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Author Topic: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings  (Read 121813 times)  Share 

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #75 on: December 30, 2019, 11:52:07 pm »
Subject Name: Global Politics

Units: 3&4

Workload: Moderate (6/10)

Assessment: Comprises of short answer questions (2-5 marks), extended response questions (6-8 marks) and essays (20 marks).
U3: 25%
U4: 25%
Exam: 50%
Exam Thoughts:
The exam is 80 marks total, with 60 marks comprising of the short answer & extended response section and one 20 mark essay, where you have a choice of 4 prompts (one from each area of study). Global is one of those subjects which is really competitive, so if you want to be breaking 40, you really don't want to lose too many more than 13-14 marks on the exam in total. Also, be really thorough in your reading of the study design with this subject, especially the blurb. The second question of the exam specified a discussion of a TNC in relation to how they were facilitated by advances in communications and technology, and I very closely discussed that to globalisation. Whilst I was 'technically' correct, 'communications and technology' does lie independently in the blurb, and I only got a 3 and a 2 out of 6 for that question despite feeling relatively confident, so I'll assume my examiners weren't too happy with me defining globalisation and tying it in closely! This goes for the essay too, as three of the prompts this year derived part (or all) of their question from the blurb, so be prepared! It's only going to get more tricky in the future.

Textbook Recommendation:
We used this green ringed textbook, I think written by SEV, but it wasn't much good and we barely touched it past March. I got 95% of my information from other sources, such as my teacher, or just looking at the study design and finding my own stuff.

Recommended Other Resources:
Any news source you can find (eg. The Guardian, Al-Jazeera, any newspaper you can find).

Year of Completion: 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5
Your Mark/Grade: 41 (A+, A+, A)

I switched into this subject three weeks into Year 12, and despite a slow-ish start, I managed to redeem myself with the selection through hard work and it was probably the best choice I made all year. This is a great subject and I'd highly recommend it, but only if you have some interest in contemporary politics and current affairs. Like English Language, you'll need to keep your eye out for things as late as the October of the exam, but this subject is very intriguing, teaches you a lot about the world we live in, and if you're interested in it, you can get solid scores without spending hours on end sitting at a desk trying to learn content. Ended up being the class I looked forward to going to the most throughout the whole year!
2018 - 2019 (VCE): English Language, Maths Methods, Legal Studies, Global Politics, Business Management (2018), Philosophy
2020 - 2024: Bachelor of Laws (Honours)/Bachelor of Commerce @ Monash University


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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #76 on: December 31, 2019, 12:25:20 am »
Subject Name: Legal Studies

Units: 3&4

Workload: High (8/10)

Short answer questions (2-5 marks) and extended response (6-10 marks).

Practice Exams Completed: 9
Exam Thoughts:
The examination is 80 marks, to be completed in the standard humanities time of 2 hours with 15 minutes reading. If you want to complete this exam with sufficient detail, you must use that reading time and basically pre-prepare your responses in your head. The 2019 exam was an absolute joke in terms of what they tested from the study design directly, there wasn't much there and a lot of extrapolation was required. Section A of the exam is worth 40 marks, containing the sole 10 marker at the end of the section. I somehow did far worse in this section than the following one, with a few 3/4's and 5/6's which cost me. This means they're still looking for an incredible amount of detail, and summing up perfectly to get full marks from this section, despite it being the less 'case-study relevant' section. I thought I had it fully covered, but you must be over-prepared! Section B is obviously, also worth 40 marks, but (shouldn't?) have a dreaded 10 marker, HOWEVER keep aware for future years. I know the P.E. exam threw in two 10 markers this year when only one was expected, so this could be the next trick they pull in the (already shockingly irrelevant) Legal Exam. Section B is meant to be heavily case study based. Every response you make must explicitly reference the case study, otherwise it's a certain loss of marks. Generally, the exam is tending to not be as 'rote-learnt' in the last few years, which means if you're naturally good at understanding the subject, you're in better stead and don't need to have a perfect grasp of the content. That said, the content is still crucial! Just make sure you practice more of those abstract questions too (eg. in the 2019 exam, they provided us a table of ages and sexes and asked us if they represented the people, one of those 3/4's for me!)

Textbook Recommendation:
Justice & Outcomes (Oxford I think?). Great resource, amazing detail, overly complex though. Highly suggest taking notes and not touching this beyond September.

