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Thread: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

  1. #576
    Perpetual Student Amleops's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    MATH3063 - Nonlinear ODE's and Applications

    Ease - 7/10
    The content isn't too difficult; the quizzes in particular just focused on theoretical concepts and they were quite easy. The three assignments were based around formulating mathematical models of different biological phenomena which were discussed in a particular journal article, and due to the fact quite a few of the questions were different to what was taught in lectures and tutorials, they were a little difficult at times. The exam also seemed to pick the hardest questions from each topic. So overall you will need to put some effort in to do well, but it is definitely not unachievable.
    Lecturer - 8/10 (Leon Poladian)
    Leon was very good at explaining all of the concepts, quite often they were more clear than what his notes were. So for that reason I would definitely recommend going to his lectures instead of trying to teach yourself.
    Interest - 8/10
    This is very much a "real world" type of unit, and you learn how a lot of mathematical models and concepts can be applied to biology. This was definitely enough to keep me interested.
    Overall - 8/10
    Comes highly recommended, especially to biology students. Just make sure that you don't take the unit for granted and slack off, because it does require constant effort.

    MATH3066 - Algebra and Logic

    Ease - 8/10
    Logic has always come pretty naturally to me, so I found I picked up that section quite well. Algebra was a little more difficult, and there was a lot of theoretical concepts and proofs involved in quite a few of the questions. However, it is definitely doable, and is certainly a whole lot easier than MATH2968. The assessment questions had quite a mix of easy and harder questions, but if you spend enough time on the latter you can generally produce something that would give you at least some marks.
    Lecturer - 9/10 (David Easdown)
    While he's not a very animated speaker David certainly gets the job done. His explanations and notes were very detailed and clear, and his administration of the course was excellent. Definitely one of the better lecturers in the Maths department.
    Interest - 10/10
    Like I said, logic is my forte, and while I've spent most of my time learning it in the Philosophy department, the approach the Mathematics department took in teaching the material was quite refreshing. The algebra was a little abstract but it was certainly interesting to see how all of the concepts could be used.
    Overall - 9/10
    I'm looking forward to studying more logic in the semesters to come. It's a shame the university doesn't offer as many courses on it as it should.

    HPSC1000 - Bioethics

    Ease - 10/10
    Very straightforward course. If you do the readings each week you'll be in a very good position for the class discussions; many people in my tutorial didn't so it made it much easier to make your case for those tutorial participation marks. All that needs to be done is three essays, and as long as you have kept up with the material and have a clear thesis you should do well.
    Lecturer/Tutor - 8/10 (Anson Fehross, Sophie Ritson)
    As a lecturer Anson was pretty good and made the subjects entertaining. Like Sida said, he was quite edgy and deadpan, and I know a few people who were put off by his somewhat abrasive personality. I didn't mind it though. Sophie was a great tutor, and it was good to see that she was able to come up with small group activities that were able to get around everyone’s unwillingness to talk. Seriously, do your readings.
    Interest – 8/10
    You start by learning about a few particulars of ethical theory, and after that you learn to apply it to practical issues such as euthanasia, abortion and genetic enhancement. I recently decided to pursue a career in medicine, and a lot of the issues discussed were definitely relevant to that, so that was enough to keep my interest. Plus the lecture and tutorial debates were very stimulating.
    Overall – 9/10
    Interesting subject matter, and probably the easiest first year science unit you can do. Comes highly recommended.

    PHIL2647 – Philosophy of Happiness

    Ease – 7/10
    The assessment load was quite manageable; all that needed to be done was a short analysis, a research essay and a take home exam. It is definitely accessible to those who haven’t studied philosophy before, but just be wary that writing essays in philosophy are quite different to writing essays in any other subject areas. It took me a bit of time to get accustomed to what they wanted at first.
    Lecturer/Tutor – 9/10 (Caroline West, Anthony Hooper)
    Caroline was probably my favourite lecturer of the semester, she was quite friendly and was able to make even some of the drier concepts of the course that much more interesting. Anthony was an excellent tutor too, he would often revise key concepts from the lectures with his own take on things, so it was good to get varying perspectives on the content. Plus the tutorials were quite small and intimate, which made it much easier to engage with everyone in class discussions.
    Interest – 7/10
    Similar to HPSC1000, you start by learning about different theories of happiness, and then go into the impact that these have on areas such as religion, politics and our general quest for happiness. Some of it was a little dry at times, but it definitely challenged my notions about what happiness is and gave me quite a bit of food for thought.
    Overall – 7/10
    I originally did this subject thinking it would be a WAM booster. It was a little harder than I thought, but it was still quite an entertaining subject.

    WRIT2002 – Advanced Writing and Research

    Ease – 9/10
    The course is not difficult at all. It is slightly harder than WRIT1001 as they expect a higher standard of writing, but overall it is still quite straightforward. The only assessments were daily journal entries (weekly if you do it during normal semester), a critical analysis of a text of your choosing, and a final research project. These were quite easy to do provided you had a clear idea of what you wanted to talk about.
    Lecturers – 10/10 (Steven King, Lucinda Holdforth)
    Both Steven and Lucinda did everything we could have asked for, and I have no complaints for either of them personally. In Winter School you’re really able to engage with your lecturers more, which I found to be quite helpful.
    Interest – 5/10
    Some of the psychology aspects of essay writing was a little dry, but it wasn’t too bad. My main problem with this unit was that, unlike in WRIT1001, the topic for your research project had to come from a list of conflicts (Occupy Movement, Syrian Civil War, Feminism etc.). Unfortunately none of the topics really interested me personally, so it was a little bit dull from that standpoint. But the good news was that in Winter School everything is over with rather quickly, so I didn’t have to dwell on the issues for too long.
    Overall – 7/10
    If I had my time over again I probably would have asked permission early on to do a topic outside of the list provided to us. But the unit itself was very good, and outside of class I was also given some pretty valuable advice on possible future degrees I could do. I’m definitely glad I took this unit.
    sida1049 likes this.

