everything like there's no tomorrow, maybe consider revising clinically-relevant things year 1 and 2 if you have time for MED4200

To aid with the study, the Faculty provides you with a matrix, similar to the one in third year except about double in size. However, as I'll touch on later, I think that's the bare minimum to know. To enhance your knowledge, I'd strongly recommend a purchase of some sort of online MCQ/EMQ question bank. Some of the ones I have used over the years include:
- http://my.onexamination.com/Login.aspx (probably the best one)
- https://www.pastest.co.uk/product/medical-student-online?rbc=true&pnpid=915
- http://www.passmedicine.com/index.php

Here are some properties from my combined years 3 and 4 notes, the study is very much real this year:

As aforementioned, this unit has a few Moodle quizzes, these are evidence-based clinical practice quizzes and forum posts, health services management forum posts (semester 1), and health economics forum posts (semester 2). These are terrible, absolute pain in the asses to do every week. Definitely the bane of fourth year. However, as boring and tedious as these tasks are, they're hurdles and people have failed the whole year because of missing even a single quiz. Quick run-down of them:
- Evidence-based clinical practice: consists of four three-week blocks per semester. Each block consists of doing some readings (don't bother) and a video lecture (I'd recommend watching these, actually useful), answering a question in a Moodle forum about said readings (tactically pick a question that isn't about the readings, or one that is otherwise straightforward), and doing a quiz (usually about 10 questions).
- Health services management: even after making weekly Moodle posts about this, I still don't know what it is or why we did it. Basically there is a weekly topic, and you're supposed to ask a senior clinician for their thoughts and then write a Moodle forum post summarising their thoughts and your own. As for how many people ever asked a clinician, I'd say <5%. Pointless waste of an hour a week imo.
- Health economics: this was a little better than health services management, although more tedious. Basically there are weekly readings about some economic issue in health that you have to make a Moodle forum post about. Some were interesting, others very dry. Not my cup of tea.

Now I'll go through the different rotations in the order I had them, and share my experiences, give some advice, and give you a taste of fourth year med :P

If you like kids, this rotation can be really fun; if you don't, too bad :P I enjoyed this rotation, spending four weeks of it at Casey and the other four at MMC. I had subrotations in general paediatrics, neonatology (ie. special care unit), rheumatology, nephrology, adolescent medicine, and emergency medicine.

The other week of this rotation, the first week, is a week of 9-5 lectures at MMC. This can be VERY overwhelming if you're not prepared, which is why I recommend pre-reading for your rotations so you can make the most out of them, especially because the quality of the lectures was very high and it'd be a shame to miss that opportunity. Furthermore, paediatrics is a rotation that has a LOT of content; it's essentially third year condensed (get it? because kids are smaller than adults hahahaha) into 9 weeks. The Faculty provides a list of conditions to know, but I honestly feel that you need to know much more than that unfortunately. The best way to fill in gaps in your knowledge is to do questions, there shouldn't ever be a case where you don't know anything about an option in an MCQ/EMQ. 

In terms of other teaching, there are biweekly tutes, one discussing content and the other a bedside tutorial (of the same vein as third year bedside tutorials). These are run by senior paediatricians and are a bit of a mixed bag depending on who you get. I was extremely fortunate to have four weeks of tutes with Dr Hinds, who is a bit of a celebrity among us medical medical students, and I found them to be very useful.

Other than the intense workload of study, this rotation also has a few assignments:
- Oral case report: fairly straightforward, the more interesting the better
- Written case report: fairly straightforward, the more interesting the better
- Contemporary issues in health group oral presentation: this is an absolute pain. You don't choose your group and hence this can cause a few issues if you're with people who aren't keen to do well (I may or may not have had this issue...). This is essentially a presentation based on a topic, eg. childhood obesity, that you deliver to all the metro students in paediatrics and women's health. Hence, you either do this assignment during paediatrics or women's health, and the mark is used for both.