Recommended Other Resources:
ATARNotes are a solid summary, but probably too far the other end and not quite comprehensive enough. I used quite a few companies' practice exams, so try get your hands on as many as possible or even make some yourself.
Year of Completion: 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 43 (A+ (100/100), A+ (100/100), A+)

A really worthwhile subject if you want to get a grasp on the law, however the fact is, it's incredibly dry for most people. It was the biggest complaint in my class all year, and having a few friends and a nice teacher were the main things that helped me enjoy it. I think the way they assess it is getting more and more arbitrary, but if you knuckle down, you can avoid most of the ridiculously weird stuff in SACs that you'd get in the exam and nail it. I was highly intensive in Legal, and somehow managed to not drop a full mark the whole year through SACs, and managed to almost replicate that in Section B of the Exam. Unfortunately, it's also very competitive, so you need to really have a good exam day. I'd recommend it, but probably suggest trying it in 1/2 to make sure that the content doesn't bore you, because 1/2 is very much an exact replica of Unit 3.
2018 - 2019 (VCE): English Language, Maths Methods, Legal Studies, Global Politics, Business Management (2018), Philosophy
2020 - 2024: Bachelor of Laws (Honours)/Bachelor of Commerce @ Monash University

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #77 on: November 19, 2020, 11:01:20 am »
Subject Name: English

Units: Units 3&4

Workload: Medium - depends on how well you want to do, and if you know your texts beforehand.

Assessment: SACs are worth 50%. Unit 3: Argument Analysis, out of 40 marks, Creative piece on first text, out of 30 marks, Essay on second text, out of 30 marks. Unit 4: Comparative essay, out of 30 marks, Oral speech, out of 10 marks (this year; normal years it's more heavily weighted.)

Exam Thoughts: You write three essays in three hours.
The first one is an essay on one of your two texts studied in unit 3. You are given a choice of two questions for each, and have to choose one. It's advisable to decide which text you're doing in the exam beforehand, and study for that, rather than trying to do so for both. (However, this proved to be an issue for some people in my year because one of the ones we'd done, Old/New World, had difficult questions where the other one, Pride and Prejudice, was easier. So it might be wise to skim for the other text just in case you get awful questions that you can't answer. Note: I didn't, since I had prior knowledge of Pride and Prejudice.)
The second essay is one on your comparative pair. You are given two questions and must, once again, choose one. Don't go for the 'hard' one, is my advice, since they're not marking you against everyone else who did that 'hard' one, but everyone else who did English (is my understanding). Others may not find it hard: do whichever you will find you can express coherent and original ideas in.
The third essay is an Argument Analysis, on an unseen piece that you need to analyse. You analyse their use of language and mostly argument in order to figure out what the author wants the audience to think/feel/do, how they're appealing to certain sections of their audience, etc. This is definitely worth practising beforehand and getting advice from AN, in my opinion. I did for just one, and it helped enormously. My teacher advised us to begin with this essay, since we've read the piece to be analysed during reading time. Note: if there's a visual, best to do more than just a sentence on it. Make sure you talk about a comment, if there is one.
General advice: keep to time. I tried to work on maximum 50 minutes for the AA, and soak up that time in whichever I found I knew more relevant things about. As an exam, it's draining. I found the best practise beforehand, for me personally, was doing full exams, since I found doing the last essay very difficult (the first time I tried it, I gave up in the middle of the last essay, since my brain refused to function; having done a few, I found I actually didn't have any brain fatigue special to the last essay, in the real exam). Practise writing fast but legibly. I found that, something about the adrenaline generated from the exam, or something, I wrote faster than I ever had in practises. This meant I could write the number of pages my teacher advised, and write more, but it's certainly tiring to your hand - mine is still not quite back to normal where I gripped the pen (think knuckles going white strength grip, for three hours) and this is more than a week later. However, it's worth keeping pushing through.

Textbook Recommendation: The novels/films? I had prior knowledge of Pride and Prejudice, the text I wrote on for Section A, so from the start of the year I was rereading it over and over and noting down quotes, in my head (I didn't make notes). The teacher also lent me a study guide, I think it was a York Study Guide for Pride and Prejudice; it was useful for deepening ideas, but I did little more than passively read it through a week before the exam. As for Old/New World, I only learnt enough of that to do the essay SAC; no textbook. We used the Insight Ticking Mind textbook as well; I didn't use it much, but what I did use did help. The PDF isn't too pricey, either, and I found it worked well.

Recommended Other Resources: ATARNotes. Especially the English Marking forum; there are people there who are very happy to help, and I found some of the feedback simply and clearly expressed enough for me to make a marked difference simply from putting up one essay. Also, use your teacher if you can.

Year of Completion: 2020 (the weird year).

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Obviously I haven't got my study score back yet; in my SACs, I averaged 85% in unit 3, and 80% in unit 4, ranked first in the class going into the exam (cohort of 19). I'll probably/hopefully put my study score up when I get it.