  2. #577
    Perpetual Student Amleops's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    PDF updated.
    Last edited by Amleops; 19 Jul 2016 at 2:19 PM.

  3. #578
    HSC Hipster Soulful's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    JPNS2621

    Ease - 8/10
    If you did continuers during high school, you should find the difficulty to be on par with HSC Japanese. There is, however, a much bigger focus on Kanji, so be prepared to spend a lot of time rote learning hundreds of new characters. The emphasis of university Japanese seems to have shifted away from using and applying the language (as was sorta the case in high school), to being much more about studying the language as an academic discipline. Consequently, there was also a big focus on grammar, ESPECIALLY in the final exam. Assessments aren't hard if you study consistently. The one speaking assessment is rather difficult to get good marks in, not because it's hard or anything, but because you almost never get the chance to practise speaking in class.

    Tutors
    Basically, they divide the course into three different streams - Speaking, Reading and Grammar. Each section gets a different tutor, who have varying levels of teaching ability
    Michael Lewis (reading) 6/10 - Great guy who knows his stuff and has interesting insights to share. Unfortunately, classes felt really stagnant because all we did was read and translate the texts in our textbook, and then he'd correct any mistakes we made.
    Nerida Jarkey (grammar) 10/10 - LEGIT THE BEST TUTOR EVER. So so SO enthusiastic about Japanese grammar. Her bubbly personality and passion are really infectious. She can make something as mind boggling as indirect-causative-passive verbs very interesting. She is so patient when it comes to answering questions and I feel that she really cares about her students. I could go on and on about how great she is, and if I had my way I'd make her teach the whole course by herself. Only minor issue is that, as she is a linguist by training, her explanations are sometimes very technical and grounded in theory (as opposed to the real world). That said, it was really fascinating hearing her talk about the linguistic mechanics which go behind certain language structures.
    Yasuko Claremont (communication) 5/10 - Lovely, sweet woman. Too bad the way she structured her lessons was really bad, and not at all conducive to improving speaking ability. In high school, I remember practising conversation all the time, but in her classes all we did was read out dialogues already written in our textbooks. It was very frustrating that we spent the majority of our so called "communication" class just reading off the textbook. In fact, the only bit of conversation practise we did through out the whole semester was during the final speaking exam, where we had to hold a discussion in Japanese. Needless to say I was ill-prepared for the task given how little in class practise we got.

    Interest - 7/10
    The score would be much lower if it wasn't for Dr. Jarkey's brilliant grammar tutorials. I always found HS Japanese to be very impractical and not really grounded in reality, but uni Japanese is so much worse in this regard. 2/3 of the tutorials felt very useless, and it was really hard to engage with the language because of it.

    Overall - 7/10
    Fascinating subject and language - just not the best teaching (bar one FANTASTIC tutor). I wish it had a much more practical focus, and my Japanese didn't improve as much as I wish it did. But regardless, if you're interested in Japanese, none of this really matters. For me at least, despite all my misgivings towards the teaching, studying Japanese was, and always will be, a pleasure.


    ~ First in Drama 2015 ~

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    Perpetual Student Amleops's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    I'll update as more are added.

    BOS Reviews.doc
    BOS Reviews.pdf

  5. #580
    #MedLyf Riproot's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Obvious View Post
    I'm going to write a review for chemistry, math and MBLG.

    Do MBLG and chemistry. Your feedback/rage always makes me lol.
    I never wrote reviews for those subs and I don't remember anything about them now. Soz <3


    miss you ~

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    Senior Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    Semester 2 2016

    COSC1003 – Computational Science
    Ease – 10/10
    Programming in this course is easy to manage since it’s MATLAB (which is quick to pick up even for students who have not programmed before). The problem solving aspect of this course is interesting, and perfectly doable. In every lab, you have to complete a set of tasks in relation to the theory, and get it marked. This wasn’t too difficult. The practical exams were manageable (there are plenty of past papers) and the assignment was straightforward. The final exam purely tested the theory and involved no coding at all. The only issue I had was with the wording of some of the assessments, though markers were fairly lenient, so there’s that.
    Lecturers – 8/10 (10/10 for Cliff Kerr, 6/10 for Paula Sanz-Leon)
    Cliff is a great lecturer; he was very charismatic, engaging, amusing and effectively communicated the ideas. His lecture slides are very useful and takes time to write up additional notes. He also gives out chocolates during his lectures, so why wouldn’t you turn up? Paula was inexperienced, so naturally in contrast to Cliff, she wasn’t nearly as effective as a lecturer.
    Interest – 10/10
    This course covers a very eclectic range of topics, including information theory, probability, networks, techniques for numerically solving ODEs, and various modelling here and there. The content is satisfying for mathematics, physics and engineering students. However, it should be noted that the topics were only touched upon superficially, as every lecture covers a new topic, which may be completely unrelated to previous lectures.
    Overall – 10/10
    Great lecturer. Very interesting content. Scientific problem solving with programming. Easy marks. 100% recommend if you have a spare elective, are interested in developing scientific programming skills and/or interested in an eclectic range of topics.