Now, moving on from study and assessment and onto my experiences. This was a really cool rotation if you're keen to stay late and get involved!
- Casey: spent a lot of time in general paediatrics, neonatology, and the emergency medicine. General paediatrics was a little dull, lots of common conditions such as bronchiolitis, exacerbations of asthma, urinary tract infections, etc. Neonatology was awesome! It was pretty much my first experience with babies and I guess what I got out of this was that "babies are saaahhhhhhh cute!" Most of the babies were fairly healthy, a few had sepsis and jaundice for investigation, but it was a great experience. Emergency medicine wasn't really supposed to be a rotation for us, but I was keen and decided to do some after-hours stuff with the registrar a few times, very rewarding experience! You get the chance to clerk kids, diagnose them, and recommend some investigations to the registrar. I'd highly recommend going out of your way to do more stuff if you're keen on it, there are heaps of opportunities.
- MMC: subrotations in rheumatology and nephrology, adolescent medicine, and emergency medicine. Rheumatology and nephrology had a reputation for not having many patients and hence having the med student leave at about 10am, however I was there on a pretty busy week. Saw cases of glomerulonephritis needing renal transplant, congenital nephrotic syndrome, acute rheumatic fever, hypermobility syndrome, pyelonephritis, etc. The team was also fantastic and I had a great time. Adolescent medicine, on the other hand, wasn't so great. Essentially the patients here have eating disorders, and whilst it was great to get exposure to these patients, there wasn't much I could contribute to what was going on; the team was nice though. The best thing about paediatrics at MMC is the emergency medicine week. Here, you pick 4-hour shifts and then pretty much work as a paediatric resident! Amazing opportunity to take histories, perform physical examinations, make diagnoses, and initiate management and treatment with the guidance of a senior physician. Saw a variety of cases, and as with Casey, I went out of my way to go on weekends and after 12am, had an absolute ball!

To guide your clinical experiences, there is also a hurdle logbook. However this is only one page in length and most of it can easily be done during the emergency medicine subrotation. Not really a stress.

Overall, paediatrics was very good! Probably not as good as some of my rotations last year, but still very interesting and exciting. And babies, so darn cute!

Women's health
I was expecting to hate this rotation, but I was blown away by how interesting it was! There are really two parts to women's health: obstetrics and gynaecology. The former deals with pregnancies, births, and the postpartum period; whilst the latter deals with non-baby related conditions (endometriosis, fibroids, cancers, etc.). I got pretty good exposure to both, and similarly with paediatrics, the more time you put in to this rotation, the more you can get out of it. This rotation had a similarly bulky week of lectures to start it off, and again I can't emphasise enough how important it is to not get lost during this valuable teaching period.

Being in a small outer-suburban hospital at Angliss, I got to know all the consultants and registrars quite well, which made the atmosphere a really friendly one. The teaching, which consisted of tutes and clinics, was excellent. They were very informal and we could discuss everything and anything, which was great for focusing on tougher areas of the course and having a bit of fun at the same time.

Unlike my surgical experiences in third year, I enjoyed surgery in this rotation! There weren't many different types of procedures and there was plenty of opportunity to get involved in assisting in both gynaecological surgery and in Caesarean sections. Speaking (or writing) of which, this rotation presented a unique privilege: being present at births. Surprisingly, having a baby seems nothing like it's made out to be in movies, labour can last hours (or even days!) and honestly I don't see how men can complain about ever being in pain haha. It was amazing to see births and even deliver a baby, a room full of anxiousness and worry becomes one of complete elation, it's almost magical to witness. I was fortunate to see normal vaginal births, forceps assisted, and ventouse assisted; would highly recommend trying seeing all three as it really ties a knot in the theory. The best way to achieve this is to be nice to the midwives, as they pretty much control the show!

One of the best parts of this rotation is "mentor week". During this week we stray from Angliss and join a private obstetrician and gynaecologist in their rooms for a week. I had the privilege of joining a doctor at a private hospital who did a lot of work with IVF, and had a fantastic time learning about it and assisting in his surgeries. It was very eye-opening to see how private practice work and we had a lot of interesting conversations about medicine and life. He's probably the reason I'm choosing to do an Honours degree next year (if I pass!). I kinda wish we were allowed to do a "mentor week" for every rotation for years 3 and 4.