Comments: This is anecdotal because I feel it should be said. At the start of the year, I did not enjoy English, nor have a high expectation for it. The teacher said do essays - I didn't. My first SAC mark was a fraction over 75% - I was quite happy with it. (The only thing that saved my unit 3 grade was the creative piece, which is right where I like it :) and thus I tried for it.) I didn't do essays, I didn't practise, until - I don't know when exactly. Before the comparative SAC, the teacher happened to say that it was a tossup as to whether I or another classmate was ranked first. I was suddenly determined. I worked awfully hard in preparation for the SAC. Despite not reaching my goal mark, I discovered that - shock horror! - I liked writing essays about things that interested me. Next task: make everything in English interest me. Because I was working towards an exam with one of my favourite books possibly ever to write about (Pride and Prejudice) I knew I could do that if I wanted to, as a break from everything else. Just by suddenly picking up my game and deciding to work at English, I found I enjoyed it. I also picked up 10% or 20% extra marks along the way, just by practise and help from a previous student, who was willing to mark my essays by looking at them and saying, this is good, or, this is bad. Having directed feedback and this-is-your-weakness-work-on-it really helped. Just working hard at English made me discover I actually liked it, enjoyed the challenge of here is the question, break it into three logical arguments, covering all aspects of it. Where I had previously thought of essays as a chore that took the afternoon, evening and every other time available to procrastinate in, I found I could hammer out a reasonable essay, generally without looking at my books (I found essay writing the best way to consolidate quotes etc.) in around an hour. By the trial exam, I'd pulled my marks up to almost 9/10, even in exam conditions. It just takes hard work - and if you work at it, I think it'll become enjoyable as well. At least, that was my feeling of it. Put work into English and you get enjoyment out of it. Also, reread the books the day before the exam. I reread 'Ransom' (from my comparative pair) the day before the exam, which was pretty much all I did that day - read it and the screenplay of 'The Queen', and skimmed Pride and Prejudice. I used some of the quotes I wouldn't've had otherwise, in the exam.
So, as a subject, I would advise putting quite a bit of work into English, because you'll find you enjoy it (I think). Get a tutor or someone who's willing to mark it (such as the English marking board here!! Even if you wanted to PM, you'd probably find someone willing to do so.) I did more English study than otherwise because I was procrastinating on doing other subjects, such as Revolutions, the exam of which was the day after English.
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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #78 on: November 23, 2020, 07:40:02 pm »
Subject Name: Mathematical Methods

Units: 3&4

Workload: High (7.5/10)

Assessment: I completed this subject in 2020 so our SACs and weightings were different
SAC 1 - Unit 3, mostly testing functions and differentiation (22%)
SAC 2 - Calculus, testing differentiation and anti differentiation (12%)

Every other year
SAC 1- Unit 3, mostly testing functions and differentiation  (17%)
SAC 2 - Calculus, testing differentiation and anti differentiation (8.5%)
SAC 3 - Probability and Statistics (8.5%)

SACs are worth 34% of your study score, with the 2 exams worth the remaining 66%. The exams are very important.

Exam Thoughts:
Exam 1 is worth 22% of your study score and is comprised of simpler short-answer questions, and is no notes no calculator. Usually, there are no real curveballs. The questions are usually pretty similar from year to year (except for 2020 cos gosh that exam was hard). Exam 2 is multiple choice and extended response and is worth 44% of your study score. This is the tricky exam. The multiple-choice can be time-consuming and there are extended response questions that will rattle your brain for days.

The 2020 exams were tough, especially exam 1. Exam 1 had a much heavier hand calcs + algebra component compared to usual, and didn't follow typical VCAA style. A lot of your answers had to be in a specific form which was challenging and time consuming. Overall, a difficult exam. Exam 2 was more typical in terms of difficulty and I didn't get tripped up on many questions (only a couple of the last parts which are the separator ones).

When doing practice exams, I found Exam 1's a lot easier but in the real thing, Exam 2 was WAY better.

Textbook Recommendation:
My school used the Cambridge Textbook which was pretty good, however the extended response questions could have been more VCAA style. I also didn't do the chapter reviews which are apparently a good resource.

Recommended Other Resources:
Checkpoints: I had it but barely used it but should have. However, my teacher gave us massive booklets of exam questions from all company exams which were useful.
ATARNotes Topic Tests and Course Notes: I also had these but rarely used them. The notes had some useful sections but I found them unnecessary. The Topic Tests were good but I just didn't get around to doing them.

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 3 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: Will update Dec 30, expecting high 30s. UPDATE I got 42 ! :D

Comments: Methods is a great subject for prerequisites, however, it is difficult. I have always been good at maths yet I struggled at times during the year. I didn't find the concepts too difficult however their applications can get very tricky at times. It also took a lot of time away from my other subjects which was find as it was an early 3/4, however if I was doing it in Year 12, I'm not sure how I would have handled it. If you do not even remotely need this subject as a prereq, I would recommend not taking this and instead taking Further Maths.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 09:41:32 pm by eloisegrace »
2020 - mathematical methods [42] | further mathematics [45]
2021 - english language [45] | chemistry [36] | french [33] | physical education [44]
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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #79 on: December 09, 2020, 11:15:02 am »
Subject Name: Mathematical Methods (CAS)

Units: 3&4

Workload: Very high (8.5-9/10). Almost feels like doing 2 VCE subjects.


Unit 3:
SAC 1 - Application task on functions and differentiation (17%)

Unit 4:
SAC 2 - Application task on differentiation and anti-differentiation (8.5%)
SAC3 - Application task on probability and statistics (8.5%)

Exam Thoughts:

Exam 1 was non-calculator and made up of short answer questions. I found it relatively okay, although many people tend to struggle with the last question (which really requires some deep thinking to solve). The main tip for Exam 1 would be to practice your arithmetic and reduce silly mistakes because it is very easy to mess up when you don't have access to a calculator. Overall, Exam 1 is relatively doable if you do many past practice Exam 1 papers. That saying, in my year (2016), many people found Exam 1 difficult because it was the first year of the new Methods study design and all SACs were designed to be tech-active, so we did not have much practice with doing calculations by hand.