    ECON1002 – Introductory Macroeconomics
    Ease – 8/10
    The workload is comparatively less than ECON1001, as there are fewer assessments (a mid-semester exam, term essay and final exam), along with the fact that many students found ECON1001’s content more difficult to grasp. The assessments were perfectly manageable, and so is the final exam (surprisingly enough this year, the short-answer component of the finals was purely computational and involved very little written explanation). Assessment averages can be surprisingly low due to many international students who struggle with the wording and others who lack confidence in basic algebra.
    Lecturers – 7.5/10 (8.5/10 for Mark Melatos, 6.5/10 for Edward Nelson)
    Most of the lectures were delivered by Melatos, who was a very competent lecturer who tried to make the theory interesting and applicable to the real world. From time to time, however, Melatos’ pace can be uncomfortably slow as he goes through a bunch of graphs and statistics which emphasise trivial points that don’t really benefit anyone. Professor Nelson is very qualified, however he isn’t that great as a lecturer. His slides tend to have too many words, which he directly reads from. However, I personally think it’s still beneficial to attend his lectures, but that could be my optimistic bias.
    Interest – 7/10
    I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of maths in this course (which was little, whereas I expected very little). The most exciting aspects of the course are probably the macroeconomic models, so make sure you’re at least confident with basic algebraic manipulation. I personally found ECON1001 to be more interesting, though.
    Overall – 8/10
    Fairly useful and interesting, and relatively easy to do well in if you put apply the effort.

    INFO1105 – Data Structures
    Ease – 8/10
    I found this unit to be easier and more enjoyable than INFO1103. This course has significantly more content which are more difficult to grasp than that of INFO1103, however I personally felt that the assessments were easier and more manageable. There is a quiz every two weeks, which involve 5 multiple choice questions, which are easy as long as you do the revision. The programming tasks each week are also perfectly manageable. The assignments were easier and more interesting than those of INFO1103 in my opinion, and the final exam was much easier than the introductory course.
    Lecturers – 8/10 (8.5/10 Alan Fekete, 7.5/10 John Stavrakakis)
    Both lecturers are very competent, friendly, and were effective in communicating the theory across to students. Alan Fekete was the more charismatic lecturer, who presented the content more engagingly and thoroughly. However, compared to Stavrakakis, his pace was far slower. Stavrakakis is arguably more efficient, and a fine lecturer by most standards, though at times awkward and difficult to follow.
    Interest – 9/10
    The content was very interesting. I was very pleasantly surprised by the variety and ingenuity of data structures introduced. The heavy use of recursion was quite intriguing.
    Overall – 8/10
    A decent, all-round course; Not difficult, good lecturers, great content.

    MATH1903 – Integral Calculus and Modelling (Advanced)
    Ease – 10/10
    If you did HSC Mathematics Extension 2, this will be a fairly accommodating course for you. The content isn’t difficult to grasp. The assignments were straightforward and the practice quizzes reflected the quizzes quite accurately. Final exam, however, wasn’t difficult, but rather that it was way too long, to compensate against the ease of the content.
    Lecturers – 10/10 (Anne Thomas and Florica-Corina Cîrstea)
    Both lecturers were absolutely amazing. They went through the content with great effectiveness, structure and style. Florica has the coolest accent I’ve ever heard.
    Interest – 10/10
    It’s mathematics.
    Overall – 10/10
    The proof of this is left as a trivial exercise for the reader.

    MATH1905 – Statistics (Advanced)
    Ease – 6.5/10
    Probably the most difficult first year course I’ve done. The content is quite difficult to grasp, and most students end up learning how to do the questions as opposed to understanding the theory. That said, passing and doing well in this course isn’t too difficult (probably easier than MATH1902); the assignments weren’t too bad, and the quizzes were reflected very well by the practice quizzes. We had 6 different past papers to study from for the finals, which weren’t difficult themselves if you’ve caught up with the content. The final exam was far more doable than the MATH1902 exam. Essentially, while the theory was elusive and difficult, the assessments and final exam were quite reasonable.
    Lecture – 7/10 (Michael Stewart)
    I personally liked Michael Stewart. He was a quirky guy, who coined up several phrases which we ended up using as memes during the semester (e.g. “embrace the binomial”, “the unstoppable soft drink industry”, “the Homer Simpson woo-hoo is the best I’ve ever heard”, et cetera). As a lecturer, he was competent and knowledgeable, however his lectures and lecture notes were structured problematically, making them difficult to follow. That said, he is approachable if you need assistance. A lot of the time he’d concede that understanding some of the concept were beyond the scope of the course, though that’s no fault of his.
    Interest – 8/10
    Albeit a difficult unit, the content is very intriguing and useful. I’d argue that despite being the most difficult first year course I’ve done, it’s probably one of, if not the most useful.
    Overall – 7.5/10
    Not for the faint-hearted. Unless if you are up for a challenge, you should probably do MATH1005 instead. That said, it isn’t a WAM-killer by any means (since the assessments/exams were pretty manageable). Also, it should be noted that doing Mathematics Extension 2 gives you no benefit whatsoever.

