Dear Diary, welcome to winter break!

Hello everyone, Lia here, your resident SpiderPig.

Congratulations! You made it through the first semester.

Or if you’re starting mid-semester….

Congratulations! Welcome to Melbourne University!

Today marks 4 days since the last day of exams and let me just say, thank god it’s over.

However, that being said, I’ve been on holidays for two weeks now. Why you ask? Because as a first-year science student I chose the worst combination of subjects; accounting (breadth), computing, biology and calculus 2. Unfortunately for me, the accounting and biology exam fell on the Tuesday the 11th, the computing on Wednesday the 12th and calculus 2 on Thursday the 13th. So you can only imagine what a freak I was during SWOTVAC.

Anyway exams are behind us now. We are officially moving forward to **drumroll**…. SEMESTER 2!!

So for this post, I thought I’d discuss two things. Firstly, my step-by-step method of choosing subjects and how I will avoid the mistake of an impossible workload for next semester. So without further ado, I give you:

Agenda item 1: STEPS FOR ENROLLING (most applicable for degrees that don’t have many core subjects)

  1. Make a list of pathways for your course
    • Hopefully, you did this in the first semester but if you didn’t, start looking at which pathways you’d like to head in and what major you’d like to choose. It’s important to have more than one pathway so that you are giving yourself options in case you decide you don’t like something
  2. Look at the prereqs
    • As stupid as it sounds, I went into university thinking I could be an engineer without taking math. After you figure out what pathways would suit you, look at what subjects are offered later on in the course to see if you need to take any subjects now as a pre-requisite
    • Unimelb Student Handbook:
  3. Look at subject reviews
    • This is a really good tip for subjects you’re on the fence about. It’s good to find out what the work-load is like from past students to know if this subject will suit you this semester. My two favourite websites for reviews are:
      • StudentVIP:
      • UMSU’s Counter Course Handbook:
  4. Think socially
    • It’s always a good idea to talk to any friends you have to see if they are taking any subjects you are, that way you can organise to be in the same lectures or tutes
    • Also, have a look at the UMSU events on, if you’re interested in attending the Bevs and Bands on Tuesdays/Thursdays it’s a good idea to avoid lectures around that time
  5. Simulate a timetable
    • Now that you’ve done the hard part and narrowed down your subjects, have a look at the different combinations of classes that you could be attending. This way you can have a timetable suited to your work/social life balance
    • Timetable simulator:


Secondly, I’d like to discuss my brief opinion on each of my subjects. If you read the above steps you’d know that there are other places I could have expressed my opinion on the subjects but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give you a brief chat here. If you’re interested in studying Acct10001, Comp10001, Biol10004 or Mast10006, please keep reading. If you aren’t, scroll down to the picture of Spider Pig for the rest of the post.


  • Accounting Reports and Analysis
    • Difficulty (without experience): 8/10  (with experience): 7/10
    • Why: For someone who has never done accounting before it was a very content-heavy subject considering there were only 3 contact hours a week. There’s a lot of places to get help and the consultations are helpful but be prepared for a horrifyingly long exam.
    • Advice: Attend all the tutorials, they are extremely helpful in understanding the lecture content
  • Foundations of Computing
    • Difficulty (without experience): 6.5/10  (with experience): 4/10
    • Why: People who have experience coding don’t have a huge one up on those who haven’t but knowing how to code and problem solve is a big part of this subject. The worksheets on Grok (10%) are fun and a quick way to learn how to code. The projects require a lot of time and effort. I ended up coding for 30 hours on each project if that’s any indication.
    • Advice: Although the Grok worksheets seem to cover the lectures, they should not be a substitute because the lectures cover small things that could be examinable.
  • Biology of Cells and Organisms
    • Difficulty (without experience): 7/10  (with experience): 3/10
    • Why: Having done Biology in year 12 I found this subject only slightly challenging. I think the hardest challenge is memorising content. There are a lot of concepts to know off by heart and if you don’t understand them there is a low chance you’ll be able to apply them in the exam.
    • Advice: As soon as you get stuck on a concept, seek out help. Don’t leave it until SWOTVAC or else it will be harder to remember the concept when it comes to exams.
  • Calculus 2
    • Difficulty: 5/10 (I didn’t put with/without experience because you need Specialist 3/4 as a pre-req anyway)
    • Why: The lecturers for this subject are really thorough and the lecture notes make it so easy to follow along. There is a lot of resources available for help such as Math Space, the consultations, study groups, the lecturers, etc. This subject does take a bit of effort but the weekly assignments are really helpful for understanding the lecture content. Also, there are so many opportunities to set up study groups for this subject.
    • Advice: Do the worked exercises and get yourself a study group.

Alright, that’s it from me! Thanks for tuning in to this edition of Dear Diary. In the next Diary entry, you can expect to hear from me about the best ways to form relationships (friendships and romantic) on campus and through Melbourne University.

See you next time lovies,

xoxo SpiderPig

One Response to “Dear Diary, welcome to winter break!”

  1. Ariana says:

    Great tips!!! This is sooo helpful!

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