Exam 2 was CAS calculator allowed and composed of MCQ and Extended Response questions. I personally found this exam (in 2016) very painful and annoying, simply because it tested knowledge that wasn't related to the study design. There were at least 2 'proof' questions worth 2 marks each, which I felt was really unfair since in Methods we did not cover proofs but people who did Spesh did, so essentially Spesh people who were also doing Methods had a greater advantage. Overall, I found Exam 2 to be full of curveballs and I don't think I performed as well as I liked.

Textbook Recommendation:
I used the Jacaranda Maths Quest textbook. It was okay, but contained multiple errors in the solutions. But its statistics section was pretty bad, so I relied on the Cambridge Maths Methods textbook for that section.

Recommended Other Resources:
The Cambridge Maths Methods textbook was a good complement to the Jacaranda Maths Quest textbook, I'd highly recommend you to get a copy of both textbooks to supplement the areas which each textbook lacks.
I also used Checkpoints, but it wasn't a good resource since it was literally all past VCAA paper questions divided into topics.

Rating:  2 out of 5

Year of Completion: 2016

Your Mark/Grade: 44


In hindsight, this subject was absolutely PAINFUL and very time consuming. Whilst the idea of testing students via difficult application questions in theory is a good idea, in reality, I feel it is fundamentally flawed when you don't even teach students the basics of maths. Methods feels like a subject where you're forced to the deep end of the swimming pool but you don't know how to swim. I feel like basics such as modulus, complex numbers, and vectors should have been emphasised in Methods rather than Spesh, since these concepts are fundamental for solving essential maths problems. However, Methods mainly tests students based on very convoluting and long-winded problems which are more representative of a reading comprehension exam rather than a maths exam. So essentially, students are penalised for not interpreting the questions correctly rather than being able to show what they understand mathematically.

Another part of the subject I don't like in hindsight is the use of CAS. Since CAS calculators are able to solve equations, this means students don't really practice their arithmetic skills. Their overall 'by-hand' calculation skills are very poor, which is concerning since doing maths by hand is fundamental to maths. Students don't really have the opportunity to understand how to find answers, such as using the fundamental theorem of calculus, but are instead subjected to mechanical 'plugging and chugging' to find solutions. This is concerning, because if you can't work out basics such as long division, you are unlikely able to grasp derivatives and integrals very well.

Overall, I did not like this subject at all. It is very time-consuming, difficult, and does not feel like a good maths subject. Thankfully, I completed Methods 3/4 in Year 11, which was good since this meant I had a lot less pressure during Year 12. But if you are doing this subject in Year 12, do plan your time very carefully, as this subject is more like 2 VCE subjects in terms of workload.
As the previous reviewer said, Methods is great for prerequisites. So don't do Methods if you don't have to - you would be much better off doing Further Maths.
2017 ATAR: 99.20


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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #80 on: December 10, 2020, 09:49:43 am »
Subject Name: Chemistry

Units: 3/4

Workload: Higher than a regular subject but it really depends how much you want to put into it. It takes more effort to understand the concepts but it really depends what you are good at and what you struggle with, as well as how much work your teacher assigns you and how productive you are.

Assessment: Usually it's 4 sacs worth 8% each+ an experimental design sac worth 8% + the exam worth 60% but it was different this year in terms of weighting

Exam Thoughts: Exam is multiple choice and short answer with a more long-winded question at the end. It's not exactly a 10 mark question like in psychology or something but it's a shorter version of that(might be two parts each worth 4ish marks).
I did not finish the exam and found it difficult in some areas. But it was also not at a great time for me in the exam schedule

Textbook Recommendation: We used the Heinmann chemistry textbook and I found it pretty useful and used it most of the year

Recommended Other Resources: My teacher made us sheets of old VCAA questions when we completed a topic which was very useful. I also used the unit 3 notes someone uploaded onto ATAR notes(it's the one with 59 pages) which I found very helpful.

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: A+ A+ A+ 43

I loved this subject. The content is a lot more interesting than 1/2(which I also enjoyed but learning about water and carbon structures can get a little dry). With things such as biodiesel, different types of fuels and hydrogen fuel cells, you really feel like you are learning about both the present and future of chemistry, which I found exciting. I also loved how the food chemistry topic linked into a lot of unit 3, which helps with both revision and understanding how everything fits together. I also loved analytical chemistry, even if some of it was repeated knowledge.
The assessments were fine, space between them was probably better than usual because of covid delaying sacs.
Biggest recommendation: make sure you know analytical chemistry and other common complex molecules(H2SO4, H3PO4, HCl, NH4+, H2CO3) super well. Prioritise chemistry so you don't fall behind because so much of it links with each other.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 04:16:11 pm by hairs9 »
2019-Methods [45], Psychology [41]
2020-English [38], Chemistry [43], Spesh [43], UMEP maths [4.5], ATAR: 99.05
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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #81 on: December 10, 2020, 10:06:16 am »
Subject Name: Specialist maths

Units: 3/4

Workload: It varies throughout the year but quite a lot if you want to have a deep understanding

Assessment: Usually it is 3 sacs-one worth 17% and two worth 8.5% and 2 exams: tech free worth 22% and tech active worth 44%. It was different this year though

Exam Thoughts: Tech free is all short answer, while tech active is 20 multiple choice and a few short answer questions. I found the exam somewhat easy but I was a bit pushed for time.