In terms of assessment, it's very similar to paediatrics with the written and oral case reports. The addition are the observed clinical encounters. These are very similar to the MCRs of third year, except with an obstetric and gynaecology focus. The "encounters" are an antenatal check, postnatal check, bimanual vaginal examination, speculum, and Pap smear. These were sometimes stressful to get done, but otherwise all part of good learning.

The big downsides to this rotation were the logbook and the attendance requirements. The logbook is a little insane and a big stressor, there are a lot of components to it and there can be a lot of luck in terms of getting things done. For example, during my night shifts on the birth suites, I had 5 consecutive days without any births, which was apparently a record according to a senior midwife there haha. As for attendance, you had to record morning and afternoon attendance every day. This was a little ridiculous because sometimes there was just nothing happening and you had to stay around to get a signature, bit of a waste of time.

Overall, a good rotation, much to my surprise! Being in a small hospital was a good thing for this rotation, we got to know everyone well and it was a really good environment.

Probably my least favourite rotation of the year, but probably the one that I felt I most needed to have. Mental illness is something of a "hidden" burden in our society, it's an umbrella for multiple conditions that effect more people than we can imagine, and it was a very valuable and enlightening experience to see it at its extremes.

My rotation was divided into three subrotations: acute ward, aged care, and adolescent medicine, although other people had different rotations.
-  Acute ward: this is eye-opening. The patients here are acutely unwell with a variety of psychiatric illnesses such as major depressive disorder with suicidal features, acute mania as part of bipolar I disorder, psychosis as part of schizophrenia, etc. It's a confronting place to be and I honestly couldn't wish admission there to my worst enemy. There are times where you feel a little unsafe (even not in the seclusion areas, although luckily police were nearby) and times where you feel out of your depth, I was told that was to be expected and was normal. It was a good learning experience to see how psychiatrists managed patients who were acutely suicidal or manic (or whatever else), as it's something that is incredibly difficult to do. Unlike most areas in medicine, many patients in psychiatry here don't want to take their medications because they don't know that they're not well, this poses a unique challenge and it was fascinating to see how they dealt with this problem (with a variety of outcomes haha). Another issue worth mentioning here is drugs. The ward was infested with amphetamines, and it was startling to find out how they got there. For example, smuggling drugs inside of McDonalds burgers!?! The problem with drugs was very evident, with many patients suffering from addiction. This is a real issue as it prevents them from recovering from their mental illness and in fact makes things worse, which is a terrible vicious circle to get trapped into.
- Aged care: this is pretty much acute medicine but for the elderly. Given the demographics, there was less mania and more dementia-ish presentations mixed in with some depression and psychosis. I was really lucky during my rotation here because the registrar transitioned to becoming a consultant, so because we were already friendly beforehand nothing changed when she became the boss! We were able to get a bit more involved with the team here, able to talk to more patients (and by ourselves, something they don't let you do for safety reasons on the acute ward) and join them for walks and stuff. Had opportunities to see electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) here, which busted all the myths I had heard about it; it's actually a very safe method of treatment with a lot of evidence of efficacy. Overall, not as confronting, but it was valuable to experience some issues the elderly face and how to overcome or prevent them.
- Adolescent medicine: covered older people, younger adults, and now kids. These patients had similar issues to those I saw on adolescent medicine in paediatrics, except they were medically stable. Conditions encountered include borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, drug-induced psychosis, and various eating disorders. The frustrating thing about this part of the rotation was interacting with the patients was difficult for a bunch of legal reasons, which was completely fair enough and understandable, but puzzling as to why they sent us down there for three weeks if we weren't going to do anything. In the end we found that the best way to interact with them was by playing table tennis with them and getting to know them that way, which kinda worked out. Something important to mention in this subrotation was how eye-opening and shocking some of the stories these children had. It's absolutely horrible what some of them had been through, and there were definitely days when you left hospital feeling pretty down just from hearing about what they had to endure.

I guess the one thing I really didn't like about psychiatry, other than the limited patient interaction, was just how under-resourced it is. Despite all these feel-good R U OK? days and whatnot (which in all honesty, I feel don't help that much), there isn't enough funding for research into new drugs and we're still using medications that were made too many year ago. Furthermore, despite having acute wards, many of these patients don't get better, which is a really sad thing.