    MATH1907 – Mathematics (Special Studies Program) B
    Ease – 8/10
    As with MATH1906, while some of the content may be quite difficult to grasp and follow, the assignments were manageable. That said, they can prove to be challenging (I wrote a 5-page proof for a question), but the lecturers typically mark with leniency (and often accept a higher degree of vagueness and intuition than usual). Thus the extra credit is easy to obtain.
    Lecturers – 10/10 (James Parkinson, Jean Yang and Sharon Stephen)
    The lecturers were amazing. Especially Parkinson (of course).
    Interest – 10/10
    The first topic was an introduction to group theory, delivered by Parkinson, who everyone adores. The second topic was an overview of the ideas behind more advanced statistical methods, though the main attraction was the assignment, which involved forming a survey, gathering data and answering a question of your group’s choosing. The third topic is an introduction to fluid dynamics by Stephen, which involved quite a bit of complex transformations.
    Overall – 10/10
    Do it.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts II, USYD

  7. #582
    HSC Hipster Soulful's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    LNGS1002 - Language and Social Context

    Ease - 9/10
    Lack of tests means that it's very easy to get very high marks in this unit. Like seriously, I don't see how anyone could get below a distinction in this unit. The downside of this lack of tests is a 10% assignment every two weeks, combined with two quite substantial take home exams. However, all of these assignments and take home exams are super manageable, since they are almost always based off lectures. Most of the content itself isn't too hard to grasp either - language is so ingrained in us that a lot of content is stuff you've always known, but never really thought about, or never knew it had a proper technical name. People who didn't do lngs1001 (like me) might find it hard at first adjusting to IPA notation, but it isn't a major impediment to doing well.

    Lecture - 9/10 (Nick Enfield)
    Nick is fantastic and deeply knowledgeable about linguistics. His lectures are well organised and very engaging, and he is a very strong communicator. Only downside is that his voice can be a little monotonous and serious, but he gets the job done and that's all that matters.

    Interest - 10/10
    Super interesting content that addresses questions like "What's the difference between a dialect and a language?" or "How do we know when to start and stop speaking during a conversation" or most fundamentally "What can you tell about someone from the way they speak?". Even the assignments were pretty fun (one required you to survey your friends about how much they use words like "dude" and "babe"). This whole unit really gets you thinking about how language is not only shaped by its grammar, syntax etc. but also by political, social and economic forces

    Overall - 10/10
    Best unit I've done at uni so far. Enjoyed so much so that I've restructured my whole degree so I can major in linguistics. Would strongly recommend to anyone who has an interest in language and is looking for an eye opening but also relatively easy unit.
    Last edited by Soulful; 28 Jan 2017 at 10:03 PM.


    ~ First in Drama 2015 ~

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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    Semester 2 2016

    KRNS1622 - Korean 2

    Ease - 9/10
    I studied Korean on my own for like 1 year before starting Korean, and this unit (like Korean 1) was a total breeze. I got 97 in Korean 1 and 95 in Korean 2. It's a good unit, structured well around the textbook and workbook. One of the mid sem grammar quizzes was unusually difficult (compared to the rest of the tests) and they made the final exam easier accordingly, so it was super easy. I love learning Korean and put in work in and outside of class so it's a great time all round. I'd put 10 here but since I have some background I know others won't always have I'll put 9. There's vocab tests of 10 words each week, nothing very difficult if you put in the work.

    Lectures - 8/10
    Pretty straightforward affair, Park Duk-Soo is the lecturer (he was also my tutor this sem). He rambles as much as usual but he does know what he's doing, answers questions quite well so in the end it's all good. Grammar in the lectures then some exercises and speaking practice in the tutes. They are 2 hour lectures which sometimes feel pretty long, lots of people don't turn up. The tutorials with Park were great, he tells some good stories and uses Korean a fair bit, also encouraging us to do the same. My tut seemed to have a bunch of pretty competent people so he adjusted the learning a bit to that, made things more interesting. This sem was definitely better than last, his tutorials were loads of fun. Even more practice for speaking is always better, it's where most people are lacking.

    Interest 10/10
    I love the language and so this is an easy 10 for me. The lectures can be long sometimes but the tutorials definitely made up for that. Anyone who enjoys Korean and liked Korean 1 will like Korean 2, obviously.

    Overall 9/10
    Korean is my major and continuing on from Korean 2 I'm doing Korean 3 now and it's great, a different lecturer who is even drier sometimes, and the tutorials were dry as hell at first but are getting better now. Looking forward to continuing to study it for the duration of the major.

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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    MATH3969 - Measure Theory and Fourier Analysis (Advanced)

    Semester 2, 2016

    Ease - 0/10
    By far the HARDEST math unit you'll do. If you thought MATH2962 or MATH3961 were even in the SLIGHTEST bit hard, then you my friend are in for one hell of a ride. Do NOT expect going in to this unit of study thinking it will be a breeze because it will NOT! Be ready to spend countless hours on MATH3969.

    Lecturer - 10/10 (Daniel Daners)
    If you don't already know, Daniel Daners is a phenomenal lecturer. Whenever concepts are explained, it is comprehensible. I still recommend you are adequately prepared before going into the lecture though. The lectures were recorded when I did it. The only negativity about Daners is his speed. Sometimes you would just hope that he picks up the pace.

    Interest - 0/10
    Measure Theory is by far one of the most DRIEST math topic you can possibly do - this isn't only my opinion, but of many MANY others as well.