Textbook Recommendation: Cambridge specialist maths. I used it a lot but we used the essential maths textbook for some of calculus(I don't know if it was necessary)

Recommended Other Resources:
Vicmathsnotes was a literal godsend. It has notes on everything and exam questions separated by topic. I used those exam questions throughout my revision and it really helped me do well when I eventually started practice exams.


Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: A+ A+ A+ 43

I did enjoy this subject a lot. Some of the content was a bit repetitive from the 1/2. My least favourite subject was mechanics, which took me ages to wrap my head around, as did "tanks"/mixing questions. Specialist is mainly dealing with concepts that seem incredibly hard when you first see them and some will be very difficult when you first attempt but if you keep at learning and put the effort in to master the concepts, you can do very well. Biggest advice is to not ignore specialist in the first semester and to study for any topic tests assigned like it was a test in any other year
« Last Edit: January 05, 2021, 04:16:46 pm by hairs9 »
2019-Methods [45], Psychology [41]
2020-English [38], Chemistry [43], Spesh [43], UMEP maths [4.5], ATAR: 99.05
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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #82 on: December 12, 2020, 05:52:05 pm »
Subject Name: Geography

Units: 3/4

Workload: Medium (7/10)

Assessment: Usually there is a Unit 3 AOS 1 Fieldwork SAC worth 12.5% of your study score, Unit 3 AOS 2 SAC worth 12.5% of your study score, Unit 4 AOS 1 SAC worth 12.5% of your study score and a Unit 4 AOS 2 SAC worth 12.5% of your study score. The end of year exam was worth 50%.

Exam Thoughts: Exam was decent although there were a few 8+ marker questions which can be hard to score full marks in and make sure you know PQE (Pattern, Quantification and Example/Explanation) really well for the exam when describing distribution.

Textbook Recommendation: GTAV Textbook Unit 3 and GTAV Textbook Unit 4

Recommended Other Resources:
GTAV Preparing for Units 3 and 4 exam. There's not really much other resources for Geo so you kinda have to rely on your school materials as well.

Year of Completion: 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 41

I actually enjoyed this subject quite a bit. It is a fairly underrated subject however if you are interested in Humanities or want to take a break from some of the other Sciency subjects which I kind of miss this year, Geography is a good option. Unit 3 AOS 1 Fieldwork is probably the easiest part of the course as you are able to complete most of the SAC at home. The hardest parts of Geography would be Unit 3 AOS 2 as there are a lot of case studies, details and facts to remember and this is probably the most content heavy part of the course. Make sure for the exam you are able to fully answer the question and have a good structure for answering questions since most questions are at minimum 6+ marks with many questions ranging from 8 - 12 marks so gaining full marks for the questions does require a great deal of practice and having a solid structure when answering the questions.
2019 - Geography [41]
2020 - English, Methods, Chem, Bio and Psych [39]
2021 - 2023 Bachelor of Science at Monash

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #83 on: January 03, 2021, 09:20:06 pm »
Subject Name: Drama

Units: 3&4

Workload: Varies, though roughly 7/10

Assessment: Unit 3 Assessment Tasks involve an excursion to a devised performance (usually in Melbourne, this sucks for Rural Students, trust me, I know.), two written SACs and a performance SAC, worth 30% of the study score
Unit 4 Assessment Tasks involves a 1-2 minute Solo Performance SAC and a written SAC.
NOTE: There are two exams, the solo performance worth 35% (I WISH I was kidding) and the written exam is worth 25%.

Exam Thoughts: Two exams, which surprisingly were not related to each other.
The performance exam is a seven minute solo performance based on one of ten prescribed structures, announced in August. My God, you need to know the script back to front, inside out. In performance SACs, the teacher who is assessing you knows what your performance is like. They will base you on what your intended performance was, no matter how good or bad you perform. The exam assessors have never seen your performance, and will only assess you on what they see. If you go over the seven minute time limit, you will be stopped, harsh but fair. That means it's so damn important that you get everything crammed into that little window.
The written exam has to be one of the weirdest things I've ever seen. There are only three questions, split into two sections. Section A talks about a devised ensemble performance that you watch way back in Unit 3. And keep in mind, this is a play, not a movie. So you need to take notes in excruciatingly painful details, such as actors, costumes, etc.
Section B is about devising solo and ensemble performances based on a list of stimuli. These questions are usually based on the content of the actors and the performance, rather than writing a plot. Playmaking techniques, Production Areas, Dramatic Elements, yadda yadda yadda, expect wrist pains.