In terms of teaching, this unit was focused around intermittent lectures spaced throughout the rotation and tutes which ended up being discussions on whatever came to mind. There was little structure, but I thought that worked pretty well. Our supervising doctor was pretty amazing and had a lot of fascinating insights into the world of psychiatry.

The assessment in psychiatry is daunting, it's a massive 5000 word case report. This is a mammoth compared to the 1500 word case reports in paediatrics and women's health. It's stressful finding suitable patients and then even more stressful trying to interview them. Took me a good week to get it done (with trademark procrastination), but I'd advise people to try and get it done as early as possible in the rotation. Get it out of the way!

Overall, my least enjoyable rotation, but as mentioned, the one I needed to have. Not just as a medical student, but as a human being. Very important knowledge gained from this experience.

General practice
Honestly a great way to end the year, my favourite rotation! General practice was awesome to have at the end of the year because I was theoretically at the peak of my knowledge and could apply it to the wider community haha!

This rotation was the best for a number of reasons:
1. It was very well organised. Everything was perfected.
2. The teaching was outstanding. Teaching throughout the year was very good, but in this rotation it was just better.
3. The days at GP were fantastic.

Touching upon the teaching in a bit more detail. The rotation was divided into 9 topics (eg. emergenices, palliative care, ophthlmology, dermatology, etc.), each a week in length. The tutes were run by senior GPs and were very good, a mixture of case studies and mock patient interactions. The best tutes were in the week based upon emergency medicine, whereby we had an interaction with a mock patient (an actor) in our own room and our tute group watched us live via a video stream. It was fascinating to see how we each handled the pressure! Lectures were also very thorough, delivered by either GPs or specialists (eg. ophthalmologists, dermatologists). Lectures in this rotation were held Monday and Wednesday mornings, with tutes based on them in the afternoon. Hectic full days, but well worth it.

I'd strongly recommend attending the John Colvin Lecture Series as an adjunct to the teaching here. These are held at the start of the year at the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital in the city and are run by ophthalmologists on Saturday mornings. Fantastic teaching and all the students there are clearly keen to learn. A very good learning environment if you can be bothered going. More information here or here. There are also dermatology and ENT lectures (Brian Pyman Otolaryngology and The Victorian Faculty of Australasian College of Dermatologists Lecture Series) held on later Saturdays, but I unfortunately couldn't go to them.

On Tuesday and Friday I had my GP placements. Similar to mentor week of women's health, you're with a GP in their private rooms and seeing patients. I had a great time! One of my GPs allowed me to have my own room for parallel consulting, which was an invaluable experience. The only issue I found with this is that because I was so close to exams and in a rotation with a couple of public holidays (a holiday for an AFL match? I mean, really?), it was stressful trying to do the required 108 hours of clinic time, but I managed it in the end. The best thing about clinic is the opportunity to weave all your knowledge together, and it's rewarding when you realise how far you've come and have learnt.

In terms of assessment in this rotation, there was yet another case report. Here you choose a patient, interview them a few times and then write up ANOTHER 5000 words. Because this was my last rotation, I tried to get this done as soon as possible, just so I could focus on the study. Frustrating assignment, but my patient was lovely and she had a very interesting story to tell, so it was ok haha.

Overall, another great rotation! Felt like everything "came together" as I applied my knowledge and skills from my last 4 years, something which I enjoyed doing :)

Overall impression
Fantastic year, so many amazing memories and so much knowledge acquired. I think the year would be better if there were less assignments given the exams at the end of the year (more on that in my MED4200 review), but still a really fun year.

As with previous years, there are still med soc events, med ball this year happened to be on my birthday so that got a bit rowdy ;) Just got back from of our end of year celebration, which was another memorable night. Plenty of other social events on the calendar too, but not as many as in previous years due to study load. Important to have a balance though, as some people in my year kinda lost themselves with so much going on, and I think it's really important to remember why you're doing medicine because although the light at the end of the med school tunnel is so close, it can sometimes feel very far away.

Feel free to ask me any questions!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 12:10:34 pm by pi »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #313 on: November 22, 2015, 12:20:26 am »
Subject Code/Name: MED4200 - Integrated clinical studies

Workload: varies as it depends on how much you want to study, I'd recommend at least 3 hours a night. This unit consists of a four examinations and occurs throughout the year. There are revision lectures run fortnightly by MUMUS.