    Overall - 1/10
    I had to do it because I didn't want to do other subjects like MATH3975/MATH3977/MATH3978. If they had another sort of abstract algebra course in third year semester 2 I would have done that instead. Analysis is boring.
    Last edited by camelrider; 2 Jul 2017 at 5:41 PM.

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    #MedLyf Riproot's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    ENVI3111 - Environmental Law & Ethics - Semester 1, 2017

    Ease - 7/10
    Semi-easy. Compared to other Geography units I found it difficult, but I think that is mainly because the learning was not very well facilitated.
    We only had tutorials 5 times over the semester (when our timetable had them for every week), and the lectures were SHIT.

    Lecturer - 1/10
    Jo Gillespie - 1/10
    Terrible lecturer. Boring. Not engaging.
    But 1, because the slides were set out ~okay~... not very good though tbh.

    Tim Frewer - 1/10
    A better, more engaging ~lecturer~, but honestly the lectures were so, so poorly organised. Coming from USyd science 5 years ago and from another (shitter) educational institution these lectures were not at all up to the standard of a third year subject...

    Interest - 1/10
    This subject could be MUCH more interesting if the content was updated properly from year-to-year and if the education was more engaging. The tutorials weren't well facilitated and the lectures seemed a bit messy (probably because of their lazy updates from previous years)...

    Overall - 2.5/10
    If you want a disinterested and disengaging unit coordinator, coupled with no educational facilitation, then this is the course for you!




    PHIL2627 - Philosophy & Psychiatry - Semester 2, 2016

    Ease - 6/10
    Dom made this unnecessarily hard on purpose... it was kind of annoying tbh.
    As a medical student who placed in the top quartile of my psychiatry cohort and equal first in the philosophy/professionalism/"personal development" component of our degree I only managed 65 in this unit...
    I did not attend the tutorials.
    ADDIT: There were no proper, thoughtful criteria for ANY of the assessments… I asked for one early in the semester and the tutor assured me there would be one for each assessment. We were both surprised (and disappointed) when what we found was a very general (and subjective/shit) "guide". I thought this was pretty half-asses from someone that considered themselves as highly as Dom does…

    Lecturer - 3/10
    Dominic Murphy - 3/10
    He's in love with himself, and it kind of gets to me.
    Much of the "substance" to his teaching is just him talking about his own writings ~covertly~.
    The lectures were subpar, we weren't provided adequate access to extra resources. (The reader contained the readings and that is it, everything else we were directed to was not available from the University [and we were expected to get our information from other sources]).

    Assorted Guest Lecturers - ?/10
    Unnecessary, and varied a lot.
    I only listened to recordings (I couldn't attend in person) and eventually just stopped listening because it wasn't beneficial.

    Interest - 7/10
    This subject could be MUCH more interesting (as well). I feel like it touched on many interesting topics, but failed to break the surface and really get into the nitty, gritty questions surrounding the philosophy of the mind and psychiatry...
    It is something I will be interested in future, and look forward to now completing my Masters in Psychiatry at UMelb... :/

    Overall - 5.5/10
    There are many improvements to be made, but the actual course "basis" is quite interesting. Maybe it is a case of the unit resting on its laurels...
    Last edited by Riproot; 19 Jul 2017 at 10:56 PM.

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    Commander-in-Chief Amundies's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Riproot View Post
    ENVI3111 - Environmental Law & Ethics - Semester 2, 2017
    Sem 2, 2017?
    Sydney Secondary College BWB Campus
    Mechanical Engineering/Commerce (Finance) @ USYD

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    Senior Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    Semester 1, 2017

    ECMT1020 - Introduction to Econometrics
    Ease - 9/10
    If you are comfortable with probability and statistical inference, then this unit will be a piece of cake. Otherwise, this unit may require more of your time and effort in order to do well. This semester didn't have a STATA assignment, but had 4 online multiple choice question sets. The multiple choice questions weren't difficult, but they did test parts of the course that most students tend to overlook. The midsem and final exam were fairly straightfoward.
    Lecturer - 9/10 (Peter Exterkate)
    Peter is a great guy, and his slides are comprehensive enough for you to safely neglect the textbook. His lectures are worth attending, and tries to make his presentation friendly for those who prefer to watch them at home. He is sometimes awkward, but that doesn't reduce the worth of his lectures. He is also very active in participating in online discussions.
    Interest - 7/10
    The course does kind of get interesting, but content sometimes feels a bit dry and the mathematical rigour isn't very satisfying. The latter may be a good thing for some students.
    Overall - 8.5/10
    It's a useful unit, and generally not that difficult. It's a compulsory subject for many students, but it's probably one of the better ones.

    ECOS2901 - Intermediate Microeconomics Honours
    Ease - 6.5/10
    Personally, I found the content to be fairly easy and straightforward to understand, and I suspect that other mathematics students would feel the same. However, students who aren't as comfortable with mathematics may find this unit particularly challenging (along with ECOS2903). What made this unit challenging for me (and many others) are the two midsems and the final. The lecturer, in his words, likes to add "novel twists" to problems in his exams. They are interesting, but it's hard to prepare for them, and they can really throw you off during the exam.
    Lecturer - 9/10 (Stephen Cheung)
    The lecturer presents the theory really well, and his slides are very helpful. He has plenty of experience teaching the course, and it really shows. However, occasionally, he may spend a disproportionate amount of time explaining simple algebraic derivations. He seems generally approachable during lectures, but he responds quite tersely to emails.
    Interest - 10/10
    The theories are very interesting, and they are presented with a satisfying level of mathematical rigour. Preference and consumer theories were great. The rigorous treatment of game theory is really fascinating.
    Overall - 9/10
    If you enjoy economics and mathematics, you will love this course.