Textbook Recommendation: There are no textbooks required for this subject.

Recommended Other Resources: "The Drama Teacher" blog is like, the Holy Grail of VCE Drama. Use this and you will do well. It can be used to revise terms and techniques that you need to use for SACs, exams and SAC prep documents.

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating:  4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 28

Comments: This subject may sometimes be brushed aside for being "Too Easy", but this is not the case. For the Ensemble and Solo Performances, you need to take time out of your own life to actually rehearse. SAC prep documents are so damn necessary, but you'll spend many a night trying to get them done in time. Overall... eh. My favourite subject that I did, and probably kept me from dropping out tbh. Just a note though, when it comes to Study Scores, the competition is fierce.
Best of luck.
2020- 53.35

English Lang. <20
History: Revolutions. <20
French: 27
Biology: 28
Drama: 24

"Well, it doesn't define who I am, but it does a bloody good job at crushing my spirit and self-esteem"

2021- Gap Year, working in Bright at the snowfields (guys, this is so much fun)

2022- Fed University, Fast Access Program Diploma

If anyone wants advice on what NOT to do, feel free to send me a message.

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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #84 on: January 11, 2021, 11:38:29 pm »
Subject Name: Biology

Units: 1/2

Workload: Moderate - more than my year 10 subjects, but definitely manageable if you keep your head down.

Assessment: 5 SACs from memory (2 research, one scientific poster), end of year exam; semester 1 exam cancelled due to COVID.

Exam Thoughts: Multiple choice + short answer sections; not too bad overall, some multiple choice threw me off a bit and one question about labelling chromosomes was a bit unclear.

Textbook Recommendation: Jacaranda Nature of Biology - pretty good, had quite a bit of filler but generally went into enough depth for the stuff you need. Based majority of notes off of it and filled in gaps using other resources.

Recommended Other Resources: ATARNotes study guide, Khan Academy. My school also used Edrolo, which I used for the videos to help consolidate.

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 84% on final exam

Comments: Probably my favourite subject last year. Not necessarily hard, but definitely has a decent workload. I found most of it pretty interesting, mainly the genetics part of unit 2. Gives a pretty good foundation for 3/4, as you'd expect. As you've probably heard regarding bio, it doesn't matter if you've memorised everything if you don't understand it and know how to apply it. If I could go back, I'd probably read through my notes every now and then to make sure everything was reasonably fresh in my mind - I'd pretty much forgotten about oncogenes and proto-oncogenes until the day of my exam. Definitely makes you see the world differently and help understand it better. If you want to do a science, I'd say bio is a pretty good middle ground.
KLD Class of 2022
VCE 2021: Biology [41], Religion and Society [34]
2022: Chemistry, Methods, Revolutions, English Language


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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #85 on: March 03, 2021, 01:08:06 am »
Subject Name: Food Studies

Units: 3/4


On the light/medium side. It depends on how much you want to put into it, but overall less than some of the big subjects. Reading through the textbook and taking notes can be quick time consuming, memorising some of the content takes time, and assessments that involve write ups are the most time consuming parts of the subject. Most of the content is common sense that make for a lighter workload, and there isn't alot of coursework to do outside of understanding some content. Areas like AOS 1 in unit 3 and AOS 1 in unit 4 are the most time consuming with memorisation. Compared to subjects like chemistry or bio, it really was a light workload, and I finished all my work within 3 hours a week (class and home work included unless it was a practical week then it would be around 6 hours). SACS were the most time consuming part compared to learning course work.


I did this in 2020 so it was a bit different for me, but this has been adjusted for the regular study design.  With each assessment it's split into two, the theory component, and the practical.
Unit 3: Worth 30%

SAC ONE: AOS 1, worth 50% of unit 3. I had to answer a few questions under timed conditions about sensory analysis. We had to cook a risotto from the textbook, then answer questions on the food science behind it, and some sensory questions.

SAC TWO: AOS 2, Worth 50% of unit 3. I had to follow a deign brief by making a lunch box for a fussy child by following critria. I then had an essay for a case study response, involving food allergies, assessing the meal in accordance with the ADG's (Australian Dietery guidelines) and using lifespan nutrition to answer criteria of the essay.

Unit 4: Worth 30%

SAC ONE: AOS 1, worth 60% of unit 4, this SAC came in three parts. The first was a written report on a topic of you're choosing on what you have studies throughout the unit. I choose GMO's. To see some of the ideas, click here for topic ideas. This was a big one worth the most, you have to do your own research then write about your topic following the criteria, mine was 4 pages. The second part was answering a design brief on ethics, then designing a meal on the criteria that matched the ADG's, I made a lentil soup. There were questions that came with the design brief.

SAC TWO: AOS 2, worth 40% of unit 4. This was the SAC that was affected by COVID, so I didn't do a practical portion and half the AOS had been removed. However, it was all on marketing food, fad diets, body image, food affects, misleading media, labeling, and normally branding/health claims (that was removed for me). This is normally accompanied by a practical.

