Overall: I took this course as an elective to gain some extra practical/microscopy experience. I'm really glad that I did as I really enjoyed the course. What is taking place inside our cells at the molecular level is truly fascinating and fundamental knowledge for most careers in Science, I cannot imagine why this course is not compulsory for all BSc students. I am already applying the material I learnt in BIOL2200 to other subjects. All of the lecturers were great! Dominic Ng's module on Cell Machinery was my personal favourite.
Textbook: The course coordinator stated in lecture 1 that all exam material is covered in lectures. The textbook provides background information and goes into topics in greater detail. I found that all material was explained really well in the lecture so I rarely needed to go to the textbook for a better explanation. There was always a high use (2hr) copy available in the library when I needed it and this was sufficient.
Assignments: The first assignment relates to Prac 1 (Immunohistochemistry). You will stain and look at cardiac tissue of unknown pathology. For each specimen you will need to determine whether the tissue is hypertrophic and present your findings as a very short talk to a small subset of your prac class. This prac was pretty enjoyable and you are not marked on how many correct answers you get but your justification. The second assignment is reviewing a journal article. Reading, rereading and understanding the article is the hardest part. This assignment is the most difficult. The third assignment relates to Prac 2 (looking at cell morphology and proliferative capacity of vrp1 mutant yeast) and is a short lab report. It is marked very generously. Don't worry if you don't see the expected results (our PCR showed nothing and only one colony was restored to wild type after restoration of the VRP1 gene, many groups saw none) as you can still obtain high marks if you provide an explanation as to why.
Exams: There is a mid semester exam (Modules 1-3, multiple choice only) and and end of semester exam (40 multiple choice questions worth 1 mark each, a choice of 4 out of 6 short answer questions worth 5 marks each/20 marks total). The EOS exam is heavily weighted towards Modules 4-6 so I invested most of my study in these modules. There is a fair amount of content to memorise and learn in this course. However, if you do so, the exam will be exactly as expected and nothing too difficult/out of left field will be thrown at you. The lecturers did a good job of emphasising the material you would see on an exam.
This is a well taught second year biology course. It covers a lot of content like other typical second year courses. I really like how they separated the course into 6 modules and had 6 different lecturers. The modules sort of link with each other. I enjoyed some modules more than the others. My favourite ones were Kate's signal transduction, Dominic's cellular machinery and Rohan's cell trafficking.
The assignments are fair but take a long time to mark and we get limited feedback. For the two pracs I only got marks and for the journal review I got one sentence feedback from my lecturer. It is nice though that this assignment is marked by the lecturer instead of a tutor. The pracs are not too hard but definitely require some preparation ahead otherwise you probably wouldn't understand what you are doing. Also pay attention to the things taught during the pracs as they might come up in the exams. Both the mid-sem and final exams are fair and test everything you need to know. I don't think it's too much of a surprise although some MCQs can be quite tricky. Some of them are designed to test your understanding on the little things. I found the textbook extremely helpful in preparing me for the final.
Overall the course is moderately interesting and covers a lot of the content. It is definitely unwise to leave everything to the last minute. I think it is possibly to get a 7 if you try hard.
Overall, an interesting course. Though, I will say some concepts were a bit hard to understand. I think after a few revision sessions, you should be able to make sense of the content. In terms of course structure, I thought it was structured well as some module (like Sean who will be giving the first module) will help you understand concepts in other modules. The only thing dull I would say is the cell membranes module since you may have encountered the concept in other courses or in high school.
There are three assessments.
Prac 1 - probably the most confusing assessment. I honestly don't know how to describe it. It's also a bit hard to ask for help because there is no designated tutor for this prac module. It is most likely that they are busy with other students.
Journal Article: You choose one out of six articles and you write about it. The hardest part isn't what to write; It is understanding the article. You will have to keep reading and reading until you fully understand it
Prac 2: Some yeast genetics. It was straightforward. Unlike prac 1, you will have a designated tutor but they (or at least mine) didn't know anything about the prac report that you have to write up. So again, it will be hard to ask questions about the assessment material for it.
There are two exams.
Mid sem has just MCQ and End of Semester has MCQs + 4 SAs to choose from 6. The end of semester exam was not ridiculously difficult. IT does require to think through your answers. I do preferred if the first three modules were not assessed as it was assessed during mid sem. Though, having 4 SAs to choose from was very nice. So that balances it out.
If you are doing this course as a requirement, or it provides credit or as an elective, I think overall you will enjoy the course.
This course is a moderately interesting course. If you do the biomed major you are required to do it so I apologise to anyone that is forced to. The course starts with a relatively interesting module about Cell cycle but quickly goes downhill when it passes to Bostjan and Teasdale! Not to say they're bad lecturers but their content is just so uninteresting that it forces them to be boring.
The practicals are relatively easy with the first having you do a little 5 minute speech and the second making you do a report. The only thing bad about these is that they don't really enforce the information you learned in your lecture. The other assessment is a journal article which I personally found very boring such because it requires you to read a chosen article over and over until you understand it and then simplify it, but it's nothing too hard.
Overall this course was meh. The majority of people doing it can't avoid it so I guess enjoy it while you can. The textbook is helpful, I heard, and be prepared for Rohan Teasdale to tell you to read like 8 chapters for his module alone. Finally just be aware that the final exam is a terror and nothing like the sample exams, be prepared for the worst.