    MATH2961 - Linear Algebra and Vector Calculus (Advanced)
    Ease - 6/10
    Vector calculus was the easier half of the course. However, it can get really computational, and you aren't provided with a formula sheet, so it's necessary to memorise quite a few important formulae. Linear algebra can get quite difficult, and the content towards the end feels somewhat disorganised and awkward. This is the first year Fish and Mathas has taught this course, so the difficulty of the quizzes and exams spiked up compared to previous years (which felt significantly easier).
    Lecturers - 7.5/10 (Sasha Fish for vector calculus 7/10 Andrew Mathas for linear algebra 8/10)
    This is the first time the lecturers have taken the course, so naturally, the course wasn't taught as well as it could have been. Both lecturers are satisfactory, however, they also consistently made mistakes during lectures. Both lecturers are very friendly and approachable.
    Interest - 8/10
    Vector calculus, personally, was fairly interesting until it got up to the final third of the course, where the central focus shifted to flux, Greens' and Stokes' theorems. Physics students may find those topics much more interesting and relevant than I do. To my surprise, I quite enjoyed abstract linear algebra. However, the last 1.5 weeks were a little disorientating for everyone, since it wasn't easy to see how it flowed on from the previous weeks, as well as the fact that this is the lecturer's first time teaching the course.
    Overall - 7.5/10
    This is a crucial unit for both advanced pure and applied maths students, and for a course that important, I think it was handled satisfactorily.

    STAT2911 - Probability and Statistical Models (Advanced)
    Ease - 5/10
    Oh boy. So far, this has been the most challenging and stressful unit I've taken. The lecturers were difficult to follow because the content was really difficult. The lecturer does not dumb anything down, and presents things with a very high level of mathematical rigour (sometimes even higher than that of MATH2961). Throughout the semester, I had to dedicate around 50% of my study time just for this unit alone. Weekly tutorial problems can get really difficult, and they are marked during tutorials. Furthermore, the lecturer records marks for tutorials (to make judgments on special consideration requests), so you're really incentivised to them in your own time, which can easily take several hours. (Although considering the fact that the theory is pretty difficult, this is probably a good thing.) The quizzes were multiple choice only, and they weren't so bad. Weekly computer reports are probably the easiest part of the course. The assignments are as difficult as weekly tutorial sheets. The computer exam at the end had the same difficulty as the weekly computer reports. The final exam was fairly difficult. I personally got lucky in the final, but a lot (probably most) students really struggled with it (as they did with tutorial problems). I would suggest to avoid this unit unless you did fairly well in MATH1905.
    Lecturer - 9.5/10 (Uri Keich)
    I have a lot of respect for Uri. He is by far the most intense lecturer I've had. He takes the tutorial classes himself, and records the marks of your weekly tutorial exercises. As mentioned above, he does not dumb down the maths, and rarely ever slows down. This was sometimes tough even for advanced maths students, so you can imagine how the commerce students would have struggled in his classes. That said, he is a lecturer who really knows his stuff. I have never had a lecturer as prepared as he is, which is astonishing, considering just how difficult the content is. He presents the content in a highly structured manner. He also seems to have a ridiculously good memory, as he has memorised the faces and most of the names in his classes, as well as flawlessly memorising his lecture slides. While he comes off as an intense guy, he is perfectly approachable if you have something to ask.
    Interest - 10/10
    The rigorous probability and statistical theory were highly satisfying and fascinating. It is a huge improvement from MATH1905.
    Overall - 8/10
    If you are looking for a highly mathematical and challenging unit, then this is for you. If you're really into probability, then this is a must. But be warned; this unit will make you really work for it.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts II, USYD

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    #MedLyf Riproot's Avatar
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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Amundies View Post
    Sem 2, 2017?
    good catch! Edited!

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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    Semester 1 - 2017

    LNGS1001 - Structure of Language

    Ease - 7/10
    Unlike LNGS1002 (which is very much a humanities subject), LNGS1001 is much more rigorous and requires an almost mathematical approach in order to succeed. Don't do it expecting your typical "arts" subject. Throughout the semester, you get 5 problem sets worth 8% each which range from doable to extremely confusing - the average for a particular question on Turkish Vowel Harmony was close to a bare pass for example. I ended up spending quite a bit of time trying to do these problem questions, and even still, I'd always miss some minor quirk and end up losing marks I didn't even know existed. Exams are alright - unlike assignments, the marking is quite lenient, and for the final exam, you get the linguistic data beforehand. All in all, if you go to lectures and are semi-decent at logical thinking, it shouldn't be too hard to do well. Just make sure you know the IPA back to front.
    Lecturer - 9/10 (Nick Enfield)
    Nick is great and really knows his stuff. His lectures are well structured and he is very good at explaining complex ideas in simple terms. Only problem is that his voice is kind of monotone and has, on many occasions, lulled me to sleep. Also, he is an expert on SE Asian languages, so expect all the examples in his lectures to be drawn from Lao, Thai, Kree etc. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I would have liked a bit more variety.
    Interest -10/10
    Syntax, Phonology and Phonetics, and Morphology might not sound very interesting, but my god are they fascinating when you get down to the nitty gritty. Ever since uni, I've really missed the logical approach of mathematics, and linguistics has been able to fill that gap in my life (for the most part). Like maths, you get "eureka" moments in linguistics as well, and they are deeply satisfying.
    Overall - 9/10
    Fantastic introduction to linguistics, and anyone who wants to analyse language through a more rigorous lens should do it.