Each SAC I was given a week to do, sometimes two weeks.

Exam Thoughts:

The exam is worth 40%, and it split into 15 multiple choice and around 10 short answer questions the equal 100 marks. You have and 1 and a half hours to complete it not including reading time. The final question is and extended response worth 10 marks, it can cover anything, for me it was on the digestion of a hamburger and the sensory appreciation of it. You have to write at the speed of light with this exam, it's a tough one to get through time wise. I didn't find the exam too hard, I think people were tripped up by the emulsification question but overall it went quite well. I knocked out the multiple choice in the reading time, then did the extended response question first, then did the others in order. Sometimes with the exam, not everything will align with what you've read in the textbook, there was a bee question last year and one on community gardens that weren't covered in the textbook, so make sure you are well read in other areas. Have a science background helped me. If I have any tips, it's don't stop writing!

Textbook Recommendation:

I used the only available textbook, food solutions 3/4. It was fine. Some of the information is already out of date due to changing times, but it was decent and provides most of the stuff you needed to know. I used it every week, but it was heavily supplemented by my teachers own content which I found to be more relevant. I didn't use any recipes in the back aside from the risotto, and they do have questions for practice with no answers. Overall, the content is pretty good and gives you a good idea of the content, I just recommend supplementing it with other readings.

Recommended Other Resources:

Use your teacher as much as you can! I found the A+ notes to be pretty decent, as it gave another perspective than the textbook, plus the summaries were nice as the textbook can go on and on with examples. I wouldn't recommend checkpoints, they just weren't very helpful. Any practice exam you can get your hands on, there aren't many practice exams (only 4 VCAA ones) since it's a new study design, the older food tech exams before 2017 aren't relevant at all. Overall, I just recommend to be well read. Investigate food labels, look at environmental issues and problems, look at youtube videos on food production, and keep in touch with the general news.

Year of Completion: 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Your Mark/Grade: 48


Overall, I loved food studies. It was a chill subject that was a nice break from all my other heavier subjects. I had a fantastic teacher that really helped motivate me and make the content fun. My fav area was the food science, and my least was all the farming stuff in unit 4. I wish there was more of a practical/folio element like there was in food tech before it changed to food studies in 2017, but it is what it is. This subject has a higher workload than most people think, but the amount of work you put into the subject is up too you. The SACs were more time consuming than learning the content, and the exam prep was lighter as there isn't much to complete.

Even though this subject scales down, don't be afraid to pick it. If you have an interest in it, pick it! Some parts are a bit dry, but others are really great, and you get to make food! It's not always edible food as some can be considered science projects, but the practical element is very enjoyable.
2020: VCE 93.2
2022: BSci/Arts (Chemistry/Pharmacology and French)@Monash


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Re: VCE Subject Reviews and Ratings
« Reply #86 on: November 16, 2021, 08:09:34 pm »
Religion and Society 3/4:
Frankly the work load is what you make of it. Our teacher was pretty strict with it so that was good, but I know some schools can be quite slack given the subject. I did about 30 minutes-an hour every night doing homework and study, sometimes a bit more of less but it wasn't too hard. It consists of alot of note taking, reviewing documents and answering practice questions to understand the content. If you have a really good memory, then the subject will be pretty chill. I will give it a 7/10 for me given I am not a huamities kid but still found it pretty bearable.

Workload and structure:
There are five assesments and one exam through out the year. They are all the same, typical SACS were it will ask you a range of questions that you answer. They can be anything from outline, explain, describe, analyse etc. Quotes and images are often used. About 20% of the marks should come from conceptual stuff but it depends on the teacher.
The first in unit three (which is called the search for meaning) is called responding the to the search for meaning. It is worth 30 marks out of 100 for the unit, which is worth 25% of your study score. Key things to know are being able to define terms like religious tradition and beliefs, LIST the nine aspects, understanding key beliefs taught by your tradition, knowing the nature and purpose of religion, how religion and societies impact eachother/what relationship they have and then knowing the seven existential questions which are:
-Ultimate reality
The nature and purpose of human life
The meaning of suffering
Death and the afterlife
The relationship between ultimate reality and humanity
The relationship between humans
The relationship between human life and the rest of the natural world
You need to know what they ask conceptually (meaning you don't talk about any tradition) and then talk about beliefs relating to each of them in your tradition.

The second area of study is expressing meaning. It is pretty easy to understand, the main things are:
Learn to define every aspect.
Learn the conceptual role of each aspect(HOW do they actually work to express meaning and connect adherents with beliefs)
The relationship between aspects
Then the big part of selecting two key beliefs, and knowing how each of them are expressed through each aspect. You need to talk about how they engender and nurture meaning and be able to compare different aspects and what they represent. This assesment is worth 40 marks for unti three.

The third Area of study (AOS) is Significant life experience(SLE), religious beliefs and faith: Worth 30 marks and is straight foward but also kinda annoying personally:
Know what a SLE is, know how religous beliefs influence them and vice versa, know the different types (love, suffering, joy, wonder and Major life choices.) and how they impact adherents (members of a tradition.)
The next one is what gets me, you need to know an individual, be able to descirbe their SLE, then be able to analyse how their beliefs changed before, during and after. The problem with this is that it is very easy to get caught up in the details, like  talking too much about the SLE and not properly explaining, with evidence, how beliefs changed. It is easy to just miss what the question is asking.