Assessment: OSCEs (40%), written examinations (40%), written VIA (20%)

Recorded Lectures: MUMUS lectures are recorded with screen capture.

Past exams available: Yes, 7 papers were released by the Faculty, although the Faculty still maintains threats to expel students from the course if they are caught compiling past questions or distributing or using unofficial past compilations. All past compilations have been removed from the MUMUS site. Many EMQ/MCQ books can adjunct exam preparation.

Textbook Recommendation: as with my previous reviews of units thus far in the degree. You'll need to combine your resources from those years and pick and choose what you need most, ideally you'll have noted from which you can study from instead.

Lecturer(s): Many, depending on the series of lecture

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 and 2, 2015

Rating: 2/5

This unit is an absolute nightmare. It creeps up on you and is not much fun. Basically this unit consists of four exams, one OSCE which is held over two days, one written exam on paediatrics and women's health, one written exam on psychiatry and general practice, and one mammoth exam that can assess anything you learnt over the least four years (the dreaded VIA...). These exams are worth about 30% of the degree, with the VIA weighing in at 20% (more on this in a review on MED4000 where it will make more sense), and happen on consecutive days in the fabled and brutal "week of hell".

The key to this unit is preparation, you NEED to be well prepared in advance. If you're the type of person who's left things until SWOTVAC until now, that will not work given the SWOTVAC is only 1 week and the rotations may be working you hard until the last Friday of semester. Hence, you need to be studying consistently throughout the year.

How I went about things was detailed in my MED4190 review, so I'm not going to bother repeating things, but in terms of prioritising study, I think the following are useful tips:
- Year 4 is the most important year to study, then Year 3, then pre-clinical years; the VIA is 80% Years 3 and 4, so that's where the money is at
- Try and cover a year 3 topic every week, eg. cardiology; you should have enough time to cover each topic twice before directing focus to the big topics of cardiology, respiratory medicine, gastroenterology, and endocrinology towards the end of the year
- If you're going to study pre-clinical content, keep it to epidemiology and clinically relevant anatomy, those are important topics
- Make notes, you won't remember things and notes can help to jog your memory, use your bag of studying tricks for this one
- Don't neglect ECGs and radiology
- Make sure you practice OSCEs with mates, make lists about likely conditions to come up and practice to time!
- If you are feeling stressed and feel like you need a break, please take one; your mental health is the most important thing this year and you need to be at your best to survive the "week of hell"

Unfortunately I can't give specific details on the exams due to Faculty rulings, so that's basically it. I've mentioned how I went about my units that make up these exams in previous reviews, so anyone wanting to know more about it should peruse those. To anyone who has to do this unit, I wish you the best of luck, it's probably the toughest unit Monash offers to anyone from any degree. So very glad it is over :P
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 11:42:34 am by pi »


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Re: Monash University - Subject Reviews & Ratings
« Reply #314 on: November 22, 2015, 12:28:23 am »
Subject Code/Name: MED4000 - Year 3B and 4C final grade

Workload: N/A, this unit is essentially a grade for Years 3 and 4.

- MED3051 (6.125%)
- MED3062 (6.125%)
- MED3200 (22.75%)
- MED4190 (10.0%)
- VIA Exam (30.0%)
- MED4200 (OSCE & EMQ component, excluding VIA) (25.0%)

Recorded Lectures: N/A

Past exams available: N/A

Textbook Recommendation: N/A

Lecturer(s): N/A

Year & Semester of completion: Semester 1 and 2, 2014-15

Rating: 3/5

Not sure how to feel about this unit given I didn't know about it until very recently haha. It's similar to MED2000, in that it's just a grade for your efforts in the last 2 years. As you can see, the VIA is given a huge weighting, and the internal assessment is not worth that much. Hence, my final recommendation from my three fourth year reviews, is to prioritise your study over the assignments. The study is worth wayyyy more and it's important to realise that. Sure, the assignments of MED4190 are important, but in the grand scheme of things, they're not that important. Study smart and hard ;)
« Last Edit: November 22, 2015, 11:42:51 am by pi »