    JPNS3621 - Japanese 7

    Ease - 4/10
    Where do I begin. Japanese 7 has been by far the most difficult, time consuming and frustrating subject I've done at uni so far (and I do law lmao). Unlike all the Japanese units before it, the focus of 7 is on syntax. And trust me, since it's a language infamous for having page long sentences, Japanese syntax is the closest thing to hell on this earth. A lot of what you do in 7 are "syntactically correct translations", where you not only have to translate Japanese sentences, but also do so in a manner that reflects the original syntax (ie. have all the main and relative clauses set out correctly, know who is doing what verb etc). Be prepared for translations which make NO sense in English. Ie.

    Also, the way of thing (1) exists
    (1) Regarding (2)
    (2) The result (3)
    (3) that the number of men (4) has increased
    (4) Who don’t feel in allure of marriage in the background (5)
    (5) Of where the truth is (6)(6a)
    (6) Is that the civil law is still unequal
    (6a) and divorce rates are rising

    While it doesn't sound too hard, you get almost NO help from the tutors (except this monstrous 100+ slide powerpoint called "The Algorithm"), and you are expected to be able to do it right from the beginning. Never mind the fact that a lot of Japanese sentences have "implicit verbs" and "implicit subjects" and "parallel clauses" which just make the whole thing even more confusing. You will be spending around 3 hours every week trying to complete the syntax homework, and often by the end of it, you will still have no idea what on earth is going on. Thankfully, Dr. Tokita is very nice when it comes to marking, and she does spend a lot of time trying to decode the mess of a translation you've made in order to give you the most marks possible.

    Speaking is also quite difficult and you don't get sufficient time in class to practise. The final exam is reminiscent of the oral exam of HSC Japanese Extension (ie. an absolute nightmare). Grammar is around N2 level (bordering on N1). Weekly Kanji tests as well RIP.

    Tutors - 8/10
    The teaching team for Japanese 7 is actually quite good. Tokita, who is in charge of the unit, is an absolute babe and very patient when it comes to explaining syntax (even though she still expects you to do a lot in your own time). Mashimo, who does conversation, is a lovely, somewhat eccentric, Japanese man who keeps the class entertained, and does his best to utilise the limited time he has to encourage us to speak Japanese. The grammar teacher Komatsu well was also very nice, and very organised. She went through our example sentences individually every week to explain what we did right and what we did wrong, which is A LOT of work, so props to her! As all the tutors are Japanese, classes are conducted 90% in Japanese, which does wonders for your listening ability.

    Interest-7/10
    The reading material we had to translate would have been really interesting.... if only I understood what was going on. Meaning often gets lost when all you're looking at are clauses, subjects, objects, verbs etc. Really wish we could have done more discussion on the points raised by the material (which covered stuff from Herbivore men to Japanese textbooks glossing over WW2 atrocities)

    Overall-7.5/10
    Despite my misgivings about syntax, I can see why they put such an emphasis on it, and I guess my comprehension ability has improved. It is pretty cool knowing how to deconstruct a sentence to it's bare, grammatical constituents. Also, the course was much better than 5 and 6, and I do appreciate how classes were mostly conducted in Japanese. Overall, a difficult, but rewarding introduction to the world of advanced Japanese.
    Last edited by Soulful; 24 Jul 2017 at 12:40 PM.
    Blue Suede likes this.


    ~ First in Drama 2015 ~

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    Re: Subject Reviews (with PDF compilation)

    This is for Sem 1, 2017.
    MATH1901
    Ease – 7/10
    The course covered background theory on the ins-and-outs of differentiation which overlapped quite heavily with content learned in high school, but was still difficult in its own right. More advanced concepts and new theorems could get quite gnarly (future students beware of epsilon-delta definitions – they wrecked most of the cohort). It was difficult to score full marks in assignments, but easy to score a high mark. I found the quizzes to be manageable, but the spread was quite high for those. The final exam was also perfectly reasonable.

    Lecturer + Tutor – 8.5/10 (Daniel Daners)
    My cohort seemed to adore him but I thought he was a little overhyped. His teaching was quite clear, but I was occasionally lost in his accent (not his fault and completely on me). The later parts of the course were quite rushed and we ended up covering content up until the last lecture on week 13.

    Interest – 6/10
    This score is coming from the perspective of a student from the school of IT. I can see the value of learning higher levels of maths, especially in terms of optimising software, but the skills taught in this course did not feel completely applicable (aside from critical thinking and problem solving, which is arguably better developed in other courses). For me personally, this course was just a core unit that I needed as a stepping stone to do other units in my field.

    Overall – 7/10
    This course is definitely easier than MATH1902 but still quite a challenge to even the most mathematically inclined students. There is no guarantee that you will find this course easy, regardless of whether you blitz through HSC Ext 2 Maths (90+). If you do not intend to major in maths or take maths into 2nd year, I would advise you to save your WAM and take the mainstream MATH1001.