Now we get to unit four, Religion, challenge and change(my fav unit):
AOS 1: Religion, challenge and change
This was my fav unit:
So you need to know things like whatare the sources of challenges, what make sone significant, why do religions respond to challenges, why do they take different stances, what informs responses, how were aspects impacted etc.
Then you study 4 (but kinda 3) challenges:
One relating to theology:
One relating to ethics:
One relating to continued existence:
One relating to any of the others (My teacher just spent one lesson on this one)
You need to know the source of each challenge, what makes it significant, Aspects impacted the who, what, when, where, the stances taken by a tradition and their supporting responses, along with if there were any changes to the stance. This makes up 50 marks out of 100 for unit four which is 25% of your study score.

AOS 2 Interaction of religion and society:
So you choose one more challenge, typically different from the ones in unit 4 aos 1, you do the same stuff as before but go into much more significant detail. Then you do the stances and responses, but where it differs is that in 4.2 you analyse how the response impacted the challenge, religion and wider society. Beyond that, more detail is expected for the challenge. But other than that it is the same as the above. It makes up the other 50 marks for unit 4.

The exam is worth 50% of your SS, it is 80 marks and broken up into 2 parts:
Part A: Where most of the conceptual stuff is, its worth 30 marks out of 80, you get 2 hours and 15 minutes of reading time and consists of short answer questions, so 2-6 marks with some 8 markers.
Part B is the extended response and worth 50 marks: It is almost always tradition specific, sometimes it will have like a small 2 mark conceptual which you then talk about as a tradition specific example. It will either be some analyse/expain question, or it will give a quote or cartoon and ask for a discussion ie to what extent does this reflect something u looked at. It wasn't too hard this year but there were a couple curve ball questions I didn't expect, but you could still predict what type of questions will be on the exam.
There are never more than 10 marks for a single answer, sometimes a 14 mark question will appear but it will be broken up into 2 or more parts.

Textbook and other resources.
I used Religion and Society unit 1-4 by Mary Tuohy, Damien Green, Shayndel Samuel, Christine Valladares. It was pretty good, the conceptual stuff for it and the definition are a God sent. Like alot of the exam questions can just be copy pasted from the book (exagerating but its pretty good). Given that the course is not foccused on a specific tradition it isn't VERY useful for the tradition specific stuff.

Don't bother with the checkpoints, it really isn't worth it personally. Besides that, the subject is very barren :(, just use past vcaa exams. However, unfortunately, the resources dedicated to this subject are abysmal. There are SOME notes out there for free but mostly the vcaa examinations are all u get...we didn't even get any practice sacs. The textbook has questions which can be used but yeah, there is an unfortunate lack of resources online. Imma post my notes on the R&S fourm for anybody who wants it :)

Year of completion: 2021

Rating: 4/5

Score: Pending but maybe 35?

Final comments:
Listen, this subject is harder than you would think, or at least in my school. I was fiarly used to getting 100's in religion, so when I chose to accelerate this subject for year 11, I def wasn't very prepared. But still, I believe that as far as 3/4's go, it is very good as an intro. I would highly reccomend this for anybody thinking of accelerating a 3/4, it isn't too hard, it isn't too easy. It gives you alot of practice in taking notes, memorizing, answering the question correctly, and generally increases your writing ability. The content itself is fine, some stuff is more fun than other things but it isn't awful or as dry as you may think. The course is written and designed so that it isn't foccused on one religion, all questions are asked like "in a religious tradition you have studied" and the past exams are VERY varied in that each sample answer will be different, one for Catholics, one for Muslim, Judaism, small denominations and sects you name it! So thats nice, and it can defintely be a thought provoking subject, which leads me to my biggest issue with the subject...

You don't get an opinion.
I hate this so much, at no times are you allowed to use what YOU think, it is just what the Catholic Christian tradition (or whatev u study) teaches...You don't get an opinion, you don't get to make conclusions, nadda. As a result, this subject will favour those with a good memory over those who are really critical thinkers. I do get why, but I feel like more individual interpretation could be worked into the course in some ways to make it more engaging. There are also a lot of quotes and stuff you SHOULD remember, thinks that the CHurch said in responses, the Catichisim, Bible etc. But this isn't too hard to do, just look at them through the year and you will be good. I would highly reccomend getting a study buddy, keeping a good set of notes and learning to adress the question clearly. It can also be said that some students take this as a bludge subject and some schools teach it poorly, but plz be carful, the exam questions are not as easy as just saying "Jesus" on everything.

ANYWAY, there hasn't been a review on this subject, so I thought it was about time given the lack of info on it :p, hope this helps!
« Last Edit: November 16, 2021, 08:13:05 pm by mabajas76 »
"Don't give up, and don't put too much effort into things that don't matter"-Albert Einstein, probably.