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Academic Guide

Some first hand tips and tricks on core units and potential electives from our very own students. 

Core BMS Units

BMS1011: Biomedical Chemistry

This unit essentially builds on Year 12 chem knowledge. Make sure you come prepared with the workbook given to you at the start of the semester. Tutes are a good opportunity to ask questions and seek help if required from your tutor and peers if you want clarification on some of the more difficult concepts. Knowledge from this unit is assessed in the GAMSAT so make good notes and be sure to hold onto them for later reference! 


BMS1021: Cells, Tissues, and Organisms

​It’s back to the basics of biology with this unit, think ‘mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell’, ribosomes, and Golgi apparatus. Depending on the topic, you will have seen some of the content before in VCE biology. Don’t stress if you didn’t study biology in VCE—there are extra resources made available and your unit coordinator is very aware of this situation. Ask your friends for help if you’re struggling to understand a concept and try to stay on top of all the content. You can even allocate yourself to Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) classes, to help keep you on track with extra support throughout the semester. It’s an achievable unit without any previous bio knowledge. This unit will help to form the basis of your biology knowledge throughout the rest of the course and form the foundations of future units. 

BMS1031: Medical Biophysics

This unit is a little intimidating for those who didn’t study physics in VCE. However, most people find this subject challenging and you are not alone if you feel a little overwhelmed from time-to-time in this unit. Seek help at the TAPAS sessions run in the PACE labs to clarify any questions or queries you may have with demonstrators and lecturers. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help, contact lecturers via email or approach them after a lecture, as this is the best way to proactively help yourself better understand those tricky concepts. PASS is also offered for this subject. Use the practice exams and the practice questions available in the textbook to help you prepare for the exam. 

BMS1042: Public Health and Preventative Medicine

1042 has two distinct yet complementary components, the public health aspect and the statistics aspect. The public health aspect can be really interesting yet is often the harder part to study for come exams. Stats is a contrast to the hardcore maths found in other parts of Biomed, being similar to year 12 further maths. If you didn’t do further maths in VCE, pay attention to the concepts as it’s a very different type of maths to Math Methods. Only a few of the tutes and workshops are compulsory, but it is recommended that you attend as many as you can. 

BMS1052: Human Neurobiology

This can be one of the more challenging units that you’ll complete in first year for some students, but it is also one of the most interesting. It is a well-run, and well-taught unit, that explores a remarkably interesting area of human biology, our brains. You learn about an array of senses such as vision, and hearing, as well as how muscles work. The unit also equips you well for second year and is a great opportunity to develop your ability to answer short answer questions. 

BMS1062: Molecular Biology

1062 builds off of the central dogma of molecular biology, exploring how our genes become proteins and all of the steps in between. You learn a lot about DNA and RNA, right from the very basics, and learn about how they duplicate and are translated and transcribed into the proteins found in the body. The labs in this unit are generally well run and are a good opportunity to build up some strength in semester marks. It’s not necessarily the most interesting unit you will complete, but it equips you well for the rest of Biomed.

Common First Year Electives

ATS1297: Academic Writing

This subject is made to teach you how to write and work as a Uni Student. The style of writing used in high school is very different from the expectations put on you by Universities. ​You will learn key principles of grammar, and how to use sources correctly (finding, referencing, quoting, and paraphrasing) and avoid problems like plagiarism. You will also learn how to plan, research, edit, and proofread essays. This Unit also has no exams and comes highly recommended by many students.

ATS1261: Understanding human behaviour

Great subject if you’re interested in an arts unit. Marks can be easily obtained by simply showing up for tutorials and there is no exam. Covers basic psychology concepts.

CHM1011 and CHM1022 Chemistry

The go to elective for the majority of biomed students, these units are exactly what you expect. They’re similar to Year 12 chemistry, expanding on most topics and introducing one or two new ones. Coming to these labs after your BMS classes will be a relief, they’ll be more in line with the difficulty you hoped uni would be. The one-hour tute is more pleasant than a fourth hour in the lab and come the end of semester exam you’ll be glad you stuck to 1011/1022. If you hate writing lab reports this is not the elective for you.


ENG1003: Engineering mobile apps

​An excellent elective to build upon your knowledge of Biolo... LOL, just kidding! Unless you’re in the Biomed/Eng double degree, in which case Tim and Lara send their condolences.

ENG1090: Foundation mathematics (MTH1020)

​This unit is basically Specialist Maths and would suit the more mathematically inclined Biomed student.

PSY1011 and PSY1022: Psychology

Considered manageable subjects for those who have a VCE foundation in psychology. The second-semester unit is the more enjoyable of the two, as it appears to be run better. Tutorials are not compulsory, and workshops are recorded so can be watched from home if contact hours are difficult for you.

SCI1020: Introduction to statistical reasoning

Similar load to BMS subjects. Very similar to further maths and thoroughly enjoyed by students—even considered the most favourite subject out of all of first year ones.

ATS2992: The Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG): Ever wanted to go on an all expense paid trip overseas. GIG is your opportunity to study and travel with first year students from across the university. You will immerse yourself in a new culture while gaining greater intercultural awareness and learning about sustainable development in your allocated region. This double credit point, summer unit is offered only to students in their first year of their degree however the application process occurs early in the year so make sure to keep an eye out for this opportunity. Students who have participated in GIG are always willing to share their experience abroad.

For advice on 2nd and 3rd year electives, come and check out the annual Electives night

For further information on units offered, click here to visit the Handbook, and here for more information on the course.

*** Please note that these are written at the discretion of committee members and represent their own opinions only. We definitely recommend consulting the official unit guides published in the Monash Handbook for more detailed descriptions. This guide is written for anecdotal advice and should be used in conjunction with picking the brains of your peers and checking out the MSA’s Counter Faculty Handbook when deciding which units to select.

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