    MATH1002
    Ease – 9.5/10
    How well you do in this course depends on the amount of time you invest in learning the core concepts of vector dot products and matrix multiplication. The rest of the course is an application of those concepts into various other formulas and problems. It would be comparable to learning how to utilise trig for the first time – an abstract concept which becomes second nature once you become familiar with it.
    Lecturer – 9.5/10 (Becky Armstrong) 7.5/10 (Robert Haraway)
    Tutor – 10/10 (Zeina Haidar)
    Becky was very clear in explaining the kind of working/set up we were expected to do when given a type of question in an exam. She had no problems providing multiple examples of questions we would expect, which was great to see theory being put into practice. However, she was a little slow in picking up questions from the audience, even though she encouraged it heavily during the lecture.
    Whilst Robert also provided examples based on theory, they were often way beyond the scope of the course and irrelevant to us (e.g. dealing with complex eigenvalues when the course only considered real eigenvalues). His delivery was clear for the most part, although he did talk to himself at times when lecturing and began mumbling when dealing with complicated examples.
    Zeina was a great tutor who was dedicated to her job. Her summaries of the lectures were incredibly helpful in consolidating lecture content and she was incredibly willing to explain any misunderstandings to individual students. Her marking of assignments and quizzes was fair and she indicated clearly where deductions were made and what needed to be done to improve for the final.

    Interest – 8.5/10
    This score is coming from the perspective of a student from the school of IT. Given that this course had more application questions to real life as opposed to the MATH1x01 counterpart, it was much easier to see how theory could be used later in my field.

    Overall – 9/10
    The course was very well structured and everything that you needed to learn was presented to you in a digestible manner. This is a course where you will be rewarded generously for the effort you put into it.

    INFO1103
    Ease – 9.5/10
    The difficulty can be polarising as programming requires a lot of understanding before we can do anything useful. I had prior experience in programming so I found most the concepts relatively straight forward, although harder applications of classes in later weeks did require a bit more study. Assignments were a little bit of a hassle in finding the perfect solution to the test cases but in 2017 S1, 50% of the course was already assessed before the final. PRAS was a bit annoying though, as some of the test cases were broken whilst we were still being assessed.

    Lecturer – 9.5/10 (Masa)
    His livecodings were always great. I found the lectures much more useful when attending in person as Masa was incredibly willing to make modifications to code on the fly if a concept needed more examples to help clarify. He did break off on a tangent at times (which is natural since so many things in programming require knowledge from future weeks), but was more focused as the weeks progressed.

    Interest – 10/10
    It’s core to my degree. This stuff speaks to my soul.

    Overall – 9/10
    This was the first test run of PRAS in IT courses. Whilst the execution of assessments and PRAS was godawful, I still enjoyed the course. This is a course that definitely will be polarising in terms of enjoyment, but keep an open mind and stick with it for at least more than one week.

    BUSS1000
    Ease – 1/10
    It’s hard to get marks above credit in this course. Tutors will hold back marks for the most miniscule of reasons with very little justification. Whilst there are essentially only 3 major assessments in this course, participation is not free marks in this course. The median mark for participation hovered around 10/15%

    Lecturer – 7/10
    Tutor – 1/10 (Bruce)
    Steven was quite engaging and gave lots of examples, which was nice. The quality of the guest lecturers (which make up about half the course) varied significantly with some basically just reading from the slide and others producing quite engaging presentations.

    Bruce really was not helpful. He didn’t learn any of our names (unlike other tutors), even though marking for participation was done on an individual basis. His marking was also incredibly vague, providing little to no feedback on what needed to be improved content-wise. No one in our tutorial managed to secure an HD in assignments under him.

    Interest – 2/10
    This felt like I was back in year 8 geography doing population studies. The stuff on business strategy was pretty interesting, but the rest of the course felt like total fluff. (One of the questions in the final asked us to discuss the role of impactful technology on a business.)

    Overall – 1/10
    Probably the worst course I’ve done in uni so far. It sucks if you have to take it as part of a commerce core (pray for a competent team in the group assignment), but if you are considering this as an elective, just don’t. Look elsewhere.

    BUSS1030
    Ease – 9.5/10
    The content isn’t particularly difficult (the lecturer explicitly mentions not to look at certain sections of the textbook as they won’t be assessed at all). There are a lot of elements to assessments, but as long as you do the required work every week, it’s essentially free marks. Word limits on exam answers does get a bit annoying though.

    Lecturer – 10/10 (Abdul) 8/10 (Olga)
    Abdul explains things extremely clearly, using examples that we can personally relate to. His focus on doing exercises in lectures really helps in reinforcing the concept, but I’m unsure how this would translate if you mainly watch lectures online. He knows his stuff and it’s clear that he has no difficulties in teaching it.
    Olga’s content was taught with a little bit of fluff and the mathematical aspects of her part of the course weren’t taught quite as clearly. She has quite a different style of lecturing to Abdul, running it like a mini-tutorial, but she does skimp out a little on where specific numbers come from in examples. She also tends to read from the slide so I tended to just watch these lectures online.

    Interest – 10/10
    If you come into this course with an open mind, you’ll be surprised at how enjoyable it might be. I knew nothing about accounting before joining (never did business studies, commerce nor economics) but I thought it was quite fun. If I had a second major, this would have been a major contender.

    Overall – 10/10
    This is the most well-run course I’ve taken in uni so far. Whilst the marking structure of the course takes a little while to get used to, it is very clear where to get marks and you’re rewarded well for your efforts.
    James Ruse Graduate | 99.45 ATAR HD WAM | Offering Mathematics Tutoring in the Hurstville area.

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